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Urgent: comments requested at Matthew 5:9[edit]

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Page: Matthew 5:9 (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs)
Discussion: Talk:Matthew_5:9


Hi I am new to being a member of Wikipedia, saw that the page on Matthew 5:9 has a reference that the gospel says in no place "Our Father" but it does. Matthew 6:9. Paul the Apostle in his epistles explicitly refers to God as our Father(eg Romans 8:15)as I mentioned I am new to Wikipedia and want to contribute in the correct manner and not just change something on that page. Please help with in put on what is the correct manner to correct something. Thank you. 16:27, 15 June 2013 (South Africa)

Are you saying we're misquoting Schweizer and Clarke, or are you saying Schweizer and Clarke have made a mistake? In the latter case there's not much we can do about that; we just summarize what reliable sources say. Paul isn't part of the Gospels, so that doesn't invalidate the article's claim. Anyway, this should probably be discussed at Talk:Matthew 5:9. Huon (talk) 15:18, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
The claim by Schwiezer and Clarke is probably more nuanced than a straight denial: the article states: 'However, the Gospels never have him referring to God as "Our Father," asserting that the nature of the fatherhood was different for Jesus and the masses.' That is they discard a particular understanding of the phrase. I don't have either text available so cannot check. Jpacobb (talk) 21:40, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Either way, in Matthew 6:9 (NIV) Jesus tells his disciples to pray "Our Father,..." which rather waters down Schwiezer and Clark's interpretation stated interpretation and should be mentioned included it. In any case, is Schwiezer and Clark's view not WP:FRINGE? --Bermicourt (talk) 06:36, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Urgent: comments requested at WP:NPOVN[edit]

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Page: All Pope pages, especially pre-schism
Discussion: Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/Noticeboard#Early_Popes_of_Rome_as_head_of_the_Catholic_Church_-_opinion_versus_fact


Comments are urgently requested at the afore mentioned page. We have a discussion which requires informed comments from those familiar with the topic of this discussion. Your help at your earliest convenience will be appreciated. Gold Standard 01:43, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

Urgent: comments requested at Persecution of Traditional African Religion[edit]

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Page: Persecution of Traditional African Religion (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs)
Discussion: [[]]


Comments are urgently requested at the afore mentioned page. We have a discussion which requires informed comments from those familiar with the topic of this discussion. Your help at your earliest convenience will be appreciated. – Lionel (talk) 09:23, 28 February 2012 (UTC)


In film[edit]

Dramatic portrayals of Jesus redirects to Depiction of Jesus. So then I look for the word "film" in the article; there's nothing about it. Is there really no article or even a section of an article dealing with depictions of Jesus in film/TV? --Musdan77 (talk) 04:03, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

"Madonna"[edit]

The usage of Madonna is up for discussion at Talk:Madonna_(entertainer)#Requested_move_8 where it is requested that the singer's article be moved to "Madonna". -- 65.94.171.126 (talk) 05:25, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Isaac Newton's religious views[edit]

Isaac Newton's religious views is up for GAR at Talk:Isaac Newton's religious views/GA1. It's pretty poor, but somebody might be able to fix it. Jamesx12345 17:40, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Dictionary collaoration proposal[edit]

Over at wikisource there is a PD reference source on the Book of Mormon which could be proofread and broken up into separate pages for each entry, maybe making access to such a source more easily available to all. FWIW, the Book of Mormon itself, and the Pearl of Great Price, are similarly available there.

I have nominated the dictionary as a possible collaboration of the month at wikisource:Wikisource talk:Proofread of the Month#A dictionary of the Book of Mormon. Anyone who would be willing to help in this is encouraged to indicate as much there. Thank you. John Carter (talk) 17:51, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Attempt to categorize New Testament events as fictional[edit]

See Talk:Massacre_of_the_Innocents#Massacres_of_Men_Category and the article history. Johnbod (talk) 14:30, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Since there is no independent evidence that the massacre actually occurred, to classify it as a massacre with other massacres that actually did occur is untoward. Mythology is not fact. jps (talk) 15:00, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Note that people who believe that this event occurred because of their religion should read WP:POVPUSH. jps (talk) 15:03, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
This is equally true for those whose POV does not accept religious sources. Evensteven (talk) 17:47, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Classifying a religious source as "mythology" is not only POV, but a disservice to mythology. It is a popular misconception that "myth" equates to "falsehood". But in any case, the Bible is accepted as containing information about historical truths (events that actually occurred in history), by more than just believers. Those unwilling to accept it as a source have that right to reject it, but it must be recognized that that is a POV also. Evensteven (talk) 17:54, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
There are sources which can be used which identify certain events that occur in the Bible as historical. E.g., the Maccabean Revolt, the reign of Herod the Great, etc. However, there are no sources that reliably identify this particular event (The Massacre of the Innocents) as a historical event independent of the religious beliefs of those who believe it to be a truthful account. The idea here is not to dismiss Biblical mythology outright as always untrue any more than the idea is to dismiss Homeric mythology outrightly. The idea is that independent verification needs to be had before an event is identified as being historical whether that mythology is associated with Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or any other of a number of religious mythologies which have scripture that were written with agendas that went beyond plain historical accounting. We simply do not have independent verification that the Massacre of the Innocents happened — it is only attested to in a single account in the Book of Matthew and cannot be found corroborated in any corroborating document independent of the Gospel account. Without independent corroboration, it is highly irresponsible for us to claim that the event happened. We simply remain agnostic and do not categorize it with the rest of the events for which we do have independent verification. Neither do we categorize it in categories such as Category:Mythological stories which did not happen. jps (talk) 18:07, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Well it really is going beyond the scholarly consensus to define it as definite myth. Arguments from silence have significant difficulties - and in fact there is scholarly response to the arguments from silence (ie of other sources beside Mattthew) which are quoted and sourced in the article. So the lede is right I think in giving the sourced view that the historicity of the incident is "an open question that probably can never be definitively decided" (not to mention that if it could be decided there would be far fewer jobs for historians). A person's religious wiews do not change that scholarly balance - one way or the other. imo jps goes far too far. Springnuts (talk) 18:37, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
[Edit conflict]: Jps, the Biblical account is not mythological simply because it is religious. Those two things are not the same. Independent verification is good to have, granted. But we do have one account, and that one is claimed as historical. Not everything in the Bible is intended to be historical, but this is. And yes, that is a Biblical interpretation also, but one that has consistently been held since the writing. True, there are differing ways of looking at Biblical interpretation these days, but there is more consistency as to the historicity here than you might be aware of. "Without independent corroboration", we have no independent corroboration. That is all. "It is highly irresponsible for us to claim that the event happened" is a little shrill ("irresponsible"?) and not to the point ("for us to claim"). WP does not speak in the voice of a POV, not even the POV of a reliable source, or if it does, the POV requires textual adjustment per WP:NPOV. I am not suggesting that WP should make claims, but that it is perfectly legitimate for it to report the Biblical source as long as it does so neutrally. It may also report the lack of corroboration. But it may not call the account mythical or untrue, because that is POV. There is a very great deal of history that is unknown to us because there is no account whatsoever, and a great deal more that is unsubstantiated because of the impossibility of verification. There is without question an enormous loss of information over time. But there is also no corroboration or verification that the account is unhistorical or a fiction in any way. In fact, there is no evidence whatsoever that the account is a fiction, while there is the one (Biblical) evidence that it did occur. Unsatisfying perhaps, for those who do not wish to accept it, but stronger than the reverse. Not providing a logical certainty, yes, but really, in history, there are few true certainties, and an enormous amount of viewpoint. One can only weigh what one has, and the scholars are stuck with that. Evensteven (talk) 19:09, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
While it is clear that the article should not dwell on whether the story is true or not, the argument to which the OP refers is solely about the categorisation in Category:Massacres and Category:Murdered children. Such a categorisation seems to imply that the event in question definitely happened since the other articles in those categories are all events that are confirmed to have happened. Therefore, the categories should be removed for this article, but neither should text be included to indicate that the massacre of the innocents did not happen. 140.247.29.222 (talk) 20:03, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
On the contrary, the article correctly has an extended discussion of the matter, but categories are not the places to get into such debates. New Testament or biblical events are not categorized as fictional, nor should they be. No doubt this has been discussed many many times before, but mercifully I have I think escaped reading these debates, although the related endless arguments at Talk:Genesis creation narrative cover similar ground, with an even more extreme case. Johnbod (talk) 20:29, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
From what I can see it would be a mistake to call it "fictional," as that's going further than the evidence does. I could see "mythological" or maybe “potentially exaggerated”, or something like that, because there are quite a few really dubiously reliable sources for poorly attested people and events, but don't know if they exist. John Carter (talk) 20:52, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Taking the basic minimum required for a "Massacre of the Innocents," 2 "innocents," the question might more accurately be whether this qualifies or is counted as a "massacre," and we probably aren't the ones to answer that. If there were some sort of reference source on massacres, or a widely respected list of massacres, that might be useful. John Carter (talk) 15:55, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────There are "plausible explanations" for why there is no evidence outside of Matthew for whether this event occurred, but since there is no real strong evidence that it occurred, categorizing it in categories with events that are verified to have occurred is not appropriate. jps (talk) 16:30, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

I basically agree with you with the proviso if it is counted by human rights groups or similar as a massacre or similar term or included in a well-regarded recent "list of massacres" or maybe included as "accepted" in the 2013 Atrocities, massacres, and war crimes: an encyclopedia by Alexander Mikaberidze or some similar reference work. Unfortunately I don't have access to that work or anything similar but I could ask at Wikipedia:WikiProject Human rights or WP:RX if you like. John Carter (talk) 16:59, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
If it was included in that encyclopedia as a recognized event (not just a fantastical inspiration for medieval art), I'd be impressed with that argument. Please do request it. Thanks. jps (talk) 17:31, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
[Edit conflict] Jps, the Biblical evidence is itself strong evidence that it occurred, though you seem unwilling to say so. As I said above, we do not have confirmation from separate sources, a condition that is not at all unexpected given the many evidentiary holes that exist in ancient history due to the ravages of time. I scarcely care how human rights groups or others wish to categorize events, or the degree of supporting information we have about them, or definitions of atrocity or massacre. I believe that scholarly consideration is much worthier of acceptance regarding the evidence. I doubt anyone would classify this occurrence (assuming it did happen) as a war crime; there was no related war, by the only evidence we have. But a great crime stemming from abuse of power? That would seem clear enough from the Biblical account: a weak claimant to the throne of Judea (Roman puppet?) seeking to suppress the possibility of the arrival of the Jewish Messiah, who was seen as a threat to his kingship. Characterizations of "atrocities" or "massacres" are much beside the point of the Biblical evidence, even though a great amount of attention is given to such peripheral activity. I would suggest that WP keep the focus on point, concentrated more on what can be better determined than on what can be speculated or artificially defined. And as Johnbod points out above, the article correctly has discussion of evidence already. I agree that categorization is not the place to settle that issue. The matter of categorization is peripheral here, and word definitions are not directly related to the evidence of this particular event. Evensteven (talk) 17:47, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
The biblical evidence is actually laughably weak as it is attested to in only one book and there is an obvious agenda the gospel writer had for including such a story whether true or fabricated! The point is that the categorization is why this post was made in the first place. We should simply remove articles that are not about verified massacres from being so categorized. Same goes for the categorical claim that there were any murdered children. jps (talk) 17:57, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, request made at both RX andd the Human Rights project, and I'll do what checking I can myself later this week. John Carter (talk) 19:14, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
WP:RX indicated that the encyclopedia in question is available at Google books and doesn't have much on this topic, which I take as indicating that it doesn't make a good source to support historicity, but feel free to check. I think some academic sources on the era probably do declare the MotI as historic-between them all they say lots of things, including some really strange things. There could be a reasonable discussion about dubiously historical child murders and massacres should be catagorized with verifiable, but this probably isn't the place for such discussion. John Carter (talk) 18:53, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

On Matthew and fulfillment of prophecy[edit]

Although there is no evidence beyond the Book of Matthew that the events occurred as written, the obvious ploys by the gospel writers and the early church to couch the person of Jesus as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy implies that it is plausible Matthew invented the entire series of events as a means to fulfill what he considers to be a prophecy from the Book of Jeremiah. This point is, however, absent from the article though it is a well-known account in almost all higher criticism and New Testament commentary. I am not a New Testament scholar, so I don't know the best reference for this general point, so it would be nice for a person who is familiar with such literature to point towards the best source.

It is a fairly strong argument that the writer of Matthew was claiming this event as fulfillment without caring whether the event was historical. Those who claim the passage was written to be read just "as history" are missing the point of the passage — namely that it was intended to serve as a confirmation of the cultish beliefs of the Early Christians that Jesus in spite of being executed by the Romans was somehow still the Messiah.

jps (talk) 17:57, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Your claims are utter speculation, not verified by any independent source. So not a strong argument at all, simply a WP:POV. Bermicourt (talk) 20:00, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Actually, the sources are already in the article. Take your beef with the article text, not with me. The only question remaining is how to frame the fact that the point of this passage is fulfillment of presumed prophecy in the lede. jps (talk) 23:17, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
A few points. The Gospel writers were obsessed with finding prophecies for Jesus to fulfill—that is pretty much a given. But they probably 30 or more years after the fact had lots of stories to choose from for inclusion in their gospels, and are thought to have had at least a few first-hand witnesses to the later years still around who might well remark on any significant errors if they were included. Like with some more recent "hagiographers" there is generally significant agreement in academia most of what they said (although they disagree about specifics of course) about events to which there were surviving witnesses was probably close enough to true that those maybe senile witnesses would at least broadly support it. I myself really hate those "sorta" true stories from all eras but competent historians often just throw their hands in the air and say "f$-@ if we know—the best sources we have say [this]," and sometimes we're more or less obliged to do the same. John Carter (talk) 20:21, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Actually, the only points that everyone agrees upon is that the Jesus figure was probably baptized by John and that a crucifixion happened. Otherwise, the late dates of the Gospels (after many epistles, incidentally) and the cultish nature of Early Christian esotericism makes many of the claimed stories rather unbelievable.... especially the miraculous ones. One thing this tale does have going for it is that there are no miraculous points beyond the rather implausible Three-Magi connections, but that's really not relevant for Matthew who views fulfillment of prophecy as something very important to the Gospel message. I don't think we can presume close to accuracy with regards to any events outlined, but that's hardly the point of the articles we have on bible stories. jps (talk) 23:15, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I guess I should clarify that the "surviving witnesses" would refer only to the era of his ministry―the went there sometime, said something like that, did or is said to have done something some (possibly very weird) person interpreted as that, etc. type of material.John Carter (talk) 23:28, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Q source seems to lend credence to the claim that at least some of the sayings and parables could be representative of things argued/said at certain junctures, but beyond quotations, performing miracles (in a rather Fractured Fairy Tales fashion), being associated with purification rituals, and having some sort of political intrigue that resulted in an execution, we don't have much more to go on as to verifying what happened with Jesus and what was cooked up to help make the canon work. The general outline of a guy who has a ministry and gets too big for his britches seems consistent, but the devil is always in the details.... jps (talk) 23:34, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

To any of you above who discount the Biblical account, it is your choice how to treat it (for yourselves), your decision, I make no bones about it. But it is an opinion, a POV. That sometimes gets to be a dirty word here on WP, but it is not so in real life. Here, we just need to state things neutrally so as to avoid WP's taking a position. So, I accept that others have a POV that differs from mine. But I also treat much more seriously the professional opinion of historians who are seeking to show historical fact, so not all opinions are equal. And that is why we have WP:RS. I do not expect the WP:RS to take a categorical stand on the historicity of this account, and the article reflects that, but they are not going to take a stand on its falsity either, and there is reason for that as well. What the writers of the Bible were up to when they wrote is a matter of faith or conjecture, and anyone's personal decision about those is up to them, and not even scholars have more to base their own decisions on. Jps, you are stating arguments and making claims about their strength, but they are based upon your own beliefs as an article of faith. No one is saying you must give up your faith in them, but they are just as much a faith as are the views of those who accept the Biblical account as true. I don't see that there is anything to hate about not "knowing" via "facts" (which are seldom really facts), nor in being left with insufficient "evidence" or confirmation or support. That is a part of life. Sometimes you must make decisions on incomplete evidence, or none at all. But it is time to stop insisting that there must be some single human POV that will carry the day. It is my faith that God reveals Himself to those who love or seek Him, and to those who do not, He remains a stranger. The Bible is very important, but it is not the sole source of personal evidence for anything, and it is a given that there will be different POVs among people, even scholars. This is of the essence in the Christian religion, and it must be respected when trying to deal with religious matters in a neutral way. Let's have less editorial discounting of source material. Evensteven (talk) 23:02, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

While it is interesting that you claim your faith influences your editing, I don't have a faith, so no faith influences mine. In any case, we cannot treat a claim in the Bible differently than any other source. Just because it is found in the Bible does not mean it is protected from questioning and this particular claim is dubious for a variety of reasons outlined by reliable sources. There is no need to take a "categorical stand" on the historicity of the account, but if we do not, we should not be categorizing the article with other events that actually happened. The fact that there are different POVs is interesting, but the fact that not a single person who is not a religious believer in the Book of Matthew finds the historicity claim plausible is telling from a WP:FRIND standpoint. The claim that this is an equal balance between yes and no is false equivalence. The general consensus is that Matthew was probably embellishing the account to fit a larger point. He's kinda famous for pulling this sort of stunt as is the case for his notorious anti-Semiticism. In fact, attributing the massacre of the innocents to the legitimate King of Judea is easily seen as part of his overall vilification of Jewish non-Christians! jps (talk) 23:08, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Your point of view is noted. Your faith in it is clear. And I accept that as your personal opinion. But you are arguing against the Biblical account from the basis of your opinion, and that I do not accept as valid for WP. Your calling Christianity itself a fringe POV doesn't make it so, neither do your claims of anti-Semitism. And you have presented no evidence for any type of "balance" of views. Furthermore, I have not claimed to treat the Bible with favor except in my own view, nor have I made a claim that it is protected - rather the contrary. I have taken no categorical stands about the historicity of the account, except as regards my personal view. All these things constitute evidence of WP:IDHT, inasmuch as I have made clear what is my opinion and what is not. Your faith informs your view.
What you don't seem to grasp is that I am not necessarily in favor of retaining this article's connection with the categories in question. But my reason for this is also based on my personal opinion. As I said before, the definition of what constitutes a massacre is subject to arguments for which there is no clear or authoritative answer, and I'm not so sure I would use that exact word even assuming the Biblical account to be true. But I'm not sure I wouldn't either. It would depend on what is meant by "massacre". But my real point here is that the result of my decision would be a personal opinion, and that is not justification per WP standard. Furthermore, the category itself is problematic, because it is also subject to so much personal interpretation. And while WP falls back on the opinions of reliable sources rather than those of its editors, those opinions are also matters of personal interpretation more than professional. This points back to a greater difficulty with the category itself, for named as it is, it becomes subject to personal interpretations about which there are bound to be conflicting opinions, largely irreconcilable. This article makes it clear that the Biblical account cannot be resolved on an evidentiary basis alone. Only a faith of acceptance or a faith of rejection provides a point of stability. I am sorry if this troubles you wrt dealing with its handling on WP, but it's WP's problem to make neutral presentation of things the way they actually are, not as one person sees them or another wishes them to be. Evensteven (talk) 03:00, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
You shouldn't tell people they have faith when they tell you they don't. It's okay that you profess a faith, but I profess none. The fact is that we're on the same page when it comes to the categories in question, so there's not much sense in pursuing this conversation. Just know that if you continue to insist that people have faith when they tell you they don't, this will not necessarily bode well in future Wikipedia interactions. jps (talk) 03:11, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. Call it opinion then, or personal conviction. It's often much the same thing. And everyone has their reasons and arguments to back them up. But faith can sometimes constitute more than those things. Do you have faith in your friends? But if you wish to continue, that discussion belongs on our own talk pages. Evensteven (talk) 03:33, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Faith is belief without evidence. I don't indulge in such flights of fancy. We make editorial opinions known on Wikipedia as a result of very well-defined evidence outlined by WP:V, WP:RS, and so forth. That's the sole way I make my judgments as to what should show up on this overly popular website. I believe that most other users agree to this standard. jps (talk) 04:03, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
It is easy to disclaim something you fail to understand, or redefine it until it loses meaning. That's alright though. Elizium23 (talk) 04:40, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I understand faith fine and note that neither you nor Evensteven below discounts its definition. jps (talk) 11:35, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I believe Elizium23 was referring specifically to religious faith, and I agree with him that you do not understand that. Evensteven (talk) 21:31, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I have studied religious faith in depth. That's good enough for Wikipedia writing. jps (talk) 11:29, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I can only stand in awe of one who has managed to complete such a study. That is far beyond my poor reach. Evensteven (talk) 18:05, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Faith sometimes begins (or is given initially) without evidence, but it does not continue without it. How long could one sustain faith in a friend without seeing some confirmation? And yet what you know or understand or believe within you may not be so easily stated, and even less easily transmitted convincingly to another. To another, it still looks like faith without evidence. Evensteven (talk) 06:02, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Of course faith needs to be sustained without evidence. You walk by faith and not by sight. Thomas is criticized for desiring confirmation because believers like yourself who come after him will get none of that. That's the point. That I have failed to convince you that you believe in something without evidence is not all that surprising to me. I am an educator and it takes quite a lot of work to convince someone to let down their filters. That's fine — it's not the point of this conversation or our interactions in Wikipedia to convince anyone of what evidence shows. We merely have to write encyclopedia articles. jps (talk) 11:35, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Again you misunderstand religious faith. But take a human example. Imagine you are temporarily blinded. A friend offers to guide your way, and you accept, on faith. Do you have evidence you are being led correctly or incorrectly (assuming you have no clues from other senses)? So, you walk by faith without evidence. But on the other hand, you have the evidence of your friend's prior trustworthiness, and is that not evidence? Thomas was criticized for not trusting enough from past experience to be willing to be led further. In writing encyclopedia articles, it is necessary to know what we are writing about. Evensteven (talk) 21:41, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Why not ask a person who is blind whether that's how they approach the world. I have people in my family who have gone blind and, believe me, they would not equate it with religious faith. I was always fascinated by how Christian rhetoric treats blindness as an analog. Clearly none of the Early Christian writers were ever blind and most seemed to have a disdain for the condition so much so that it lasts as a prejudice in today's Christian apologetics. jps (talk) 11:32, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I have counted blind people among my friends. And perhaps you missed that I was using an analogy. Or that others on WP may have direct experience with the same things as you, and yet do not share your opinions. Evensteven (talk) 18:05, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
In addition, where there is no very well-defined evidence, WP:V may not exist, and WP:RS (at least normally RS) may not be able to give a firm guidance, or even (at times) a clue. Sometimes there are no hard and fast answers. Evensteven (talk) 06:25, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
He professes faith in WP:V and WP:RS, but if he followed what he believed then he would not need to be corrected 5 times by 3 editors in the space of 8 hours on 1 article for violations of those same policies. Instead, he has put put his faith in a particular brand of skepticism and is crafting the article after that image in his mind. This is contrary to not only the previously-mentioned policies but WP:NPOV as well. Being that two pillars of Wikipedia are being attacked I cannot see this having a good outcome. Elizium23 (talk) 07:00, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Again, I have professed "faith" in nothing. WP:V and WP:RS exist. I have applied them correctly and I note that there is a contingent of people who seem to think there is a bigger WP:ADVOCACY going on here including yourself. jps (talk) 11:30, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

You may profess that, but you have simply redefined faith to suit your own worldview; a position that in itself requires "faith" and uses "filters". But back to the original discussion: I would have though that a general category simply called massacres could in any case be used for all types of massacre: proven or unproven. If one wanted to be more specific, surely one would have to qualify the category name. But then we're opening up a can of worms because we'd have to debate the evidence for each article. Easier to leave it as it is. Bermicourt (talk) 16:07, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Can y'all please stop misusing the word 'faith' and not use it as a proxy for an argument about atheism? If you really want to argue that atheism involves faith go edit that article and make it say that. I don't believe that this 'massacre' took place any more than I believe that the dead were resurrected. But my main concern in this section is - what's it about? Are we arguing the category here? If so, I've argued in the past that categories are navigational aids and do not define a subject, so I'm not terribly bothered about it being used here. I would be bothered if the article itself assumed that there was actually a massacre. If we had a "mythological massacres" category that would also be ok - having them both I mean. Dougweller (talk) 16:56, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alice's Restaurant Massacree, etc. If we start allowing massacres that didn't happen to be so categorized, where do we draw the line? jps (talk) 16:59, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I think that Bermicourt is saying that we do not and should not draw a line. And I agree. But Dougweller, no one is misusing the word "faith". I think that jps is simply rejecting certain applications of it. I see no necessity for restricting its usage to religious faith only, but I think jps wishes to avoid implications of religious belief in his statements, so we sometimes get a dissonance of expression, but not necessarily a conflict of view. And "mythological massacres" will never do because the event is neither mythological (in any case) nor is it proven false. "Mythological" is not equivalent to "false", although it is often misused as though it were. Jps, "massacres that didn't happen" is a statement of your claim that it has been proven false, and scholars do not say so. They say there is a question that cannot be resolved on the basis of available information. Evensteven (talk) 17:34, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Basically I agree with Doug. If we accept the Bible as historically accurate, lots of other books will require equal treatment. I'm not at all sure I think it highly unlikely because we have too little clearly reliable information to make reasonable probability judgments. But I do have to agree without better evidence than we have it would be going too far to declare it historical. I also might prefer a "legendary" category to a "mythological" one. John Carter (talk) 19:15, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Possibly, but theologians, or at least some, accept the idea of religious mythology but legend? And EvenSteven, I know mythology doesn't mean false, but I have seen this story called mythological. Eg Michael Grant:"“The tale is not history but myth or folk-lore” "a myth allegedly fulfilling a prophecy by Jeremiah and mirroring history’s judgment of the great but evil potentate Herod, arising from many savage acts during the last years before his death in 4 BC" or (at random) here (note that the person seeing it as mythological prefers it that way from a Christian pov[1] as he thinks if it were real it makes God seem like a monster). So we can call it mythological without being anti-Christian. Dougweller (talk) 20:46, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
You're right insofar as a story from an overtly religious text probably is better called myth than legend. Legend would probably be for King Arthur's similar purported killings and other stories of a less overtly religious nature.John Carter (talk) 21:10, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
[edit conflict]: I cannot agree. Mythology is not intended to describe history in the sort of detail and precision that we ascribe to that term today, nor is it the intention of this passage of Matthew. Legend is indeed something like the story of King Arthur, very likely (in my opinion) arising from some historical events, but accruing elaborations, additions, alterations, and interpretations over time, which in the end obscure or may make entirely opaque the underlying original history. That doesn't fit this account either. As you both know, Christians themselves are divided over how to interpret the Bible in general, and this passage is subject to such divisions. The label "myth" cannot be used generally, first of all, because if applied in its true sense, it would be a POV among Christians, and secondly, because it is easily misconstrued as to its meaning, potentially implying "false". Legend is not accurate. I think these labels represent interpretations, and do more to confuse and cause controversy than they serve to enlighten as to content. Let the article convey what POVs exist, neutrally and naturally, without introducing elements that tend to obfuscate. If you use "myth", then you must explain myth, and that is not the article's subject. Evensteven (talk) 21:29, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It is highly likely that it didn't happen as Matthew is not a reliable source for whether anything occurred beyond the points that are agreed to by all scholars (c.f. the discussion above). We know that every other massacre listed in Category:Massacres occurred. That this is the unique event for which we do not know that is a problem. jps (talk) 17:43, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

My statement stands, and this discussion has come round full circle. Evensteven (talk) 17:55, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
So let me understand this, jps. You are an educator and you are saying that any points in any historical document that are not agreed by "all scholars" are "unreliable"? On that basis, most of accepted history would have to go down the pan. Bermicourt (talk) 18:35, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
There are strong reasons to question whether the Book of Matthew is reliable. It is the same reason we question whether the Qu'ran or the Book of Mormon is unreliable. It is not to say that it is impossible that some of what is reported in Matthew actually happened, only that it is highly likely that it was embellished and the miraculous accounts are do not pass the basic historicity tests one would use elsewhere since the goal of religious texts is to convince believers and converts of the veracity of the claims of the religion rather than write down a true and accurate account. jps (talk) 18:50, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
It is bad scholarship to draw conclusions on the veracity of a text by comparing it with other texts from totally different periods and cultures. It is also tenuous to suggest that writers of a document that was later accepted into a religious canon have any more of an agenda than any other historical writers (or indeed writers today). The massacre of the innocents was entirely possible and there is no particular reason to suppose that it was invented as it adds nothing substantive to the Christian faith. It simply makes Herod look a bad guy, which I think we know anyway from other independent sources. I think the real issue here is that you have no faith yourself (as you have said), you further seem to believe that religious belief is "magic" and "mythical". Others will disagree, but fine, we're all entitled to our POV. However, you are extending that worldview to set different standards of historicity for religious texts than for other texts simply on the basis that they're religious. That seems both unreasonable and unscholarly. Bermicourt (talk) 19:16, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
On the contrary, it adds a lot to the story. The Gospel of Matthew is couched as prophesy fulfillment, and the author clearly wanted to attach the death-cult to the Nativity Story as well as invent an excuse to get the characters to Egypt (unlike the Lucan writer). The Massacre of the Innocents sets up the Flight to Egypt which was necessary to parallel the relevant Jewish scriptures. jps (talk) 21:35, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
"However, you are extending that worldview to set different standards of historicity for religious texts than for other texts simply on the basis that they're religious." You'll find that the same standards are used. Look at Pythagoras. Much of what is reported about him is dismissed as fanciful. This is rational, unless you think Apollo really was Pythagoras' father. Second Quantization (talk) 15:54, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Jps, re "the goal of religious texts is to convince believers and converts of the veracity of the claims of the religion rather than write down a true and accurate account". This statement does not itself pass the test of scholarship that you have been advocating, and indeed is both unfounded and untrue. And as a matter of personal testimony, even if it were true that religious texts had such a goal, they never would have convinced me of their truth, nor in fact did they do so. The source of my own belief lies quite elsewhere, and it has been my observation (through their own professions) that this is also true of the vast majority of my Christian acquaintance. The Bible expresses truth, but it does not attempt to convince. Let others say otherwise if they wish, you, and perhaps some Christians, but that is opinion, and it does not hold for a very substantial number of peoples, believing and unbelieving. Evensteven (talk) 20:35, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Even though your belief is based on other things, that has been established as the goal of the writers of much of the New Testament. I can't think of a single scholar who would say otherwise. Can you? jps (talk) 21:35, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Established? Not likely. Evensteven (talk) 21:52, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I haven't seen a single commentary that disputes this. jps (talk) 11:34, 16 July 2014 (UTC)


At the start of this section, jps asked about references for New Testament scholarship. I suggest Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament as a widely-accepted and respected work. I have access to this commentary and could make use of it in the article discussed. – Fayenatic London 21:40, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

jps, you seem to be projecting onto Matthew your own approach which is to interpret events in a given way in order to reach the conclusion you want: that Matthew must be unreliable as a source. However, that is not really a discussion for this page nor was it the original issue i.e. categorization as a massacre. That question is easily resolved. Category:Massacres ought to cover all massacres whether historically verified or not. Despite the bold statement by someone else above that "all the other events in the category are confirmed to have happened" a quick random sample suggests that is far from the case. The pillage of Ein Gedi is only attested by one source; the Rufus River Massacre is questioned as a massacre by one of its sources and appears to refer to simply the aboriginal casualties of a battle the aborigines initiated; and the massacre associated with the Capture of the Brillante was a "widely circulated story" but has "no official documentation". So even if we created a category "Massacres that actually happened" (and it needs to be a sub-category of "Massacres") we are immediately in difficulty as we will have to assess a mass of articles many of which would appear to lack the level of independent, reliable sources you are demanding for Matthew. And by extension we should do the same for all historical articles on Wikipedia. We are then into a real minefield. Of course you are free to propose that, but again this is not the right place. Bermicourt (talk) 07:15, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
There are no sources which dispute any of those massacres as actual events. Conversely we have many, if not most, sources which cast doubt on whether the Massacre of the Innocents occurred. jps (talk) 11:28, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Not true, check them out. But thank you for demonstrating my point. The fact that even 2 editors can't agree whether they should be in or out, suggests that it will be a hopeless task for Wikipedia's editors to agree the hundreds of articles in the category by some inevitably arbitrary standard. In fact, we are very unlikely to get agreement even on the standard. So let Category:Massacres cover all massacres whatever their status and let's move on to more useful work. Bermicourt (talk) 11:49, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Fine with me. I'll be adding Texas Chainsaw Massacre forthwith. jps (talk) 14:06, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
If you can demonstrate through independent reliable sourcees that subject has significant support for actually happening that might be acceptable. Otherwise, doing so would qualify under WP:POINT and/or some other guideline and quite possibly reported as such. If that were to happen, the possibly soapboxing nature of this subthread might well also be mentioned. I cannot believe the minimal or nonexistenttrue benefit to the encyclopediawould be worth the potential consequences. John Carter (talk) 15:37, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Except for you and I, John, people in this thread seem to be saying whether or not the massacre occurred is irrelevant to an article being categorized. I hear your complaint, but I don't think it right that the only event that has a dubious likelihood of occurrence to be included in the category is this one. There is a lot of literature which illustrates that the film I propose to add has informed discourse on violence and massacres. I think it better suited to a different category, but who am I to argue with consensus? This isn't about disruption, this is about consistency, in my mind. Why should we placate Christian sensibilities but not the sensibilities of humanists who find the horror genre to be informative and liminal for the discussion of violent actions (especially massacres) in real life? jps (talk) 15:49, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
If the MotI is included, I myself would probably add if it exists an article on the very dubious similar "massacre" attributed to King Arthur who was presumably Riothemus. And I'm fairly sure that there are multiple other mythological/legendary massacres as well such as the "massacre" of the Trojans (if anyone calls it that) or any other mythological or prehistorical/ahistorical ones I can find. Personally I think @Dougweller:'s position above is the most reasonable approach and would ask for his opinion on adding the TCM, and if he suggests expansion I could I suppose add the Mutant Massacre and any others out there to the category as well. Actually, now that I think about it, the number of genocidal massacres in SF and fantasy of all kinds is kinda huge. John Carter (talk) 16:24, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The world is not a cut-and-dried place, people. It does not shift itself according to the preferences of individuals. If it is consistency you're looking for, fiction will disappoint you as thoroughly as history. I suggest mathematics. But even there, you must begin with assumptions. They are called axioms or postulates. Choices and decisions are everywhere. Evensteven (talk) 17:33, 16 July 2014 (UTC)


  • I skipped most of the above.
"Faith sometimes begins (or is given initially) without evidence, but it does not continue without it." Start with an unjustified belief, then use confirmation bias to pick up things as evidence. It is human nature.
"Do you have faith in your friends?" You've confused faith, belief without evidence, with the colloquial use of faith in the sense of trust. Trust is not synonymous with belief without evidence. Trusting your friends is not the same as faith; faith is positing a specific ontological outlook without evidence or reason. Trusting someone is positing an actor will act in a specific way (generally based on assessing prior plausibility). Why are you talking about faith on a wikipedia page?
"What the writers of the Bible were up to when they wrote is a matter of faith or conjecture, and anyone's personal decision about those is up to them, and not even scholars have more to base their own decisions on" Since we don't know who wrote the things, anything is possible. But we can reach reasonable conclusions, particularly when historical fictions are invented for narrative purposes.
Now, to bring things back down to reality:
"In addition, where there is no very well-defined evidence, WP:V may not exist, and WP:RS (at least normally RS) may not be able to give a firm guidance, or even (at times) a clue." This is a purely speculative comment and incongruent with policy. Wikipedia does not care what primary sources exist. It cares about what secondary sources exist, and what they say. If no evidence exists about what happened, but most of the reliable sources (the academic history sources in this case) think X happened because Y, we say X happened or that "Historians think that X happened because Y"
"jps, you seem to be projecting onto Matthew your own approach which is to interpret events in a given way in order to reach the conclusion you want: that Matthew must be unreliable as a source." As far as Wikipedia is concerned, ancient sources are unreliable, that is why we defer to secondary sources, It is what the secondary sources (RS means non-apologist sources, wikipedia uses the sources of the academic study of history) say about Matthew that matters.
Fayenatic, your book you show is written by two evangelical theologians and printed by an evangelical book publisher. Unreliable. Second Quantization (talk) 15:54, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
We can't eliminate reliable sources just because they're "evangelical." -- 101.117.91.44 (talk) 23:27, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Evangelical and christian apologist sources are not known for their coverage of history. Sources by historians in the standard history literature are. Second Quantization (talk) 08:22, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
True, we cannot silence evangelical apologetics, but it pertains to theology, not history. If it is notable, it should be rendered, but theology does not aim to establish objective facts, it just aims to establish correct belief for a certain church. Tgeorgescu (talk) 11:46, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
To give one example, Bart Ehrman said about How God Became Jesus something like that: if you want to know what is theologically wrong with How Jesus Became God it does an excellent job, but it sets forth no historical hypothesis/explanation which would be an alternative to my explanation. So, it opposes it for theological reasons, not for historical reasons. Tgeorgescu (talk) 12:09, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Well that's an interesting approach: eliminate all those who might have a different view by labeling them unreliable!
This debate which initially proposed that a general Wikipedia category ("massacres") should only include historically verified events, has drifted into a general argument about faith (maybe that was the intent). The latter is always going to produce stalemate. The former is solvable if one leaves faith out. It's about whether we want general categories to be limited in some way by article historicity. My feeling is no otherwise we will have a serious headache with hundreds of categories and thousands of articles needed to be tested for "historicity" which different editors will no doubt define differently. That is a major change, not just to "massacres" but to many other categories. Of course, sub-categories can be more tightly defined, but to do so for general categories seems illogical. So let's revert the article in question to the status quo ante and raise real "general category v. article historicity" issue, at the categories talk page. Of course, if the underlying issue is simply to undermine religious articles generally then why not be honest and say that? It might save some time. Bermicourt (talk) 16:02, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
"Well that's an interesting approach: eliminate all those who might have a different view by labeling them unreliable! " Well don't use clearly unreliable sources. The source is a joke. Pulling out apologetics to answer history questions doesn't fly on wikipedia. Further, removing clearly dubious events in one particular instance is an easy job. Including bogus events in a category about massacres is self evidently a bad idea. In there is a separate category for fiction because self evidently its stupid to mix in real murders with fake ones since it makes the category near useless otherwise. If you want a sub category for fiction, make it. Second Quantization (talk) 22:05, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Agree with Bermicourt on all points. In addition, there has been a considerable amount of refusal to engage in discussion, and a lot of simple insistence on POV, looking a lot like WP:IDHT. I don't much mind it when editors disagree with me, but I do take exception to being misrepresented so often in the many replies, even after multiple corrections, and simply make note of this here. This type of aggression does not improve understanding or accommodate constructive action, and it would be unproductive to go back and forth forever. I stand by what I have said, and I think there is general recognition of POV, and perhaps of POVPUSH. Evensteven (talk) 21:00, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Several times sources have been requested, instead what has been seen is discussions about what faith is and evangelical theology books. That someone thinks an evangelical source is useful for an academic discussion of history is an embarrassment. Who do you expect to take apologetics seriously when it pertains to questions about historical matters? When Muslim scholars talk about a flying donkey-thing do you factor that into your reliable sources? No, clearly not, because that would be utterly insane. Leave Apologetics for the theology, and leave history sources for the history. Wikipedia isn't written along the fundamentalist/literalist view, that's for conservapedia. Where literalism is mentioned its clearly marked as such. Second Quantization (talk) 21:57, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm with Bernicourt - although I think this one is fictional and probably inspired by the Moses story, I'm happy to have all massacres, fictional and historical, in the category. Dougweller (talk) 09:38, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
In other categories the issues is solved with a "Biblical foo" sub-category to which people can apply their prejudices as they like. In fact there ought to be scope for Category:Biblical massacres given the imprecision which seems to pervade the whole tree. There is a case for sweeping away the whole lot. Johnbod (talk) 13:06, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
That's a reasonable approach. I got the ball rolling. jps (talk) 14:29, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Talk:Gordon Blossom[edit]

Just noticed it at RM, but may be other issues, experienced editors looking in might help. In ictu oculi (talk) 09:51, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

A draft at AFC needs help[edit]

Please see Draft:Golgotha and the Red Heifer - I have just reviewed and declined it as it is written in an essay-like style, but it seems to me that it may be a notable topic that deserves to be included in WP. The writer clearly needs a lot of help to get the draft into acceptable shape. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 08:52, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Userspace drafts[edit]

The pages at User:Ret.Prof/Celsus, User:Ret.Prof/Jesus in the Talmud, and User:Ret.Prof/Josephus on Jesus have been prepared in userspace for possible transfer to mainspace. Although as userspace drafts it might not be possible to directly edit them, comments on the relevant talk pages, including any possible concernsabout such potential moves, are certainly permissiable. John Carter (talk) 15:30, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Oh not again. We already have pages on these subjects, as we already had pages before. How many times do we have to ask this editor to stop seeding his own POV essays into the encyclopedia as duplicate articles? In ictu oculi (talk) 16:58, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree that there are valid concerns here, including perhaps misrepresentation of sources. But there may well be some useful accurately-presented material which could be used to improve the articles. Also, he seems to be proposing replacing the current articles with these drafts so input on whether that should be done would likely be useful. John Carter (talk) 17:23, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Imo, the three draft articles should have their pages temporarily blanked by an admin, as the editor has indicated he is on an extended break. It wouldn't be a problem if they were isolated bits of content; however, these complete articles could easily be misconstrued as duplicate content forks, per WP:FORK. The editor can always restore them when he is ready to work on them again. Ignocrates (talk) 21:41, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Emerging theories of an historical Jesus[edit]

There are a number of writers who are now saying that Jesus was from a different era and that he was a leader of the Jewish Revolt. Specifically, Ralph Ellis writes that Jesus was actually Jesus of Gamala or Izates Manu Monobasus who, he says, are the same person. Joe Atwill says that Eleazar was the real Jesus. I understand this to be a reference to Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah who taught a version of Judaism in the mid to late first century which was similar to Christianity. Both Atwill and Ellis say that the NT is a Roman work which consolidated their victory in the Jewish Revolt to the losers, the Greco-Egyptian Edessans whose leader, Izates, Ellis says was crucified but was taken down from the cross by Josephus Flavian, an event which Josephus recounts in his War of the Jews. I think this is significant in that it accords with other Christian traditions over the years such as Arian Christianity and Adoptionism as well as the Muslim view of Jesus that he was a real person and not "begat" by God. Richard Dawkins supported Atwill's 2013 conference publicizing his book "Caesar's Messiah" and this has resulted in an explosion of interest in the theory and some heated debate between Atwill and Richard Carrier, and others. This shift is not being reflected anywhere on any Wiki page discussing Christianity, Jesus, the historical Jesus or the Quest for the Historical Jesus. I consider this important and significant because it is supported by a scientifically based probability theory, in Atwill's case, and by years of exhaustive research of extra-Christian history, by Ralph Ellis. There are numerous debates about it on the internet, which is becoming the main forum for these types of debates and is involving high profile figures like Richard Dawkins and Richard Carrier. I also see it as important from a moral/philosophical perspective because it proposes a reading of the New Testament from a secularist or "deist" perspective, and allows one to focus on the moral basis of the New Testament rather than its miraculous, supernatural aspects. In my view there should be a discussion of these new theories on one of the main pages relating to Christianity or the historicity of Jesus.Burdenedwithtruth (talk) 06:14, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

I refer you to WP:FRINGE and for Ellis in particular (not sure about Atwill) WP:SPS. Dougweller (talk) 15:35, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
What's new about deism? Thomas Jefferson was a well-known deist well over two centuries ago, rejecting miracles so far as to physically cut references of them out of his Bible. And deism is a far cry from Arianism, not only philosophically but historically. Very likely FRINGE indeed, but even if not, certainly incoherent and uninformed ramblings. "Emerging theory"? Reminds me of marketing ploys masquerading unproven, perhaps untenable "research" as "emerging science". Evensteven (talk) 19:37, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Examiner.com which has been blacklisted here covers and has covered regularly in a rather obviously non-neutral way a "new" deism. There are a few clearly SPS's relating to the topic as well. Though they don't use the full phrase it seems to closely resemble moralistic therapeutic deism. However, at this point, despite examiner.com's several years of regular columns about it, I have yet to see any independent reliable coverage of its internet churches or of the movement itself except in discussion of MTD, and never as simply "deism" without the "moralistic therapeutic" modifiers. John Carter (talk) 20:09, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Interesting. Yet every quack has a new twist to give his therapies plausibility. Evensteven (talk) 23:08, 21 July 2014 (UTC)