3

What I'm asking

Are these appropriate/in-scope questions to ask on this site? Why or why not?

Did Pope Pius V got to heaven according to Protestants?

Did Pope Pius XII go to heaven according to Protestants?

(Nothing specifically against Popes named Pius, I merely referenced 2 Popes about whom Protestants tend to have particularly strong feelings. I do not claim deep personal familiarity with their teachings, nor do I feel qualified to judge where any specific individual will be in the afterlife)


What I'm not asking

  • I'm not asking anyone to answer whether Pius V or Pius XII went to heaven; I'm asking why such a question would be in or out of scope for the site.
  • I'm not asking for Pius V or Pius XII to be compared/contrasted with anyone else

Why

I'm trying to understand whether the broader questions will this person go to heaven? and will this person go to hell? are appropriate matters for this site.

The context is a recent question asked on Main. Frankly, I'm surprised that some Christians feel qualified to make such judgements, when it was Christ Himself who said:

the Father...hath committed all judgment unto the Son (see John 5:22)

But since this site is for self-identifying Christians, it is possible that there are self-identifying Christians who understand John 5:22 (and other related passages) much differently than I do.



Do we have a policy addressing this type of question?

Should we?

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  • 3
    The question asks for an opinion. Which is off-topic.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 6 at 20:47
  • now that you've made it pretty explicit why you're asking the question, I think that the Joseph Smith question is appropriate - I don't understand the "Protestant Trinitarians" thing (afaik, Protestant is descriptive enough) but Joseph Smith is recognized as the founder of a church, not a vicar. You can VTC the question, but I'm not gonna mod-hammer close it without a quorum
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Apr 17 at 13:01
  • @PeterTurner thanks. Are you proposing then that questions about will this person go to heaven/hell? are appropriate for the founders of a movement (e.g. Smith, Luther, Calvin) but not for others? I admit I'm having trouble teasing out what that means, e.g. Catholics see the Popes as successors not founders, whereas non-Catholics see some of the Popes as founders of a new movement. LDS see Joseph Smith as a successor in a line of prophets, whereas non-LDS see him very differently. I'm asking on Meta because I'm trying to understand where we do/should draw the line. Commented Apr 17 at 21:18
  • If I were to ask on Main whether an individual user on the site is going to hell, I certainly hope the site would close that question. So where along the spectrum does the question go from inappropriate to appropriate? Commented Apr 17 at 21:20
  • @PeterTurner after further research on past Meta discussions, I have respectfully come to a different conclusion -- my thoughts here. Whether we ultimately come to the same conclusion or not, I have appreciated your willingness to engage. Commented Apr 18 at 3:46
  • @PeterTurner are you up for offering any further insight on the follow-up questions above? Commented Apr 23 at 4:32
  • Oh, I didn't know that non-Catholics would see the popes as founders of new movements. I supposed it's appropriate to ask if that's the case. But the frame of reference has to make sense. It's gotta be an if X is true according to Y then Z must be true because Y sort of syllogism.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Apr 23 at 9:29

3 Answers 3

2

I don't think that's in scope for the site,

  1. It's too specific
  2. He hasn't been canonized by the Catholic Church
  3. Protestants (as a group) don't have an opinion on the matter

I can't really suggest a better (IMO) version of the question that doesn't sound ridiculous. "What do various Protestant groups think about the salvation of Popes that even Catholics haven't canonized yet?"

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  • This is clear, thank you. Do you see that it would make a difference if the question were about Pius V (of counter-reformation fame), who has been canonized? Or would reasons 1 & 3 still be sufficient grounds to rule it out of scope? Commented Apr 6 at 22:29
  • PS nothing against Popes named Pius; I'm just picking out Popes that Protestants tend to have particularly strong feelings about. Commented Apr 6 at 22:33
  • @HoldToTheRod Yeah, I think it would make a lot more sense if the Pope was both Canonized by the Catholic Church and either held in some esteem or disdain by Protestants in general. So Pius V would make a lot more sense than Pius XII.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Apr 7 at 17:08
  • Thanks. So as not to overuse the comments I have expanded/clarified the original question Commented Apr 7 at 19:06
  • 2
    The canonization of anyone by Catholics is pretty much entirely irrelevant to Protestant theology. It's definitely not relevant to these sorts of questions.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Apr 8 at 2:02
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Questions addressing whether X person will go to heaven or hell are not a good fit for the site. They are but special cases of asking is this good? or is this evil? This site is not designed for "Truth questions" - see We Can't Handle the Truth.

There's very little daylight between asking is this person a Christian and asking is this person counted among Christian believers...who will receive His promised blessings? (including heaven??) Asking if a person or group is Christian is explicitly off-topic for the site. From the Meta Off-Topic/Not Constructive examples:

This is a divisive question. Any questions that attempt to divide Christians into groups will be Not Constructive, since it will garner answers that say "Yes" and "No" (and inbetween). The answers will turn into a vote war and a debate. Because of this, questions regarding whether a specific group is Christian is Not Constructive for this site.

One of the defining discussions in the development of Christianity Stack Exchange is the thread Christianity.SE vs. Survivor, wherein the community determined that we are not a Survivor Game Show. Because this site hosts perspectives from numerous faith backgrounds, we have policies to prevent the site from descending into a "survival of the most numerous" competition. Over the centuries, such a competition has played out in the real world quite literally up to and including physical violence by one self-identifying Christian group against another many, many times. We are not here on this site to parrot the arguments that generated such animosity in the first place.

The aforementioned Meta discussion concludes with the following statement:

All posts asking for the site to pass judgement on some person or group (as opposed to describing a belief system, examining an idea, explaining history, and so on) are off-topic and will be closed/deleted.

"Will this person go to heaven/hell" questions solicit divisive, opinion-based answers, which are off-topic and contrary to the purposes of the site.

1
  • It is the case that one can state, generically, that all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death. And, by definition, all heresies are a lie. The only defining issue is, What is the Truth ?' . . . . . which is off-topic on this site.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 19 at 7:30
0

I think it's technically a fine question (it is on topic for SE). From my perspective the more specific a question the better the fit, if it's too broad it's hard to get definitive/clear answers or an answer at all from someone who is an expert in everything the OP wants (this is one of the shortcomings/short-fallings of this site). Broad and denominational survey questions often fail to gather good answers. The question is person X going to hell/heaven would be off-topic (too broad, opinion based), but adding a denominational perspective makes it technically fine (denominations have different beliefs/opinions as other denominations disagree with various teachings/beliefs).

Addressing some of the points in previous answers:

  • This isn't a truth question, this a denomination's subjective truth (plenty of questions from LDS perspective have been asked/answered: Do LDS believe other churches to be the church of Satan? that might be considered devisive)
    • The specific quote is about is given X group Christian, as this is a Christianity Q&A and we want to be inclusive and gather experts from all who consider themselves Christians
    • we need to remember to keep separate
  • Survivor vs Christianity.SE is something to keep in mind (and it is something that is definitely present), but it's also important to remember that the points don't really mean much. Having 10k vs 10 doesn't inherently mean one is more of an expert, it generally means they've been around longer and answered more questions (often questions that have more views but still with questions/answers that many believe). But having more points doesn't mean I can provide a better answer/question than someone else. Having more votes or even being the accepted answer don't mean the answer is correct, just that the OP accepts that (no matter how frustrating this may be)
  • based on the quote examining an idea, explaining history I believe the question in OP (meta and non meta question) should/would be on-topic.
    • too specific is more in line. While my general belief is the more specific the better, generally once you reach the individual level it's too specific. I only say generally because sometimes denominations have specific beliefs about individuals (saints, heretics, leaders, etc)
      • answers should be fine saying there is no official stance/opinion/answer on the question or clarifying what there is doctrine on vs not (I've provided this answer before to questions that didn't have an definitive answer: According to the LDS, when did the "true church" cease to exist?, What is the modern LDS view towards multiple Heavenly Mothers/wives of members of the Godhead?)
      • He hasn't been canonized would be a great answer. We don't always need great long expositions on questions. Answer it directly, source your answer, and you're done
      • Protestants (as a group) don't have an opinion on the matter would also be a fine answer. There are plenty of ideas that come up in news, reading, internet, etc that users might wonder about and how one denomination might have interesting cross-section of beliefs with that idea. That doesn't mean said group has an opinion, but that also doesn't mean its a bad or off topic question

The provided answers do not do the best job of answering the question and come off as more attacks in at least perceived difference of doctrine instead of sticking purely to Protestant doctrine of the OP question, but that is a different matter.

(With all that has been said no matter the answer to any of these questions, it doesn't change reality, we are not the judge. We are also not standard of truth*. We do our best, but we are all flawed. The post we can't handle the truth is great, but most of it's examples are broad, and it clarifies that adding denominational/biblical perspective is often enough).

* I believe my denomination has the truth and as a member I have the truth, but I've made mistakes in my understanding, my denomination has clarified doctrinal points, I/we believe in continuing revelation, and there are matters that don't have clear doctrine right now. Christianity.SE is a gathering of individuals wanting to learn about other Christians, many of those who ask/answer believe their denomination is truth and as members have truth too, but most of us forget sometimes that it is God who is omniscience not us.

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