Not to disappoint my predictable positions, but absolutely should Spiritual Matters should stay, and Debates as well.
For starters, after Debates was formed, Spiritual Matters became far more benign. It's much more suited for christian talk about whatever you guys want to talk about. If the only faith talk you guys want to have is prayer requests and bible studies, you are severally stunting the sort of conversations people can and need to have.
There has been an exceptions where debates sprung in Spiritual Matters, which honestly, could have been easily moved to Debates.
I think the removing Spiritual Matters is a non-issue, and as the poll represents (at least now), it's really Debates that's the question and on this I strongly oppose.
For starters, removing Debates will only move the debates back into Spiritual Matters or even General Talk. The desire to debate won't disappear with the forum. There are far less debates in Spiritual Matters now that this happened, and it shows. This is not even a practical solution.
But, the motive behind this is about removing debates altogether. They are already cordoned off in their own subforum with it's own disclaimer. This is about removing debates and discussions from this forum altogether. Debates and discussions that cut deep into one's belief. Yes, they can shake your faith, but that only makes it all the more important. A person should always be able to answer for their beliefs. The debates forum provides a relatively safe environment for people to do so. This is a forum moderated by Christians and populated by christians; us atheists are a vast minority. This is a chance to talk and bump heads with someone who doesn't agree in an environment that's moderated to be civil and fair, by your own people. What better opportunity do you get for hosting these sort of discussions?
But even this is would be stifled in the name of safety, in the name of growth, and in the name of peace. Ladies and gentlemen, let's be honest with our words. This is censorship, pure and simple. This is about cutting out controversial discussions. If the debate forum is banned, where else are these to be talked about? They will be welcomed nowhere. The intent is, of course, to keep this forum as a safe and protected haven, for young and old alike, but if you have to censor discussions, what truly are you protecting?
So, let me present some alternatives. Since much of the controversy is that young, new members, stumbling into a thread where people like myself argue quite vigorously against christian beliefs and dogma.
For starters, remove Debates outside of Spiritual Matters
. If you want Spiritual Matters to be a safe haven for young members to seek advice from more matured Christians, Debates is an odd place to hold it. Have it on it's own forum, or under General Talk.
Second, if that visibility is too high and you really insist on having it only for serious and mature members who specifically want to engage in controversial debates, make it a group-only forum
. Only visible to members of a select group that a person has to specifically join or be added to by a mod, before they can even see the forum. Have one sticky thread in Spiritual Matters and/or General Talk to mention it's existence and how to join, but outside of that, have it only for members who intentionally want to see it. It'll the backroom poker lounge, full of the cigar smoke of controversial ideas and the whiskey of burning questions.
Maybe you can have your cake and eat it, too.
EDIT (I wanted to answer some posts that were made before mine):
Well, for starters, I've very glad to see people supporting the idea that there should be a place for debates. But, to be clear, debates are not supposed to be spiritually uplifting. It's not your church and it's not a Tony Robbins seminar, it's a battleground for ideas. It's supposed to test your ideas and if it's not, you're not doing it right. For this reason I very much like the idea of having it separate. Let the other topics stay in peace. Let spiritual matters be uplifting, and let the battles stay in Debates.
ArcticFox wrote:For my part, I've been saddened because it seems like most of the discussion in this section of the Forum revolves around "what's wrong with Christianity" and discussions of philosophies and approaches that are incompatible with it. It isn't that those topics shouldn't be available for discussion, but it seems like there's a lot more zeal in attacking Christianity than in defending it around here. It's why I've generally avoided that area lately.
I understand you are very protective of religion and Christianity in particular, but I'll be honest here, I'm not going to make it easy for you and or anybody. I don't hate christians, far from that, but there are many concepts in many religions are I disagree very strongly with and I'll bring it up. If you ever wanted to turn the tables, I'll be happy to defend any of my beliefs. Make a thread on what you feel are the dangers of atheism and I will answer.