I started working for BioLogos part-time in the fall of 2013 as the Content Manager for the resources on the website. One of the earliest decisions I made with the editorial team was to discontinue the comments section on blog posts. None of the other origins organizations had them, and it took a lot of work on our part to keep the conversations civil.
What a mistake! After announcing the decision, we heard from scores of disappointed people about how important it is for there to be a place where they can discuss these issues. So, two days later we reversed the decision and aimed instead to invest some money and a lot of time into making the comments section more sustainable.
What we now call The BioLogos Forum is not a perfect place, but it is pretty remarkable compared to the vast majority of sites on the internet where people respond to articles and to each other. There is a genuine community of people on the Forum who are seeking truth and engaging hard questions with each other. And for the most part it has remained a place of goodwill and gracious dialogue. The only way this could happen is because of our cadre of volunteer moderators who spend hours (and hours and hours!) interacting with users and enforcing our guidelines. A massive “Thank You” to them.
On the occasion of our 10 year anniversary of the website going public, I started a thread on the Forum, asking for reflection from our users on why they spend time there. Here are some of the responses:
This is a community for me. There aren’t enough people within physical / or scheduling proximity to me that I can carry on discussions of matters of the mind and soul very often. But this forum community offers all of that in a way that a person can check in whenever they want, respond whenever they want, or just percolate on what others have brought.
I live in a semi-rural conservative area, and even those I know who agree with Evolutionary Creation in my church are reluctant to discuss it for fear of conflict. I have also seen kids grow up in the church then leave when they realized the young earth beliefs taught them were false, and rejected the church along with them. In addition, I have learned a lot about science from scientists just hanging around here, as well an broadening my experience with the international community who participate on the forum.
I have found nothing which could compare with the work that BioLogos has done in order to give young religious and scientifically interested people the tools to fit both under one hat. I am grateful for that. Although I disagree with several aspects on the philosophical side here I particularly enjoy the perspectives presented on scientific topics from a deeply christian background. I think it has proven its worth in a time where anti-theistic people have been the media’s shooting stars.
I really appreciate having the homeschool section here too because that’s another community that leans heavily toward YEC (at least from what I’ve seen), so it’s great to have a place where I can ask questions I can’t ask anywhere else, and also listen to others’ questions and discussions. I have really enjoyed learning about and from the other people here – those with scientific expertise as well as those who are lay people like me. It’s especially nice when someone asks a question I didn’t even know I also had.
I came to BioLogos three years ago to research the same trend that prompted Dr. Collins to found the organization – young people abandoning the faith. While the overall problem has many facets (see Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church), the false dichotomy between faith and science is causing untold damage to the church in the United States. Within the next four or five years, “No Religion” will be the largest religion in the country. How many millions have lost faith because they were taught a lie, because they were told they had to choose between evolution and the Bible? That is the thought that keeps me coming back, and also keeps me awake at night.
I’m here because I appreciate the level of sincerity people bring to what they write, at least in the great majority of instances. I’m not really religious but I recognize something of value in a believer’s feeling of connectedness and rapport with something beyond themselves… I also have a layperson’s appreciation of science and greatly enjoy discussions which bring me up to date on current discoveries. That so many with the appropriate background are willing to take the time to break things down for the rest of us is a real bonus. There are a good number of posters whose thinking I respect a good deal and who I simply like as people. I know it takes a lot effort to ‘police’ a website to the degree necessary to ensure respectful dialogue. This site has many who do it well and give generously of their time.
I appreciate the ability to talk about science in a safe place with those who are willing to treat each other kindly, despite deep feelings about things we even may disagree on. It’s iron sharpening iron at its best, with the moderators ensuring we use the iron appropriately.
If you’re looking for a place to discuss topics about science and Christian faith, without fear that you’ll be treated poorly, consider joining the Forum. You’ll find a wide range of topics being discussed (except we don’t do politics!): from the recent articles we’ve posted, to questions from people who don’t see how to reconcile evolution with Christian faith, to people struggling with crises of faith, to home schoolers looking for resources. You can join in the fun, or simply watch other people discuss.
We are committed to keeping the Forum an important part of the BioLogos website.