Recently, it has occurred to me that some basic rules of conduct need to be in place for the Cerebral Faith blog. These rules are just basic rules of conduct that shouldn’t have to be said because they are basic to any reasonable discussion. Ever since I started Cerebral Faith in 2012, I have had an open comment section because I gladly welcome pushback and debate. But to really ensure that fruitful dialogue takes place, just a small handful of rules need to be enforced. Breaking of these rules will result in 3 warnings, followed by a ban, and possibly deleted comments. 3 Strikes and you’re out.

1: No Personal Attacks On Me Or Other Posters.

If you disagree with what I or another commenter have said, give a counter-argument. Rebut or refute what we said. Do not substitute a sound argument with a personal attack. For example, if I have written a post defending the resurrection of Jesus, address my actual arguments as opposed to saying “You did not convert to belief in the resurrected Jesus due to evidence. You converted because you were in an emotionally dark hole for four years. The idea that you could ask God the Creator to live inside your body and that he would then give you hope, peace, comfort, and life guidance seemed like the only way out. It worked for you.” (this is an actual comment here, sadly). That is not a counter-argument, my friend. Neither are comments like “You only believe The Bible because it makes you less afraid of death.” Again, not an argument. “You’re so biased. You will never change your mind. Hyuck! Hyuck! You’re just brainwashed!” Again, not an argument. Whatever you may think of me as a person, rightly or wrongly, it doesn’t change the soundness of the argument. I’m not saying you always have to say things in a gentle tone (though that would be great), what I am saying is that you should not post a series of ad hominem or genetic fallacies in substitution of an actual argument. I’m also not saying there isn’t a place for questioning one’s motives. I’ve done this before with a variation of the Frank Turek question “If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?” However, 9 out of 10 times this is done at the end of a lengthy discussion or series of discussions where I’ve been given some reason to suspect that this might not be a purely intellectual issue for the skeptic. And even then, it’s not an accusation, it’s an inquiry. If you would, just say yes and we’ll move on. I do not hold skeptics of Christianity to a different standard than I hold myself.

2: No Endless Barrage Of Objections.

You shall not post a long rant of various different objections to Christianity on a variety of different issues in a single setting. I like to call this “The Gatling Gun Tactic”. It would take me much longer to do justice to one question or objection than it takes you to raise it. So, if the problem of evil bothers you, read my blog articles on the problem of evil and if you still have lingering doubts or concerns post those in the comment section of one of the problem of evil posts. Likewise, if you can’t see how The Bible and mainstream science can co-exist, read some of my posts on Genesis 1 or Adam and Eve, maybe some articles on The Kalam Cosmological Argument, and leave your questions pertaining to what I wrote about in those posts. Or again, maybe the doctrine of Hell trips you up. Same thing. But don’t write your skeptical 99 theses in a single comment on a single post. Pick a topic, post your question or objection, and I’ll answer it. I don’t plan on going anywhere. We can have lots of discussions on lots of different issues over a prolonged period of time. There is no need to post every single objection to Christianity that you have in a single sitting.

3: Don’t Spam The Comment Section.

Related to the previous one, don’t post so many comments on this site at one time. The skeptical commenter who moved me to even make this rule posted 18 comments on one of my articles over the course of a single day. My phone was going crazy with all the Jetpack notifications. Trust me, nothing would please me more than to be able to sit around all day and talk to people about theological matters. Unfortunately, I have a day job and other things outside of the internet that require my attention. So I need you to pick a post, leave your questions or objections and wait for me to respond. Preferably all in one comment. I think WordPress does have a character limit, but you pretty much have to write a book before it cuts you off. I’m not saying you can only leave one comment a day. I don’t have a hard and fast rule for determining what is spam, but I think if my phone goes off every 5 minutes all day long, that is a clear-cut example! There is a point in which you should just use common sense. Maybe if you suspect “Gosh, I sure have left a lot of comments on the site today”, you might need to cut back and wait for me to start responding before you leave any more.

4: Address Relevant Material.

If the article is about the resurrection of Jesus, don’t bring up creation and evolution. If the article is old and either expresses a view I no longer hold, or defends an argument I no longer am interested in using, then don’t insist on arguing that. How will you know if an article is outdated? Simple. I’ll just tell you and redirect you to something more current. You’d only be considered breaking this rule if you continue to, say, argue against The Minimal Facts Argument for the resurrection of Jesus after I’ve told you 3 times that I’m much more interested in The Maximal Data Argument. I rarely delete old articles unless it’s either very poorly written or there’s no redeeming value to them. For example, if the entire post is defending something I no longer believe. It would be hard to track down every sentence in an article that briefly expresses something I no longer hold. If something in 2018 contradicts something I wrote in 2024, just infer that I likely changed my mind during that period.

5: No Google Wars.

If you can’t defend your beliefs yourself, maybe you shouldn’t be pontificating on it. I’m not saying you can’t post external links at all, but they should only be in contexts like “If you’d like a more in-depth treatment of what I’ve said here, check out this video/article” or “I talk about Y more in this article I wrote”. What I’m forbidding here is linking to sites as a complete and total substitution for making an argument yourself. I myself will sometimes link to articles or videos (usually something I wrote myself) for such purposes as interested readers going deeper. Like I said, I won’t hold you to a standard stricter than I hold myself.

That’s All For Now.

These shouldn’t be too difficult or cumbersome to follow. Indeed, people for the majority of this blog’s existence have followed them unconsciously without being asked to, because this is just how true intellectuals conduct themselves. But, there’s always intellectually dishonest people who actually need to be told what’s good online discussion etiquette. And now that there’s official rules in place, I don’t need to be worried about getting accused of censorship for banning people or deleting comments (something I RARELY need to do). I won’t censor you for holding different views. You can pretty much say whatever you want by way of disagreement as long as you follow these 5 rules of engagement. Just as there are rules of engagement when two armies go to battle, there also need to be rules of engagement when two schools of thought clash.

If I find the need to post more rules, I will do so. But I think as long as people follow the 5 here, we will all be much happier and will have much better dialogues. The takeaway point is this; It’s not that you disagree, it’s how you disagree.