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Shaker

And that just about wraps it up for the Alpha course ...

Sceptics attending Alpha courses is nothing new or unusual and neither is blogging about it, but Alpha Course:Reviewed by Stephen Butterfield is in a class all of its own. A blog of beauty.
SusanDoris

Re: And that just about wraps it up for the Alpha course ...

admin. wrote:
Sceptics attending Alpha courses is nothing new or unusual and neither is blogging about it, but Alpha Course:Reviewed by Stephen Butterfield is in a class all of its own. A blog of beauty.

Yes, a very good read. I have just listened to this week 11 post and posted a comment. I wonder whether he used a tape recorder in order to be accurate about what people said?
foolfodder

Re: And that just about wraps it up for the Alpha course ...

admin. wrote:
Sceptics attending Alpha courses is nothing new or unusual and neither is blogging about it, but Alpha Course:Reviewed by Stephen Butterfield is in a class all of its own. A blog of beauty.


I need to stop reading it so i can get up in the morning, but it's kind of engrossing. Come on me, be strong!
Farmer Geddon

Bookmarked and downloaded to read later.
david_geoffrey

Why did he bother?  :roll:
SusanDoris

david_geoffrey wrote:
Why did he bother? †:roll:

Probably because he thinks that the Alpha course should be challenged, strongly and regularly.
david_geoffrey

SusanDoris wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:
Why did he bother? †:roll:

Probably because he thinks that the Alpha course should be challenged, strongly and regularly.
Why? What is it to him?

And if he joined the course simply to sneer and show how clever he thinks he is then I think it is small minded and arrogant of him.

As well as probably being decietful as he recorded the conversations - and bet he didn't tell people that he was going to publish them all.
The Littlest Homo

david_geoffrey wrote:
As well as probably being decietful as he recorded the conversations - and bet he didn't tell people that he was going to publish them all.


What does it matter? Are they saying things they shouldn't be?!
Shaker

david_geoffrey wrote:
SusanDoris wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:
Why did he bother? †:roll:

Probably because he thinks that the Alpha course should be challenged, strongly and regularly.
Why? What is it to him?

If taken to a logical conclusion that would mean nobody should ever express any negative or dissenting opinion on politics or football teams, surely? Presumably this man thinks that Alpha courses promulgate things which he feels shouldn't be and which should be challenged - that's his right, isn't it? He seems to be doing it in a sparklingly clear, forthright but polite, affable and even friendly manner. He isn't being boorish, offensive, obstructive or disruptive - what's the problem?
david_geoffrey

The Littlest Homo wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:
As well as probably being decietful as he recorded the conversations - and bet he didn't tell people that he was going to publish them all.


What does it matter? Are they saying things they shouldn't be?!
So you would be happy if someone recorded your conversation without asking you and then posted up what you said, with added comments, onto a publically accessed website?
david_geoffrey

admin. wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:
SusanDoris wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:
Why did he bother? †:roll:

Probably because he thinks that the Alpha course should be challenged, strongly and regularly.
Why? What is it to him?

If taken to a logical conclusion that would mean nobody should ever express any negative or dissenting opinion on politics or football teams, surely? Presumably this man thinks that Alpha courses promulgate things which he feels shouldn't be and which should be challenged - that's his right, isn't it? He seems to be doing it in a sparklingly clear, forthright but polite, affable and even friendly manner. He isn't being boorish, offensive, obstructive or disruptive - what's the problem?
I'm not saying he shouldn't but I still wonder why someone should bother?

That's my right, isn't it? :wink:
SusanDoris

david_geoffrey wrote:
Why? What is it to him?

As it was to me maybe - a course designed to perpetuate a delusion.
Quote:
And if he joined the course simply to sneer and show how clever he thinks he is then I think it is small minded and arrogant of him.

It did not come across to me as arrogant; simply factual. I would much preferred to have stayed in a group to take part in discussion, rather than being asked to be in a smaller group - mainly because my ability to maintain my side of the of the argument was too strong! (Did you read my article?)
Quote:
As well as probably being decietful as he recorded the conversations - and bet he didn't tell people that he was going to publish them all.

Or maybe he did as I did and asked first. It is true mine is a summary, but it would have been far more detailed if I could have taken notes etc.
Shaker

Quote:
I'm not saying he shouldn't but I still wonder why someone should bother?

Already done that one - for the same reason, presumably, that people criticise political parties/policies and football teams - because they are firmly convinced that they are wrong, misguided, whatever word you want to use, and that an opposite point of view should get a hearing.
Quote:
That's my right, isn't it?

Entirely. So that Mr Butterfield's rights satisfied, yours too - surely everybody should be happy now?
david_geoffrey

admin. wrote:
Quote:
I'm not saying he shouldn't but I still wonder why someone should bother?

Already done that one - for the same reason, presumably, that people criticise political parties/policies and football teams - because they are firmly convinced that they are wrong, misguided, whatever word you want to use, and that an opposite point of view should get a hearing.

I'm still not convinced but there we go...
Quote:
Quote:
That's my right, isn't it?

Entirely. So that Mr Butterfield's rights satisfied, yours too - surely everybody should be happy now?
I'm always happy!
david_geoffrey

SusanDoris wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:
Why? What is it to him?

As it was to me maybe - a course designed to perpetuate a delusion.
That of course is a matter of opinion
Quote:
And if he joined the course simply to sneer and show how clever he thinks he is then I think it is small minded and arrogant of him.

Quote:
It did not come across to me as arrogant; simply factual.
Which because of your opinion above, I expect your perception to be different to mine. But actually it was not the tone of what I read that I found arrogant, but his decision to do it in the first place
Quote:
I would much preferred to have stayed in a group to take part in discussion, rather than being asked to be in a smaller group - mainly because my ability to maintain my side of the of the argument was too strong! (Did you read my article?)
Sorry I haven't
Quote:
Quote:
As well as probably being decietful as he recorded the conversations - and bet he didn't tell people that he was going to publish them all.

Or maybe he did as I did and asked first. It is true mine is a summary, but it would have been far more detailed if I could have taken notes etc.
Well he does not mention that he asked, as far as I could see, and as he reports everything else so faithfully I would expect him to have done that too.
The Littlest Homo

david_geoffrey wrote:
So you would be happy if someone recorded your conversation without asking you and then posted up what you said, with added comments, onto a publically accessed website?


Well apart from not particularly liking the sound of my own voice, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest. After all, I haven't anything to hide. Have these people that attend Alpha courses?
david_geoffrey

The Littlest Homo wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:
So you would be happy if someone recorded your conversation without asking you and then posted up what you said, with added comments, onto a publically accessed website?


Well apart from not particularly liking the sound of my own voice, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest. After all, I haven't anything to hide. Have these people that attend Alpha courses?
I'm sure they haven't, but that is not the point, they could be discussing stamp-collecting or Munro-bagging; To me it seems like a gross invasion of privacy, and lacking in common decency.
foolfodder

david_geoffrey wrote:
To me it seems like a gross invasion of privacy, and lacking in common decency.


I have the same instinctive reaction, but I kind of think, if someone had a perfect memory, would it be any different? Looked at like that maybe the recording could be looked at as only an aid for memory, so that he can report with accuracy and not distort someone's words through misremembering events.
Shaker

Quote:
I have the same instinctive reaction, but I kind of think, if someone had a perfect memory, would it be any different? Looked at like that maybe the recording could be looked at as only an aid for memory

Excellent point. Does a mechanical device make it any difference from merely remembering something with a very high degree of accuracy?
david_geoffrey

Up to a point Lord Copper, I guess if you had a "phonographic memory" (?) then you could argue that it would still be as rude to repeat everything verbatim without asking them first...

But I probably need to stop jumping on my high horse so quickly though, Sage  :(  Unless I contact him, something I have no real desire to do, then it is mere speculation on what he said to them or not!
Farmer Geddon

Can't see what your getting all het-up about David.


There are no names mentioned and if he did record the conversations it was obviously for accuracy.....
david_geoffrey

Lucifers Duck wrote:
Can't see what your getting all het-up about David.
There are no names mentioned and if he did record the conversations it was obviously for accuracy.....
You can't see? You can't see the underhand deceitfulness of (if he actually did it without permission) going to a private meeting, recording it without asking the people if it was ok, with the purpose of then posting those conversations with added comments online? You can't see that this is even slightly poor show? Really? Oh well...
The Littlest Homo

david_geoffrey wrote:

You can't see? You can't see the underhand deceitfulness of (if he actually did it without permission) going to a private meeting, recording it without asking the people if it was ok, with the purpose of then posting those conversations with added comments online? You can't see that this is even slightly poor show? Really? Oh well...


I think you are totally over-reacting personally. As has been previously said, no ones names or identities have been revealed (apart from the blog writer) and they were just discussing the bible and christianity.

I think the reason you have a problem with it so much is because you are christian and no doubt a fan of such alpha courses. However, this blog writer obviously wants to show to people what goes on, what is discussed, and what arguments are used when discussing religious issues. The only thing that is sinister in this case, is some of the views of the christians!
Farmer Geddon

A Private meeting?  

What are the Alpha Club - The Opus Dei?
david_geoffrey

The Littlest Homo wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:

You can't see? You can't see the underhand deceitfulness of (if he actually did it without permission) going to a private meeting, recording it without asking the people if it was ok, with the purpose of then posting those conversations with added comments online? You can't see that this is even slightly poor show? Really? Oh well...


I think you are totally over-reacting personally. As has been previously said, no ones names or identities have been revealed (apart from the blog writer) and they were just discussing the bible and christianity.

I think the reason you have a problem with it so much is because you are christian and no doubt a fan of such alpha courses. However, this blog writer obviously wants to show to people what goes on, what is discussed, and what arguments are used when discussing religious issues. The only thing that is sinister in this case, is some of the views of the christians!
Actually no, as I said before I would take exactly the same viewpoint if this was a meeting of the local Entomological Society.

But on the otherhand your defense of his underhanded behaviour and deceietfulness (if that is what happened) is prompted by???
david_geoffrey

Lucifers Duck wrote:
A Private meeting? †

What are the Alpha Club - The Opus Dei?
Not when I last looked...
The Littlest Homo

david_geoffrey wrote:
Actually no, as I said before I would take exactly the same viewpoint if this was a meeting of the local Entomological Society.


Even though no-one has been identified?

david_geoffrey wrote:
But on the otherhand your defense of his underhanded behaviour and deceietfulness (if that is what happened) is prompted by???


The need not to over-react to situations like you seem to be!
david_geoffrey

The Littlest Homo wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:
Actually no, as I said before I would take exactly the same viewpoint if this was a meeting of the local Entomological Society.

But on the otherhand your defense of his underhanded behaviour and deceietfulness (if that is what happened) is prompted by???


The need not to over-react to situations like you seem to be!
Ah, of course
The Littlest Homo

david_geoffrey wrote:
Ah, of course


I think you got it right, when you said the following :

Quote:
But I probably need to stop jumping on my high horse so quickly though
Farmer Geddon

Still can see why it bothers you - I have had a look at the Alpha course UK website and can see nothing that says what was done was wrong..

In fact they propagandise their own views here: http://www.htb.org.uk/alpha/talks-autumn-07

If it is so private why broadcast it?
LornaDoone40

The fact of the meetings is not private, of course not. But the one thing that the organisers always state is that the privacy of those taking part is assured, that anything shared within the group stays within the group.

Sometimes people share some very personal stuff which they may well not want shared outside of the group.

Its a simple respect given to all who take part.
david_geoffrey

Lucifers Duck wrote:
Still can see why it bothers you - I have had a look at the Alpha course UK website and can see nothing that says what was done was wrong..
Yes you are right, and they probably don't say that you shouldn't pee in the dustbin in the corner of the room either do they? Or pull out your penknife and start carving your initials in the dining room table of your hosts. Or sneeze into your hand and wipe it on the back of the person sitting next to you.

Quote:
In fact they propagandise their own views here: http://www.htb.org.uk/alpha/talks-autumn-07

If it is so private why broadcast it?
Can't you see that there is a world of difference between broadcasting your own talk and secretly (if this is what he did) record conversations at a private meeting (if it is not private then what is it) and then post the contents on a website. And I repeat I would be saying exactly the same if this was the local Bottle Brush Collecting Society Annual Meeting
The Littlest Homo

So are the ones complaining about here going to contact the blog writer and ask whether he recorded these meetings, and whether he asked for peoples consent or are you just going to carry on bleating on here about it?
Shaker

Just so as we all know, Stephen Butterfield's blog on the Alpha Course has now come to its end ( †:( †). The issue of recording the conversations came up in the comments, and Mr Butterfield had this to say:
Quote:

At the very beginning of the very first session I asked if it was ok to use my audio recorder, and the group was fine with it. So I havenít been dishonest and I wasnít lying to them ... I didnít need their permission to write a blog about my time spent on the course ... I have intentionally written my review in such a way that the members of the group remain anonymous throughout. Not only are there no names, there isnít even a location.
david_geoffrey

admin. wrote:
Just so as we all know, Stephen Butterfield's blog on the Alpha Course has now come to its end ( †:( †). The issue of recording the conversations came up in the comments, and Mr Butterfield had this to say:
Quote:

At the very beginning of the very first session I asked if it was ok to use my audio recorder, and the group was fine with it. So I havenít been dishonest and I wasnít lying to them ... I didnít need their permission to write a blog about my time spent on the course ... I have intentionally written my review in such a way that the members of the group remain anonymous throughout. Not only are there no names, there isnít even a location.
Yes I suspected this actually, †which is why I have been very careful to put in "if he did this" in my posts, I was as much interested in the passionate defense on his behalf to be honest.

Although having said that, I could not see anything that said if he had told them what he was going to be doing with the recordings - so maybe not lied but he could have been a bit economical with the truth. And so I think my distaste at what he did is still valid.

**EDIT**Has that quote increased in length? There was not the bit about "ask their permission" before, well I think he is kidding himself if he thinks that, and so my view of him has not really changed
Shaker

Quote:
Although having said that, I could not see anything that said if he had told them what he was going to be doing with the recordings - so maybe not lied but he could have been a bit economical with the truth. And so I think my distaste at what he did is still valid

It was unlikely ever to be any other way, wasn't it?
david_geoffrey

admin. wrote:
Quote:
Although having said that, I could not see anything that said if he had told them what he was going to be doing with the recordings - so maybe not lied but he could have been a bit economical with the truth. And so I think my distaste at what he did is still valid

It was unlikely ever to be any other way, wasn't it?
What, because of his viewpoint? I have covered that one already.
The Littlest Homo

david_geoffrey wrote:

What, because of his viewpoint? I have covered that one already.


I think your view point was unlikely to make it any different!
david_geoffrey

The Littlest Homo wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:

What, because of his viewpoint? I have covered that one already.


I think your view point was unlikely to make it any different!
What, one of common decency? I like to think so.
The Littlest Homo

david_geoffrey wrote:

What, one of common decency? I like to think so.


Well it doesn't come over as being decent, rather being over-protective of groups such as Alpha who are looking to push their delusion!
david_geoffrey

The Littlest Homo wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:

What, one of common decency? I like to think so.


Well it doesn't come over as being decent, rather being over-protective of groups such as Alpha who are looking to push their delusion!
I thought I had made it very clear that the milieu was not important. Let me reiterate it one more time with yet another example, one that might resonate with you, if this was a Christian who was blogging from recordings he had made at a private BHA meeting I would feel the same, it crosses the line of common decency. There clear enough for you?

(And delusion? All in the eye of the beholder and all that)
The Littlest Homo

david_geoffrey wrote:
I thought I had made it very clear that the milieu was not important. Let me reiterate it one more time with yet another example, one that might resonate with you, if this was a Christian who was blogging from recordings he had made at a private BHA meeting I would feel the same, it crosses the line of common decency. There clear enough for you?


But I still don't understand why you think it isn't decent for a meeting to be recorded (with permission) and its contents put on a blog without the identities, of those at the meeting, and location disclosed. Your reaction still seems unnecessarily sensitive. But if you are happy with it, I guess we should leave it there!

david_geoffrey wrote:
(And delusion? All in the eye of the beholder and all that)


Well quite. But from the blog, that has just reinforced my view that it is delusional.
Farmer Geddon

It wouldn't bother me if a Christian taped and blogged a BHA meeting.

Aren't AC meetings held in public places?  Or do you need a secret hand-shake to be allowed to attend?
david_geoffrey

Lucifers Duck wrote:
It wouldn't bother me if a Christian taped and blogged a BHA meeting.
Well I guess that is the difference between us then... :?

Quote:
Aren't AC meetings held in public places? †Or do you need a secret hand-shake to be allowed to attend?
Not when I last attended one...
Shaker

Quote:
It wouldn't bother me if a Christian taped and blogged a BHA meeting.

Not least if he explicitly asked the permission of the attendees beforehand, as this chap did.
david_geoffrey

admin. wrote:
Quote:
It wouldn't bother me if a Christian taped and blogged a BHA meeting.

Not least if he explicitly asked the permission of the attendees beforehand, as this chap did.
As far as I can see he asked permission to record, but not to regurgitate.

But some people seemed just as happy to defend him when they didn't know he had even asked permission to record. mmmm
Farmer Geddon

Nooooo....

We were responding to your attack (Well I was at least).
The Littlest Homo

Lucifers Duck wrote:
Nooooo....

We were responding to your attack (Well I was at least).


Ditto.

David Geoffrey wrote:
But some people seemed just as happy to defend him when they didn't know he had even asked permission to record. mmmm


It was you, DG, who was just as happy to attack him when they didn't know he had even asked permission to record. Ever heard of innocent until proven guilty?! Mmmm
david_geoffrey

The Littlest Homo wrote:
Lucifers Duck wrote:
Nooooo....

We were responding to your attack (Well I was at least).


Ditto.
Of course you were responding to me, you didn't think he had done anything wrong!

Quote:
David Geoffrey wrote:
But some people seemed just as happy to defend him when they didn't know he had even asked permission to record. mmmm


It was you, DG, who was just as happy to attack him when they didn't know he had even asked permission to record. Ever heard of innocent until proven guilty?! Mmmm
Au contraire, I was careful always to say "if"
Andy

I must admit that I didn't read the whole blog. Overall I got the impression that it was a representative piece of writing, and started to doubt if the author had actually been to the Alpha Course or at least that he was describing an earlier experience.

Many of the arguments raised were very similar to those we see on forums such as this. Of course it is easier to respond to points in written form with Google at your fingertips, rather than orally as the author did. It all seemed to slick to me.

On the issue of covert (or not) recordings, was it wrong for Channel 4 to secretly film Islamic extremists in a Birmingham Mosque?
david_geoffrey

Andy wrote:
On the issue of covert (or not) recordings, was it wrong for Channel 4 to secretly film Islamic extremists in a Birmingham Mosque?
I didn't see that so not sure I can comment, but if what they were saying was illegal then there would be a public interest case for the secret recording and broadcast.
Andy

Not so much illegal I don;t think, although with recent legislation it may well have been. More provocative, and standard anti-West sloganism.

Certainly a public interest case, very high profile as well.

I thought it an apt parallel, if the recording of the people at the Alpha Course provided an airing of their views, so did the filming in the mosque.
david_geoffrey

Parallel doesn't always mean the same!
I think where it would differ is that
a) There is no public interest case for Alpha
b) There is no concealment in what happens at an Alpha, they broadcast their own talks even..
c) Anyone can sign up to an Alpha course
d) Alpha is very mainstream
e) Alpha is not really "high profile"
The Littlest Homo

david_geoffrey wrote:
Of course you were responding to me, you didn't think he had done anything wrong!


The "ditto" response was to Lucifers Duck, hence why I put it under his quote!

Quote:

Au contraire, I was careful always to say "if"
You did say "if" but were still quick to condemn anyway (before you knew for definite)
david_geoffrey

The Littlest Homo wrote:
david_geoffrey wrote:
Of course you were responding to me, you didn't think he had done anything wrong!


The "ditto" response was to Lucifers Duck, hence why I put it under his quote!
Yes I know. I was responding to you both

Quote:
Quote:

Au contraire, I was careful always to say "if"
You did say "if" but were still quick to condemn anyway (before you knew for definite)
The "if" qualifies the condemnation.
Farmer Geddon

OK, you win David - it was wrong and evil - happy now?
Sprocket

I haven't read all of this thread, so forgive me if I'm saying what's been said before, but I must take issue with DG's suggestion that "Alpha is very mainstream".  It pretends to be, but is actually nothing of the sort - it's strongly biassed towards the charismatic version of Christianity, which is certainly not mainstream.
david_geoffrey

Lucifers Duck wrote:
OK, you win David - it was wrong and evil - happy now?
I'm not sure winning is always the point of these discussions, but if neither of us through each other's arguments feel inclined to change one's positions then they will just keep on going until they run out of steam. There is no need to pretend to capitulate because that is not the point.
Genial Harry Grout wrote:
I haven't read all of this thread, so forgive me if I'm saying what's been said before, but I must take issue with DG's suggestion that "Alpha is very mainstream".  It pretends to be, but is actually nothing of the sort - it's strongly biassed towards the charismatic version of Christianity, which is certainly not mainstream.
Stongly biassed - not sure that is the case. There is the Holy Spirit section in the middle but the rest is nothing too much charismatic.

Of course it rather depends on the person delivering the course as well what they want to draw out. The one I attended was very anglican in tone.

But given its very widespread take up across so many churches it would be hard to argue it is not fairly mainsteam, whether you like it or not!

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