As a former moderator on one site that deals with religious texts, a user on the three strictly religious sites, and a participant on religious topics that pop up from time to time on other sites, I've come to appreciate votes that reflect objective quality in a post. I personally think atheists are mistaken, but I was happy to upvote an atheist answer to What would it take in a book to convince a rational person that it had been written by or directly inspired by a god? I disagree with the answer's conclusions, but I find it answer useful, well-argued, and (relative to its own standards) plausable. Other than the fact I disagree with it's conclusion, I see no reason to downvote and every reason to upvote. Therefore, it gets my upvote.
Conversely, votes based on agreement or disagreement with a post's conclusion propel a site in a dangerous direction. You can read up on the core problem at:
- Christianity.SE vs. Survivor
- How do we avoid a vote contest?
- Is there not room for non-orthodox opinions?
- Why Sectarianism is Ruining Your Site
- Valid Answers and Questions getting deleted due to partisan group flagging
In essence, a popularity contest serves nobody very well. Votes should reflect the usefulness, relevance, and self-consistency of posts. That might mean downvoting correct answers.
The inverse of this point was brought up a while ago: Disagreement should not be a basis for down-voting and was answered then:
This, of course, goes the other way too: Don't upvote a post just because you happen to agree with it. All voting should be based on how useful the post is, especially to the person asking the question, not whether (you fully believe) it's fundamentally right.
While it may be a given that in order for a post to be useful, it must also be correct, the opposite is not true: A post that is correct is not necessarily useful.
I'm bringing it up again because recently we noticed a small number of users where voting indiscriminately for answers by particular users, reordering the answers, and even bringing negatively scored posts into positive territory. While it might be that voters in this community missed out on a few hidden gems, most of the upvoted posts had obvious unfixed problems noted in the comments. The evidence leaves no other option but that a few people were coordinating voting on posts for the purpose of promoting a particular theology. That behaviour is destructive to the prime directive of this site.
Clay Shirky once wrote:
[The] group structure is necessary to defend the group from itself. Group structure exists to keep a group on target, on track, on message, on charter, whatever. To keep a group focused on its own sophisticated goals and to keep a group from sliding into these basic patterns. Group structure defends the group from the action of its own members.
And in that spirit, I urge you to base your votes on the quality of posts and not on whether you agree with them.