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. Propaganda 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.