Do you want every ebook in the world in Logos?

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 12:42 PM

Francis:

As a Christian, I have a vested interest into how Christianity is represented to the world. When a professed Christian is found to be a swindler or perpetrator of sexual abuse, it affects me because it discredits the faith, and more importantly "causes God's name to be blasphemed among the nations". 

With that in mind, I cannot understand how anybody who professes to be Christian and to serve the Church could contemplate distributing immoral material. Jesus, the standard of discipleship, would under no circumstance do such a thing. What a contrast this would be also with the attitude of Abraham, who refused the king of Sodom's offer of loot, so that it could not be said that he had contributed to his wealth! I am flabbergasted, but very, very sadly, no longer suprised to see how many fellow users of Bible software, who profess to be Christians, can think that this would be acceptable before God and even encourage Bob to do it. You are a stumbling block and let me remind you, if I may, the frightening warning of Jesus for those who cause even the littlest one to stumble: it would be better for them to be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around their necks.

Non-Christians are much quicker to pick up the hypocrisy of what we so finely justify. I can assure you that non-Christians who get to know that FL claims to have a Christian mission statement, serve the Church and yet distributes and profits from inappropriate material (erotica being but one example) will certainly not be fooled by any of the fine-sounding arguments being made here. They will, and not without cause, be confirmed in their thinking that Christians are a bunch of hypocrites. I have seen this over and over again. 

I agree also with the sentiment that has been expressed by several here, that we actually care about Bob and others at faithlife being godly and not engaging in a spiritually harmful way. Many here have already manifested that apparently this should be irrelevant to this community and to Faithlife people as business people and they try to convince the rest of us that it irrelevant indeed. This is crazy sad. I already know as I write this that I am wasting my time with regard to many, maybe most, but I am hoping that there are still some that can wake up from this madness. If you have any care for Jesus, simply answer for yourself this question: what would Jesus say or do? 

And, finally, I should point out that even if Faithlife had no ambition of having a Christian identity and mission, it would still be incredibly wrong for Christians to tell them that it is okay for them to distribute material that is dishonoring to God, the Gospel and the Kingdom. What kind of witnesses would we prove to be?

I fear that if with all the books we already have to help us understand the message of the Scriptures we are here, I don't see what benefit it will be to us to have access to many more books. 

Very well said, from the heart, Biblical, on on target. I meet with a group of men who all happen to be Logos users and we are mortified that this even came under consideration for the very reasons you laid out in your post.

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Posts 468
Charlene | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 12:52 PM

Francis:

As a Christian, I have a vested interest into how Christianity is represented to the world. When a professed Christian is found to be a swindler or perpetrator of sexual abuse, it affects me because it discredits the faith, and more importantly "causes God's name to be blasphemed among the nations". 

With that in mind, I cannot understand how anybody who professes to be Christian and to serve the Church could contemplate distributing immoral material. Jesus, the standard of discipleship, would under no circumstance do such a thing. What a contrast this would be also with the attitude of Abraham, who refused the king of Sodom's offer of loot, so that it could not be said that he had contributed to his wealth! I am flabbergasted, but very, very sadly, no longer suprised to see how many fellow users of Bible software, who profess to be Christians, can think that this would be acceptable before God and even encourage Bob to do it. You are a stumbling block and let me remind you, if I may, the frightening warning of Jesus for those who cause even the littlest one to stumble: it would be better for them to be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around their necks.

Non-Christians are much quicker to pick up the hypocrisy of what we so finely justify. I can assure you that non-Christians who get to know that FL claims to have a Christian mission statement, serve the Church and yet distributes and profits from inappropriate material (erotica being but one example) will certainly not be fooled by any of the fine-sounding arguments being made here. They will, and not without cause, be confirmed in their thinking that Christians are a bunch of hypocrites. I have seen this over and over again. 

I agree also with the sentiment that has been expressed by several here, that we actually care about Bob and others at faithlife being godly and not engaging in a spiritually harmful way. Many here have already manifested that apparently this should be irrelevant to this community and to Faithlife people as business people and they try to convince the rest of us that it irrelevant indeed. This is crazy sad. I already know as I write this that I am wasting my time with regard to many, maybe most, but I am hoping that there are still some that can wake up from this madness. If you have any care for Jesus, simply answer for yourself this question: what would Jesus say or do? 

And, finally, I should point out that even if Faithlife had no ambition of having a Christian identity and mission, it would still be incredibly wrong for Christians to tell them that it is okay for them to distribute material that is dishonoring to God, the Gospel and the Kingdom. What kind of witnesses would we prove to be?

I fear that if with all the books we already have to help us understand the message of the Scriptures we are here, I don't see what benefit it will be to us to have access to many more books. 

Thank you, Francis, for stating it so clearly. I agree wholeheartedly!

Charlene

Posts 2038
Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 1:01 PM

Like I expressed in my first post in this thread where I explained exactly what I was thinking (it's on page 5), it's crucial to be very selective about what publishers to accept into the Faithlife ecosystem. I try to boycot publishers and stores that I dislike, to as great extent as possible, such as Amazon, Zondervan, Harper & Row to name the most well known ones, besides those ones there are several clearly denominational publishers that I avoid. It may sound like I avoid just because of disagreeing with certain denominations, but I'm a bit tired about the denomination-categorizing. Also, a sidenote: I believe Logos version 6 standard base-packages have failed - they include books I would not accept such as NIV11 and Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the New Testament. (That commentary set is not a lasting one.) I will never again upgrade to a standard base-package, I object to that each standard base-package level above Bronze contains everything in both Bronze and Starter - I don't want all that beginner-, summary-, outline-, and introductory material in the low-end base packages if I were to upgrade to mid-range base-package. The one standard base-package I got was Logos 5 Bronze.
A select few publishers might be OK if being very careful which publishers, and to be extremely careful to exclude the worst 10% of the books, books that are objectionable/inappropriate to Christians and theologically dangerous "Christian" books. I can't emphasize the latter enough. I would be so much more pleased with Faithlife and would recommend the software to more people if some of the least scholarly sound publishers and individual titles that fool people the most would be removed - and I would praise Faithlife if they would dare to publish less new books by some popular authors that really bug me. Some of the most popular authors are like idols akin to televangelists except that they are in text form only - people should be helped to discover better scholars. Some theologies are really just invented for a cashflow! There are some competing softwares to Faithlife (few if any of them good) that object to publishing the latest fad or books that have come in print just to tickle ears.
Having an interest to research is very sound, but doing that with the most inferiour resources is a waste of time and energy (and I'm not thinking of public domain books, there are many public domain books that are excellent such as Cambridge Greek Testament and Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges - I buy a select few of these volumes, and I was pleased with a large part of the books in the 2014 Cyber Monday Mega Pack).
Lastly, if being proud over what You sell, a separate Store Front should not be needed - just be clear about which books are not actual Logos Bible Study format but the cheaper format with less or no tagging and include them in the Logos (and perhaps Verbum) Stores (EDIT: on top of in the Noet Store of course) (not in Vyrso):

Francis:
As a Christian, I have a vested interest into how Christianity is represented to the world. When a professed Christian is found to be a swindler or perpetrator of sexual abuse, it affects me because it discredits the faith, and more importantly "causes God's name to be blasphemed among the nations".

With that in mind, I cannot understand how anybody who professes to be Christian and to serve the Church could contemplate distributing immoral material.
[...]
Non-Christians are much quicker to pick up the hypocrisy of what we so finely justify.
[...]
And, finally, I should point out that even if Faithlife had no ambition of having a Christian identity and mission, it would still be incredibly wrong for Christians to tell them that it is okay for them to distribute material that is dishonoring to God, the Gospel and the Kingdom. What kind of witnesses would we prove to be?

I fear that if with all the books we already have to help us understand the message of the Scriptures we are here, I don't see what benefit it will be to us to have access to many more books.

Aply!
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Posts 591
Rayner | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 1:02 PM

MJ. Smith:

Francis:

I fear that if with all the books we already have to help us understand the message of the Scriptures we are here, I don't see what benefit it will be to us to have access to many more books. 

It is not the number of books available that matters. What matters is that they be the right books for out needs. The number of books I have to purchase outside Logos is clear evidence of the inadequacy of the Logos catalogue. Where are the basics - Kugel, Alter, Herschel, a Reception history commentary, ...

Yes, I would echo a lack of these basics.  I'm trying to digitise my library and there's so much stuff that is simply unavailable in Logos.

Posts 2038
Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 1:14 PM

Robert Alter is the one author I miss, I can't remember by heart any other must-have author. I would like to have books of poetry edited by Alter as well, such as anthologies (and I'm not a big fan of fiction, I've read little fiction, but Haim Nahman Bialik's Old Testament -sounding desert and battlefield poetry was such an experience I got interested in the genre and fell in love with it little less than three Months ago in a large uni library (translated to English by Ruth Nevo, name of the poem is Superimposed Worlds and the volume is: Canon and Creativity (hasn't been specifically requested in Logos)):

Rayner:
Yes, I would echo a lack of these basics.  I'm trying to digitise my library and there's so much stuff that is simply unavailable in Logos:
MJ. Smith:
It is not the number of books available that matters. What matters is that they be the right books for out needs. The number of books I have to purchase outside Logos is clear evidence of the inadequacy of the Logos catalogue. Where are the basics - Kugel, Alter, Herschel, a Reception history commentary, ...:
Francis:
I fear that if with all the books we already have to help us understand the message of the Scriptures we are here, I don't see what benefit it will be to us to have access to many more books.

Aply!
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Posts 47
Cale Judd | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 1:21 PM

Bob Pritchett:
With that said... new information: while every publisher has different rules, it looks like we may be able to get a contract if we agree to distribute just 90% of a publisher's catalog. This would let us not offer the 10% least appropriate / most objectionable content. I'm hoping this will solve the problem. 

I must say this idea concerns me. What if 11% of a publisher's catalog is truly inappropriate? Maybe that won't be an issue, but I can see how it very well might be, especially considering the current trajectory of our culture. I would be truly saddened to see you compromise your Christian principles in an effort to expand your business. 

Posts 3044
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 2:03 PM

Bob Pritchett:
With that said... new information: while every publisher has different rules, it looks like we may be able to get a contract if we agree to distribute just 90% of a publisher's catalog. This would let us not offer the 10% least appropriate / most objectionable content. I'm hoping this will solve the problem. 

For some publishers, that probably works. For others, I'm sure it doesn't. Please be discerning in this matter, as I know you are inclined to be.

Posts 2054
GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 2:51 PM

Francis:

As a Christian, I have a vested interest into how Christianity is represented to the world. When a professed Christian is found to be a swindler or perpetrator of sexual abuse, it affects me because it discredits the faith, and more importantly "causes God's name to be blasphemed among the nations". 

With that in mind, I cannot understand how anybody who professes to be Christian and to serve the Church could contemplate distributing immoral material. Jesus, the standard of discipleship, would under no circumstance do such a thing. What a contrast this would be also with the attitude of Abraham, who refused the king of Sodom's offer of loot, so that it could not be said that he had contributed to his wealth! I am flabbergasted, but very, very sadly, no longer suprised to see how many fellow users of Bible software, who profess to be Christians, can think that this would be acceptable before God and even encourage Bob to do it. You are a stumbling block and let me remind you, if I may, the frightening warning of Jesus for those who cause even the littlest one to stumble: it would be better for them to be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around their necks.

Non-Christians are much quicker to pick up the hypocrisy of what we so finely justify. I can assure you that non-Christians who get to know that FL claims to have a Christian mission statement, serve the Church and yet distributes and profits from inappropriate material (erotica being but one example) will certainly not be fooled by any of the fine-sounding arguments being made here. They will, and not without cause, be confirmed in their thinking that Christians are a bunch of hypocrites. I have seen this over and over again. 

I agree also with the sentiment that has been expressed by several here, that we actually care about Bob and others at faithlife being godly and not engaging in a spiritually harmful way. Many here have already manifested that apparently this should be irrelevant to this community and to Faithlife people as business people and they try to convince the rest of us that it irrelevant indeed. This is crazy sad. I already know as I write this that I am wasting my time with regard to many, maybe most, but I am hoping that there are still some that can wake up from this madness. If you have any care for Jesus, simply answer for yourself this question: what would Jesus say or do? 

And, finally, I should point out that even if Faithlife had no ambition of having a Christian identity and mission, it would still be incredibly wrong for Christians to tell them that it is okay for them to distribute material that is dishonoring to God, the Gospel and the Kingdom. What kind of witnesses would we prove to be?

I fear that if with all the books we already have to help us understand the message of the Scriptures we are here, I don't see what benefit it will be to us to have access to many more books. 

EDIT: sorry for the typos, I'm tired.

Well said.  I wholeheartedly agree.

Posts 2401
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 3:25 PM

Francis:

With that in mind, I cannot understand how anybody who professes to be Christian and to serve the Church could contemplate distributing immoral material. Jesus, the standard of discipleship, would under no circumstance do such a thing. 

In times past on this forum there have been voices trying to limit what is and what is not Christian and thus limiting Logos to a subset of Christianity. We have grown beyond that. and Yes, we have accepted non Christian religious books into Logos.  [Islam, Religious book of the far east, etc.]

What if Faithlife did what Logos proposed years ago - Licence the core software to allow it to be used to research anything.  Law Libraries, Engineering Libraries, And any other subject that one wishes to research.  Unfortunately probably someone would use it to research immoral material but Faithlife would have only built the tool.  Others would add the Law books, the Science books and yes, the immoral ones BUT it would not be Faithlife editingtagging and otherwise preparing those books.

Don't know if Faithlife could pass the ""immoral"" materials over the some immoral group safely.  The new Christians burned their books of Magic.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 3:31 PM

Al Het:
This is precisely the input that was being asked for.

I am happy Bob did not ask about hiring homosexuals, agnostics and (oh!) atheists to work for Faithlife. I hate to imagine what some people would say. 

Just tell me you don't find anything Faithlife sells to be heretical. Is outright heresy more acceptable than erotica? 

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Posts 10177
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 3:31 PM

Alain (Maashe), your points are interesting. 

I don't buy Zondervan unless I absolutely have to. I don't buy OT for the same reason. I despise FB for the behaviors they encourage. And I do avoid stores that sell stuff I think is inappropriate. Now, I'm not a Christian (as the forum defines it), so obviously my reaction is not a knee-jerk.

I think the mistake is at the beginning ... Bob indeed was an anything goes sort of businessman, judging from Libronix (not to include immoral, etc). I think Bob got himself baptized into the forum faith (without his consent).


Posts 591
Rayner | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 3:36 PM

Francis:
As a Christian, I have a vested interest into how Christianity is represented to the world. When a professed Christian is found to be a swindler or perpetrator of sexual abuse, it affects me because it discredits the faith, and more importantly "causes God's name to be blasphemed among the nations". 

Agree.

Francis:
With that in mind, I cannot understand how anybody who professes to be Christian and to serve the Church could contemplate distributing immoral material.

Nobody is contemplating distributing immoral material.  What everyone (including Faithlife) is trying to do is work out how to licence a publisher's entire collection without having to make questionable material available too.  That said, the bible itself contains a whole array of immoral behaviour practiced at one time or another and nobody here objects to the bible as immoral literature.  The Church distributes immoral material in the form of the Bible, God's word to us.

Francis:
Jesus, the standard of discipleship, would under no circumstance do such a thing.

Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, a part of the Bible which showcases the immoral material that I previously quoted so I think I'd disagree.  In his words, Jesus republishes parts of the Old Testament, and he never argued that the rest of it should be thrown away.

Francis:
I am flabbergasted, but very, very sadly, no longer suprised to see how many fellow users of Bible software, who profess to be Christians, can think that this would be acceptable before God and even encourage Bob to do it.
 

Many people here have been suggesting ways in which more material could be made available at the same time as avoiding the need to publish literature that would be deemed unacceptable.  Indeed, rather than thinking just of illicit material, some of us are thinking about the wealth of riches that are not contained within Logos and which would be made available to those of us who aren't content with Carson, Piper and MacArthur.

Francis:
You are a stumbling block and let me remind you, if I may, the frightening warning of Jesus for those who cause even the littlest one to stumble: it would be better for them to be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around their necks.

What if the stumbling block is being placed by those who, fearing ungodly influences, are actually preventing new users from accessing the software for majors in non-theological subjects and are thus causing them to miss out on the Christian packages within Logos?

Francis:
I can assure you that non-Christians who get to know that FL claims to have a Christian mission statement, serve the Church and yet distributes and profits from inappropriate material (erotica being but one example) will certainly not be fooled by any of the fine-sounding arguments being made here.

Non-Christians tend to disagree amongst themselves and be as argumentative as Christians.  One would expect them to see that considerable efforts had been made by Logos to avoid making certain material available within some publishers catalogues.

Francis:
They will, and not without cause, be confirmed in their thinking that Christians are a bunch of hypocrites.

Sure, Christians can be hypocrites like anybody else.  But perhaps such people would see that Faithlife had gone to some effort to avoid marketing anything adult-rated, and were doing their best to make a wide range of literature available such that Logos would be of use to more readers.

Francis:
If you have any care for Jesus, simply answer for yourself this question: what would Jesus say or do? 

I think he'd listen to both sides and then write something inscrutable in the dust.

Francis:
it would still be incredibly wrong for Christians to tell them that it is okay for them to distribute material that is dishonoring to God, the Gospel and the Kingdom.

Nobody is actually telling Faithlife that it's ok to distribute material dishonouring to God.  Many people have attempting to think up innovative ways to avoid it eg. don't offer 10% of the catalogue or offered distinctions between formal and material co-operation with evil or wondered about charging such exorbitant prices for unacceptable material that nobody would buy it or thought about ways to offer such material, but actually make it nearly impossible to buy, and so on.

Francis:
I fear that if with all the books we already have to help us understand the message of the Scriptures we are here, I don't see what benefit it will be to us to have access to many more books. 

That works both ways... if with all the books we already have to help us understand Scripture, we're still here, perhaps we do in fact need more :)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 4:09 PM

Some points to consider:

  • Why are users focused on erotica? From the perspective of various users, the books promoting abortion, war, capital punishment, social injustice, magic, heresy ... are equally or more offensive. What is critical is that we know (and teach our children) how to select, read and evaluate all the materials that the world presents to us. I have seen some very sad cases where children were not prepared for college or work because they'd never been allowed to choose their own friends, select their own books and music ...
  • Where has the awe of God gone? I never trust the judgment of someone who tells me what Jesus or God would do. The Trinity seems quite capable of acting in surprising ways that only make sense to humans (at least me) in retrospect. And the Trinity seems amazingly good at making something good come out of situations we humans would not expect to be able to produce anything good.
  • Are you currently boycotting businesses that sell immoral goods or engage in unethical behavior? Think of the boycott that help bring down apartheid; the bishop who risked jail rather than pay taxes for an unjust war. Do you currently purchase anything from Amazon? Zondervan? Oxford University Press? From my perspective, as long as Logos remains a separate arm of the Faithlife company and maintains integrity within its domain (much like Zondervan), I'm in no position to hold them to different standards than the other companies I deal with.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 2305
Beloved | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 4:50 PM

If FL went forward with this project I would behave towards FL as I always have. I would buy the books I have interest in and avoid the books I have no use for. 

The rubber would meet the road on what effect this project had on the portion of FL I found useful. If the performance of my sphere of interest diminished then I would first make myself heard. If this failed to have the desired result I would reluctantly find an alternative.

My opinion about the project is: What's the point of doing something that has little chance of  resulting in a marked influx of income and in the process is going to piss off a goodly number of your customer base?

On the other hand; if this project has the remote chance of improving the overall performance of the main body of the company, then I say it's worth a trial

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

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Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 5:06 PM

MJ. Smith:

Some points to consider:

MJ - As is so often the case, I appreciate your perspective.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 6:16 PM

MJ. Smith:
Why are users focused on erotica? From the perspective of various users, the books promoting abortion, war, capital punishment, social injustice, magic, heresy ... are equally or more offensive. What is critical is that we know (and teach our children) how to select, read and evaluate all the materials that the world presents to us. I have seen some very sad cases where children were not prepared for college or work because they'd never been allowed to choose their own friends, select their own books and music ...

MJ, each of your statements were excellent but I especially appreciate what you said here.

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 6:54 PM

Beloved:

If FL went forward with this project I would behave towards FL as I always have. I would buy the books I have interest in and avoid the books I have no use for. 

The rubber would meet the road on what effect this project had on the portion of FL I found useful. If the performance of my sphere of interest diminished then I would first make myself heard. If this failed to have the desired result I would reluctantly find an alternative.

Yes

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 7:15 PM

MJ. Smith:
Why are users focused on erotica? From the perspective of various users, the books promoting abortion, war, capital punishment, social injustice, magic, heresy ... are equally or more offensive. What is critical is that we know (and teach our children) how to select, read and evaluate all the materials that the world presents to us. I have seen some very sad cases where children were not prepared for college or work because they'd never been allowed to choose their own friends, select their own books and music ...

I was raised in Japan (you know that) in a secular culture. I think it helped me learn how to discern well. Nina and I have tried to raise our children with the same discernment. I have over 22K of resources and imagine I disagree with 75% of them. I have always laid the accountability of choices at the chooser's feet.

MJ. Smith:
And the Trinity seems amazingly good at making something good come out of situations we humans would not expect to be able to produce anything good.

So true.

MJ. Smith:
From my perspective, as long as Logos remains a separate arm of the Faithlife company and maintains integrity within its domain (much like Zondervan), I'm in no position to hold them to different standards than the other companies I deal with.

Same here.

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Posts 623
JAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 9:45 PM

MJ. Smith:
Some points to consider:

Almost unreservedly, I concur with how you address these points. I share my additional thoughts.

MJ. Smith:
Why are users focused on erotica?

This followed from Bob Pritchett's example in the initial post.

MJ. Smith:
Where has the awe of God gone?

It sometimes seems that awe has been disinvested of respect and wonder, diminished to stultifying fear.

MJ. Smith:
I'm in no position to hold them to different standards than the other companies I deal with.

With respect to Faithlife it seems the different standard is intrinsic. What's in a name? Does the company mission statement have no bearing on this point?

I appreciate that Mark Barnes and Fr Devin Roza address this.

Mark Barnes:
The question is "Can we serve the church better by significantly broadening our content (even though some of it's questionable), or by keeping our content narrower"?

Fr Devin Roza:
I would hope Faithlife would never end up directly selling morally provocative material (which would probably be what moral scholars sometimes call "formal cooperation with evil" - Google it for some interesting discussions about difficult cases like this, where a distinction between "formal" and "material cooperation" is often made, and can be helpful in discernment).

"The Christian mind is the prerequisite of Christian thinking. And Christian thinking is the prerequisite of Christian action." - Harry Blamires, 1963

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 20 2015 10:12 PM

MJ. Smith:
Why are users focused on erotica?

I am trying to figure that out too... I remember an Australian friend once told me "Thank God we got the criminals and the Yanks got the Puritans." American Christians seem to focus inordinately on sexual matters and ignore the weighty matters of Healing the sick, feeding the poor, clothing the homeless, etc.... I do not mean to attack anyone or group in particular. 

-Dan

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