One thing has puzzled me in the short time I've been browsing Christianity.SE, and it should be fairly self evident from the title- why is it that questions which ask for a particular perspective are preferred in pretty much all cases?

I understand a little about the history of this site, and that there were issues to begin with, essentially an all out gland war between people of different denominations/variations of Christian beliefs. What I don't understand is the necessity for all questions to be streamlined in such a way. Shouldn't the onus instead be on the answerer to clearly state when a particular perspective is being given, and to give objective support for the fact that the stated perspective holds this belief, rather than on the questioner to ask for a particular position?

For the most part I imagine a lot of questions would be unaffected- some questions might genuinely want an answer a particular perspective, but it might help avoid instances like-

Q- what does St Augustine say about X

followed by Comment- do you want answers from an RC perspective? (Is it really necessary to ask for a specific perspective on such a specific question?)

Q- what does the catholic church say about whether or not animals have human-level consciousness (A fictional example of questions which would be directed to another part of SE altogether if not for the "from X perspective" qualifier)

  • 2
    Not all questions do. Questions about history, exegesis, tightly focused doctrines don't. More open ended doctrinal questions need to be either scoped to a particular perspective, or to ask for an overview of positions.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


The reason a perspective in many cases must be specified by the questioner is that this site considers the beliefs of all self-identifying Christian groups as on topic. That is, as I've explained elsewhere:

There are many groups of people who call themselves Christians but who you would not consider Christians. Asking a "truth question" invites answers from Christian atheists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Branhamites, the Westboro Baptist Church, Hyper-Calvinists, and more, besides the more "orthodox" Catholics, Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox. In such cases, votes quickly become a means of squashing heresy rather than a means of recognizing high-quality answers.

That last sentence is the crux of the issue – votes are meant to reward quality answers, regardless of the viewpoint they express, but actual practice has revealed that voters tend to vote down views they disagree with, without due consideration for quality. So if a question can be answered from multiple perspectives, that's an indication that it's not a good fit for this site.

That said, a question like "What does Augustine say about X?" would not typically be in this category, since Augustine's writings are not considered scripture and therefore whether he wrote something or not is not a matter of doctrine for any Christian group. Many other questions, such as history and biblical basis questions, do not normally require a perspective to be given. And overview questions often work well too, so long as they clearly identify the desired perspectives and are not too broad.

Exegesis questions are a bit more tricky; the actual behavior of close voters is not uniform and a standard/clear policy has not been agreed upon. But again, the general rule applies; if a question is open to multiple perspectives, it is more likely to be closed.

  • 2
    thanks for the clarification - I have seen instances of the "What does Augustine say about X" being commented on with "Do you want this from a Catholic perspective" - it sounds like the commenter may have been over-pushing the rule in this case. This makes sense though - I hadn't considered the effect of people voting for their own perspective
    – danl
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 10:46

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