Bob Seidensticker is a Seattle resident, an MIT graduate, a former computer programmer, and the author of several books, including Future Hype: The Myths of Technology Change (Berrett-Koehler, 2006) and Cross Examined: An Unconventional Spiritual Journey, which is available now. He is also the blogger behind the blog Cross Examined, which resides in the Atheist Channel at Patheos.com.
As a part of our “Many Voices” Q&A series, we had the fortunate opportunity to ask Bob Seidensticker a few questions:
Progress Planet: What do you do for a living? (if, that is, you’re not making your living from blogging!)
Bob Seidensticker: I’m retired from Microsoft, so I’m lucky enough to be able to spend much of my time researching religion and blogging about it.
PP: How long have you been blogging?
BS: One year.
PP: Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?
BS: Initially, it was to promote my book, Cross Examined: An Unconventional Spiritual Journey. Authors are encouraged to blog, but what to blog about? While my book is a novel, the subject is Christian apologetics, so finding things to blog about (Christianity’s impact on society, Christian history, intellectual arguments for and against Christianity, etc.) was easy. Book promotion is now an insignificant part of what I write about.
PP: Why did you choose the name of your blog?
BS: Initially, I had two blogs with different names, each getting the same content. Not really the easiest approach, I realize, but I wanted one doorway for atheists (“Galileo Unchained: For those who have no use for faith”) and one for Christians (“Cross Examined: Clear thinking about Christianity”). I’ve since consolidated that into Cross Examined when I moved to Patheos a couple of months ago. I like the double entendre in that name.
PP: What are your personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
BS: The same as I had with the book: to encourage Christians to think about the intellectual foundation of their religion. A side goal is to educate atheists.
PP: What is one of the greatest things that’s happened to you as a result of being a blogger?
BS: I thought that I’d be educating others, but I find that I’m educating myself. This is a big field, with new discoveries (for me, anyway!) everywhere.
PP: What are some other blogs/websites you love to read for general interest and/or inspiration?
BS: I listen to a lot of podcasts — science-y ones like Skeptoid and Scientific American, skeptical ones like The Bible Geek and Reasonable Doubts, and Christian apologetics like Apologetics.com and Reasonable Faith. My complaint about blogs is that there are far too many — Patheos has lots from many religious (and atheist) perspectives, and Freethought Blogs has some incisive atheist bloggers — Greta Christina being my favorite.
PP: In your opinion, what stands in the way of peace in the world?
BS: There are lots of issues, but I focus on just one: Christian apologetics. If I can get Christians to see the origins of their religion as no more supernatural than that of any other religion, I think that would add an essential dose of humility. The way to fight Muslim extremism is not with Christian extremism, for example. You don’t fight fire with fire; you fight it with water.
PP: Anything else you’d like to add?
BS: If I could shamelessly add a plug for my book, I’d like to encourage readers to check it out on Amazon. My goal is what I hear many pastors saying: to encourage Christians to study and critique the intellectual foundation of their religion, and I think the book does that well through an engaging story.
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