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Topic: Whats the point of this forum?

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Subject: Whats the point of this forum?
Date Posted: 4/1/2009 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2008
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Or maybe I should be asking what the point of the Christian book forum is. Why do the Christians get 2 different places to push their materials, but then the completely opposite extreme is coddled as well with the Atheist section? Do those of use that have religion and spirituality thats not Christian just get thrown by the wayside?

Date Posted: 4/3/2009 3:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2006
Posts: 1,069
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I believe that this forum includes discussions for all religions/spirituality topics. Where as the Christian Book Recommendations forum was started later as  also one for Athiests, Agnostics. And if  you check, there is also one for Judaism Book Recommendations. If you have an idea for another forum that branches out from this one as well, make a suggestion to the operators of this site. They are great to deal with.

Date Posted: 4/3/2009 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2006
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The freethinkers forum isn't just for athiests...a lot of us non-christians asked for a forum where we wouldn't be harassed by certain people.  It is a no proselytizing zone....some people just can't leave us alone..and in this forum there was a lot of proselytizing going on...

You would think that this forum would have been a place for everyone to post but a lot of the threads devolved into you're going to hell and here's why or jesus saves-believe....so we asked for our own forum where people can't do that...because asking for it to stop wasn't getting through to certain people..

Date Posted: 4/6/2009 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2008
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Candice, while that may be so, I feel just as uncomfortable in the atheist forum, like I have some sort of disease because I DO follow a religion. But at least by its very name that forum doesn't seem like it would be geared towards me.

Date Posted: 4/6/2009 11:36 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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Sorry you feel uncomfortable in the atheist forum, but I can understand how you feel that way. The forum is not only for atheists, even though there are a lot of them there.  It is for people who want to talk about religions or humanist ideas without getting whacked over the head with the Bible, which is what happened in this forum.  Unfortunately, a lot of freethinkers who used to post in the Religion/Spirituality forum have left PBS, due to the extreme right-wingism and wackiness of a few.  So they didn't get a chance to join in the Freethinkers, etc. forum.

 

 

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 2:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Have you checked out the Atheist Agnostics and Free Thinkers forum? Theres more going on in there than atheism. I promise if you start a thread about your religion then I'll more than likely be interested and comment. Religion is my fave subject and all religions fascinate me. BTW a lot of us tried to figure out why the Christians had their own forum and insisted on coming down here and proseletyzing to us in this forum. Then we got a forum and this one has kinda gone by the wayside. Before the "ordeal" we didnt have our own forum though we thought that was what this was supposed to be.

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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It's true.  A lot of us cleared out of here and moved over there because every discussion we had in here ended in us being preached to.  It was annoying.   It's very peaceful now.  We do like to discuss different religions though, so feel free to come in and say hi, start a thread, whatever. 

Date Posted: 4/11/2009 10:18 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2006
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Gary, I'm Pagan...and so thrilled to have a forum where we can chat about any religion without any bible-thumping going on!  :)

Date Posted: 4/13/2009 11:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2005
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Hi I am Christian but do not post often ...anywhere on the boards..however I do not know why they just don't toss all of them into one heading called spirituality......then each thread can be on whatever religion or non-religion you want...Frankly I think there is only ONE area for Christians to post on Christian books and issues and even at that...many others have 2 areas. I see no need to bash all Christians as Bible thumpers and other * terms* shall we say :)  I respect all and think there ought to be room for Christian posters and book chat too....I don't care if someone is pagan.....wiccan...buddist etc........I would not bust into those areas and start a thread complaining about why you have an area. In fact I do not see 2 christian areas...I may have over looked it ...

FOLKS....Tolereance goes both ways..Cut Christians a break too.

 

Peace

Date Posted: 4/14/2009 12:01 AM ET
Member Since: 12/25/2008
Posts: 79
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RockStarGirl/pibblegrl--

I think the reason many of these good threads go bad is because, for one group, being passionate and emphatic about your athiest/agnostic/pagan or otherwise "freethinking" beliefs you consider intellectual, while being passionate and emphatic about the bible is just preaching.  You can quote Darwin and thereby consider yourselves "scientific", while a christian quotes the New Testament and is preachy and anti-intellectual.  For me, it takes all the fun out of the threads when one side (either side) quits and claims they're being abused because they fail to acknowledge the possibility that a non-materialist worldview can be logical and intellectually rich (or, contrarily, that a naturalist worldview can be the same).

Date Posted: 4/14/2009 6:41 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2008
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Elroy, bu you're leaving out the fact that science is known and proven, whereas the New Testament isn't.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 8:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Ah but Chris when one just discusses their religion be it Christianty or Scientology that isnt what we call preaching. Its the you have to believe this way or your gonna die and go to hell and burn for eternity that bothers us (ok I know thats a very harsh example.) As long as one approches a conversation without a my way or no way mentality then its cool. Its when one claims their way is the only correct way that we get our collective panties wadded.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 11:16 AM ET
Member Since: 12/25/2008
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Gary:  ...science is known and proven, whereas the New Testament isn't.

Really?  I'm pretty sure I remember from school that the purpose of science is to seek to explain, not to claim proven knowledge.  I'm glad that Lavoisier didn't consider Phlogiston theory "proven" in the 18th Century, otherwise we still may not know what "gases" and "combustion" are.  The New Testament is history; contrary to what you say, if you can call anything "proven", it's an event that *already happened*, it's not a scientific theory that intends to explain natural behavior with a model.  To call the model "proven" would defeat science's motive for critical investigation.

That said, I don't think I could "prove" to you the fact of the Resurrection, for instance, other than pointing you toward the reliable and verifiable documents that make up the New Testament.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 12/25/2008
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Manny:  "...It's when one claims their way is the only correct way that we get our collective panties wadded."

Example:  What if I were to say to you that Jesus said "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6).  What if I were to tell you that Jesus means by this that one who does not "come to the Father" through Jesus Christ is condemned to Hell (See John 3:18)?  Am I preaching now, or just communicating Jesus' words from the gospels?  If Jesus made clear Himself that "His way is the only correct way" (to use your words), can I "discuss" anything at all about Jesus without crossing into your definition of "preaching"?

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Elroy I can go on and on and on about the teachings of Christianity for days and never once tell a person that if they dont believe it they are condemned to hell for an eternity. Its a relatively small part of the religion as a whole. And yeah if you do it with a condescending this is the only way attitude then its proseletyzing. We got angry when every thread here whether it was about Christianity or not had its obligatory "Jesus is the only way" post in it. When we could no longer discuss things that had absolutely nothing to do with Christianity without being told we were lost or that if we would only come to Jesus everything would be ok. You dont see us telling Christians that believing in a God is gonna get them damned for an eternity now do you? In fact in general the leanings of the posts done by atheists and agnostics here are of the we can all be right arguement.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 12:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
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Hi Gary!  The point of this forum was basically a place for non-Christians to discuss religion and spirituality without being harassed by a few very loud very Bible-thumping Christians. 

Nobody here is making any generalizations towards all Christians.  But it is a fact that when non-Christians posted in the R&S forums about Wicca and smudge sticks, for example, a few select Christian members would come in and harass us.  These individuals were constantly telling the non-Christians that we were sinners and going to hell for not believing in Jesus.  So we asked for a forum of our own, kind of like a "safe haven" from the proselytizing.  That's when and why the athesit/agnostic/freethinkers forum came into existence.

I wish L.G. was still here...she could probably explain it better than I am.

Nobody is excluded from posting in the Christian forum, the Jewish forum, the R&S forum, or the A/A/F forum.  These forums are just an easier way of being able to find those members whose interests are similar to your own.

My own personal experience: I stopped visiting the R&S forum for a long time, because I was so tired of hearing that I was going to hell because I hadn't accpeted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.  Instead, I hung out in the Jewish forum, because that was a place where other Jews and I could meet up and talk about Judaism and Jewish books.  We have several PBS members who drop in even if they aren't Jewish to join our conversations, and we're thrilled to have them.

It's not that one group has more places than the other or more forums to post in, it's that we started with certain forums, and over time we found that other forums were wanted/needed. 

Sandy: I hope my post made it clear to you that we are not intolerant of Christians as a whole.  We were simply tired of the select few Christians who would not leave us alone to discuss other religions without preaching to us how wrong we were not to be Christians.  Those specific Christians, and only those specific Christians, are the ones we tried to get away from and prefer not to have posting in the A/A/F forum.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
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Example:  What if I were to say to you that Jesus said "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6).  What if I were to tell you that Jesus means by this that one who does not "come to the Father" through Jesus Christ is condemned to Hell (See John 3:18)?  Am I preaching now, or just communicating Jesus' words from the gospels?  If Jesus made clear Himself that "His way is the only correct way" (to use your words), can I "discuss" anything at all about Jesus without crossing into your definition of "preaching"?

Elroy:

Whether or not this is preaching depends on how and where it is presented.  If we're in a thread discussing Christianity or our favorite Bible quotes, why I'm a Christian, the teaching of Jesus, etc., this would be expected.  But when we're discussing Wicca or Judaism or Hinduism or Buddhism and someone comes in and starts quoting this to us, telling us that we are wrong for even discussing these other religions and/or for not believing in Jesus, then yes, it is proselytizing.  And it was exactly that type of behavior that many of us were trying to get away from.  I expect Jesus discussions in the Christian forum and in the R&S forum, and tend to bypass those threads.  No one was ever trying to say that those types of discussions shouldn't be allowed, but rather, we were all saying that non-Christian discussions should be allowed to take place free of preaching and proselytizing.



Last Edited on: 4/15/09 1:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/15/2009 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2008
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Elroy, if you are denying that science has proven a great many thigns about this world, then I just don't know if rational conversation is possible with you.

That said, I don't think I could "prove" to you the fact of the Resurrection, for instance, other than pointing you toward the reliable and verifiable documents that make up the New Testament.

I'm sorry, reliable and verifiable by who? The romans, who ruled at that time, have no record of Jesus. In fact the only supposed record of him from those times, was Josephus' "Antiquities of the Jews". And the fact that a pharisee supposedly referred to Jesus as "The Christ" goes beyond outlandish to downright manure. Any book that refers only to itself to try and show its legitimacy has some major issues going on.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Sheryl thank you for saying that better than I did.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2005
Posts: 2,317
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What if I were to say to you that Jesus said "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6).  What if I were to tell you that Jesus means by this that one who does not "come to the Father" through Jesus Christ is condemned to Hell (See John 3:18)?  Am I preaching now, or just communicating Jesus' words from the gospels?  If Jesus made clear Himself that "His way is the only correct way" (to use your words), can I "discuss" anything at all about Jesus without crossing into your definition of "preaching"?

What if I were to tell you that what you said (in the hypothetical) is entirely irrelevant to the discussion I was hoping to have about non-Christian beliefs, or anthropology and early religious practices, or evidence of polytheism in early Judaism or whatever the topic may have been?    Cheryl is exactly right, context is everything.

I'm pretty sure I remember from school that the purpose of science is to seek to explain, not to claim proven knowledge.  I'm glad that Lavoisier didn't consider Phlogiston theory "proven" in the 18th Century, otherwise we still may not know what "gases" and "combustion" are. 

And I'm pretty sure that repeated experiments have proven the principles of thermodynamics and how they apply to combustion -- to the point where we can reliably calculate how to safely create and control combustion like, say, when you start your car.  Of course every posited theory isn't considered proven simply because the theory exists, but yes, there are certain principles in biology, chemistry, physics that through sheer study and repetition have been proven.  I certainly agree that every "proven" answer just raises more questions, but that's the fun part.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,665
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This is why I don't post over here any more.  Every thread turns into "I know the Bible is right, even though you can't prove it".  It's annoying.  You can't have a discussion without it coming up.  For some reason, every thread in this particular forum attracts people who thinks it's open season on the non-believers.  They just can't allow a conversation without putting their two cents in and challenging the non-believers.  It's tiring.  Not every thread on this forum is a debate, and some people don't get that.  It's a shame that they have to have the final word in everything.  If anybody wants to speak freely without being preached to or argued with, you are welcome to check out the Freethinkers thread.  That's where I'll be.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 11:40 PM ET
Member Since: 12/25/2008
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Gary:  Elroy, if you are denying that science has proven a great many thigns about this world, then I just don't know if rational conversation is possible with you.

If you can't hold a rational conversation with me, it wouldn't be because I don't understand science.  This is beside my point, but I'm not anti-science; I make my living in engineering, as a matter of fact.  I didn't suggest that science has never proven anything, but that it's not the purpose of science to do so.  Science is supposed to observe, model and predict, but it never should "close the book" on a subject because it has declared it "proven".  The history of science is full of good, predictive models that were exposed as completely false when new data were gathered or revolutions in thinking came about (you've heard of the Leyden Jar, spontaneous generation, phlogiston theory?)  That's why science is so productive for us.  To say that "science is proven" is over-simplistic at best.  History, as another matter, does require proof, and good history doesn't change over time.  The New Testament is one of those bodies of history.

Gary:  I'm sorry, reliable and verifiable by who? The romans, who ruled at that time, have no record of Jesus.

Jesus' life and death was a pretty marginal event for the Roman empire.  Is this a good reason for rejecting the record of the New Testament as reliable?  It doesn't "refer only to itself to try and show its legitimacy", as you say, because the New Testament is a set of independently created works; it doesn't have a "self".  It's historicity can and has been verified (the much of the field of Near East Archaeology is dedicated to this purpose!)

I was encouraged to hear some comments on my post about what, in some minds, constitutes "preaching"--Sheryl's post in particular.  I'm glad to hear that others are open-minded about discussing the bible without assuming that every christian is a "preacher", but Gary, your comment troubled me.  "Science is proven and the New Testament is not"?  Is that really an adequate way to distinguish two very different fields of study, both of which rest on mountains of scholarship, as well as controversy?  This is at the center of my complaint that a christian discussing the bible is automatically a suspected "bible-thumper" because they are as fervent about what they believe as much as any scientist, however well-examined their ideas are.

Date Posted: 4/15/2009 11:48 PM ET
Member Since: 12/25/2008
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Ann--And I'm pretty sure that repeated experiments have proven the principles of thermodynamics and how they apply to combustion -- to the point where we can reliably calculate how to safely create and control combustion like, say, when you start your car.  Of course every posited theory isn't considered proven simply because the theory exists, but yes, there are certain principles in biology, chemistry, physics that through sheer study and repetition have been proven.  I certainly agree that every "proven" answer just raises more questions, but that's the fun part.

I would honestly enjoy discussing this, though it *really* wasn't the point I was trying to make (namely, that discussions about the words of Jesus really do have a place outside the pulpit of a self-styled "preacher").  We (though not me, personally) know a lot about thermodynamics, to be sure, but they also thought that in the 18th century, when their explanations of thermodynamic phenomena were very different and, to our modern eyes, even naive.  That's why a good scientist who studies thermodynamics will consider the book to still be open.  Who knows what the future will bring as far as our means to measure quantities we never thought possible!  In electromagnetics, a field more closely related to my own, few would consider the "wave theory of light" to be even close to proven.  To consider it so would be to deny the impetus to understand it better.

Date Posted: 4/16/2009 2:04 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2005
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Of course the book is still open!  It's just open to a different page.  It's funny you happened to pick the light wave vs particle connundrum, I just posted about that in another thread.  As you intimated, I suspect the answer, such as it is, will arrive when our means of measuring and our thoughts about what to measure advance.  We usually find out new and interesting things in conjunction with advances in what we can measure, and what we know to look for.  However, the "answer" to that question isn't going to change the principles of refraction, for example.  It may add to them if we find something really bizarrely cool in the non-Newtonian physics world, but it's not going to change the basics of what we've proven to be true on that score. 

Up to a point, things are always open to revision and additions, but some things have, without a doubt, been proven false -- spontaneous generation is definitely out, and though we still have a lot to understand about the smaller level mechanics, sperm + egg or asexual reproduction is in.  The purpose of science may be to figure out stuff, but it's also to test and prove or disprove a theory about either effect or cause.  Often what we prove is a negative -- well, whatever it is, it's not that -- but in small increments we do prove things, and without those little proofs, which eventually add up to bigger proofs, we would be hard pressed to do the explaining.

/hijack

Sorry Gary, we hijacked your thread!  My apologies. 

Date Posted: 4/16/2009 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/25/2008
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Ann--"...the 'answer' to that question isn't going to change the principles of refraction, for example.  It may add to them if we find something ... but it's not going to change the basics of what we've proven to be true on that score."

You might find a lot of physicists and engineers who would agree with you, but if history is to be a lesson, we should claim less certainty than we typically do that we've "proven" things like the principles of refraction.  A physicists who advocates the particle theory of light would be disposed to believe there is a better explanation for the refraction/reflection of light than Snell's Law, which is what I was taught in physics.  The point is not that we know nothing, or that Snell's Law isn't very powerful as a predictive model, but a scientist ought to use some humility.  In science, we don't really learn in small increments, using little proofs to aggregate into bigger proofs, but more typically revolutions happen that teach us that, though our theories at one time made sense, they were totally out of whack when a revolutionary new way of thinking comes around.  This is where we get the term "paradigm shift", and those that study the history of science (e.g. Thomas Kuhn, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions"), tell us that we ought not to consider any theory to be "proven" in the sense that it is unchangeable or that we shouldn't acknowledge the possibility that we, one day, might have to discard it altogether.

Perhaps this should be a new thread...is anyone else interested in talking about this?  If not, I'll shut up.

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