On theology discussion and debates

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On theology discussion and debates

Postby Mithrandir » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:40 pm

Hi everyone,

Upfront notice: This post does not apply to the chat. Debates that even touch on theology should be kept out of the chat.

Over the last several months several members requested a re-evaluation of the board rules regarding theology discussion/debates. We received a lot of pressure to remove these rules. In the interest of being fair minded we have agreed to be somewhat more flexible in how we apply these rules but reserve the right to cut-off controversial topics before they get out of hand.

We still will not tolerate belligerence and rudeness, but civil discussion may not be entirely verboten in all situations.

We acknowledge that some times topics come up that warrant further exploration, and simply cutting off the topic entirely prevents valuable discussion.

Bare in mind that these new interpretations of the rules are subject to change. This will be a flexible discussion, so to speak.

The spirit of this topic does not extend to threads that are posted for the express purpose of deep theological discussion.

There's not really any way to draw a hard line on what level of discussion should and should not be allowed on the board without simply saying "all or none," however this topic keeps coming up, and we keep trying to accommodate. From the moderation point of view, though, it seems like every time we allow the line to slip a little farther, we get called out for being "arbitrary" about what we're doing when we finally do step in.

There is a another, harder to quantify "cost" associated with this privilege. We're going to have to make some calls that you're not going to like. Part of having this flexibility is the understanding that we're probably going to tell you to drop certain topics. We expect your understanding and compliance. As we've asserted in other threads, the mod staff is only human. We're not going to draw the line on controversial topics in the same place as everyone else (or possibly even anyone else) on the board. On the other hand, we're going to try and draw a consistent line based on what topics we've noticed tend to get out of hand.

Please note that we may end up simply regressing to the previous rules on this one. Basically it boils down to this: If the staff get tired of baby-sitting these threads, we're probably going to stop allowing them. I don't really feel that this is a major enough issue to burn out my moderators on.

If the situation warrants it, we may apply a moratorium or even revert on the spot. I guess you can think of this as a test-run.

Here's hoping things stay civil...

Regards,
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Postby Cognitive Gear » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:56 pm

I just want to say how much I appreciate the extra work that all of the staff is putting in to allow this kind of discussion to take place. I think that this has substantially improved the site overall.

Thanks!
[font="Tahoma"][SIZE="2"]"It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things."

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Postby Okami » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:59 pm

As a Theology major who has only just begun her major theological-based classes, this excites me. I can't wait to share and apply what I am learning to this community, as well as learn more outside of the classroom environment! :thumb:
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Postby Sheenar » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:59 pm

Cognitive Gear (post: 1428484) wrote:I just want to say how much I appreciate the extra work that all of the staff is putting in to allow this kind of discussion to take place. I think that this has substantially improved the site overall.

Thanks!


I echo this sentiment. I know it takes a ton of work from all the staff here at CAA to keep things running smoothly. I really do appreciate all that you guys do. :D
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Postby Furen » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:43 pm

Cool thanks, not only for this but for all you guys do to keep this place running

Thanks Mod/Admin leader team!
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Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:31 am

So like... Why was the reformed thread locked? As of the moment there hasn't even been an explanation for it being locked.
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Postby goldenspines » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:49 am

Mr. SmartyPants (post: 1428594) wrote:So like... Why was the reformed thread locked? As of the moment there hasn't even been an explanation for it being locked.

Since I'm the one who locked it, I would have preferred you PMed me personally for my reason. I will answer your question here, but I ask that any further questions you may have be directed to me via PM.

I locked the Reformed thread because it had gotten far off topic and the discussion/debate was over. I did not threaten to move it to Goof Off before I locked it because it has no place there. Goof Off is not the graveyard for serious threads. Therefore, to avoid further derailing, the thread was locked.
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Postby Peanut » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:50 am

Edit: Disregard this post.
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Postby Shao Feng-Li » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:00 am

I was kinda hoping it wouldn't have been locked... It was hardly open long enough to get everyone's feedback. I was asking a specific question and it turned into "baww denominations" XD

Saw the lock this morning and was like :|
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Postby goldenspines » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:39 am

Shao Feng-Li (post: 1428602) wrote:I was kinda hoping it wouldn't have been locked... It was hardly open long enough to get everyone's feedback. I was asking a specific question and it turned into "baww denominations" XD

Saw the lock this morning and was like :|


Quoting myself:
goldenspines wrote: Since I'm the one who locked it, I would have preferred you PMed me personally for my reason.


Any further questions or complaints you may have can be directed to me via PM.
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Postby Syreth » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:58 pm

Best of luck to you all in managing these discussions. It doesn't seem like it will be easy, but I think if it's done right, it will enrich the forum.
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Postby Shao Feng-Li » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:51 pm

Syreth (post: 1428648) wrote:Best of luck to you all in managing these discussions. It doesn't seem like it will be easy, but I think if it's done right, it will enrich the forum.


I think so too. It's felt kinda... I guess spiritually dry here for a while.
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Postby ChristianKitsune » Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:43 pm

I'm really glad to see this is going to be tested out...and I pray that a spirit of unity and understanding will just completely wash over this site.

Because I believe first and foremost, we are a community of Christians, and I really want to talk about our faith together! And we are an alliance, so I think we should always love each other in our conversations.

As I've said in other topics, if we can't show each other love, how can we show the rest of the world love?

Thank you mods, keep up the fantastic work!
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Postby Okami » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:19 pm

Just out of curiosity, is there the possibility of the "Theological Discussions" area to become as an open/active forum, with a stickied thread linking to TheologyWeb for further in-depth discussion? (Instead of there just being the direct linking to TheologyWeb without a forum space)

Just a thought, figured it might keep the General forum relatively cleaner too. ;)
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Postby shooraijin » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:04 pm

This is being discussed internally, but for right now we'll just watch how "The Great Experiment" unfolds.
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Postby Rusty Claymore » Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:19 am

I wish to watch this. The few threads I've seen shut down because of theology got so because of a sub-rosa race to get the last word in before the moda had enough... XP
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Postby armeck » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:48 pm

i think this has potential to be a very good thing
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Postby Furen » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:25 pm

From what I've seen so far, we're doing fairly well, little has gone astray and everyone (if not most) seem to be respectful of all others opinions, keep up the great work! (personal observation, feel free to disagree)
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Postby Peanut » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:49 pm

After some thought, I've decided to go ahead and post this here since it is the right thread for it and I've sat on these thoughts of my for long enough. Before I say anything else though, allow me to applaud the mods for the job they are doing. I know it can be tough to manage something like this and they've done a very good job at it so far. What I am about to say is in no way meant to reflect poorly on them, it is just my opinion and what I have observed over the last couple of months.

The truth is, ever since this decision was announced, I have been completely against having theological discussions on the forums of CAA. This probably comes as a surprise to any of you who have participated or read any of the threads that have popped up since this decision because in most of them I tend to post quite a bit. Their is a very good explanation for this that doesn't contradict my view on these things. The topic of theology and the other topics that are connected to it are real passions of mine. I love talking about these things and its really hard for me to stop once I get going. This is the main reason I'm going to be graduating with a degree in Practical Theology in two weeks. I love this stuff and it is going to be an integral part of how I minster. I also love wrestling with this stuff and really analyzing it. I love pushing against what people think and also love having them push back. The challenge is really thrilling to me and has been a part of me since High School which isn't going away any time soon. It is also part of the reason why I don't really agree with this decision. This is probably going to sound arrogant but most of the members on CAA don't have the knowledge to keep up with someone like me. There are some but, too my knowledge, CAA is not a forum packed with people who have taken several theology courses and are familiar with most of the major theories found within that discipline. This means, if I get carried away (which happens quite a bit), then my posts can be very hard to follow for the entire community and if no one really cares to begin with, then no one is going to ask me to stop and explain what I mean in simpler terms. There really isn't anything wrong with this however it doesn't contribute to the community in anyway. Its also hard for me to be conscious of this every time I write something on this topic. School requires me to address theological issues in a certain way, using a certain language so its hard to simplify it down so anyone can understand it. This is part of the reason why most Theologians (in the academic sense of the word) aren't Children's pastors. Its not easy to overcome this at all.

I've already rambled on too long so I'll summarize some of my concerns that have motivated my opinion on this issue. First, technically Theological discussions haven't been completely outlawed on CAA so I've not really understood why this change was pushed by whoever pushed it. When I joined, they were originally pushed to PM. In fact, my first year on CAA was spent debating someone over Genesis and, for me, it was highly formative of my current opinions on those issues. So, it is possible to have these discussions off of the forums and out of the public sphere its just a matter of being willing to pursue them. Second, theology is not a topic with clearly defined boundaries and it does flow into areas which really shouldn't be discussed. Liberation Theology, for instance, is a school of theology based entirely off of Marxism and, in its earlier years with some of its thinkers, even called for a violent revolution against oppressive governments. Its also more popular then you would think. Knowing about stuff like this really concerns me when we take a Grey approach to Theology because its a subject which has been influenced and influences many other subjects, some which aren't really good for a community like ours. Its also very hard for me to see things remaining civil the way they are if CAA grows in the future. I can still remember the cosmology debates from when they were allowed and how unpleasant they could be at times.

Like those issues, I'll summarize my observations as well. At the beginning, it really seemed like there was an attitude similar to the phrase "now all things are permissible." This has died down to a degree recently so its not as much of an issue anymore. Its still there to a degree but I think its safe to assume that it'll disappear entirely if this rule change remains for another few months. One thing which has persisted is the tendency for these discussions to completely derail threads. Even when the discussions are relevant to the topic, it seems to me that most of the times they themselves are not what the original poster has intended for that thread.

Anyway, while I'm at this, I figure I might as well suggest an alternative to maybe be discussed or just outright rejected. What if instead of taking this in a more Grey sense, the rules were changed to push the boundaries back and encourage people to take anything that passes those boundaries to PM (perhaps a differentiation between spiritual discussions and theological discussions). There could also be a push for the members of the site to try and self regulate this, preventing the mods job from becoming a form of policing discussions. After all, there is no reason why we can't make the staffs' jobs a lot easier.

With all this being said, I trust the staff will make the right decision about this. I just feel that this was the right time for me to post my thoughts on this whole thing since enough time has passed to start observing some trends that can influence ones opinion. Even if it was done in a post that was pretty long (as I said, I like talking about this stuff:sweat: ).

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Postby shooraijin » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:01 pm

There is an internal discussion taking place about how this "experiment" will unfold (prior to your post, even, but the points you bring up will also be taken under advisement). More will be posted publicly when some decisions are made.
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Postby Cognitive Gear » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:32 am

shooraijin (post: 1441395) wrote:There is an internal discussion taking place about how this "experiment" will unfold (prior to your post, even, but the points you bring up will also be taken under advisement). More will be posted publicly when some decisions are made.


I was planning on making a post regarding how this change has impacted me, and was originally planning on waiting until more time had passed since Peanut's post, but if there is a current discussion going on, I feel that I should make it now.

As anyone who has spoken to me or has read my posts should know by now, I have supported this change from the beginning. I did have some doubts as to whether the community as a whole could handle the change, but thought that it was a good experiment that could offer a lot to the site.

That said, as far as I am concerned, I have seen the community handle this far better than I thought it would. Looking back on how the community operated when I first came to CAA, it was entirely understandable why theological discussions were banned. Anytime it came up, the thread would break out into outright fights, unless it was caught very early on. In contrast, the current community is handling them very well. With one exception, every thread that has delved into theological discussion has been civil. They've had a much more diverse set of opinions appear than I thought was possible on CAA. In short, I have found the experiment to be a great success (so far).

It has also done a lot to bring more emphasis to the Christian part of our community's name. There have been more threads recently that have actually talked about the Bible than I can specifically recall from the rest of my time here at CAA. To me, this seems like a positive shift, even if we don't all agree on what the Bible says.

On a more personal note, the experiment has been something that I have directly benefited from. Prior to this, I was drifting from the CAA community. Anime isn't a direct hobby of mine anymore, so I'm not very interested in that aspect of the site anymore. Really, the only area of the board that I had any real recent interest in was General Entertainment and the occasional thread in General.

I want to make it clear that this is fine, and I don't expect the board to change just for me. After all, this is Christian Anime Alliance, and if my interest in the main topic and purpose of the board has waned, then maybe it's best that I drift away. However, I have stayed here as long as I have because of all of the friendships I have made here, and because I still care about the community as a whole.

Which leaves me in a difficult place. I don't want to leave the board that has given me so much, but I also no longer fit what has been it's traditional demographic. Not only has my interest in anime waned, but I am also much older than I once was. We all are. As far as I am aware, the CAA that I joined had far less adults in it's population than CAA currently has. This experiment has been the first formal action I have seen that seems to acknowledge this slow maturing of the community.

I suppose what I am getting at is that if CAA is going to be a place where Christians of all ages and all personality types can interact with others who share similar interests, then this experiment makes perfect sense and should continue.

Finally, I really appreciate the extra work that the mods have put in to let this experiment take place. For myself, it has made a huge difference.
[font="Tahoma"][SIZE="2"]"It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things."

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Postby Okami » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:28 am

I must say I'm on about the same level as Cog. Anime isn't a huge passion of mine anymore, but I am now a theology student and I love being able to widen my spectrum of theology through discussion here; otherwise I'm only getting what I get from professors and small discussion with my peers from time to time (only typically when a professor says something that is biblical, but is not at all what we have come to believe as we have grown up)

I'm not so good at arguing my point, but I do like placing bits of what I've been learning out there for others to chew on, allowing them to think critically the way I've been having to do. And I love watching discussions unfold, there is so much to learn and I am loving it. My most recent example is the whole discussion/debate about the trinity, I haven't pursued studies on that in any classes as of yet (I will probably begin to cover this next semester, as my theology courses get deeper) and I feel like watching that thread in particular has helped me begin to see things in another light and help me get thinking on that before I've even discussed it in class - so when that time comes, perhaps I will be able to share something a little bit more than usual! :)
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Postby Furen » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:53 am

For myself, I would agree with the other two that it has been a good thing, I joined mainly for the Christian aspect, anime is alright, I do enjoy watching it, but I find I stay here for the Christian aspect of it. I mean the fellowship is another reason I stay, but if we aren't able to grow in faith together it's just like friends at school, not like church friends. If it doesn't continue, I'm not going to stop being here par say, but I do feel it has been good that we are able to share our opinions in an environment that doesn't just attack us head on and trample our beliefs (like YouTube and whatnot). I am surprised at all the different ways people stand on subjects that I always saw as a "no questions this way" but the way people scriptural stand on subjects shows there are other ways to see it too. from that I can choose to continue where I stand on that subject, or look deeper and see if there's another way to see it. I personally would love to see it continue, even if we have to get a subsection for it. Again, thanks to all the staff here that continue to make this great experiment possible (as of right now anyway).
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Postby shooraijin » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:49 am

I suppose what I am getting at is that if CAA is going to be a place where Christians of all ages and all personality types can interact with others who share similar interests, then this experiment makes perfect sense and should continue.


A comment on this in isolation: I think it's worth stressing that this board does remain with anime as a primary focus. A number of you have cited your waning interest in anime, and that's obviously natural and okay, but there are many whose interest hasn't and if theological discussions continue (or continue in a more controlled manner), it isn't to dilute the primary topic focus. We certainly support and encourage discussions of a general nature unrelated to anime, and additionally allowing these particular topics is a natural consequence of the same, but not an end in and of itself at this time.
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Postby Peanut » Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:30 am

So, I've been doing some more thinking after reading some of these responses and I think that, as a community, we should perhaps have a separate discussion from the staff related to this rule. Not so much a discussion on whether this experiment should continue or not but more about CAA as a community. I think there is something here which probably should be examined whether this experiment continues or not.

Cognitive Gear (post: 1441420) wrote:It has also done a lot to bring more emphasis to the Christian part of our community's name. There have been more threads recently that have actually talked about the Bible than I can specifically recall from the rest of my time here at CAA. To me, this seems like a positive shift, even if we don't all agree on what the Bible says.

I suppose what I am getting at is that if CAA is going to be a place where Christians of all ages and all personality types can interact with others who share similar interests, then this experiment makes perfect sense and should continue.


Okami wrote:I must say I'm on about the same level as Cog. Anime isn't a huge passion of mine anymore, but I am now a theology student and I love being able to widen my spectrum of theology through discussion here]

Furen wrote:For myself, I would agree with the other two that it has been a good thing, I joined mainly for the Christian aspect, anime is alright, I do enjoy watching it, but I find I stay here for the Christian aspect of it. I mean the fellowship is another reason I stay, but if we aren't able to grow in faith together it's just like friends at school, not like church friends. If it doesn't continue, I'm not going to stop being here par say, but I do feel it has been good that we are able to share our opinions in an environment that doesn't just attack us head on and trample our beliefs (like YouTube and whatnot).


I've picked these sections out from the posts of Cognitive Gear, Okami, and Furen because they all seem similar and cause two initial thoughts to come to my mind. First it seems like we all have had a similar experience. I have felt for a while that CAA has lost the Christian part of its acronym to a degree. So I think it is safe to that there is at least a group of us members who feel this way and don't like it. The second thing that comes to my mind is what I want to discuss and that's if we all feel this way, why haven't we been actively try and foster a Christian community before this experiment began?

From what I've observed, I don't think the rule on theological discussions had anything to do with this because I did have a discussion along the same lines of the ones we are having for the first year I was here and I also know that in years past there have been attempts to start bible studies and there have also been successful attempts to invest in people spiritually like the prayer guardians (which have since disbanded). To me, it almost seems like the real underlying problem is a general apathy to our fellow believers online but that may just be me projecting my personal attitude on everyone else (though I have tried and am working against this). But even when it comes to these discussions, the push to have the rule changed doesn't seem to have been accompanied by a push to have these types of discussions whether it was changed or not. So what does everyone else think? Why does it seem like we all feel this way?
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Postby Firefox » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:15 pm

One question. Is it okay to post Bible verses anywhere on this site?
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Postby shooraijin » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:11 pm

Of course. But don't beat people over the head with them.
"you're a doctor.... and 27 years.... so...doctor + 27 years = HATORI SOHMA" - RoyalWing, when I was 27
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Postby J.D3 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:26 am

Sounds very reasonable! ^_^
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