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Jesus said clearly only he is our teacher and master. But the moderators demand you ask a specific denomination...which is exactly what Jesus said not to do. Matthew 23:8 (KJV) 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.

Matthew 23:10 (KJV) 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, [even] Christ.

It's God's will we discuss his word without the lenses of traditions of men.

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    This topic has come up and been discussed almost ad nausium before. Please at least read We can't handle the truth and my answer on How can anything outside of Bible, not be labeled as an opinion?. It sounds like you are not really interested in learning about extant forms of Christianity so much as perusing ultimate truth. This site only deals in the former. I would argue that the former can also help you with the latter but it's up to you whether you use this site for that. – Caleb Jul 3 '17 at 13:25
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    @Caleb if you're not going to go there, don't go there. Including that last sentence of yours only invites discussion of the exact topic you claim to not want to discuss. I suggest you delete the last sentence: that comment was helpful and on-point without it, but suffers for it. – nitsua60 Jul 3 '17 at 14:52
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The problem I see is this:

Not all of us are Christian - there are atheists and probably agnostics on the site who have contributed good answers to questions. And even those of us who are Christians have different, often very different, beliefs and practices. That being the case, we will disagree on what is absolutely true. And we would like to be focused on what we agree is absolutely true. Here's why.

No one will vote for an answer they feel is objectively false. A Catholic won't upvote an answer saying that the mother of Christ was no different than any other woman of her time and place; a Presbyterian won't upvote an answer saying that the bread used in Catholic religious ceremonies becomes Christ. Upvotes and downvotes will stop being used (as they ought to be) to mark out useful and non-useful answers, and will become simple markers of the popularity of a given religious interpretation at a given time.

That's not helpful to someone who wants to know the truth—when they ask a question, or when they come looking for someone else's question.

We have experienced this on the site, and it's led to chaos and bad feeling. We don't want to go there again.

We have agreed, then, as a body, to stay away from those things whose truth we disagree on, even when we individually claim that they are objectively true. I know that the Host becomes the Body of Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; but I'm not going to claim it on the site because it won't be helpful. (I will strongly claim it in chat.) But there are things whose objective truth we do agree on. History, the structure of belief systems, the reasoning of human beings: these things we can talk about and have everyone agree on. And so we limit ourselves. Unfortunately, this means that there are a lot of good questions that we can't answer. In a sense, that's sad. But it does mean that we can still do good work for God and have people listen, explaining what we believe and why. It also means that we can increase people's understanding, maybe not directly of Truth, but at least of true things. And that is good, right and fitting.

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    I wouldn't say it's so much that there are topics we can't discuss so much as that this site isn't for discussion at all in the first place. It is not a discussion forum format, which is what's catching the OP off guard. – Caleb Jul 3 '17 at 13:39
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    @Caleb Agreed; I've changed my question to use the word "answer" rather than "discuss". – Matt Gutting Jul 3 '17 at 14:39
  • Indeed, there are questions which we can't agree upon, but would you not agree that there are some things that are very objective about certain Bible teachings, at least as objective as what a denomination believes about something? I literally stake my soul on the fact that the Bible is plain, obvious, and objective, at least on the most important matters of salvation, and find it to be so. I find it very hard to believe that, outside of a great delusion, so many people could find it that subjective. Are there some Bible facts we can agree upon? – DKing Jul 6 '17 at 13:47
  • @DKing there might be. But the plainness and obviousness of the Bible is something that the Catholic Church doesn't teach; indeed it teaches that the reverse is true in many or even most cases. – Matt Gutting Jul 6 '17 at 14:18
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Every one of the people using this site is not Jesus, but a mortal human being. Jesus can say what is the truth for Christians. We humans can say only what we believe to be the truth.

Unfortunately, if we allowed every individual to say what he or she thinks is the truth, this site would become a Wild West of conflicting opinions all claiming to be the truth. So we limit it to recognized groups and denominations of Christians, which represent the bulk of Christian viewpoints. This allows most users here to chime in on what they believe to be the truth, provided that they can show that what they believe represents what a particular group or denomination of Christians believes.

As for "the traditions of men," we are all, as I said, mortal humans, not God. We like to think that our version of the truth is the unvarnished truth straight from the Bible or straight from the mouth of Jesus. But we live embedded in human society and human church organizations. Even the way we read the Bible and read Jesus' words is filtered through our human experience and understanding of things as shaped by what we've been taught. You may think you are discussing God's Word without the lenses of traditions of men, but others will say the same thing, while completely disagreeing with you about what God's Word says.

At this site we're just a collection of human beings with disparate views of Christianity. We can't tell everyone coming here what's true and what's false. We can only make sure that the questions and answers here represent what a significant group of Christians believe to be true or false.

That's why the rules for what topics are and aren't allowable here have taken the specific form that they have, requiring, for most questions, answers that represent the beliefs of particular groups and denominations of Christians.

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    Then why not have a "non-denominational' category? People disagreeing is part of life, it's part of the learning process. I was once a southern baptist, but I'm far removed from that now. If I was never challenged by anyone, I may not have advanced as quickly. Example: 1st Corinthians 15 is about Jesus rising from the dead and that if he didn't, then people are being baptized for a dead man. The language is clear. However this chapter is used to teach people you can be baptized for your dead ancestors. When I tell people what it's about they are ALL like "huh, you're right" – The Elect Jul 3 '17 at 16:50
  • The point is, humans [ especially American Christians ] accept the view of the nearest denomination or the one that is most popular or the first one the encountered. They are programmed into seeing through a denomination's lens. It is IMPERATIVE people discus things we disagree on. You said it would be like "wild Wild West", ok then! The good , the bad, the ugly! Instead of shying away from conflict [its a forum, not a war zone. It's just HTML, not bullets] we should embrace it. Nietzsche said something like "I like long wars, with short spurts of peace in between". – The Elect Jul 3 '17 at 16:55
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    @TheElect There are plenty of places on the Internet where you can do that. StackExchange's Christianity site isn't one of them. – Lee Woofenden Jul 3 '17 at 16:59
  • I know there are, but I'm asking Stack Exchange to consider the value of allowing free and open discussion. It can only help human beings. Obviously people who are malicious would be removed, but most of us can , and should, strive for objective Truth. – The Elect Jul 3 '17 at 17:01
  • @TheElect I have a link for you to help understand what SE and SO will, or won't accommodate, based on the format's constraints. An SE site does not try to be all things to all people. – KorvinStarmast Jul 3 '17 at 17:20
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    @TheElect - the reason there is no non-denominational tag is because there is no formal, right answer to those questions. What is the non-denominational position on Election? Can't really answer that. Some non-denominational churches will be influenced by Reformed traditions, some will not. – James Shewey Jul 3 '17 at 19:57
  • @TheElect. There are all kinds of ways a site on religious subjects can be organized and run. No one site can do all the things. That's okay. The way this site runs is quite unusual, which means that it fills an otherwise underserved role in the landscape. – TRiG Jul 4 '17 at 19:32
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There is no easy button

When Jesus told his disciples "pick up your cross and follow me" the message he was sending was "this isn't going to be easy, but it's my way."

Matthew 16:24
24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me

I am sure you understand this extract from Scripture, Romans 3:23(KJV)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

If the founders of our faith in the Apostolic age had difficulty, including people who had met Jesus in the flesh when He walked this earth, what makes you think things were going to get easier, not harder? There are an abundance of passages in scripture that allude to how tough it is to walk the walk.

(Example: Matthew 19:16-26, the rich young man who keeps the commandments, but Jesus challenges him: give up everything, leave it all behind, and follow Him.

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

From your comment:

When the Bible clearly addresses the question. Jesus was asked what one has to do to inherit eternal life, and He answered clearly. This would be an objective answer for every follower of Jesus

Briefly: if it were as simple as you claim it is, in real life, there'd never have been a meeting in Jerusalem (the council mentioned in Acts) and there'd never have been any of the councils after that. There'd have never been a disagreement. A significant portion of the Apostle Paul's letters address precisely that: disagreement, friction, and the sincere attempt to get it right.

But real life isn't that simple, the Bible wasn't written in English, and we have all, as Christians, been handed down the faith by all of those who came before us (of whatever church, of whatever sect, of whatever body of believers there were no matter their disagreements) and all of them were human. (Some more in touch with Him than others, no doubt). If for 2000 years there has been disagreement -- some collegial and some bitter -- why do you think that the year 2017 is any different? If your answer is "but I've read the Bible!" well good. So have thousands of others, millions of others, and yet there is still disagreement. Just as there was in the beginning.

From Scripture I offer you a pithy quote (out of context, but useful in this response) ....

Nothing new under the sun

Ecclesiastes 1:9 King James Version (KJV)
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Simply reading the bible (or quoting it) does not provide you (or me, or anyone) with an easy button. It's a (great) beginning, and it can lead to a life long exposure to His word, particularly when we really get into Scripture and let it speak to us, but it's not an end unto itself. You still have to deal with people. (Jesus taught us that in John 13:34) One of the things about people is that they often disagree. There's the whole rest of the internet to interact with and demand that people accept that you, or I, or Caleb, or Matt, or anyone else is right. At Christianity.SE the people, the community, have arrived at a workable way that makes accessible the broad and rich spectrum of Christian belief without getting into all of the noise and bickering. Heck, bickering's been done!(for about 2000 years). What we do works pretty well because we don't try to be all things to all people.

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

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I would email rcartaino@stackexchange.com and let him know your concerns, I tried to get other users on this site who want to ask more generic questions to start a new site. Unfortunately, he thinks we have one Christianity site and that's good enough and if you try to start a new one he'll just shut it down. Last thing he said was that we should "work it out", apparently oblivious to the fact that we have worked it out, and this is where we're at.

On this site, we're not necessarily after absolute truth (we can figure that our for ourselves in prayer and meditating on God's Word), just what others think is true. So someone can ask a question about what Nestor the Nestorian said without 10,000 people jumping up and down saying what a bum Nestor was (he was a bum, by the way - nobody puts Our Lady in a corner).


So, I'm Catholic, if I search my perception is that the truth contained in those answers is the absolute truth. I am not a relativist, but I don't denigrate the truths contained in or . The problem here is that we don't have a and since I don't subscribe to that platform anyway, I have a hard time thinking of good questions to ask in that domain.

It thought, there was a "denomination" (for lack of a better word) of Christians who are unchurched or not strongly churched who read the Bible frequently and keep the commandments but have absolutely no cohesion outside of that. And I believe they (and by they, I mean you) should be able to ask legitimate questions here or somewhere, as long as those questions can be objectively answered.

But there's the rub, what constitutes an objective answer?


I was listening to Edward Sri's audio lecture "Who am I to Judge" on relativism, and he had a great point when you start saying something and end it with "to me?" then you're a relativist. The problem is, when you're asking what we deem a "Truth Question" on this site, you're not asking for absolute truth, you're actually asking for what is true "to me", because we are not very objective judgers of truth - this is why we have Churches guided by the Holy Spirit (but that's beside the point).

But it is why we can only ask objective questions about what has come before us, (i.e. the Traditions of Men).

  • What is an objective answer? When the Bible clearly addresses the question. Jesus was asked what one has to do to inherit eternal life, and He answered clearly. This would be an objective answer for every follower of Jesus. – The Elect Jul 3 '17 at 13:23
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    "apparently oblivious to the fact that we have worked it out" aptly put. – 3961 Jul 3 '17 at 19:29
  • @fredsbend We greet your re-appearance with great joy. :) (We = me and the voices in my head) – KorvinStarmast Jul 3 '17 at 20:29
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    @TheElect What is your problem with asking questions using the biblical basis approach? We have a tag for that, and everything. It seems to be where you can make a strong contribution. – KorvinStarmast Jul 3 '17 at 20:32
  • I would agree with this answer to an extent, but not with the "to me" part. I don't believe the Bible is relative, and if it were, then the current premise of this site would stand. I'm bothered by the exclusivity here, but I also understand the importance of avoiding popularity voting and many conflicting answers. I would love to see an actual Christianity site on SE, but it couldn't be tons of subjective answers. And I suppose that's the challenge. – DKing Jul 6 '17 at 14:00
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    @dking, if you're not a Catholic or member of another church that claims a teaching office which is the authentic interpreter of the Bible then I see where you're coming from. I also think I can make a good apologetic case against the perspicuity of scripture. But I believe the Bible is what the Catholic Church says the Holy Spirit says it is and the rest is opinion. I don't believe the Bible is relative either, I know for a fact that we are relative though (at least till we have faces) – Peter Turner Jul 6 '17 at 15:19

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