Online debates can be a great thing, they enable people to communicate, get ideas across and have a voice. People who would normally stay quiet speak up. They can have an alias so they are not known, they can be to a certain degree anonymous, people feel valued and their opinion matters, but there is a big downside to online communities and debating. That downside is when entrenched views become more entrenched, people make accusations of others, names are called and people feel threatened or hurt.
This week i joined a Christian Apologetics site, mainly because i enjoy apologetics, and i like a good debate about the logic of things. This site has soon developed an us and them culture, where Catholics and Protestants argue who is right, who is wrong, and how their particular brand of faith is the right one (personally i have never been that proud to say my way is the only way).
This forum has now degenerated into a slanging match between entrenched views, and people are building walls around their particular creed, i made a decision last night that i was no longer going to add comments into these debates, because i think when people who are searching are looking in, it does not glorify God in the slightest if a lot of name calling is going on. All it does is show up a divided people, and a people who are actually so far removed from grace that it's a crying shame.
As Christians we have a duty that our words are edifying, that they bring glory to Christ firstly, and enable people to grow in faith. Yours and mines opinion is valid, but we need to use wisdom in how we put that across. We have to be careful that our actions and words do not cause someone who is looking to fall.
Email your gripe if needs be, do it privately. Maybe take a chill pill first and come back to a response later in the day. Words can wound and cause many heartaches, many stumbles and many errors of judgement.
Lets look at how our actions can be perceived, lets look at how they look to those looking in.
Like i said i took the decision to back away from public responses on this particular forum, i will comment again when it actually does what the group was set up for, which is use apologetics and educate people in how to use them, for the time being I'm taking a chill pill. Remember THINK before YOU respond, LOOK at HOW it LOOKS. THINK THINK THINK DOES MY REPSONSE GLORIFY GOD.