I understand the need for a good, supported answer to prevent the site from devolving into a free-for-all battle of opinions. I even support this as a matter of personal preference (even though I'm guilty of some unsupported opinionated answers myself.)

However, some valid questions come up that cannot be answered with supporting Scripture because the answer is, quite literally, "There is no supporting scripture for that doctrine/statement/belief"".

Example: Does sin give Satan 'Legal Access' to your life in any sense?

This is a valid question, asked in good faith, and it is one that is looking for Scriptural basis for a specific doctrine. In short, it meets all of the guidelines for a good question, which can't be answered with a good, supported answer.

I answered this one to the best of my ability by looking for supporting evidence for the doctrine, and citing those that support the teaching, but the best I could do was point out that the support was lacking.

In the end, the lack of support made the answer seem like an opinion to me. I backed up my final answer with Scriptural reasons for why I found the doctrine to be Scripturally unsupportable, but even this felt empty.

What is the guideline for such questions? In this, I'm not asking if my answer on that question was correct, I'm asking if I took the proper approach to answering, and if not, is there a guideline that the community agrees on?

Another example: Is there a basis for Christian holidays in the Bible?

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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

A question isn't a good, focussed question (according to the guidelines) if it can't be answered with a good answer which can be supported. It's easy to fall into the trap of beating ourselves up about this, but actually it's not much of a big deal:

  • Answers should be supportable but don't have to explicitly cite supporting evidence

  • Support doesn't have to be biblical, or accessible via the Internet.

  • Opinion is not unwelcome, but it should be supportable ("expert") opinion - ie. shared by experts in the field whose opinion has been recorded, or clearly explaining the factual basis on which the opinion is built (gut-feel or other knee-jerk responses are not welcome)

  • The Stack Exchange format is based on one question, many answers, with the answers being voted up or down as appropriate. In other words it's built on the premise that there may not be one single "right answer" to any question; trying to narrow questions and answers to the point that only one answer can fit the question goes against the nature of the network. So it's ok to have answers that reach different conclusions, as long as they are supportable as described above.

On that basis it sounds to me like you've taken exactly the right approach.

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