When I first came to Ex-Christian.net I was a Christian. After spending a month reading something in excess of 10,000 posts (without ever posting), I came to the conclusion that while the site is truly unique in several ways, this particular Testimony forum is a kind of sacred ground, a special place set apart for a specific purpose. Let me be very specific here; by sacred, I mean devoted exclusively to one service, one use or one purpose.
While there were no written rules or regulations that excluded my participation, as a Christian, I felt that I was almost trespassing by simply reading the stories that were posted here. Much as I would have loved to comfort and encourage those who are in pain here, to post in this forum, in particular, would have been to effectively trespass this ground, to violate what I had perceived to be an unspoken rule:
This Testimony forum is not the place for a Christian to post.
As a result, I chose to not post in this spot. I chose to honor what I saw as the intended purpose of this place, which is to offer a platform from which, first and foremost, Ex-Christians are welcomed to express themselves openly in a safe environment without fear of censure (blame or condemnation).
While public, out of necessity, the information here is often private in nature. For some who arrive here, the pain is acute and fresh. There may be a need for bandages. There is certainly a need for all who walk here to tread softly. The literal meaning of the word, "comfort" is with strength. What we try to do here is to come alongside of our hurting member and to offer support with the hope of strengthening them.
I daresay that most churches would never consider allowing Ex-Christians to share their life stories and spiritual journeys that led them away from the faith. I don’t imagine that most churches will ever change in this regard. As the church is a type of sacred ground for those who choose to fellowship in her midst, this forum, in particular, ought to enjoy the same respect. This is sacred ground for us.
That said, please consider these guidelines for posting in the Testimony forum:
1. Please remember the main purpose of the site in your posts; to encourage those who have left Christianity or other religions. Post something encouraging! Some members will have chosen a different path than you did; please respect their journey and remember that we all choose different turns in the road. This is not the proper forum for you to criticize or make other condemnatory statements about the path they have currently chosen. You may change tomorrow the beliefs you are espousing today.
2. Please refrain from posting anything that might be seen as evangelistic. There should be no witnessing, no proselytizing, no offers of prayer, no suggestions for "taking issues to God," etc…
Out of sensitivity to those who choose to share their life stories here, please be aware that all responses in this area, especially posts by Christians, are subject to editing or deletion.
For our long-term Christian members with whom we’ve already built relationships, this is not meant to be offensive in any way. I’m sure we will continue to enjoy your company throughout the rest of the forums.
I appreciate your respectful compliance with this request.