One can't possibly know all the possible positions of a given topic.

I am expanding the question a bit in an attempt to have a greater 
understanding of what the idea exchange expects.  

Help me define the scope

What constitutes the major views within Christianity? Is it based on money power and influence or the number of people? How are the major views defined, by denomination or less granular?

Please provide operationally defined answers and back up your claims with at least two or three sources from the Christianity.SE rules and or guidelines.

1Please forgive my lack of understanding about how this exchange of ideas works and please show me some grace as I learn how this site functions.

migrated from christianity.stackexchange.com May 15 '18 at 3:47

This question came from our site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more.

  • 1
    Good question! Here's one place this has been discussed before: Can part of a question be answered for overview questions? Feel free to also review the overview-questions tag for more comments on this. – Nathaniel May 15 '18 at 3:50
  • 3
    My quick and dirty answer: it's often difficult and takes a lot of reading/research. I know this from experience (examples A, B, and C). We recognize that overview questions are often more difficult to answer, but because answering them piecemeal can result in votes becoming a popularity contest for one view over another, we expect that answers to such questions actually be overviews. – Nathaniel May 15 '18 at 3:55
  • yeah, I hate these kinds of questions, but I accept that knowing all about Christianity is a separate domain of study that is outside my own area of expertise. – Peter Turner May 15 '18 at 13:33
  • What is the purpose of overview questions if no all the sides can be presented? What if someone answers with three different views and one view is left out, would that be grounds for deletion? – Fred Tusing May 15 '18 at 15:47
  • 2
    @Fred A good-faith answer to an overview question must try to summarise all the major views within Christianity. But usually that's only around 3-5 views. Any more than that and we'd close it as too broad. If a view gets missed out then hopefully it can be added later, and even if not it wouldn't be grounds for the answer to be deleted. But what's not allowed is answers that don't attempt to present more than one view. You also can still edit your answer now and then it can be undeleted. – curiousdannii May 15 '18 at 16:06

Welcome to Christianity.SE, Fred! I completely understand your frustration.

Part of the problem is the nature of Stack Exchange websites, of which Christianity.SE is a part. They originated with StackOverflow.com, a site dedicated to asking and answering questions about (basically) programming. That's a world that enjoys a great deal of definitiveness1. Consequently, they created a website using a one-question-one-best-answer model.

In short, StackOverflow was not and is not a discussion forum.

Unfortunately, when it comes to philosophy in general, religion in specific, and Christianity perhaps most of all — what most people expect is a discussion forum. As I understand it, early on in Christianity.SE's life (while it was establishing its identity), there was a fair amount of arguing. My two favorite Meta comments in this regard is Korvin Starmast's observation that we're really not interested in the 1900 year shouting match and Flimzy's observation that we can't handle the truth, meaning that questions of "who's right" are not what this site is about.

How does this relate to your question about overview questions?

Honestly, overview questions, while permissible, rarely work. They must generally be very narrow such that a single person can provide the overview. In my own limited experience with the site, it's simpler (and, frankly, more productive) to ask the same question 2-5 times, once for each denominational point of view you're looking for.

Remember, that one-question-one-best-answer model is a killer for overview questions. The moment you open the door to "anyone can provide an answer from their own denomination's point of view" the general populace quickly reverts back to the 1900-year-old shouting match, which we do because we as a group (and with all the love in the world) can't handle the truth that we have (sometimes very) divergent beliefs.


If you're tempted to ask an overview question:

  • Ask yourself if the topic is very, very narrow, or not. For example, I believe "What is an overview of the methods of baptism within Christianity?" might be narrow enough.

  • Consider asking for a biblical justification rather than everybody's beliefs or opinions. "What is the biblical basis for immersion baptism?"

  • And if all else fails, ask a single question for each denomination you want to hear from.

1If that's a word, but I'm sure you get my point.

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