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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:32 pm 
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I would not *accuse* you of witnessing, as that implies it's wrong. It's merely not the best fit for this forum. But yes, sharing anecdotal evidence to support a religious point *is* witnessing, as I was brought up to understand (and practice) it. The same goes for trying to convince. Again--nothing wrong with it, it's just going to have a limited audience.


On the eta, from experience that can get you into trouble (can I get a witness?)

That's what I thought you meant. "Accuse" was a bit strong. However I can assure you that that was not my intention (which you are still sort of implying it was, though I say it was just your perception ;) ). You will not see me at your door with a bible in my hand any time soon (or ever as far as I can tell). It is not my style, nor am I interested in that role.

I do like to discuss ideas though.

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What I would say TE is for is figuring out why people believe as they do and act as they do on those beliefs.


By people do you mean people we read about in the news, or who respond to polls, or do you mean each other? Because in the latter case I can re-affirm that I do not understand how we can do that without also being perceived to be "witnessing" or trying to convince people of something. Are you sure it was me?

If I am guilty of trying to convince anyone of anything it is that I believed it was possible to discuss certain kinds of ideas, and their source without people feeling I was impinging their rights. Obviously if I was a hate criminal trying to justify my belief system it would be foolish not to expect some hackles to be raised. But I am talking about love here...

So without further ado I will take my leave. I'm available via pm. You of course are free to continue talking amongst yourselves (no claim to management implied).


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:37 pm 
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Well, I'm not happy feeling as if I've chased you off--it wasn't my intent at all. But reconciling intent with results is often problematic. :(

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:40 pm 
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You didn't you big softy. It is me. Period.

Jewel, I would hesitate to have a dedicated study only because it would appear to be excluding others.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:47 pm 
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Excluding others? It would obviously be open to all and any exclusion would be self-excluded.

I think this has been a really good discussion. Discussion religious beliefs (or lack thereof) is always somewhat of a minefield. Even more so (it seems) when you are discussion the Christian Bible. But it can be done and it can be interesting, informative and enlightening.

;)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:54 pm 
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SirDennis wrote:
You didn't you big softy. It is me. Period.

Jewel, I would hesitate to have a dedicated study only because it would appear to be excluding others.


That doesn't make any sense to me. I don't hesitate to discuss baseball even though I know there aren't a lot of fans of the game here.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:32 am 
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Holbytla wrote:
SirDennis wrote:
You didn't you big softy. It is me. Period.

Jewel, I would hesitate to have a dedicated study only because it would appear to be excluding others.


That doesn't make any sense to me. I don't hesitate to discuss baseball even though I know there aren't a lot of fans of the game here.


Not making this any easier :D

If the topic of religion or spirituality could be approached with the same laissez-faire attitude as baseball such discussions would be much simpler to have. Having said that I know that baseball is serious business for many people.

Commentary aside, you have perhaps struck upon the root of my not understanding this forum. Until now, I would have viewed an intentionally narrow cast thread (such as perhaps this one was intended to be) as meant to exclude participation from just anyone, especially people who are not all that interested in, or with little invested in, the question. At the same time I saw all threads posted here as an invitation to (by dint of being in a public forum, and Tol Eressëa in particular) as open to anyone who wanted to express a view on or from a religious or spiritual perspective inside such threads.

I had it all backward apparently. It is definitely just me.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:48 am 
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I saw all threads posted here as an invitation to (by dint of being in a public forum, and Tol Eressëa in particular) as open to anyone who wanted to express a view on or from a religious or spiritual perspective inside such threads.


Well, they ARE all open to anyone. But people are sensible about it. I mean, Lali has a thread about Lent and Lenten practices. People who don't observe Lent or don't care about it or believe in it don't go into that thread to say "Na na boo boo, I think Lent is stooopid."

There's a prayer thread. (I actually started that one) It's for lifting people/situations up in prayer - or holding them in the light, or whatever. People don't go in there and proclaim how ineffective they think prayer is.

And so on. There's a thread about Jewishness and one comparing Mormonism and Scientology. Look at some of the other threads...some are very specific and some are more general. None are exclusive, but if the topic doesn't interest you or concern you, chances are you won't go in there.

I thought this was a good discussion, even if it did veer off from what Alatar originally intended. That happens sometimes. If someone started (for instance) a thread dedicated to studying the Book of Job, I would expect the parameters to be laid out in the first post, so people coming in would know what to expect. It's not being exclusive so much as it is setting the boundaries of the discussion.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:35 am 
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Sir D - I'm quite confused as to why you seem to think you have done something wrong. Were you accused of something and I somehow missed it? As far as I can tell, it's been a good, open discussion, fully within the purpose of this forum. I guess I'm just curious as to what exactly is causing you to react otherwise.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:57 am 
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SirD, please forgive me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that it is perhaps painful for you to encounter people who reject the beliefs you hold so dear and find so obviously (to you) true?

As Jewel said, there are threads in this forum that focus on a particular aspect of faith or observance. In the Jewishness thread, for instance, non-Jewish posters generally come with respectful questions. I treat the Lenten thread the same way - I might come with inquiries or with my good wishes, but it would not be right of me to challenge the posters there.

This thread from the start was of the "I can't believe someone believes that" cast and that means that it was like to attract all perspectives, including the atheistic one. It is, after all, as valid a worldview as any.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:46 am 
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Frelga wrote:
SirD, please forgive me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that it is perhaps painful for you to encounter people who reject the beliefs you hold so dear and find so obviously (to you) true?

As Jewel said, there are threads in this forum that focus on a particular aspect of faith or observance. In the Jewishness thread, for instance, non-Jewish posters generally come with respectful questions. I treat the Lenten thread the same way - I might come with inquiries or with my good wishes, but it would not be right of me to challenge the posters there.

This thread from the start was of the "I can't believe someone believes that" cast and that means that it was like to attract all perspectives, including the atheistic one. It is, after all, as valid a worldview as any.


Not painful at all. As I have stated several times now this is not about whether people agree with me or not.

If it must be spelled out, I took vison's last comment in this thread to mean precisely what she said she did not want to say. That was the second time in this thread that someone called me nuts without saying the words "you are nuts." I may in fact be nuts but I am not stupid. I may have naively believed that we could talk about certain ideas without resorting to veiled hostility but I was wrong.

Since I was the common denominator in both instances, and since my posts were misunderstood by many -- not limited to questioning my motives but also by missing the substance of the posts themselves leading to assumptions that I was defending the idea that God smote Japan (even after Voronwë pointed out I was the only one who tried to dispell the idea on its own terms) -- I can come to no other conclusion that I should no longer participate in this forum.

It is nothing personal, even from a naval gazer's perspective, and certainly not looking outward at everyone else. Clearly I do not see where I was challenging posters here but rather thought I was sharing views in accordance with the forum. It is not my fault if people are made to feel uncomfortable, it was not my intention, nor was I going out of my way to do so. Neither was it Al's fault that I initially perceived his starting this thread as an attack on people who hold religious views in general (even as he went onto say as much in his last response to me). Regardless of what his intentions may have been, it was wrong of me to (teasingly or otherwise) try to draw him back into the discussion he started. As I have already apologised for that, as far as I am concerned it is behind us.

In short, there is something I don't understand about this place, and really (this time) have no more to say. However, I do appreciate you trying to explain things to me and/or trying understand where I am coming from.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:48 am 
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I'm very sorry you feel that way, Sir Dennis. For the record, I don't believe there was any "veiled hostility" going on.

I don't understand why your conclusion is to stop participating in this forum, but obviously, you are free to make up your own mind! I hope you return.

:hug:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:17 pm 
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Oh but there was. Regardless, that is not the point. The point is I am unable to participate here because of the way I am. It is not a problem anyone has, other than myself.

It began with the way I interpreted this (to me) self contradictory statement:

"Note: I am not posting this to mock anyone, I just find this pretty bizarre and worthy of discussion."

No matter, I took the TS at his word and believed a discussion was desired; specifically a discussion of this idea:

"I guess the problem is, if you believe in a God who answers prayers etc, you have to sort of accept the corollary."

Throughout this thread I argued that a: as a believer, you do not have to accept what the TS presumed to be the corollary; and b: believing God smote Japan does not follow naturally (or scripturally) from believing God answers prayer. In other words his conclusion was false perhaps because his premise was sketchy at best, strictly in the realm of the scriptures (but also based on the experience of some believers). Perhaps it would have been enough to just say "the bible doesn't say that" and be done with it. However, you see, I was still honouring the TS's request for a discussion.

So why am I still here? Well I realized that leaving while saying "It's not you, it's me" is the stuff of bad romances even if the statement is true. In short the question as to how "it's me, not you" has not be really satisfied. And, as Jewel's last reply confirms it seems as if I am actually blaming someone other than myself.

After sleeping on it, it struck me where I may have gone wrong: I slipped into using the active voice while talking about my faith rather than using the passive voice which is felt to be more objective (for some reason). And there it is, the reason I will not risk offending anyone any longer by participating in this forum. I cannot speak in the passive voice about something that I know is alive and active in my life presently; I may try, but before long, I would fail... how could I not?

I believed Tol Eressëa to be a place where I would be free to speak of my faith the only way that makes sense for me to do so. However since maintaining an appearance of objectivity is the ideal here -- even as some are allowed to state their lack of belief categorically, and others allowed to mock -- I am not a good fit for this forum as I can make no claim to objectivity on this particular subject. To the extent that some equate (erroneously perhaps) subjectivity with close mindedness and irrationality, my participation would just "end in tears" anyway. I can affect objectivity on almost every other subject we might care to discuss, but not this one.

edit for clarity


Last edited by SirDennis on Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:33 pm 
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I don't think you're nuts. I think you're mistaken.

SirDennis wrote:
However since maintaining an appearance of objectivity -- even as some are allowed to state their lack of belief categorically . . .


But you have stated your belief "categorically", so where is the difference? As for me, I have NEVER said there is no god, I have only said I don't believe there is. I think my lack of belief is as valid as your belief - don't you?

As for mockery, I have seen none. I admit I haven't read every post and I haven't clicked on the link in the opening post, so maybe I missed it.

Now, I think this horse is going to stay dead no matter how much we beat it, so maybe we should let it rest in peace.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:17 pm 
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Yes vison, as I stated, I can make no claim to objectivity when talking about this subject. Some can. I cannot.

Please take no offence by me. I care about you and your trials in life... in fact I love you.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:49 pm 
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. And there it is, the reason I will not risk offending anyone any longer by participating in this forum


Honey...I really, really do not think you have offended anyone. Seriously.

Perplexed some people, maybe? Perhaps annoyed at some point? But (risking speaking for others here) I do not think you offended anyone or caused anyone to come to grief.

I see that you take your faith very seriously and feel very strongly about your beliefs. No one here is disputing that, or mocking you for it, or trying to mess with your head.

But...if I may - it could be - perhaps - that you are taking yourself a bit too seriously. Many people here post with a tiny bit of sarcasm or a hint of humor, even when posting about serious things. Including religion, faith and the nature of the Divine. I know I can be extremely irreverent when talking about (or talking TO) the Divine. I have had people (not here, but in real life) get very shocked and/or offended to hear me - talking about God is supposed to be serious stuff! But I guess it's my way of whistling in the dark.

That's about me, not about you. It's just an aside, really.

It seems you have been giving this whole kerfluffle way more importance than is warranted. In fact, I don't even think there WAS a real "kerfluffle". People believe or don't believe different things and have their own reasons for doing so. And when it is a matter of faith (or not!) there is usually nothing you can say that will convince someone to think differently. So when someone disagrees with you about your faith, they are not mocking you. They just don't believe what you believe, that's all.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:23 pm 
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Jewel wrote:
But...if I may - it could be - perhaps - that you are taking yourself a bit too seriously.


Well... it wouldn't be the first time. What may be at work here too is that I (obviously) have way more time on my hands than many here have, or are willing to devote to such topics (for careful reading, making long winded explanations, etc). It's been said a few times in this very thread that people haven't watched the video or read every post. So it may be a combination of taking myself seriously and having more time (than most others do) to take the topic seriously.

As an aside to your aside: I see no problem with how you describe your time spent talking with or about God. Least ways, I don't see talking with God casually, as a friend might, or talking about ideas surrounding God in a detached way, as being irreverent. I don't think it's meant to be as drudgery but I can't escape the idea it will be difficult at times.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:07 pm 
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I would prefer you use my name if you're speaking about me. Referring to me as "the TS" is mildly offensive to be honest.

ETA: Incidentally, that's the first thing I've read in the thread that I found offensive. I had no problem with anything else you said, even when I didn't want to discuss it.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:07 pm 
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Alatar wrote:
I would prefer you use my name if you're speaking about me. Referring to me as "the TS" is mildly offensive to be honest.

ETA: Incidentally, that's the first thing I've read in the thread that I found offensive. I had no problem with anything else you said, even when I didn't want to discuss it.

Please also accept my apologies here. I was trying to depersonalize my observations since it did not appear you were here and figured I had drawn more than enough unwanted (and perhaps unwarranted) attention to you yourself already.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:55 pm 
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I couldn't figure out who "TS" was! Does it stand for "Thread Starter?" Never saw that used before.

Heheh.

Anyway, SirDennis...try not to over-think! It's a message board. Topics come and go, people come and go, discussions wax and wane, opinions get thrown around and rain down on us like so much confetti.

:D

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:25 pm 
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I couldn't figure TS out, either, :oops: but referring to a original poster as OP is standard on many boards/threads, and I've never seen anyone find it offensive. Just goes to show. :D

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