I'm assuming the downvotes / closing were because it was worded in a potentially inflammatory way?
@Ray Your question asks for the medical, non-Biblical account of a person who died over 2,000 years ago whose death is central to the very core of Christianity. I don't think there's a way to word that in a constructive, or rather answerable, way.
@Ray I think it might be wise to repost that question rather than trying to edit the old question. It will pop it to the top of the active list, but it'll still be buried in the "Newest" list. Also, it would allow for a clean start (without the comments and down votes).
@Ray I could see the historical approach to tithing potentially being valid on BH.SE. But it would be borderline because it would be hard to keep answers from encroaching into the application territory. :\
I agree. I've closed most of the questions per the quality standards as "Not Constructive" since they didn't specify a doctrine. The Off Topic questions are the questions about the Bible interpretation that don't specify a doctrine. (Although they might be Not Constructive if the interpretation is contentious.)
just to add another voice here. asking for biblical support is like asking for "personal exegesis" which if supportable from outside sources is fine, probably shouldn't be a primary element to either a question or an answer.
And if you want to go back to the Bible, and challenge assumptions?
I'm afraid to say "You should tithe 10% or more because the PCA says so" or "because they say that's what the Bible says"... can't we look at the Bible? Doesn't God speak to us? Is there no Priesthood of Believers?
@Ray yes there is. No one is denying it (well except the catholics...but nm that). Anyways, I think where we want to go is the "back it up" principal. Say what you want to say, interpret how you interpret, but make sure its an interpretation that is held by someone other than just you through a commentary, church doctrine or something more substantial than "I say so"
everyone has an angle they are coming from when they ask or answer questions. Thus Every topic in scripture, every interpretation hangs on some kind of doctrinal frame. Identifying that frame and matching it to the question is key
@waxeagle They do, but that's not all there is to say... I read through my horizon of understanding, but I make every effort to step away from it and see from the horizon of the Biblical author. The best commentary authors do this. Joseph Fitzmyer is one of my favorite examples of that
The problem that we are (or were) having is that our questions weren't drawing experts. We had to approach the problem and try to figure out how to make this site viable. The solution we came up with is to ask based on a specific doctrine or doctrinal tradition.
When we left the questions open-ended, they were drawing opinion and debate, rather than expert answers. This is what we have to avoid in order to be accepted by SE.
@Ray To cope with that, out definition of "doctrinal tradition" is very open. As long as somebody is saying and publishing it, it pretty much counts. It just has to be identifiable. Basically if a comentatary is saying something, that is going to be a doctrinal tradition anyway.
@Ray Note: Challenge beliefs / knowledge / understanding is differnet than challenge assumptions. I was referring to the part that you just called "no original research" --- not challenging people's knowledge of Christian beliefs.
@Ray Well, hopefully all doctrine is based on scripture. So basing questions and answers on doctrine will indirectly be supported by scripture. Also, it's hard to answer doctrine without using scripture.
Honestly, I think many evangelical scholars would be horrified to be accused of coming at Holy Scripture with their doctrinal commitments as a hermeneutical key, even while acknowledging that they are influenced by their doctrine. There is a huge gap their that needs to be understood. It seems like the policy (or at least the defense of it) has been based around assuming that that the gap is a rather small one
@Ray I was with you on the first part (although I think they are remarkably wrong for not realizing how much affect their doctrinal position influences their approach to hermeneutics) but you lost me on the gap. What's the gap your referring to?
@Ray I'm not even saying that its their own doctrinal commitments. Its some doctrinal commitments, every time you read scripture you are reading it in some kind of doctrinal frame, whether its your own, trying to get into the head of the authors, or as an atheist you are making some kind of assumption that builds your dotrinal frame
@Ray I can agree entirely with that sentiment. Like I said, I would love to have a perfect set of guidelines. I would really like to see questions like "Is premarital sex a sin?" be approached academically. But, we, as a community, have failed to do that.
I believe that everyone approaches sacred scripture attempting to understand truth.
Doctrine and history puts a gap between the truth and what we perceive as the truth. While people may accept that the gap exists, everyone likes to think that they are close to the truth.
With that concept, the idea of the priesthood of all believers, and our horrible definition of "Christian", all opinions have to be accepted as a "Christian" interpretation of scripture, regardless how far off-base they seem.
I think a better fix would have been to nail down what "Christian" meant. However, that would be like nailing jello to the wall.
@Caleb And I think it's okay for us to disagree on that, (though I can argue the point... but that's another discussion) but understand that for those of us who believe that truth can be truly known from scripture (even if it is not objective or absolute truth), the doctrine-based exegesis restriction makes the whole thing not very useful...
To put it another way, if "what is the Biblical basis for tithing?" isn't a good question, the parameters ought to be adjusted
@Ray I don't think you are ... but I don't think we're quite communicating either. At least for myself I don't really understand your objection. It just doesn't match the picture in my head of what is so I don't understand what the objection is to.
@Ray I don't feel like I have been disagreeing with you. On the contrary, I feel like I agree with all that you've said. But, we have to find some way to improve the quality of the site. Requiring doctrine (or commentary) is the only way we can come up with to do that.
@Caleb I agree. I think it's a confusion with the communication.
For example, the tithing question. It previously asked for biblical justification. Without specifying the early church, yes, it may get a couple of "i think X" type answers and these are bad answers that aren't following the rules of "no original research"... but it's not the question's fault. A good answer would cite scripture and have support for that reading, whether it is "the church fathers said X" or "the catechism says Y" or "N.T. Wright says Z"
@Ray Out of that I think we agree on what will make good answers, but I do think the questions set the tone for judging whether answers are good or bad, and we were drowning in bad answers because there were no rules for the questions. With limiting to questions that can only be answered by what you just defined as good answers we've cut off one hydra head.
Can you give us another example @Ray? Specifically of some question you think you could answer with just Biblical content and your own commentary that would not be a valid answer to a question asking about a doctrine?
Also, the answers we would get are actually worse than that. We don't get "I think X", we get "X is the absolute truth" with no doctrinal support, no commentary support, no biblical support. It's just pure opinion.
I'd like to point you to this question, as an example of how an open-ended question draws bad answers:
God can grant an amazing peace of mind to a person. Many Christians have been totally calm and prayed for their persecutors while being tortured and killed -- like Stephen, the first martyr.
But do all Christians (I mean those who are saved) have the same kind of peace, or any kind of peace at a...
@Ray How can we tell? The problem we struggled with is: How can we limit original research when (a) Protestantism clearly accepts the priesthood of all believers (b) God is a personal god (c) inspiration and understanding of the scriptures can be given to individuals? If we accept these things, there's no way to tell opinion from absolute truth.
We have to kill "opinion" and make it backed by something so that we have some basis for determining "good" and "bad" answers. Killing original research is a good start, but many denominations believe that original research and personal revelation are completely valid. :\
@Ray Let me try to ask that again. You defined what you think makes a good answer. What question would you like to write an answer for that -- if edited to match our current guidelines -- could not be answered with your good answer.
I admit that commentary is not completely doctrinal tradition. However, all commentators have some doctrinal lens through which they are interpreting. As long as the lens can be identified, commentaries are acceptable as doctrinal stance.
Part of the problem is that we still need a "Why was my answer deleted?" post so that we have some grounding to delete answers. I didn't start closing questions until we had that "Why was my question closed?" post.
We've been paying attention to answer quality, but you can't say an answer is objectively bad and refuse it when the question it's answering is bad in that any answer could potentially be the right answer.
I've gotten a bit lost... Ultimately, we have to find a way to improve the quality of the questions to draw expert, supported answers. I don't know of any way to do that outside of requiring a doctrine, or tradition for the question.
@Richard I tend to favour descriptive linguistics, so I've given up on "begging the question" altogether. The "incorrect" usage annoys me and others; the "correct" usage confuses other people. For the "incorrect" usage, I use "gives rise to the question". I rarely have occasion to use the "correct" usage.
In Why was my question closed? How can I get it open again? we see that users are asked to specific a doctrine:
Questions that are seeking understanding of specific doctrine, must specify the doctrinal tradition to which they are referring.
However, I liken that to a blind person being aske...
Doctrine usually organizes around religious or philosophical matters, and always has, in my day-to-day usage of English. It has never applied to the sciences, and nobody I have ever read has ever used it in such a way. It has religious undertones, if not overtones. Therefore, especially to me, a person who is much more wildly fluent in English than most of the people I have ever met, needs a definition of how you guys intend it used.
The point I'm making is you said that "Gay marriage" is a doctrine. So why the F* was my question closed earlier for not making my doctrine known?
The Monroe Doctrine is a policy of the United States introduced on December 2, 1823. It stated that further efforts by European countries to colonize land or interfere with states in the Americas would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention (however, the wording referred to the entire Western Hemisphere, which actually includes parts of Europe and Africa). The doctrine was introduced by President Monroe when he was enraged at the actions being executed around him. The Monroe Doctrine asserted that the Americas were not to be further colonized by European countries but...