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Moderator comments below this answer regarding a non-trinitarianism perspective on love as an attribute of God indicate that an answer that references only the Bible without providing any non-biblical references from other sources representative of a recognized subset of "Christianity" are not acceptable:

Please don't answer questions just using Bible quotes, answers on this site should reference other people who believe or teach such-and-such a thing and are representative of a larger swath of Christianity than an individual's perspective on the matter.

It is stated that such answers fall into the categories of either personal opinion or original research and are, therefore, not acceptable on C-SE. However, there are literally hundreds and hundreds, more likely thousands of such answers which have not only survived but have been highly up-voted and selected as the accepted answer.

Though I do not agree with the theological viewpoint of the user whose answer is in question, the implications of these moderator comments reverberate throughout this stack.

Personally, if the comments in question are actionable fact, I am going to have to delete the vast majority of the answers I have posted. I am not alone in this. There are many, many users with a long standing presence on this stack and with high reputations who very, very often answer entirely from Scripture with no appeal to outside authority. Many times those answers do represent the general view of a larger swath of Christianity without direct scholarly or denominational reference but, according to the comments made, they do not fit the bill and should not be posted.

Even a biblical basis tag on the question cannot escape this difficulty since it would be asking for the biblical basis "according to" some denomination or group with a body of extra-biblical scholarship or defined doctrinal position that are referenced.

What is to be done?

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    There is always going to be a question about interpretation of Sacred Scriptures. If one sites Scriptures, one should be able to source that the interpretation of a particular biblical quote is actually believed and held by noted Christian sources. Otherwise, it is of a personal opinion and not based on facts. Afterall, this is a question & answer site to be that requires sourced and factual information! Let me remind everyone that this is not a forum.
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Nov 10, 2022 at 14:16
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    Although a Protestant, I actually agree with what the Moderator is trying to do. The site can only exist on the Stack Exchange platform in a certain, particular way - an academic website, based on factual presentation. Personal interpretations of scripture do not fit in with this. But, as a comparative site, commenting and researching 'Christianity' as we find it in the world, we need to support our biblical comments with literature references in order to demonstrate that this is not mere opinion but is corporately held doctrine.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 10, 2022 at 14:25
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    @KenGraham. Conscience, faith, interpretation, and belief are all individual matters entirely beyond the purview of corporate, governmental, or church authorities. Because a group of people believe something makes it no more true than if an individual does: consider that most people in Columbus' day thought the world was flat. Here, the ultimate Guidebook should be, not the church creed that is said to be based on the Bible, but the Bible itself.
    – Biblasia
    Nov 10, 2022 at 14:28
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    @bib if this were a church working on evangelization, you would be right, but this is a publicly sourced catechism of divergent opinions and as such, needs to contain extremely compartmentalized and concise definitions so as not to confuse people seeking guidance on a particular subject.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Nov 10, 2022 at 14:30
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    One of the issues here is that the site rules seem difficult to interpret, difficult to follow, and applied differently by each moderator. Especially for someone who is not familiar with the site, it's very difficult to write an acceptable question. We almost need a class in how to write a question here before it will pass muster. Maybe we need an online course in SE question writing--a series of YT videos explaining all the important "legalese" of the site in order to write a proper question. :). (I know the rules are bewildering to me, and seem to make little sense...maybe it's just me?)
    – Biblasia
    Nov 10, 2022 at 14:51
  • @PeterTurner - Is the recent edit you made to this question an example of how to come up with a 'stellar' question (or answer) by quoting from an additional source (other than the Bible)? christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/17844/…
    – Lesley
    Nov 10, 2022 at 15:16
  • @Lesley not really, I forgot to change the title from "perspectives" to "denominations" so it is what it is. Anyway, I was going to ask that question myself because of something GratefulDisciple posted in chat - a Bishop Barron video quoting Chesterton - I wanted to ask the question myself, found that it was already asked twice (I closed the newer one as a duplicate) added some more supporting documentation and put a bounty on it. You pretty much have to add something extra-biblical in the question or someone can just say "you are misunderstanding it".
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Nov 10, 2022 at 15:35
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    @KenGraham I don't have a head full of references of what other people have said which support my understanding of Scripture. I simply didn't learn of Christ that way ... from what other people say. I could do a google search to find someone to back me up but what kind of scholarship is that? Anyone can do the same for virtually any idea that they have. After 3 years and 11K reputation I now feel less qualified to be here than at the beginning. Nov 11, 2022 at 14:32
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    What they are making a case for is this: You can't give your own interpretation as an answer by sola scriptura..... NO NO NO.... You can NOW only answer by citing other peoples interpretations....AND Peter is proposing this so that he can delete or edit my answer which only cites James and Paul. Nov 11, 2022 at 17:34
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    @ReadLessPrayMore Giving your own interpretation is the same as giving an opinion based answer. Thus citations are needed to strengthen posts to avoid posts being closed as opinion based answers.
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Nov 11, 2022 at 20:17
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    Christianity is not Rocket Science. Technical or scientific sites naturally need to appeal to contemporary experts. Christianity, on the other hand, is a religion based on an ancient scripture. Answers based on that scripture should be deemed acceptable. If they fail to appeal to modern authorities where appropriate, let them be downvoted, not censored. Nov 19, 2022 at 15:50
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    @DanFefferman It depends on what the question is. Each question has a scope with a corresponding natural authority. Questions about Catholicism need to refer to Catholic sources. Questions about Presbyterianism need to refer to Reformed sources. Questions about the early church need to cite the church fathers. Questions about the Trinity need to cite the ecumenical creeds and associated documents. Questions about Biblical bases need to cite the scriptures, but on other questions quoting the Bible alone is likely to not be a valid answer.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Nov 20, 2022 at 0:02
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    @curiousdannii Yes and should not the Holy Scripture given by God Himself, suffice as authoritative enough to be considered a Catholic source? Of The 2 answers of mine deleted, neither q was not scoped for a denomination. In fact the one answer in THIS meta q, was scoped for NON-trinitatrians... I answered as one... and Peter deleted my sola scriptura answer. Nov 22, 2022 at 12:54
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    @KenGraham I do want to push back a bit on SE being an academic site and thus requiring citations. Many technical sites (overflow, super-user, ect.) have plenty of room for interpretation, personal responses, and lack of references. Often there are many ways to do X with tool or system Y. Answers dont get deleted because they "fail to reference external sources/documentation" or aren't the official way the makers of Y recommend. The same is true for non technical sites like English (you don't need to cite a dictionary, grammer manual, style guide, ect. for your answer to be valid)
    – Cole
    Nov 24, 2022 at 13:20
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    @ReadLessPrayMore Please be more respectful to towards others in your comments or postings. Some of your comments are getting flagged as rude and I agree that they are. This behaviour must stop.
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Nov 24, 2022 at 13:42

4 Answers 4

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It's a judgement call, but questions about the Trinity and the "Non-Trinity" need to be buttoned up to require something extra-biblical or else they always come off as seeming to be personal opinion.

They're obviously personal opinion because multiple extremely divergent opinions on the matter exists. We used to close much more questions and we should be more critical of the people asking questions that can only be reasonably answered.

So please, before answering a question, consider if a person who you vehemently disagree with could answer the question completely different and still be a valid answer in their mind.

If there is no possible way the question could be answered by someone you disagree with, then go ahead - you probably don't need extra-biblical sources.

Also, we might not know there's a problem with the question until well after it is asked. That presents a problem, but not an intractable one. We can button up the question, ask another one, delete answer and move those answers to the other question. We're in this for the long haul and want to create the best place for answers about Christianity on the Internet.

We're really leaving this up to the community to police, I don't think any of us mods are going to go out of our way to delete well written answers that seem to answer the question and help people, at least not right away - our usual MO is to flag like any other user and let another mod decide.

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    Peter, you closed one of my questions just this week on the Trinity which I was asking of the non-Trinitarians. I was asking essentially the same question twice in an attempt to follow site rules of targeting a particular slice of Christendom per question--yet you reacted without having carefully read through the comments under the original question, including moderator guidance which encouraged me to repost under new tags. I think there is an issue here, and it isn't merely with the site rules.
    – Biblasia
    Nov 10, 2022 at 14:43
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    Perhaps controversial to say, but I believe C.SE has struck a fairly good balance between adhering to the letter of the law and adhering to the spirit of the law when it comes to closing or not closing, deleting or not deleting questions and answers. Get too legalistic, and it's almost impossible for anyone to ask or answer any question here without an advanced course in StackExchange Law. Get too loose, and C.SE becomes a free-for-all debate, destroying its distinctive nature as a place for objective answers to questions about Christianity. Nov 10, 2022 at 14:57
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    @Bib you'd have to pour over a lot of meta documentations and chats, but the pretty obvious fact non-Trinitiarians are an amorphous target where Trinitarians are only a moving target. So you can ask a question about the Trinity to Trinitarians, but you can't ask a question about the Trinity to non-Trinitarians you can only ask to groups that happen to be non-Trinitarian.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Nov 10, 2022 at 15:01
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    Arbitrary rules based on the stereotypical question do not apply well to an atypical question such as mine was. There should be some elasticity to the rules to accommodate unique cases.
    – Biblasia
    Nov 10, 2022 at 15:08
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    @PeterTurner My view is that C.SE should allow "non-trinitarians" as a scope. Reasoning: the vast bulk of Christians are trinitarians. Generally what they want to know when asking a "non-trinitarian" scoped question is, "How could anyone possibly not be trinitarian given issue X?" If we require people to specify a specific non-trinitarian church, most of these perfectly legitimate questions will be quashed. Not many trinitarians can even name a specific non-trinitarian church. Nov 10, 2022 at 15:21
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    @Lee I'm OK with it (as in I would leave it up to the community). If it turns into quarrelling over the Bible, then there's a problem, almost every one of those posts gets automatically flagged for too many comments and rude ones too.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Nov 10, 2022 at 15:30
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    @PeterTurner Non-trinitarians of all stripes are a minority group. Trinitarians generally don't like them or their views much. The too many and rude comments just need to be flagged and deleted. It's work for the Mods, I know, but it's not right to allow a vocal minority of the majority to squash other views. Nov 10, 2022 at 15:34
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    @lee I think there would be a lot less excuse for bad behavior if the questions were scoped properly. Jehovah's Witness and Mormon questions are good examples of this (Except the ones where people go out of their way to ask gotcha questions). And most people ignore Catholic questions that they vehemently disagree with.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Nov 10, 2022 at 15:38
  • @PeterTurner In my experience, most bad comments on non-trinitarian questions and answers are of the "You non-trinitarians are stupid heretics who hate the Bible and think Jesus was just a cool dood" sort. It's not the scoping part. It's the non-trinitarian part that draws the bad comments. Nov 10, 2022 at 19:08
  • @LeeWoofenden My concern isn't over questions and comments but it is over the many, many existing answers that do not meet the standard of "something other than just bible quotes" which is being directed toward the answer in question. If it must be applied, it is only just to apply it universally and, if so, I must revisit and probably delete many of my answers. It is not a small thing and I am seeking guidance. Nov 11, 2022 at 1:20
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    @MikeBorden As I said in my earlier comments above, I think the balance is about right now on C.SE. Not too legalistic, but not too loose either. I'm not for strictly applying the letter of the law to all questions and answers. As Peter says at the beginning of his answer above, it's a judgment call. That's my view, anyway. Nov 11, 2022 at 5:39
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    @PeterTurner I don't have a head full of references of what other people have said which support my understanding of Scripture. I simply didn't learn of Christ that way ... from what other people say. I could do a google search to find someone to back me up but what kind of scholarship is that? Anyone can do the same for virtually any idea that they have. After 3 years and 11K reputation I now feel less qualified to be here than at the beginning :( Nov 11, 2022 at 14:32
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    @ReadLessPrayMore You seem to misunderstand what this StackExchange is. It is not a place to share your own personal beliefs. It is a place to report on Christian beliefs. You are not supposed to advocate for any particular point of view, but merely report on what (other) Christians believe. The SE sites are academic-style sites, that are about reporting factual information. What Christians believe is factual, but which Christians are correct is an opinion. The latter is not allowed.
    – trlkly
    Nov 19, 2022 at 19:05
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    @ReadLessPrayMore And, yes, I understand what's going on here. You disagree with the moderation of your answer. That's fine. But you are also lashing out at people, accusing them of being evil for disagreeing with you. That is not fine. It is against the rules. And, if you need a Christian reason you should follow the rules, I would remind you of Romans 13:1. You are free to believe what you want, but you agreed when you signed up for your account to follow the rules of this website.
    – trlkly
    Nov 19, 2022 at 19:08
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    @trlkly and Read Less Pray More This is not the place for arguments in comments. Please stop with arguing in comments.
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Nov 24, 2022 at 14:02
5

There are a few slightly different issues here.

Providing official sources

It is not required to quote or reference official denominational sources in answers, but it is strongly encouraged, especially if your answer is saying something that is not fairly well known. If you don't provide sources, you must be prepared to add them if challenged.

Previous discussion: Citing Sources in 2020/2022

Personal beliefs

I think this is more of the real issue: the personal beliefs of the members of this site are not on-topic. This site is about the documented teachings of established groups or historically significant individuals, not what any of us might think and reason. Any answer which is not clearly representing the views of an established group is liable to be deleted.

Most questions come with an explicit denominational scope, so it is then implied that all answers will represent that perspective. It's not necessary to always explicitly state the denomination of the answer. But sometimes answers will write something which seems out of step with the denomination. It's common for someone to write a comment on those answers along the lines of "What you've written here doesn't seem like what denomination X teaches, can you please add sources showing they really do?" About 10% of the time the author does, and we see that it is a genuine teaching, albeit a surprising one. 10% of the time they add sources and we can see that they've misunderstood the denomination's teachings. And the rest of the time they either comment saying they're not trying to represent that denomination or they don't respond, both of which result in the answer being deleted.

For the question linked about, it asks what non-Trinitarians think about a topic. This means that it's effectively a kind of overview question, and answers should be representing the views of the non-Trinitarian branches of Christianity:

  • LDS
  • Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Unitarians
  • Binitarians
  • Christadelphians
  • Modalists and Oneness Pentecostals
  • Swedenborgianism
  • Arminianism and other historical non-Trinitarian groups

All answers to a question like the one linked should clearly identify which of these groups it is representing. If someone is presenting their own beliefs (which is after all the most common thing for answerers to do), then they still need to identify which perspective they are answering for, and be willing to provide official sources if requested. Answers which do not will be deleted, especially if it's not clear that the answer even is presenting a non-Trinitarian viewpoint. This is the case with the deleted answer - many Trinitarians would actually agree with pretty much everything it says!

Occasionally people come to this site who believe that basically everyone else's theology is wrong. While they are of course welcome to ask and answer on-topic questions, there will not be a place for their personal beliefs to be presented on this site. (Except for chat where any respectful discussion is allowed.) For any such person though, I would encourage them to humbly do more research: after all this time almost all theological options have been raised before. The attitude that everyone else is wrong is not a sign of someone who is well read, but instead someone who is quick to dismiss other people, who doesn't take the time to understand what other people say and teach.

The ongoing site cleanup

Lastly, yes, we mods do actually clean up a lot of old answers which don't meet the site standards. The community (not just the mods!) have over the years tightened expectations a little. Poorly referenced answers with questionable content are more likely to be deleted now than in the past. But they're never gone forever, they can always be undeleted if edited, and we're more likely to add a post notice to insightful but unreferenced answers rather than immediately deleting them.

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    This is clearly the best response yet. Well done.
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Nov 26, 2022 at 2:26
  • @curiousdannii I'm not sure if you are implying that I believe everyone else's theology is wrong. But I would just read Jesus' words and you will understand that there is only 1 Truth in the mind of God the Father AND ONLY a FEW find it in this age. I don't believe everyone else is wrong. I only believe a FEW are in the Truth at this time. Please don't misrepresent the words of Jesus which is the basis for what I share here. Nov 27, 2022 at 14:41
  • @ReadLess Edit your answer to state which type of non-Trinitatian it is and add sources and it can be undeleted. Everything isn't about you - I wrote a general answer. I'm not implying you think everyone is wrong.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Nov 27, 2022 at 23:30
2

It would seem to me that a question asking for a "biblical basis" of a teaching (for instance, a Protestant asking Catholics for the biblical basis of the doctrine of purgatory) could reasonably be answered only using bible quotations. Someone answering the question can point to the passages of Scripture generally used to support whichever doctrine is in question, and that seems to answer the question "what is the biblical basis for X belief?" If I've shown you the Scripture used to support the belief, I've shown you the biblical basis, even if reasonable people may disagree with the assertion that those passages really do support the belief in question.

For questions about doctrine as such, and further how they accord with other doctrines, such as the question you listed, I see no reason why merely quoting Scripture without extrabiblical sources should be considered sufficient. It needs to be shown that reputable and serious theologians have put forth an explanation of the question and that it has merit within the relevant scholarship.

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    For your example, an OK answer could just have the Bible quotes, but a stellar answer would also say that such and such a concordance of scripture cites this as evidence.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Nov 10, 2022 at 14:32
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    If I quote a reputable and serious theologian's work as an explanation of the question and that work itself quotes only scripture and the reasoning of the theologian how is that anything more than one degree of separation me quoting the scripture? I appreciate the potential added value of sources in an answer but am unsure it should be a requirement. One can find a source validating just about any assertion regarding the Scriptures. Nov 11, 2022 at 1:34
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    @MikeBorden If the question is "What do Calvinists believe about X," then an answer can only be found in the writings of Calvinists. An answer that quotes a Calvinist theologian who applies Calvinist reasoning to scripture would clearly qualify. An answer that quotes and reasons about scripture directly would only qualify if the writer of the answer is a Calvinist... and even then, it's not as good of an answer because there's no indication that other Calvinists believe similarly, whereas a reputable theologian is likely to have influenced others, making their views more widely believed.
    – DLosc
    Nov 23, 2022 at 18:57
  • @DLosc If a reputable theologian answered a question and only cited his own work would that be acceptable? Nov 25, 2022 at 14:07
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    @MikeBorden Reputable theologians only become reputable through the citations of others. So I'd say that yes, even if one of the most prominent living theologians joined our site they would need to cite others to show that their own writings match the broader theological scene. (Also we're not really in any position to verify that they truly are who they claim to be.)
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Nov 29, 2022 at 1:44
  • Presumably such a theologian's own work would already come with citations?
    – jaredad7
    Nov 30, 2022 at 2:00
-3

How can anyone vote or even comprehend what is being discussed when the mods have deleted my answer in discussion? ....an answer that only cited James and Paul.

I have tried 3 times to share my deleted answer here but 3 different mods have deleted it because they do not want others to read the answer they wrongfully deleted. Sola scriptura - they hate it. Check the edit log to see my answer which they are hiding.

...Darkness all around.

....Still waiting for a solution and real response from Peter Turner who replied with an off topic answer(which of course gets upvotes..).....Crickets.....Why was my answer deleted unilaterally by Peter? Because it ONLY cited Paul and James.....

Thank you for this question. It's my answer which is unpopular here.

Regarding my ANSWERS being deleted(completely hidden):

  • I've had 2 answers deleted unilaterally by a single mod here for similar non reasons....

  • (Where did the formula, "Good works are the fruits of faith," originate?) Mason Wheeler deleted my answer to this question because I only used scriptural support. It was very very good answer using only the parables of Jesus Christ as support.

  • the other answer that was deleted is the one this meta question is based on and which was deleted by Peter Turner. We are still waiting on the reason he deleted this answer of mine...Peter? Where are you?

Regarding my QUESTIONS being deleted and or closed.

  • In the past 2 days I've had 1 new question closed and 1 old question completely deleted without good explanation of cause by Peter Turner...I am now banned from asking any more questions.

https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/93371/who-is-the-living-god-according-to-trinitarians

He also deleted my 1+1+1=1 question twice without reason when the conversation was still being had. I had already heavily edited it for clarity....no response to the edits...just a unilateral Deletion...twice.

We are still waiting on the reason he deleted these Questions of mine...Peter? Where are you?

One Mod can ban anyone here from asking any questions by deleting questions they do not like without reason and thereby triggering the automated ban.

How can this be possible within the rules here?

Other silly stuff...

  • I have had my comments replying to my own questions buried or more commonly deleted to silence my response to critiques...
  • I've had my flagging privileges revoked for no stated reason....
  • I am currently banned from asking questions for reasons of majority rule....
  • My questions and answers are constantly downvoted and closed without suggestions....Which contributes to the banning...
  • Several of my questions have been retroactively made duplicates by mods changing older questions in order to close mine.

...And yet I'm continually told that this is all normal behavior here. I've asked for previous examples of such without replies.

Is this normal?

Edit:

Peter has just deleted this answer of mine to this question(the answer which started this meta question... He's doubling down): From a non-trinitarian perspective, how is love explained as an attribute of God?

Here is why:

"I deleted this post because you reverted an edit twice that did not change the content of the post, please allow other members of the community to help you so you can become a productive member of the community. Do not revert edits, we're all in this together.” – Peter Turner ♦

This is getting kinda absurd no? He had no good cause to edit my answer. This answer only cited James and Paul.

He must really just dislike my answer to the point that he is willing to set new precedents for what qualifies an answer. Answers that do not comply can be unilaterally deleted.

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    I would like to point out one thing that as a new comer to the site you are not aware of. Being banned from asking questions is not up to moderators or the majority of users. The system probably noticed something in your posts and initiated the ban automatically. Your answer is not unpopular, but rather needs citations, as the Stack Exchange system is an acedemic site. You can always edit sources. Pax.
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Nov 10, 2022 at 15:21
  • No sorry... I'm banned because my rationally sound yet tough questions are unpopular and get downvoted because many can NOT provide a simple answer and the cognitive dissonance kicks in high gear and they vote out of spite...IF not...They why no suggestions? The negative downvoting that leads to closes and the unilateral closing by mods for no reason BOTH contribute to this automated ban. Nov 10, 2022 at 15:23
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    Sorry you feel that way. Since day one I have never complained about downvoting on my posts and the vast majority leave no reason.
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Nov 10, 2022 at 15:26
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    I can't speak about all the instances of downvoting and deletion of your Qs & As. However, specifically about your deleted answer to my question, Where did the formula, "Good works are the fruits of faith," originate?, I was the one who flagged it for deletion. My question was very specific. It was looking for specific information that was clearly stated in the question. Your question did not provide that information. It did not answer the question I asked. That is the one and only reason it was, quite rightly, deleted. Nov 11, 2022 at 7:20
  • @LeeWoofenden Your question: "Where in Christian history did the saying, "Good works are the fruits of faith," originate? What theologian or Christian doctrinal statement first used it?"......Are Jesus' Parables not qualified? LOL.... They actually disqualify your question... Nov 11, 2022 at 14:40
  • @LeeWoofenden Quote from the same question: "...... my initial thought that the Bible does not say in plain words that good works are the fruits of faith," Jesus USED PARABLES not plain words.... He tells us why too. The Spirit reveals the Truth within them to those with ears to hear. I am interpreting the parables with the Spirit with is HOW IT IS DONE. PERIOD. Here is my answer that I cloned from your original question... The one you flagged for deletion... Seems you dont want an answer. christianity.stackexchange.com/a/93183/60347 Nov 11, 2022 at 14:42
  • @ReadLessPrayMore I had already asked about that in a separate question: What is the biblical basis for the belief that good works are the fruits of faith? Edit: I see that you have put your previous answer there, which is a much better place to put it. Nov 12, 2022 at 8:19
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    @ReadLessPrayMore This Meta discussion may have been prompted by your post, but it is not about your post. The specific merits and arguments for undeleting your post belong in a new Meta discussion, not here. Do not copy your post here again.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Nov 28, 2022 at 5:04

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