QUOTE(Seamus @ Apr 6 2007, 06:13 AM)
QUOTE(Dingo @ Apr 6 2007, 04:44 AM)
Is there any reason the more restricted exclusion wouldn't suffice, thereby opening up discussions in these other areas?
Since my arrival, a large proportion of my posts have been to topics with a religious element to them, but where the topic dealt with the nexus between government and religion or history and religion more than the nature of religion itself.
How does one include religion in a discussion without addressing something about its nature? If, for instance, one is arguing against using Biblical explanations in a science class, you do it from an understanding of the nature of the source being faith based rather than evidence based.
Many of these have been enhansed by a little explanation of theology.
What I was suggesting was not the exclusion of theology per say but a thread based on arguments between competing theologies or perhaps a discussion of the validity of the theology itself. In so far as theology as an argument about the nature of God was the point of the topic I would think then it should not be included. If the topic focused on its political or social impact or in reverse say how political and scientific elements influenced its theology then we are keeping the focus on culture rather than making religion or theology front and center.
I would also assert that theology is not as problematic to debate as religion itself-- theology is the study of religious belief; its roots in reason rather than faith make theology relatively antiseptic. Many theologians are well-versed in beliefs they don't share. You don't have to have faith in a belief system to study it theologically. Jumping the boundary from theology to religion is where we leave abstract observation and begin to trample one another's deeply-held beliefs. It is religion, not theology, that often results in flaring tempers and long-standing debates that provide little, if anything, constructive in resolving matters of public policy.
Oddly you are, in part, making my point. Because religion is at the heart of so much political controversy it has to be included in the conversation if one is going to be serious about politics. For instance how do you engage in a discussion of the politics of abortion without also mentioning the impact of religious advocacy? How does one talk about the mission of Al Qaeda without addressing Sharia? I would dispute that theology necessarily has to do with basing religious belief on reason. It simply means the study of God and religious doctrine. One can employ reason or revelation as you wish. I used the theological discussion/argument as being at the heart of what management here didn't want because that diverted from the more secular intent of this forum. Religion in so far as it impacts secular matters or is impacted by secular influences should be included in my view.
It seems that the practical restriction on "topics of a religious nature" are "topics of a strictly religious nature" that don't focus more on public policy than the inner workings of religion or the nature of religious beliefs. Maybe I'm wrong. I think the wording of the rules are fine and that they are already administered reasonably.
I don't find the word strictly
in the exception nor do I think it is necessarily applied that way. In my view where the focus is on the secular, religion should be freely discussed. It seems hit and miss at this point. My attempt to limit the exclusion to theological discussion/debate would seem to be the way to go if you want to avoid a strictly religious topic. I'm also fine with using your suggestion of employing strictly
religious discussion as a basis for exclusion. I happen to feel that as of now the heart of many secularly based discussions is being cut out because of the generic exclusion of religion.
Judging from the response I am apparently a minority of one on this matter. I guess I have no choice but to accept the consensus and leave the distinctions, however they wish to interpret them, up to management.