This was inspired by 2 Corinthians 6:16 a subtle reference to the Holy Spirit’s Deity?, but I'm not looking for responses that are specific to that question.

The general problem is as I described in a comment there:

A major problem with this site is that its aim of being non-denominational is sometimes impossible to achieve. This (and similar questions) are equivalent to "have you stopped beating your wife?". If you assume the Trinity Doctrine true, you will give one answer, and if you assume it false, you will give a completely different answer. There is no room for compromise or neutrality other than by presenting both cases.

In theory we should consider only what is proven in the original text, but one group believes scripture proves the Trinity, and the other that scripture contains no such proof.

There are certain concepts that some people naturally take for granted, while others see no biblical support for them. The Trinity Doctrine is the most blatant example, but certainly not the only one.

As things stand, if someone posts a question that mentions "Holy Spirit” there will almost certainly be two types of answers:

  • “The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity, so it's obvious that this scripture means … .”
  • “The holy spirit is the medium by which God communicates with individual people, so it's obvious that this scripture means … .”

And for both types of answer, there will soon be a long chain of comments disputing and affirming its assumption.

It should be obvious to everyone that none of those comments will ever change the minds of the other side. Nevertheless, many people (myself included) continue to fall into the trap of commenting or responding to these comments.

In Christianity.SE, this isn't such a problem, as one can restrict questions using the form “According to the Trinity Doctrine, …?”, or “For those denominations that don't accept the Trinity Doctrine, …?”.

For Hermeneutics.SE though, the questions are supposed to be about the scripture, independent of doctrinal beliefs. But for some questions, this simply isn't possible.

Is there a solution to this wasteful and pointless exercise in futility?

  • 1
    It seems in past years, there was a respectful tone regarding opposing answers that would be appropriately UV for the merit in the answer content and quality. Mostly, that is not the case anymore and an 'opposing' answer (or Q), no matter how sound and exegetical it may be, is DV just because! Traditional theology/doctrinal beliefs is/are not allowed to be questioned, regardless of what the bible says - esp. once translation bias is highlighted. IOW, the bible is secondary to entrenched beliefs and that is the core of most disputes.
    – steveowen
    Aug 4, 2022 at 22:55

2 Answers 2


ChristianitySE allows opinion questions from different sect or denominations, but Hermeneutics does not. That is because the hermeneutics scope is limited to study of interpretation which deals with truth. If this site also starts opinion survey questions, then there will be no difference with Christianity-SE. To refrain from petty quarrelling, you should avoid making Q or A on petty questions like "Is this a subtle ref to Spirit's deity?" Such questions are very low level, deserving on facebook Trinity groups; there must be many existing topics on Quora and elsewhere be found if you search on duckduckgo. There should be a level of quality maintained by the moderators and I support for their closing for being low quality.

Such questions are asking for petty debates from hard core trinitarians and unitarians. I personally believe it is superfluous and childish to even ask whether the spirit of God is God, it is like asking if the spirit of a cat is a cat/animal. In any case even if you receive/take petty, desperate and argumentative comments or answers, you should simply ignore them unless you want to debate more through going into chat section.

See a few example of petty Trinitarian systematic theology type questions: Should we have a canonical question on verses with three 'persons' and the Trinity?

  • The referenced question is now closed. Thanks for making it explicit that that is the appropriate response. Jul 2, 2022 at 13:15
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    Generally I'm in full agreement with the approach you've outlined here. But I'd add that not everybody is looking for a 'petty debate' and some are genuinely trying to exegete a specific text, even if their worldview is strongly framed by certain philosophical concepts. It's tempting to write off anybody who writes from a different perspective as being overly 'fixed' on it, but I think a lot of disagreements can be solved with patience, kindness and understanding.
    – Steve can help Mod
    Jul 6, 2022 at 11:56
  • We live in a world that is more grey than some black-and-white viewpoints will admit, and is also more black-and-white than some grey viewpoints will admit. On C.SE you can specify a shared 'framing' that closely resembles the way you see the world, and that helps you get answers that relate to your question. In BH.SE we anchor on texts but can't really escape the relationship between theological concepts and interpreting texts about God; we can and should expect a diversity of answers that don't agree with our own theologies, without getting drawn into debates.
    – Steve can help Mod
    Jul 6, 2022 at 11:59

Is there a solution to this wasteful and pointless exercise in futility?

Yes. Point out who premises his views or interpretation by resorting to the Biblical text(s) at issue and who does not. This awareness will --or should-- prevent the audience and contributors from getting distracted with doctrinal bias.

I highlight the clause "at issue" because it is unavailing to quote a generic or unrelated phrase, oftentimes taken out of context, from somewhere else in the Bible and pretend that it constitutes hermeneutical support.

Addressing criticism in the comments is important if/when it helps the contributor to debunk misplaced or inaccurate remarks. That clarification can lead the audience to a more precise understanding of the contributors' points.

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