OK these aren’t rules, just suggestions if you find them helpful :-)
Phrase it as a question: This group is called ‘Christians with Questions’ for a reason. Stating your views as authoritative can make it difficult to have an open and accepting discussion. Posing questions can make your point in a way that is respectful because it leaves your views open for revision.
This is an intellectual exercise. We often discuss topics that we will never come to any agreement on or develop firm conclusions regarding. No one is expected to change their deeply held convictions. Our intent is to learn from one another about all the different shadings of belief that exist among followers of Christ.
Do not state your views if you are unable to deal with having them respectfully challenged. Remember that having your core assumptions questioned is the best way to find out if you have a strong basis for them.
We are attempting something that is very difficult – to create a community out of disagreement. While we have our love for Jesus in common, we have little else. Most Christians in this case would separate and form different denominations. We have chosen to meet one another across denominational borders to see what we can learn from one another.
“Because the Bible says so” is not a sufficient reason for anything. This is not because we disrespect the Bible here. Contrarily, it is because we believe that what the Bible says is not arbitrary that we look for the logic and the heart behind the scriptures. If we do not attempt to understand this logic we may be consenting to an arbitrary view of God.
- Is the Bible still to be taken literally in all ways and all days? If it's not, then how do we deal with the Pandora's box that opens for us? - Is the institution of marriage still applicable in our culture as it was in the Bible? - Is evolution really contradictory to Christian beliefs? - Is being Christian a box you check on a form or a process you go through? - Is everyone who does not check that box going to Hell? - What is sin really? - Why is sex the hottest area of contention and focus of our ideas of sin?
Most importantly, where can we discuss these questions without fear and without being judged? Let me be clear - this is not an anti-Christian group. There are plenty of Meetup groups for people who are exploring New Thought and New Age or who are 'recovering from religion'. This is for people who are deeply committed to Christ, but can't stop asking questions that they are afraid to ask in church or are not satisfied with the answers they get. This is not a venue to preach an alternate theology that I have read or formulated. I will not be teaching, only moderating a discussion among equals.
That said, this is also not a meetup for those of you with all the answers to come and set us all straight. Pointing to the Bible and saying it's true because it says it's true will be considered circular reasoning in this group. This is a meetup for people of faith who need to explore the questions of faith and culture and human development without fear; for people who can disagree without being disagreeable.