One of the quirks of CF is that it has always been dominated by people who feel the need to draw firm lines and boundaries to exclude the people who aren’t quite right. It’s generally phrased in terms of protecting people from bad doctrine.
The problem, of course, is that many of the people this is supposedly going to benefit, such as younger folks and people who recently converted, are the first to get kicked out.
As an example, consider the user “Moo Tipping”, who showed up one day. She’s from a small town, and grew up exposed to both Buddhist and Catholic teachings; in fact, she identified as both Buddhist and Catholic. Some people might argue that these are conflicting. I think there is certainly some potential for conflict, and I certainly wouldn’t hold her up as an example of pure Christian orthodoxy.
On the other hand, she was 14.
Needless to say, the inquisition was fierce and directed. So, rather than, say, leaving the question up to her actual priest, or anything like that, a bunch of people jumped on her for holding unorthodox positions, and accused her of being a liar when she said she was Christian. Apart from successfully defending the forums against a 14-year-old girl with more questions than answers, they also managed to convince her that, if this was Christianity, she should not be in confirmation classes, because she didn’t want to turn out that way.
This story repeats all the time. Every time the CF staff decide that someone doesn’t count as a “real” Christian, the result is a scorched-earth policy aimed at eliminating any possible middle ground. People are expected to abandon their own search for God and mouth the empty phrases favored by the administrators, or be forever exiled. The site admins always say “We are not trying to say anyone’s non-Christian”, but if the victim mistakenly follows a link to a Christians-only thread and tries to post, the forum software’s answer is clear; “You must be a Christian to post here”.
It’s perfectly reasonable to ask the question: Why should you care what some message board thinks of you?
However, I think it’s a bit ridiculous to ask a 14-year-old, or even a 15-year-old, being daily instructed in the necessity to listen to and obey adults, to suddenly realize that these particular adults are, in fact, just full of shit, and the right thing to do is ignore them. Being attacked like that, being called a liar and told that God will hate you, by people who claim authority and appear to be respected community leaders, is gonna be hurtful no matter what.
She’s still out there, somewhat older and wiser now. She knows better than to let some anonymous jerk on a message board tell her what God is, or isn’t.
I oughta point out that, as a fairly firmly convinced Christian, obviously I think the best case would have been for her to be welcomed into the community, in the hopes that she would end up being persuaded by us. But honestly, after the way “Christians” treated her, I can’t help but suspect she might be closer to God on the outside of that particular fence; after all, when we exclude people, we generally find that God has gone to the outcasts and the unwanted, and left us to our comforts.
I should point out that this is hardly the only example; it’s just one of the few where I’ve been able to get in touch with the person before the Sanhedrin drove her off completely.
Buy stock in Federated Millstone. I’m just sayin’.
Date: 2007-02-17 23:02:58 -0600
i pity the teenagers who go to CF. they are generally too young and inexperienced to realize what CF really is: a synagogue of satan.
Date: 2008-12-26 20:36:41 -0600
“i pity the teenagers who go to CF. they are generally too young and inexperienced to realize what CF really is: a synagogue of satan.”