Sunday, August 10, 2008

Shameless plug for a new forum

Over the past week, I've been involved in a discussion on the Why Won't God Heal Amputees forum, abcut how the approach the atheist community there takes can be improved. It was started off by this ranting, raving millitant atheist who basically wanted to turn the whole thing into something like the Black Panthers of Atheism, as far as I can tell. I and some others spent a lot of time arguing the case for moderation, and in fact that the far more effective approach is to become less directly adversarial, not more.

Anyway, many good and thoughtful comments were made, but also a lot of frustration was expressed. And eventualy the discussion degenerated to the point where people just walked away. But as a result of that discussion, some of the brighter and more moderate people on the WWGHA forum have started a new one. The best summary of their purpose is on the text of their opening page, which I have copied here.

Welcome. We have started this forum because we want to discuss questions relating to God, religion, ethics and life. We think these questions are at the very least interesting, and mostly we think they are important. After all, if God exists, that must be the most important fact we can know. And if he doesn't, then believing in him would be a waste of time. Some of us think religion has enriched the world, some think it has caused too much misery. So we want to discuss, to find out what other people think and hopefully to find out the truth.

But we have found that too many discussions end up in argument, name-calling and anger. This may be fun for some people, but we don't think so. And we think most people don't think so either. That's why most forums are made up mostly of people from only one viewpoint - they may be an atheist forum or a Christian forum or something else, but in the end, people of other viewpoints don't much want to join in because of the bad vibes.

So here we aim to be different. There are atheists and theists in the group who set this forum up. We want to treat each other with respect, as friends and acquaintances, even while we might disagree. And if occasionally we get a bit hot under the collar, we also want to have a laugh, and stay friends. So our rules make it clear we don't want nastiness, insults and mockery, and we'll politely ask people who persist in those things to go elsewhere.

But other than that, anything goes. We understand one person's beliefs may be offensive to another person, but we can accept that. We just want to discuss, and we hope you do too. If so, please join us.

I've asked the forum moderators' permission to promote it here. I don't know all of the people on it (I'm fairly new to this whole discussion - hadn't gone on any religious forums at all as of a month ago), but the ones I am familiar with have posted intelligent and thoughtful things. So if you're interested in this type of discussion, I'd reccommend heading on over to I've put my last post on logic traps up for discussion there, you can find it under the "Philosophy" category. Even if you're not interested in a big discussion, but you are interested to know how people with different religious views (or atheists) think, and want to ask a question without getting your head bitten off by people who are hostile to other viewpoints, then this might be just the place to go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting observations there Myron.