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Hi guys, hope you are all well and having a great week so far So, considering that at least two religion-based threads that were explicitly open to all (Do you believe in God? and How has being religious impacted you?) seem to have been going well and not turned into flame wars (though there was at least some threat of derailment in the first one), I was hoping a more general religious discussion based thread might hopefully turn out well as well. However part of the success of the previous two topics may well be because they are primarily based on ones own relation to God and to faith, and so it is a lot harder for the natural human tendency towards open argument at the slightest challenge to ones deeply held beliefs and worldview, both religious and secular, to be engaged - you can't argue someone does or doesn't believe in something if you don't know them personally, or say that someone you don't know in person is lying about the impact, positive and negative, that religion has had on them, so those threads likely could remain civil because those impulses had no place to be vented. Still, I think this forum is one with a diverse community in terms of belief and culture and that respects one another, even when disagreeing. I haven't seen too many hostile posts or obviously enraged discussion here, with a few exceptions (Shallan, Adolin, and Kaladin shipping discussions still haunt my nightmares ...) so I'm hoping this sort of discussion won't necessarily become a shouting match, but rather a place to share ones perspectives and beliefs, and perhaps even arguments for and against certain positions and beliefs - it certainly is a topic I as a Christian enjoy discussing, and I know if can be done well and civilly. With that in mind, I think there may be two ways to go about this, subject to the consensus of the group and the rulings of the mods: Option 1 - this thread becomes an open discussion where anyone and everyone can have a hopefully civil discussion on the topic of religion and reasons to believe or not to, so long as everyone remembers to be calm; Option 2 - this thread becomes a place where those interested in having religious discussions can indicate a willingness to engage in those discussions with others, and so can be PMed by anyone else interested to engage with them. (If going with this option I'll edit this post to include a list of those who wish to engage in religious discussion, and if they later change their mind I'll edit the list to reflect that.) Now Option 1 does run the risk of the thread becoming a flame war where two or more cliques form who become intractable opponents, or for a few bad actors to stoke an otherwise peaceful discussion into open hostility, but it also lets everything remain in the open and encourages one to post according to the rules of the forum, where those who break the rules or become overly unpleasant can be reprimanded. Option 2 lets discussions remain focused in more selective discussions, with everyone involved being those who are invited and can discuss things privately and with the assumption of mutual respect, but it also runs the risk of angry discussion away from the eyes of others, which can also prevent good arguments others reading the discussion may have from being seen and prevent them from be able to contribute. If the decision is to go with Option 1 then I imagine the Mods may keep a close eye on this thread, so I would like to preemptively invite them to weigh in on the right way to go about this - Option 1, Option 2, or something else entirely - and if they or anyone else has any suggestions to make on how to allow this to progress smoothly. So, inviting a few of the Mods and Admins to have a look at this thread and weigh in (I apologise if I miss anyone on the staff who would be best suited for this, or if I invite the attention of any Mod or Admin who feels another member of the staff would better be suited to respond): @Chaos, @firstRainbowRose, @AonEne, @Argent, @Greywatch, @Jofwu, @Kaymyth, @LewsTherinTelescope Regardless of whether the thread goes along Option 1 or Option 2, if you are interested in religious discussions with me please feel free to PM me at any time, and though I may not always respond promptly I will always try to do so. I am a Christian, though I do hold some views that some of my Brothers and Sisters disagree on, and I believe Christianity is a rational faith, though going in depth on both of those topics would be their own discussion. If this thread uses Option 1 then I'll be more than happy to elaborate on my beliefs and what I am still learning, as well as my justifications for my beliefs, but otherwise feel free to PM me I think any religious based discussion in this thread should wait until after the staff have stated their stance on this, though if you are interested then voicing your willingness to participate should be fine. Either way I hope this does become a place where we can all come together in peace. Regardless of how this topic goes I hope you are having a wonderful morning, afternoon, evening, or night. Take care, and I hope all goes well with you. I love you guys, and please remember to love each other and to respect each other, even when disagreeing. Have a good one!