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The Usefulness Of The Debate Section


tariki
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I need to watch my words here..............I really do...... :)

 

Despite the impassioned pleas and sincere hopes of some, as expressed, it seems to me - looking in - that no one here on this thread is seeking to "explore together", "share a journey" or whatever. Maybe, perhaps a degree of understanding is forming of one another's entrenched positions. This is not said from the heights, and hopefully will not be taken as such. I have my own trench, and sadly I'm not even beyond the sad "harrah" "boo" approach of all those whose mental capacity and grasp of the finer points of logic is missing, believed dead!

 

It just seems sad to me that topics such as this seem to dominate the Forum. Though the heading of each thread is distinctive, the same fundamental arguments are exchanged back and forth - and as far as I can see, for no purpose. No conclusions are reached apart from the conclusion that all need to agree to differ, and that finally no more can possibly be said. Then, alas, another thread begins..........

 

Now my own bias will show............Though this is an open Forum, and the section being refered to is for "debate and dialogue" and those who contribute are not asked to subscribe to the 8 points of Progressive Christianity, I personally feel that when some of those points are in fact totally rejected - even opposed - by certain posters then the spirit of the whole Forum is being violated.

 

Just doing a quick count of posts since about mid may, and it seems that most here - though it is acknowledged that all are free to post how and where they wish - revolve around this current thread, which for me, to a certaion extent, destroys the warmth and communion that this forum once offered. (Yes, I realise that I to can ignore the thread and just browse elsewhere..............)

 

Fundamentally I have no trust in "censorship", and do not call for it. Just making an observation.

 

Anyway, all the best to you all.

Derek

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I think you make a very timely observation. Thanks, and I agree. It's really easy to get sucked into a debate (and our debates tend to be almost totally nonconstructive here), but that really is not the mission or purpose of this forum. There are plenty of other forums doing that right now. To the extent to which we preoccupy ourselves with this sort of thing we are not really remaining focused on what we should be doing. Or to put it another way, we are using energy that could and should be used for building up our progressive community here.

 

Derek, the time was ripe for me for your post. I was already getting rather tired of this, and trying to refute other Christians' deeply held beliefs is not something I can actively pursue with a pure conscience anyway. I'm personally not going to take the bate anymore.

 

I will respond only to Hornet if he has any follow up questions to my last post, but I'm done with this thread, this debate, and with debating conservative/fundamentalist Christians on this board on the whole.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

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Hi tariki,

 

While i understand your concern and agree with much you have said, i do believe that part of Progressive Christianity is not so much to change minds but to be also able to discuss freely subjects of widely differing views while maintaining respect and regard for the other person. No one has been censored here to the best of my knowledge for any beliefs they have. Censoring here only concerns our behavior. It seems to me we have to get along in this world and there are those of us that differ strongly in some views. The important part we learn from practice in this forum on this site is that yes we can peacefully learn to agree to disagree and seek understanding. The purpose of the debate and Dialog section on this site is clearly spelled out in the guidelines. It is not to win or lose.

 

I believe this can and will be done peacefully and respectfully. Yes, warnings have been issued but nothing has been edited without the request of the poster. Each time we engage, the opportunity to focus on peace is presented, and strengthened if it is taken.

 

I believe this thread is most active because many have a propensity for separation or focus on deeply trenched differences which may feed our ego and make us feel more alive. The resolution of these differences is not the purpose here. This is only my opinion but i see that with the proper guidance, positive focus on unity and peace can be cultivated by exercise within our stated guidelines. In a sense peace arises out of the acceptance of differences and not necessarily changing our view on a debatable position.

 

Just a slightly different take on this thread,

Joseph

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Guest billmc

We are using energy that could and should be used for building up our progressive community here.

 

I like what you say here, Mike, and Derek's post spoke to me as well.

 

One Sunday morning, about 8 months after my wife and I were wed, she came out of our bedroom wearing a pretty, new blouse. I gave her a compliment, Thats a beautiful shade of blue, to which she responded, This is green. I asked her to step further into the light so that I could get a better look. Not being married long enough to know the axiom, Women are always right, I quipped, Sorry, Dear, but that is a blue blouse. She again assured me that it was green and, for the sake of marital peace and my own physical well-being, I dropped the subject.

 

To this day my wife and I see colors differently. Where I see blue, she sees green. Where I see red (the color, not the emotion), she sees orange. And Ive learned, I hope in wisdom, to say, That a beautiful blouse, dress, outfit, etc. We simply see some things differently and because we love each other, we dont make a big deal out of our difference perceptions. Our love for one another transcends our different perspectives.

 

At what point, when we speak of religion or faith, does seeing things differently become a big deal? Should we ever allow different perceptions to be a big deal? At what point do we agree to disagree and trust that our love for one another can transcend our differences? Do our different perspectives really matter? Or are they much ado about nothing?

 

Colors are, most probably, no big deal. No harm is done when we see colors differently. But if I had decided that my wife, who in my opinion sees blue as green, is less than human, I would have crossed the line. When it comes to religion and faith, all of our different perceptions can tempt us to see others as less than, less than human, less than saved, less than loved by God, less than ourselves. Dont we, as progressive people, believe that we look for the more than in people, the Divine in people?

 

But how do we deal with those who insist, based upon their perspective, that others are less than? They may insist that women are less than men, that gays are less than straight, that skeptics are less than believers, or even that those of other faiths are less than Christians. As progressives, dont we seek understandings and experiences that affirm life and the sanctity of humanity? If so, how do we handle those who might disagree with this, whose views are neither life-affirming nor supportive of a progressive viewpoint? Where we may seen shades of blue, they will claim that the color is red and either overtly or subtly say that we are less than. Do we continue to just agree to disagree and then wait for the next issue or conversation to reach the same color disagreement with another agreement to disagree, ad infinitum? How is this beneficial to the whole group? How is it progressive if no progress is ever made?

 

These are questions Im asking myself. And I know that I could very much be part of the problem. Therefore, it is probably best that I, for the most part, keep silent. But perhaps these questions might help us discern why we are here and where this forum might be going, if it is indeed going anywhere. We probably each have our own reasons for being here and expectations of what we hope to contribute and receive here. I would hope for some kind of unity, not of thought, but of spirit. Is that a possibility here? Or is it just wishful hoping? And how do we handle thoughts, our own and from others, that don't lead to unity of spirit?

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Though it is a bit off topic Bill,

 

I agree good points were made by Tariki, Mike and yourself and are relevant here at the TCPC forum. Perhaps a thread discussing it in the Progressive area or here under a separate topic is in order. While all your questions and statement have validity I have only one point to make. I do see both the opportunity for progress and real progress being made even though it is slow at times. Progress not necessarily in view agreement (for who can say what is progress in that) but in personal virtues and behavior.

 

Perhaps i am a bit color blind myself but no one forces the other to respond in this area and agreeing to disagree on an Internet board where there are widely differing views is definitely in order here. It is IMO progressive in nature. The alternative is to continue to fight which in my view solves nothing. We may never change a mind but we can learn to live in mutual respect of the person who shares the same air we do where behavior does no harm to the other. IMO, no harm has been done by agreeing that we cannot yet reach agreement here on this forum. In particular, while Hornet's views are very different than mine and most here, he has been most respectful and cooperative. I for one appreciate that and am interested in understanding him and how he deals with the issue of this thread.

 

Others that are not respectful can be ignored or terminated. Each individual has the right to ignore and not to engage another in dialog. The moderators have the right to determine when ones behavior is worthy of suspension or termination. We all need to learn when further dialog with a particular person is no longer a wise decision on our part. We can discern this when our emotions attempt to take charge. This presents a bonafide opportunity for individual recognition/awareness and healing if chosen. To me this is progressive growth. This section has detailed guidelines that give a person the freedom to share his/her views no matter how different as long as they are respectful and not belittling of the other. This to me is healthy and a part of the growth of a Progressive Christian.

 

Warnings have been made in this thread that have crossed over the line. That is an opportunity for change or consideration of change to those involved. Whether it is taken or whether progress or growth takes place is up to the individual alone.

 

Just some views of mine as Administrator of this site,

Joseph

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Guest billmc

Joseph,

 

I agree with Mike that the mission or purpose of this entire forum is really not to debate and that there are plenty of other ‘Christian’ forums that serve that purpose. The website at Christianforums has a Liberal section moderated by conservatives. Hardly any liberals participate, of course, because the conservative moderators will only allow liberal posts that agree with their conservative views. But if conservatives want to win arguments over liberals or progressives, that is certainly a good place to do it.

 

Mike suggest, if I understand him correctly, that the purpose of this forum is to build up the progressive community here. Is that the purpose of it? If so, then why is a Debate section needed? I’ve been to a few debates, listened to many, many of them, and I’ve never seen them reach a conclusion or a consensus. Rather, each side seems to leave the debate more firmly entrenched in its own view.

 

You say that “part of Progressive Christianity is not so much to change minds but to be also able to discuss freely subjects of widely differing views.” I could be wrong, but it seems to me that if the purpose of the forum is to build up the progressive community here, then the wider we open the doors to some differing views, especially if those differing views hold to the viewpoint that widers views are invalid, how does that enrich the community? It seems to me that if fundamentalists are here, not to explore and understand PC, but to attempt to tear it down, that becomes counterproductive to building up the progressive community.

 

Coming from fundamentalism myself and still having to fight some of that mindset, I appreciate that there is a place to discover more about PC and how our faith might be interpreted and lived in a different way from what institutionalized Christianity has taught us. A place for questions and answers is, IMO, a very good thing. But to provide a section where people can openly attack progressive viewpoints and to have their attacks protected under the guise of “respecting the person” is, IMO, a travesty of productive dialogue and relationship.

 

I disagree with you, Joseph, that disagreement is primarily about ego. Nor is extricating all emotions, pretending we are all Vulcans, always the best course. I’ve tried to discuss this with you in private and for some reason you fail to understand what I am saying. Sure, many disagreements are about ego; who is right, who is wrong. And they can certainly get heated. But some disagreements about what is truth are necessary because some beliefs can lead to bad or even evil behavior. That was the point made in the thread about Paul and his policy about women. Bad theology can lead to bad, evil, or oppressive behavior. You seem to dismiss this and just insist that we agree to disagree. To me, this translates to just hoping that the problems go away all by themselves. We’ve had at least 6000 years of women being religiously oppressed because no one wants to challenge the Jewish or Pauline framework. While I agree with you that we are not our beliefs, our beliefs can shape us, for better or worse. This is, of course, a gradual process. But I simply don’t understand how more progressive, more just, more compassionate viewpoints here on this forum can be attacked and then have the attacker protected under the clause of “respecting the person.”

 

Thanks for the reminder that you are the “Administrator of this site.” :D Obviously, I sometimes forget that you are over and above us. As ADMINISTRATOR (let’s put it all in caps so that there is no chance that this could be missed), you have the power to warn me or terminator my account. I already know that it matters not to you whether I stay or leave. Your emotions are not involved. Do what you think best. I'll not derail this topic further.

 

billmc

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Joseph,

 

I agree with Mike that the mission or purpose of this entire forum is really not to debate and that there are plenty of other 'Christian' forums that serve that purpose. The website at Christianforums has a Liberal section moderated by conservatives. Hardly any liberals participate, of course, because the conservative moderators will only allow liberal posts that agree with their conservative views. But if conservatives want to win arguments over liberals or progressives, that is certainly a good place to do it.

Mike suggest, if I understand him correctly, that the purpose of this forum is to build up the progressive community here. Is that the purpose of it? If so, then why is a Debate section needed? I've been to a few debates, listened to many, many of them, and I've never seen them reach a conclusion or a consensus. Rather, each side seems to leave the debate more firmly entrenched in its own view.

 

Perhaps we should let Mike clarify his own position. He is most excellent with words.

 

You say that "part of Progressive Christianity is not so much to change minds but to be also able to discuss freely subjects of widely differing views." I could be wrong, but it seems to me that if the purpose of the forum is to build up the progressive community here, then the wider we open the doors to some differing views, especially if those differing views hold to the viewpoint that widers views are invalid, how does that enrich the community? It seems to me that if fundamentalists are here, not to explore and understand PC, but to attempt to tear it down, that becomes counterproductive to building up the progressive community.

 

Part of the stated mission of TCPC and in specific this forum is to support those who embrace the search, not certainty. The Debate and Dialog section is only a small part of this forum and it does embrace that search. Our debate and Dialog section is unique from other forums in that its guidelines read as follows...

 

Got a significantly different view? Got an opinion to spout? This is the area, but beware... We will continue to delete posts in all areas of the boards - including this one - that we do not feel are presented in a manner that is respectful of other viewpoints, or seeks to convert, or coerce, or attack.

 

If you do not subscribe to TCPC 8 points in principle and are a member of this forum, you are still welcome to participate as a member in this area as long as you keep in mind you are expected to behave accordingly. Calling a PC non-Christian or making any derogatory remarks of a personal nature to any other member is not an acceptable part of debate/dialogue on this board. It provokes and serves no useful purpose here. It is always safer to ask questions or just state your point agreement with or against or counterpoint. There need be no losers or winners in this section. We are all here to share, learn, support, understand each other better, encourage and grow in Love rather than to criticize, name call, or telling people they are wrong. PC also respects other religions as listed in Point 2 on the main board. De-meaning or putting down other religions accomplishes nothing and will also not be tolerated here.

 

We do not have a lot of fundamentalists you refer to here. Two, to the best of my knowledge. If one wishes to engage them that is your choice. They are not permitted to attack, convert, or engage in behavior that may be allowed on other forums. We do not have any major problem here with fundamentalists. Warnings have been issued where deemed appropriate by moderators. Members coming to the debate section have to take some responsibility for themselves if they feel it is counterproductive. All are as i have said before, free not to dialog with those they feel are counterproductive to the community. People such as you have mentioned, only stay because members here choose willing either consciously or unconsciously to engage them. No engagement, no dispute and chances are they will leave to find a dispute elsewhere.

 

 

 

Coming from fundamentalism myself and still having to fight some of that mindset, I appreciate that there is a place to discover more about PC and how our faith might be interpreted and lived in a different way from what institutionalized Christianity has taught us. A place for questions and answers is, IMO, a very good thing. But to provide a section where people can openly attack progressive viewpoints and to have their attacks protected under the guise of "respecting the person" is, IMO, a travesty of productive dialogue and relationship.

 

Bill, while people are allowed to openly attack progressive viewpoints they are not allowed to attack the progressive person without repercussions. A fundamental was banned for such and another suspended and issued warnings. Everyone has a view to spout. You are giving yours here and they attack a progressive forum viewpoint and i am answering in the capacity of Admin. That is allowed in this section. You are allowed to speak your mind without censure as long as you remain respectful of the person you are addressing. Everyone doesn't have to agree this section is necessary for a Progressive Christianity forum. You are welcome to use the poll feature to poll members if you like. I can't please everyone.

 

 

I disagree with you, Joseph, that disagreement is primarily about ego. Nor is extricating all emotions, pretending we are all Vulcans, always the best course. I've tried to discuss this with you in private and for some reason you fail to understand what I am saying. Sure, many disagreements are about ego; who is right, who is wrong. And they can certainly get heated. But some disagreements about what is truth are necessary because some beliefs can lead to bad or even evil behavior. That was the point made in the thread about Paul and his policy about women. Bad theology can lead to bad, evil, or oppressive behavior. You seem to dismiss this and just insist that we agree to disagree. To me, this translates to just hoping that the problems go away all by themselves. We've had at least 6000 years of women being religiously oppressed because no one wants to challenge the Jewish or Pauline framework. While I agree with you that we are not our beliefs, our beliefs can shape us, for better or worse. This is, of course, a gradual process. But I simply don't understand how more progressive, more just, more compassionate viewpoints here on this forum can be attacked and then have the attacker protected under the clause of "respecting the person."

 

And in this section you can disagree with any personal views i have made. I love you in Christ regardless. Others can read what you wrote and add to it, agree or disagree. It doesn't matter as long as love reigns. To the best of my knowledge, it is not our Internet function to tell people they are good or evil or right or wrong. that is not our mission. Most of us came out of that. I am not saying that one viewpoint might not be wiser and more just by ones standard but we support the search , not certainty, and that includes allowing others to make up their own minds without coercion. Hopefully we will all end up closer to truth that way.

 

Attacks on viewpoints are not personal except when made personal by inappropriate comments which i have defined in examples in the Admin section of our forum. Personal attacks are not allowed. If you are affected by an attack of your entrenched viewpoint, there are some alternatives. One is to avoid the Debate and Dialog section. Another might be self examination as to why one may be allowing such words to have power over them which creates opportunity for growth. Another might be to exercise the principle of forgiving ones perceived enemies or returning good for evil. etc..

 

Thanks for the reminder that you are the "Administrator of this site." biggrin.gif Obviously, I sometimes forget that you are over and above us. As ADMINISTRATOR (let's put it all in caps so that there is no chance that this could be missed), you have the power to warn me or terminator my account. I already know that it matters not to you whether I stay or leave. Your emotions are not involved. Do what you think best. I'll not derail this topic further.

 

billmc

 

Well my use of the word Admin was to indicate that i was speaking in that capacity since the question and statements concern that function. You used a smiley so i will assume you speak in jest for whatever reason. I consider everyone here my equal. That does not negate the fact that i have been assigned a job with a level of power to serve others. Why should you feel threatened because you have spoken your mind. biggrin.gif I have always maintained that you are a great asset to this community but yes, in confidence (which you exposed above) have told you when you were leaving before that it is up to you to leave or stay. Personally i desired you to stay and said so but i am okay ether way. If that means to you it doesn't matter to me, my opinion is you are mistaken.

 

JosephM (answering as Admin)

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Just to clarify my own perspective on the matter: I have decided for myself that some types of debate are simply not constructive to have (i.e. arguing endlessly, full circle again and again, with fundamentalists). This does not necessarily mean that a debate/dialogue forum serves no purpose. I prefer to think of it ideally as a place where progressive Christian thought can interact with with the broader world and vice-versa - one might say a symposium - an idea which itself is progressive. But this is certainly not a place for members to perpetually jab at each other's views.

 

I am personally abstaining from fanning the fires of any unconstructive debates and I urge others to do so also if they feel that a discussion is not going anywhere, not benefiting anyone, or not serving the purpose of this board. A fire without fuel will burn itself out.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

Edited by Mike
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I like Neon's name suggestion as something to consider. I also perceive Mike' s wisdom in his statement ...

 

I am personally abstaining from fanning the fires of any unconstructive debates and I urge others to do so also if they feel that a discussion is not going anywhere, not benefiting anyone, or not serving the purpose of this board. A fire without fuel will burn itself out.

 

I think that is great advice.

 

To me it seems that each one of us has the responsibility as a member to not contribute to "flame-ups" in this section. It also seems to me that the presence of the debate and dialog section itself is not the cause of any perceived problems. It seems at times many of us, but not all, like to jump in to a debate of deeply entrenched positions that often leads to "jabs" instead of meaningful dialog. As moderators perhaps we can do a better job than we have in the past and perhaps each member will cooperate also by not responding to those kind of inflammatory remarks but instead clicking on the report button which calls that post to the moderators attention when he comes online. We are volunteers and can not always be online to catch the sparks before a fire is started. There have been fires but there are "cobwebs" on the report post button as no one seems to want to hit the report button. But to "jab back", perhaps if it were a button, it would show signs of definite wear. smile.gif Perhaps by nature, we unconsciously enjoy watching or participating in a good fight in spite of our objections?

 

Anyway, i have said my share and will respond to any questions and consider the comments of others on the issue of this thread topic.

 

JosephM (as Admin)

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Guest billmc

Joseph,

 

Thanks for the clarification of your viewpoint, both as a person and as Admin. It helps me to know what direction this forum is going and whether or not that is the direction for me. I really don’t wish to cause any further problem here. I know now that you and I will not see eye to eye on matters that, to me, are of prime importance. I can’t convince you that they are important and you can’t convince me that they are not. I only ask you, one last time, to try to see past my fumbling words to my heart.

 

Personal attacks are not allowed.

 

This is certainly a good principle here. But what I also think needs to be considered is that “personal attacks” are not only attacks against individuals, they can also be against people groups. For instance, davidk’s stance against the equality of women, while not a “personal attack” against me, is, IMO, an attack against my wife, my daughters, and women everywhere. Granted, I’m here in Texas where we may still reach for the draw a little too quickly. ;) The old adage of “Say anything you want about me, but attack my family and you’ll bring out the fightin’ side of me” comes into play. But I think you misunderstand me in think it is all about my ego, Joseph. It’s not. It’s about someone who claims to love Christ putting forth a view that attacks the value and worthiness of others whom Christ also loves.

 

If you are affected by an attack of your entrenched viewpoint, there are some alternatives. One is to avoid the Debate and Dialog section. Another might be self examination as to why one may be allowing such words to have power over them which creates opportunity for growth. Another might be to exercise the principle of forgiving ones perceived enemies or returning good for evil. etc..

 

Yes, those are alternatives. Another alternative, an alternative which is evidently off-limits here, is to tell the one attacking that their viewpoint is wrong, that it is harmful or immoral or not in keeping with the love that we see in Christ. You’ve stated, as Admin, that, essentially, this forum is not concerned about right or wrong, good or evil, etc. I understand your statement from a certain perspective. Religion is usually overly concerned with legalistic codes of what we think gains us access to or approval from God. What I was trying to say, and have evidently failed to either make clear or to find support for, is that because God loves all of us, those who attack any of us should be called on it.

 

You asked me where my love for davidk is? My love for davidk is, as you have also stated about me, found in Christ. In loving him, I want only the best for him. I would hope that he would be further conformed to the image of Christ, a manifestation of the love of God on earth, the same hope that I have for all of us. But my love for him does not mean that I sanction all his views and would never challenge him on something that I believe the spirit of Christ would find harmful or uncompassionate to others whom God also loves. Progress, what little we have made in human history, has often been because we have indeed taken a stance against injustice and inhumane treatment of others, with some of us even sacrificing our own lives for such progress. To me, progress is moving towards compassion and sometimes that means standing against what we would call evil or oppression, especially if it comes from "within the family."

 

Thanks for your time and consideration. I love you in Christ also and entrust you and all those on this forum to his love and grace. Live long, laugh often, love much.

 

Sincerely,

billmc

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Joseph,

 

Thanks for the clarification of your viewpoint, both as a person and as Admin. It helps me to know what direction this forum is going and whether or not that is the direction for me. I really don't wish to cause any further problem here. I know now that you and I will not see eye to eye on matters that, to me, are of prime importance. I can't convince you that they are important and you can't convince me that they are not. I only ask you, one last time, to try to see past my fumbling words to my heart.

 

I am convinced that the matters you speak of ARE important to you. We that have the responsibility in operating this forum are using this thread to not only express our current thinking but to hear the views and opinions of others. I have no doubt that this issue is most dear to your heart.

 

 

 

This is certainly a good principle here. But what I also think needs to be considered is that "personal attacks" are not only attacks against individuals, they can also be against people groups. For instance, davidk's stance against the equality of women, while not a "personal attack" against me, is, IMO, an attack against my wife, my daughters, and women everywhere. Granted, I'm here in Texas where we may still reach for the draw a little too quickly. wink.gif The old adage of "Say anything you want about me, but attack my family and you'll bring out the fightin' side of me" comes into play. But I think you misunderstand me in think it is all about my ego, Joseph. It's not. It's about someone who claims to love Christ putting forth a view that attacks the value and worthiness of others whom Christ also loves.

 

Yes, I agree that the stance some people take can be taken as a personal attack on women, gays, groups, etc. Which one of us has not at some time held views that were not against some group at one time? I am not saying that makes it 'Right' or 'Wrong'. I'm saying this is an Internet discussion group and we are not here on this site with a mission to say who is right and who is wrong. That is an individual decision for each progressive to make for themselves. That is the freedom Progressive Christianity dialog allows. What we are here for is to share views which sometimes are widely differing without personal attack, belittlement, or inappropriate behavior. If one is personally offended in this section by a stated view then perhaps this particular section should be avoided. This section does not set the direction this forum is going. As you can see from some responses, some feel it should stay. The 8 points set our direction and not Joseph and if you can show me where differing views spoken on an Internet forum without poor behavior violates the 8 points, i will reevaluate my view for error. If you can show me how i will do more good or change that person by forbidding a person to express their particular views or telling them they are "wrong" in this section, i promise i will examine my view and discuss it with the top leadership of TCPC and correct my understanding if need be.

 

 

Yes, those are alternatives. Another alternative, an alternative which is evidently off-limits here, is to tell the one attacking that their viewpoint is wrong, that it is harmful or immoral or not in keeping with the love that we see in Christ. You've stated, as Admin, that, essentially, this forum is not concerned about right or wrong, good or evil, etc. I understand your statement from a certain perspective. Religion is usually overly concerned with legalistic codes of what we think gains us access to or approval from God. What I was trying to say, and have evidently failed to either make clear or to find support for, is that because God loves all of us, those who attack any of us should be called on it.

 

Yes, I agree that is an alternative. and if you can make a good case for how that will be more effective than over the way we operate now. I am open to change.

 

Define what constitutes an "attack on any of us" or what that means over the Internet on this forum. How does a person with a different view harm with their words in this section over the Internet? How will telling them they are wrong change them anymore than a Fundamentalist telling you that every word in the Bible is God's word and without error or contradiction and if you don't believe that you are wrong? Will it just promote more division? Does it offer the opportunity of a bridge? These seem to me like good questions to ask oneself.

 

 

 

You asked me where my love for davidk is? My love for davidk is, as you have also stated about me, found in Christ. In loving him, I want only the best for him. I would hope that he would be further conformed to the image of Christ, a manifestation of the love of God on earth, the same hope that I have for all of us. But my love for him does not mean that I sanction all his views and would never challenge him on something that I believe the spirit of Christ would find harmful or uncompassionate to others whom God also loves. Progress, what little we have made in human history, has often been because we have indeed taken a stance against injustice and inhumane treatment of others, with some of us even sacrificing our own lives for such progress. To me, progress is moving towards compassion and sometimes that means standing against what we would call evil or oppression, especially if it comes from "within the family."

 

What is said in a PM should remain in a PM. It is said in confidence and is not something to be repeated publicly in this forum. I ask you to respect this in the future. Progressive Christianity nor TCPC asks no one to sanction anothers views. Challenging views in mutual respect is the goal of this section. That often leads to agreeing to disagree here. Outside of this forum it is up to the individual to to do what he/she feels is a stance toward justice and humane treatment of others. Perhaps it should be considered that this medium of communication here has a specific mission that at least at present (things change) does NOT include calling other people down for speaking their mind.

 

Mike and Soma are free to respond to your questions without me putting words in their mouth and hopefully without fear of reprisal for anything they say that may differ from my view or against present policy here. Others members are also welcome to address your concerns and contribute and speak their mind here but there will be no bashing or singling out of individual members. One can speak in generalities and get their point across publicly without dragging in names.

 

JosephM (as Admin)

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Hi Bill,

 

I just want to point out that you are free to voice your own views in the Debate forum. And by that I mean, if you feel that a perspective is wrong, you can disagree and respond with your own reasons why you see things differently. That's what we've been doing the whole time. The key, to my mind, is being tactful, and not attacking the person. As a matter of etiquette and respect we must avoid implicating the other person, if for no other reason than failure to do so solves nothing.

 

I suggested a while back that we 'agree to disagree'. Perhaps that seems too flimsy, but I wonder what the alternative is. Should we accuse people of things for which we have no proof, or attack someone's ethical integrity? Should we alter all the rules and policy just because of one person here and there? It is striking to think that had we all just ignored what I think we all knew was going to be a dead-end debate, we'd probably not be having this conversation. It's easy to take the bate. But if everyone were to ignore a post, there would be no debate. It takes at least two.

 

This is not to say that one can get away with saying anything on here. Anything we deem to be hate speech or the like will be dealt with appropriately.

 

On a side note, I think we all agreed as moderators that we are going to be watchful for attempts by anyone to use these forums merely for the purpose of evangelism. It is clear that we are interested here in meaningful dialogue, not getting preached at.

 

Personally I'm open to revising some of the guidelines or whatever to make it more clear to our members. It is something we are talking about presently. But simply doing away with this forum which allows for interaction with people of different views is not something we're considering, doing so would be an over-reaction.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

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On the one hand, I agree that we should call out immoral beliefs and actions, but we also need to be careful not to fall into the trap of broad-brushing. I'm sure most of us roll our eyes when biblical literalists proclaim that we don't believe the bible is the literal word of God just because we want to live in sin without any rules. It might be tempting to respond by arguing that a conservative Christian just believes in gender roles because they're sexist. While I find the concept of gender roles to be sexist, there's more reasons why someone may believe in them than simplifying it to just that they're sexist, like their cultural background or religious upbringing. This of course doesn't justify the belief in gender roles but simply accusing the believer of being willfully sexist might simply shut off any discussion. I'm not perfect at this and I've been guilty of using broad-b brushing myself even on this forum, but it's a habit that society in general I think needs to work on getting out of and we have to find the balance of calling out ethics and practices we find immoral while trying to be understanding to the people who believe it but are otherwise good people at the same time.

Edited by Neon Genesis
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This debate is long overdue and welcomed because I don't think any of us are interested in being isolated on a progressive forum. I feel the majority of the time the debate and exchange of information and knowledge have been communicated with a positive attitude and have helped us as individuals and as a community. I feel old fundamentalist can change and many here have inspired me with their stories of awakening when they contrasted what Christian Fundamentalist say while ignoring the Beatitudes, the poor, women, love and the mind of Our beloved Jesus. These individuals were courageous enough to change, revitalize, and reconstruct their Christian beliefs to correspond with the teachings of Jesus. The things that really make us want to pull out our hair are the hypocrisies and contradictions that Fundamental Christians keep exchanging over and over with a closed-minded rigidity. Yes, they seem to use the Bible to go after women, gays, scientist, and Progressive Christians, but that does not reduce our resolve. In this electronic age people can be duped, but the duplicity to disguise hatred and prejudice as Christian principles is hard to pull off. It does not make Progressives bad for representing the accused, but only makes the Fundamental Christians look nasty and foolish. Culture is changing, but there is a bigger problem. The religious right is losing control over their spiritual understanding by mixing their religious understanding with politics. Conservative Christian leaders who demonize certain parts of our society are watching their children come out of the closet. I don't want anyone's faith to be destroyed, Evangelical piety is good, but being a Christian Bully is not good and it makes many people oppose religion.

 

People on the right have never heard of scriptural contradictions and Bible discrepancies. Many pastors learned about them in their Bible classes, but forget it all when they trying to expand their congregations. It is sad they don't tell their parishioners. Recognizing that some Fundamentalist can change and grow necessitates an awareness training. We all know someone who has been abused by Christian Fundamentalism. Christian bullying for the victim and the abuser can produce delusions, panic, high-blood pressure, headaches and rapid heartbeats so we all need to be involved and can not afford to be silent. Yes, we need to speak out and advocate for the Truth for ourselves and others. I feel the Bible is inspired, but not literally true. It is part of our Christian heritage and we don't have to defend or deny hidden contradictions in the Bible. There are always failings in teachings, but we don't have to cover them up. Conservatives have spent decades working people on their narrow views of the Bible. As Progressives we must think of new and effective ways to combat fundamental misinformation. Because they have politicians purveying conservative misinformation our economy, the environment, and our freedom is threatened. Diversity has been lost in Christianity and that is the freedom to be different. We need Religious scholarship, debate, education and yes spiritual speculation. We need to hear what the Christian Fundamentalist have to say so we can reflect, and be compelled to reply and get involved in the fray. Progressives are smart, goodhearted Christians and will not be overtaken by conformity and literalism. We can't ignore the Christian right and the pain they cause in this fallen world that they preach about because if we ignore them we become an enabler to the pain and anguish they cause.

 

Christianity is like playing the piano. It seems the Christian right is learning to play by the rules and that is not a bad thing. I hope as Progressives we have used the rules go beyond ourselves and play from the heart. God gave us heart so we will be strong and it will carry us home. We must welcome the diversity and the open dialogue we want Christianity to incorporate because we learn more from the people that we disagree with than those that we agree with us. A yogi was seen at the river picking a scorpion out of the water. The scorpion would sting him in the hand so the yogi would drop him on land. The scorpion would again fall into the water and again the yogi picked it up and the scorpion stung him. This happened over and over. When asked why the yogi continued to do this he replied, "I could not help myself. It is my nature. The scorpion is following his nature and I am following mine." I think for some Christianity is a commodity that can be abused and is used to abuse. They think it belongs to them, while some see Christianity as a community and life style that must be used with love and respect. Our way of life must not become what is distasteful just because a bad taste has entered the mouth.

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