I recently tried an experiment--more on why below--and it may ultimately be unsuccessful. But if the only experiments conducted were those guaranteed to succeed, it wouldn't be much of an "experiment" would it?

I posted twin questions:

Authorship of 2 Peter - evidence in favor of Peter

Authorship of 2 Peter - evidence against Peter

I gather that some did not appreciate my doing this. I would like to explain why I did this, but first I would like to understand whether this is frowned upon. If so, this would be a good opportunity for me to have my wrist slapped (gently would be preferred) so I know not to do it again and others can learn from my mistake.

Is posting questions that are essentially mirror images of each other:

A. a good idea

B. meh, we'll live with it (but maybe we think you're a little eccentric)

C. a bad idea

The observation

I have observed--and the veritable multitude of meta discussions about this means others have too--that all viewpoints are not equally popular on the site. In general I think we try to be open to talking to people who disagree with us, but we're all human and we've probably all strayed from time to time beyond the "theologically neutral" ideal for the site.

When a question is asked that carries significant theological implications (even if the question isn't explicitly about theology), I've see two common results:

  1. The Shark Tank - answers quickly take a more combative, dogmatic tone, and heated exchanges are common. The result is often that thoughtful arguments that align with the theology of the majority are upvoted and thoughtful arguments that do not align with the theology of the majority are severely downvoted. (I'm not claiming I'm not occasionally guilty here too).

  2. Control the Narrative - a few quick responses more-or-less representative of the same viewpoint are rolled out, and those who disagree find it isn't worth getting into the fray. The result is that only one viewpoint gets heard.

The experiment

I could have simply asked about 2 Peter's authorship in general (merge the two questions), but I believe the results would have been similar to what was described above. I tried this in a previous experiment.

So I asked 2 questions, each delimited in such a way as to extract one viewpoint and not the other. Some may find one question or the other repulsive, but hopefully that means the opposite question provides a venue for presenting their views.

I asked the question because I'm interested in the topic and I'd like to see multiple viewpoints.

What think ye? Is this a practice that ought to be encouraged/used occasionally/discouraged/burned at the stake?

  • My own suggestion would be to add a third question : 'What content within Peter's second epistle makes some people so uncomfortable that they desire to exclude the whole epistle from the canon of scripture ?' I think we would then make real progress in discovering why the controversy exists in the first place.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 29 at 3:35
  • @NigelJ I would be very interested in the answers to that question as well, though I'm admittedly unsure how to ask it (in scope) on this site. I don't get the impression that Origen questioned it based on discomfort with its teachings though, so there may be multiple reasons that people have given it a hard time. P.S. don't get me wrong, I love 2 Peter. Mar 29 at 5:24
  • I could certainly give you a list of reasons why many people would wish to eradicate Peter's words in this particular epistle. It is a serious problem to them, which is no doubt the reason that the Holy Spirit inspired the holy Apostle (to whom Jesus gave certain keys, this being one of them) to write it.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 29 at 5:25

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