Free Intelligent Conversation

(Spectrumbot) #1

Andrews University students launched “Free Intelligent Conversation” three years ago and it’s grown into an international trend with people in cities from Illinois to Italy and everywhere in between participating. In this TEDx video, Kyle Emile discusses why he and some friends started the movement and how the world benefits from intelligent conversations.

He says, “My working definition of intelligence is that we think everyone is intelligent. More important than the collected information we have is the life experience we each possess. And because we each have this unique combination of life experiences, we always have something to share, and we always have something to learn from someone else. It’s when these experiences are shared that intelligent conversation takes place.”

Watch the TEDx video below and then join the movement by starting your own free intelligent conversation.

More information on Free Intelligent Conversation can be found on their website or by following them on Twitter at @freeic.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Thomas J Zwemer) #2

An intelligent conversation is the happening in an encounter between a new idea and receptive minds. The art is the ability to listen, to ponder before responding.

An example of an idea running amuck is the recent pronouncement by Franklin Graham. he sets forth the proposition that America is a Christian nation there for the Jews on the Supreme Court should recluse themselves on the issue of gay marriage. first he gets his view of Gays from Jewish writings, second America is not a Christian nation, it is a nation in which church and state are separate. thus, real dialogue on a compelling issue is dampened because the parameters are biased by faulty definitions of the substrates to the issue.,

Would it not be better to first discover the civil reasons for the state to recognize The cohabitation of same sex couples.

it seems that this type of conversation is needed in in a world so on edge over a wide range of issues.

Just maybe be if we all started with Abraham we could find kinship. For in him all nations can be blest. Tom Z

(Ron Simpson) #3

I don’t need to listen to you I know you are wrong. After all God agrees with me and God is perfect.

In some parts of the world “I am a child of Abraham” opens doors.

(Allen Shepherd) #4

There is a Christian foundation to our nation. The founders had at least a background in Christianity, and the colonies had often Christian roots.

But we were not like the European powers were there were established churches. So, though with definite Christian roots, we did not establish a church. Those that deny we have such roots or ignore them do not give the due honor for such a wonderful result.

But gay marriage has other problems beside its denial of Christian roots. There are sociological reasons to disallow it. And one has to recognize that it has not been adopted, that I know of, anywhere else in human history, or if so has been very seldom seen. Could there not be a good reason for that, besides “bigotry”? I think so.

But there is such a “bigotry” among the supporters that to oppose is to risk your job and livelihood. Not many want that. The “mob” is acting like the beast power of Rev. 13.

(Ron Simpson) #5

Sit in church and say something, not against gays, and see the mob in action. (Job and fellowship)

Sorry I need to say something Intelligent; TED talk on David & Goliath Good sabbath talk.

(Andreas Bochmann) #6

Amazing - how creative ideas come around again and again. Almost 40 years ago a young German pastor (Werner Renz) started hitting the streets with signs for “Freier Gedankenaustausch” … (free thought exchange) and started off a trend in Adventist street evangelism as well as thousands of thoughtful conversations. Actually, he used a series of “icons” (remember - no internet 40 years ago) as a starting point.

Creativity at its best - well worth repeating.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #7

read the constitution! Moreover, Franklin and others get their anathema to gay marriage from The Books of Moses. how Jewish can one get? Tom Z

(Thomas J Zwemer) #8

You jest and then misunderstand, are you just trying to top me, mock me, or agree with me. at least it is not being received here with any comprehension. Tom Z

(Ron Simpson) #9

Tom, You must be talking about me.
The comment above me was about; outside the church you say something against Gays and the mob attacks, and that is wrong. "risk your job"
I was pointing out; inside the church you say something pro-Gays and the mob attacks.

The common thing ‘the mob attacks’. I am not for or against. I think both sides are so invested that there can not be ‘Intelligent Conversation’.

I find intelligent conversation at TED.COM on about any subject.

(Steve Mga) #10

I think we have to be careful in the area of:-
"Sociological Reasons To Disallow"
In Hayneville, Alabama in the 40s and 50s many White residents thought there were “sociological reasons to disallow” blacks to become “Too Successful” financially, socially.
There were a number of Blacks who were hung, who were shot and left on the roadside for the animals to eat, just because they became too “successful”.
Some of the White Residents said to themselves We cant allow that. And, they didnt.

Regarding Jewishness. There are as many different styles of Jewish worship available as there are Mainline Protestant Denominations. Each Jewish Denomination has differences in “rules”. Some Jewish Denominations DO ACCEPT women Rabbis, DO ACCEPT GLs as members of the congregation in good standing.

(Winona Winkler Wendth) #11

The “Christian” foundation of our nation might not be what many think it is. To begin with, the cultural (social, economic, religious, sexual, aesthetic) norms of those who settled in Virginia, for example, were hardly what those were in Massachusetts. And even then, Winthrop’s original “City on a Hill,” speech/document was a Calvinist statement that nonetheless encouraged what today we call “Socialism” in the name of his Christian principles. The Founding Fathers (!) were deists and rationalists who read Voltaire and other Enlightenment writings and eschewed the Puritan notions of the Christian church as a theocracy—the theocracy who silenced and banished anyone who disagreed, from Anne Hutchinson to Roger Williams. Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Amsterdam were settled by various non-English peoples whose Christianity—from the entrepreneurs in New Amsterdam to the Friends in Pennsylvania, practiced a very different kind of religion from that we think of as “Christian” today. And then, we have the Jesuits in California, the Russians in the Northwest. Not your kind of Christian, although certainly highly sexualized and gendered. And if you want to talk about being a “Christian” nation, let’s stop and recall that the Biblical permission to rape and pillage Canaan was encouraged here, and these “Christians” murdered millions of people who were here first, and then enslaved others who were brought over here. What, exactly, is “at least a background in Christianity” and what does that look like? As the greatest political experiment in the history of the world, our government’s prominent legacy is the uncoupling of religion from civil rights and responsibility. Some of the Constitution was modeled on the Iroquois government, some from the deistic and atheistic notion of the French Rationalists. On the last remark: Gay marriage (those who support gay marriages?) does not deny any Christian roots among those gay men and women who are Christians.

(le vieux) #12

One of the founding fathers (can’t remember which one) pointed out that our system of government would not really work in culture without a Judeo-Christian ethic. We seen this in our attempts to export our ideas of democracy outside the so-called Western world. Even though professed Christians are not always paragons of virtue, there was a time when most people in the US had a background which included some Biblical knowledge. That is no longer the case today. The basic principles of Christianity were accepted as normal, whether one abided by them or not. I think that’s what is meant by a “background in Christianity.”

(Winona Winkler Wendth) #13

Well, yes, I’m sure that’s right. But even then, he used the term “Judeo-Christian,” which brings this part of the conversation into the center: By the time one boils down what one refers to as “Christian,” and belief in the salvific power of Christ is not necessarily part of that, then what we have left is common to many other beliefs, including many indigenous Americans, many Asians of all stripes, Muslims, and other believers—basic human decency and respect for others. Not all corners of all religions believe or practice this, but many do outside the Christian faith (the “Judeo” part of “Judeo-Christian,” for example). Intra-gender relationships have been problematic to any number of religions (but tolerated among some), so to say that, in this case, the “Christian” ethic is unique doesn’t work well; certainly, using that as a platform for politics especially doesn’t work. Americans do “have a background” in Christianity, and certainly, in a Protestant culture, which, in turn (ironically) would not have been possible absent the beginnings of technology (the printing press), which, in turn, was energized by the thinkers writing during the Age oF Reason. And simple cold weather had a lot to do with the generation and spread of Protestantism. So we can safely say that this is a nation whose roots are in Rationalism and industry and whose “background” is in reason just as well. But that’s an observation more than an argument. And of course, this brings us to the next question: “So?”

(Ron Simpson) #14

One of the buttons on the truck radio is “Catholic Radio”. They said they don’t recognize non-Catholic marriages. Maybe there is C-marriages, and P-marriages and courthouse marriages. I did the Adventist marriage and then did the courthouse paperwork. So married twice. Church and government. The courthouse marriage is a contract between two people and the government with no (support or denial) of any religion.

I know people that had a church wedding and did not tell the government. They file taxes as singles for dollar reasons. (contract with God not government)

I don’t see how a courthouse wedding of two consenting adults adversely effects Christians. (contract with government) I can see why Adventists won’t marry Gays, much like Adventists won’t marry Catholics.

(Allen Shepherd) #15

Here is a blurb from wiki about the founding father’s region. Pretty much Christian. And the milieu was truly Christian pretty much everywhere. But they did separate church and state. Have you read any of John Adam’s letters? they show the thinking then:

Lambert (2003) has examined the religious affiliations and beliefs of the Founders. Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics (D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons).[18] Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.[18]

A few prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical Christians such as Thomas Jefferson,[19][20][21] who constructed the Jefferson Bible, and Benjamin Franklin.[22] Others, notably Thomas Paine, who challenged institutionalized religion in The Age of Reason,[23] were deists, or held beliefs very similar to those of deists.[24]

Historian Gregg L. Frazer argues that the leading Founders (Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Wilson, Morris, Madison, Hamilton, and Washington) were neither Christians nor Deists, but rather supporters of a hybrid “theistic rationalism”.[25]

Now, that all sounds pretty Christian to me, with few diets etc. Sure Voltaire was read, but the Bible as well. I argued that we were not a Christian nation, but had a foundation there. check my post.

(Kim Green) #16

Actually the state gives the power to the minister to marry couples…it is still fundamentally a civil service held within a church.

(Winona Winkler Wendth) #17

The observation I was making is that Rationalist is really what most people mean by “Christian” when we talk about the Founding Fathers and the predominant American culture, even though a small minority of those were Catholic (we must now allow for the grand anti-Catholic streak in American culture). That Americans have been influenced by Protestantism and (still) lead by a WASP establishment is true, but the culture we share is one of individualism. Even allowing that our culture is predominantly Christian doesn’t work when we make cases against headship and gay issues (which, in turn, are as much about headship as anything else) because so many Christian denominations have come to terms with that in ways others believe are unBiblical; they read the same Bible and have adequately educated and trained theologians and pastors. Statistically, the least progressive Christians are most concerned with individual rights, especially concerning material holdings. These constituencies are more interested in Adam Smith than Jesus. We are a nation of Christian-ish people, not a Christian nation. Religion is the handmaiden to social need and does not really define a person and his/her thinking so much as his or her social and familial circumstances; typically, people run to scripture to defend what they find necessary in their own lives. Our roots are rationalist and individualist, Protestantism came along as a handy religious nutrient.

(Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13) #18

What’s happened to the two intelligent conversations re: Pastor Jennifer Scott?

(Winona Winkler Wendth) #19

This may be a response to a request from Ptr. Scott. Should this be a personal issue, she should be given space without speculation or argument. In her defense, whatever the situation, she might be taking a higher road by not wanting to be politicized (nearly impossible because whatever is the case, the congregation and Conference probably did not cut her as much slack as they would have a man). On the other hand, the Conference may have asked for this conversation to be withdrawn (although that’s not a very high road). What the Conference said is a canned response to just about any infraction or disagreement, so we learn nothing from that save that they don’t want to be sued. If this is, in fact, a personal issue I would want to leave her alone. I have, of course, spent a good half-hour theorizing, but am choosing to keep those theories to myself. But yes: We’re waiting for a Spectrum response.

(Joe Erwin) #20

Many of my ancestors were in America during the colonial and revolutionary periods. There was much religious intolerance during the early times, and many of the settlers came to America to escape religious persecution of one kind or another. I imagine that we all know that.

A game changer for me, though, has come from tracing my family history and discovering the role religion played in the lives of many of my ancestors.

Good examples include some ancestors who in protestant Netherlands who were ostracized by their protestant Christian neighbors for inviting a Catholic priest into their home (mid-1600s). They apparently came to America to get away from their intolerant neighbors. In America they were involved in establishing and promoting the Dutch Reformed Church, and “Low Dutch” communities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.

In Massachusetts, some of my ancestors were falsely accused and convicted of witchcraft. Some close relatives were executed. Others were flogged by their “puritan” neighbors for holding discussions in their homes about baptism. They left and established Rhode Island and the American Baptist movement. Roger Williams was a direct ancestor. Other puritans expelled one ancestor, who left and embraced The Friends (Quaker) movement.

In Maryland, which had been established by the Calverts as a Roman Catholic colony, one of my ancestors was appointed as the first protestant governor of the colony. He was Anglican, i.e., English Catholic, which was not good enough for the puritan protestants. When he signed articles of religious tolerance (around 1650) the puritans took up arms against him, captured, and imprisoned him.

And so it went, on and on for many generations, with religious intolerance causing many problems. That was the context in which The Founders needed to craft a cohesive and united collection of states. Religious freedom and tolerance was adopted to avoid endless devisive strife.