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Another S/O of the bible reading questions. OP of them has considered letting her tween daughter read the conversations here about how different people are suggesting she approach this project, as well as how some people have insulted her for considering it.

If someone were to let their child (middle school aged on up), or anyone not already well-versed in your religion, read your postings in this section, and told them up front that you were a representative of your religion, and this is how people who practice that religion behave, how would your faith come across? How accurate a picture of your faith would they have when the reading was done?

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Asked by NotPanicking at 12:21 PM on May. 18, 2012 in Religious Debate

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (22)
  • About as accurate as they are ever going to get if they try to assess someone from reading what they write in an anonymous fashion on an internet debate site.

    I would have no problem with it. One would think the child has already long since been taught that we don't "know" people on the internet.

    Beyond that major issue, meh. Child should also already know that no one is perfect.

    Answer by Mom2Just1Kiddo at 12:25 PM on May. 18, 2012

  • you tell me. obviously, i'm going to be biased in my own description/explanation of my words..after all, simply reading someone's words does not give a full picture of the meaning behind them. now, if we were all hooked up to webcams, and one could view our body language and study our faces while reading/listening to us, the picture might be clearer.
    although i don't think i was one the original poster had issues with (in those particular threads), i can somewhat understand the 'misunderstandings' that could be possible when presenting something you personally have no stake in, or belief, to someone who (as a daughter or son or other close/intimate family member/friend) looks up to you for guidance and is certainly impressed by what you, the presenter, think and say..about such subjects.
    that is why i suggested jotting things down, and later, getting input from someone else (i think i said ''trusted clergy'').

    Answer by dullscissors at 12:27 PM on May. 18, 2012

  • As a representative of the Jewish faith?
    I have spoken about faith in Gods wisdom, a moral obligation to speak for those without a voice, an acceptance of others faith, a desire to accommodate all belief systems and an willingness to learn.

    I don't think I have done too poorly.

    Answer by feralxat at 12:33 PM on May. 18, 2012

  • I would hope that someone letting their child read postings to a web site would also be wise enough to stress that individuals do not always represent a whole group well. As an adult, I would not come to a chat room or site of CM's format and assume that everyone I met on here was a fair representation of an entire group of folks. You are not the spokeswoman for your faith or your hometown or any other organization you belong to any more than I am. I stress to my children often - in real life and as I give them small bits of allowance online in appropriate venues - that individuals are individuals and unless they represent simply themselves. We are not to assume that any ONE person is a fair representation of an entire group.

    That said, personally, I think I do a fair job at remaining respectful and fair when posting in this section and others. I may not always agree, but do so respectfully. Not all can say that, admittedly.

    Answer by ldmrmom at 12:51 PM on May. 18, 2012

  • You are not the spokeswoman for your faith or your hometown or any other organization you belong to any more than I am

    I think that's part of the problem - you (general) ARE the spokeswoman. Every person here is, the good and the bad. Writing it off as "just the internet" or an adult setting is avoiding responsibility for one's actions, no different than someone blowing off their bad behavior when they're intoxicated as "it doesn't count" or "it was the booze talking". It's still the actions or words of individuals, and on the internet, they're permanent. Even if it's deleted, it's still cached and accessible from all over the net. In the cases of some religions, it's even a rule that must be followed - be a representative of that faith at all times.

    That reality probably makes some uncomfortable, especially those who admit they're here just to troll and not to discuss, but it doesn't make it any less true.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 1:02 PM on May. 18, 2012

  • I feel that I am only a representative of my belief in God, and Ive never shied from that so Im good there... I do sometimes write, edit, delete, rewrite, etc because it is so hard to know how your words will be taken. If I had a young child reading some of these words, I would warn her that like in school there are some who are sincere, and there to learn. And there are some who just want attention, and like to cause problems, to get reactions, etc. She should treat the posts like that the same way she treats those kids at school and move on to the ones who are sincere and respectful regardless of their opinion...

    Answer by Nimue930 at 1:25 PM on May. 18, 2012

  • I think I could show her that not all atheists feel the same way about every topic.  The only thing we absolutely have in common is that none of us believe in the existence of any gods.  Beyond that, we don't share doctrine, or necessarily even a common world view.  We are individuals, with our own opinions.  I own mine, and can defend them based on my experiences and knowledge.  In the questions I posed, because they relate to my daughter, I feel I could let her read the posts and comments without fear of shocking her or causing any damage.  Reading them might actually facilitate some discussions about how and why the topic of religion can be so volatile.



    Answer by jsbenkert at 1:27 PM on May. 18, 2012

  • I should add that I wouldn't give her free rein to read through all of the posts, or even let her read those that weren't mine.  When I used to write journals here, I'd share with her some of the ones I'd written.  We had some really good talks about why I wrote them, why some people might have disagreed with my position, and what her feelings were about the topic.  There are benefits to sharing this sort of medium.

    Through the comments on my posts, I can also show how people of faith believe different things and conduct themselves differently from each other (just as atheists do). There are examples of people who can debate with dignity, refraining from personal attacks and defending their position. There are others who like to be condescending and rude, who use fallacious debate tactics to change the nature of the discussion.


    Answer by jsbenkert at 1:32 PM on May. 18, 2012

  • OP, as dull pointed out, reading one's words gives you only a hint at what they were trying to convey. The limitations of that should be obvious. I say one thing, you read and interpret it differently and vice versa. It's the hazards of this type of communication. So, are my posts representative of "me", "my faith", or my religion? Only in that they are the tiniest slice of those things gathered by readers without knowing tone or emotion.

    Answer by Mom2Just1Kiddo at 1:32 PM on May. 18, 2012

  • >you (general) ARE the spokeswoman. Every person here is, the good and the bad<

    While I understand the point you're making, I do disagree. Perhaps I'm being too literal. My day job is in public relations. To that end, I *am* a spokeswoman for specific companies. It *is* my job to make specific comment regarding my clients' products and organizations. However, I can't speak for the Presbyterian Church at large. I can speak to my personal faith. I can speak to my understanding of the denominations position, but I cannot go forth and speak on behalf of PCUSA.

    As a parent, I have told my children, for example, that while their friend is Catholic, he/she does not represent all Catholics. When we hear him or her talk about their beliefs, we simply hear *their* beliefs. Not the RC. When my cousin shares her views, I understand it is HER views, not all those that consider themselves Jewish. (cont)

    Answer by ldmrmom at 1:33 PM on May. 18, 2012

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