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I would like to dispute the removal of this answer:

https://christianity.stackexchange.com/a/6025/1283

The removal was justified by David Stratton as:

the question is "what evidence is there?", not "Is the evidence valid?". For now, I'm deleting this because it doesn't answer the actual question. See this post if you're unclear about the guideline for answering the actual question asked.

While my answer provided a few examples evidence as to why the Bible is not the word of God:

  • illnesses being caused by bad emotions

  • cure for leprosy being a ritual of sprinkling blood of a bird

It also addressed some of the claims made by other answers to the same question:

  • Seek forgiveness claiming that "The entire Bible is inspired by God" because it said so in the Bible

  • David Stratton bringing up the test of prophecy, while my answer addressed that some of such prophecies were interpreted post-hoc

Also since David Stratton answered the same question with an opposite position, him being the same person to remove my answer reaching the opposite conclusion could be seen as disingenuous or an attempt at censoring opposing views.

As such I believe the broader community should weight in on this matter.

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    The deleted answer is on archive.org, for reference. – 3961 Sep 2 '14 at 6:04
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    Kind of off-topic for meta, but a common mishap for skeptics is to sweepingly dismiss the entire Bible based on some questionable verses. The Bible is not a single work, therefore, you cannot evaluate it as such. That said, when examining the various opinions, there is no dichotomy, where you pick between inspired and not inspired. Rather, there is a vast array of opinions stretching the entire range of "Fully, literally the word of God" to "Total utter bunk." – 3961 Sep 2 '14 at 6:10
  • @fredsbend If you believe in Bible inerrancy, a single error is enough to make your position invalid. If you are more moderate in your views, an approach from both sides is important - to know if Bible got things right and wrong. Removing answers showing that a Bible is wrong is removing a whole side to the argument. – ThePiachu Sep 2 '14 at 21:53
  • I have made the analog to this question: What evidence is there to reject the position that the Bible is the Word of God to mankind? – 3961 Sep 3 '14 at 17:02
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I stand by that removal. Just because a small fraction of the question somewhat addressed the original question, the bulk of it did not.

The community has weighed in on whether or not we allow answers to address a point not asked for, and the answer was "no". Answers are expected to address the actual question asked not something else.


As for me being disingenuous, I also would like to point out that the question was

"What evidence is there?"

Mine addressed that question. Yours did not.

The reason your answer was removed was because it answered the exact opposite of what was asked for. It had nothing to do with me having answered the question.

The fact that I answered the question does not disqualify me from enforcing the site guidelines.

  • I agree with the answer being too broad, although you could've told me that. As for the answer not addressing the question - the answer addressed the topic and gave an opposing view, while staying "on topic". Allowing only direct answers to the question would limit the answers to apologetics, rather than a discussion of the topic from both sides. How about this answer that stays "on topic" - christianity.stackexchange.com/a/32650/1283 ? – ThePiachu Sep 3 '14 at 16:21
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In response to your comment:

Removing answers showing that a Bible is wrong is removing a whole side to the argument.

There is no argument on this post. There cannot be, by the scoping of the question. Any argument for this post belongs on another question.

Here's what the question asks for, explicitly:

What evidence is there to support the position that the Bible is truly the Word of God to mankind?

...

What, then, are the primary lines of evidence that demonstrate that the Bible is, indeed, the Word of God to mankind (outside of its own claims)?

Your answer says:

So in the end, arguments for Bible being the inspired Word of God are found by many people looking for them, but they don't hold up after rigorous scrutiny of skeptics.

That answer is in summary "there is no evidence."

To be fair, that is an acceptable answer elsewhere, but on this site we structure questions to handle one point of view at a time to avoid the arguments. In this case, that point of view is evidence supporting the claim, so answers must be limited to that.

Your answer is evidence against the claim. You didn't answer the question according to the scope given. Plain and simple. It is really no different than if I asked a question on Bitcoin.SE about Scrypt, and received an answer about SHA-256. Actually, more accurately, it would be like asking a question about the security benefits of Scrypt and the answer gives its short comings. That answer might be accurate, correct, and related, but it would not answer my question.

So your answer belongs on the question "What is the evidence against the claim that the Bible is the word of God?" That is a valid question to ask, however, I'm not sure how well received it would be on this site. Christians, at large, consider the Bible to have at least some level of Divine inspiration. It's not a question that Christians would entertain on a site about Christianity. Since, however, there are some that take the Bible at a very low value, relative to other Christians, I would support that question and you can post back here to keep downvotes and close votes at bay.

  • Well said. You explained it much better than I did. – David Stratton Sep 2 '14 at 23:28
  • So in other words, you don't care about the TOPIC being discussed, but the QUESTION? This invites one to create two topics for every argument. If you care about the topic, you will be exposed to opposing views which will broaden your horizons, even if you don't agree with them. Caring about the question turns the website into apologetics sounding board. The SE format is conductive for having multiple answers each valid in their point - every answer is evaluated by its own merit. This is why I think the answers should be on topic, but not necessarily on the letter of the question asked. – ThePiachu Sep 3 '14 at 15:30
  • @ThePiachu I do care about the topic plenty. Related questions are often linked right in the question post. This is about organization serving two purposes: 1) Keeping posts manageable in size and 2) more importantly, giving equal opportunity for all opinions. If we only allowed the one post for all the opinions, the popular ones would be voted to the top and the unpopular ones to the bottom, though factual, would be at the bottom. This was evidenced by your post before it was deleted. – 3961 Sep 3 '14 at 16:29
  • People take Christianity seriously; some are even religious about it ;) They will move on emotion first if there are not these strict guidelines. – 3961 Sep 3 '14 at 16:29
  • We have two meta posts on this topic: Christianity.SE vs. Survivor and Brothers, we are not Christians‼ Contrary to what you think you are seeing, we are doing the best we can to allow all opinions equal platform. – 3961 Sep 3 '14 at 16:33
  • "If we only allowed the one post for all the opinions, the popular ones would be voted to the top and the unpopular ones to the bottom, though factual, would be at the bottom" - wouldn't the same be true for the questions? A question asking about the popular aspect of things would be upvoted, while an unpopular opinion would be closed as off-topic. So the problem that needs to be solves is to teach people to vote based on the quality of the answer, not the viewpoint it presents. – ThePiachu Sep 3 '14 at 18:08
  • @ThePiachu Good luck with that. People will do what they do and vote how they vote. You can "teach" them all you want, but I doubt you can change anything regarding people's voting habits. Close votes are at least controlled by being privileged to over 3000 rep users only. Voting is only 125. Doesn't take much to get there. Only the worst users never make it. – 3961 Sep 3 '14 at 18:30
  • I have the same problem running a community on Reddit. All in all, you have the community you foster. If you only let apologetics answer and remove any other views, you will reinforce the status quo. However, you can teach your community a good etiquette as to how to vote, say "if you downvote, give a reason. If you can't give a reason, don't downvote", etc. – ThePiachu Sep 4 '14 at 3:05
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I dispute the basis on which you are objecting in the first place.

You admitted the problem yourself here:

answered the same question with an opposite position

On this site we do not handle questions asking for the "truth" of a matter under which answers from opposite positions would pe equally valid. If you answered from an opposite position one of the other of your answers is completely out of scope and needed deleting as "Not an Answer". It sounds like the one that did not match the questioned position was yours.

  • Does an answer that stays on the topic of the question (in this case "is the Bible divinely inspired") invalid? If so, should I ask a separate question addressing the opposite side or both sides of the argument for every one-sided question? Would those questions be removed as being off-topic? In other words, can I ask "What evidence is there that contradicts the position that the Bible is truly the Word of God to mankind?" and remove all the answers that try to show evidence to the contrary? – ThePiachu Sep 3 '14 at 16:27
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    @ThePiachu Sort of, but that is pedantic and missing the point of the site. It would also be necessary to scope the question to a Christian viewpoint. For example if there is a group of Christians that believe the Bible is not the Word of God and you would like to ask about their views you may. But the question you suggest would likely be completely out of scope for the site. The point is not to determine the ultimate truth about any issue. Questions should not be about issues in the first place, they should be about Christianity and what various Christian groups believe about issues. – Caleb Sep 3 '14 at 17:41
  • How about questions about Christianity from a non-Christian perspective? Say, what is the opinion of sceptics as to whether or not the Bible could have been divinely inspired? A relevant topic on the matter - christianity.stackexchange.com/q/6040/1283 . – ThePiachu Sep 3 '14 at 18:05
  • @ThePiachu No. That wouldn't be a question about Christianity. – Caleb Sep 3 '14 at 20:24
  • I would disagree that topics about Christianity are not on topic for Christianity SE, but then again I'm not a mod so I will leave it up to you. – ThePiachu Sep 4 '14 at 3:00

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