Sunday, July 29, 2007

I Couldn't Stop Myself

For the most part, I try to stay out of the "yelling matches" that sometimes get started in the community forums of Board Game Geek. I managed to resist staying out of this one an extra day or two by posting here on the blog (a post entitled In Depth.)

But that wasn't enough - so, just a few minutes ago, I posted this to the discussion. And now I've put on my fireproof underwear... sigh.

Like it or not, folks - religion matters. If any of us had any question about this, the thread itself is proof that religion matters to people. (125 posts when I began typing post #126...)

Even those of you who have taken an anti-religious stance have indicated by your continued presence & participation in this discussion that religion makes a difference. If religion doesn't matter, I don't understand the need to insert yourself into conversation about a particular world religion & board games. If it does makes a difference, well then, welcome to the chat room!

We may disagree on whether the difference that religion makes is positive or negative - there is clear evidence of both results - but you can not examine recorded history without stumbling across the influence of a variety of world religions & belief systems.

I am currently reading an excellent book on religious literacy that would primo reading for everyone involved in this discussion: Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs To Know - And Doesn't (by Stephen Prothero)

Prothero is not trying to convert anyone... he's advocating that since religion plays a major role (acknowledged or not) in so many areas of our society, it is prudent/wise for citizens to have a rudimentary knowledge of religions.

I am NOT talking about Christianity specifically here. Many of you know that I am an evangelical pastor, but I'm not attempting to argue (in this forum) for the legitimacy of the truth claims of the Christian faith.

Here's my dream:

  • I'd like to have interesting debates with atheists who've actually read the Bible instead of repeating chunks of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens.
  • I'd like people who claim to follow Jesus to learn not to react like someone has set their hair on fire when they are disagreed with.
  • I'd like to play board games with anyone who can understand the concept of a social contract & a modicum of good manners, whether or not we agree on the historicity of the Bible.
  • I'd like to discuss history & religion with people of various backgrounds, secure in the knowledge that I won't be treated like an ignorant hillbilly because I choose to believe in something they don't.

Note: there are people in the gaming community who help to make my dream a reality. I'm thankful for their friendship.

May their tribe increase.


Anonymous said...

I thought your post was great and I gave it a thumbs up. I almost jumped into one of the "sexism on the Geek" discussions not long ago because I thought people on both sides were being ridiculous. Then I came to my senses! Just following these threads can be so draining.

I'll keep a fire extinguisher ready in case you need it :-)

Yehuda Berlinger said...



Scott Rushing said...

This demonstrates how ignorant I am about the gaming community. I was surprised they were arguing about religion on a message board!

And also, I'm sometimes surprised by how "evangelical" some atheists can be. I would think that if I were an atheist, I would just leave everyone else alone with their religion.

ironcates said...

Thanks for your post Mark. I was kinda in and out of that forum and I decieded not to get into it, but I felt like you spoke for me.

I think the thread is gone now?


Mark (aka pastor guy) said...


The thread is still there, but the original poster has moved the discussion to a yahoo group. (His intent was to talk about a Christian gaming association and, soo-prise, soo-prise, the discussion got out of hand.)

I've been kind of stunned with the response to my post - even the rabid atheists have been pretty kind. Weird, huh?!

ironcates said...

I usually don't get a backlash from atheists so long as they've really thought about theology. It's the ones that usually were hurt by the "church" in some way that get beligerent.

Do you have a link to the Yahoo group?

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

The Christian Gaming Association yahoo group is at: