[sword-devel] Open Content Creation

Jeffrey Malbisse sword-devel@crosswire.org
Thu, 01 Feb 2001 16:24:29 -0500

>I am confused.  What connection is there between development methodology
>and the willingness (and mandate) to fight heresy?  I see no reason to
>tolerate heretic developers any more than I would heretic ushers willing to
>guide people to their seats in Church...

Online Bible is currently having a very big problem with this exact issue 
through the unofficial users groups TOLBSS.  One of the co-moderators of 
that site recently put up a separate page for "Heretical Works," and defined 
"heretical" as anything that is not in complete agreement with 
fundamentalist Christianity (his persuasion).  That, of course, means that 
anything Roman Catholic, as well as anything Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, 
or any other mainline denomination is immediately defined as "heretical."  
He did not seem to be aware that about half of the material currently posted 
on his site already is outside of the fundamentalist camp.

Overall, OLB is facing this problem to an even greater extent now that Larry 
has allowed Bible modules to be user-compiled in the latest release of his 
program.  How do you prevent someone from offering the New World 
translation?  Or "The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ?"  Or anything else, 
for that matter?  Already, a web page with some Russellite material, as well 
as Great Pyramid(!) prophecy, has been put up.

This seems to me to be like the next phase in the whole "problem" that 
started when Gutenberg started printing books.  How do you control things?  
Can anyone, even if they wanted to?  Who makes the decisions on what is 
"heretical" and what is normative?  Longstanding online friendships at 
TOLBSS broke up when the group that had been working happily together on 
getting books scanned, corrected and posted suddenly started calling each 
other cultists and heretics.

How do you make the decision of who is a heretic and who isn't?  Let's face 
it, in terms of historical continuity and sheer numbers, anyone who is not a 
Roman Catholic is outside of "normative" Christianity.  (I'm not Catholic 
myself, by the way.  Just stating a statistical fact.)  Do you decide it 
instead based on purity of the Gospel messsage?  I think that the Lutherans 
and the Baptists might fight each other to a draw on that one without 
conceding defeat to each other.  How about purity of worship style?  The 
Orthodox and the Anglicans would both want to claim that honor, while 
excluding most other people.  What about those who say that it's simple to 
tell whose right, just see if they are "filled with the Holy Spirit."

Which set of fundamentals are really fundamental, and what gives any of us 
the right to make that decision for anyone other than ourselves?

Anybody connected with the Sword Project feel eager to weigh in an decide 
which Christians are "right" and which are "heretics" in an official way.  
Anybody here feel comfortable with letting anyone who >is< eager actually 
make those decisions in the name of the Project?

Is this really a profitable direction for the Sword Project to move in?  It 
seems to me to be the quickest way to undermine any real progress that might 
be made.  Just my two cents.

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