It finally happened, I done been banned from christianity.
I'm by no means guiltless here, and it's probably for the better, but I just wanted to write it down. A synopsis of the drama is behind the cut. This is by way of explanation, not incitement.
Someone recently posted an article reporting a Christian group that distributed DVDs to Mormons in an attempt to demonstrate that the Mormon faith is a cult. The poster asked "Do you feel one group of Christians should use such tactics to try and convince another group of Christians to convert to their own brand of religion?"
The maintainer commented "Mormons are not Christian," to which I replied that they consider themselves to be, spawning a debate. My logic was that there are many accepted definitions of "Christian" currently in use, one or more of which accurately characterize members of the Mormon faith (for example: relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings), so unless someone can define the term "Christian" and demonstrate that Mormons mean precisely that definition, and incorrectly, then my statement that "Mormons consider themselves to be Christian" is sound.
This wasn't a serious fight for me, but I was honestly surprised that it got so much opposition, and fascinated by the range of explanations offered.
But I digress: the other day, a new member, a member of the Mormon faith wrote a post offering some clarification regarding some Mormon beliefs, because it was evident to her (after reading the post linked above) that several folks had gotten it wrong. Her tone was friendly, and simple. To me, she appeared genuine.
In the comments, not one, but two mods warned the new member that "prostheletizing" would not be tolerated in the com: first, the maintainer; second, another mod.
These comments really chapped me, because nothing irritates me more than people bullying other people. So I calmed down and asked for clarification on what, if anything, could be considered proselytizing about the post. In response to my comments, the userinfo was changed to forbid the promulgation of outright heresy or "to prostheletize Christians away from their faith."
Because I was all fired up at this point, I made a follow-up post that was unnecessarily antagonistic. Which is unfortunate, because I felt my points were valid. Essentially, I asked where we can now expect the line to be drawn between earnest inquiry and "promulgation of outright heresy." I reasoned that if the mods saw fit to separately warn the new member twice about proselytizing, then how are the other members going to be able to ask questions into the nature of the faith without fear of getting in trouble?
Despite undoubtedly coming off like a yammering self-righteous nutcase, about 30 comments were posted before the maintainer spotted the post, deleted it, and banned me. Most of them were responsive and could have started some good discussion. His was "Since all you just want to do is push it. Fine. You are gone and so is this."
I'm pretty sure I've managed to burn my bridges there, in terms of readmission. I e-mailed the maintainer and told him that he really needs to take a good look at the example he's setting. It's obvious to me that he considers his role as a mod to be one of mentorship and guidance, but I think I've had enough of his obstinacy and playground-bully attitude. In the couple of years I've been involved in that com, I don't think I've encountered anyone who less exemplifies Christian values than the moderator of it.
I realize that running a com is tough work, especially one dealing in intensely-held personal beliefs, and that a great rule of thumb is to be proactive and err on the side of caution if a conflict appears imminent. But I also believe that the mod's actions, in this case and in others, have extended too far out of appropriate behavior for anyone, much less someone who regards himself as a good Christian, for this to be justified in that manner.
Hopefully some good will come out of it. Maybe my participation in there accomplished more harm than I thought. I had some great conversations and learned a lot, though. Ah well.
graphic credit: lokidecat and me