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Negative comments from visitors to this web site

Part 1

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Contents of these essays:

We receive many interesting, unsolicited E-mails from visitors to our web site.
In the past, we had only published short passages excerpted from their E-mails with our comments.
We have decided to publish the full text of some of the more interesting incoming E-mails, with our responses.

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Caution:

Almost all of the essays on our web site attempt to describe all points of view on a given topic.

This section is an exception.

Only one of our staff members, working alone, replies to each visitor's questions. Thus, the responses consist of one person's viewpoint. They may not reflect those of the rest of our group.

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Topics covered in this essay:

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Why this web site is failing economically


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Get organized about Wicca


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Your essay on Jesus sinlessness is petty and untrue


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Why this web site is failing economically:

Incoming comment: I am sorry your website is failing, but as the Bible says:  [Acts 5:34-39 quoted from the New International Version)] "...For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." So I wonder if your material is from God or man?

Our response: I would suggest that our web site is largely of human origin. Our essays explain all sides to each topic. On biblically related topics, this often means that we explain very liberal beliefs, very conservative beliefs, Roman Catholic beliefs, and often the beliefs of some of the 1st century Christian movements. These viewpoints often differ significantly from each other. Only one of these can be "from God." Perhaps none are. The rest is certain to be "from man." So, as a minimum, perhaps 75% of our web site's contents will be "from man."

I think that a case can be made that large portions of the Bible are "from man" as well. Its authors wrote in neutral or positive terms about human slavery, of genocides against the Canaanites, of the murder of an entire family for the sins of the father, of the execution of non-virgin brides, of the execution of gays, of the execution of a man for collecting wood on a Saturday -- perhaps so that his family would not freeze, of the near genocide of the entire human race during the flood of Noah, of the torture of prisoners, of male supremacy, of the raping and forced marriages of female prisoners of war..... I could go on with many other stories in the Bible. I cannot imagine that these stories represent the will of God. So I assume that these stories all came "from man."

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You guys need to get organized about Wicca:

Incoming comment: I have been looking at your website and there is a lot of false information. In some places it says that Wicca is fifty years old; others say it is the oldest religion in time. You guys really need to get organized and get with the picture because being so dismembered is really getting to some sensitive Witches.

Our response: I agree with you that the age and roots of Wicca is a sensitive topic. But I  think that we are organized on this subject.

The search engine www.google.com reports that about 750,000 web sites contain the word "Wicca." Of these, there are probably about 400,000 web sites managed by Wiccans. If you sample a bunch of them, you will find that some webmasters say that Wicca is a new religion; Others say that it is an old religion which goes back to about 800 BCE. Now, our task at ReligiousTolerance.org  is to reflect reality. So we explain that these two beliefs exist and explain why they exist. If you go to our Wiccan menu, it suggests that you read the introduction essay first. It says:

Depending upon how you look at Wicca, it is either one of the newest or one of the oldest religions in the world:

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Wicca is a recently created, Neopagan religion. The various branches of Wicca can be traced back to Gardnerian Witchcraft which was founded in the UK during the late 1940s.


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Wicca is based on the symbols, seasonal days of celebration, beliefs and deities of ancient Celtic society. Added to this material were Masonic and ceremonial magickal components from recent centuries. In this respect, it is a religion whose roots go back almost three millennia to the formation of Celtic society circa 800 BCE.

Sorry, but that is reality. There is no absolute answer to the question of the age of Wicca. Since our job at ReligiousTolerance.org is to reflect reality, we explain both beliefs, and don't take sides. Perhaps Wiccans will reach a near-consensus on this matter in the future. Currently we occasionally receive slightly irate E-mails from Wiccans who have opposing viewpoints.

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Your essay on Jesus sinlessness is petty and untrue:

Incoming comment: I just read your detailed description explaining why Jesus Christ was actually a sinner....I have never encountered anything so petty and small-minded in my life. ...It's hilarious that you feel the need to focus your time and energy on something so ridiculous as this....Yes, you have indeed taken pettiness to the point of absolute absurdity....you should definitely consider a career in comedy. P.S. Speak of what you know, not of what you don't.

Our response: We are pleased that you found so much joy reading one of our essays. However, you make a number of accusations: that our essay is petty; we are fools; our writings contain lies; we are writing in ignorance.

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About pettiness: This topic may seem like a ridiculous one to you. But it is a matter of considerable division within Christianity. Polls by Barna Research showed that 43% of American adults believe that Jesus sinned during his ministry; 28% of born-again American adults agree. Most conservative Christians believe that he was sinless. Their main support for this belief is that the Bible states this in a number of places. However, liberal Christians typically believe that he did commit sins. Four examples:

  • He was disrespectful to his mother on a number of occasions.

  • He hurled a racist insult at a non-Jew,

  • He committed aggravated assault in the Temple.

  • He conspired with others to steal an animal.

The matter is not silly to everyone. It is of serious concern to those Christians who believe that Jesus could only forgive sin if he had led a sinless life. Many of them believe that if Jesus had sinned, then his death on the cross could not have created a route to salvation for the entire human population through the atonement. Using www.google.com with the search string  jesus sinless locates about two million web sites which deal with this topic. It is not a trivial matter.


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About our lack of intelligence, our essay containing lies, and our ignorance: I think that you misunderstand the nature of our web site. We try to explain all sides to each question. With one minor exception related to one popular belief in the criteria of salvation, I don't believe that we have ever created an original theological thought anywhere in our 7,200 essays. We are not theologians; we are religious reporters. Our purpose is to report the full range of beliefs held by others. This is important because most religious web sites promote only a single belief system -- the one held by the webmaster or by the web site's sponsor. If the level of religious knowledge is to be raised in North America, people are going to have to be exposed to the full range of religious beliefs. In this essay, some of our site visitors will believe that Jesus was sinless; others will believe that he sinned; others don't care. Still others will think like you do: that the question is silly; it is a 21st century variation on the Middle Ages debate on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Many visitors will hold strong opinions on the matter. They will consider their personal belief to be true and look upon the other beliefs that we explain as lies, or as meaningless verbal refuse written by persons of low intelligence, or as meaningless text written by uninformed people. Ours is a lose-lose situation. We get complaints from both religious conservatives and liberals because we list beliefs that the other side holds. We are chronic victims of the "shoot the messenger while you attack the message" syndrome. It is only a small leap from the position that a belief not shared by the reader is stupid, a lie, and ignorant,  to the position that we, as authors, are stupid, liars and ignorant.

If you have a specific concern about an item in this or any other of our essays, please write back and describe it. We will have a look.

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This topic is continued in the next essay.

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Site navigation: Home page > Comments > here

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Our responses copyright © 2003 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2024-OCT-04
Compiler: various OCRT staff
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