Paul & Sue Hazelden
- Before You Write -


Before you write to me, you may find it helpful to read this page.

If you want to thank me, please go ahead!

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If you would like to respond to something on the site, then please read this page first.

I try to respond

I try to respond to the messages people send. However, sometimes it is easier to respond helpfully, and sometimes it is almost impossible. If you would like a reply, then please help me by sending something I can reply to!

There are several types of message that I find it hard to respond to, and sometimes I don't manage any kind of response.

I find it hard to respond to

  Messages that tell me you disagree

I find it hard to respond to messages that only tell me you disagree. I could have guessed that before you write: very few people agree with me on every subject.

Some people write to say they disagree with something I have written, and expect me to respond - or, sometimes, to change what I have written. If that is all you have to say, then there is not much point in contacting me.

Quite honestly, I'm not at all interested in the fact that you disagree. I am interested in why you disagree. Are there facts you can point me to? Is there a flaw in my reasoning somewhere? Am I inconsistent, confused or unclear?

  Messages that tell me someone else disagrees

People sometimes write to point out that what I have to say disagrees with some famous person or other. Most of the time, I already know this. I certainly know that what I have written will disagree with some famous person: since famous people disagree with each other, I cannot agree with them all. Sadly, the fact that Freud or Luther or Socrates held an opinion does not prove that they were right, no matter how highly you regard them.

Similarly, I am unlikely to read someone's seminal work on some topic in the near future, just because you think I should. You may be convinced that this or that book undermines my opinion or demolishes my argument, but I already have a pile of books waiting to be read. If you think I need to be aware of what someone has written, then please summarise it for me. If what you say is relevant and important, then I will probably find the book and read it myself.

  Arguments about group membership

Sorry if this sounds a bit vague, but a surprising number of messages talk about group membership one way or another, and they are almost always trying to argue something that makes no sense.

For example, I have been told that believer's baptism was practiced by ***, who was clearly a heretic, so believer's baptism must be wrong.

I have also been told that people who believe in (some doctrine I was talking about) often also believe in universalism, so that doctrine must be wrong.

For the record, I don't accept that you can divide people into the 'sound' and 'unsound' or 'orthodox' and 'heretics' or whatever other opposing categories you want to use, and I certainly don't accept that once you have made that division, you can agree with everything the nice people say and reject everything the nasty people say. Life isn't like that. I will go on believing that 1 plus 1 equals 2, even if some heretics and unbelievers also believe the same.

And Finally...


Please think about the scope of the article. Don't criticise it for not covering a subject that is outside the scope. I can't talk about everything in every article!

Feel free to ask about a subject that is not covered, but please don't be offended if my response is along the lines of "when you have read what I said in this other article, do come back to me if you have any questions."


Please think about who the article was written for. If the article is written for Christians, please don't be surprised if it assumes the readers will be interested in what the Bible has to say on a topic. And, if it's not written for Christians, please don't criticise it for failing to use a Biblical text as a knock-out argument.

If you have any questions about any of this, do feel free to come back to me.

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Copyright © 2007 Paul Hazelden was last updated 29 September 2007
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