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Re: guidelines and exceptions

Posted by Dr. Bob on October 25, 2002, at 1:30:13

In reply to I bow rather gracelessly out...., posted by Dinah on October 24, 2002, at 11:24:07

> Lou asked if he could say "the Rider said to me, "You shall have no other Gods before me"," and Dr. Bob says that is not OK, nor would it be OK to quote any particular scripture that states that only one God or one belief should be embraced, even if there is no insult implied to anyone else who follows a different belief.

To say that one belief should be embraced is to say that others should not. Which puts down those other beliefs. I think it's more civil not to tell others what to believe.

As a general guideline. There may, however, be exceptions, depending on the context, etc.

> So is it true that you could not say "The New Testament says that you should have faith in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour" or "The Koran teaches that there is no God but God".

A discussion of what different faiths teach would be a good example of such an exception. For one thing, various points of view would be represented, so there wouldn't be any implication that any one road was the only "right" one.

> Hmm, kind of does away completely with the idea of the faith board.

I think it should be possible to discuss faith respectfully. It's worth a try, at least...

> So one couldn't quote the first commandment, even if one was an atheist?

Telling people what to do is different than telling them what to believe -- but can be tricky, too. And would depend partly on what it was that people were being told to do.

> Is it so different than someone saying "My doctor told me that no one should ever prescribe antidepressants for an anxiety disorder?" Would that be a put down to anyone who is using antidepressants for an anxiety disorder?

Another factor might be the likelihood of reaching a compromise. After discussion of evidence, etc.

> So if I were to say, "I was reading the Bible one day, and I read "I am the Lord thy God, and thou shalt have no gods before me" and I was really struck by that passage and decided to adopt that as my belief." would that or wouldn't that be allowed.
> If I were to say "I was reading the Bible one day and I read "I am the Lord thy God, and thou shalt have no gods before me" and I don't really believe that because I am a nature worshipper" would that or wouldn't that be allowed.

It would depend partly on the context, but would the quote really be necessary? Why not just "I was reading the Bible one day, and I was really struck by a passage and decided to have no gods before Him" or "I was reading the Bible one day and didn't really believe all of that because I am a nature worshipper"?

> After all, we are allowed to quote other literature, or tell our experiences with people other than the Rider freely.

Well, not totally freely... There was that quote from Apocalypse Now, for example...

> Could I say that my mother told me I should believe in Jesus? Would it matter whether I was saying it in a positive or negative way?

Maybe just say she taught you to believe in Jesus?

> Talk about slippery slopes, Dr. Bob. You're standing at the top of the peak with slopes to each side of you. :)

1. If there are slopes to each side, then there's balance, which is good.
2. So I don't have to climb any farther? :-)

> The very nature of faith is that if you believe in one thing (including agnosticism or atheism) that you don't believe in other things.

Yes. And it's fine to talk about what you believe -- as long as you don't put down other beliefs.

Sorry about having vacillated on this. I think the questions you and IsoM asked really helped me clarify my thinking on this, thank you. I know I'm not perfect, but I do try to be open to feedback and to do what I think will be good for this community as a whole. Thanks for your patience,





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