Our "standard" theodicy question, How to answer "Why do evil and suffering exist?", has been edited and reopened. Previously it did not request a denominational viewpoint, but now it does. This is significant for a few reasons:

  • The question has over 16k views, virtually all of which came prior to including a denominational viewpoint
  • The question has at least 10 other questions linking to it—it is a very popular duplicate target for generic "Why does God allow evil" questions.
  • It has 27 (27!) answers, none of which make any attempt to demonstrate that they reflect the teaching of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, as is now requested in the question.

To me something needs to be done to clean this up, but I'm not exactly sure what. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Delete answers
    1. All of them.
    2. All of them that, after some investigation of Lutheran beliefs, clearly don't line up with that system
  2. Reclose duplicates
    1. Find another generic theodicy question that has a decent answer (not sure if any exist on the site) and use that as a duplicate target
    2. Reclose all duplicates as truth questions (or other close reason, not duplicate)
  3. Revert edits and reclose the question [This is a bad option for a number of reasons, most importantly reverting a good faith effort by the OP, but I'm including it since it would help resolve the current mess]
  • 6
    Revert the edits, reclose the question, and stick a historical lock on it. Suggest the OP (who made the recent change) ask a new question that's limited in scope. Commented May 20, 2016 at 16:49
  • 6
    OP here, if re-closing the question is the easiest/cleanest solution then I am ok with that as long as the question still exists as an example of a question that is ill suited for this site (historical purposes). Commented May 20, 2016 at 17:44
  • 2
    @SteveMoser: that is exactly the purpose of a historical lock: an old question that was fine when it was asked but is now no longer suitable for the site. It's a way of preserving important/good content while also emphasizing that it no longer fits the site. Personally, I do think the best course of action is to roll-back the edits, reclose, historical lock, and have the OP ask a new question that is properly scoped. Commented May 20, 2016 at 23:54
  • +1 for a historical lock
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 0:29

1 Answer 1


Since no one has posted an answer (ahem), allow me to copy suggest that we:

  • Revert the recent edits
  • Close the question
  • Put a historical lock on it

This allows us to make no changes to the answers or associated duplicate questions.

This is definitely the cleanest approach, and I'm particularly inclined toward it given the OP's approval in comments above (thanks for understanding!). A scoped version of this question can be asked separately, if desired.


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