Having just barely joined History.SE after participating in several other SE communities, I've been struck with how closed the community seems to be to newcomers and casual participants - there seems to be a "serious academics only" sign on the clubhouse. In particular, the negative response to this answer sourced from a religious text seems quite aggressive - it answers the question perfectly, but has been thoroughly down-voted by the community, with the most up-voted comment being that the religious source quoted is categorically
"not considered a reliable historical source by independent scholars". That statement applies to practically any religious text; indeed, there is a well-written question on whether (specific) religious texts are acceptable sources for this community that points this out. The lone answer says, roughly, "probably no for answers, but yes for questions [if they're worded right] because they might be interesting."
Perhaps a bit of a double standard, but it makes sense given that this is a History forum, and it's consistent with what I've seen so far on the site. Since SE sites are each their own community with their own self-defined and self-enforced rules - so be it. However, I haven't found a clearly stated stance on this, in the FAQs, question guide, or Meta; I'd like to understand what the community stance is on referring to the content of religious texts as a reference, independent of claiming those texts are 'true' in the religious sense.
Browsing the site to understand community attitudes turned up other hostile exchanges on other topics, and reading other History meta questions on sources (e.g Should we include sources in answers?) indicates that religion has come up before. One excellent answer to a meta question regarding a religious topic (itself spawned by aggressive treatment of a religious-themed question) summed things up quite well:
Some topics are known to cause flamewars on the Internet. [...E]xtremely polarizing topics have a strong tendency to attract the wrong sort of audience: people who care more about the subject than they do about the study of history.
The top of religion-oriented questions has come up before; but what is the stance on answers to non-religious questions that include material from a religious text? It appears to be that religious texts are rejected as primary sources, often with dismissive or sneering remarks. A few thoughts about this:
Religious texts are generally unverifiable, have little or no concurrent historical material given their age, and contain controversial material that is nearly impossible to discuss objectively. Accordingly, religious texts are basically useless for the purposes of the academic historian, so I can see why they're being frowned on here.
Because they are not generally useful for scholarship, religious texts seems to be completely disregarded, even if they contain content relevant to the original question (as in the answer I referenced). This rejection is often quite blunt and even derisive - comments rejecting that answer use phrases like
"sci-fi", "in-universe", "mythology", "a derivative work that cites no other sources"[quite an oxymoron, that one],
"historical fiction", and
"[as valid as] a Tom Clancy novel."
My experience has been that very few scholars/historians have put much effort into researching the content, authenticity, or background of religious texts [edit: before rejecting them], unless they actually focus on religious history specifically. This leads to extremely divisive opinions on any given text, reinforcing the inability to use the text in "serious", non-religious research. This creates a feedback-loop that perpetuates the exclusion of religious texts from "serious" historical scholarship. "I don't believe the source from a religious standpoint, and it doesn't have enough scholarly research to verify it, therefore there is no more reason to leave my ivory tower to do scholarly research on it than on the latest NY Times novel. QED." Based on the phrasing used, I sincerely doubt any of the downvoters/commenters on that answer have read the text in question, any impartial research on it's authenticity [beyond Wikipedia, which suffers from this same problem], or even a single apologist's work on the text - just self-reinforcing, mutually cross-referencing dismissals of it.
The acceptance or out-of-hand rejection of religious texts as quotable sources in an answer has a lot to do with the self-definition of this community. Is this site for academia-level historic scholars only? Armchair historians? Casual participants? SE sites in general are certainly not for the random drive-by Googler, but where and how does History.SE set the bar participation? This is, of course, a separate topic but relevant to the discussion.
Hopefully stating some concrete criteria for referencing religious texts will allow the community to moderate them categorically without being [or pretending to be, explicitly or by inference] authorities on a given text. The History.SE How to Ask FAQ states
"Keep an open mind"about unexpected answers, yet responses to religious texts seem to mark them as an exception to this rule.
I'm not interested in discussing the specific question or the validity of the quoted religious text here, although it's an interesting topic. I'm hoping to get answers (possibly a community wiki) that clarify the community stance on when (if ever) it is appropriate to refer to religious texts, or even community source standards in general.