I'm the moderator in question. This is a wonderful Meta question! I was contemplating asking almost exactly the same thing, with exactly the same points. The reason I didn't is because I didn't want to come across as the only one who cares.
I've removed the "required" part of the tag. Some tags on other sites do have "required" in the description, but that isn't needed here.
My personal goal as a moderator is just to stay on the topic of healthy Bible interpretation. "Trinity", "Oneness", "Tri-theology"... these come after hermeneutics. In my own words, we are pre-theology.
Nigel's comment explains my concern very well:
It is so common for questions to be asked that attack the doctrine called 'Trinity' that it seems quite appropriate to tag such questions in order to clarify that such an attack is being made.
The OP's response to Nigel also holds true without conflicting with the concern that Nigel and I hold in common:
is the purpose of this stackexchange to defend the Trinity from attack? Should other theologies also have a tag when they are under attack or otherwise when belief in them may be impacted?
Not trying to be a politician here, but I strongly agree with both. The issue for me is that we don't go as far as to discuss theology.
Both have the well-founded concern of a shift toward a "to be or not to be Trinitarian" topic. Both Nigel and Austin don't want that; I don't either.
Steve doesn't like the word "attack" mainly because that can make comments unfriendly. I'd say it seems more like a "hostile takeover" tactic, as if the site's topic is under siege. Steve's point is to remember that no one is attacking anyone here.
Full disclosure: My stance on the Trinity
It's not that I/we don't want non-trinitarians on the site. I very much enjoy wisdom from my Apostolic Church "Oneness" pastor friend. He says that the word "persons" bugs him. It bugs me too! The Holy Spirit is a spirit, not a person. And, the word "person" implies a mutually-exclusive, individual identity and necessitates a tri-theology. Moreover in epistemological terms, I don't want to use the created as a category in which to confine the Creator. The noun "person" defines a human, not a "God Most High", though we could use the adjective "personal" to describe each member of the godhead. Regardless of godhead doctrine, the Judaeo-Christian-Biblical God is indeed personal because He is all-knowing, et cetera. But, I digress.
Suffice it to say that I'm not a die-hard Trinitarian. And in my experience, Trinitarians can be quite hard-headed and close-eared. I didn't like how my own pastor wouldn't give my AC pastor friend the time of day at the weekly pastor's breakfast. It broke my heart. And, we don't want to be like that here.
With that out of the way...
Topic and tags
Hermeneutics should be our common ground.
I have two genuine concerns:
- Disingenuous anti-trinitarian questions that evidently seek to derail the purpose of this site from "Hermeneutics" to "cloaked Arianism" sales pitches (or any other topic).
- Trinitarian comments that continue an unacknowledge, unintended habit of stonewalling all discussion from "Oneness" and other ingenuous Bible student users who just want to be objective.
The first concern is Nigel's. The second concern is Ausin's. Those two users are not in disagreement; they have two compatible concerns from a different POV. Together, their comments embody why I was messing with the tags in the first place.
(Nigel has previously objected to me using the term 'cloaked theology' because it presumes to know an OP's intentions. He has a good point, so I'm trying to use the term 'cloaked' more gently. While I look for better words, we both want to more or less 'de-cloak' any question not asked in "good faith". Tags can help achieve that.)
My own solution:
#godhead in place of them all
I strongly agree with the OP asking this question:
- Why do we even have a tag for a subject that is off-topic?
I had suggested the #godhead tag to the other mods. But, one of them had a good argument that #trinity may be the POV from an OP asking a question.
Consider this question: Does the Shema Yisrael affirm the first two persons of the trinity, aka the Father and Son?
The OP asks about a Jewish prayer Shema Yisrael, whether it supports the Trinity. That is technically a "hermeneutics" question, but not "Bible hermeneutics"; it's about "prayer literature hermeneutics". It should be tertiarily as on-topic as the Gnostic Gospels.
In that question, the OP is already curious about the Trinity specifically. But, to be pre-theological and hermeneutically objective, a tag based on a curiosity, however real, might not be best for the final, edited version of a question.
That other moderator sees a very real need for the #trinity tag. This question on the Shema Yisrael shows why. But, they should represent their own positions and reasons, so I won't represent nor refute that mod that here. It is at least a legitimate consideration.
But, it doesn't seem objective to only tag that question with #trinity and not #oneness and #arianism. But, there is a five-tag limit:
there are frequently more than 5 applicable tags, so whichever is 6th most relevant just has to be left out.
This is a reality we face: some things get left out. Many users may feel left out if they happen to be in a minority (for now, times change), but there is a deeper matter that objective users really don't want left out: hermeneutical objectivity.
When I approach a text, I take my own true, real 90%-trinitarian view and set it down each and every time. To do that, I never have "trinity" in my mind when reading a Bible passage without also having "oneness" and "Arius" in my mind. I do my best to expunge them all while in Bible study. Shedding as much bias as I can is part of my hermeneutical process.
No one can shed all bias, but most of us are negligent in this first step. Doomed to fail, I work very had to be non-unobjective anyway, and that doesn't make me delusional; it makes me a responsible Bible student.
Being objective should not require that we bloat our language. Why use up 2/3 tags just to be objective? #godhead should be sufficient.
All theology tags should be included
If we are going to have a tag for #trinity, then we need a tag for others. From the OP:
- Should there be tags for other theologies like the Oneness theology or Arianism?
Yes. And, we have a #oneness tag.
But, since we have a #oneness tag, we should mention it more in these discussions, which we have not. IMVHO, that validates my concern that [we] Trinitarians tend to stonewall and not listen well. We can improve on that.
Yes. We should absolutely have a #arianism tag if we have a #trinity tag.
Solving the original dilemma
Perhaps that tag should be added to the posts that Nigel and I are specifically concerned about. And, perhaps that would stop the "hostile takeover" (AKA attack or siege on the site's topic). That may also satisfy Austin's (OP) concerns in this question.
I'd still like the #godhead tag for this, tho, because it helps honest questions to be less inflammatory and remain within our pre-theology topic of hermeneutics.
So, is the solution to add #godhead or #arianism? I vote to try both and then see which prove to be more useful.
What say you?