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I'm now totally confused as to what is on topic and what isn't on this board. I had no idea Christianity was such a narrowly-defined concept. Now I'm afraid to ask anything. Why is that, do you think?

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    Kind of agree, though I keep sticking around and getting what I can out of it. There are rules here that don't make sense at first, that is for sure. There are things I want this site to be that it just simply is not. You just have to take it for what it is able to be. – Adam Heeg Nov 8 '15 at 0:03
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    There is some irony here - it is the very fact that Christianity is so broad of a concept that necessitates the closing of some questions (those that ask about such-and-such principle without specifying a denomination; we don't aim to decide "truth"/"proper" doctrine here, but rather aim to document what different groups of Christians believe.) – ThaddeusB Nov 8 '15 at 3:18
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These six on-hold questions you speak of are:

  1. More Roman Catholicism help--Prophets/Holy people? (now deleted)
  2. Roman Catholicism Information HELP! Holy sites?
  3. Is Jesus really dead (killed)?
  4. Help on Roman Catholicism in-depth research?
  5. Does forgiveness require repentence?
  6. Turn the other cheek?

Questions 1, 2, and 4 were actually all posted by the same person. #1 and #2 were posted after #4, and they are more like tirades than they are actual questions. All of them ask us to do some research for them, and across a broad selection of subjects. Their questions aren't specific enough, and their attitude did not help at all.

Question 3 was posted by a Muslim (presumably) and doesn't even really have a question. They just state the Islamic belief on the matter.

Question 6 barely has a question. The way it's written, it's asking for a discussion, not a clear, straightforward, objective answer.

Question 5 actually looks and reads like a genuine question. The problem is that it's unanswerable on this site. Not because there isn't an answer, but because there are too many answers. I can tell you with certainty that we have 100 users on this site that can and would give a good answer. That's way too many.

The best questions on this site are those that have a small handful of well-researched and well-supported answers that are clear, straightforward, and (relatively) objective. This is by design. That's how Stack Exchange sites are supposed to work.

For Christianity.SE, this means that most good questions generally fall into one of six types. (See the other questions in the tag for more on this site's guidelines and why they're that way.)

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    Let me try your patience further. "Is Hamlet a Christian play or not?" How's that? Do I need to bother posting it, or is it totally heretical (i.e. violates the guidelines)? – Ricky Nov 8 '15 at 9:33
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    @Ricky How could a question like that possibly have an objective answer? – curiousdannii Nov 8 '15 at 11:58
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    @curiousdannii: Is the Theory of Relativity an objective theory? Sheesh. – Ricky Nov 8 '15 at 19:07
  • @Ricky: Objectivity is only part of the problem. You'd have to explain why it matters to you whether Hamlet is a Christian play or not, and you can ask for an answer from a specific viewpoint, like, say, Mormonism, which allows (relatively) objective answers. However, it's quite unlikely that Mormonism has anything to say about the Christian-ness of Hamlet. Likewise, the Theory of (General or Special) Relativity has nothing to do with Christianity. A question based on either would (probably) not be a particularly good or interesting question. – El'endia Starman Nov 8 '15 at 21:03
  • @Ricky What? Don't you think there's a huge difference from asking about that than asking whether Hamlet should be considered Christian? – curiousdannii Nov 8 '15 at 21:03
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    @El'endiaStarman: It is my conviction as a Christian that pretty much everything in the world has something to do with Christianity. Relativity has PLENTY to do with it, being a Christian concept to begin with (it started with certain writings of Nicholas of Cusa). – Ricky Nov 8 '15 at 21:33
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    @curiousdannii: Not really, no, I don't think there's much of a difference. I'll try posting a question on that subject if only to prove my point. – Ricky Nov 8 '15 at 21:35
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    @Ricky: Charles Darwin was a devout Christian who believed in the literal truth of the Bible. Therefore, Evolution was a Christian concept to begin with (by your definition). Is this site the place for discussing evolution? No. It's a place for asking and answering specific questions about what specific Christian groups believe, practice, and/or teach. – El'endia Starman Nov 8 '15 at 22:18
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    @El'endiaStarman: The entire world seems to be a place for specific questions of pre-programmed nature, and the boundaries are clearly defined and non-negotiable; which is why normal intellectual discourse on any topic is well-nigh impossible anywhere, least of all on Christianity. – Ricky Nov 8 '15 at 22:34
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    @Ricky: I think you might be missing one crucial aspect of this site: it uses an engine that was originally developed for one purpose: to get the right answer for programming questions (or at most a few good, right answers). This is what the whole question-and-answer model is designed around. For the system to work as designed, this means that questions cannot be discussion-starters or ones that can be answered subjectively. If you want "intellectual discourse on any topic", please feel welcome to come to Christianity Chat. There's lots of that going on there. – El'endia Starman Nov 8 '15 at 23:12
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    The whole objective-subjective nonsense is what atheists have been browbeating everybody with for over a century. One should be ashamed to use their terminology. – Ricky Nov 8 '15 at 23:20
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    @Ricky To assert that the difference between subjective and objective derives from atheist "browbeating" and that one should be "ashamed" (of rational thought, I suppose) is beyond ridiculous. – ThaddeusB Nov 9 '15 at 20:49
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    @ThaddeusB" I turn the other cheek. – Ricky Nov 9 '15 at 21:27
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Christianity is decidedly not a "narrowly-defined concept". However, one could argue (I have argued in the past on this very site) that this site is not really about Christianity, but rather about Christian theology, praxis, and history (that is, the various formal teachings promulgated by different groups calling themselves "Christian", and the history of those groups, and their practices), which is a much different topic, and which is in fact pretty narrowly defined.

What's on topic, basically, is questions about the beliefs, teachings, practices, and history of various Christian groups, as well as the typically accepted (by a broad range of Christians) interpretations of Biblical sayings on a given topic. We've found that if we don't restrict our work in this way, there's no way that we can give (what would be accepted by everyone on the site as) objective answers to questions. And as El'endia has commented, even on those questions, some are really broad and we can't possibly fit a reasonable answer into the space we have. So we've basically just done the best we can to limit the questions so that we can try and provide the best objective answers possible.

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    "this site is not really about Christianity" - Yes, thank you for confirming my suspicions. – Ricky Nov 10 '15 at 21:14
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    @Ricky That is, it's not interested in talking about what "Christianity says" is right and wrong; it's interested in what's taught by various groups about what's right and wrong. – Matt Gutting Nov 10 '15 at 21:25
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    I turn the other cheek. – Ricky Nov 10 '15 at 21:29
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    I know what it means in the context of the original, but not how you're intending it to be used here. How, exactly, have you been struck across the cheek by my answer? – Matt Gutting Nov 10 '15 at 21:44

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