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Proposal: Christianity

Some questions might reveal some sensitive topics about the Bible and the concept of Christianity as a whole that could lead to somebody to lose his/her faith. Some people might ask it on purpose to try to deconvert the Christians. But some are asked because they are confused and trying to find their way back to God. So will these kinds of questions be allowed here?

Some examples:

  • Why were the kings of Israel allowed to have many wives?

  • If God knows everything, He should also know who is going to hell, and no matter what happens, that person is going to hell anyway. Why does God allow this?

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    My opinion is that if someone is able to lose their faith because of a simple question in an online qna, then they were already well on their way of losing their faith. i really doubt that anything like this would happen though. – DForck42 Aug 5 '11 at 13:24
  • I guess my comment is more an answer than a comment...so I'm putting it as an answer. :) – elemjay19 Aug 12 '11 at 3:22
  • There were quite a few Christians doing equivalent borderline-trolling on the (now defunct) atheism.se... – Benjol Aug 16 '11 at 7:41
  • @Benjol you are going to see more than borderline trolling on a Christian QA site. Refactored by real world users, it will quickly turn into a constant philosophical debate, downvote faction war, and quite possibly make SE distance itself from this niche built of pure speculation. It's not the questions...it's the answers and how tolerant the moderators will be to allowing discussion beyond 1 side of their own coin. – dhaupin Oct 15 '14 at 22:54
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  1. Any and all questions and information can cause evaluation and introspection leading to a rejection of prior beliefs and/or the acquisition of new beliefs.
  2. If you believe in free will, you believe the reader has a choice of what to do with the information. If you don't, then there's nothing you can do to prevent this sort of event.
  3. Stack Exchange is a place for questions and answers, the sharing of information. They will not allow you to be the morality police for someone else. From their perspective, this is the equivalent of asking "Are questions that might make some people become Christians allowed?" It's all or nothing; ban both (the entire site) or neither.
  4. Malicious or overly confrontational behavior is moderated regardless of intent. People making posts such as "Christianity is untrue because of X, this site sucks!" should be moderated, as well as people making posts such as "Believe or you will go to hell!" So you don't need to worry about people purposefully disrupting the site or antagonizing people, as long as moderation is appropriate and applied independently of the subject matter.
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I should like to answer your question with scripture, if you don't mind:

Jesus talks about the fact that some will be challenged by His teaching. This is not the only example of that idea, but it's one that I came across more recently. It illustrates an important point that I consider central to your question: Christianity isn't always easy. Belief is the easy part (James 2:19), and faith and following are much more difficult.

I feel that if we choose to censor or sugarcoat what we find in Scripture in order to make Christianity more comfortable, we're actually doing our own faith (and the faith of those we persuade by our creative license) a disservice.

There are, of course, matters of doctrine and philosophy which are not scripturally founded, and if those cause potential/committed followers to struggle, it may be grounds for moderation, or asking for citation, support, theological basis, etc. But at least when discussing matters that come direct from the text, whether or not it is challenging is not grounds for taking a question off the table for discussion. Christianity is a challenge even for those who are persistently faithful, and there is a lot of scriptural evidence that we ought to be glad of that, not hesitant as a result.

  • Not even belief is easy (depending on which pieces of scripture you use... and on the exact relevant definition of "belief") – Jürgen A. Erhard Aug 17 '11 at 19:30
  • @jae - a good point. Here I am referring to belief as James uses it, which might be phrased as "acknowledging the existence of God." You are right to point out that this is not easy for everyone, and I will edit my answer to reflect that better. My intent was to illustrate that belief is easy by comparison when contrasted with having faith and actively following God. – asfallows Aug 17 '11 at 19:42
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A valid question (with no abuse words, or intended meaning) is a valid question, No Matter who ask it or Why.

Trying to hide sensitive questions has a higher chance of causing people to lose their faith, more than a correct answer to a sensitive question could.

Why were the kings of Israel allowed to have many wives?

Could be better phrased as:

Why were the kings of Israel allowed to have multiple wives?

Did any king of Isreal have multiple wives? Yes. So please explain yourself how is this not a valid question? why is it a sensitive question? or rather, why is it a sensitive question to you? As far as christians are concerned, this is not a sensitive question but a powerful one, since the correct answer will bring us one step closer to knowing God.

If God knows everything, He should also know who is going to hell, and no matter what happens, that person is going to hell anyway. Why does God allow this?

Yet another powerful and valid question, but perhaps could be better rephrased as:

The Bible says that God knows everything (1 John 3:20, Job 36:4) and nothing is ever impossible with God (Luke 1:37, Matthew 19:26).

  1. Does that mean he knows who is going to hell?

  2. And, no matter what happens, that person is going to hell anyway?

  3. If so, why does God allow this?

In fact here's another example of a powerful question:

Can God create a stone so heavy that even He could not lift?

Or perhaps:

Mark 13:32 (NIV):

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

If Jesus is fully God as well as fully human, then how is it that He can be ignorant of anything, since God is omniscient or all-knowing?

Facts (truth) does not need hiding. The truth is not afraid to be revealed, because every single sensitive part of the truth is still the Truth. If not, it's no longer the truth, but merely the half-truth.

Do what we can (provide the answers to the questions) and let God do the rest.

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The type of questions on the Christianity SE will be about what is written in the Bible, what are the beliefs and practices of Christian denominations, etc. Questions like your second question probably do not fit that bill.

If someone learns something about Christianity that they didn't know before that makes them lose their faith...I would argue that it's better that they know what it is they disagree with than be ignorant of what they profess to believe.

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    I think the second question could be an honest question, if rephrased. I agree that now it sounds like an attack. – dancek Aug 12 '11 at 7:08
  • Not only does it sound like an attack, I'm not sure that the question is asking something that we can know. "Why would God do X" in general is going to result in debate, not a specific answer. "What does the Bible say about X" or "What do [Christian denomination]s believe about X" are more suited to this type of site. – elemjay19 Aug 12 '11 at 22:15
  • @norabora I beg to differ. the second question fits the bill totally. it's such a valid question that you can be assured 80% of christian youths had at least once thought of these questions before. perhaps a valid answer to that question would be like "we will never know why God allows it (Job 11:7, Isaiah 55:8-9) but from the bible we can see it is possible that.." – Pacerier Aug 15 '11 at 21:22
  • @Pacerier Asking why God does something He does is always going to be answered with "I don't know but...". – elemjay19 Aug 23 '11 at 19:44
  • Sorry, that was not a complete answer. But the fact is that phrasing matters. And asking why God does something is just not a productive question for a Q&A site about Christianity. This site should be about Christianity, not about God. And while God is, obviously, a big part of Christianity, such a site cannot begin to address questions about God. I agree that for Christians such a question is of importance, but this site isn't even about Christians. That's why I think it doesn't fit the bill. – elemjay19 Aug 23 '11 at 19:50
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Fortunately, since Christianity is true, the right answer to any question should only serve to bolster people's faith (or at least leave them confused but no worse off). It'll be a lot of fun to see how this plays out!

However, promoting or demoting the faith is as far from the 'intent' of StackExchange Inc as entertaining is. If answers are intemperate or imprudent then they'll be downvoted. Hopefully there won't be so much moderation that nothing more than the color of the robes worn at an ecumenical choir concert can be discussed.

  • "Christianity is true" = A subjective intemperate answer that causes me to lose my faith in the shared ability for humans to reason. Its important to keep "from the hip" faith(s) from muddying the ability of others to have their own "from the hip" faith(s). The essence of this SE niche will be a battle over which direction the faith is lost, and to which belief system it is built back into. This is a 100% subjective niche therefore efficient objective moderation will be impossible. – dhaupin Oct 15 '14 at 22:40
  • @dhaupin is that why you sold out Joan the Maid to the Burgundians? Shame on you! – Peter Turner Oct 16 '14 at 2:23
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"Let God do the rest" ??? Seems to me that presupposes a "deity" which some might question.

Shouldn't a question be answered with an answer that can be reasonably/factually answered? And shouldn't that answer help the one asking the question rather than just bolster the answering party's thesis?

And yes, I know I'm guilty of providing answers that don't meet my criteria but gladly accept those who try give a better answer.

Many questions related to "religion" cannot be answered with answers that are verifiable. That is why religions require "faith" of the believers. If a believer doesn't have the "faith" it is because they find the answer "lacking." And many religious "believers" are willing to kill and die for their beliefs. (factual- )

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