Where do questions about the beliefs of a religion go?

Where do questions about the beliefs of a religion go? General Questions since it should have a factual answer, GD because it is about religion, or IMHO because there may be more than one take on the question.

Here is the question I refer to:

While reading a book on Buddhaism, the author said that he once killed a bird because it was suffering and then he felt guilty about it for weeks.

Is it wrong to kill to end suffering? I saw a squirrel hit by a car, it was bleeding badly and flopping around and in obvious pain. According to the Buddhist tenants, should I have not put it out of its misery? Had I avoided that odious task, I would have felt guilty for weeks. As much as I find it distasteful to kill, I would not have wanted the thing to suffer.

I can see that might bear some debate - although I am interested in information and am not a debater. I can see where it might be subject to opinion, perhaps though, it is cut and dry - Buddhism prohibits killing.

So, I ask - where should the question go?

General Questions is for questions with factual answers. A question of the form “Is it wrong to …?” will not have a factual answer. Since you are asking about religious beliefs, you are inviting witnessing. Your question would belong in Great Debates. Generally questions about religion end up in Great Debates.

DrMatrix Moderator

Not to upstage DrMatrix, but questions of this sort can be factual, depending on how they’re phrased. If the question is “Is it wrong to euthanize a suffering animal?”, then that’s certainly Great Debates. But with a question like “What is the official Roman Catholic stance on euthenasia of animals?”, one could make a reply with references to the Catechism and the various Papal curiae, and come up with exactly what the official stance of the R. C. Church objectively is. Of course, discussion about whether that should be the official position would again be GD territory, but from what I’ve seen, GQers seem to be pretty good about keeping that in its place. Just the other day, we had a thread (it might still be active) asking about Catholics and birth control, and there have been a great number of questions about Jewish beliefs and practices.

Commentary, DrMatrix, or other GQ mods?

I agree, Chronos. Most questions about religion belong in Great Debates, but if it’s a purely factual question that could have a (reasonably) definitive, agreed upon, answer… then it could be a GQ. It can be a fine line. A question about belief probably belongs in GD, and a question about ritual might go in GQ.

For instance, “What does Christianity believe about the trinity?” would probably not have a factual, definitive answer agreed by all branches of Christianity. Even “What do Methodists believe about the trinity?” would probably not get agreement. OTOH, “Why do Muslims face Mecca when they pray?” would probably get a pretty definitive answer, although there might be a few different explanations.