Deterioration of the religion subforum

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by S.A.M., Jul 10, 2009.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I'd think the Judaism topic was most likely anti-semitic (though I'd need to look at it). I'd think the other two topics are worthy of discussion. In the case of racial intelligence, it is important to dispel myths and address prejudice head-on. In the case of removing aboriginal children, that is a topical discussion relevant to Australia, especially given the Northern Territory Intervention started by the previous government.
     
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    The Religion subforum is a disgrace to this site

    To put it mildly, give us all a fucking break, James. One of the reasons I don't post much in the Religion subforum these days is that it's just shit. Once upon a time I despised the intellectually lazy arguments our theists put up and ... well, okay, I still do. But back then I decided it was worth my time to actually take part in the arguments. These days, it's not worth it. What I'm dealing with on most occasions that I look into the Religion subforum is a battle between two fundamentalist factions: religionists and atheists. Neither group, generally speaking, has a goddamn clue what it's talking about.

    In my own life, one of the things that has tempered my disdain for monotheism is learning about it. And learning about religion is perhaps the farthest thing from the minds of our atheists these days.

    Stryder mentioned Tony1, who was one of my favorite idiotic theists in those days of yore. The guy would grasp at any straw in order to make it personal. His Christianity was one of the sword, of brutality, of crushing the serpent under his heel. Compassion and grace had no value whatsoever in his outlook. He was a hatemonger even toward fellow Christians, a classic example of fashioning God in one's own image.

    Our atheists today aren't much better. What they want in Sciforums is a place to simply bash on the folly of religion without meeting any resistance or obliging themselves to any substantial effort. What they want, in essence, is a hate site, and we are thus far willing to give them just that.

    There are religious discussions to be had that demand some degree of academic integrity. Consider the works of Elaine Pagels, for instance; two questions to be explored there are how orthodoxy and organization trump sincerity (The Gnostic Gospels), or the sociopolitical influences that shaped the canonical gospels and account for the variances between the synoptic gospels (The Origin of Satan). Both these questions have profound implications in terms of understanding, living with, and accounting for the state of Christianity in society today. But nobody really gives a damn. For our Christian advocates, these questions threaten their easy faith. For our atheists, well, these questions threaten their comfortable condemnations.

    I once asked Tony1 why, should the Catholics not be Christians, God entrusted them with the transmission of His vessel for fifteen centuries. He danced around the answer, even going so far at one point as to accuse me of being Catholic.

    Looking at the Religion subforum today, there just isn't anything that warrants my interest. It is well beyond my expectation that our atheists should even bother with such a basic logical question about Catholics; speak nothing of something more substantial or challenging. Among the vital components to effectively dealing with the challenges facing our society today are learning about those challenges and attempting to understand their nature. And I see very little of this—if any at all—in our atheists' regard for religion. They simply want to criticize and complain.
     
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    On the whole, I agree with you. The level of actual debate in the Religion forum, as opposed to sniping and name calling, has got worse over the years, I think. There are many interesting things that could be discussed about religion, but the majority of posts harp on about the existence or non-existence of God - a topic that has been done to death.

    My impression is that this is true for some. But then, there's not much quality in the questions put to them, either, so there's not much incentive to put in much effort.

    Again, this appears to be true for some on both sides of the line.
     
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  7. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Seconded in the most heartfelt and sincere way imaginable.

    Science and religion are two separate entities.

    Certain atheists on this forum, including to my great regret someone I consider a good internet friend, have chosen to try to tie atheism to science. Many of them have then indulged themselves here, in Tiassa's words, "simply bashing on the folly of religion without meeting any resistance or obliging themselves to any substantial effort. What they want, in essence, is a hate site, and we are thus far willing to give them just that."

    This does not mean that some theists are not just as capable of odius, ill conceived, unsubstantiated posts. The forum abounds with those too. But the administration (which for clarification I mean to include site owner, admins, moderators and the guy who reads the meter) has revealed a bias, through both action and inaction, that more readily accepts this same kind of behaviour from atheists than from theists.

    As a confirmed agnostic Shakespeare said it best for me:
    " A pox on both your houses."
     
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    36,998
    We apologize for the inconvenience

    One solution to consider would be to move the entire current docket of the Religion subforum to the archive, strike the subforum itself, transform Comparative Religion into Theology, and move that subforum into the Philosophy forum.

    Under that rubric, we can do what we've never really done for any of the philosophical or social science subfora, and demand a basic standard of academic integrity. Theses need not be explicit, merely useful and functional.

    For many, it's enough to say the Bible is a joke, or that it is contradictory, but I think a more substantive question can be pinned to the very beginning of the Bible: Why did God lie?

    Because that's certainly the appearance if you read Genesis. And there are, certainly, answers to be asserted; one of my favorites is that a day equals a thousand years, but I like that one because it is so desperate.

    Or, Who was God talking to? Read Genesis 3 to find out what that's about.

    In recent months the story of Lot has become quite important to some battling in the gay rights struggle. After all, God blesses a man for offering his daughters up for gang rape. This seems a substantive point for many listening to Christians drone on about sexual morality.

    Or the story of Amalek. God actually appears to admit a mistake insofar as he repents of Saul's kingship because the king failed to carry out a genocide at God's orders. This is especially relevant, since the name Amalek occasionally finds its way into the international discussion over the Israeli/Palestinian issue.

    In 2007, I raised a thread about Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusions. That discussion could easily have occurred in a context restricted to the theological question of whether or not the Bible actually forbids a blood transfusion; I went ahead and threw my own editorial sentiment in, blasting a dead woman for skipping out on her kids in exchange for the glory of God. And yes, one could argue that such a commentary was extraneous. It was, after all, the primary thrust of the discussion.

    There is a fascinating debate to be had about the King James crowd and a Bible (Revised Standard Version) that I use for reference that has since been pulled and revised. Should the Hebrew Scriptures be regarded according to their own historical context, or should they be transformed—essentially annexed—into a Christian context? The latter changes the meaning and significance of some passages.

    These are the sorts of discussions that challenge atheists and theists alike. And they require more than simply reiterating opinions about whether Christ is King or God is a bucket of horseshit. Rather, such discussions demand historical and academic sources, considerations of context and nuance, and a perspective that includes the effects of religious sentiments on society as a whole. And if we demand such consideration, we give ourselves the leverage to actually deal with the empty proselytization that occurs on all sides of the line.

    Discussions of religion can make a valuable contribution to a forum like ours, which is constantly described as a place of science, but really isn't. We can strangle a good number of our trolls if we demand some sort of academic integrity, and transforming our religious discussions in to theological considerations would be one way to start. Religion is religion, and multifaceted in itself. But theology can be specifically said to involve art, history, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, archaeology, linguistics, cosmology, mathematics, and probably a few other disciplines that escape recall at the moment. And it offers much more to our community in terms of learning potential—for both readers and writers of the discussions—than the current evangelical hoedown.

    The low quality of the issues raised by the majority of religionists is a Sciforums tradition from the outset. And it used to be significant insofar as that poor performance reiterated the general belief that rational processes are more intelligent and bring smarter outcomes than shallow dependence on myth. Back when you registered it was still common to hear the argument that atheists were generally smarter than theists. Statistically they had more education and made more money. And some of our atheists actually showed that intelligence. These days, though, the alleged intelligence of atheists is reduced to a slogan as such. There is not a whole lot to be said for actually showing it.

    I think you're equivocating here. Perhaps I'm showing my judgmental side, but in many cases theists just can't help it. They're immersed in a philosophy and lexicon that doesn't necessarily account for the hateful nature of what they're doing. There comes a point where it actually looks like psychological dysfunction through operant conditioning. In those cases, people need help.

    But our atheists are supposed to be above that. It's part and parcel of the assertion of intelligence. Yes, they're human and prone to all manner of fault and corruption, but there is something much more willful about their vice than their religious neighbors who are often lashing back the only way they know how.

    In S.A.M.'s case, one bit of advice I would give her is to be a bit more subtle about it. Which is, of course, strange, since some people need it writ large in thirty-foot flaming letters before they get the point. The excerpt of the post in the first warning seems perhaps a bit blatant, but then again, so is the anti-theistic argument—if we can even call it that.

    The second warning she posted, though, is much more troubling. I mean, I've never known S.A.M. to outright lie in such a manner, so my presumption is that the posted warning is accurate. But that only adds to the confusion. That one-word post—"reported"—is fairly common around here, and apparently I haven't been paying enough attention to our Warning log because, frankly, I had no clue we were actually issuing any kind of sanctions over them.

    Another piece of advice I would give S.A.M. would have to do with the Sufi concept of polishing the mirror. But that seems a bit one-sided, since so many of our atheists' mirrors, as such, look like junior high locker mirrors, covered with stickers so that you can only see one eye in the reflection. And no wonder, perhaps; it would seem that certain among our atheists are afraid of their reflections, and think it unfair that they should ever have to gaze upon their own countenances.

    You know almost as well as anyone how loudly I've criticized String and Madanthonywayne over their handling of the Politics subforum; anything short of "spraying blistering venom" would be an understatement. But I've largely left Skin to his own in part because I know pretty well where his sympathies lie, and mine aren't too far off the same path. Also, I just haven't been attending the Religion subforum much lately. Still, though, I would be hard-pressed, were it me, to justify that flag considering the content of the post she reported.

    It would seem that I need to start paying more attention to the Religion subforum, if only so I can get a better handle on what the hell is going on around this site.
     
  9. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    9,879
    Admins and mods are not the cause for 'what has happened to the R forum' unless you want them to set up the discussion and control the environment. If there are not atheists interested in having an interesting discussion on religion then there are not enough members willing to have and interesting discussion on religion.

    The difference with the past and the present is nothing more than the difference in the quality of the membership overall.

    Its like listening to Carcano lament 'there are no good books lately'. Well I cannot speak much of the readership either.

    Tiassa if you think that the religion forum can be improved then it would help if you posted threads there that you think are intellectually viable and see what happens.
     
  10. Gustav Banned Banned

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    12,575

    i second this
    a brand new start

    in with the new and........

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    ...out with the old
     
  11. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    5,502
    I for one, would be sad to see the Religion subforum get eliminated.
    Despite the explicit scientific bent to SciForums, there are a number of subfora that are admittedly of a weak or insignificant scientific import, but nonetheless due contribute to the overall activity here.

    I've always been perplexed to a degree, with respect to the overall categorization of the site (the differing sub-sections defined by the 'grey' lines on the Main Page). In particular, I always thought it odd that there was no Social Sciences sub group. I would suggest that we create such a sub group, wherein we could place subfora like Science and Society, Politics, Arts & Culture, General Philosophy, Psychology (I know, it doesn't exist...) and Religion.

    My idea here being that, though these topics are to an extent amenable to general scientific analysis, it is understood that a purely scientific account cannot be maintained in every case. This, while it will be necessary to appeal to science whenever possible (and grant that such an appeal will always be favoured over a non-scientific one), the overall criterion will be one of reasoned discourse.



    ...just my thoughts...
     
  12. Gustav Banned Banned

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    12,575

    willful ignorance or just plain stupidity
    speak out of your mouth and not the ass, girlfriend!
     
  13. Gustav Banned Banned

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    12,575
    so ahh
    now that religion is slated to be archived, lets raise glasses and have one for the road

    a no-holds barred, out and out, mother of all......flamefest
    break out the goddamn heavy weaponry

    heads up, skin! incoming!
     
  14. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

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    156
    It's been my experience that contentious religious debates are inevitable -- a fact of forum life. If nothing else, Religion/"Spirituality" subforums serve a useful purpose in keeping that garbage from spilling over into the rest of the forum, as well as establishing a clearly demarcated area which sensible people should avoid.
     
  15. PsychoTropicPuppy Bittersweet life? Valued Senior Member

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    1,538
    Uh, reason why I've stopped caring for religious debates. I used to be quite eager in learning more about different stances on this subject until I got fed up with the seemingly never ending circle of same answers, bigotry, and hopeless ignorance. Some people just don't want to look at it from a different perspective, and/or are wilfully ignorant and instead of staying on-topic resolve to ad hominems and all the emotional blah blah. Very tiring if you ask me.
    Every thread I've encountered that was somehow referring to religion-related subjects was either filled with trolls, bigots, dimwits, fanatics, I-don't-know-how-to-call-them kind of people, and well...it's not an issue that is present just on this forum board. It's the subject itself that attracts that kind of crowd. Sadly.
     
  16. scifes In withdrawal. Valued Senior Member

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    i don't mind whatever happens, i'll adapt

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  17. Bishadi Banned Banned

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    can i mod that one?
     
  18. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Dear god!
    We're discussing the deterioration of an existing subforum and you're planning to start the new one at a lower level than the old one's ever reached?

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  19. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    20,834
    Theists cannot demonstrate any of their claims. They cannot agree with each others claims. They alienate people who are not part of their cult. They war with one another over their unfounded claims. They propagate ignorance and fear. They teach their children to accept unfounded claims as facts. They are intellectual dishonest.

    And, we are supposed to respect that?
     
  20. Bishadi Banned Banned

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    2,745

    at least you now know what the other 6 billion will be faced with

    the answer is NO!
     
  21. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    I put myself forward as one such example.
    I would class myself as being an atheist.
    I do not think that yourself or Sam are any less intelligent for holding to a religous code.
    Equally to the point, I have a number of close friends who are also devoutly religous (including a couple of church elders) whom I have no less respect for, and do not view as being unintelligent inspite of their beliefs.

    Having said that, I have also met unintelligent theists that I would personally class as being raving gibbering loonies, equally, I have met atheists I would class as being little better.
     
  22. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    Thirded, and these are precisely the kinds of questions that I'm interested in learning about.
     
  23. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    I tried this once, and wound up getting an earfull (for lack of a better way of putting it) from a theist when I asked them to stop proselytizing and actually discuss the topic.
     

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