Sunday, September 5, 2010


I've been asked to try an interesting project by professor Paul Rinzler of Cal Poly University in California. He suggested a written discussion using Google Docs where we can both make comments and work together on it. The subject we agreed on is "THE ARGUMENT FROM DIVINE HIDDENNESS - Is God Hiding or Does He Not Exist?" It should be very interesting we have agreed on the rules and have agreed to make the rules fluid and compromise if needed. With his help, I have figured out how to post the document in a blog post (this one in fact, below) such that as we edit the Google Doc the most recent version is displayed here. IF you want to follow the discussion just go to the Google Docs page, linked directly below. I've also pasted the rules we agreed to below.

1. We agree on a specific point of contention between atheist and Christian (for instance, the argument from divine hiddenness, whether Jesus was resurrected, etc.).
2. One of us offers the first argument for or against, and the other responds.
3. Each argument that we offer is outlined in the Google Document, indented beneath the specific argument to which it is responding.
4. Each contribution to the document would contain a single, summary sentence as a header, followed by explanatory and amplifying paragraphs.
5. No name-calling nor disrespectful language. We can disagree without being disagreeable.
6. We cite sources and references and The Bible (any translation; or Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic manuscripts) are to be considered a source about what Christians believe throughout history.
7. Calling a Biblical interpretation or source into question is allowed.
8. When one of us wants to stop, the project will stop. There are no restrictions on the maximum number of days to respond as well as the end date, as each of us is merely doing this voluntarily.
9. No opening or closing remarks, as it doesn't serve the purpose of the project, which is exactly to keep track of every single point and counter-point on the topic in a logical fashion. While it is a type of debate, some features of traditional debates would be counter-productive. Instead we will have a short introduction written by both of us, introducing ourselves.
10. We agree to a topic and stick to it. I liked your suggestion regarding God's Hiddenness. We can phrase the topic thus: "Is God Hiding or Does He Not Exist?"
11. The Google document would be publishable by anyone of us on blogs, websites, or print
12. We both have equal access to the document.
13. We will go by first names.
14. Anyone can view the document, yet only you and I can edit it, we can ask others - friends, other online Christians and atheists - to look at the argument and suggest replies and counter-points to what is there. That way, we can tap into the collective wisdom (hopefully it's wisdom) of our respective communities. When someone else makes what you or I think is a good point, then you or I can then add that point to the document (only if we think it is a good point - you still retain control over the Christian side, and I still retain control over the atheist side). If we quote someone else we will attribute the quote to that person.
15. If either of us have an questions about a comment we will send each other e-mail before responding or asking the questions in the post.
Paul Rinzler has been professional, cordial, considerate, and kind in his dealings with me. This has been a much welcomed change in pace. His comments have also been thoughtful, although I disagree. I'm gonna enjoy this.
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