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Reach

HEADS UP: Testimony Forum Guidelines

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Please note that our WebMaster has now implemented these guidelines: Link. They are also posted below for your convenience.

 

 

For the Christian, especially,

 

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.

 

 

Reach,

Ex-Christian Atheist

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Having discussed this, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, with Loren for over a year and being in complete agreement, I know he has his own comments to add here.

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To Christians:

 

To pound Reach’s point in a little harder, please take note of the name of this site, EX-Christian. That is to say, most of our members have already been Christian, many of them very extremely so. We are here because we have tried and tested Christianity and found it wanting.

 

A great many of us have suffered abuse of one sort or another as a direct result of our involvement in Christianity. Sometimes the abuse was directly personal, such as sexual abuse at the hands of a pastor or Christian parent. Other times the very doctrines and practices of Christianity themselves, were the source of the abuse.

 

The main purpose of this site is to help the person who has left or is leaving Christianity to deal with the damage done by Christianity in a healthy and useful way.

 

This forum is not your personal witnessing pool!

 

The extremity of the damage done to people is so great and commonplace that a caring response is very needed. That’s what this site is all about. We are people who have left the faith helping others with our own experience wherever we can.

 

To expand on what Reach said about sacred ground, this is a healing place and a sanctuary. I'm sure you would reasonably expect non-Christians to have enough sense to understand the nature and purpose of the sanctuary in your church, and that they wouldn't disrespect it by doing inappropriate things there, regardless of their beliefs. You would rightly be offended if they did do something disrespectful in your church sanctuary. Please show the same type of respectful behavior in this forum that you would rightly expect in your own territory.

 

This site is like a clinic for abuse patients. An abuse clinic has tried and true reasons for keeping their clients away from those who've abused them, or from allowing contact with anyone who may be from the same group as those who abused the client. This is because even just the presence of such people can be a trigger for a very detrimental reaction in the client due to emotional associations.

 

This forum is a place for non-Christians to share their stories. Some of these stories are extremely painful and some of the people who post them are in great pain or turmoil. The last thing they need is to hear the same words and approach from you that they heard from their abusers.

 

This forum is meant to be a sanctuary of healing for those who've been harmed by Christianity. If you are a Christian, then by definition you are part of the group which did the damage, even though you may be a truly nice person without a harmful bone in your body.

 

Your intentions may be very loving and pure, but your words cause pain. Unnecessary pain.

 

Remember what's paved with good intentions.

 

Please have a heart; show some respect for another person's sanctuary, and think well before you post.

 

As the guidelines show, Christian words, preaching, scripture passages, offers of prayer or any other overt or covert proselytizing are not only completely unwelcome, but they are also a forum violation.

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100 pound hammer solution to a single nail problem....

 

daFatman finds condemnation, preaching, sectartianistic jingo, assorted "words from god", etc, those posts nuked on sight...

 

Folks exiting out behind the Iron Curtain of Religion often need a quiet place to gather thoughts, find others who know what and where they are now, and how to advise directions from "here".

 

Not everyone comes out of their religious life and experience ready for *strong whateverism*, and often this forum and the friendships and ties here may be some of the only un_churched voices speaking kindly..

 

Sectarians have most of the rest of the Forums to voice opinions, argue, debate and discusss.

 

Here, once a Human comes to the Door, walks over threshold, they are in "Sanctuary". It is a "safe place" in part due to those of we who exist here nd participate.

 

It is a privelidge to serve Community, sometimes as one with a lantern, a light in a storm..

 

n

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Good posts. There is a danger of recently deconverted people being triggered, a term I learned on another site, by the words of christians. Talk of judgement, hell, etc. can literally bring on panic attacks. I even wonder if some christians are aware of this on some level and seek to instigate this, being angry as they are at our very existence as former xtians.

 

We must be on guard and remember what this place is for. There are plenty of debate sites on the web; this is a place to chill.

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If it weren’t for the post of the guidelines on the testimony board I probably would be long gone from this forum. The prospect of communicating with other ex-christians had been a beacon to me until I saw christians were also members. That’s my hang-up and I applaud the people here who actually allow and encourage both sides of the issues. It just wasn’t something I thought I could deal with just now.

You know, not all decisions are easy ones but statements like this cause me to see that we have truly done the right thing by instituting a couple board guidelines for posting in this Testimony forum.

 

Thanks, Dave, for being so responsive to the needs of this community. All hail the WebMaster! :)

 

-Reach

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Thanks to all the moderators for taking this position. It has already paid dividends as is evidenced by Purple Rhinos ex-testimony.

 

I was nervous about the 'safety' of this site to share my feelings because of the presence of xtians initially also. Your position has eased that feeling for those who come here in the future. I applaud you all!

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A note to all members,

 

Another issue has recently come to light and needs to be revisited.

 

From time to time, some of you may wish to repost some of these testimonies on other websites. Please refrain from reposting these stories until you have sought out and obtained the permission of the author.

 

Thank you. Your compliance is greatly appreciated.

 

-Reach

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Guest vanesa

Moderators, you need not worry. I am spiritually powerful enough to ward off Xtianity and any other religious hot air. But thank you for helping out those who need it.

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There are very practical reasons for having a posting policy, and I support it wholeheartedly...(and hope I abide by them!)...

There is one general principle, and that is that written communication is regularly misunderstood between people, even when they know each other well, and especially when the content is emotional.

To prove that, the most dramatic example is from when I was in the Navy, and was deployed overseas for a long period of time, on a ship with a thousand guys, anchored at an island in the middle of the indian ocean. A lot of the guys were married or engaged, and the writing and reading of letters (pre e-mail days, kiddys) was a sacred time. When you walked by someone doing either, you let them alone, to respectfully give them the space they needed. The point here is that, invariably, many MANY would complain about things "not sounding right, being also misunderstood by whom they write to, and this lead to a lot of break-ups of otherwise stable relationships, and even a number of suicides. To remedy this, it was recommended to send and recieve voice recordings, because the added content of voice tones and inflections made these communications successfully avoid these otherwise needless problems.

So, that is an example of how bad things can get when unpracticed people try to cover emotional topics through writing alone. We have all read replies to what we have wrote on a board somewhere, and know that if it was conveyed verbally that we would have more than likely understood. That is the practical reason for what may seem at times a perhaps overstated statement of intent in communications here...

and you can't get much more overstated than the size of my posts sometimes :twitch:

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Hi Mod.

 

I've just posted here. Its not really an anti-testimony because I haven't decided that I don't believe totally. Its more of a rant. Is that ok? There's no preaching or anything of that nature. I'm just telling my lifestory up till where I am now, an agnostic/liberal christian.

 

Or is there a better forum for people who are sitting on the fence? Please advice. Thanks :)

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If you tell your lifestory, then it is your testimony. Then you're okay. (I haven't read it yet, but will in a moment.)

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Hi, folks. I wanted to post on this thread for two reasons. First and foremost is to reassure those members who decide to post their extimonies, that the rules of this forum are written for you. Feel free to speak from your heart, to express your emotions, and not to worry about having anyone put you down at all.

 

The second reason for posting on this fairly old thread is to thank those many members who have, throughout the years and continue to this day, to encourage those who post their extimonies.

 

I look forward to reading YOUR extimony when you feel the time is right to post it.

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I so appreciate this post and all who contributed.  When I first posted on the Testimony thread, Margee told me, "You are home."  That meant the world to me and, I believe, started my healing.  It made me feel safe and, since then, I have felt free to open my heart and mind and let it all out.  Then the "family" here really ministered (xtian-ese) to me.  My journey continues but I'm not alone.  And I am so grateful for this site and these loving, caring people.  

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I so appreciate this post and all who contributed.  When I first posted on the Testimony thread, Margee told me, "You are home."  That meant the world to me and, I believe, started my healing.  It made me feel safe and, since then, I have felt free to open my heart and mind and let it all out.  Then the "family" here really ministered (xtian-ese) to me.  My journey continues but I'm not alone.  And I am so grateful for this site and these loving, caring people.  

 

You are home  sweetie. This has been my home for 3 years and I second what Overcame faith said...that we'll do everything in our power to help make Ex-c a safe place to come and write out your feelings. I may not be able to post as much but I am still here everyday, cheering everyone on. I'm glad you are coming along on this ride with us. It's so nice to have people who you share a common bond with....people who understand what you are going through and we do!! I have a fairly 'sane' mind today because of the people on EX-c who helped me through one of the hardest times in my life - learning that the Christian god was a lie. That may not affect some people, but it sure did me!! Now I want to be here to help others through the transition. Keep goin' Woodsy, you're doing great!! *hug*

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