As new members join a site called "Christianity," it is understandably common that many will ask the sorts of questions that would be asked of a pastor, in a church Bible study, or over a cup of coffee at a Christian book store. Questions like:

  1. Of whom is God jealous?
  2. Is it possible to get into heaven, but then be cast out at a later date?
  3. Why did God create man?
  4. What could persuade a presumably otherwise-rational Satan to turn on God?
  5. Genesis 19. 8 Why should he protect strangers above protect his daughters?
  6. Original sin and its consequences

But despite the impression given by our name, that's not really what we're about. Why?

We can't handle the truth.

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These types of questions are what we refer to as Truth Questions. It may seem odd to say that a site about Christianity says it can't handle the Truth... Isn't Christianity all about The Truth, and determining The Truth?

Well, yes, Christianity is about the Truth. But we aren't. We are about Christianity.

Put another way: we don't study the Truth, we study the Christian study of the Truth.

And as there are a multitude of Christian opinions, as made apparent by the number of Christian churches and denominations, there can almost never be a single, universally accepted answer to any truth question. This is why we shy away from Truth Questions.

But don't despair! There's still hope for your question. Here are some guidelines on how you can clean up your question to make it possible to answer within the guidelines of this site. And below are some links for further reading if you desire a deeper understanding.

Turning a "Truth Question" into a "Christianity Question"

First understand that a "Truth Question" asks what is true. A "Christianity Question," as deemed appropriate for our site, can ask what Christians believe or do. And more specifically, it asks what a specific group or subset of Christians do.

  • Bad: Is Michael the Archangel also Jesus?

    There are at least two answers to this question. Which one is right? We don't know. We can't handle the Truth.

  • Good: Do Jehovah's Witnesses believe Michael the Archangel is Jesus?

    There is only one answer, because the question is no longer asking for truth, but only what a specific group of Christians believe. Jehovah's Witnesses have a well-defined answer to this question.

An acceptable question can also ask for the origin of a particular belief, doctrine, or practice.

  • Bad: Is drinking alcohol a sin?

    There are countless answers to this question. Some believe all alcohol is a sin, others think it's permissible only for medicinal purposes, or during communion, and others yet have no restrictions on the consumption of alcohol. Which is the correct answer? We don't know. We can't handle the Truth.

  • Good: What is the Biblical basis for claiming that drinking alcohol is a sin?

    There is a well defined answer to this question. And you don't have to even agree with the conclusion that alcohol consumption is a sin to understand the Biblical basis for the claim.

For further reading

If you are still confused about why your question was closed, or need help revising it to fit within our site guidelines, please do not hesitate to ask a question here on meta about your specific situation. We really do want to make it possible for you to participate here!

I suppose that after we get the truth question close reason in place we should close those questions you listed above. –  fredsbend Mar 5 at 21:52
I can't edit this, but isn't "What is the Biblical basis for claiming that drinking alcohol is a sin?" still a poor question because there will be multiple competing answers? Perhaps instead it should be "What Biblical basis do X see for saying drinking alcohol is sinful?" –  curiousdannii Mar 7 at 10:36
@curiousdannii: I'm not quite sure what you mean by competing answers. –  Flimzy Mar 7 at 18:21
"we don't study the Truth, we study the Christian study of the Truth." That's brilliant! –  David Stratton Mar 8 at 3:02
I like this. It's well-done, covers everything, and I think that everything in it is spot on, but I worry that the tongue-in-cheek title conveys the wrong message. We old-timers get it, but newcomers may not, and that's what we're trying to avoid. Also, I'd like to suggest another link for the "Further reading" section. I hope this doesn't sound too self-serving and self-promoting, but I really like Tips for editing a question to make it suitable for re-opening –  David Stratton Mar 8 at 12:40
It seems that if we have a new user someone with less than a (to be determined number of reps), could someone with a (to be determined number of reps) rewrite the question, and in the comments explain what was changed and why. Hopefully that would help the new user to learn how to ask questions. We could also use that process to reword answers. I had a particularly tough time when I first began and still make a lot of mistakes, but then these others may be more adept (smarter) than me. –  Bye Mar 12 at 17:41
@CecilBeckum: That's the status quo for SE... –  Flimzy Mar 12 at 18:44
@Flimzy Which one my suggestion, or everyone being smarter than me? laugh! –  Bye Mar 12 at 19:47
WOOT! I finally made #1!!!! –  The Freemason Mar 19 at 17:18
@curiousdannii NO! "What is the Biblical basis for claiming that drinking alcohol is a sin?" is most certainly not a poor question. While different denominations might have differing opinions on any given topic, we should never force questions to be specific to only a denomination as opposed to what is stated in a specific bible. "What does the bible say about X?" is just as good, in my opinion better, than "What do the methodists say about X?" It is a very specific question, and good answers will not be any more opinion based than the methodist version. –  Loduwijk Aug 7 at 16:49
Also, a more specific example: "What do catholics say about infant baptism?" or "What do baptists say about infant baptism?" are good questions, but so is "What does the bible say about infant baptism?" For many people, including myself, what the bible says itself is the most important. This specific example in no way encourages catholics and baptists to be at odds with each other, because a good answer will just look for any possible infant baptisms, and for any possible words encouraging/discouraging it, or the answer could say "There is nothing in the bible about it." –  Loduwijk Aug 7 at 16:54
@Loduwijk "What does the Bible say about X?" is very different from "What is the Biblical basis for X?" The same Biblical passages will be interpreter differently from different groups. Baptism is a great example: the exact same passages in Acts will be used to argue for and against infant baptism. "What does the Bible say about X?" questions are effectively list questions: what passages do I need to read to adequately learn about this topic? It's not ask how it should be interpreted. –  curiousdannii Aug 7 at 22:36
@Loduwijk What I was suggesting is that Biblical basis passages can sometimes encourage contradictory answers if you don't also ask for a denominational perspective. If you asked for the Biblical basis for infant baptism you would get very different answers from Catholics and Presbyterians. I don't know enough about the Orthodox churches but they might provide different answers again. In general on Stack Exchange sites questions which encourage contradictory answers are to be discouraged. Make sense? –  curiousdannii Aug 7 at 22:39
@Loduwijk Lastly it sounds like you're coming from a protestant background and would like to just let the Bible speak for itself. I'm protestant too and can sympathise for that, but the reality is none of us can be sure that we read the Bible the way God intended it to be read. That is why it is important to learn the arguments why people interpret passages how they do, and to be upfront with how our systematic doctrinal understandings impact how interpretations. –  curiousdannii Aug 7 at 22:42
@Loduwijk whose Bible? Does 2 Esdras count? Does the Prayer of Manasseh? Can I make up a book, call it a Bible, and quote it? Does the Book of Mormon count? –  the dark wanderer 2 days ago

2 Answers 2

meh. The meme is over the top. That was the bad guy in that movie... This is not new information for anyone who has been associated with this particular SE for long. Those who haven't been here long might be turned off by the whole "our interpretation of reality is so great join us or perish" self congratulatory crusader type mentality. You may not be able to handle Christ as the Origin of Truth (Via, Veritas, Vita John 16:6) but I certainly can and don't agree with this post.

Well, I do agree the meme is a little distracting. –  Matt Mar 19 at 0:14
@Matt thank you it takes courage to agree even if only in part with someone as lowly as me. :) –  caseyr547 Mar 19 at 0:17
What if the crusader is a mod? –  The Freemason Mar 19 at 17:21
@thefreemason often they are. Such personalities are drawn to power –  caseyr547 Mar 19 at 17:42

Maybe the site's name is deceiving, would something like "Christianity Study", Christian Denominations", etc be more prudent? Even if the site's name doesn't change, we could just change the logo.


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