For first time visitors: An
introduction to this web site.
Before making use of anything on this website, please read copyright and legal notices in a separate essay.
The following is probably more than you ever wanted to
know about us and our website. However, we want to explain our
"agenda" in promoting religious tolerance and to help you understand
how this website was written.
It is important for us to be
open with our beliefs and positions on various matters. You need this
information in order to judge the credibility of our writing.
Our thoughts about religion:
Religion is a unique force in society.
It motivates individuals to do both good and evil. Historically, it has promoted:
- An end to slavery, racial integration,
equal rights for women, and equal
rights for gays and lesbians. It has motivated individuals to create massive support services
for the poor, the sick, the hurting, and the broken.
- Conversely, it has been used to justify
slavery, racial segregation, oppression of women, discrimination against
homosexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals, genocides, exterminations of minorities, and other horrendous evils.
Religion motivates some to dedicate their lives to help the poor and needy. (e.g. Gandhi, Albert
Schweitzer, Mother Teresa.) It drives others to exterminate as many "heretics" as they
can. Over the past two decades we have seen religiously-motivated mass murders and genocides in Bosnia, East
India, Kosovo, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Philippines,
Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tibet, the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington DC, etc.
Religion has the capability to generate unselfish love in some people, and vicious, raw hatred in
others. The goal of every caring person should be to somehow change religions so that they maximize the
former and minimize the latter. This is not a simple task, because most faith
groups are extremely resistant to change. We feel that the key is religious tolerance.
About our group...
We are a multi-faith agency of five
volunteers in the U.S. and Canada who follow
five different religious beliefs (Agnosticism,
Atheism, Christianity, Wicca,
and Zen Buddhism).
Our group is affiliated with another multi-faith group Beliefnet, but not with with any other religious organization. We rely
almost exclusively on
the revenue from banner ads, our readers' donations, and
of CD-ROMs of our web site, to enable us to continue our work.
Our office is located in Canada; our web site server is located in Texas; our
technical support is from California.
Our staff live in either the U.S. or Canada.
Definition of religious tolerance:
Some folks, particularly religious conservatives define "religious
tolerance" as the belief that all religions are equally true, valid, and equally
beneficial to the culture. We define the term differently: to be tolerant is to
follow the Ethic of Reciprocity, a.k.a. the Golden
Rule. That involves working towards a culture in which every person should be
- Follow their own religious beliefs, as long as they do not harm others;
freedom of religious belief, speech and assembly, without
discrimination or oppression.
- Change their religion if they wish, and
- Make non-harassing, non-manipulative and non-coercive attempts to convert others.
We try to write accurate, balanced, clear,
objective and inclusive articles about religion, morality and ethics. We often tackle tough religious questions. We don't promote
a specific religious viewpoint; we don't attack anyone's theological
beliefs. We don't value religious beliefs over secularism or vice-versa. However, we do criticize
actions that harm people, even if those actions are religiously motivated. We do compare beliefs of various religions with each other and with the findings of scientists. We are dedicated to
"liberty and justice for all" (with the exception of those engaging in acts
which can be shown to be criminal and hurtful). More
information on our purposes, beliefs, rules of engagement etc. is available.
About our beliefs:
We are most definitely not fence-sitters on matters of belief. Each
of us has our own, strongly held, and different beliefs about many topics, including:
- The nature, gender, existence, and attributes of
- The purposes of life.
- Moral codes governing personal behavior,
including abortion, euthanasia, the
death penalty, and other
- The importance of being part of a religious community.
- The wearing of religious clothing and jewelry.
- Change-of-life rituals (baptism, confirmation, marriage, funeral).
However, we do have some beliefs in common:
- We view almost all religions as having an overall positive effect on society.
- We view most or all religions as having a dark side. They have taken actions which have harmed
individuals in the past. Similar actions continue today,
and will probably exist into the foreseeable future.
- We share a desire that our American and Canadian cultures
continue to work towards achieving true "liberty and justice
About groups that discriminate:
There are movements in the U.S. and
Canada that oppose our beliefs. Some individuals, organizations and governments
believe that some people are so inferior because of their race, gender, sexual
orientation, gender identity, ability level, age, etc. that they should be granted fewer rights,
privileges, opportunities, and life choices. Often, these movements are
We differentiate between the
beliefs and actions of these counter movements:
- We support their right to hold religious beliefs supporting discrimination
and oppression based on race, gender, sexual
orientation and other classifications. We do not criticize such beliefs; we simply report them. We promote their right to freely
communicate their principles to others. In other words, we support the freedom of persons and groups to engage in hate speech.
- We oppose their right for individuals, groups and governments to take discriminatory actions against women and minorities. We feel free to criticize
We feel that the world would be a much better place if religious
tolerance were generally observed. However, mere tolerance is not
adequate as a final goal. We would like to see a world in which people are interested in, and
value, religions other than their own -- where religious
diversity is regarded as a positive factor and where everyone has a basic knowledge of at least the main religious beief systems.
About our web site:
- Interaction: We invite you to respond and contribute to this web
- Sending us Emails via the "contact us" image at the bottom of each essay. We
promise to try to read every Email. Unfortunately time generally does not permit us to
- Signing on to our Twitter account:
- Reading our facebook page and perhaps joining the group:
- Posting messages to our
- Writing an essay and submitting it to us for possible publishing in
our visitor essays section. Again, use the
"contact us" button.
- Differences: Our site is different from essentially all other religious websites:
- We are reporters of the full range of religious beliefs; our essays are not limited to the beliefs of the webmaster, as in almost all other religious web sites.
- We do not promote any particular denomination or religion.
- We respect the right of all to hold diverse religious beliefs.
- We criticize actions by individuals, groups and governments
which oppose the principle of "liberty and justice for all."
- We promote neither the pro-choice or pro-life stances on any issue.
However, we explain both.
- We try to give a balanced explanation of all points of view, as accurately,
clearly, concisely, and objectively as we can.
- Catchment area: We try to serve the U.S. and Canadian public. We hope that others from around the world
will also find our site of interest.
- Completeness: We first
established our web site in 1995, and have been writing material ever
since. There were over 5,400 essays online as of the end of 2010. We estimate that we
need thousands more essays to fully cover all topics. You
may well find topics on this web site which should be covered, but which
- Complaints: We receive many dozens of
complaints each year from visitors who don't like what they see on our
web site. Many are not happy that we compare and contrast:
- One religion with another, or
- The conservative and liberal wings of the
same religion, or
- A religious belief system with a secular
and/or scientific viewpoint.
Some of our visitors are quite disturbed at seeing
their particular world view compared and contrasted with a different
one. A few write us very angry letters. We
even receive the occasional death threat. We don't see a solution to
this problem. It is inherent in the type of work that we do. Still, we
get about 3 or 4 positive Emails for each negative one.
- Why we have so much information on Christianity
Some readers are surprised at our wealth of essays
on Christianity in comparison to many fewer essays each on Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam,
Wicca, etc. This is because about 75% of Americans and
Canadians identify themselves as Christian. The next largest religions are
Islam and Judaism with about 1% apiece. When the remaining organized religions
are lumped together, they total only about 2%. There are about 20 Christians for every single
follower of a non-Christian organized religion. This motivates us to
cover Christianity in much greater depth. Visitors who want more
detailed information on another religions can use the hyperlinks in our
essays to transfer to web sites that concentrate only in that one religion.
Some conservative Christians might have difficulty understanding the above
information because they often define the term "Christian" very
restrictively to mean only a born-again person -- one who has repented of their
sins and trusted Jesus
as Lord and Savior. About 35% of Americans are born-again. This website uses a more
inclusive definition -- the one used by pollsters and census offices. We
accept as Christian any person or any group who sincerely identifies
themselves to be Christian.
- Why we have so much information on Wicca and
a few other religions: We deal with these
faith traditions in great detail because of the high level of religious
intolerance, disinformation, assault, and even lynching experienced by Neopagans and others who go public with their
religion. This is largely the legacy of centuries of misinformation,
starting during the "burning times" when the
Catholic and Protestant churches mounted
campaigns of mass killings of non-Christians.
An exception to our rules of balance, and objectivity:
- Author's comments: Occasionally, we are moved to editorialize on some topics.
Sometimes, we just have to let off steam. But we usually mark
any text which contains our opinions by using a smaller font and/or by
adding the header "Author's comments" or "Webmaster's comments" in bold. These
sections are biased in favor of the author's belief system. You may or may
not wish to read these comments. They are not held to the same standard of
balance and objectivity as the rest of our essays.
- Our essay on conclusions: We received
many complaints charging us with "fence-sitting." --
being without the courage to state our beliefs. Other complaining
Emails said that we had a lot of data on our site, but not enough
conclusions. So, we wrote an essay on some of the conclusions that we
have reached as a result of our religious and spiritual Internet journey since
the startup of our web site in 1995. Again, this essay does not exhibit the same standard of balance
and objectivity as the rest of our essays. There are a few other
essays of this general type, but they are clearly marked.
Structure of our web site...
Many of our visitors find that the most convenient method of finding
information about a specific topic is to use our site
search function. We also have a vertical column of navigation bars on
the left side of each page that will take you to many main menus.
a privacy statement governing our site.
Can you help?
Our heavy visitor traffic is triggering excess-throughput charges. If you can help out with mini-donation of a
few dollars or more per month, we would deeply appreciate it. We make it very
easy for you to contribute, either on a one-shot basis or on a monthly basis, via PayPal or your credit card.
Amazon.com Online Bookstore:
Some of our pages have hyperlinks to Amazon.com that you can use to order books online.
If you buy books, CDs etc. from Amazon.com, please consider going to Amazon via the link below.
It costs the same to you and we typically get a 6% or 7% commission.
Copyright © 1997 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on
Last update: 2011-JUL-17
Author: B.A. Robinson