As one of the relatively few active users here who is neither Unitarian nor Trinitarian, perhaps I can offer a distinct perspective. I have no dog in that fight.
It seems to be a consistent response for a trinitarian to ask a non-trinitarian oriented question and the resultant answer gets severely downvoted.
I reviewed some relatively recent questions that fit this mold and found several dozen examples, so there does seem to be something of a trend here, though getting sunk all the way to -5 is an outlier in terms of magnitude.
Why ask if you really don’t want to know?
I believe the OP genuinely does want to know--and the bounty was an effective show of good faith...but, I also think that steveowen's post answers a plausible reading of the question. Therefore, even though I strongly disagree with several points in the answer, I upvoted it.
My hypothesis is that the OP asked the question with one interpretation of the question in mind, and the respondent answered with another interpretation of the question in mind. I propose the charitable interpretation here is misunderstanding, not malice. If the OP does not see in the answer what he is looking for (because he had something very different in mind), he's certainly under no obligation to select that answer or award it the bounty. But I do think the dog-piling down-votes are overkill for at least 2 reasons:
- The post gives an answer to a plausible read of the question
- Let's be honest about dog-piling: in the Bible, when are the people doing the dog-piling ever the good guys??
Some will contest that there is no dog-piling on this site (because they've never been on the receiving end); this is about as compelling an argument as there is no war in Ba Sing Se coming from someone who has never been near the city walls (yes, I really did just quote a cartoon there).
I have noted and flagged dog-piling on this site a number of times and I do not believe it is helpful to the community. It sends the message "we don't want your kind here"...which is of course, exactly what Jesus went around saying, right...?
(The irony here is that in writing this post I'm creating an interesting catch.22--many who read this post will dislike it, and feel a great urge to downvote it--but in so doing, they validate the point I'm making. I'm genuinely curious to see how people ultimately resolve those competing motivations)
Sometimes people ask questions about other viewpoints because they want to understand how someone else can hold a belief that--to the asker--is quite foreign and perhaps even irrational (reconnaissance mode). Good for them for asking! Others explicitly ask "gotcha" questions in order to try to make the "other side" look bad (combat mode), so they are frustrated when the other side comes up with a coherent answer (not the result they were looking for). My own experience interacting with the OP in this case suggests very much to me that his intent was the reconnaissance mode.
The answer seems to offend some innate sensitivity
Yes, it probably does.
People don't like to see themselves or their ideas rejected in public, so our human nature prompts us to strike back in a way we wouldn't if nobody were watching. On a public internet forum, lots of people are watching, so we want ourselves/our viewpoint to save face.
What appears to trigger this reaction most potently is, ironically, a good presentation of a view we dislike. We don't like to see "the other side" score a point in a debate. If the other side makes an obviously weak argument, it's easy to ignore, but if the other side makes a strong argument, our fight-or-flight is triggered and we're inclined to strike back.
There's an excellent adage in professional debate:
When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the facts are not your side, pound the table.
Five downvotes is what I would expect when either:
- A post is clearly spam (this one is not) OR
- Someone's pounding the table
Not a good image for Christianity Stack Exchange. I propose we try to minimize the dog-piling.