I may be a dopey dumb Catholic, but if I had to say something about "most Christians" it's that they're Trinitarians. I realize that there are non-Trinitarian Christians out there. But how on earth can you scope a question for Trinitarians? There's no moral authority for Trinitarians. (Except maybe St. Athanasius?)

So, outside of asking historical questions, how is doing anything but working against the rules and inviting widely diverging perspectives to compete for sanctimonious truthhood?

  • Do you think the tag description needs to be revised to incorporate the answers? Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 13:53
  • My preference would be to nuke Trinitarian (is it a word or anti-Christian epithet?) or at the very least create a tag-synonym for trinity which is always the subject. But that's not gonna get traction.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 17:26
  • @PeterTurner You might have a case there. We'd have to look at current use. Is trinitarian used differently than trinity? Without looking, I'd say maybe not. There's also the issue, I bet, of trinity being a lot like bible or jesus. People just slap it on any ol' question. But if we've found use for unitarian then I don't see why trinitarian would not be useful.
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 22:06
  • @freds there is a unitariansim that is used, but there is no unitarian currently in use. But that's sort of like the whole Catholic vs catholic usage. Muslims, for instance, are unitarians.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 22:29
  • @PeterTurner I would call them synonyms. So also are trinitarian and trinitarianism, though trinitarianism is not in use at all.
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 22:53
  • 1
    Honestly, the inconsistency bothers me more than whether the tags are actually useful.
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 22:53
  • 3
    I think a case can be made to merge the tags, but that's entirely orthogonal to where Trinitarianism is a useful scope on this site.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 23:12
  • @PeterTurner No, actually Musilims are not Unitarians. They are monotheists (maybe) but words have normative usages and if you go around assigning arbitrary meanings or trying to deny common meanings you're just not going to accomplish anything constructive. Chesterton argues this point quite fervently, if you won't take it from me take it from him. Tags are lower case not by virtue of SE's typography and does not imply making generic terms out of proper names.
    – Caleb
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 7:33
  • @fredsbend trinity is a cross-denominational topic (as well as a potential scope), while unitarianism is a specific theological movement. As different classes of items the naming isn't really inconsistent — they just aren't equivalent to each other at all. There is no tag unitarian, nor is there now a tag trinitarian, which was only ever used to ask about the doctrine of the trinity anyways (see my answer).
    – Caleb
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 13:15
  • @Caleb I see what you're saying, but taxonomically they are similar. Unitarian was so named because it stands in contrast to Trinitarian. .
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 13:29
  • @fredsbend What I'm trying to say is that they are not taxonomically similar in spite of the vaguely similar (and admittedly confusing) naming. "Trinity" is more taxonomically similar to "Unconditional Election" while "Unitarianism" is more taxonomically similar to "Calvinism". See the Wikipedia page for an explanation of the same. It's possible people are using the tag wrong, but I just added a tag wiki to maybe cut down on that some.
    – Caleb
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 13:32
  • @Caleb and fredsbend: I think I agree with you both, or maybe that means with neither ;) We have a lot of questions about the Trinity because it is a complex and involved belief system. Unitarianism is by contrast simple, and so the questions are more of a "given Unitarianism, how does X work or make sense?" (which is using the tag as a scope). Unitarianism definitely could be a topic just like the Trinity, but there's much less to ask about it.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 13:37
  • This comment thread has migrated to Christianity Chat starting roughly here.
    – Caleb
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 15:19

4 Answers 4


Answer take 2. Because I missed the point the first time around.

This meta post seems to have gotten started of all the wrong foot by ⓐ talking about the problem being whether the topic was too bread or narrow and ⓑ dragging a bunch of sectarian terminology into the discussion as if it mattered.

As far as I can tell the only real question here is whether the usage of the tag is sufficiently distinct from to warrant a separate tag. I read through all the 20 some questions with the tag and the only one I found that was using "trinitarian" as a scope as opposed to just the Trinity being the topic was this one. Arguably that question should be "What does the Trinity have to do with sin anyway?", so I don't see any harm in re-tagging it.

Having a tag around for one question with dubious scope doesn't seem useful. All the others are asking directly about the Trinity itself. As such I've merged them into the trinity tag.

I think that solves this issue, but it could be worth going through the tag looking for things that should also have if that is either their topic or scope, and also look out for whether the usage of makes any sense at all.


Trinitarian is generally too broad in my opinion unless the question specifically address the concept of the Trinity.

If the question asks him Trinitarians address the theory of evolution, that's not properly scoped.

If the question asks whether Trinitarians agree that John 1 indicates that Jesus the Son and God the Father are one and The same, that's properly scoped.

It's all a matter of context.

  • I agree. It depends.
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 5:40

Question scope is not limited to just groups that have some authority in place. Any doctrinal position can function to define the scope of a question. What types of questions this is appropriate for varies by context, but it is workable.

True, there is not "authority" on Trinitarianism. But there is very broad agreement on it. As such those that hold a classical Trinitarian position are a fairly defined subset. Some other issues are naturally directly tied to other issues and thus it makes sense to ask about them in relation to the doctrinal position rather than any specific group that holds that position.

Only domain knowledge in the specific area being questioned will be a useful guide for judging whether there are likely too diverse a set of possible answers or whether the question is reasonably answerable. There is no blanket rule that such questions of this sort would be either too broad or or sufficiently scoped.


I believe that is too broad for the scope of the site, if I cite J. Edgar Hoover's writings about the Trinity and you cite Margaret Sanger's writings about the Trinity then, who am I to judge who the worse expert is?

Because of this, other than asking if there are Patristic writings about the Trinity, there can be no non-denominationally scoped questions on the Subject.

What questions from a viewpoint wouldn't have as their subject the ? Furthermore, what questions from a viewpoint wouldn't have as their subject?

My opinion is that the viewpoints alluded to in the tags should be ones with identifiable authorities contemporary to us, not ancient ones that need our filters. (Unless we're asking a question from the perspective of an ancient Christian).

Now, I realize I probably nuked half of my bogative answers with that statement, but that's probably how things should have been done in the first place. But, I think this makes a pretty good argument for favoring tradition over sentiment in general and could make for better criteria for stellar answers.

  • Not all doctrinal issues have matching identifiable authorities. They still serve a purpose in grouping topics into a taxonomy where users can find content related to their interests. Some questions may additionally have other tags that do represent an authority to appeal to and hence further scope, but that doesn't make the subject matter tags invalid. This logic would have you throwing out soteriology, prayer, marriage, heaven, creation, satan, and hundreds of others.
    – Caleb
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 7:26
  • For Catholics, all doctrinal issues have a matching authority. I think we still need to have denominational tagging for everything so its not a popularity contest.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 14:13

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