...Teaching children to be mean is a form of child abuse. That's what makes bullies in our schools!!!
I wonder about bullies. I sometimes think that its a lack in their self esteem that makes them need to feel better than others. Perhaps its another example of not enough love. If they don't feel safe or loved, perhaps its a way to build themselves up. That does NOT excuse their behavior!!! I think bullying is one of the great problems with our (USA) school system, and we need to find a way to deal with it. But how? Sometimes, a bully can be "cured" by simply learning about differences, and getting to know people with different needs, disadvantages, and backgrounds. I don't have the answer, but every time I hear of a kid committing suicide because they were bullied beyond their capacity to tolerate, I feel another nail in the coffin of compassion.
Here is my advice to you:
1. Shields up. That's right, this can be a difficult place, so work on building an emotional shield of some kind so that you can deal with the inevitable ups and downs and conflicts here.
2. Love/Compassion. Remember that that goes for you too. Love yourself, and know that you can do this without rising to the bait of the more difficult of our members. This is a lesson for me as well. Ignore those who harm you. To respond quickly, and defensively, is to give them more attention than they warrant.
3. Focus. This is a place full of intelligent, rational, interesting people. If you focus on engaging in a conversation with courage, love, and confidence, you will do fine. Look to theists like OldChurchGuy to see a good example of a highly respected theist here. He does not rise to bait. He does not get defensive. He simply calmly responds with his own opinion, being respectful of other's views.
4. Breath. Before hitting the post button, take a deep breath, re-read the "offending" post, re-read your own response, and truly think about whether what you're writing adds to the conversation. Then, when you think you're ready to hit the button, take a deep breath and repeat. Only when you're certain that your post adds to the "meat" of the debate, should you actually post. Reactionary posting gets folks in trouble.
If you can take this advice to heart, and resist the temptation to take things personally, you will have a good chance to do well out in the general population of wwgha.