Yesterday I asked what I thought was a simple, on-topic question, "Why do some Christians object to rock music?" (the original text of of the question is behind the edits). I hadn't really anticipated the responses that it received - especially the close and change in title - and would like to understand where I went wrong.
The facts behind the question are that there is / has been a movement within Christianity to discourage people from listening to rock music as a genre. The movement has nothing to do with taste in music, but is about a moral objection to rock music as a genre. I have met people who hold this view, but have failed to elicit the reasons for their POV. Having talked to other Christians about rock music, they tell me that they have encountered this perspective, too, but have been unable to give me any background. Some have mentioned Christian musician Larry Norman as an example of someone whose music was considered unwelcome because it was rock music. A bit of Googling verifies that some groups continue to espouse this POV. I want to understand the reasons why this movement exists.
At one point the question was closed, with the reason that:
This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.
Now, from my perspective I was very careful to word the question in a way that I thought should avoid argument and at the same time elicit the information that I actually want. For example, quite deliberately does not ask:
- If some Christians actually listen to rock music. I know the answer to that already.
- If Christian Rock (rock music with gospel-inspired lyrics) exists. I know it does.
- For music recommendations
- About the validity of the arguments against rock music. I asked what they are, not if they are right.
- To discuss whether a movement against rock music actually exists. It is perceived to do so by myself and others I have talked to, and there is evidence for it elsewhere on the internet.
- Whether or not rock music is actually immoral.
Now, all of these questions do indeed invite discussion, debate and opinion. But I didn't ask any of them.
Interestingly, some of the responses I received do imply that some people thought I did want answers to some these questions. Should have explicitly stated that I wasn't interested in them? Or should I expect people take questions at face value?
To me, it would appear that there must be one or more clear-cut, factual answers to the question I actually did ask. I imagine that they would look something like this (note that these are not real answers, just examples of the kind of thing I would expect):
- Rock music has origins in pagan religion XXX
- Rock music makes people smash up hotel rooms
- The Bible says XXX and some people think this means that drums invoke the devil
- It was a cultural thing, used to apply because of XXX, but doesn't apply any more
- People who believe this have misunderstood preacher XXX when he said YYY
Any one of these answers would, "generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise".
Indeed, some of the responses I received - about the lyrics and quotes from secular musicians - suggest that some people have clearly understood what I was asking and answered appropriately.
So, why the close? How could I have avoided it and still asked the question? Or is there something fundamentally wrong with what I asked?
The Change in Title
Following my edits to clarify the question, the title of the question was changed to, "Is rock music sinful / immoral?". To my mind:
- This is a completely different question. It no longer asks for the reasoning behind a movement, but asks about the morality of an activity.
- The new question effectively asks for both sides of the argument. I would have thought that it was far more likely to "solicit opinion, debate, arguments... or extended discussion." than would my original question.
How is this an improvement?