I understand the difference between a Stack Exchange site and other sites, but at the same time, academic theology like that written in journals is not all dedicated to this form. I know these sites encourage "answerable" questions compared to open-ended discussion, but certainly there must be some room for the type of theology done in academic settings as well.

For example, "What is Paul's view of justification?" is a question that different denominations take confessional stands on, but it's also something that unbelieving theologians have taken stands on as well.

It just seems like the site is on track to become a questions for Catholics to find answers regarding canonical doctrine. It's just a natural thing to develop of out the format of "What does X believe about Y" questions when one of the major branches of Christianity places significant emphasis on having authoritative answers.

  • Excellent point! I am a Catholic, and I agree completely. I think a better focus for the site would be to promote a clearer and deeper understanding of Christianity, and there are many fruitful questions which fulfill such a goal while at the same time failing to meet the criterion you reference here. (Furthermore, the cut-and-dry doctrinal focus is highly biased in favor of Catholicism)
    – zippy2006
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 21:23
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    @zippy2006 "the cut-and-dry doctrinal focus is highly biased in favor of Catholicism" That's news to me as a Presbyterian. I thought it was simply biased in favor of precision. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 5:39
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    800 questions tagged Catholicism out of 6,300 in total. I don't think this turning into a Catholicism.SE is a legitimate concern. Actually, I would say that most questions here are hoping for non-Catholic answers.
    – user3961
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 23:06
  • Relevant: Types of questions that are within community guidelines. There are five other question types that this community entertains, plus there are more, but they are infrequently asked.
    – user3961
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 23:09
  • What about questions where there isn't a denominational position that is uniformly stated? Does this set us up for a bunch of duplicates with each permutation? Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 14:17
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    @Ben sometimes it is appropriate to ask an OP to broaden the scope, for example from Baptist to protestant if there's nothing distinctive about the Baptist position. Or the more specific question can be made a duplicate of the more general one.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 23:01

2 Answers 2


Stack Exchange is similar to Wikipedia in that primary research is often discouraged (though not always, unlike Wikipedia.) Hermeneutics encourages it far more than Christianity. Here, in order to reduce the chance of popularity voting, most questions are about published explanations of belief.

A lot of the time the problems aren't with new ideas in answers, but poor questions. "What is Paul's view of justification" is too broad. Instead ask what evidence supports the New Perspective on Paul, or what the arguments against it are. Answers never need to reference other sources, so you could think up new answers to questions like those, but answers which reference sources are usually better received.

Also in addition to "what do X believe about Y?" questions we also encourage basis, history, overview, reference request and some exegesis questions.

I don't get the connection between your first two paragraphs and the third. I think Catholics have always been a minority here, though a large one of course.


I understand and appreciate your question as I too have felt that we should be able to ask more "general christian / christology" questions. However, it has been my experience that the way the site is setup right now (opposed to the early days) is functioning very well. When you consider the purpose of the site and take a diver deep into what potential answer would look like, you'll see that these questions are too broad and cannot have one single best answer w/o bias.

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