Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Standards of Conduct for Messianic Dialogue

I deleted the last post because I'm pretty angry at a certain institution right now and probably shouldn't reference them while angry.

But I think there should be some specific standards for online dialogue between Messianics:

In no particular order...

  • Moderated discussion forums are really terrible.  I know the James Pyles of the world think each website owner is an autocratic ruler who can censor whatever he wants, but I don't share that sentiment.  I value freedom of speech.  I can't stand censorship!  I hate it.  Now, if someone starts deliberately spamming or something like that--that's different.  Spam comments actually destroy everyone's ability to speak freely.  But generally it's a really terrible thing to moderate.  If someone says something off topic then ignore them--don't delete them.  That's just not cool.  
  • Next, it's okay to hold people accountable and ask hard questions.  In some cultures (e.g. Christian), that's considered rude.  I hate Christian culture.  I absolutely hate it.  But in Jewish culture, having heated disagreements isn't considered rude at all because of the value of free speech.  In Jewish culture, if someone teaches something wrong and you don't challenge them then you are the only being rude for not challenging them and treating them like a real person.
  • Last thing I'll say:  if you're having a discussion with a fellow Messianic Believer, don't say anything unfriendly to them.  You should show some hospitality and make them feel welcome.  Inviting discussion is the polite thing to do.  A mature Messianic should never be curt with a fellow Messianic.  He must always make him feel welcome.  For example, whenever Dan Benzvi calls me a false teacher or whatever, I try to be nice or even give a blessing.  I welcome other points of view and I welcome criticism of me personally.  I welcome the Dan Benzvis of the world.  
  • It should go without saying that nothing says "get lost" like censorship.  Outright censoring other points of view is just wrong.  Again, Pyles loves to do it, Derek Leman loves to do it.  I think it's just plain wrong.  If your viewpoint is correct then it will survive in the open marketplace of ideas.  Justice Potter Stewart said, "Censorship reflects a society's lack of confident in itself."  That's true.  However you could also say, "Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in its ideas."  


  1. I couldn't help but notice that when you deleted your previous "angry" blog post, it was also necessary to delete my comment about what free speech means. I won't antagonize you by reposting the link, but I kind of find it ironic. ;-)

  2. James, in hindsight I suppose I could've deleted the title and body of my post and left your comment. But I didn't think of that. My apologies. I'm sorry. (Sincerity doesn't come across very well in a text message but I am actually being sincere).

    I wanted to edit myself; my intention was not to eliminate someone else's viewpoint.

    Feel free to repost anything here that you wish.

  3. Thanks. No worries. I'm not upset at all since it is your blog and sometimes we bloggers post stuff that we later regret. I'm not upset about being deleted, I just found it a little amusing that my comment went "bye-bye" after your statements about not liking censorship.

  4. This is all chopped liver compared to what our notorious defector Mr. Shlomowitch did. He deleted my comment and instead wrote a whole diatrib that he devised under my name...How is that for honesty?