Wrest In Peace FAQ
Why are you doing this? The simple answer is that I wanted to try to create a new place where people of radically different backgrounds and beliefs can meet together to exchange and share perspectives, without resorting to threats, insults, and/or violence. I’ve written a far more detailed explanation that you can look at here.
Why do you let racists, sexists, homophobes, or other such people participate here? Such people and beliefs are going to be promoted regardless of what we may do to try to stop it. But we can at least try to affect how and where they are made. If we attempt to silence such people, the only result is that they’ll teach their ideas in secret, in private venues where nobody has the opportunity to counter them. If we allow them to express their ideas in public, without countering them, then we are giving them the opportunity to negatively influence others.
But if both their ideas, and those of those who oppose them, are displayed together, we have the best chance of preventing the further spread of such ideologies. In this way, we can best show where their claims are false, and give evidence to support alternative ideas and beliefs. Hatred, intolerance, and extremism thrive when they are hidden in the shadows…but shrivel up and die when exposed to light.
Why do you have such strict rules? No profanity, no insults, no personal attacks? Isn’t that censorship? Yes, it is censorship. But as I argue elsewhere, it is not censorship of ideas. You are free to express whatever ideas or beliefs you want…just do it without profanity or insults.
I think that it is more important to create a community where people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs can express themselves without fear of being buried under a barrage of profanity and insults, than to have a place where people can use whatever kind of language they want. If you want a place where you can swear, attack and insult others, or engage in other such behavior, there are literally thousands of sites where you can do so.
You’re an atheist! Does that mean you’re anti-religious? Or trying to make us atheists? This is probably one of the most difficult questions to answer. From my perspective, no, I’m not anti-religious. If your personal religious beliefs do not infringe on the freedoms or rights of anyone else, and do not harm anyone, then while I may think you’re wrong, I don’t think it is necessary to try to force you to change.
I am opposed to any and all beliefs that are harmful to others, or seek to force everyone to abide by their beliefs. This would include non-religious systems, such as Communism, so I wouldn’t consider it an anti-religious thing.
I am convinced that all religions are wrong, that there absolutely is no god or any other such supernatural entity. And I will certainly present arguments to that effect. But I also welcome those with religious beliefs to present their own arguments. In my opinion, the best scenario is one in which I present my beliefs, you present your beliefs, we both present the relative evidence for/against those beliefs…and then we let others draw their own conclusions.
And no, I’m not seeking to promote atheism, or make you an atheist. Of course, I’d be happy if you came to the same conclusions as me, but my goal is simply to help others better understand the arguments and evidence for all beliefs, not just my own…and then to make their own decisions about what they will or will not believe.
You often refer to critical thinking…what do you mean by that term?The simplest way to describe critical thinking is “thinking about how we think”. That is, to sincerely seek to examine and understand not just what we believe, but the actual reasons why we believe them. To recognize that there are numerous ways in which our own minds can fool us, and lead us to false conclusions.
As I wrote in my first blog here, there are four principles that I consider to be of utmost importance for the critical thinker:
Principle One — That there are many people out there who are sincerely searching for truth, who desire to better understand the world around them, and the principles that govern that world. Of course, there are many who do not have that desire…but there are more than enough sites out there that already pander to that kind of person, where they are told simply that, “We are right, everyone else is wrong, you don’t need to listen to them.” This site is for people who have a desire to understand, and to learn.
Principle Two — That nobody has 100% truth, that every single one of us has areas in which either our conclusions are wrong, or in which we have so little knowledge or understanding that we cannot even reach any conclusions. And that, because of Principle One, they will be constantly seeking to gain further knowledge and understanding. This means in particular that they will enter into discussions with others not just with the purpose to reaffirm or prove their own ideas, but to examine and learn from ideas that may contradict their own.
Principle Three — That one’s conclusions are only as good as the evidence one has to support those conclusions. If one’s evidence is incomplete or erroneous, then one’s conclusions will more than likely be wrong. Therefore, many people today hold ideas that are wrong not because they are stupid or deluded, but because they have not yet had the chance to gain all the necessary evidence to inform their conclusions. So the purpose of Wrest In Peace is not to tell people what conclusions they should reach, but rather to help them find the evidence to reach better conclusions on their own.
Principle Four — That one must be willing to change one’s conclusions based on the evidence at hand. ‘Truth’ is not a destination, but a journey. None of us will find 100% truth, but we can gain a greater grasp of truth. That all of us are on that journey — and Wrest In Peace is intended to build a community not where everyone agrees with each other, but where people of widely divergent beliefs can feel a sense of commonality not in what they believe, but in their desire to better understand the world, and to find truth.
I am really angered/upset by the things that you or others are saying here…what should I do? Well, you can feel free to drop me a letter to tell me how you’re feeling…but if the people in question are following the rules, I’m not going to do anything about it. You simply have to accept that by this site’s very nature, there are going to be people who will express ideas and beliefs that you may find highly objectionable. If that upsets you too much, then it is probably best for you to find a site that is better suited to your own tastes and interests.
I am the founder of Wrest In Peace, arising from my passion to create a greater opportunity for people of different beliefs and backgrounds to better understand and communicate with each other.
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