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In the heat of battle, what should be allowed?
Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 4:46 pm
Although regrettable and non-ideal, people frequently come to loggerheads on this forum. After clear reasoning is rejected, debaters often feel some need, maybe even responsibility, to call out the dishonesty or prejudice of their opponent. This could be considered a duty for the sake of both the opponent and the silent reader.
I do not want the forum to break down into a platform for name-calling. However, irrational or self-blinded people should not be allowed to proceed unchecked. They should not be treated as everybody else. Remember Jesus' stern rebuke of the Pharisees (Matthew 23)?
This can go too far either way. Therefore, we need some more formal criterion, so we can all play according to the same rules.
I would like to hear opinions on this. After hearing opinions for a while, as Moderator, I'll formalize a list, to which the forum member must adhere under penalty of banning. At which point, the thread will additionally be locked and migrated to "The Rules" category, which will prohibit further discussion.
What do you think? What should be allowed? Scripturally based points will obviously outweigh personal opinions.
Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 4:47 pm
reserved for conclusion - please discuss below...
Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 10:57 pm
Any website that includes Forums has a tall order to fill. And especially when dealing with the Word of God. I don't have any magic or silver bullets. But I'd like to offer my perspective on the basic objectives and purposes for a Forum such as this.
The primary objective is to seek, share, and find Truth. Not as an individual determines but as revealed by God through his Word. That is no small task and I know personally I need all the help I can get.
Matt 7:7-8 wrote:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
And that is truly one of the values that I see a site such as this can hopefully provide as people seek, knock, and ask as we inquire about God's will for us all.
Now, to achieve that and have the site be a tool in that endeavor I think is ultimately where you as the moderator are coming from. This should be an open forum where questions can be asked and be answered with respect for the individuals involved and God's Word. The key is to maintain openness and candor in an imperfect system. Given that it is next to impossible to have a "check list" to go down and say a poster is or is not in the rules for a given post (God's Word should provide the basic "common sense" stuff!) I would propose that a provision be made for calling for some kind of "Thread Moderator" if a impasse is reached, an objective 3rd party. The goal would not be to declare a "winner" or a "loser" but to summarize as best as possible the critical questions, positions, and evidence to either organize the thread to continue or close it off.
I recall a wiser man that I would often begin a new Bible class by telling the students, "If we open a door we should endeavor to close it. Doors left open make a breezy house and a "breezy mind" can be a chilly place."
Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:37 pm
I think you are correct to point out that Name Calling is used in scripture, by the most righteous of people, namely Christ himself. The condition always for name calling is that it must at least be true. It should not be gratuitous. It might be true for instance that a poster once appeared in Playboy magazine, but is it relevant or important any longer? Calling someone a "whore" for instance when she is no longer one, is not edifying.
But if someone lies that ought to be noted. Sometimes these debates go on endlessly when we cannot assign the proper name to someone who is doing something improper. If a brother or sister rattles on and on about "something that's in the Bible" when it isn't, and is persistently asked to show the source of their remark, and doesn't, eventually the epithet LIAR must be drug out of the closet and applied. Why? Because the individual in question is lying continually, and is in fact, well, a LIAR.
This cuts the discussion right to the chase. Either the accusation is true, or it is not. If true, the liar is shown to be debating wrongly, creating "facts" to parade before the unsuspecting and perhaps the slightly less informed to bolster their case. If not true, their case is proved, the accuser is shown to be ignorant or lying themselves and the case quickly moves to resolution.
I am a veteran of many internet debates. Forum debate in many ways is the most valid form of written debate I have ever encountered. All can see it. If assertions are made that are easily refuted, someone will notice and come forward to say so. You had better have your facts straight when you do this, or believe me, someone will knock you into the cheap seats.
Having said that, there is a flaw in this debate format. It's our current values and high beltlines. One of the current values in today's world is the notion that everyone is entitled to their opinion. In fact, this is not what is really meant when it is said. It really means, "Everyone is Entitled to be Right about their Own Opinion". The only true wrong in the face of this rule is TELLING someone they are WRONG in no uncertain terms. When the facts can be shown to be out of sync with someone's opinion, perhaps it is time to bring out all to appropriate name calling.