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This recent question gives us an opportunity to improve and clarify the tag wiki. For convenience, here is the current tag description:

Defenses of religious positions using reason. This tag should only be used with respect to disagreements with religions other than Christianity.

And wiki:

Apologetics is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of reason. Those who engage in apologetics are called apologists.

Usage: Do not apply this tag to questions regarding the defense of a particular belief in the context of debate within Christianity, broadly defined. That is, this tag does not apply to debates between Protestants and Jehovah's witnesses, nor between Catholics and Mormons.

The linked question was (and I agree that I'm reading a bit into it since the question doesn't specifically say this) asking for help discovering information in support of the OP's personal, assumedly pro-Christian, beliefs.

I would like to ignore the controversial nature of the request and his second paragraph, an attempt to avoid a fight by picking a fight, for the consideration of this discussion.

Question: How can we improve the description and wiki so that we have a more definitive description of our intent for the tag's use on this site?

It is my supposition that this tag's purpose is specifically to identify questions seeking assistance with developing an Apologetic argument. (I've asked a second Meta question about creating a new tag for asking questions about the field of Apologetics.) Therefore, to provide a starting point for comment and modification, please consider the following:

Example Description

This tag identifies questions that are seeking assistance with developing an Apologetic argument. This tag may only be used to seek assistance developing arguments between two groups: one identifying itself as Christian and one specifically identifying itself as NOT Christian.

Example Wiki

Apologetics is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists. In 21st-century usage, apologetics is often identified with debates over religion and theology. (Source: Wikipedia)

Christianity.SE is dedicated to understanding the many traditions and denominations of Christianity. This tag may NOT be used to justify debates or arguments between any groups identifying themselves as Christian. To that end, there are several guidelines that help make a good apologetic question:

  • The two opposing belief systems must be defined. One must be a Christian tradition or denomination. The other must not identify as Christian. An unacceptable question would identify two identified Christian sects (e.g., Catholocism and Mormonism). An acceptable question would be, for example, between Catholocism and Islam, Mormonism and Judiasm, or Protestantism and Atheism.

  • Apologetic quesitons between an identified Christian tradition and a political platform, philosophy, or movement are on-topic, but we recommend caution, courtesy, and deference when asking the question due to the frequently high emotion these questions incur. Questions deemed argumentative, offensive, or asked in poor taste, may be closed.

  • Apologetic questions should be very specific about the kind of information they ask for. It is not the goal of this site to write your argument for you. But we welcome the opportunity to help you gather the information you need to write your apology yourself.

  • Apologetic questions must always include a brief description (no more than 2-3 sentences) of their apology. Said another way, you must explain the goal of your thesis so we understand the context of your request.

The second bullet is most relevant to the linked question. I dare say I might have put the cart before the horse by suggesting improvements to the tag befor asking whether or not Christian-vs-Politics apologetics questions are even on/off-topic.

An example question following these rules and based off the linked question might be:


Pro: Southern Baptist Convention

Con: LGBT Political Movement

Apology: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is an effective method for strengthening mind and body against homosexual temptation.

Request: I am seeking information in the form of published reports, documentation, or journalism demonstrating homosexual relapse is lower than that of alcohol abusers.


My thanks to @PeterTurner for the basic phraseology of that request, which can be found in the linked question's comments.

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I think this is a good idea, it could make the site more useful to people who want information to help them in their job of being Christian (which is to be a Missionary) and bring Christ to others.

Helping out with practical aspects of being Christian has always been one of the missions of this site. Leading, teaching, catechizing, etc... should be on topic.

However applying reason to justify faith derived positions is usually topical in its own right and doesn't need the apologetics tag, maybe we should burn the tag? or only use it when discussion well known apologias?

And I don't exactly agree with the assertion that it can't be used to contrast different denominations. I think there's an apologetic for justifying the Papacy to Protestants that would be distinct from justifying the Papacy to Atheists, but would still appeal to reason. But maybe you're right. I don't know, I guess I semi-disagree and if other people agree with you, I agree that making a decision about what we mean by apologetics is important. At least it would help when people come and ask questions like the one you linked.

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    Thanks for your support, Peter. I preserved the original context, which I assumed was, "you can't use this tag to justify starting heated arguments between sects on this site." I have not objection to inter-denominational apologetics, but I also understand the temptation the original wiki creator was trying to avoid. – JBH Aug 15 '18 at 20:27
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I feel the 2nd bullet point is well put together. It allows for discussion on the religious viewpoint on homosexuality but also points out that questions need to be made in a Christian manner (with love, respect and courtesy - Romans 12:10, Philippians 2:3, & John 13:34-35).

The problem with the recent question you tagged though is that it had nothing to do with Christianity. As you pointed out, the question was asked seeking information in the form of published reports, documentation, or journalism demonstrating homosexual relapse is lower than that of alcohol abusers.

This could open up a whole can of worms, as not only is this nothing to do with Christianity, but it is opening the subject up to scientific debate which could escalate things into argument on a number of items such as whether a proportion of those reporting to be no longer homosexual are actually just denying their sexuality and we don't want to get into that kind of debate.

If we have a question regarding Christian beliefs surrounding homosexuality for example, and it is asked with respect for both sides of the question, then the apologetics tag can be used in my mind.

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