If you wish to comment here, please follow these guidelines. Since truth and love go together, make sure that your comments arise from a genuine love for the persons about whom (or to whom) you are speaking. It is a good habit to pray for the person you are writing to (or about) both before and after you write your comment. Pray that you will be united with this person in the Body of Christ. If you are criticizing another participant’s claim or position, address your criticism to that person in the second-person; don’t speak about that person in the third-person. Speaking about another participant as though that person is not present is impolite, and suggests that you wish only to criticize a person, and not to be reconciled with that person in the truth.
This is to be a forum wherein unity is pursued in the context of humility, charity, respect and prayer. For that reason, ad hominems are not allowed. That means that you may not criticize or insult or belittle or judge or mock any person, his character, intelligence, education, background, or motivations. Attacking persons is fallacious and uncharitable and will not be permitted here. If you are wondering why your comment was not posted, the most likely reason is that it contained some ad hominem.
Another common fallacy related to the ad hominem fallacy is the genetic fallacy, wherein a person’s argument or claim is dismissed because of its source. An argument is not refuted, nor is a position falsified, merely by its source. One common form of this fallacy is labeling a position (or its source), and then dismissing it on account of its label, instead of its own merits. An argument or position is not refuted by a label. In order to evaluate what is under the label, we have to evaluate the positions and arguments underlying such terms. If you disagree with a claim or argument, please do not merely belittle or disparage it; show exactly why it is flawed. Also, please avoid imperatives and other patronizing or disrespectful forms of address (e.g. all caps).
In addition, abide by the principle of parsimony. Keep your comments as short as possible. A three thousand word comment, that could be summed up with no substantive loss, in three hundred words, is bad form. Please refrain from posting multiple comments in succession; take the time to think through carefully what you want to say, then say it in one comment, and then wait for replies. The CTC combox is a forum for dialogue, not a personal soap-box. This requires self-discipline and restraint from all participants.
Comments also should be substantive, unless they are questions; the CTC comment box is not the place for drive-by one-liners or ‘sound-byte’ mode of engagement, which are not authentic forms of dialogue. Nor is the combox merely for the exchange of unsupported assertions, because that sort of activity is not fruitful for resolving disagreements. This is a forum for the charitable exchange and evaluation of evidence and argumentation, through which the underlying reasons for our disagreements can be brought to light and mutually evaluated. For more on the nature of authentic ecumenical dialogue, see “Virtue and Dialogue: Ecumenism and the Heart.”
Note also that the comment boxes at CTC are for discussing the corresponding posts or articles, not a forum for merely voicing one’s opinion or expressing oneself. Please stay on topic. Fruitful dialogue requires disciplining ourselves to focus on the topic in question, rather than allowing ourselves to engage in the ‘throw everything at the other person and hope something sticks’ approach. That’s debate, not dialogue.
Finally, criticisms of positions, refutations of arguments, and falsifications of claims are allowed. Remember, be charitable! The quest for truth and abiding in charity go together. Remember that as Christians we are all bound by St. Paul’s imperative that we are not to let come forth from our mouths [or keyboards] any word that is worthless/harmful, but only a word that is good for needed edification, so that it may give grace to those who hear. (Eph. 4:29)
A comment may be disallowed for any of the following reasons:
- It contains an ad hominem attack
- It contains vulgarity, profanity, objectionable material, or links thereto
- It is unrelated to the thread and/or causes a distraction from the topic
- It is of a personal nature (please use our contact form for personal communication)
Effective 10/23/2009: in an effort to ensure greater focus on the topic at hand, and to avoid unhelpful debates, we are now moderating every comment by non-CTC members. Please be patient with us. If your comment is within the above guidelines, it will be approved as soon as possible.