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I've seen a couple of questions closed recently that surprised me.

One was "When was the New Testament written and who by?"

One was "What is the Holy Spirit?"

Both appeared to be written by people without much knowledge of Christianity, genuinely seeking answers.

The only problem I see with these is they are basic level questions. I don't believe that should be a reason for closure. We need to cater for those new to Christianity, or exploring it, or we will become an inward-looking, self-serving community. That would be bad.

I do understand that these are issues that Christians disagree about, but an overview answer is certainly possible. Nor does a simple overview answer need to be too long.

I believe we should reopen these.

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    I agree. I have seen a recent tendency to summarily close questions from persons with tentative knowledge. This is not a site for experts, but for all levels. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 31, 2021 at 17:31
  • @GratefulDisciple Thanks for the edit. I was on the app and couldn't make the links. Jan 1, 2022 at 21:16

3 Answers 3

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They were both migrated to the Biblical Hermeneutics site, but then the questions were closed there, and so the migration info was removed on this site. You can check their migration histories in the question history pages. It is less than ideal that the questions on this site no longer clearly say that they had been migrated.

I didn't vote to close any of them on BH.SE, and still think they would be acceptable questions there, but enough of the BH.SE community disagreed, and voted to close them.

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  • Why were they migrated to BH? Neither seem much to do with Hermeneutics. Can we reopen them? If it's just that the migration failed then they shouldn't be closed here. Jan 1, 2022 at 0:33
  • @DJClayworth The first concerns authorship, about which we have lots of questions on BH.SE. The second looked like an exegesis question focused on Acts 8, but I guess others read it as more theological. And yes they can be reopened here. I've reopened the first, but the second would need to be edited to be ontopic.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jan 1, 2022 at 0:51
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I agree that we should make some accommodation to basic level questions if the OP seems serious and willing to work with us to make the question more acceptable to the site until what's left is the issue of scoping by denomination.

ONCE THAT IS DONE, to help maintain objectivity, we can have the question tagged with something like introduction tag which (by policy) requires an answer to include a "version label" representing a denomination, proposed here. See use case description in an answer to the related meta.stackexchange.com question. The suggested tag name is introduction to indicate basic level questions which should presume an audience that doesn't know much about Christianity.

Until the "version label" feature is implemented OR if the feature is rejected, we can start using the introduction tag to signal an answer writer to include the "version label" inline in the first line of the answer, which later can be converted to a "version label" once/if the feature is implemented. The introduction tag description should include the only allowed labels to be used. Answer correctness is measured against the poster's declaration in that first line.

This reduces the need to phrase the question as an overview (using the denomination-survey or comparative-christianity tag) which the OP probably wouldn't be interested in the first place, or which discourages potential answer writers most knowledgeable in only one denomination (which I believe are the majority here). This also gives the opportunity for more answers with other version labels to be added over time (we are talking weeks, months, or years).

P.S.

The introduction tag name is just a suggestion. The key idea is that the new tag should signal a policy for the answer writer to follow, i.e. to prominently add "version label" within the answer.

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  • A " beginner" tag seems to be mildly insulting, or could be taken like that. Do we really need it? Can I suggest "overview" or something like that? Could be applied by an editor. Jan 1, 2022 at 3:27
  • @DJClayworth I changed the tag name to introduction to indicate basic level questions which should presume a reader that doesn't know much about Christianity. In my proposed mechanism, this new tag signals a policy to be followed by the answerer. Jan 1, 2022 at 4:02
  • That sounds great. But I believe we should encourage overview answers, not denomination specific answers. You don't have to be a genius to give an overview answer to a question like these, and in the case of "who wrote the NT" a denomination specific answer won't help, since even denominations don't agree on the answer. In that case an answer of "A variety of authors between 50AD and 150AD is probably what they are looking for. Jan 1, 2022 at 4:27
  • @DJClayworth Sure. Probably the NT author question is not appropriate for this new mechanism, but maybe for some other ones :-). The intent is to allow more questions and to lower the barrier to answer writers. Jan 1, 2022 at 4:31
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I can't speculate on the Curiousdannii's criteria since he didn't add any context

but:

When was the New Testament written, and by who?

is pretty broad, and rather open to interpretation.

It questionable how we could provide a better answer than wikipedia unless there was an "according to whom" attached to it.

`Act 8 : 15~19 ; what is the Holy spirit?

Is a little open to interpretation, I've actually been reading Acts the last few days (I just got the Word on Fire Bible, which is pretty awesome) I'd never really read the book start to finish and I would really like an answer to this question. But I don't want a generic answer, I want a dogmatic answer.

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  • I think we could do better than Wikipedia. Not more comprehensive but shorter, simpler, less confusing and allowed to mention traditional attributions. Jan 1, 2022 at 3:29

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