Rules of engagement

This is just a posting of the rules I have for myself as they relate to religious or quasi-religious philosophy discussions. They are, if you will, my “rules of engagement.” There are four situations in which I’ll take part in a religion discussion. If there have been exceptions, they are mistakes rather than abandonment of my intent:

1] To learn about a religion or a religious position. In this case there is no contention or debate, just learning; not much talking but a lot of listening.

2] To share in a lively philosophical inquiry into whatever mutual exploration comes up. In this case there might be contention, but of a purely intellectual sort. This is the kind of philosophical exchange that 20 years ago enriched my relationship with Rev. Ron Nickle, my good Toronto friend. This only works with discussion partners who are willing and able to question all ideas including their own, all in the service of fun (definitely) and enlightenment (potentially). It isn’t something I’d unilaterally start with an unsuspecting partner.

3] To combat statements someone makes that assume we’re all in agreement about some religious belief or position when we are not…..the kind of situation wherein remaining silent is like giving consent. Examples are statements or questions that just takes it for granted that, e.g., we all know that Christians are more moral than non-believers or that God sent his son as a sacrifice.

4] To combat religiously driven positions that I think are unfairly or inaccurately damaging or demeaning to classes of people or individuals. This is mostly what drew me into the gay issue. In this instance, I don’t feel personally harmed, but protective of those I see as victims of religion.

About John Bruce Carver

I am a U. S. citizen living in Atlanta, Georgia, having grown up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, graduating from Chattanooga High School. I served in the Electronic Security Command of the U. S. Air Force before receiving a B.S. degree in business/economics and an M.Ed. in educational psychology, both at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I then completed a Ph.D. in clinical (and research) psychology at Emory University. I have two daughters and three granddaughters. An ardent international traveller, I have been in over 70 countries for business and pleasure. My reading, other than novels, tends to be in history, philosophy, government, and light science. I identify philosophically as a secular humanist, in complete awe of the universe including my fellows and myself. I am married to my best friend, Miriam, formerly of the United Kingdom and Canada.
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