The goal of this book is primarily to address the moral questions some have found while reading the Bible or observing, experiencing, and/or participating in Christian life. It does not aim to address philosophically oriented questions ("Can God make a boulder He can't lift?") or supposed contradictions found within the text. These will be addressed in other books respectively; in this way, the reader is getting what they came for.
While reading, keep in mind that it is divided into two sections within each chapter. First is the Epitome, acting as a summary and short explanation of something that is significantly longer. In some cases, this is purely the summarised evidence; in other cases, it is a bit longer to be precise. Following the Epitome is the Expression—the lengthy, explanatory, and evidential segment of the chapter. It is written as one would an expect a chapter to be written.
Originally, these were invested in an overarching Apology; however, due to length and time-to-read, I have decided to break it down into independent books. I am now more satisfied in its formatting.
If there is a subject you'd like to talk about and there is not yet a chapter addressing it, I am still willing to talk about it. It won't be as thorough as a chapter but it'd be a conversation I'm willing to have. Just message me.
As with any book of this nature, there are those that love to debate (or "debunk", as some are more fond) these topics. I am only interested in polite conversation so I have outlined some guidelines for participation and engagement as well as a prefatory remark. I hope for this to benefit us all.
A common comment is about respect. "I'll respect your opinion if you respect mine." I find this to be a dishonest and rather cornering demand to make toward anyone. I have many belief systems which I possess no respect for. I also understand, having been an atheist the majority of my life, why they would not respect, from what they understand, my religion and the beliefs among it.
It is not my goal to ask, demand or pressure anyone to respect my beliefs. Continue to stand by your values. In order to think and create the world we envision for ourselves, we have to risk offending and upsetting others by speaking what we believe to be true. If we see it as harmful, we should say it is harmful followed by the reason we believe it is. There ought to be an open-mindedness which leaves room for us to be shown wrong but there should not be an expectation that we are required to remain silent or compromise our morals. It is naïve and a malignant infestation on our society for this to be the case—for any system of thought.
This is not to say we should disrespect people, especially if we could be wrong about what it is they believe (and in my own experience, many often are depending on the subject). l am not of the mind that others are obligated to share my views, including on matters of respecting others that aren't respectful to them.
However, I do expect civil conversations. That is the dialogue I invite. With this in mind...
II. The Rules
I. As said by Elder Macarius of Optina: "Refrain from heated discussions on religious matters; there is no good in them."
I don't enjoy discussions that only serve to cause anger and insult. I don't believe many do. As such, the expectation— or myself and my conversation partner—is to be civil. The same applies to any other commenters. If we are to discuss, all will be implored and expected to be respectful. No hostility, sarcasm is discouraged as unfruitful, and any such provocation will be shut down.
I don't care if you consider it a victory, I do not care if you think negatively of me, I do not care about whatever justification you draft in your head that led you to do so. I will not tolerate nasty behaviour.
II. If you feel some of my information is wrong or that I have misrepresented you or your position, please point it out. I am not doing it intentionally. Explain why as you do so. I do not accept YouTube videos as explanations—yes, some of them are good, and many publish videos that are educational. However, I have a very short attention span when it comes to videos, and I won't be able to complete it. Give me textual links instead. I'm more of a reader than I am a watcher.
I do like being accurate. Alongside that, I also love learning. This is not a problem. After investigating it, my position may not change, to warn you; this wholly depends and I'll discuss it with you to see your side. Sometimes we may not agree on the material and it can't be reconciled in our discourse—this is okay, it happens.
III. Preferably, I prefer cussing be at a minimum. I'm not forbidding it. You're your own person and can convey your ideas, even with it, in a fairly polite manner. I'll discuss my views on cussing in a different book. I don't believe a word is inherently sinful but the intention behind its use. I don't use it but that's a personal choice; I feel I articulate myself better when I don't use it.
In my experience, I tend to be more unconsciously receptive to those that don't cuss since I associate it with formality. I have spent years formally debating. Some people are just more open to having a discussion since cussing, depending on how it is used, can be seen as unintentionally hostile. I am guilty of getting that impression sometimes as well. To add onto that, some, because it's so immersed within the vocabulary, may find it challenging to not aggressively slip due to a potential habit.
All in all, this can be summarised with the first rule I made. We're all going to be friends here.
IV. Before you make your argument, read the post and see if it is addressed. If you comment an argument without reading what I wrote and it is already addressed in the chapter, I will tell you to read it and will not respond to your argument. It is disrespectful in my opinion to comment so as to argue without even reading it—this is a book, not a forum. If this is a continued issue, I will simply ignore you. I am not obligated to respond. Please be honest and respectful and read what I have written before commenting on the chapter.
Violations are ignored or deleted; persistent violators are blocked.
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