From the perspective of a postmodern/pluralist worldview, there is no such thing as 'pure' objectivity / true neutrality (nor objective truth, for that matter). In effect, all assertions of neutrality are biases/assumptions in and of themselves. I get this. But I also believe that allowing biases to remain unstated (where reasonable) and attempting to ask/answer with no starting point is not attainable and only causes the site to acquire the assumptions of the majority, which in the case of BH.SE is currently Christian Protestant ideology. I'd like to see a pseudo-neutrality that I've explained numerous times elsewhere.
The issue comes down to how we'd like to see this enforced. I've even given an opportunity to the community for voting on this issue. What's the issue/holdup here? Community apathy/meta burnout? The community does not agree with the pseudo-neutrality presented? The community does not want to have a defined starting point? Or something else?
I've been asked to define "Protestant ideology." For the purposes here, I will define it as holding these assumptions and implicitly bringing them to each post.
- The Bible is inspired by a deity and is thus free from and incapable of error (as Jon pointed out, beliefs on this vary. Some feel that this only applies to the original autographs which makes textual criticism fair game, some would apply it to an extant textual tradition/family, and others may even go so far as to state that a translation is the 'Authorized' or authoritative text).
- All Biblical texts are about (or foreshadow) Jesus (including those in the Hebrew Bible).
- The text applies to Christians today and speaks about events still to occur in the future.
- There is continuity between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament - one can be used to interpret/explain the other without defending the connection.
- Responses can be supported by 'proof-texting' passages from other Biblical texts (regardless of their time period and author) so long as they address a similar topic of interest to the post.
- The text (anachronistically) addresses later doctrinal controversies in history.
Allow me to copy and paste what I've written elsewhere:
I am primarily [talking] about questions. For the record, my current thinking is that these standards should be enforced for questions (edit/close/delete nonconformity), but only encouraged for answers (answers that don't follow these guidelines might be downvoted but don't require editing/deletion).
I'm OK with these biases being present in answers (I bring them to answers on occasion as well) - I want a diversity of opinion just as much as anyone else. I just think that these biases should be stated explicitly when they affect one's interpretation/response (but doesn't have to be in answers - although part of this is also included in 'showing your work'). This could be as simple as stating, "I am approaching this answer from a Protestant Christian perspective." That is sufficient so that we know the general assumptions in the post.
But I don't think it's right to have a question that carries numerous biases such as these, because it limits responses and actually discourages the diversity we'd like to see (which explicitly welcomes Christian, Jewish, atheist, etc. perspectives). These assumptions in questions will make it clear than only Christian perspectives are desired (which is often the case here).
As such, questions should be written in such a way that a Christian, Jew, atheist, or other individual who takes seriously the process of understanding the Biblical texts will feel welcome to answer and will not be discouraged to do so because it is blatantly obvious that the OP is only looking for a response from a specific religious tradition (if an OP does only want answers from a religious tradition, he or she should ask the question on C.SE or MY.SE - not here).
So to reiterate, I'd like to require a pseudo-neutrality in questions so that this site can attain more diversity in answers. I would also like to encourage (but not require) this same neutrality in answers so that they are helpful to as broad an audience as possible. I hope this clarifies my intent.