Debate Procedure

There has been some discussion lately among the mods in regard to certain debate issues.
I want to make this debate-friendly forum, so I allow a lot of rope in regard to people’s style.
But for clarification, here are the rules (not written by me) for inter-religious dialogue:

For both Catholic and non-Catholic posters:
It is acceptable to question the doctrine or dogma of another’s faith
It is never acceptable to question the sincerity of an individual’s beliefs
*Bringing up historical controversies peculiar to a particular religion should be done cautiously **
It is acceptable to discuss the effect the incident had on current policy or practice.
It is acceptable to seek the truth vs. commonly-held beliefs or conventional wisdom about actual events.
It is fallacious reasoning to use embarrassing incidents to claim that they “prove” a particular religion is false.
Expecting members of any Church to defend or answer for the excesses or extremism of bodies that have broken with it is a technique that has no merit and can’t be defended.

The bolded above is where a certain amount of judgement must be exercised. Referring to a historical religious figure as a “liar”, when that figure is held in esteem by adherents of that religion, shows contempt for that religion. “Every religion has its dignity,” Pope Francis says, and that is what we will follow.
You actually CAN debate with respect and charity.
We want NCRs to be debate friendly, and I know we can achieve this.

I’ll leave this thread open.


  1. The Baha’i have complained about posting a photo which Baha’u’llah had taken by a photographer. Since he was willing to have the portrait made, is it unreasonable for his followers NOW to insist that we not post that image?


  1. Muslims are quite sensitive about practically EVERYTHING a non-Muslim might want to say or question about Muhammed, yet for Christians, he was NOT a prophet of God and was worthy of no special treatment. How are we to convey our rejection of his status as a true prophet of God?


  1. The Eastern Orthodox have expressed unhappiness when the names of their Patriarchs and Metropolitans have been expressed as “Timothy Ware” (or even just Ware as in “Ware went on to say…”) rather than with a + in front of their names or without full titles. Catholics are more accustomed to referring to “The Weekly Francis” by Jimmy Akin or “The Ratzinger Report”. What is required here?


I have some questions with the bold line. Does historical controversies also include current controversies and recent news and issues? It almost seems that current problems or happenings would be included in this line. I would take from the highlight that we need to cautious with current recent times issues as well most of which do apply to Islam.

My next question applies to threads concerning Protestantism. I am surprised that I’ve seen threads that ask if the reformation was inspired by the devil or calling all Protestants “heretics”. What concerns me has been the tone and attitude and that these sorts of threads do more to drive people away than draw them in.

I appreciate all you do Eric as a moderator and thank-you for the pointers and reminders.

I think the key word is cautiously. Why cannot armchair apologists simply use respectful language? Why is that so hard? If the person was in the same room with you, would you talk that way to them?

that idea of sitting next to someone with a cup of coffee is probably the image we should all hold up when posting.

The Baha’i have complained about posting a photo which Baha’u’llah had taken by a photographer. Since he was willing to have the portrait made, is it unreasonable for his followers NOW to insist that we not post that image?

Baha’u’llah was a religious prisoner of the Ottoman Empire at the time of that photograph being taken. It was taken for a passport, ordered by the government, in preparation for an overseas steamship voyage through the Black and Mediterranean seas ending in the Holy Land, where Baha’u’llah was cast into a stone cell in Akka under sentence of life imprisonment.

I did request that the photograph not be posted casually to the forum in the interest of respect for Baha’is who believe that Baha’u’llah, Jesus, Moses and the other founders of world religions should be treated with extreme reverence, and are taught that casual use of Baha’u’llah’s photograph is highly inappropriate. Obviously I cannot control whether others choose to respect that request, but I considered it important to let the people on CAF know our wishes about use of a photograph of Baha’u’llah.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with expressing your views in this matter. It helps in understanding where you are coming from and fits with what the Pope is saying about being respectful of other faiths. From what you shared, the photo was not taken with his free will.

When people get worked up by what they see on cable “news”, they don’t realize how that affects their spirit. I have to say I have lost some respect for several long-time posters here and never venture into the news sections on CAF. People just are oblivious to the fact they are being manipulated. They bring that with them into debates about Islam.


Are we talking about the same man here?


seriously? what does posting this picture serve? to be provocative? What does posting this have to do with the discussion at hand? What is your point?

My bad.

Didn’t get to read Matthew’s reason. Pic deleted.

If we were there to discuss religion honestly, then absolutely.

You weren’t the first to make that request, so don’t feel singled out.

Let Eric answer.

In the meantime, here is the face of Jesus as constructed from the Shroud of Turin:

Since Jesus was a “manifestation” of God, does this image trouble you, also? :shrug:

Thank you GuyNextDoor.

I’m very impressed with your witness to Christ and the Catholic Church by making that edit.


I think intent is also important.
Though the language used may be professional, some topics are pushed like a broken record.
It seems the goal is more about denigration.


I’m unaware of the original thread in which this controversy surfaced. What is it about the linking of a photo that is ‘casual use’? What is it about ‘casual use’ that is ‘inappropriate’? What, in the context of the photo, is objectionable?



Take a chill pill rob. There’s no need to wear a badge attempting to conduct an investigation.


No problem. The only reason as to why I took the picture down is because I do not wish to brand the man as a common criminal based on your explanation since the picture was done while he was imprisoned, despite my disbelief of him to be a prophet of any sort.

If the reason however as some Baha’i explained to me was due to him being a holy man and we should not display his image, then it will be another story altogether which I am not bound to.

Thank you for your explanation which seems much more reasonable.

I don’t feel singled out.

Since Jesus was a “manifestation” of God, does this image trouble you, also? :shrug:

Not troubled. Just profoundly sad.

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