New forum rules - Propaganda and preaching

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by James R, Jun 1, 2004.

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

    The following rules have been added to the posting rules for the Religion forum. The aim is to improve the general quality of discussion in the forum, which has taken a decided turn for the worse in recent times. It also fills some gaps in the previous rules.


    For the purposes of this forum, "propaganda" is defined as material copied verbatim from other web sites, books or articles, which demonstrates clear bias for or against a particular religious belief or religious group. It does not include articles which examine an issue objectively, without a particular religious or political bias.

    Posts consisting solely or partly of propaganda, as defined, may be edited or deleted as appropriate to remove the propaganda. Links to other sites on the web which demonstrate this kind of bias may also be deleted.

    Original material posted by sciforums members will not be regarded as propaganda, provided that any arguments made for or against a particular view are supported by evidence and appropriate references to source material.

    Moderators will have regard to the percentage of original material in a post in taking any decision to edit or delete it. Members who post their own views will be treated with greater respect and a lighter hand than those who merely cut-and-paste the views of others.

    Flaming of other religions or followers

    Blanket statements made about the beliefs and/or characteristics of members of a particular religion, if posted without supporting evidence which is not propaganda (as defined above), may be deleted.

    It is not expected that members of one religious group or belief system will be friendly and receptive to contrary beliefs. However, this is not an excuse for the general disparagement of anybody who adheres to a belief system you personally find unpalatable or offensive.

    Preaching - "My God is bigger than your God!"

    It has been common in the past to see the following kinds of argument in the Religion forum:

    1. "Religion X has the following failings: [insert details here]. Therefore, Religion Y is much better and everybody should follow Religion Y."

    2. "Religion Y has given so much to the world: [insert details here]. Therefore, everybody should follow Religion Y."

    3. "Religion X has the following failings: [insert details here]. Therefore, it is worthless and all its members should be rightly condemned or excluded."

    4. "Religion Y has given so much to the world: [insert details here]. Therefore, anybody who does not follow Religion Y has an inferior belief system, and should be rightly condemned or excluded (unless they convert)."

    All of these arguments are logical fallacies and also potentially offensive.

    In case (1), the author would need to compare and contrast X and Y to determine which is better; it is not sufficient to assume that if X is bad, therefore Y must be better. Similarly, case (2) does not establish that Y is the best religion; another religion may be better than Y.

    In case (3), merely pointing out some failings of Religion X does not establish that X is worthless, and it certainly does not justify prejudicial treatment of the members of Religion X. Case (4) is even worse, since it asserts, without justification, that all non-believers in Religion Y should be treated as lower-class citizens.

    Ultimately, these kinds of arguments lead nowhere useful, and usually result in flame wars between believers of Religion X and Religion Y.

    Whilst it is acceptable to post perceived failings and strengths of various belief systems, where this is done with the main aim of preaching the virtues of one's own religion (perhaps with a desire to convert others), or of disparaging those who hold to a different belief system, posts may be edited or deleted.

    Religion, politics and history

    Religion and politics have always intermingled. sciforums has a number of forums which could potential fit a topic which includes both political and religious issues, including Religion, Politics and History. In general, posters can choose their own forum, so if you choose to post in Religion your post will usually stay there.

    However, in accordance with the rules above, posts which use religious arguments to make an essentially political point, or which use political or historical arguments to argue for or against a particular religious belief system or religious group, may be moved at the moderator's discretion.

    The Cesspool

    A moderator may choose to move any thread to the "Cesspool" forum rather than editing or deleting it.


    Please post any feedback you have on these rules. This is a first draft, and is not necessarily the final word. I would like member input into this.
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  3. atheroy Registered Senior Member

    James R,
    I have to say I like these rules, especially the rules following the practice of preaching and propaganda.

    I would suggest that threads where pure ignorance is shown be moved to The Cesspool if the person keeps on fighting the overwhelming voice of knowledge. It would need to be taken in context to each new thread and would be a difficult rule to instigate and police; but where threads have gone on for 9 pages and it's author has repeatedly shown himself to be blindingly ignorant on issues he is trying to argue about- this forum could just do without them.

    I shouldn't point towards specific instances, but these arguments have had clearly informed points of view taking on clearly ill, un-informed points of view. The un-informed points of view haven't changed despite the efforts of those informed ones and a move to The Cesspool might make the un-informed think as to why this is the case.

    Either way, these new rules if applied even handedly should go down a treat.
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  5. alain du hast mich Registered Senior Member

    three cheers for james!!!
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  7. StarOfEight A Man of Taste and Decency Registered Senior Member

    Seriously. Good call, mate/bro/dude/whatever.
  8. Adstar Valued Senior Member

    Why have a a forum about religion if you cannot talk freely about faith issues.

    Looking at your list of do nots.

    It seems you want a religious forum that no religious people will post in. Is that what you want? I think most of the atheists would agree that what makes this section worth coming to is they get to talk and discuss religion with people who are members of a faith. I think they would find it a very boring place if the only people who post their are atheists don't you think?

    What’s the point of a discussion section on religion if no one is allowed to put forward their religious views with freedom? Why don't you just close the section down. Because if you do enforce this above list of restrictions on free speech then you may as well shut the section down.

    All Praise The Ancient Of Days
  9. ConsequentAtheist Registered Senior Member

    Only a bias for or against a particular religion? And you are the arbiter of clear bias? What about text demonstrating a clear bias in favor of science?

    I understand and sympathize James, but it's a slippery slope.
  10. Persol I am the great and mighty Zo. Registered Senior Member

    You just made your job tougher... but it's better for the rest of us. Thanks.
  11. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

    I think that basically what he's trying to say is don't bash other religions because your religion is "better." Don't say others are heathens or satan-worshippers because they don't follow your belief structure. And I'm guessing he'll only act in severe cases.
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    In my first post, I wrote:

    My aim is not to limit the ability of posters to discuss religion, but to limit propaganda and preaching, as this topic says. Why? Because for the past few months we've had a forum swamped with that, and it hasn't made for a better forum. So, I'll try this and see how it goes.

    If you think I'm being unfairly restrictive at any stage, please send me a private message, or comment in the appropriate thread. I'm open to feedback.


    Yes, I am the arbiter of "clear bias" here. That is the moderator's job description - to arbitrate on these kinds of things. However, I welcome input from posters (see my message to Adstar).

    I do not intend to be heavy-handed. The above rules have been introduced mainly to allow action to be taken where it becomes necessary. The previous set of rules did not cover certain kinds of posts which have been cluttering up the forum for the past few months. Now they are caught in the net.

    I will keep the slippery slope in mind, believe me. If you think I'm overstepping the mark, please let me know. And that goes for everybody. I have no wish to drive reasonable posters away from this forum, but I do not want it to become a soap box for fundamentalists of any persuasion, either.
  13. alain du hast mich Registered Senior Member

    "Only a bias for or against a particular religion"
    well, this is the religion forum, the majority of posts in the religion forum are about religion
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Yes, but they need not be biased, alain.

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