Mark (tibbycat) wrote in ozchristians,

Defending the faith... online?

Oh dear, it seemed like a good idea at first. We're commanded to defend our faith right? So when I saw a thread about religion on an internet forum that I sometimes post to I thought I might as well say what I am and explain why I became a Christian.

I'm not sure it was a good idea in retrospect.
I'd think with time I'd learn to avoid debates on internet forums, especially debates about religion. They have a way of turning ugly fast.

Have a look:

(I don't expect you to read all 47 pages, just maybe look at the last few [my name is Mark btw if you don't already know[)

I'm not sure I was wise, but, what's done is done I figure. On the bright side, I did have some Christians message me privately to say they were encouraged by what I posted, so *shrugs* go figure.

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I've learned to avoid debates about religion. If people ask you about it with the desire to know more, then sure, share why you believe and ask about their beliefs.

Amidst all the debate and moral-dilemma-ing around the traps, sometimes it feels like people forget that it's God's love that brings people to him, not his doctrine - and Christians are called to show God's love to those around them. (Which I take to mean 'doing practical helpful things for people in need' rather than hugging everyone in the street.)
*nods* This is true.
But, that said, it sounds like you took a stand and encouraged other Christians with what you had to say.

Sometimes it can be good for people to hear other points of view, too.
Yeah, I just hope I didn't do more harm than good. I think I need to learn how to argue more effectively.

But, yeah, it's interesting cause I remember part of the process that helped me became a Christian over two years ago was when reading a debate about religion on an internet forum where booth_street was one of the few to argue in God's defense (against quite a few vicious evangelical atheists) and I remember some of the things she wrote really me think as I never had before.
I think it's only worth debating with someone who is actually interested in the discussion. On teh internets there's too many people who are just want to either cause trouble or prove their point.

I think it's more effective to get into a debate with one person or a small group of people who are actually interested in the topic.

The same goes for sharing my testimony. Sure I'll make it known to anyone and everyone that I am a Christian, but I'll share my testimony with the people who ask to hear it. The rest can just know that I'm a Christian and observe my attitude and how I treat people.

And OT... you're 12 days older than me!
That was my concern yeah. That and I was starting to wonder if some of the people there were only interested in arguing for the sake of arguing, rather than having an actual debate. Was seeming futile :/

"The same goes for sharing my testimony. Sure I'll make it known to anyone and everyone that I am a Christian, but I'll share my testimony with the people who ask to hear it. The rest can just know that I'm a Christian and observe my attitude and how I treat people."

I like that.

"And OT... you're 12 days older than me!"

heh, go us. April 1980 was a good year.

ps: you have a cool username
April 1980 was a month, not a year ;) hehee

I think once a debate has started tho it's important not to gloss over what you believe just because it makes you unpopular...
whoops, it was too.
I don't remember that month very well I have to say.
I would very much avoid any sort of conversation about religion that you would call an "argument".

I would definitely only stick to discussion.

And then, I would only do it with people I have a pre-existing relationship with, unless it's face to face, in which case I think people are able to see you as a person, interacting and listening to them too.

And as for how to talk to people when talking about faith, it has to be a two way thing, and you have to avoid being either too defensive or too confrontational. It's a tough balance.

Anyway, we live, we learn. Surely all these experiences teach us things. What do you think you learnt from the experience in terms of sharing your faith? I reckon it's usually easier to take lessons from individual conversations, much harder with a group onslaught. i mean that' half the problem - you've essentially come up to a group of 50 people and said "you're all wrong!", they're just online, so you don't perceive them as a gang like you would in real life. It's hard!

Yeah, see, I think it was effective the time I went to the movies to see the lion the witch and the wardrobe with Chris and Michael and afterwards we sat around talking about Christianity. It was a much more civil discussion. Well, Michael's completely stubborn so I'm not sure how effective it actually was, but it certainly wasn't hostile like I've noticed these things can become online.

It is a tough balance. Especially when it starts off as just a discussion online and you see someone say something where you feel you have to say something in response (e.g. "Christians base their salvation on their works"), but then it can get hostile and I wonder the wisdom of responding in the first place :/

Hmm, anyway, yeah, live and learn, true. I think the experience has made me think more carefully about sharing my faith with people I don't know. It's tricky.
haha i like that...


i've learned over time that our faith is offending. people dun want to know that it is only through Jesus are we saved. but still it doesn't mean we keep quiet and keep it to ourselves :) i'm glad you did step out to voice your opinions. there are always gonna be people around who will make you wish you didn't say things to defend what you belief in. Just dun stop :) you never know maybe out of all the people who came back at you there were those who were touched by what you said but just didn't come online to tell you.
Thanks, it's true that what we believe is offensive to those who don't believe, but I do worry that atheists or agnostics will look at what I said and further cement their preconceptions and think "bloody fundamentalists christians". ugh

but, you're right, it could also be the seed that grows in someone.. God knows :/
Mark, what you did was a brave thing, I believe that we shouldn't argue to the point that you enforce your views unto others i.e. I am right and you are wrong beliefs, you need to agree to disagree, and it's not about winning an arguement because that won't certainly convince people who are lost. Rather they will turn off in what you have to say.. Leave the conviction of the Holy spirit to win people to Christ.. But by all means defend your beliefs but do it in a way that is not in your face, remember they are people too who have beliefs.. Like my church says take the back foot evangelism approach meaning do it tactfully and if people get defensive it's time to back off a bit, and if need to be acknowledge what they have to say and just agree to disagree..
thanks for the support :)

yeah, "tact".. I need to work on that, heh.