Talk:Christian mythology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Where is the actual topic?[edit]

This article also never mentions the roots of Greek and Zoroastrian mythology as the roots of Christian Mythology. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.100.233.206 (talk) 00:52, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

If someone were to ask me for an example of "Christian mythology", my answer would be "George and the dragon", "King Arthur" and other stories from the mythos of the christian world that contain fantastical elements.

Yet this article does not even mention these stories in passing.

Instead, we get a thinly-veiled attempt to re-classify the whole of the Bible as myth.

Most people would accept the creation story as myth and that is equally true of the rest of the early part of Genesis. But the issue of the life of Abraham or the Exodus are highly contended.

This article might not have grabbed my attention if it had stopped there. But instead it goes on to say, in effect, that every story in the tanakh is myth. "The period of the Hebrew prophets" encompasses a great swathe of history that almost all sensible historians consider to be, in essence, true (the accuracy of the biblical account being disputed; the fact of the events far less so). Then the article goes on to claim, in essence, that all of the events of the New Testament are 'myth' too.

This article violates WP:NPOV in the most extreme manner.--FimusTauri (talk) 14:27, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

For the hundredth time: myth does not entail false. Ilkali (talk) 15:07, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
For the thousandth time - I know what the 'academic' definition is. But this article has utterly redefined the scope of 'myth' to include the whole of scripture. Are you seriously telling me that Jesus is a myth? That the resettlement of the Jews into Babylon is a myth? Are you (or whoever is editing this article) really trying to tell everyone that every scripture that they hold dear (other than the 'Wisdom' scriptures, which are the only ones not included in the sweeping generalisations in this article) is myth?--FimusTauri (talk) 15:12, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
This is ridiculous and I find it a strawman argument. Nobody said EVERYTHING in the Bible is a myth. It's almost 100% sure that Jesus was a historical person; the same for the historicity of Babylonian Captivity. However, The Bible, alike Babylonian writings and Nordic sagas, contains a mixture of myths, historical facts, allegorical stories and prophetic visions. Would you claim that the events described in Genesis are anything more than myth?? Some events may be legendary, eg. Red Sea passage, which could have had some natural explanations. Also, some events from Jesus life can be described as mythical, though "legendary" is IMHO better, eg. walking on water, resurrection of the dead (including himself), etc. In short, all miracles ARE "mythical" or "legendary", as history can't record them (even if they really happened) not having the natural explanation. Critto (talk) 12:58, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Jesus may well have been a myth; we have no conclusive proof. But let's assume he existed. Kielbasa1 (talk) 11:26, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
Historical and archaeological evidence over the last century has consistently supported the accuracy and reliability of biblical documents. In fact, these are probably - in terms of confirmation and accuracy - the most reliable historical documents of antiquity. Despite the many criticisms leveled against the Bible over the years, and the assumption it is guilty until proven innocent, discoveries of archaeology since the mid-19th century have demonstrated the reliability, accuracy, and plausibility of biblical narratives. Over 5,000 ancient Greek manuscripts from the New Testament have been found so far. If we were to compare the number of New Testament manuscripts to other ancient writings, we find that the New Testament manuscripts far outweigh the others in terms of reliability and evidence. In addition there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000. There are plenty of examples of historical figures, structures, locations, and even cities in the Bible some historians thought had never existed, but have been consistently revealed by modern archaeological evidence, and of examples of extra-Biblical confirmation and documentation of Biblical events.
Bart D. Ehrman (who is by no means a Christian) puts it quite succinctly: "Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter... There is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology."
Jesus mythicism, in short, is to history what young-earth creationism is to biology. 23.16.124.142 (talk) 23:07, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
To non-believers, it's as much of a myth as any other. Zeus, Odin, Jesus, Vishnu... all could be considered myths, depending on who you ask. And giving equal treatment to Greek, Norse, Christian and Indian mythologies is about NPOV as you can get. Note that I refer to Jesus as an incarnation of the Abrahamic god, not just simply a man named Jesus. 76.22.18.250 (talk) 17:32, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
It's an awkward and yet very important subject. Other pages on Wikipedia talk about "Maori myths" and "Aboriginal myths". Why should the Christian belief system be treated any differently? Should stories about the elephant-headed Hindu diety Ganesh be treated as any more true / false / mythological than Christan stories about their Jesus? From a rational point of view, they are all myths. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 180.75.84.78 (talk) 06:36, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
There are scores and scores of sources verifying that there is a considerable widespread POV among theologians that the term "myth/ology" is POLEMIC whenever applied to a belief system that is still current in the world. This includes not only Christianity, but also Hinduism, Islam, and many other competing views of reality. There is no one "reality" that reigns supreme on planet Earth. Unfortunately, many on wikipedia think they are somehow entitled to pick and choose whose beliefs are "myths" and whose aren't. This is pure megalomania as wikipedia has no such mandate. The spirit and purpose of NPOV is not to take sides but present everyones pov in language that is acceptable to all povs. A "bigot" is defined as one who thinks that the rules here allow for a special case where one widespread world pov may be insulted and offended, while his own pov is to be endorsed. They have come up with an astounding number of disingenuous arguments that pretend the term myth is somehow completely neutral and unambiguous for wikipedia when all sources in the real world know better and agree that the definition of myth has been highly controversial and ambiguous. "MYTH IS A POV AND A POLEMIC (NON NEUTRAL) WORD AND WIKIPEDIA SHOULD NOT BE IN THE BUSINESS OF DECIDING WHOSE BELIEFS ARE REJECTED AS "MYTHS" AND WHOSE AREN'T, IN ORDER TO IMPOSE THE ANTI-RELIGIOUS POV-PUSHING AGENDA OF A FEW PUSHY, BIGOTED INIVIDUALS ON THE WHOLE WORLD. Wikipedia should follow the practice of other major encyclopedias and only use "myth" in those cases where it is not disputed by anyone, mainly for beliefs that are no longer current or widespread. That means no Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Mormon belief should ever be declared by wikipedia to be a "myth". Present them all fairly without POV pushing language and let the reader decide what they choose to believe, for crying out loud. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:22, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
"The story of Christ is a myth that is true" -- C.S. Lewis. Myth just refers to a sacred story that attempts to explain how the world came to be in its current state, the word does not really make any statement regarding its veracity. The ancient Greeks refered to their own mythology as myths, even when they believed in those stories. When people who haven't studied the subject misunderstand the word, is the word to go with the misunderstanding, or should we try to explain what the word really means? Why don't we revise the whole to match common mis/un-educated misunderstandings instead of going along with reliable sources and attempting to educate the reader? We better redirect Islam to Terrorism, and Quantum physics to Magic (illusion). Oh, wait, we have to redirect Magic (along with Witchcraft) to Satanism. Is it bigoted and antireligious when Christians say that many of the Bible's stories are myths?
Or is it for political correctness that we're supposed to push for instead of a neutral summary of sources? Well, we better retitle Islamic terrorism to "Mideastern Freedom Fighter's reactions to globalization and the Palestinian occupation," and rename the article "French Fries" "Freedom Fries." Better get the euphemism treadmill started up.
No, we're just to summarize what sources say and let the reader decide for themselves. If you want to push an agenda against what the word "myth" means, write elsewhere.
As for using myth for "no longer current or widespread" beliefs, neopaganism pretty much means we cannot refer to Greek mythology as "mythology." While a minority, it would be bigoted to say "they're beliefs are (word incorrectly used to mean "false story") because there aren't as many of them as there are of us."
I normally tend to hold your edits in high regard when I see them, Til Eulenspiegel, but this is just ridiculous. Ian.thomson (talk) 15:48, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
All you have done is made still more of the usual flawed analogies, metaphors and similes that don't hold up. CSLewis is entitled to his opinion of course but his opinion cannot be imposed on me or anyone else let alone a neutral project. There are plenty of contradictory opinions by other theologians as you should be aware. The bottom line is they are opinions and must be presented a such, not endorsed with a blatantly controversial label as mythology. You mention "reliable sources", do you really even know what reliable sources actually say on the history of the use of the word "mythology"? Or are you one of those who imposes a circular litmus test, saying it cannot be a "reliable source" unless it furthers your POV about these major world faiths? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:09, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
The biggest problem is, that in polytheistic European religions the term "myth" has never been considered anything offensive. Moreover, ancient Greeks invented the term themselves to describe their sacred stories about their Gods, Heroes and cosmic events (and yes, they HELD them sacred). "Mythos" in Greek means "a story" or "a narrative". The problem with the word "myth" applied to Christian, Jewish or Muslim beliefs arises from the fact, that a lot of them still interpret their doctrines literally in relation to historicity, therefore labelling these as "myths" is found as a direct negation of historicity. Let's test it by changing all instances of "myth" in Wikipedia to "story". I am almost sure that religionists out there will start demanding that the term be changed to some other, eg. history or narrative, as they will find it offensive their holy stories are treated on par with Greek, Celtic, Slavic, Babylonian or Nordic ones. Besides, shortly after decipherment of cuneiform tablets and finding out the Babylonian creation stories, a lot of fundamentalist Christians found the very publication of these myths offensive, as they looked very similiar to Biblical account. So while I understand your idea and I find you acting in good faith, I would disagree we should bow to the demands of those few monotheists that don't accept the usage of the word "myth". Critto (talk) 13:07, 17 July 2012 (UTC)


Can to explain how those are flawed analogies? I happen to be a Christian (so please don't pull that "insulting major world religions" empty rhetoric), and like some other Christians that understand what "mythology" refers to, I have no problem refering to the Bible as being full of myths. The word ultimate means "story." Evolution is "blatently controversial" among a lot of people who don't understand it, but we don't present the article from their perspective.
As for reliable sources, we have nice little guidelines to determine that. If you want to bewail western scholarship in general for being biased for using a word you personally disagree with, fine, but that's not what Wikipedia is for. Myths, in a scholarly context, are "traditional stories", relating to history, ritual, politics, or the unknown, the other, and other real human concerns. "An expression of life" in narrative form, an attempt to find order in the world. Some would even go as far as to say that it is backwards to refer to dead beliefs as myths and living ones as not myths, since our best chance to study myths is to examine culture where they still live. In such cultures, they are not fictions, they are a "truth par excellance." This is all based on the first page of a Google Books search for "mythology definition," excluding one text that doesn't define actually mythology but uses the colloquial use coincidently, and a 19th century work that defines elements of mythology. The only text that attempts to define mythology that half-way agrees with you admits that its impossible to say what really is false, and deems that definition unworthy of use within that work on those grounds. I assure you that the following pages in the search are comparable to the first, though I will admit I did not read the next few pages as thoroughly (it's getting close to dinner time). Mythology for Dummies even agrees that myths are not false. Even the non-folklorist works I saw followed (1 )
Now, why is it that ancient cultures get to have profound insights into the unknown with their traditional stories (sometimes even called "timeless tales"), but modern religions just have "opinions?" Are modern religious devoid of any possibility of insight? Ian.thomson (talk) 21:51, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Maybe you should do some more homework. Whether or not to apply the term "myth" to the Bible, Quran, other religions' books, in whole or in part, and if in part, which parts, is definitively sourced to be one of the most controversial and hotly debated topics in theology. There are scads of references proving this. Wikipedia is engaging in pure deception by pretending that there has been no controversy, it's all resolved now, nothing to see, 'everyone' has now suddenly agreed that it IS mythology after all, and everyone else who disagrees doesn't even count, thus there is no room for argument any more. That is pure unscholarly and philistine deception being pushed by militant editors on wikipedia who insist it be that way. And your professed religion is quite outside of any relevance here, as is mine or any other editor's. You may profess Christianity, but you cannot claim to speak for all Christians and claim your ambivalence should apply to them. Blatant fallacy there. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:35, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
The problem here is that we have a term used by scholars in a way that differs from general usage. Evolution has the same problem, in which the word "theory" has a specific and precise meaning to scientists, which is different from is general-use meaning of "conjecture" or "unproven hypothesis".
Similarly, the word "myth" has a specific and precise meaning to literary scholars and historians.
In an encyclopedia, we use terms in a manner consistent with the article topic. Therefore an article on a science topic will use the word "theory" in its scholarly scientific sense. An article about traditional stories relating to history, culture, etc. will use the word "mythology" in its scholarly literary/historical sense. There will always be people who feel the need to create controversy about the precise usage of such words.
Characterizing other Wikipedians as unscholarly, philistine, deceptive, or militant indicates a massive failure to adhere to Wikipedia:Assume good faith and Wikipedia:Civility. If you have "scads of references" then present them. The article already includes references that explain the meaning of the word "myth" in the context of traditional stories. ~Amatulić (talk) 23:21, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Was just going to post "WP:BURDEN." As for the "ambivalence" part, I'm not being ambivalent. I've presented why I believe that the Bible containing myths makes it relevant to life, while it being full of opinions is actually insulting. Calling me ambivalent because I disagree with your mean world snydrome and idiosyncratic definition of myth is rude, Til. You're not in any of the stainglass windows at my church, nor do you appear to be a patriarch, prophet, gospel, or epistle in the Bible. Imply that I am less of a Christian for disagreeing with you again, and I'll open up an entry at WP:WQA about you. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:31, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
I stand by everything I have said. What I have observed here is a sheer travesty of POV pushing / telling readers what they are allowed to believe, and far more attention needs to be paid to this. I have already presented an entire page full of reliable sources indicating the scope of the controversy. I was told to accept a compromise, but once that compromise is unilaterally removed /altered, there is nothing left to accept. This is a dirty dealing. You want to threaten me with action for what you think I am "implying" go ahead. I cannot help what you think I am "implying". I have never stated what my religious beliefs may or may not be, whether or not I personally have any religion, nor do I wear my own personal beliefs like a chip on my shoulder daring anyone else to knock it off. I simply do not find it acceptable to use a supposedly neutral project as a propaganda tool in this fashion. So long as you are going to insist on being able to divine which sections of whose books qualify as "myth" and then have the nerve to pretend it's fact not opinion, I will continue to fight your mentality you stand for as long as I breathe. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 00:25, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Similarly, one can gather an entire page of reliable sources indicating the scope of the controversy around the word "theory" in evolution. Creationists characterize the controversy as scientists pushing a POV and telling people what they are allowed to believe. It's pretty much the same thing here, what you wrote just above. The main issue is, how do scholars working in this area use the word "mythology"? That's all that matters. The way you or I or the general population think about the word is completely irrelevant. As I stated earlier, we use words in articles in a manner consistent with the topic of the article.
I agree with you that ones religion should not matter in this discussion. I saw Ian.thompson's stating of his religion as a means to indicate that the word "mythology" doesn't necessarily offend all Christians. Assume good faith. You are not doing that. ~Amatulić (talk) 00:36, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
At what point in this discussion have you presented sources? WP:BURDEN. WP:UNDUE (sources not concerned with defining mythology don't define mytholgoy), WP:ADVOCACY (Wikipedia does not exist to push your particular defintion). How does the article tell readers what they have to believe? You've given up actually looking at the content just because you don't like a single word that every folklorist, anthropologist, psychologist, and many theologians use differently from you. And yet, despite the sources going one way, you want the site to go with YOUR opinion on what the word "myth" should mean. THAT is POV-pushing. What did you mean by "You may profess Christianity, but you cannot claim to speak for all Christians and claim your ambivalence should apply to them"? Exactly what is my ambivalence? As Amatulić has correctly stated, I brought up my religion for the same reason I brought up C.S. Lewis: to indicate that your claims of protecting living religions are bunkum.
If I think that the word "shark" refers to a small furry rodent that lives in trees and hides nuts, then I am the one that is biased, there is no biased conspiracy on the part of everyone else to force POV into the articles for shark and squirrel. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:49, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I have looked deeply into this and found that practically no two theologians agree on what the scope of "myth" is and among Bible scholars there are many differing opinions on which specific parts of the Bible qualify as myth, if any. There are those saying Genesis is myth, those including only half of Genesis, those who include various other books, those who include the whole thing and they all use drastically differing definitions, aside from all those sources who decry the wide range of conflicting or agenda-driven definitions for this one terminology alone. That's all fine, but then our task is to desribe the situation carefully noting what theologian holds what POV, not play foavourites and say "theologian x is correct, whereas theologian y cannot even be mentioned because he dissents". Come on now. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 01:20, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

RFC[edit]

All contributors to this page might like to see Proposed change to policy on ambiguous words in religious articles and contribute. Especially as this article is cited there as a (bad) example. --FimusTauri (talk) 15:15, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Continuation of discussion at Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view/FAQ[edit]

I've decided to take the initiative and start off a discussion here, in accordance with the apparent trend of a discussion elsewhere (Proposed change to policy on ambiguous words in religious articles). Hopefully we are now in a position to bring the more reasonable members of what I call the pro-myth and anti-myth factions into some kind of consensus, using Christian mythology as a test run. In my opinion, the key passages from the previous discussion were the following:

1. Consider the following statement:

The academic study of mythology will, in its broadest definition, encompass many stories not traditionally seen as being 'myths', such as those found in the religious texts of many contemporary religions.

This statement (assuming an accurate definition of 'myth(ology)' precedes it) is very neutral: it provides a context for anything that follows and allows for the inclusion of the story of Jesus in the succeeding discussion. At the same time it avoids stating that "the story of Jesus is a myth". Context is vital here. --User:FimusTauri

2. My idea for the Christian mythology article is that we start with the most restrictive definition of "myth" (the folkloristic definition: "sacred story about how the world came to be in its current form") and discuss the religious stories that fall under that definition (according to one source I have, that would include Genesis 1 and 2, Eden, and Noah; according to another source, it could also include the Christ story), then the stories that fall under the religious studies definition ("stories centering around gods"); finally we can throw the doors open and discuss Christian-themed legends, folktales, etc. The upshot of this method is that it automatically arranges the stories in something close to their order of significance for believers. --User:Phatius McBluff

3. There is a simple and reasonable solution to this problem. We simply defer to the reliable sources on the topic. If they classify 'x' as a myth, then so do we. If they don't, then we don't. --User:Ben Tillman

Based on the above suggestions, I suggest the following changes to Christian mythology, which should make it acceptable to all reasonable parties:

1. We should give the broadest academic definition of myth ("traditional story", easily citable from OED) in the intro, and then add something like the following: "Under this definition, the category of myth will encompass many Christian stories not traditionally called 'myths', including those found in canonical scripture."

2. We should be careful to distinguish the various academic definitions of "myth". (See Mythology#Term for a brief discussion of definitions.) True, in its broadest academic sense, "myth" simply means "traditional story". However, Wikipedia articles currently tend to be inconsistent in this regard. First they define "myth" as "sacred story believed to be true, using the supernatural to explain natural phenomena" or something along those lines. Then they include King Arthur and Japanese water imps as examples of "myth"! (See this old version of the Mythology article for an example.) I suggest that we divide the article into sections according to academic definitions. First, start with the folklorists' definition, which will cover only creation and origin stories. We can then have another section about the religious studies definition, which will cover most stories in scripture. Finally, we can have a section discussing legends and folktales from Christian lands (e.g. King Arthur, medieval folktales about the Devil).

3. We should make sure that the article has specific citations for any stories that it presumes to include as "myths". For example, suppose that we're working on the section that discusses the folkloristic definition. Under this definition, it seems obvious to me that the Tower of Babel story would be a myth. Unfortunately, I currently lack a source that specifically refers to the Tower of Babel as "myth". Therefore, I shouldn't include the Tower of Babel in that section without finding further sources.

Any comments/suggestions/disagreements are welcome. But please, let's try to be constructive! --Phatius McBluff (talk) 01:34, 11 February 2009 (UTC)


I will have more to say later. For the moment, I would like to say that I greatly welcome and endorse this discussion taking place. Like Til, however, I do not feel this discussion should be taken as a basis for the wider discussion mentioned above. Having said that, Phatius is showing a genuine desire to achieve a truly neutral approach to the use of the term which I applaud.--FimusTauri (talk) 09:30, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Just a couple of quick points. I really like the idea of having seperate sections for different categories. If the experts can't agree, then it makes perfect sense to have divisions within this article that reflect the disagreement. This may also solve the single biggest problem I have with the article in its current form: at present it places an emphasis on the Bible stories as being 'the most important examples' of Christian mythology. They may be 'most important' in the sense that they are part of canon, but not as examples of mythology. It is the Bible stories that provide the greatest degree of contention in this category. By seperating the article into appropriate sections, you can give due weight to the point that a Bible story "is not traditionally seen as a myth", but can (and is), however, be treated as such.
Secondly (and some will be amazed that I say this), you may actually have gone slightly too far in your zeal, Phatius. If a myth is universally accepted as such, then I see no need to be too careful about providing references. However, such references become very appropriate when you enter the greyer area of religion.
I think it may also be appropriate to provide context within the religious canon. It is probably fair to say that almost everything pre-Mosaic is widely regarded as 'mythical'. On the other hand, few people regard anything that is post-Davidic as 'mythical', whilst acknowledging that many of the stories have mythical elements. That leaves a grey area from Moses to David which appears to produce a fairly equal split amongst academics.
I hope you take this is an attempt to be constructive - I am not here to argue (I'll save that for the RfC) - just to offer an opinion.--FimusTauri (talk) 14:22, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

So I have a question I think we should all agree to an answer to, before worrying about any further problems. What is Christian mythology? Cheers, Ben (talk) 14:26, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Hi, anyone who's still checking this discussion. Sorry, but due to extreme busy-ness, I will not be available to work on improving this article (or any other, for that matter) for at least a few weeks. Sorry to leave everyone hanging; I have the impression that we were on the path toward some kind of "peace settlement" with regard to this article. I'll be back when I can be.
In response to Ben's question, there are two answers — a short answer and a long one. The long answer consists of a listing of all the major academic definitions of mythology, applied to Christianity. For example, according to folklorists, Christian mythology would consist of sacred Christian narratives that describe how the world got to be in its current form through supernatural means. Other scholars would have other definitions. The short answer is that Christian mythology is whatever reliable sources say it is. If we have a source that refers to a certain Christian story as a "myth" (in a non-pejorative sense), then we can mention it in this article; if we don't have such a source, then we shouldn't. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 02:07, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
No problem, I'll be around when you're back. Cheers, Ben (talk) 06:43, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I am happy to wait for your return, Phatius. In the meantime, I'll offer a quick comment while I think about it. The "short answer" is the heart of my problems with this article. It seems to suggest that virtually any religious story can be called a myth (so long as there is a reliable source that does so). The problem with that is that there are a lot of stories called myths by some reliable stories, but which a greater majority of equally reliable stories avoid calling myths. Where do you draw the line? Some sort of line must be drawn, because otherwise we have the situation where "religious story" becomes a subset of "myth". Hence, the idea of categorising (in accordance with reliable sources) makes sense to me, so long as each section makes clear which sources are defining the stories as myth; the opposing view should also be presented, with increasing weight in accordance with increasing contention of categorisation.--FimusTauri (talk) 09:27, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Should Beowulf Be Included?[edit]

The Epic poem Beowulf, though set in a time before the Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity, has a strong Christian influence. The most obvious examples are the fact that Grendel and his mother are said to have been descendents of Cain and the poet's negative tone toward the fact that Hrothgar and his men turned to the "old stone gods" in their hopes they would help expell Grendel. If it should be included in this article, it would make the Epic of Beowulf unique in that it would be both a part of Anglo-Saxon Mythology and Christian mythology. What do you think of Beowulf's inclusion? Fuelsaver (talk) 09:02 p.m., 24 February 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't mind to see a link to it, although its not a main point, since its one of thousands of stories that have been influenced by Christianity, but it is a notable one. Goldenrowley (talk) 00:59, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Section on cosmogenic myth[edit]

Does it really mean cosmogonic, or should that word be cosmogenic, the birth of the cosmos?) Anyway, the section discusses only Genesis chaps 1&2. There are in fact several more accounts of the birth and shape of the cosmos in the Old Testament, as any 2nd year bible student knows, including passages in Psalms, Job, and some of the prophets. Genesis 1-2 differ from each other, but these other passages differ even more - a result of the wide variety of sources that went to make up the Tanakh. The section would be much more comprehensive if it addressed the entire group of cosmogenic texts the Hebrew bible. PiCo (talk) 06:22, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Good points... I would encourage you to add them (or another person). Goldenrowley (talk) 00:54, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Until someone can explain why it's ok to label everything, say Zeus, did as mythology and not label everything, say Jesus did, as mythology, there's no reason why Christianity should be viewed any differently. Sorry Christians, but just because there are alot of you who believe in scientifically and historically (for the most part) unproven "facts" doesn't mean your beliefs are any less mythical than the stories of the Titans or Zeus, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Unless you have verifiable, documented, empirical evidence to back up your stories?......thought so 64.69.109.132 (talk) 18:46, 1 September 2009 (UTC)JontheHorribleAtheist

FSM probably doesn't qualify as mythology... It isn't purported to be true, nor is steeped in tradition or anything else used to justify other mythologies. 98.168.192.162 (talk) 21:07, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Jon,nobody cares what you think,you can't prove what Christians believe does not exist.I am sure there is evidence although people would like to wave off any that exists look up the Miracle of Fatima,St Bernadette etc.Some advice too,stop trolling this is not a forum,express your "educated" opinions elsewhere.Sheodred (talk) 13:48, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Similiarly you can't prove Zeus or Thor don't exist. Furthermore, there are contemporary people who believe in them and pay them homage (eg. Asatruar or Hellenic neopagans). So describing Zeus or Thor as "myth" in the sense "false stories" would also be offensive and totally unjustified in an NPOV source as Wikipedia. However, the word "myth" in relation to polytheistic religions and their Deities is used in the sense of a "sacred story", ie. the original sense invented by ancient, polytheistic Greeks. The same may be done towards Abrahamic (Jewish, Christian or Muslim) myths. Critto (talk) 13:16, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Didn't see anyone claiming that it doesn't exist, only that it's unverifiable, as is what was suggested. I also find it interesting that you would claim an event that had atleast 30,000 people in attendance (many of whom said they only saw the sun) who all somehow forgot to bring any kind of camera or form a coherent story as evidentiary support. 68.227.169.133 (talk) 11:53, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
there are a lot of similiar UFO, Yeti, Blackfoot etc sightings like that, too; somehow everybody who "watched" them had no camera or if they had, the photos or films are blurry and nothing actual can be seen. Anyway, it's no place here for discussion about the veracity of evidence for such events. Critto (talk) 13:20, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Renaming Article[edit]

The term "Christian Mythology" is unneccessarilly provocative and inflammatory, I suggest renaming it "Christian Lore" as it does not infringe on anyone's beliefs and is a neutral title.Sheodred (talk) 23:23, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

What people believe and what people consider provocative aren't issues the encyclopedia is interested in (if nothing else on a practicality level). Please also note you have no demonstrated how this article title fails WP:NPOV. So with no reason given for a change, I oppose. Cheers, Ben (talk) 23:50, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Any non-bias editor,can see this article is written in an insensitive and inflammatory tone,to list the problems with this article has with that evaluation, would take all night. Sheodred(talk) 00:11, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Well I consider myself a non-biased editor and I disagree with you. So where does that leave us? Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:42, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
This is not biased at all. I suggest you read up on the actual definition of the word mythology, not merely it's common usage. Myths are merely explanations/stories steeped mostly in tradition, in an academic sense, in relation to deities, heroes, origins, etc - and not based in known fact, but not necessary true or untrue. You could also just read wikipedia's own mythology article and then try explaining to us what is just so offensive about this word.
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mythology
Can you explain to me what is inflammatory about this word? 98.168.192.162 (talk) 21:00, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Someone Call Mythbusters and tell them that you are offended that they still call the myths they confirm myths!!! :D Funny thing is, looking at conservapedia, they don't mind calling other religious mythologies myths, but no sight of calling Christian's mythology mythology. And where are all these complaints on the page regarding Greek "religous history" or "lore" or whatever word they want to try to twist around to mean what Mythology means.

Mythology articles[edit]

Mythology articles from other religions are treated a lot less gingerly than this one. This is the header from the Buddhist mythology article "Buddhist mythology operates within the Buddhist belief system. It is a relatively broad mythology, as it was adopted and influenced by several diverse cultures. As such, it includes many aspects taken from other mythologies of those cultures (for instance, Japanese kami are considered to be local bodhisattvas by many Japanese Buddhists)." The Hindu mythology article "Hindu religious literature is the large body of traditional narratives related to Hinduism, notably as contained in Sanskrit literature, such as the Sanskrit epics and the Puranas. As such, it is a subset of Indian mythology." And the Islamic mythology article, "Islamic mythology refers to the body of traditional stories that belong to Islam. In its current form, Islam is a religion established by Muhammad, who lived in the 6th and 7th centuries C.E. Its sacred book is the Qur'an. Those who adhere to Islam are called Muslims. Muslims believe that all true prophets (including Moses and Jesus) preached Islamic principles, but that these principles became distorted in the Jewish and Christian traditions; according to this view, Muhammad is the most recent prophet, who restored and completed the principles of Islam." So why is this special qualifier "Many Christians believe that these narratives are historical, sacred and contain profound truths." at the start of this article? Please distance yourselves from the subject and just document the mythology. --Xero (talk) 13:12, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Because too many Christians take offense from it. It's a shame we live in such a society. — Kieff | Talk 04:14, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

No, it's not a 'shame'. It's a legitimate complaint. I too think the 'myth' use indicates a bias or non-neutral POV. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ChicagoMel (talkcontribs) 05:52, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Then you should oppose usage of such term for Buddhist, Hindu or Islamic beliefs, too and demand abolition of the usage of the term "myth" in Wikipedia altogether and forever! On the other hand, it shows us how some Christian activists don't understand the ethymology of some basic words who are being used in almost all European languages (eg. Greek "Mythos", German "Myth", English "Myth", Polish "Mit", etc); or they do but are still pushing for literal interpretation of the events described in The Bible, despite tons of evidence to the contrary (eg. Earth having 4+ billions of years instead of 6000, Humanity and all life evolved instead of being created, etc). Critto (talk)
I've been reading some of the Hindu articles (eg, the one about the elephant-headed deity Ganesh), and they speak of "mythology". There don't seem to be too many complaints about it. I don't see why the Christians should be any different. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 180.75.206.143 (talk) 15:22, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
Good point. At least Hinduists are not pushing for literal interpretation of their holy books and narratives. Different treatment of Christians is totally unjustified, especially that there is NOTHING offensive in the word "myth", except for some uneducated people (well, some uneducated people with anti-semitic views see it offensive to call Jesus "a Jew" or his mother as "Jewess"; does it mean we should remove information about ethnic roots of Jesus to appease those people??) Critto (talk) 13:29, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Why is this sentence needed in the description?[edit]

"The term "mythology" used here does not imply that the stories are necessarily fictional; it refers simply to their narrative structure and history." Is this necessary? It seems to be there for Christians. Hardly neutral, or unbiased. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.217.54.100 (talk) 05:58, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

If you are not going to sign your posts (using four tildes, ~~~~), then don't revert SineBot. Your removal of that sentence came just hours after someone tried to rename the article "Christian stories" due to a common misconception that a myth is automatically false, when folklore studies do not make such judgements. The reminder doesn't say myths are true, and is not false. Appeasing you wouldn't be balanced either. It is up to the reader to decide what is true or false, the sentence you contest is there to remind people of that. If you want, I'll place the same statement in all "(people or religion) mythology" articles. Ian.thomson (talk) 12:56, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
I'll point out two of Wikipedia's official guidelines:
Disclaimers don't belong in this or any other article, and the article does not become unbalanced by removing it. ~Amatulić (talk) 23:33, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
If you look at the above section "Continuation of discussion at Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view/FAQ," you'll see that the section was added to prevent lots of disruption, with help from the NPOV noticeboard. Consensus for individual articles can and does trump site guidelines (which are general ideas rather than hard and fast rules), especially when it it helps maintain the encyclopedia. That is what separates guidelines from policies. The article is not unbalanced with it, as it is not unreasonable to dispel common misconceptions in articles, we are an encyclopedia after all. Folklore studies does not discuss whether any myth is "true" or "false," but simply describes it and lets the reader decide for themselves, rather NPOV.
As for my offer to add the part clearing up a common misconception, I meant it as a show of good faith, that I do not there to be a perception of favoritism to Christians. I refuse to call it a disclaimer and disagree with your assessment of "No disclaimers," because the purpose of that guideline is prevent people from plastering age warnings all over articles like masturbation, and banners about how we're not a licenses physician in the medical articles. That guideline also says "Unlike the fundamental policies of WP:NPOV, WP:V, and WP:OR, the current consensus on disclaimers is still negotiable."
The line is no more a disclaimer than the article Evolution explaning that "Inherited traits are particular distinguishing characteristics, including anatomical, biochemical or behavioural characteristics, that are passed on from one generation to the next." It is an explanation of what a term means in the context of the article. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:17, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Invoking WP:IAR is a last refuge that, frankly, weakens any argument. IAR doesn't trump solutions that both comply with guidelines and maintain a desired explanatory purpose.
Refusal to call it a disclaimer doesn't change the fact that the phrase "...does not imply that the stories are necessarily fictional" is a disclaimer by any definition of the word. It's a disclaimer by denying or disavowing a claim, by stating what "mythology" doesn't mean.
Articles on any other controversial subject do define their terms, yes, but they don't do so by disclaiming a misconception. If a misconception exists, it gets explained in the body of the article, not disclaimed in the lead. In the case of evolution, the common misconception centers around the word "theory" — and that misconception isn't even mentioned anywhere in the article, nor should it be.
Yes, current consensus is negotiable. The fact remains that current consensus is that "disclaimers should not be used in articles." If you want to work to change that, the place to do it is on the guideline talk page, not here.
Finally, a disclaimer is trivial to avoid here, while retaining the explanation. It should be sufficient to say "The term 'mythology' refers to narrative structure and history of the stories." That is an explanation in the same spirit as the one you quoted in Evolution. It simply says what the term means. There is no need to say what it doesn't mean simply to appease a population who may take offense. ~Amatulić (talk) 00:55, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Notwithstanding your facetious and misguided appeals to policy, this wording is a compromise that was adopted and agreed by numerous multiple editors in order to keep the peace, because there are pages and pages full of reliable sources directly stating that "mythology" is not a neutral term. Wikipedia has not the right to determine what beliefs of whom around the world are to be called "myths" and what is "reality" and force everyone else who is not "on board" with what the "powerful editors" determine to be called a "heretic". That would be granting wikipedia a dangerous power comparable to that enjoyed by the Council of Nicea, or the Central Soviet Presidium. Wikipedia is founded on the opposite principle - neutral point of view, giving all sourceable points of view without "informing" the reader which one is "correct" like he's a kindergarden student who must believe whatever he reads. The point of view that "mythology" is a polemic term is widespread and the debate has raged in theology for decades before wikipedia existed. the debate or controversy has by no means been resolved suddenly simply because partisans of one POV are trying to throw their weight around on wikipedia. This is still highly controversial water and has NOT been resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Since certain individuals here are determined to label entire religious traditions that have millions of adherents today as "myths", and since as a pretext they are using some artificial definition of a polemic word that has no agreed definition among ALL scholars, to pretend the word is "neutral", the compromise then was that their definition of myth be explained to solve misundertandings about wikipedia's intent in "declaring" or "determining" the genre of certain world religious scriptures to be fictional or non fictional. However these types of anti-religious bigots are never satisfied unless they can use a neutral forum like wikipedia to attack or lampoon others beliefs around the world. The compromise wasn't good enough for them and to provoke more strife (which is indeed their goal) some are now trying to remove the compromise wording and reopen this can of worms. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 10:51, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Since you're characterizing policy-based arguments as "facetious and misguided", I'll throw a couple more at you:
There's a Wikipedia-wide consensus of having no disclaimers in articles. The word "mythology" is appropriate to define, but it can be done without resorting to a disclaimer, while still conveying the proper context of the word as used in this article. The wording proposed above, and put in the article which you reverted, represented a compromise that addressed all concerns.
Furthermore, there is no rule saying that the specific words used are set in stone just because a few other editors agreed to them in the past. If the result of a consensus causes problems, then it's everyone's responsibility to try to resolve them.
You mentioned arbitration in your revert. Kindly point out the ArbCom decision, or any arbitration decision, that sets any content in stone forever. I doubt such a decision exists.
Finally, I have approached this as a problem in semantics, not philosophy or point of view. As such, I have attempted to rephrase the sentence yet again with wording that addresses the concerns while better representing the sources cited: In contrast with fiction, the term "mythology" here refers to the narrative structure and history of these stories. That's another compromise, not as good as the prior proposal which was more concise, but it avoids blatant disclaimer wording. ~Amatulić (talk) 17:48, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

I'll settle for that phrasing, but I would like to point out that concensus doesn't change just because of two editors really pushing. I say two editors, because the sudden influx of SPA anons smells of proxy sockpuppetry or meatpuppetry. I also stand by my point that individual article concensus to maintain the peace does trump guidelines (it is policies that individual article consensus cannot trump). Ian.thomson (talk) 18:26, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

I think we have reached a compromise then. I'm not entirely happy with it (I'd prefer the sentence be removed altogether) but I am glad my efforts at constructive changes to address a disruption to the peace were not in vain. The four anons in recent history geolocate to Ohio, Louisiana, Japan, and United Kingdom so they're likely unrelated, although their appearance does seem like an odd coincidence. ~Amatulić (talk) 22:14, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Again, I said proxy sockpuppetry, and people from all over the world can meet (and meat) over internet forums. Ian.thomson (talk) 22:29, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Explanation of myth[edit]

Myth has many meanings and requires discussion. I have added a reasonable discussion from Islamic mythology. The next step is to remove all material from this article that is not myth. Grantmidnight (talk) 01:11, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

I have removed the discussion of Islamic mythology as being out of place in this article on Christian mythology; however, I left the part in about definitions because it is appropriate to expand upon the sentence in the lead. Beneath that are two entire sections discussing the term (which I have converted to sub-sections), so there doesn't seem to be any need for veering off on a tangent about Islamic mythology. ~Amatulić (talk) 06:15, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Let's be consistent in our discussion of mythology. You deleted a reasonable paragraph on the use of the term that was taken from a different article. Why do you object to the same discussion here? Mythology is mythology. Grantmidnight (talk) 17:45, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
What I removed was all about Islamic mythology. It seemed like a non-sequitur, weakening the article with a lengthy analogy about Islam. It was also unnecessary because the sections that followed already went into detail about the usage and meaning of the term. I left in the more applicable part you inserted.
Also, I think we should avoid duplicating content from one article to another. If you want to write a broad, general-purpose article about mythology in religious tradition or some such, then it would be appropriate to include a "Main article" link with a summary in this and other articles specific to one religion. ~Amatulić (talk) 17:54, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Proposed rewording of sentence in the lead[edit]

I'm puzzled by this sentence: "In contrast with fiction, the term 'mythology' here refers to the narrative structure and history of these stories." Surely this can't be meant literally. Because it literally means that the word "mythology" refers to a narrative structure and history. That makes no sense. Presumably, the point of this sentence is supposed to be that a body of stories is called "mythology" because of its narrative structure and history. That is, the term "mythology" refers to stories, not to the stories' narrative structure and history, but it refers to those stories because of their narrative structure or history.

I propose the following rewording of the lead:

Christian mythology is the body of myths associated with Christianity. In the study of mythology, the term "myth" refers to a traditional story, often one which is regarded as sacred and which explains how the world and its inhabitants came to have their present form. Christian mythology includes, but is not limited to, the stories contained in the Christian Bible.

To the second sentence in this lead, I would append the following footnote:

Classicist G.S. Kirk defines a myth as a "traditional tale" or "traditional oral tale" ("On Defining Myths", Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth, 57). Folklorist Alan Dundes defines a myth more narrowly as "a sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form" ("Introduction", Sacred Narrative, 1)." --Phatius McBluff (talk) 01:35, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

That's pretty much what it was... I'd certainly wouldn't mind it being changed back... Ian.thomson (talk) 01:50, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Any other opinions? I will edit the section in accordance with my proposal unless someone objects. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 15:49, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
The previous version said: "The term 'mythology' used here does not imply that the stories are necessarily fictional" — which was clearly a disclaimer intended to appease a segment of readers who might be offended by the term "myth". So I changed the wording to the current version as a compromise between having a disclaimer and removing any explanation of the word "myth" whatsoever. Any phrasing that does not violate Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles is fine with me. ~Amatulić (talk) 17:46, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

No one has objected to my proposed rewording, so I've applied it to the lead. Note: I decided to leave out the sentence "Christian mythology includes, but is not limited to, the stories contained in the Christian Bible". It's borderline original synthesis because we technically don't have a source that says exactly that. Also, it's somewhat redundant given the second paragraph in the lead and at any rate gets explained quite thoroughly in the article body. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 15:55, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I like it. Immediately clarifies what's meant without any flavor of disclaimer (which had still hung about some of the previous efforts). —chaos5023 (talk) 00:33, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

User:Phatius McBluff/Christian mythology[edit]

To those who are interested: I have made the (perhaps foolhardy) decision to start a new draft of Christian mythology. By now, I think editors have reached a grudging compromise on what this article should be about: it should be about (and only about) Christian stories that reliable sources explicitly refer to as "myths". Unfortunately, the article in its current state does not represent this compromise. Although the infamous (one might almost say "mythical") battles over the use of the term "myth" in religion articles have died down for the moment, there's no assurance that they won't flare up again. With my draft, I hope to design an article that will finally lay these disputes to rest, at least as far as established editors are concerned. (The anons may still squawk, but some anons will squawk about anything.)

More importantly, quite apart from any disputes about the appropriateness of the term "myth", the article as it stands is a mish-mash of unsourced content and blatant original syntheses. I take most of the responsibility for this: I'm probably the one editor most responsible for getting the article into its current state.

I honestly have no idea how long it will take me/us to complete the draft. If no one signs on to help me, then I guess I'll keep fiddling around with it, on and off, until I either finish or lose interest. Anyway, if you're interested, the draft (which is currently in an extremely sparse and fragmentary condition) can be found here: User:Phatius McBluff/Christian mythology. There I also list a number of "guiding principles" for those who are interesting in helping me in my project. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 05:15, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Adding to my watchlist. I'm supposed to expand a paper for a teacher from last semester, but I'll do what I can when I can. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:43, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Ian. I look forward to working with you. For the record, I'm also pretty busy (I'm a graduate student), so my own involvement in the project will be pretty erratic. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 16:44, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
I think the draft may now be superior to what is currently in the article. I invite all interested parties to take a look and give some feedback on whether the draft is ready to go. (Just go to User:Phatius McBluff/Christian mythology and scroll down.) --Phatius McBluff (talk) 18:20, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
p.s.: Comments may be posted at User talk:Phatius McBluff/Christian mythology#Ready to go?. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 18:25, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

New version from User:Phatius McBluff/Christian mythology applied[edit]

I mentioned the new draft at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mythology and on this talk page. I have received only one response at User talk:Phatius McBluff/Christian mythology, and that response was not opposed to the new draft. I have revised the new draft slightly in accordance with that response, and I take the absence of further responses as an expression of non-opposition to the new draft. Thus, I have taken the liberty of replacing the old version of this article with my new draft. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 16:34, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Tag on "Christian attitudes toward myth" section[edit]

Okay, I knew this would eventually come up. In this case, I completely agree with you, Til. The section, as it stands, does not adequately represent the "anti-myth" side of the debate. However, I'd like to make a request: Til, would you please just add some material for the "anti-myth" side and get it over with? As long as you use published sources, I, for one, won't be nearly as picky as other editors have been. (But please be careful to avoid original synthesis: use only sources that explicitly mention Christian opposition to the term "myth".) By just slapping a tag onto the section, you're asking other editors to do the work of fixing the section; in this case, that's unconstructive. For example, the sort of books that I read aren't the sort that are likely to be helpful in balancing the section; these books may elect not to use the term "myth" when referring to Christian stories, but they do not typically mention Christians who explicitly oppose the term. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 16:02, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

I have edited the section to include more viewpoints. I have also removed the tag. If anyone has concerns about the section in its current state, please discuss them here. Thank you. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 18:26, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

This Sentence[edit]

"In the study of mythology, the term "myth" refers to a traditional story, often one which is regarded as sacred and which explains how the world and its inhabitants came to have their present form"

This sentence is clearly biased. It is not needed. It is only there to make Christians happy. The other myth wikis do not get the same treatment. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 132.3.45.68 (talk) 18:41, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't think the sentence is "biased". It's a well-sourced statement of what the term "myth" means. If you are concerned by its absence from other articles on mythology, then by all means add it to them. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 16:08, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Flood Science[edit]

Yes, the dreadful Christian Creation Science. If Christians are claiming the event is proven with science, even if you disagree, then it is no tradition or myth. Jesus for instance spoke of the global flood of Noah which "took them all away". The flood is in the Bible and Christians claim it is proven by science, thus it is no tradition or myth. 69.29.215.53 (talk) 08:29, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

No, claiming it's science doesn't remove a mythical nature, nor does showing that its in the Bible. Most myths were attempts at proto-science anyway. Removing its status as a sacred story removes its mythical nature. Scholars define myths as "sacred stories," not "false stories." The latter definition is a sectarian misunderstanding of the term. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:57, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Catholic tradition[edit]

Catholic traditions or myths are not always recognised by all Christians. While Christmas and Easter are surrounded by tradition and myth the calendar of Saints are not recognized by most non-Catholics. If the thing is in the Bible it is no "myth" but is the religion. If the encyclopedists are going to claim the entire Bible is "myth" why not start similar pages for the Muslims and Hindu religious texts? Looking over the article there are fringe claims Christians created Marxism and the like. The entire article could use a rewrite. 69.29.215.53 (talk) 08:29, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Actually, the Bible is full of sacred stories, and myths are sacred stories, not necessarily false stories. Also, please check for articles such as Islamic mythology and Hindu mythology before complaining about a supposed lack of equal treatment, you'll come across as someone who is actually concerned with article improvement then instead of coming off as if you're only looking to complain for attention. And you are misinterpreting and distorting the Marxism bit, Eliade pointed out that Marx's worldview was more derived from Christian eschatology than Marx would have liked to admit, he did not say that Marx was a Christian. Try actually reading the article instead of looking for material to misrepresent and complain about. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:57, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

"A number" vs. "A majority"[edit]

A (sourced) sentence in the section on the Old Testament used to say, "A number of scholars argue that the Old Testament incorporates stories, or fragments of stories, from extra-biblical mythology." User:PiCo has changed it to "A majority of scholars agree that the Old Testament incorporates stories, or fragments of stories, from extra-biblical mythology." I happen to agree with PiCo that the statement reflects the view of a majority of contemporary biblical scholars. But if we're going to say this, then we need to back it up with a source. PiCo, can you provide a source? I know that the sentence already cites sources, but they were sources cited for the claim about "a number" of scholars, not about "a majority". I don't have the sources on hand, so I can't check whether they support any claim about "a majority" of scholars. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 03:14, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Saying "a number" is redundant when attached to a plural noun, so it doesn't need to be said.
Saying "a majority" isn't necessary either and can't be said without a source.
The best phrasing would simply be "Scholars state that the Old Testament incorporates stories..." and leave it at that. ~Amatulić (talk) 06:15, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I see what you're saying, but we can't just write, "Scholars state...". We don't want to give the (unsourced and unsourcable) impression that all scholars believe such-and-such. I agree that "a number of" is obfuscating verbiage: even a single scholar would be "a number". I'm going to change it to "According to scholars including John McKenzie and Neil Forsyth..."; this should be relatively uncontroversial. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 20:30, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
This is so good point that it deserves some extra emphasis (or maybe even an award) on Wikipedia :) That's what I want to find while looking for controversial topics in the domain of history and religion: WHAT is thought by SCHOLARS and BY WHOM, and who among scholars agrees or disagrees with whom (debates, factions, schools, etc). If I am interested more in the topic, I will browse for these authors and their books and indulge deeper in their works. If I'm not, I will at least have some objective knowledge about the scholarly work in the topic, and not some inherently POV statements like "majority", "minority", "some faction", etc. I would like to take this argument to other articles on similiar topics. Critto (talk) 16:58, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Why does "Christian beliefs" redirect here?[edit]

Myths are stories. Beliefs are beliefs. These are two logically distinct categories. Moreover, many Christian beliefs (e.g. belief in the Trinity) are not themselves beliefs in any particular stories (although they may be based on certain stories). So why does "Christian beliefs" redirect to this page, which is about Christian mythology? --Phatius McBluff (talk) 15:04, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

That's correct. I'd suggest changing the redirect to Christian theology, but that doesn't really go into the stories that many Christians more-or-less believe in (this article). Maybe just a redirect to the Christianity article? I'll go on ahead and WP:BOLDly do that, since the redirects not locked or anything. Ian.thomson (talk) 15:12, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Article Is Too One-Sided[edit]

In order to be neutral, you need to include arguments from all corners in a reasonable fashion. The article only tells opinions of those who question certain sections of the Bible while also excluding arguments from people who may defend them. I'm okay with preserving the rational views of these critics, but you also can't block out the views of people who may present rational arguments favoring them either.50.157.103.28 (talk) 03:47, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

That's a misunderstanding of what this article is about. It isn't about whether the Bible is literally true. Dougweller (talk) 10:28, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Lead and section on Christian attitudes toward myth[edit]

The problem with the removal of the paragraph removed today because it was already in the lead is that the lead shouldn't duplicate the article, it should summarize it. As it is what we now have is a section on Christian attitudes toward myth which doesn't discuss Christian attitudes toward myth and a lead which doesn't summarize the article per WP:LEAD. The paragraph should be restored to the section and the lead rewritten to summarize the article. It can mention the dispute without the sources as they should be in the section on Christian attitudes. The lead certainly needs to say something about types of myths. And isn't the modern period subsection actually part of the 'Legacy' section? Dougweller (talk) 21:25, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Original research about heaven and mythology[edit]

The subsection of "Historical development" on the Old Testament has 3 apparently well referenced paragraphs. The new paragraph on Heaven is completely original research. We need secondary sources linking heaven in the OT with Christian mythology. Mining a primary source for references is original research. And neither Hawking nor Lennon mention mythology. I will be removing this again if it can't be properly sourced in the way the rest of the article is. Dougweller (talk) 09:36, 12 August 2014 (UTC)


Please explain reverting my ref after the second "citation needed" in that paragraph. The ref said:

Mentioned also in the 3rd paragraph of the article on philosophical and theological discussions on celestial spheres, where the following sources are referenced: Grant, Planet, Stars, and Orbs, pp. 382-3; Lindberg, Beginnings of Western Science, pp. 249-50. Scanned pictures of cosmography from books written 450 years ago are presented in the articles on Giordano Bruno and Celestial spheres.

and was placed just after "adapted their view...in the concept of celestial spheres". Do you perhaps deny the well-established and known fact of history or don't know how to source it yourself (even though you, as you said, read Hawking on this)?

Note that I'm not going to advocate that it is a long-lived and rooted in false ancient myths theory that the kingdom of heaven exists in this universe. This is a perfectly true statement but at the moment I have only secondary poor sources mentioning mythical nature of such cosmography in the Middle East (see also Panbabylonism), also I don't want to do OR by stating myself that it follows from the apparently mythical nature of the story opening the Book of Genesis (which nature is then already sourced in the article).

The only thing I did here was referencing 2 books and 2 pictures (already happily used in Wiki articles), as source for thesis about the Middle Ages continuing the (perhaps) myth, so why this removal. Have a look at last edit from my IP and its revert by your admin. Note that the ref was neither corrected nor left as-is (just restoring the "(more) citation needed") but silently removed. If Wikipedia is a credible source of information, that means its correctly sourced articles can be quoted as reliable source itself, no? 89.67.140.182 (talk) 12:20, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

I didn't see where Hawking discussed Christian mythology. Perhaps you can provide a quote please? And just fix the reference so it is cited properly. You are focussing on this article, I have a lot more on my plate. And there is no "your Admin". You are an editor, so there is no 'you' and I am not acting as an Admin here. Dougweller (talk) 12:47, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Not that he used the word. Just noticed you read a quote from him yet still pretend sources mentioning the Catholic adaptation of spheres are unknown . will correct this,ok — Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.67.140.182 (talk) 14:39, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
89.67.140.182, you asked “If Wikipedia is a credible source of information, that means its correctly sourced articles can be quoted as reliable source itself, no?” Actually, it's no. There's even a shortcut to that point at WP:WPNOTRS. But if another Wikipedia article is correctly sourced, it should lead you easily to those reliable sources, which can then be cited in the current article, too.  Unician   06:05, 14 August 2014 (UTC)