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Religion and Drupal

stoolpigeon (454276) writes | more than 4 years ago

Enlightenment 18

I had an interesting interaction this week with a presenter from Drupalcamp Atlanta this week. I had emailed him asking about getting the powerpoint presentation for a session he did that I couldn't attend. (There were tons of choices so for every session I went to, I missed 4 or 5) He's a Drupal guy that works for himself doing contract work, so he was interested in getting me what I want and seeing if I might be able to send any work his way. But once he found out that I worked for a re

I had an interesting interaction this week with a presenter from Drupalcamp Atlanta this week. I had emailed him asking about getting the powerpoint presentation for a session he did that I couldn't attend. (There were tons of choices so for every session I went to, I missed 4 or 5) He's a Drupal guy that works for himself doing contract work, so he was interested in getting me what I want and seeing if I might be able to send any work his way. But once he found out that I worked for a religious organization he was no longer interested in working for us or in giving me a copy of the presentation. He feels that religion is very harmful.
 
He was very polite, but I would have loved to been able to have a copy of his presentation. I hear a lot of people complaining about religion/religious groups - but I don't too often find someone who would take that kind of stance about it. It's his right, and he did discuss it with me and was very rational, nice, etc.
 
On a somewhat related note the North American DrupalCon for 2010 will be in San Francisco in April. Hopefully I will be able to attend. I learned so much at the Atlanta DrupalCamp. They are doing a DrupalCamp in Orlando too. Which I'll attend for sure. It's really a cool community and a great tool.

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18 comments

Hmm (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772169)

Even I wouldn't do that, and I hate religions and religious organizations. At least he was polite.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29775137)

That's right. Drop bombs I will not. Dropping leaflets? No problem.. aside from the littering aspect, of course. My job was quality of the signal, not the content.

Just (2, Interesting)

pudge_confirmer (1504761) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773967)

imagine if religious organizations were able to master Drupal!

I confirm I hate all religions and religious organizations- with one obvious exception.

Mine.

No... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 4 years ago | (#29774059)

He was simply consistent. If he is one of those so called "New Atheists", then he is convinced that religion is evil. Durpal is a CMS, albeit an open source one but his presentation probably wasn't. He, as such, knows that the system is going to be used for dissemination of information he doesn't agree with and will spread "Evil". From his point of view, helping you is helping Evil. Morally, his stance was 100% right.

Drupal is open source, you get the documentation... What he distilled (his work) does not need to help with something he disagrees with, unless said presentation was under Creative Commons, GPL, BSD or another open source license he has the full right to keep it for himself. You still have the option of finding out yourself. Nobody stops you and he won't... It is his full right to deny you his work because of his convictions.

This is not the same as people who decry when open source is used in military projects. That's fair game... If you didn't want that, stipulate it in the license (and it would be incompatible with the GPL)

Re:No... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29775117)

I agree. This isn't something I run into a whole lot, that is all. Though I tend not to think of facilitating speech to be facilitating harm. But I guess I'm biased as right now there is an increasing movement in certain circles to view my speech as worthy of control.

Re:No... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 4 years ago | (#29776473)

Control is not the same as "not supporting". Consider it this way: if you are a Neo-Nazi and you approach someone who has a printing press to print your propaganda. Is the printing press owner controlling your speech when he refuses? He isn't, he merely isn't supporting the speech you have,

I know I Godwinded myself, right there, but it is meant to bring across the point. The Neo-Nazi has his whole right to buy his own printing press (or find a more sympathetic printer), and as such his free speech has not been controlled. It's not as he has been sent to death-camp for his opinions ;-)

Finally, and I want you to think thoroughly about it, would you help someone like Richard Dawkins with your work even though you know your work will be used to draw people out of your church? No need to reply, just think about it.

Re:No... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778373)

I just want to clarify that I see movements to control speech - as in the government limiting speech and that is what I was referring to at the end. I don't think this guy is trying to control mine. I can see how I was pretty ambiguous there. I think I see trends in government limiting speech as possibly limiting my speech and so it makes me more sensitive to the issue as a whole.
 
Not only would I help Richard Dawkins set up a web site, I already recommend him to others as someone to read and listen to. I am a big believer in fully entering into the marketplace of ideas and engaging. I disagree with his conclusions but I welcome the challenges he raises. If my world-view can't take that, then I probably need to find a new one.

Re:No... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 4 years ago | (#29783745)

Not only would I help Richard Dawkins set up a web site, I already recommend him to others as someone to read and listen to.

Very laudable. Also, it illustrates that it was a bad example. The main reason of course that being able to do such a thing (setting up a very high volume website for a famous scientist) would look like a gem on your CV. Perhaps better examples would have been Pat Condell or Christopher Hitchins who are much more biting on religion that Richard Dawkins. Even then the apparent gain for you is still something to put on your CV.

Now, imagine that it's not such an high profile Atheist, but the local secular/atheist student group at your local University. Would it be different?

Also, keep in mind what this kind of activity means if your congregation finds out about it. You may be this open, but not everyone has going to have that outlook. In their eyes you may just be helping "Evil".

That's what I meant with "think about it". If I say that it doesn't mean only to think about the situation but also of the consequences. Imagine you really do it (help the above student organisation) and what impact this would have on your life. (Professionally, in your community/parish, for your parner, etc....) Decisions go so much deeper than just yes/no.

I disagree with his conclusions but I welcome the challenges he raises. If my world-view can't take that, then I probably need to find a new one.

Again, very laudable... I have a hard time understanding how you can mentally twist your brain to accept the scientific evidence and continue to believe in an active intervening personal God. (A Deistic God is intellectually the most probable one, if one exists: "start it all and let it run")

Re:No... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29785693)

I really did think about it. Though I didn't think about helping Dawkins from a perspective of how it would help me out - so it wasn't a bad example. It really wouldn't be a resume building activity for me.
 
I don't have a congregation per se - but I do raise the funds that cover the cost of my employment. There are churches and individuals that donate money to my organization so that I can do the work I do. And I do consider them when I make certain types of decisions, because I think this is right. But I think you underestimate the typical Christian person that makes up that group. They really don't fit the extreme nut case type that gets so much press here in the U.S. Most of them are intelligent, compassionate, well spoken people.
 
I don't have to twist my brain. I don't see science and theism as contradictory but rather as complimentary. Science is a great tool for dealing with certain parts of life, but it is limited and there are things it cannot touch upon. By definition God cannot be proven or disproven by Science. What made me choose Christianity is a bit more complicated, though not too much. I do believe it enough that I think it is important to share it with others - hence what I've chosen to do with my life right now.

Re:No... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 4 years ago | (#29787501)

Science is a great tool for dealing with certain parts of life, but it is limited and there are things it cannot touch upon.

See, this is where the reasonable Christians and we go apart. You are 100% right that God cannot be disproven or proven, BUT we have probability and that really speaks against God. However, you don't need to accept that. That's okay with me as long as you do not try to indoctrinate other people. Fine with me. However saying that the existence of any thing out of science is not tenable. Existence is by definition... science... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N8zi-mUvt4)

Apart from that, I may indeed underestimate the typical Christian especially since I live in Ungodly Europe and actually rarely have to face fundamentalism. The problem is that those you talk about are so vocal and they are extremely harmful to the "reasonable Christians".

What made me choose Christianity is a bit more complicated, though not too much.

No? Why not Thor? Zeus? Allah? Bob? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? They are all equally probable. You could cite Jesus, but his historical evidence is weak, very very weak. So, why? Apart that your parents were Christian?

I'm going to cite Matt Dillahunty: "Tell me why you believe what you believe."

Re:No... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29788619)

I will have to respectfully disagree on the historical evidence surrounding Jesus Christ. I believe he lived, died and rose from the dead. Everything pretty much builds from that.
 
I don't have an 'air tight' argument for the existence of God. There are many things I don't fully understand or have the ability to reconcile. So I'm always looking for opportunities to engage in conversations that will help me work through it all.
 
My first degree is in theology. I've had the luxury of taking a few years and spending almost all my time studying the issues around the Bible and how people respond to it. That time was pretty foundational, though I've not had a static mindset since then. I adapt and change as I learn.
 
I would sum it up in that I have taken a look at reality - then I've looked at the various world views and how well they match up to that reality. I believe I've found the best match in a set of principles that fit into the larger context of Christianity.
 
Christianity is a term that is pretty broad and there are labels that narrow down my part, but I'm a mix of a few of them so it is tough to sum up. I'm a Calvinist sort of. I've thought of myself as an Evangelical but I've also seen that term used in ways that definitely don't fit me. I'm probably a fundamentalist - but once again, there are things that word invokes that do not apply to me at all.
 
I would like to touch on something. Indoctrination. I assume you are using the term in the pejorative sense as opposed to merely talking about education. I would say that I don't do that - but I know many would disagree. The problem is our fundamental disagreement that is already on the table, teamed with a fundamental shift in culture.
 
Proselytizing used to be seen as an inconvenience or irritant. Now it is seen by many as offensive. The problem for me is that I don't really have a choice. As Penn Teller says, "How much do you have to hate someone to not try and proselytize if you believe they are going to hell?" (that's from memory, might not be exact but the idea is right.)
 
Anyway, I view sharing what I believe as sharing what is true and immensely valuable to those who will listen. I don't think of it as indoctrination but rather important education.
 
That said, I never push it on people. I don't see the point. I am ready to answer questions and I wont shy away from discussing these matters, but I don't chase people around beating them over the head with a Bible. The organization I work for seeks to approach these opportunities in the same way. We don't think we can force this issue and that it would be pointless to do so.

Re:No... (1)

Ethelred Unraed (32954) | more than 4 years ago | (#29791217)

See, this is where the reasonable Christians and we go apart. You are 100% right that God cannot be disproven or proven, BUT we have probability and that really speaks against God.

I see this claimed all the time, but it's an argument by assertion [wikipedia.org] if there ever was one. There is no possible way to come up with such a probability in any objective manner.

The laws of physics are properties of this Universe. Logic itself is also a property of the Universe. It is therefore by definition impossible to apply the laws of physics or logic to anything that is by definition outside this Universe. Any attempt to claim "proof" or even "probability" of such is doomed to failure.

Cheers,

Ethelred

Re:No... (1)

Ethelred Unraed (32954) | more than 4 years ago | (#29784527)

Finally, and I want you to think thoroughly about it, would you help someone like Richard Dawkins with your work even though you know your work will be used to draw people out of your church?

I have. [progrockrecords.com]

Cheers,

Ethelred

Re:No... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 4 years ago | (#29787401)

You're a freelance worker, you can't pick 'n choose :-P

Re:No... (1)

Ethelred Unraed (32954) | more than 4 years ago | (#29791147)

Oh, but I can. It's one of the biggest reasons I'm self-employed.. ;-)

Cheers,

Ethelred

Holy dogcow! (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 4 years ago | (#29774175)

So you're saying you're messing with something that's part of an anti-traditional, anti-establishment movement, and you're surprised to find someone anti-traditional and anti-establishment in it? Wow. The F/OSS culture is completely based on redefining what is "evil", so how could you have possibly expected to run into someone who actually does that very thing, right?

Re:Holy dogcow! (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29775095)

I didn't say anything about being surprised, I just found it interesting.
 
But more to your point, I don't think he really fits into the context you paint. He's a consultant that creates solutions using software that happens to be FOSS. But he himself is in the middle of a very traditional business model and his initial approach to the situation was exactly what I would expect from anyone in his line of work.
 
But I really wasn't surprised, just a little disappointed.

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