Category talk:Christian mythology/Archive 2

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Category_talk:Christian mythology

Numerous compromises have been proposed by the parties working to solve the ambiguity of the term "mythology" that causes this category to be inappropriate for many articles pertaining to Christian doctrine.

Just in case anyone missed it on the lengthy regular talk page. following is a synopsis of the compromises proposed to date. Feel free to add any others, or to comment. Codex Sinaiticus 20:42, 25 August 2005 (UTC)


  • Perhaps we could solve the problem by having a category for "Biblical narratives" or "Biblical stories" (Garden of Eden, Virgin birth, etc.) and another for "Extra-Biblical Christian mythology" (St. Veronica, the Holy Grail, etc.). Just a thought.
Proposed by: KHM03 20:48, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
Wow, are you really so ignorant as to believe that only "extra-biblical" christian stories can be mythical? I find that pretty darn biased to say that one collection of quasi-historical stories is more " accurate" or "less false" than another based on whether it is part of YOUR religious teachings or not. FestivalOfSouls 16:52, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
I just read what I edit-conflicted with and I totally agree with that solution. A category Bible stories would solve this nicely. DJ Clayworth 20:52, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
Create a different category for Bible stories - for

example, "Biblical narratives"...— Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:40, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Alternative Names I proposed:

"Christian Legends" "Christian sagas" "Christian folklore".

Ironically two of the suggestions (legend and folklore) has "myth" in its definition, and the definition of "saga" does not even come CLOSE to the meaning we need here. It is not an icelandic story, nor a modern story that resembles a icelandic story. FestivalOfSouls 16:52, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I'm wondering if the effrontery of "Myth" could be removed, if we used the phrase "sacred tradition" instead. No ambiguity, no insinuation of falsehood, and not original with us. Does this manage the disagreement better? What do you think? — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 15:00, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Not a shabby name, but unless sub-categories are created, it would be a huge category containing all religious articles on wikipedia, and if you DO break it down, you are re-inventing the wheel as the existing religion category covers that. We are not arguing over religious articles in general, only the mythical ones, and need to find a category to replace the mythical category. That is the only problem I see with this one. FestivalOfSouls 16:52, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I submit "tradition of the sacred" or "tradition about the sacred" instead. It is not the tradition that is claimed sacred here, but rather that the content of the narrative treats the subject of what is sacred. --Peter Kirby 19:13, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Given the arguments on Category:Jewish mythology I think that the creation of both Category:Christian sacred tradition and Category:Jewish sacred tradition would be useful. It would be possible to include the relevant articles in both these sub-cats and would probably save arguments about exactly what should be in a Biblical sacred tradition category. It is therefore a modification of Mark's original proposal.
Peter Kirby, I think that "sacred tradtion" is useful shorthand, and enables either of your suggestions to be understood. --G Rutter 19:25, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Okay, then I submit "symbolic stories". A symbolic story exhibits a symbol, a significant idea. This captures the "meaningful" aspect of the academic "myth" definition without using the word myth (and without suggesting falsehood in any way). So we would have "Jewish symbolic stories" and "Christian symbolic stories." --Peter Kirby 19:53, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
...Christian traditional stories? — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 20:06, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Both of the above are improvements on Mythology. I'd be happy with either. What I strongly suggest is a special category for Bible stories (maybe one for Jewish/Old Testament and one for Christian). If we feel strongly we can include them as a subcategory of Sacred Tradition or Symbolic Stories. DJ Clayworth 20:56, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
...I would be happy with either "traditional stories" or "symbolic stories", although the latter is more specific. Also, I would be happy with either "Jewish"/"Christian" prepended or with "Biblical" in front. --Peter Kirby 01:03, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
That's great. Thank you for your help with this, Peter. My preference is Category:Christian traditional stories and Category:Jewish traditional stories. DJ Clayworth recommends that these would contain the subcategories for Category:Tanakh narratives and Category:Gospel narratives, which is fine with me, too. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 01:16, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
Category already exists, torah events, I believe, and that does't help, due to the fact that it does not seperate mythical events from the rest. FestivalOfSouls 16:52, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
I would be happy with including Category:Gospel narratives in Category:Christian traditional stories, and I would not read it as implying that the Gospels derived from tradition. (Of course since the Gospels were oral before they were written, and before they were canon, there is a sense in which it is true - but either way I don't think it make 'tradition' pre-eminent). However I would urge that we use Category:New Testament narratives rather than Category:Gospel narratives so that stories from Book of Acts are included. DJ Clayworth 17:36, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
Good point. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:51, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I concur that "Christian mythology" and "Jewish mythology" should be retained as categories. Perhaps we should just add "New Testament stories" and "Tanakh stories" categories under Christianity and Judaism, respectively? And if we have to categorize the "Resurrection" page, for example, it goes in "New Testament stories" rather than the potentially controversial classification as "Christian mythology." --Peter Kirby 12:53, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

And this just in, from Talk:Ten_Plagues:

  • I think the problem is that adherents to the bible, both Jewish and Christian, differentiate between myth and belief when it comes to religious personages and events. So calling all of it "mythology" isn't going to fly.

I propose something along the lines of "tradition," in this case perhaps "Abrahamic tradition" or "Biblical tradition." I feel "tradition" has a sense of 'believing for believing sake' without the implied connotation of 'wrong' or 'unbelievable' that "mythology" carries. Grika 02:45, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, because personal belief and opinions trump facts and dictionary definitions. Great argument. Tradition:tra·di·tion Audio pronunciation of "tradition" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (tr-dshn)

n.

  1. The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication.
  2.
        1. A mode of thought or behavior followed by a people continuously from generation to generation; a custom or usage.
        2. A set of such customs and usages viewed as a coherent body of precedents influencing the present: followed family tradition in dress and manners. See Synonyms at heritage.
  3. A body of unwritten religious precepts.
  4. A time-honored practice or set of such practices.
  5. Law. Transfer of property to another.


The one of the best suggestions so far, but seems to me that it barely mentions the non-historical status of these things. Mythology, folklore and legends are the top 3. FestivalOfSouls 16:52, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

As I read through this discussion, I was fairly sympathetic towards using categories like "Christian mythology", considering it to be a "symbolic story" or a story meant to convey some theological or moral teaching, whose historicity is secondary to what is being taught by it. But if you want to label this or that as mythical in order to emphasize that the events are non-historical, you've just convinced me that the mythology label is unacceptable for many articles. "Christian tradition" should be workable, and would fit within the first definition of "tradition" you gave, since such stories can certainly be considered elements of a culture, especially if we treat the Christian religion as a sort of culture.
The advantage I see to categorizing things something "Christian tradition" (or "Jewish tradition") is that if you're disposed to think most Christian tradition is invented fables, then you can mentally put that article in the 'invented fable' pigeonhole of your brain, while if you have a more generous opinion of "Christian tradition", you can still mentally put that article with those others like it. Wesley 15:55, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Proposed solution

Wow, this page seems to have gone back to an argument page. Let me propose what I believe will be an acceptable compromise solution to most of the people here, based on what I've seen.

  1. There is a category Category:Bible stories, appropriately subdivided for Jewish and Christian scriptures. All biblical material goes in there.
  2. The category Christian mythology (and for any other religions that require it) is retained, with whatever renaming is considered appropriate from the above discussion. Anything not biblical in origin, especially anything whose historicity is doubted, goes in here.

FestivalOfSouls I know you won't like this because you are going to insist that the Bible is mythology based on the academic definition, but frankly we've been through that. Let's see what others have to say. DJ Clayworth 17:21, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

I am not "insisting" I am pointing out. Insisting makes it sound like I am wrong, inacurate. FestivalOfSouls 20:13, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Well the dictionary definition of insist is "to hold up a claim emphatically". That describes what you are doing. And we all know that the dictionary definition of a word is the important thing, and whether that word implies truth or falseness is completely irrelevant. Isn't that what you've been saying for the whole of this conversation? Or don't you like that idea so much now? DJ Clayworth 13:30, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Ok, ok, I will give you that the dictonary agrees with the usage, but put forth that a better term DOES exist, which is the whole basis of this issue. In this case a better word is easily found, unlike with the term "mythology". FestivalOfSouls 14:56, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Unbelievable! You've spent weeks arguing that we should use the word 'mythology' because it is academically correct, and it doesn't matter who gets offended; and then when I use a word that is completely correct but offends you, you insist that I change it! Maybe you should try putting yourself in someone else's shoes for a change. DJ Clayworth 15:07, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
FALSE! I have agreed from the very begining that if a better term can be found, it should be used, but that people's misunderstanding of the definition coupled with the lack of a better term does not mean we cannot use a term. If no better term than "insist" existed, I would not have said anything. You are totally missing the point. If I said that you could not use the word "unbeleavable" because some people will believe anything, and thus that term is offensive, you might have a case. (not sure, didn't really try to come up with a "better" term). What I have been arguing the last couple of weeks is not that if a term is academically correct, it should be used, but that if a term is correct acourding to a dictionary definition, and a better term does not exist, AND no valid case can be made against its use, then it should be allowed to use. It the case of the category system, which is a sort of reverse directory on wikipedia, that "allowed to use" is slightly changed to "should be used for the sake of completeness". It is like saying we are not allowed to Categorize evolutionin as a theory, because some people don't understand that theory doesn't just mean "guess or hunch". FestivalOfSouls 15:24, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Well, we're still working on whether a better term can be found. There are certainly some suggestions being discussed. In the meantime, think about your own response to my use of insist the next time you say we shouldn't care if people are offended by our words. DJ Clayworth 15:28, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

A new suggestion

The essential problem is that "myths" and "mythology" can be understood as either:

  1. stories that are not true (in a historical sense) or
  2. stories that may or may not be true (in a historical sense) but that embody a belief.

The challenge is to find a term that preserves the "embody a belief" sense while, in the interests of NPOV, makes no statement in the "not true" sense.

Unfortunately, there is no other term for "a story that embodies belief" that is free from this ambiguity. "Legend" suffers from the identical problem, and "Narrative" and "Story", while more neutral in their truth value, do not have the sense of "embodying belief".

All of the suggestions that I have read so far ("New Testament Narratives", "Christian traditional stories ", "Bible stories ", "symbolic stories", etc) are too limited, too vague, or too neologistic. "Christian tradition" isn't too bad, but could easily balloon into a mass of bible stories, liturgical practice, hagiography, Christmas stockings, church history, Easter eggs, and God knows what else.

With that said, I would suggest the following:

  1. Keep the "Christian mythology" category.
  2. Add a disclaimer to the bottom of any article that carries a "Christian mythology" categorization (sample text to follow).
  3. Add the same disclaimer to the top of the Talk page for any article that carries a "Christian mythology" categorization.

Sample text(with thanks to earlier versions):

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Many English speakers understand the terms "myth" and "mythology" to mean fictitious or imaginary. However, in the Wikipedia category Christian mythology, these terms are used in the sense of a traditional story or narrative that embodies the belief or beliefs of a group of people. The use of these terms does not imply that any story so categorized is historically true or false or that any belief so embodied is itself either true or false.

This makes our meaning clear (I'm assuming that we are not trying to label things as fictitious or imaginary!) without the truth-value ambiguity with which we've been grappling. Note also that, with minor modification, this could be profitably used in any other Mythology category. Thoughts? JHCC (talk) 21:14, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

heh heh.. That's almost what I proposed myself a while ago, thought maybe it was "shot down" ;o)
If we can come up with a suitable term that makes no POV assumption about their factuality, this will not be necessary. Take a look at what you said above - The challenge is to find a term that preserves the "embody a belief" sense... Sometimes you can find what you're trying to say as it's expressed on a talk page is also good for the article, and if we're trying to find a word for "belief", well, why not "belief"...? "Category:Christian beliefs" would be perectly factual in that they are beliefs of Christians, not saying they are (or aren't) anyone else's... Whadya think of that suggestion? Codex Sinaiticus 22:09, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
The problem is that we're not trying to find a word for "Belief"; we're trying to find a word for "Mythology" that does not imply "fiction". "Category:Christian beliefs" covers everything from the dogma of the Immaculate Conception to prevenient grace to seven-day creationism. In other words, it includes dogma, doctrine, narrative (or at least the interpretation of narrative), liturgical theology, morality, etc, etc, etc. It's not just "embody a belief", it's stories that embody a belief. JHCC (talk) 03:27, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I thought we were not trying to find a word for "Mythology", but that we were going to keep "Mythology" for the agreed extra-biblical mythology, and find something else for the biblical beliefs. The Biblical beliefs are distinct enough from the others agreed to be mythological, to merit a distinct category. How about Category:Biblical beliefs so we could have subcategories of "Christian Biblical beliefs" for the New Testament and "Judaeo-Christian Biblical beliefs" for the Old Testament...? Codex Sinaiticus 03:46, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

"Biblical beliefs" is better, but still possibly vague. The great advantage of the term "Mythology" is that, again, it has the meaning "stories that convey belief," which I think is what we are trying to categorize. The down side to "Biblical beliefs" is that it is by definition about the beliefs, not about the stories. Justification by faith, not by works (if someone were to make such an article) could easily be categorized as a "Biblical belief" even though it is not based on a biblical narrative.
There is also a problem with reserving "Mythology" for extra-biblical narrative: what to do with different canons of scripture. For example, Bel and the Dragon is generally accepted as canonical scripture by Catholics and Orthodox, but not by most Protestants. Should it be classified as biblical or extra-biblical?
Thus, if we are trying to define a category for stories (whether biblical or extra-biblical) used by Christians to convey Christian belief, with no claims about the truth or falsehood of either story or belief, I submit again that Christian mythology with the above disclaimer (or something similar) best fills the bill. JHCC (talk) 14:05, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

You have raised some more issues that definitely deserve consideration. To address the first, some of the suggested alternatives, have been called "vague" - but when what you're striving for is neutrality, is "vague" always a bad thing? The words may be "vague" as in neutral, but at least they're not ambiguous; if you ask me, its ambiguity that makes "mythology" vague. If they are vague, use more specific subcats. Deuterocanonical and Apocryphal writings could, and probably should, have their own subcategory stating that's what they are, ie, not recognised as biblical (canonical) by all Christians or Jews. Regards, Codex Sinaiticus 14:32, 31 August 2005 (UTC)


Again, what does "extra-biblical" have to do with anything? Here is a slightly better form of the disclaimer (like the idea, though):
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Many English speakers understand the terms "myth" and "mythology" to mean fictitious or imaginary. However, according to the dictionary, and the Wikipedia category Christian mythology, these terms also mean a traditional story or narrative that embodies the belief or beliefs of a group of people. The use of these terms does not imply that any story so categorized is historically true or false or that any belief so embodied is itself either true or false.
I would agree to this compromise, assuming a sutible disclaimer can be written. FestivalOfSouls 14:51, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Hey, actually, that's not bad... wow, you really can write from NPOV when you want! I could even agree to that disclaimer as you just wrote it, though I'm still holding out hope for consensus on an alternative category for Biblical beliefs... I'm sorry you don't make any distinction between "Biblical" and "extra-Biblical" beliefs, but since the distinction is made by most of those who hold any of these beliefs, I believe that that's the distinction we ought to somehow indicate. Codex Sinaiticus 15:22, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Odd, the dictonary (NPOV) doesn't make a distiction, but "those who hold any of these beliefs" (POV by its very nature) seem to disagree. I think, when trying to be NPOV, I will use NPOV sources when writing defintions ALL The time, not just when I agree with them. Sorry Codex, that argument is no good. FestivalOfSouls 00:26, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
The dictionary does make a distinction. Some definitions include the notion of falsity, and some do not. It is not only those who hold such beliefs who use the sense of "an unfounded or false notion." User:JHCC 14:44, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
No, the comment above was in reference to the fact that a distiction is made, not about a notion of falsity, but that only non-biblical stories can be myths, which is the distuction that "those who hold any of these beliefs" are trying to make. I fully admit that dictionaries have multiple definitions, and that some of them imply falsity, but I also point out that every dictionary I have looked at ALSO has a definition that makes no such claim. 134.161.244.59 18:37, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
My only reservation about FestivalOfSouls's suggestion is that "according to the dictionary" is a bit of a blanket statement. I'd suggest instead:
IMPORTANT NOTICE
Many English speakers understand the terms "myth" and "mythology" to mean fictitious or imaginary. However, according to many dictionary definitions, these terms can also mean a traditional story or narrative that embodies the belief or beliefs of a group of people, and the Wikipedia category Christian mythology should be understood in this sense. The use of these terms in this category does not imply that any story so categorized is historically true or false or that any belief so embodied is itself either true or false.
We can easily make this into a template (say, {{Christian mythology}}) that can float at the bottom of the page, just above the categories, where anyone who sees that an article is in the Christian mythology category can't miss it. JHCC (talk) 16:00, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
That flies for me. FestivalOfSouls 17:45, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
I've made a trial template, which is currently at User:JHCC/Proposed Christian mythology template. Perhaps after a little more discussion, we could vote on it (or a modified version) and move it to {{Christian mythology}} if approved. JHCC (talk) 18:14, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
We've already talked this over in great detail. While the dictionary definition includes usages where falsehood is not implies by myth, the common usage implies falsehood. To use it for deeply held beliefs will give offence where none is intended; for example see my conversation with FestivalOfSouls above, where he takes offence at my use of 'insist' even though I use it in a technically correct way. In addition casual readers won't see the disclaimer; all they will see is the category entry on the article. If we can find a way to categorise these things in a correct way without giving unintended offence then it will be much better. DJ Clayworth 15:16, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Again, from above, that argument only holds water when no viable alternative exists. Since we cannot find a better term than "mythology" it is a moot point. FestivalOfSouls 00:26, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
It seems to me that this "will give offence where none is intended" only if we do not make explicit what we mean by "myth" and "mythology." We're not proposing a new definition of "mythology", just its restriction to a single meaning in this unique context. JHCC (talk) 18:22, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
But, as I said, the disclaimer will not be read. If this was in an article I would have no trouble with this - in fact the article Christian mythology gives us no grouble here. But I don't believe people will go to the category to find out whether we mean something different from what they think we mean. DJ Clayworth 19:50, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
The disclaimer does not have to be only in the category description (although it wouldn't be bad to have it there too). I am proposing adding the disclaimer to the very end of every article that gets categorized as Christian mythology, just above where the list of categories will appear. Since a reader can only take offense to the article's being categorized as "Mythology" if they read the categories at the end, such offense is forestalled by having the disclaimer listed in the article just above the categories. JHCC (talk) 20:26, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
I think Biblical beliefs will give us trouble, because it will include things that derive from the Bible, exactly what those are will be disputed between Christians. A mainstream Protestant, for example, will consider the Trinity to be a biblical belief (since he finds the basis for it there) but a Mormon for example will dispute that because he interprets the Bible differently. We would have much less trouble with Biblical stories or Biblical narratives. DJ Clayworth 15:17, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Agreed, but those two categories, while useful in themselves, would not include non-biblical stories or narratives that could fit into a Christian mythology category. JHCC (talk) 18:22, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
I agree with that totally. DJ Clayworth 19:50, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I don't like it at all. A categorization that needs a disclaimer on every article is obviously a suspect categorization. It makes it look like the categorization is POV-pushing; indeed, it practically concedes that it is. --Peter Kirby 21:17, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Maybe what is suspect is that the people complaining about the categorization, to which the disclaimer is yet ANOTHER attempt to compromise, are pushing POV. The disclaimer is an appeasment to a group that is refusing any compromise and refuses to give any valid arguments for their side. All the disclaimer concedes is that some wikipedians are pushing pro-religious bias and others concede to them to get any forward movement done. FestivalOfSouls 00:26, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
What POV does the proposed disclaimer "practically concede" that it is pushing? If anything, it clarifies that it is not pushing the POV that myths are inherently or implicitly false. Instead, the proposed disclaimer is an emphatic declaration of neutrality.JHCC (talk) 23:55, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
The POV that the subject of the article is "mythology." If that were non-POV, there would be no need for a disclaimer. Better that we create a category that doesn't have such inherent weakness that it needs a huge gaudy banner on an article. --Peter Kirby 00:50, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
What about "category:Christian mythology according to the dictionary definition of mythology"? that better? FestivalOfSouls 00:26, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
Actually, it would be the POV that the subject of the article is "mythology in the sole sense of a story that embodies belief." I think that we can trust our readers to understand the difference. Unless, of course, they absolutely insist that "mythology" implies falsehood at all times and in all places, in which case I would refer them to Chapter Six of Through the Looking Glass.
As far as huge and gaudy go, it's quite easy to reformat the banner to make it smaller and more restrained, thus:
IMPORTANT NOTICE
Many English speakers understand the terms "myth" and "mythology" to mean fictitious or imaginary. However, according to many dictionary definitions, these terms can also mean a traditional story or narrative that embodies the belief or beliefs of a group of people, and the Wikipedia category Christian mythology should be understood in this sense only. The use of these terms in this category does not imply that any story so categorized is historically true or false or that any belief so embodied is itself either true or false.


We can even take off the border, which makes it less gaudy still:
IMPORTANT NOTICE
Many English speakers understand the terms "myth" and "mythology" to mean fictitious or imaginary. However, according to many dictionary definitions, these terms can also mean a traditional story or narrative that embodies the belief or beliefs of a group of people, and the Wikipedia category Christian mythology should be understood in this sense only. The use of these terms in this category does not imply that any story so categorized is historically true or false or that any belief so embodied is itself either true or false.
I agree that the category without the disclaimer is weak. However, the category with the disclaimer (even if it is not perfect) is simple, clear, strong, and, most importantly, NPOV. JHCC (talk) 13:57, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Much better than not allowing correct categorization at all due to PERSONAL RELIGIOUS BELIEF, which is inherently POV....FestivalOfSouls 00:26, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm in an interesting position here in that I am an evangelical Christian who has no problem with the term "myth" regarding some Biblical stories (or with most contemporary scholarship, for that matter). The basic (if unofficial) Wesleyan answer to all of this is, "Who cares?" Christians ought to be too busy saving souls to worry too much about this stuff (I got in trouble sometimes for saying that to my Calvinist profs in seminary!)! If the disclaimer will keep some folks happy, then I say use it; just make sure you place it on "Hindu myths" and other appropriate articles, to be NPOV. That's my two cents, for what it's worth. KHM03 15:12, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm with Peter on this. If the terminology isn't neutral, then this disclaimer might as well read this way:
Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 15:25, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Mark, could you please clarify: when you say "If the terminology isn't neutral...", do you mean "If the name of the category isn't neutral..." or "If the categorization isn't neutral..."?
If the name of the category has to be neutral, then yes, mythology must be rejected. However, an alternative will have to be proposed and approved that clearly and specifically defines the category without implying truth-value. I'm open to suggestions.
If the categorization can be understood as the combination of the name of the category and any mandatory disclaimer(s) in the relevant articles (and not simply the name of the category itself), then neutrality is easily achieved by the addition of a carefully-worded disclaimer.
Until we reach consensus on this, perhaps we should add a version of Mark's disclaimer:
It's a bit of a cop-out, but it might serve to get more voices involved in the discussion. JHCC (talk) 16:39, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Fascinating discussion. I'll just add a couple of comments on some of what has been said above. The text of the "yellow disclaimer box" or whatever sounds fine to me, and helps "neutralize" the categorization. But, as others observed, I agree that requiring that disclaimer probably means that it's not the best category name; it's an admission that the category name is not neutral without it. I really like that last message, "The neutrality of categorizing religious beliefs as mythology is disputed."

I don't think distinguishing between biblical and non-biblical "myths" is terribly helpful; most Christians attach more 'historical belief' to some stories than others, but the line between them isn't always cut between those two. For instance, most Christians I know aren't too concerned with whether the book of Job is historical, but are very concerned with how historical the four gospels are. Many don't believe the story of St. George and the dragon is historical, but they do believe the story of Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door is. All of these stories carry religious significance, so in one sense they could all be termed "myths", but both scholars and Christians would give them different likelihoods of being strictly historical. Does anyone really think the story of Luther and the 95 theses, or other important stories and narratives in the history of Christianity, should be categorized as unbiblical myths?

Here's a thought. What if called these things Christian stories, or Jewish stories, or even (shudder) Abrahamic stories? Would tying the name of a religion or family of religions to the word "story" be enough to convey the idea of "belief" + "story" ? Wesley 17:16, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

The only admission the disclaimer is, is that wikipedians let themselves be pushed around by religious bias and need disclaimers to get relativly trivial categorizations done. Unless people can think of a better name for the category, then they need to shut up and let NPOV progress happen. FestivalOfSouls 00:26, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
JHCC It is disputable, whether the terminology as applied to "revealed religions" is appropriate. I'll grope for an illustration.
Let's use the case of a hypothetical Wikipedian who is an evangelical pastor. Let's call him Keith. And let's suppose that Keith doesn't have a problem with the terminology of "myth" and "mythology". From my perspective as a confessionalist, I would be inclined to observe that this might indicate a post-modern tendency in my Methodist friend. But that's speaking from my perspective as what is unhelpfully called "catholic Reformed". It may be that Keith wouldn't mind being categorized as Category:Postmodernist Wikipedians. Even if he is a postmodernist, perhaps he would prefer much more innocuous and inclusive postmodernist terminology: Category:Paleo-orthodox Wikipedians. But noticing that Weleyanism came out of Anglicanism, which came alongside the Reformed movement during the Reformation, maybe we would like to call him Category:Calvinist Wikipedians. That doesn't mean that he agrees with everything that Calvin taught (who does?). We could point out to him, if he objects, that he's more Calvinistic than Barth is on very many points - although Barth is often called a Calvinist. On second thought, maybe the better course would be to use categories that are neutrally descriptive, that is, helpful, inoffensive, using the guide of self-application, avoiding terms that are alien and ambiguous. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:29, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Hum, (very clever). Well as a neo-evangelical non-postmodernist post-Barthian Catholic Calvinist, I have to say that I agree with Keith. In Biblical studies 'myth' clearly relates to the theological significance of the story and not the historicity (and that's a fairly modernist usage). It is an academic category and should be used in an encyclopedia. Personally, a disclaimer to that effect on the category page would be sufficient for me. Disclaimers on every article border on systematic trolling. If we're not allowed myth, then I'd suggest New Testament and related stories or Early Christian stories that would blur the edges of what was 'Bible' for different denominations. --Doc (?) 17:37, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
(For the record: the mythical "Keith" in question would probably be A-OK with "paleo-orthodox", but stunned at the "Calvinist" label! KHM03 17:40, 2 September 2005 (UTC))
Nice to see that we're all still having fun. JHCC (talk) 18:17, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

An interim suggestion

Until we resolve this fascinating dispute, how do people feel about the following dispute tag:

Note that the "talk pages" link expands to User talk:JHCC/Wikipedia talk pages discussing the categorization of religious beliefs as mythology (disambiguation). A draft template currently exists at User:JHCC/Sandbox, which can easily be moved to {{Mythcat dispute}} or something similar. JHCC (talk) 18:07, 2 September 2005 (UTC)


::

The above is much better. FestivalOfSouls 00:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

In the meantime, we now have User:Reddi jumping into the fray by marking your disambiguation page for speedy deletion, he seems to be against the compromise... He's also adding "mythology" cats to still more articles, and seems to have written a lengthy essay at Religion and mythology which only gives one side of the story. Codex Sinaiticus 18:27, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Codex, i din't think you were comfortable KNOWING stories had two sides, until now you never admitted that.. oh wait... he has an opinion you don't like... I get it now.... FestivalOfSouls 00:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
JHCC, I think that if you can make it work as {{POV-cat}}, it would be the most widely helfpul. I do think that this is an appropriate approach to this issue.
On the face of it, {{POV-cat}} looks like a useful tag for "The neutrality of this categorization scheme is disputed" in general (or perhaps an opinionated feline), and I would not like to usurp it for this particular usage. Any suggestions for a dispute-specific tag? {{POV-myth-cat}}? {{POV-cat-myth}}? JHCC (talk) 19:15, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I would rather see the specifics piped or tied to variables. Wouldn't that work? — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 19:21, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I suppose, but I'm not sure how to do it. JHCC (talk) 19:45, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Codex, I don't think that the essay you refer to is as imbalanced as you are representing it to be (I've been working on it with him). The changes that you have proposed there could be dropped in, leaving almost all of the content intact, I think. Try and see? — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 18:34, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
User Reddi is playing a noticeably unconstructive role with his repeated edits to the Trinity article. AnonMoos 20:31, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
AnonMoos, sorry your opinion is such. JDR 21:43, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

This discussion is trying to define what "is" is. The use of "mythology" is an academic one, not a biblical one. It is mainly NPOV. if other avenues of action are taken, Wikipedia would have to remove all references to mythology (see recent post in Talk:Abrahamic mythology). (Comment by User:Reddi, originally unsigned) 21:43, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

No kidding !!!! thanks for helping with the NPOV-ing of wikipedia! FestivalOfSouls 00:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

I agree in part. As I've said, I have no problem with the Garden of Eden or Noah's Ark being listed as "myths"...they essentially are (which doesn't mean they aren't true in some way...even historically accurate). That's an academic statement. But we don't want to get carried away saying that doctrines such as Trinity or Transubstantiation are myths...they may be based on myths, but they are not myths themselves. If we're going to use academic language, let's do so precisely. KHM03 21:48, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

But the articles are ABOUT the myth and the doctrines that developed from them. A story about one of Aesops fables, and the morality derived from one, would be accurately categorized as a fable, since the topic of the article is about that fable, and the fallout from it. FestivalOfSouls 00:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
One of Aesops's fables is a fable. A story about one of Aesops's fables is only a fable if it carries a moral itself. The moral itself is not a fable, it is a moral. If you do not restrict "myth" and "mythology" to the sense of "narrative", then you can apply them to any non-narrative morality, theology, philosophy, doctrine, or whatever — in which case, you might just as well categorize them under "religion." JHCC (talk) 17:19, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
You are missing the point of what I said. A person that is interested in Fables in general, would also possibly be interested in the "fallout" from fables. If you are, say writing a college paper on fables, you would not lookup ONLY the articles that are directly about the fable, say, "never cry wolf" (is that even an Aesop fable?) but the cultural response to that, say an article that goes into detail on the fable, and the effect that cities and states write laws saying "false reports of danger that occure more than twice are punishable by 10x the minimum penalty for one offense". It is not saying that the law is a fable, only that the article about the law goes into detail about the fable. Some of the mythical category articles in contention are things like "original sin" which contains virtually the intire "eating the apple" story. Since the article contains the whole story, PLUS a discussion of it, it is relevent to the category. 134.161.244.59 18:37, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree; if the "mythology" categories are going to be used to collect articles on mythology, they should point to myths in their proper sense of narrative.
Did you happen to notice that a troll or vandal dropped "The story of Jesus is a myth" on the Jesus page? This is why we have to discuss this, and choose appropriately. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 22:32, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
'cough' that is exactly what we are trying to do, and what Codex and Co are biatching about. They are whining because we are using a dictionary definition of a word they feel is not pro-their religion. Notice, they don't complain about the use of mythology, except when it applies to THEIR religion. Jewish mythology, hindu mythology, greek mythology, they are all ok, but not CHRISTIAN mythology. Smacks of POV. FestivalOfSouls 00:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)


FOS, I don't know if you are including me in the "and Co" or not, but personally, I would not support any Wikipedia categorization of any belief — whether religious, non-religious, anti-religious, or whatever — that stated or implied truth-value to any such belief, regardless of the religion or belief system involved. One legitimate use of "myth" according to the dictionary definition (i.e., "an unfounded or false notion" Merriam Webster Online, 2b [1]) states such value. This categorization is therefore not unambiguously neutral — however much we may wish to restrict the meaning to "a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon" (Merriam Webster Online, 1a [2]) — and is thus not acceptable in unqualified form. JHCC (talk) 14:13, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
OK. Following that statement, since you see the category as unacceptable, suggest an acceptable alternative. Failure to correctly categorize a term is unacceptable, as it is POV, so lets try and move forward, here. 134.161.244.59 18:37, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Yes..."myth" = "narrative" or "story"...it doesn't say a thing about its veracity, though in the common vernacular "myth" = "fiction". BUT, if we're going to use the academic take, then we need to do it right.

Noah's Ark = myth. Garden of Eden = myth. Genesis 1 = myth. All may be 100% historically accurate, but all are myth. I have never, however, heard "myth" applied to Jesus. That must be a pretty minority view. KHM03 22:38, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Well, technically, and I write as a reasonably orthodox believer, the story of Jesus is a myth - in the sense that it is a narrative retold by a community, which authenticates meaning and symbolises a worldview. It can be refered to as a 'foundation myth' of the 'Christian community'. But, I doubt that's what your troll was trying to say. --Doc (?) 22:42, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

I am opposed to any solution that involves a banner on the article. Banners are placed on articles as a stopgap measure, so that they will be fixed. --Peter Kirby 23:15, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Well, quit whining and offer a solution. We will all wait, with baited breath waiting for it. FestivalOfSouls 00:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree - it is a stopgap, not a solution. And yet it might be an appropriate measure in order to discourage revert wars. I predict that the ultimate solution will be to a multiple-perspective approach, rather than a unified perspective: for example to use the categories to describe the stories as "myth" and also as "history". Most of the articles in question already do this, in the body of the articles, I think. In the meantime, I think that we should resort to the stopgap to manage the dispute, and to encourage collaboration. Do you suspect that it might get in the way of finding the solution, rather than clearing the way? — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 23:42, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I am 100% behind this, as long as both categories are acuratly used. IE the articles have to fit the definition of the categories. FestivalOfSouls 00:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
One aspect of this is that most dispute tags (e.g., {{NPOV}}) are to fix the articles themselves. By adding the tag to a number of articles, we can bring together editors from many different articles (who otherwise might not have the opportunity to collaborate) to work on the categorization issue. JHCC (talk) 14:02, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

Look, I have no problem with Christian myth as NPOV on the truth claim. But, I have a huge problem with putting dispute tages on every article that is categorised as 'myth'. It amounts to systematic trolling. We say 'as a temporary stop-gap' but to what eventual end. Will a solution magically appear if we do this? No. I've no problem with myth, but I'd rather drop the term that have this ridiculous solution. I'm suggesting - Early Christian stories - as an alternative (stories can be true or false). No, it's not ideal, but it is certainly less confrontational. How about it, or has someone a better idea? --Doc (?) 17:39, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

I say leave things as they are, making sure that doctrines are not confused with myth. But I defer to the community, as one who has previously stated that I have no problem with the label "myth". KHM03 17:43, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
In that case, though, articles that ARE myths need to be labled as such, ie tower of bable, cain and able, sodom and gramorah, adam and eve, and we are back to one side willing to compromise and the bible-ites refusing to allow anything in the bible to carry the lable "myth". See all the arguments they try and make that only "non-biblical" stories can be myths, as if the biblical nature somehow means the definition in a dictionary no longer applies. 134.161.244.59 18:37, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
Almost everyone here seems to have agreed that "mythology" category can be used for extra-Biblical stories without dispute. Although this could be ensured by renaming it "Extra-Biblical Christian Mythology" or some such. The articles that are disputed are the ones on Biblical subjects, so they should go in some differently-named category to reflect that they are not generally treated as the same category with the non-Biblical stuff. Lots of good NPOV proposals for the name of this biblical category have been proposed, now all we need to do to move forward to the next step (since I hear an impatient foot stamping) is to list these proposals in a vote form, or let everyone check off all the proposals they can live with and see what has true consensus... Codex Sinaiticus 18:02, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
This is BS. How does the source make a dictionary definition not apply? The definition applies accross the board regardless. Saying that you dispute the term "mythology" due to its connotation of "false" that you seem to have is ok for non-biblical stories, but not for biblical stories is POV. You are saying that is ok, in your eyes, that a word YOU ADMIT to thinking is POV be applied to some stories, but not others. That is undisputably POV. If you agree that it is neutral enough to apply to one category of articles, then it MUST be neutral, period. That means if you OK it for one type of article, it is ok for any type of article that fits the definition. This is just you, Codex, AGAIN showing your massive POV and trying to weasel things into the mindset you insist on forcing on this wiki. 134.161.244.59 18:37, 6 September 2005 (UTC)


I don't see this. There are some problems:
  • Separate categories for "Biblical stories" and "Non-Biblical mythology" could be seen as implying that the stories are true and the mythology not — simply on the basis of being biblical or not.
  • Non-biblical narratives may be extremely important for conveying religious meaning. For example, many find the lives of Francis of Assisi or Ignatius of Antioch profoundly inspiring — do we want to categorize these as "myths" simply because they are non-biblical?
  • It imposes a distinction that is more appropriate to the subcategory level.
Our essential problem is that any categorization of religious belief as "mythology" will continue to raise objections, despite our own intentions or personal beliefs. We either have to come up with a new categorization that is sufficiently both neutral and specific (say, "Traditional Christian foundational narratives" or "Traditional narratives conveying Christian belief"), add a notice to each article (either a disclaimer or a categorization dispute tag), or be prepared to revisit this issue every single time someone objects to their own or someone else's religious beliefs being categorized as "mythology". JHCC (talk) 18:48, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
Put it to a vote; I'll abide by it, whether my preference wins or not. KHM03 18:51, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Festival, this whole debate started when you started dropping Biblical articles in the "Mythology" category. Several people cried foul, I wasn't even the first, and that's what this is all about. The whole point of what we are doing now is trying to find a compromise so that the Biblical articles won't appear in the Mythology category. You alone have not budged an inch, since no other result will be satisfactory to you. But there's no point in listing all the reasons yet again why this is the one result we are trying to change. It's not that the dictionary makes a distinction between 'Biblical' and 'non-Biblical'. It's that we feel the definition (because of its ambiguous nature) is disputed and diputable when applied to the Biblical stories, but is not disputed for the non-Biblical ones. When I say we, I don't mean only myself, though I suspect you single me out for your harshest criticism mainly because of all the attrib-line wars we were having... My position is largely no different from the rest of the consensus here. Codex Sinaiticus 18:57, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Brilliant, freaking BRILLIANT Codex. So you see it as compromising to say "Mythology can NEVER be on a story I believe is true" and that being willing to re-name a categhory, being willing to use different categories if sutaible ones can be found, being willing to use a disclaimer is NOT compromising? What exactly have you done to compromise? You even say right here that the point of the compromise is to give you your way? seriously, go away, or grow up. Compromising would involve you... i don't know... allowing something that is not 100% your original opinion to happen. Again you lie and pretend to TRY and be neutral when we can all see you are full of it. FestivalOfSouls 01:13, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Polls are evil but is this evil perhaps going to be a neccessary one here? --Doc (?) 19:12, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Dictionary definition

The above is much better. FestivalOfSouls 00:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

FoS, the only problem with this is that, as has been pointed out many times, "mythology" does not have one single dictionary definition, and we cannot proceed as if it does. Merriam Webster Online includes both a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon (which I think is the sense that we are trying to categorize here) and an unfounded or false notion which is not something that we, as NPOV editors, can say about any religious (or even anti-religious) belief — whether Christian or not.
If "the dictionary definition" were the first, only, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
If "the dictionary definition" were the second, only, we still wouldn't be having this discussion. (Can you imagine how speedily a category "Religious falsehoods" would be deleted? Or for that matter, "Atheistic delusions"? And in both cases, rightly so.)
"The neutrality of categorizing religious beliefs as mythology, according to the dictionary definition of "mythology", is disputed" is unnecessarily wordy. "The neutrality of categorizing religious beliefs as mythology is disputed" is itself a sufficiently neutral statement and needs no further qualification. JHCC (talk) 14:13, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
How about:
Is that better? I feel that since the only quasi-valid argument the pro-bible-is-100%-fact party have is that they don't understand the definition of the word, and have a bias about it, pointing out that the word actually is not so biased according to a dictionary is appropriate. FestivalOfSouls 01:13, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
No. It is not better.
A good NPOV solution will not affirm, deny, or imply that any belief is true or false. Since anyone who looks in a dictionary can see that "Myth" can imply an unfounded or false notion, "mythology" is not a good NPOV solution. JHCC (talk) 19:03, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
Thank you JHCC. An excellent point. I would also like to say, again, that I really don't think providing a notice in the category text (which hardly anyone looks at) is the solution. We need a term for these articles which does not carry implications of falsehood, in any of its definitions. DJ Clayworth 19:07, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
Um, half of the definitions in a dictionary do NOT imply that. It is like saying all legends must be both a story and a section of a map describing what all the symbols mean. For a word to fit a definition, not all clauses of the definition need to be true. FestivalOfSouls 01:13, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
The question is not "Does this word fit this definition?" The question is "How does this word define a category?"
Imagine someone sees that an article is categorized as "Christian mythology" and, for whatever reason, doesn't know what "mythology" means. They look it up in the dictionary and discover that it is "the study of myths" or "a collection or body of myths." Not knowing what a "myth" is, they look that up and discover that there are a number of alternate meanings. If we do not further specify how Wikipedia uses the term "mythology" as a categorization, this hypothetical reader will not know if we are classifying in the sense of "story" or in the sense of "not true."
A better analogy than "legend" (for which FOS has given two non-overlapping senses, above) is "bastard". This can be either a person born out of wedlock or an unpleasant person — or both. If Wikipedia had a [[Category:Bastards]], would we not have to specify what sense is intended before categorizing anyone? JHCC (talk) 14:58, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Procedural vote

Rather than vote on a specific solution, I propose a vote on how we are to proceed. Please place your name under each of these six options, in order of preference (1, 2, etc) and any comments you wish to make (please be brief). Consensus will indicate direction for future work (for example, "Keep with disclaimer" will focus discussion on the disclaimer text; "Rename", on what the new name should be). No consensus = more discussion.

Delete the category and do not replace it

'Nuff said.

  • 5 - JHCC (talk) 19:49, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 5 - DJ Clayworth 20:06, 6 September 2005 (UTC) the category is useful and deleting it would not be sensible; even less as a temporary measure.
  • 4- --Doc (?) 21:16, 6 September 2005 (UTC) as above reasoning
  • 6 - KHM03 21:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 6 - FestivalOfSouls 01:13, 7 September 2005 (UTC) simply unacceptable. The bible-pushers POV is not acceptable. NPOV is the only thing allowable and caving to bias, and refusing to state facts due to the possiblity of "offending" ignorant people is unacceptable.
  • 2 - AnonMoos 03:01, 7 September 2005 (UTC) (Because of reasons of human nature mentioned in my remarks below.)
  • 6 - Grika 03:27, 7 September 2005 (UTC) Santa Claus is a Christian myth and there should be a catagory to contain it.
  • 5 - Codex Sinaiticus 04:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Rename the category

Name to be decided later.

  • 1 - JHCC (talk) 19:49, 6 September 2005 (UTC) Practically tied with the next.
  • 2 - DJ Clayworth 20:06, 6 September 2005 (UTC) If we can't take Biblcal matter out of the category this is the next best bet.
  • 2 - --Doc (?) 21:16, 6 September 2005 (UTC) suggest 'Early Christian stories' or 'Biblical and related sory'
  • 3 - KHM03 21:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 3 FestivalOfSouls 01:13, 7 September 2005 (UTC) If a suitable category can be found.
  • 1 AnonMoos 02:34, 7 September 2005 (UTC) Just add some further qualifying terms so that "Mythology" doesn't conspicuously stand out in isolation from any context (and so invites a multitude of interpretations). "Christian Mythological Narrative", maybe (I'm not advocating that particular name, but that kind of thing).
  • 5 Grika 03:27, 7 September 2005 (UTC) Almost as bad as the one above as I don't believe there will ever be consensus on a single term for all cases.
  • 1 Codex Sinaiticus 04:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC) My real first choice is to keep the mythology cat for extra biblical, AND make a new cat for biblical, as several people have mentioned; but since that doesn't seem to be a choice, this seems like the closest thing to vote for. If you had made that a choice, it probably would have won.
    • Codex, you must have forgot. Wikipedia is supposed to be NPOV, thus an inherently POV option such as that is absolutly unacceptable. To say that it is more or less "OK" to use a term that connotes falsity (your misunderstanding, not mine) based on which religious books is to make a POV statement about those religious books. FestivalOfSouls 05:41, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
      • Dude, to conduct a conversation by always assuming that your interlocutors are opinionated, but that you yourself have pure facts without opinion, is hardly the way to hold a constructive dialogue! Meanwhile, I judge people by their behavior, and your behavior over the past month has hardly been irreproachable (see my comments below). AnonMoos 12:54, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
I am not assuming that he is opinionated, since he proves it in virtually every single post of his, or claiming that I am not. I am opinionated about keeping the wiki NPOV, and I am very active to that end. Aside from your false personal comment about me, what do you have to say about the topic? FestivalOfSouls 13:25, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Rename the category, use dispute tag while discussion is in progress

As an interim measure, "The neutrality of categorizing religious beliefs as mythology is disputed" will be added to all articles so categorized until a new name can be agreed on.

  • 2 - JHCC (talk) 19:49, 6 September 2005 (UTC) This will hopefully draw more people into the discussion from other articles
  • 3 - DJ Clayworth 20:06, 6 September 2005 (UTC) Adding the dispute tag would be more work
  • 5 - --Doc (?) 21:16, 6 September 2005 (UTC) clumsy and unneccesary
  • 4 - KHM03 21:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 4 - FestivalOfSouls 01:13, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 6 - AnonMoos 02:28, 7 September 2005 (UTC) I oppose uglifying the articles when the problem is with the category, not with the article.
  • 4 - Grika 03:27, 7 September 2005 (UTC) Bad and ugly.
  • 2 - Codex Sinaiticus 04:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC) This would only be transitional until the new name is chosen.

Keep the category, add a disclaimer

The "Christian mythology" category will be retained, with a disclaimer added to all articles so categorized to the effect that truth value is not implied.

  • 4 - JHCC (talk) 19:49, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 4 - DJ Clayworth 20:06, 6 September 2005 (UTC) Currently most of the disputed articles are not in the disputed category
  • 6 - --Doc (?) 21:16, 6 September 2005 (UTC) ridiculous solution
  • 5 - KHM03 10:24, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 2 - FestivalOfSouls 01:13, 7 September 2005 (UTC) while i don't think the disclaimer is necissary, and HATE the fact that this compromise is argued by the pro-bible-as-100%-truth-and-any-thing-that-argues-that-even-my-own-ignorace-is-bad crowd as "proof" the term is not appropriate, it is the most workable form.
    • You're quite mistaken in your assertion that everyone who opposes your point of view is a literalistic inerrantist. I'm certainly not. AnonMoos 15:53, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 4 - AnonMoos 02:55, 7 September 2005 (UTC) Kind of awkward
  • 3 - Grika 03:27, 7 September 2005 (UTC) Slightly worse than doing nothing.
  • 3 - Codex Sinaiticus 04:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Do nothing while we continue to discuss

This will retain the "Christian mythology" category unchanged while discussion continues.

  • 3 - JHCC (talk) 19:49, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 1 - DJ Clayworth 20:06, 6 September 2005 (UTC) The current situation is satisfactory while discussion continues
  • 3 - --Doc (?) 21:16, 6 September 2005 (UTC) not sure what this will achieve, most things have aleady been said (but it is relatively harmless for a while)
My intention with including this was to allow a "not yet ready to support a particular position" option. JHCC (talk) 14:19, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 2 - KHM03 21:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 5 - FestivalOfSouls 01:13, 7 September 2005 (UTC) Judging from the pro-bible-as-100%-truth party, and from "debates" with that type before, they will just refuse to listen to arguments, and refuse to give any of their own, going around in circles, tying up progress indefinatly for a de facto "win" by refusal to compromise.
  • 3 - AnonMoos 02:58, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 2 - Grika 03:27, 7 September 2005 (UTC) Discussion is still lively, no reason to get extreme yet.
  • 4 - Codex Sinaiticus 04:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Keep the category

This will retain the "Christian mythology" category forever unchanged and unqualified.

  • 6 - JHCC (talk) 19:49, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 6 - DJ Clayworth 20:40, 6 September 2005 (UTC) Actualy I think the category is an excellent one, but the contents is under dispute.
  • 1 - --Doc (?) 21:16, 6 September 2005 (UTC) (but I understand this is unlikely to command a consensus
  • 1 - KHM03 21:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 1 - FestivalOfSouls 01:13, 7 September 2005 (UTC) I feel that regardless of Codex's bigotry, most people can and do use dictionaries, and won't be confused.
  • 5 - AnonMoos 02:46, 7 September 2005 (UTC) The category is not really all that inherently pernicious in itself -- but with human nature being what it is, it invites misuse and abuse by peaple like User:Reddi and User:FestivalOfSouls attaching it to articles where it doesn't really belong, so that they can say "Ha, ha! What you believe is merely a myth!"
Um.... I don't get it. How is applying the dictionary definition of a word "attaching it to articles where it doesn't really belong"? and when have I ever said anything remotely like "Ha, ha! What you believe is merely a myth!"? All I have ever done is campaign to remove the pro-christian bias and bigotry from wikipedia. All I have ever done is try and hold christianity to the same standards that everyone seems to agree it is ok to hold the other major religions to. No one is arguing that jewish mythology, or hindu mythology is unacceptable, no they are arguing that things from the christian bible must NEVER be called mythology, and trying to draw a line between what their holy book contains, and what every other holy book and every other quasi-historical book contains. Arguements liek that only reveil hos biased they are. FestivalOfSouls 05:41, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
I think, with all due respect, that FestivalOfSouls is probably correct. KHM03 10:27, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Thank you. FestivalOfSouls 13:25, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't find it excessively edifying to see Reddi getting into repetitive revert wars over "Trinity", or Festival of Souls repetitively reverting at "Limbo", "Purgatory", and "Transubstantiation" -- subjects which you would probably agree don't properly fall under "Mythology". Both of them have been reported for violating the three-revert rule, and if you look at Festival of Souls' edit history for the months of August and September 2005, you will see hundreds of edits which have no purpose whatsoever other than advancing his personal jihad to insult Christians. Keeping the category unchanged under its current name invites further such abuse in future. I actually don't so much object to the category "Christian Mythology" itself, as to the fact that in practice this category gives vandals a cover-excuse to conduct their vandalism AnonMoos 12:42, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Read the articles, They all contain substatial portions of the myths they are based on, not JUST the doctrines, ergo the article is about the myths and the results of the myths, not just docrine. FestivalOfSouls 13:25, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Festival is not correct. He just stated No one is arguing that jewish mythology, or hindu mythology is unacceptable, no they are arguing that things from the christian bible must NEVER be called mythology, and trying to draw a line between what their holy book contains, and what every other holy book and every other quasi-historical book contains. First of all, plenty of people have argued that "Jewish mythology" is unacceptable. His denial that there has been any discussion on this, is just plain incorrect, if not outright misleading. Just read the talk for that category. As for "Hindu mythology", I haven't really looked to see what Hindus are saying about this term, but I've said before and will say it again, if it came to my attention that Hindus do object to having their holy writings called "mythology", I would most certainly support them to get it changed to a term they would be happy with. The conditions of each religion are different, and you just can't use the same terminology for all of them. I'm not biased toward Christianity in this regard. Out of ALL the people who have expressed the same opinion, that "mythology"'s multiple definitions contain an unacceptable insult, when applied to the holy scriptures of the world's currently practised major religions - it seems Festival is attempting to single only me out, as some kind of scapegoat or foil against which to push his own unshakable point-of-view that "Scripture is Mythology". Read through the comments again, Festival. There's lots of other folks you could wag your anti-religious finger at besides me. Probably a few billion. Codex Sinaiticus 12:58, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
While the comments HAS been made, it has been dropped after a breif mention, and your latest campaign to seperate biblical and non-biblical mythology makes no account for them. You are lending undue weight to biblical matters, and immediatly casting off non-biblical ones. Oh, and the only reason you have been singled out is due to your over-zealousness, your constant lies, both in comments and in edit discriptions, such as saying i was violating 3rr on my second post of 24 hours, or that I was currently banned, or that things such as arbitration were happening. You constant inability to read what I say, to read the dictionary and to stay neutral, and your massive bias against anything that could possibly, if someone misunderstood a term, mean your religion was less than 100% true is forbidden, ignoring the positives of something based on that, and your absolute, die hard refusal to compromise, even at the expense of my compromise, and then you have the gaul to claim that you both refuse to allow mythology to be used AND are teh only one making an effort to compromise in the same dang post has singled you out. FestivalOfSouls 13:25, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
I think that we can't treat Christian stories or ideas differently than we treat, say Hindu stories. This ought to be a universal standard. And, yes, we will have to come to a compromise regarding things like "Trinity", which is a doctrine, and not a myth. Ee could probably come to some sort of arrangement. But things like "Garden of Eden" or "Tower of Babel" would end up in the "myth" category...and there's nothing wrong with that. KHM03 14:18, 7 September 2005 (UTC)


  • 1 - Grika 03:27, 7 September 2005 (UTC) The catagory is fine where justified, as long as another catagory is created for actual biblical events and people.
  • 6 - Codex Sinaiticus 04:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

I was informed by JHCC that he is looking for an indication of the final destination of these discussions, so I've changed my votes. Anyone going through the history will find this. However I believe that JHCC has missed (in my opinion) the best solution which would be: Keep the category but create a category for stories where it would be counter productive to class as mythology (primarily that would be Bible stories). DJ Clayworth 20:40, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

That's not a bad idea...two categories. I like it. KHM03 21:35, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
To me it's not a matter of whether the Mythology categories should be kept, but only of how they should be applied. The category, Jewish mythology was renamed because there was nothing that belonged to it that couldn't better be described as Jewish folktales. Christian mythology is much more diverse. Christian mythology consists of fables, fairytales, legends, non-canonical stories of the patriarchs or of Jesus, inspirational fantasies, discredited hagiographies, etc.. Many of them have been categorized correctly and without controversy already. — Mark (Mkmcconn) **
This really is the only way; the Easter Bunny is a religious myth while Jewish slavery in Egypt is a religious belief or tradition. Two terms are required and subsequently two categories should exist. Grika 03:27, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
  • 1 - Smerdis of Tlön 14:29, 7 September 2005 (UTC) For at least some stories so categorized — tales of saints encountering monsters and dragons, tales of saints who were giants or ogres, supposed relics such as the Holy Prepuce or bits of the True Cross — the "insinuation of falsehood" or at least high improbability is appropriate. Biblical narratives should be set aside for another category, but for tales such as these all the implications of "mythology" belong.

Vote results as of 14:18, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Remember, votes were in order of preference, so low number = more support for this position. Eight people voted, so the lowest possible score = 8 (everyone's first choice); highest possible score = 48 (everyone's last choice).

Delete the category and do not replace it

39 total votes.

Rename the category

18 total votes

Rename the category, use dispute tag while discussion is in progress

30 total votes

Keep the category, add a disclaimer

31 total votes

Do nothing while we continue to discuss

23 total votes

Keep the category

27 total votes

Thus, ranking in order of greatest to least support:

  1. Rename the category(18 votes)
  2. Do nothing while we continue to discuss (23 votes)
  3. Keep the category (27 votes)
  4. Rename the category, use dispute tag while discussion is in progress (30 votes)
  5. Keep the category, add a disclaimer (31 votes)
  6. Delete the category and do not replace it (39 votes)

And the winner is...NO CONSENSUS!!!

Unfortunately, I think the only things that we can clearly deduce from these results are that (A) no-one wants to delete the category entirely and (B) disclaimers and dispute tags do not have great support, either as a permanent solution or an interim measure.

I hope that this has been somewhat helpful. Thanks to all who voted. JHCC (talk) 14:19, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Proposal:Two categories

(based on the above discussion) OK, that seems like a reasonable level of support. It turns out we already have a Category:Hebrew Bible/Tanakh events so all we would need to do is create Category:New Testament events and we're off to the races. I hereby put this plan up for discussion. DJ Clayworth 13:34, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Would we be keeping the Christian mythology category? And would things like "Tower of Babel" be in more than one category? KHM03 14:20, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

And this will not avoid edit conflicts. A two categories solution is an admission that 'myth'=untrue, if so, then we're still going to have POV problems. Is the story of St. Veronica a 'myth'? Devout RC's may hold that it is true and thus no myth. What about NT apocrypha - is that all myth?

The way I look at it is this. If myth cannot be seen as neutral for Biblical stories (and I think it can - but obviously that is not the concensus view), then it is not neutral for any story, and should be replaced by one single renamed category. I've suggested 'Early Christian stories'. Differentiationg between Bible and non-Bible is unjustifiable. --Doc (?) 14:30, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

An "admission" that myth = untrue? We don't need an admission that myth = untrue. The English dictionary already tells us that myth = untrue. That is one of the definitions. I realize this is alongside the other (newer) usage also mentioned in the dictionary, that might not mean untrue. But an ambiguous term that sometimes means "false" and sometimes doesn't, cannot be NPOV in a dispute. It can only be used neutrally where the consensus agrees that something is obviously, definitely false. Codex Sinaiticus 14:59, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
And how do you propose that the myths from the bible are any more or less true than the myths from any other source? To say that YOUR holy book cannot be deemed false in any way, but to turn around and say that what someone else holds as religious cannon can be is very definatly POV. Are you saying every story in the jewish mythology or the hindu mythology category is obviously, definatly false? that is a very bold, and very bigoted POV statement to be making. That is exaclty the POV and the reason why we need to actually use the christian mythology category. By refusing to use it for one religion, and allowing the others to use it, is pure bias. FestivalOfSouls 15:32, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Also, why is "differentiating between Bible and non-Bible unjustifiable"? It's easily justifiable. We're talking about entirly different categories of beliefs; the nature of the beliefs in the Biblical category is plainly not on a level with any beliefs in the non-Biblical category. Who really cannot see the difference between "Easter Bunny" and "Resurrection of the Dead"? Codex Sinaiticus 15:06, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Hi. I honestly cannot see the difference between some magical being makeing the earth in 6 days, or of the garden of eden, or of sodom and gromorah, or david and goliath,cain and able, noahs ark, tower of babel and santa clause, the easter bunny, saint george, or any other extra biblical myths. I also cannot see how the former list is any different than the myths from hindu of jewish belief systems. FestivalOfSouls 15:32, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
My question remains: would "Tower of Babel", or "Garden of Eden", or "Noah's Ark", (et al) be in the myth category and the Bible stories category? KHM03 15:10, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
They are Bible stories, but not everyone agrees they are false, so they would probably be disputed as "myth" for the same reason by people who do hold them as sacred beliefs, including Orthodox Jews... Codex Sinaiticus 15:17, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
So basically, the reality, or the definition of a word really does not matter when applied to your religious text? What about all the Catholic that believe in the lives of the saints? That is extra-biblical, so their belief does not matter? Stop pretending to not be a massive POV pusher here, since yet again you a quite firmly pushing your POV. FestivalOfSouls 15:38, 7 September 2005 (UTC)


OK, I'm accepting Codex's argument for the moment. However, my point is this: if/given myth=untrue then it is POV to apply it to Biblical story, but it follows that other religious stories that might be believed by a significant number of people could not be labled as myth either. 'Ancient Greek myths' would be OK - since few if any believe them today - but 'Christian myths' could not include St. Veronica, Tower of Babel, or various hagiographic/apocraphal tales of saints, since a significant number of people will hold these as true. If we rid ourselves of 'myth' for Bible stories, we need to rid ourselves of it entirely. --Doc (?) 15:16, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Not only that, but before we nuke the Christian mythology category, we need to carry on this discussion on the Hindu/Jewish mythology pages, and convince them, since if mythology=POV then those categories are POV. You cannot say a word is POV when applied to your dogma, but not someone elses. FestivalOfSouls 15:38, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

This "all or none" mentality is not dealing with the issue in a straight manner, and it shows how biased the use of categories is prone to be. We might all agree that Santa Claus is a myth, but if we don't call the Resurrection a myth, then some of you are arguing that we can't call Santa Claus a myth? This is not credible, and it is openly hostile to religious belief. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 15:42, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
The "All or none" as you call it, is not so much about santa claus, but about the fact that at least 2 other major religions use the term mythology, and to say that you cannot use "mythology" to refure to biblical stories because people hold them as sacred beliefs but to say that it is ok to use it for the other religions(which people hold as sacred beliefs) because they are not in the bible is POV. To say that christianity diserves special treatment is bias. The way I see it, the standard should be the same for every religion, not just the ones people here personally support. Either a word is ok to use on a major religion, that many people hold sacred, or it is not. Simple as that. FestivalOfSouls 15:56, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
The standard cannot be the same for every religion. Not every religion has the same objection to the idea of mythology. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:30, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Festival, let me try one more time. One of the definitions of "myth" is false, right? Right. So the only articles nobody would disagree, can safely and neutrally be called "mythology", are the ones that nobody thinks are true, like Santa Claus. Each article would be on a case by case basis, if a significant body of people felt that an extra-biblical Saint's life is not false, consensus would probably be against using "mythology". I can tell you right now that significant numbers (not just individuals, but whole denominations) do feel this way about anything biblical, so in our study of belief systems here, we may as well acknowledge the reality, that Biblical beliefs are their own category. Once again, I am not opposed to changing the other religions terminologies, but ralizing that each religion is different, it would be a colossal error to try to use the same cookie-cutter on each of them. I know that Hindus hold certain books sacred like Veda and Gita, so I would not at all be surprised if they objected to calling tese "mythology", and would support them if they did object, but it's not my call to make, since after all I am not a Hindu and I don't rightly know if this is a problem for them or not. Codex Sinaiticus 15:50, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

"So the only articles nobody would disagree, can safely and neutrally be called "mythology", are the ones that nobody thinks are true, like Santa Claus." --Codex, please do not be so bigoted. Millions of Hindus and Jews are alive in the world today, and believe just as strongly in their religion as you do in yours. Dont spit in their faces and say no one thinks ther religious stories are true. So what you are saying, yet again, is you are unwilling to think of a better term, or compromise, or even admit that saying a word is biased when used about your religious dogma, but not others is wrong? Nothing to see here, move along now.... FestivalOfSouls 16:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Anyone with any reading comprehension ought to be able to see that the words Festival is putting in my mouth, are the precise opposite of what I expressed. This strawman looks to me like a sign of desperation. Codex Sinaiticus 16:08, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
To clarify once again, I would support people of any other religion who objected to their sacred texts being classed as "mythology", including Hindus or Jews. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in all religions and say what terminology is appropriate or inaprropriate for them, I would leave it to those who are experts in them and support whatever they conclude. Codex Sinaiticus 16:15, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Anyone with reading comprehension can see you making a blanket statment, that mythology can only be used on things everyone agrees is false (ignoring the definition of the word), and then going on to struggle and justify using it for other religions. Either a) "the only articles nobody would disagree, can safely and neutrally be called "mythology", are the ones that nobody thinks are true, like Santa Claus." is true statment OR it is ok to use "mythology" to refure to religion, not both. FestivalOfSouls 16:16, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
I believe in Santa Claus. KHM03 15:54, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
As do I. FestivalOfSouls 16:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Here I'm trying to ignore the more heated components of this debate. It seems to me that if we create these two categories we will reduce the problem considerably. All Bible stories go in one or the other; since Bible stories are by definition myth (using the academic definition) then there is no need to put them in Category:Christian myth as well. If you absolutely insist we can continue to debate whether Bible stories should be a subcategory of Christian myth, but even that is an improvement since we can put a disclaimer in one place (rather than many) and if we change our minds it's only one edit.
There may still be some other issues for stories which are extra-biblcal but widely believed to be historical. We can continue that debate. The Apocrypha maybe deserves a category of its own for events protrayed in it. Guys, if you think that creating these categories would be an improvement (and it's not closing off the ongoing debate) say so here and we can do it. DJ Clayworth 15:52, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Feel free to make the categories, and subcategorize both of them under christian mythology. I will support that. FestivalOfSouls 16:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
KHM03, the idea that Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas is a myth. ("not implying that it doesn't have basis in fact"). — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:24, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

New Proposal

I propose that we all take a few days off, giving our word that we won't make any changes until we "reconvene" the discussion. It seems to me that things are getting too heated and unconstructive. Maybe we could all agree to a "moratorium" for one week, and beginning the discussion anew on Sept. 14. We could use the time to focus our efforts on helping the hurricane victims, rather than engage in this meaningless-by-comparison dialogue. Just a suggestion from your friendly neighborhood United Methodist. KHM03 16:18, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

An appealing sentiment, but Wikipedia is a juggernaut. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:22, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

While I agree this has gone on too long, and a break is needed, I will most likely use the time to improve wikipedia, by attempting to call an apple an apple. In the absense of a better category, I will read various articles and tag them as Category:Christian mythology or Category:Abrahamic mythology as appropriate. A moratorium should leave the articles in question NPOV, not POV, and the current POV has gone on too long. After I correct the articles, then i will wait until the 14th. FestivalOfSouls 16:24, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

FestivalOfSouls, PLEASE do not do that. There is NO consensus that tagging articles as Category:Christian mythology or Category:Abrahamic mythology is neutral. Tagging these articles while everyone else observes a moratorium will not help anything. JHCC (talk) 16:36, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
The articles should be described as mythology by the consensual process; or else, applying the category of mythology is POV pushing pure and simple. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:45, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
And it's not the Christian thing to do, either. KHM03 17:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Nor is it the Jewish or Hindu thing to do. JHCC (talk) 17:21, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, judging from the "christians" on this page, the christian thing to do would be to force your own POV onto a page, and then use stalling and delay tactics to keep it there. There is NO consensus that not tagging articles as Category:Christian mythology or Category:Abrahamic mythology is neutral. I am getting tired of Codexs bigotry and running in circles trying to delay progress. Can't we just move on? We have been at this for what? a month? and we are STILL at the exact same point! We all pretty much agree that we could use a better term, but no one has come up with an acceptable one. In the meantime lets atleast start tagging the articles and if/when we ever get a new category worked out, then it is a simple matter of renaming it and visiting the articles and updating. FestivalOfSouls 17:16, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
True, there is no consensus that the category should not be applied. However,
  • There was greater support for either "changing the category" or "doing nothing while we continue to discuss" than there was for "not changing the category". In the absence of consensus, the majority opinion should at least be respected.
  • If we were to take a vote on whether these articles should be tagged prior to a moratorium, I sincerly doubt that the consensus would be "Yes" — see the comments below from Doc Glasgow and Mark.
JHCC (talk) 17:50, 7 September 2005 (UTC)


A moratorium should be a complete moratorium - i.e. leave everything as it is without prejudice to later changes. One observation, as a latecomer to this debate, there are a number of people here with strong opinions here, and none of them are likely to change their minds. I think what we need are fresh eyes, so we can see which positions are minority and which command support. A compromise, all be it one that wouldn't please some, may be possible. I consider it very unfortunate that the poll (above) was summed-up and effectively concluded so soon. The vote reflected generally only those keen folk who are focused on this - and the 'no-consensus' among them was hardly unsuprising. It may be neccessary to list a/the poll on an RfC to get more general comments to break the log-jam. --Doc (?) 17:22, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

In point of fact, this debate has been going on for over three years. There is no consensus about how to apply this category. Therefore, those editors are pushing their own POV, who apply the categories to articles where it will be controversial. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:28, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
In point of fact, this debate has been going on for over three years. There is no consensus about how to apply this category. Therefore, those editors are pushing their own POV, who refuse to apply the categories to the articles about their religion. FestivalOfSouls 01:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
You have tried this table-turning argument numerous times; although you seem to be persuaded by it, frankly it discredits you as a serious entrant in the effort to find an appropriate approach. If I say that the moon is made of cheese, but you say it is not cheese, it's a bunk claim that in the absence of "consensus" I should thereby be free to categorize Moon as Category:Dairy products. You are the cheese party in this debate. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 20:56, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Hmmm, i find it hard to see how that would have a problem getting concensus on that one.... If I were to say that the only reason I had to not allow you to catagorize it as cheese was NOT scientific, but rather due to personal religious beliefs, go ahead. If the moon fit the definition of "dairy products" as defined by the dictionary, go ahead. In the absense of that, take your red herring argument and leave. It has nothing to do with the conversation at hand. FestivalOfSouls 22:20, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
The Category:Abrahamic mythology has been used in just such a disruptive way. An adherent has also raised the same issue under Hindu mythology. This terminology can be applied without controversy; but if there is controversy, it is an indication that neutrality is not being properly applied. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:37, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

How is it that I get called a "bigot"? That is certainly unjustified; almost anyone can recognise that labelling sacred texts (be they New Testament, Lotus Sutra, Quran, or whatever) with a term like "mythology" is pushing a POV. If you think any article itself contains POV, you can always change it or tweak the wording. But to claim that adding a controversial category to an article is somehow furthering NPOV is just ludicrous, just as it is to wail that those keeping it off the article are "pushing pov". POV is pushed by adding something disputed in, not by keeping something out. Then to scream "bigot" at those who won't consent to this label, is really taking absurdity to an extreme! I do not feel guilty of any bigotry here, for not seeing things your way. Codex Sinaiticus 17:41, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Codex, the stupidity you post never ceases to amaze me. I hope for your sake it is faked. "POV is pushed by adding something disputed in, not by keeping something out." --Codex Seriously, do YOU even believe that? So the only way to have POV in an article is to add something, and it is impossible to create POV by leaving something out? So we should remove everything disputed on wikipedia? Great idea! No matter how you cut it, when you say that every other religion on earth (i.e. non-biblical religions) are false (i.e. saying it is ok to call them "mythology" using your biased definition) and not allowing your religion to be called a myth (because "So the only articles nobody would disagree, can safely and neutrally be called "mythology", are the ones that nobody thinks are true") You are being bigoted about your religion, ergo you are a bigot. FestivalOfSouls 01:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Festival still seems a little confused about what my position is. At least I'm going to assume good faith and not suppose that he is deliberately distorting my position into the exact opposite of what it is by "explaining to everyone" his version of my position as if people were incapable of reading what I wrote, and instead have to read Festival's version of what I wrote.
Once again, (read it really slow if you have trouble) I am not making any such statement about other religions. When I say "extra-biblical" things can be safely described as "Christian mythology", by "extra-biblical" I do not mean to include sacred texts of other world religions. Basically I feel that to describe the sacred text of ANY world religion is pushing a POV. I do not like to see the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Lotus Sutra pronounced to be "mythology" because I know that is a disputed POV, every bit as much as declaring the Bible to be "mythology". If any believers of these other sacred texts complains about this, I am prepared to support them. Codex Sinaiticus 14:14, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Sorry Codex, but, well... read back a bit. You have REPEATEDLY said that the term mythology can only be used for things that absolutly no one believes in, and then go right on to say that the other uses of mythology to refur to religion is OK with you. That is EXACTLY what you have been saying, and EXACTLY what I am pointing out. You do NOT make a diferentiation between christian extra-biblical stories and extra-biblical stories. You may go back now, after the fact, and with hindsight and say you MENT to, but that is not the same as actually saying it in the first place. You want special treatment on the christian pages due to your POV. That is not how wiki is supposed to work. Get used to it, or get lost. FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
That was never my position; that's only your strawman that you would prefer to argue against. If I ever made any such argument, I'm sure that you can pull my words up from the record; that's the whole purpose of having a permanent record. Codex Sinaiticus 21:22, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
How about a few Codex Quotes from this page:
"One of the definitions of "myth" is false, right? Right. So the only articles nobody would disagree, can safely and neutrally be called "mythology"" --Codex
"We may as well acknowledge the reality, that Biblical beliefs are their own category."--Codex
"The Biblical beliefs are distinct enough from the others agreed to be mythological, to merit a distinct category."--Codex
Which others do you refur to? The other religious mythologies? Since you dispute the use of the mythology tag on ANY christian article, it can't be other CHRISTIAN beliefs...
"I'm sorry you don't make any distinction between "Biblical" and "extra-Biblical" beliefs, but since the distinction is made by most of those who hold any of these beliefs, I believe that that's the distinction we ought to somehow indicate."--Codex
Sorry, your POV is not a valid wikisource.
"we feel the definition (because of its ambiguous nature) is disputed and diputable when applied to the Biblical stories, but is not disputed for the non-Biblical ones."--Codex
*Cough* Exactly how is that my misinterpreting what you mean. You come right out and SAY it. Which non-biblical mythological stories are undisputed on wikipedia... Mainly non-christian ones, it appears.... At least that is the vast majority of them, and Codex has yet to remove the mythology tag from ONE of them, but insists on doing it repeatedly to teh christian ones.... Bias, POV, and bigotry, all in one. Codex, you are quite the total package!
"The English dictionary already tells us that myth = untrue. That is one of the definitions. I realize this is alongside the other (newer) usage also mentioned in the dictionary, that might not mean untrue. But an ambiguous term that sometimes means "false" and sometimes doesn't, cannot be NPOV"--Codex
Appears the addendum to that statement is "unless it is a non-christian religion" or possible "a non-biblical religion"....
"Also, why is "differentiating between Bible and non-Bible unjustifiable"? It's easily justifiable. We're talking about entirly different categories of beliefs; the nature of the beliefs in the Biblical category is plainly not on a level with any beliefs in the non-Biblical category."--Codex
Hmm... really don't get your strawman argument.... These are your words, and they really don't seem to help you your case at all. Please talk a deep breath, calm down, and leave the bigotry at the door.
Codex, in the future, please do not post POV or bias. Leave your bigotry out, and let us discuss this like rational adults. Not everyone supports your religion, and it is offensive when you say things like this, and it makes your religion look even worse. FestivalOfSouls 15:49, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Festival, you left out one quote where Codex clearly states his/her thoughts on the classification of the sacred texts of non-Christian religions:
To clarify once again, I would support people of any other religion who objected to their sacred texts being classed as "mythology", including Hindus or Jews. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in all religions and say what terminology is appropriate or inaprropriate for them, I would leave it to those who are experts in them and support whatever they conclude. Codex Sinaiticus 16:15, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Where exactly does he/she say "'unless it is a non-christian religion' or possible 'a non-biblical religion'"? JHCC (talk) 16:37, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Well I stand by everything I said, but as I feared, I was taken out of context - that's why I have sought to clarify, that what I mean by "non-Biblical" is exactly the sort of thing everyone might agree is "Christian mythology". Since we are discussing the category "Christian mythology", those comments about "extra-biblical" were only made within the context of "Christian mythology". If one interprets it as you are suggesting, it could be made to appear that I was proposing we add "Lotus Sutra" et. al. to "Christian mythology" on the grounds that they are "extra-biblical". I really didn't suspect anyone might reach that conclusion, but I'll reiterate one more time just in case: I was never suggesting that other world religions' "sacred texts" being called "mythology" is any more appropriate. Just for example, perhaps some Muslims would like to call the Hindu writings "mythology", while some Hindus in turn would try to label Muslim writings as "mythology". But since wikipedia does not take sides, it is indeed questionable whether any world religion ought to have its "sacred texts" thus tagged. My position has been strictly for the cause of neutrality, since the beginning of this discussion. Codex Sinaiticus 16:26, 12 September 2005 (UTC)



It really is reprehensible, that Codex has been singled out for this abuse. Are religious people somehow exempt from the protections of WP:NPA? Consensus is being ignored (that it is controversial and POV to apply "mythology" to some articles, and it is not controversial to apply it to others). In those cases where it is not controversial, it would likewise be POV-pushing if the category were not applied. Most of the articles listed in this category are not controversial (it would be POV-pushing to remove the category in most cases). In contrast, most of those listed in Category:Abrahamic mythology are very controversial (it is POV-pushing to apply the category as it has been, in most cases). — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 18:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
It is not a personal attack to point out his past and continuing behavior. Would it be a personal attack to call a user that posts "black people are all stupid" a racist? Would it be a personal attack to call some one who says "only white people can be smart" a bigot? What about someone who says "Only religions based on my bible can be true, and any other one can be called false"? That is what Codex has been doing by saying it is ok to use the "mythology" category on extra-biblical stories. I am a bit lost... what dictionary are you using? I have yet to find one that has anything to do with controversiality making a thing not a myth... The only real controversial thing about this whole debate is people insisting their religion is special and desrves special treatment, and that it would be POV to treat them like every other major religion. FestivalOfSouls 01:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
What seems to me to be overlooked here is that the actual use of Category:Christian mythology has historically been very different from Category:Abrahamic mythology. The core of "Christian mythology" contains articles like Pope Joan, the Wandering Jew, the Tarasque and the Seven Sleepers; fictional saints like Catherine of Alexandria; and Biblical or historical figures to which important bodies of apocryphal lore have attached, like the Biblical Magi, St Martha, or Saint George.
In other words, Christian mythology is about legendary, apocryphal tales, often featuring improbable wonders, combats with monsters, and similar stuff. I do not believe that any Christian groups today actually teach, either as doctrine or even as traditional lore held worthy of belief, the reality of Pope Joan, the Wandering Jew, the Seven Sleepers, or that Martha prevailed over the Tarasque. At least the core articles so categorised do not denigrate the religious faith of any living person, and are not put in the category to be contentious.
"Abrahamic mythology," by contrast, is a mish-mash that categorizes Hell and Genesis together with the evil eye. Looking through the articles so categorized, I'm not sure what they share. Only some of them actually are about the supernatural beliefs shared by Abrahamic faiths, which would at least make sense; but belief in the evil eye predates monotheism, and existed in pagan Greece and Rome.
The two categories are fundamentally different, and I have a sneaking suspicion that "Abrahamic mythology" exists for point-scoring. But Christian/Jewish/Islamic mythology are all categories that should stay. Smerdis of Tlön 19:07, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Also, as has been discussed on the article page, this way of categorizing faiths is a point of view held by some undescribed minority of scholars, not a neutral description. Looking around the internet, which is the only place I've run into the term, it is a perspective and terminology that seems to have particularly fond attachment among self-described pagans. See Talk:Abrahamic mythology#WP:RFC. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 19:30, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Doc's new category

Who called in mine? I'm not sure I came up with it, but whatever. --Doc (?) 17:09, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't know either, but it gives edits to this section a nice finished sound, and an air of credentialed authority. Don't change it ;-) — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:26, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

In general I'd be happy with a moratorium, but I suspect it won't work. In any case I'd like an exemption from the moratorium. I would like to create a Category:New Testament events and add appropriate articles to it. This seemed to receive some support (and little opposition) above, and it doesn't close off the main debate. What do we think? DJ Clayworth 18:52, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Feel free to make a new category, but since it doesn't cover teh same type of story as christian mythology, do not remove that category from anything. You can always add to wikipedia, and that doesn't sound even remotely controversial. FestivalOfSouls 01:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I would prefer "narratives" to "events", in the interest of the elusive "neutrality" goal. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 18:55, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
In my view, as long as you do nothing with any mythology stuff...including removing it from any articles...it should be fine. It's really a separate issue, for me. Something can be both Biblical and myth, in my view...the trick is agreeing on what is myth. KHM03 18:57, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
I second Mark's suggestion. This is a separate issue; you are not replacing, renaming, or reapplying any existing category. Just watch to make sure that no-one makes this a subcategory of the "mythology" category. JHCC (talk) 19:02, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Keith, if a "myth" is unambiguously a "narrative" by the agreed definition, then why is there any hesitation to apply "narrative" instead? That is consensus. In contrast, the way that Category:Abrahamic mythology is being used represents a point of view, not a similar consensus. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 19:10, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
My problem with it is that christians are forcing wikipedia to give them special treatment based on their personal religious views. They hold the POV that their religion is different, somehow more true than the other major world religions (which is ok, as long as they keep it to themselves, or express it in an NPOV way). In order to change the christian mythology catagory, we will have to do it to ALL religious catagories. Feel free to start gathering concensus on all appropriate catagory pages on that one. FestivalOfSouls 01:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Actually, self-described pagans have argued that the word "myth" has none of the negative connotations for them, that it has for many of us - the Biblical definition notwithstanding, "false" is not what "mythos" is, to them. However, at least one adherent of a variety of Hinduism has argued that for their sect at least, the word does not neutrally describe their understanding of the Vedas scriptures. Obviously, some Jews see the same difficulty. Different religions are different beliefs and attitudes. Our difficulties shouldn't be projected onto them, and neither should our fix. Frankly, the whole "religion and mythology" scheme is insulting, with its deconstructionist hostility toward belief, its phony modernistic arrogance and pretense to be a universal solvent. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:05, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
No one is being hostile towards belief, we are only asking that those that believe keep it to themselves and not force their worldview and bias onto a supposedly neutral item like the wikipedia. FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
Hi, this talking up and down the page is confusing me, can we take the 'can Christianity be treated differently question to the bottom? --Doc (?) 16:35, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with calling a narrative a narrative. The Garden of Eden story, for example, could be both. KHM03 19:12, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
I've argued for mythology - but I'd be equally happy with narative - indeed why not just rename the mythology catagory as 'Christian narravives' and be done with it (other religious can do the same if they wish). --Doc (?) 19:17, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
The renaming motion must be consistent over all religions to be NPOV. To say it is wrong to call the narratives of one religion mythical but not others is POV and a bad thing on wikipedia. FestivalOfSouls 01:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
"Christian narravives" might present problems. "Christian narratives" is better, but lacks the useful sense of "embodying belief" that "mythology" has. Nonetheless, I'd support "Christian narratives"; it's a useful category, avoids controversy, and can then be divided into Biblical and non-Biblical subcats, the latter of which could be further divided into hagiography, folktales, etc. JHCC (talk) 19:25, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
'Narratives' is what I meant - typing with my elbows again :-( --Doc (?) 19:40, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
"Christian" implies belief. However, not all things are "believed" equally or in the same way. I prefer "New testament narratives", "Folktales", "hagiography", "legends", "fairytales" to be used where they are appropriate. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 19:32, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
All these are useful subcategories of "Christian narratives" — they are all narratives told by Christians. The greater and lesser degrees of belief can be elaborated in the subcategories. "Christian" may imply belief (at least, on the part of the Christian doing the narrating), but it does not imply that the narrative itself is true or false (except, perhaps, for those who assume that anything a Christian believes is ipso facto not true). In fact, having the implied sense of "belief" may just be the missing link between "narrative" and "mythology".JHCC (talk) 20:28, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
No. Mythology always implies unbelief of some kind or degree. Those who wish to speak believingly of the historicity of the Virgin Birth or Exodus call them "events". If on the other hand, someone wishes to avoid raising questions of historicity, he might call them Biblical narratives. What do you call them if you wish to incorporate a disavowal of the relevance of historicity? What do you say if you want to suggest that the stories are borrowed from pagan mystery religions? You call them myths. That is the practically universal use of the word. Does anybody really doubt that? — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 21:13, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes Mark, it is quite evident that some people do. But let's stop arguing the same case. I think we can agree that using 'myth' to descibe stories that some people believe to be true is controversial. Categorising should seek to be non-controversial. The question is then can we agree that 'Christian naratives' is more non-controversial, and if so, could we replace the word myth (whatever it means) with the word narrative. Let's a compromise - and stop going over old ground - no-one is going to change their mind on the suitability of 'myth' - so let's just agree that it's controversial and controversial categories are not a good thing. --Doc (?) 21:20, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Tell you what. You start rallying the Hindus, and Jews, Codex can take the Buddists, and Muslims. Once you get them to agree to stop using the term mythology to articles about THEIR religion, we will talk about changing this ones name. FestivalOfSouls 01:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

I am answering the suggestion that "myth" implies belief, when in fact "myth" strongly suggests, in almost all uses (Christian and non-Christian), the idea that something is not believed as central: specifically - history. Meanings are being turned on their head, here, creating confusion. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 22:27, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Simple solution. Lets use the dictionary definition: "A popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution, or occurrence, " and stop making up new defintions. FestivalOfSouls 01:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
That would indeed be a simple solution (and would receive my wholehearted support) if that were the only definition in the dictionary. "An unfounded or false notion" is also a dictionary definition (Merriam Webster Online), as are "A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology" and "A fictitious story, person, or thing" (both from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition — which is also the source of the definition you just gave). These are not "new definitions" that anyone has "made up." They are in the dictionary, established by common usage, and inappropriate for Wikipedia. Without a disclaimer (which has no consensus support), such ambiguous categorization cannot be used for any religious belief, Christian or not. JHCC (talk) 13:54, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Ok. Well, I will start removing all catagories that use "legend" to talk to stories, because the dictionary includes a defintion that a legend is a part of a map used to explain what symbols mean, and we don't want people getting confused. You start on changing articles about fans, because someone might get confused as to how an avid patron, or a person that likes something highly can be the same as a mechanical device used to promote airflow. ANy others we need to fix because you are too stupid to realize that in order for a definition to fit a word, only ONE portion of the definition needs to fit, and for a word to NOT fit a definition, NONE of the defintion can fit. If a better term than mythology is found, mythology is the best (by definition) and therefore, even with its shortcomings, needs to be used. FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
First of all, thank you for directly calling me "stupid"; I was starting to feel left out. Second, if you would like to amend the categorization of "Legends" to "Legends (narrative)" and "Legends (cartography)" and of "Fans" to "Fans (popular culture)" and "Fans (airflow)", be my guest. Finally, since there are plenty of people at least as stupid as I am, and who will have just as much difficulty understanding which sense of an ambiguous word is intended for categorization purposes, perhaps you would be so kind as to tell us how you propose to make that clear without changing the category name "Christian mythology" or using any disclaimer or neutrality tag. JHCC (talk) 14:21, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
I've already registered my opinion that "narrative" is much more neutral in every respect, than either "myth" or "event". "New Testament narrative" implies that Christians believe the narratives in some sense (because these are the Christian scriptures). In contrast, calling them Christian mythology strongly suggests that someone does not believe them. And I challenge you to find a single academic who uses the terminology of "mythology" without intending to imply that history is of none, or of counter-beneficial value. Hauerwas, Bultmann, Spong, Campbell, etc., etc. - they use the word to mean "let's stop thinking history when we read these stories". — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 22:37, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
hmm, Humanitis I, II and III professors that come right out ont he first day of class and say as much? all three of my humanities proffessors said as much, as did my non-western and western cultures instuctors. FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
Will you please drop it! Your view has been heard, and even those of us who take a different one on myth are looking for a form of words that will accomodate everything you have objected to. So let us discuss what form of words can be uncontroversial and not keep going on about the meaning of myth. Yes, for the record, there are scholars who use 'myth' in a neutral sense (me for one, and try F.F. Bruce for another!) - but I am no longer interested in defending that position (if I ever was), but in findng a compromise which has not got this ambiguity. So let's forget what myth means - agree that it is too controversial to use - and talk about the pros and cons of 'narrative'. --Doc (?) 22:47, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Unless a better term can befound, which these people cannot find, all they have to go on is their inability to understand a dictionary. FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
I have moved on. I'm glad for the compromise. But it is not up to me to drop it. Look again at Bruce.

Whatever else may be thought of the evidence from early Jewish and Gentile writers . . . it does at least establish, for those who refuse the witness of Christian writings, the historical character of Jesus himself. Some writers may toy with the fancy of a Christ-myth, but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the Christ-myth theories. (F.F. Bruce. The New Testament Documents. p. 119. my emphasis)

I do not think that in this context, anyway, he means anything except a contrast between "myth" and "history". He does not mean that the "Christ-myth" affirms historicity, but rather, that it denies it. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 23:37, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Elsewhere he catagorises Exodus as 'mythos', but why are we still having this discussion - let's move on!!! --Doc (?) 23:41, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

We are still having the discussion because this is the "Christian mythology" subpage, and I perceive that the false impression remains, that "myth" sometimes means "literal history". In point of fact, it never does. No ambiguity, plain and simple, every time, if someone speaks of a Bible story as "myth" they always mean, "an explanatory narrative", an interpretive story, as opposed to "literal history" (with the possible exception of you, apparently).
I've acknowledged over and over, that those who speak this way do not mean to deny that the narrative is true - quite the contrary, they often mean that the story is profoundly true, sometimes precisely because it is not literal history - but they do mean that it is different from literal history. I just want it to be crystal clear that when we use the word "narrative", it is not because the "right" term went down to defeat. On the contrary, it is because we have hit on the most neutral and unbiased terminology. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 00:42, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Now to move on and convice all the other religions of that. FestivalOfSouls 01:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
So, what you are basically saying is that you will accept a compromise, providing it is acknowledged that your view is correct and those that took a different view are all totally wrong? That's not a compromise - that's a demand for unconditional surrender. A compromise says we will not agree on whether one can use myth with neutrality as to historicity - so let's use another term we can agree on. (Btw, I think you are misrepresenting the argument - no-one ever argued (least of all me) that myth 'sometimes means literal history' the argument was that myth can be used without prejudice to historicity (ie neutrally) - that's quite different. But please don't dispute the point again - you (and many others - perhaps even the majority) don't agree - understood - respected - accepted. As far as I am concerned you should get your way - we should use a different word - OK. Just don't expect those of us who took a different view to crave mea culpa for your satisfaction). --Doc (?) 00:58, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
OK, I apologise if the tone of that was a little agressive. It was 1am, and I was irritable. Let's move on in a spirit of co-operation. I think that is the Christian/Buddhist/Islamic/decent thing to do. --Doc (?) 11:35, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Just to return to the point I made about twelve hours ago, I would still like to create a category for things that happen in the New Testament. I prefer "New Testament events" to "New Testament narratives"; there are a couple of reasons for that. First it parallels Category:Hebrew Bible/Tanakh events which we have already. Secondly it would differentiate things the NT relates as if true from things like the parables, which could be considered 'narratives' but not 'events'. I registered two preferences for 'narrative' over 'event': any more opinions? (Note that this is not intended to be part of the debate over what else we could call 'myth' - that is an entirely separate question) DJ Clayworth 13:35, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Funny, change a few words in that post to their parallels, and what do you get? "I prefer "Christian mythology" to "New Testament narratives"; there are a couple of reasons for that. First it parallels Category:Abrahamic mythology (and Islamic mythology and Buddhist mythology and Hindu mythology and Jewish mythology...) which we have already." Kinda ironic, don't you think? FestivalOfSouls 01:48, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
It is indeed a separate question, because the categories, "mythology" and "Abrahamic mythology", were applied to the articles that had been categorized "Tanakh events". If the preference is to have two categories (mythology + history), instead of trying to embrace both ideas in one category (narrative), then I would much prefer "events". However, "Parables of Jesus" is a much more appropriate name for the parables, than "narrative" anyway. *sigh*, so many things to decide. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 14:34, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
If we end up with a "New Testament" or "Biblical" subcategory to the proposed "Christian narratives", I would recommend having it as a "narratives" subcategory, with further subcategorization into "events" (i.e., things that the NT says happened — Transfiguration, conversion of Paul, that sort of thing) and "Stories told in the NT" (Where someone in the NT tells the story — the Parables of Jesus being an obvious example). JHCC (talk) 19:58, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Cont....

OK, here's my ideas (and hopefully more constructive that my last contribution). We cannot have two categories - 'history and mythology', for two reasons. 1)It will lead to endless debates as to what belongs where. 2)We evidently don't agree on the definition of mythology - so it's best to avoid it altogether. Here's what I'd suggest:

  • 1 An overarching category of 'Christian narrative' to replace the mythology category - everything that's currently in the myth category could go into it. (I might suggest 'early Christian' would be better - else we'll have the stories of Wesley, Calvin etc in there too - or would that matter?)
  • 2 Subcategories such as 'New Testament events/stories' (I don't mind which) 'hagiography' 'apocrypha(l) stories' and whatever else anyone comes up with.

(*3 And this is perhaps a debate for elsewhere, a new stub category for NT and early Christianity - since the current Bible-stub relates to Hebrew Bible alone - anyone interested in this perhaps we can take it over to WP:BIBLE for discussion) Right that's my 2c for you to toss about --Doc (?) 16:42, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

My thoughts on Doc's proposal:
  • 1-Replace "Christian mythology" with "Christian narrative" — YES! Historically and theologically neutral; I love it!
  • 2-Subcategories galore! First, divide into "Biblical Christian narratives" (or New Testament narratives) and "Non-Biblical Christian narratives." Non-Biblical can then have even more subcategories for hagiography, folktales, legends, or whatever. I don't see a problem with later stories; this would be a perfect place to categorize the story of Martin Luther throwing an inkpot at the devil! Who knows, we might even have a subcategory for "Christian fiction" to include the Narnia Chronicles, the Pilgrim's Progress, and the Left Behind series.
  • 3 is an excellent suggestion, and appropriate for elsewhere.
And that is δυα λεπτα μου. JHCC (talk) 19:38, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Looks pretty. I toss two cents in the same pot. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 19:50, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

It would be good to hear from other participants to the debate, as to whether they could live with this as a compromise. Obviously, the question could be asked 'what about the myth categories of other religions'? I think my response would be - we have a problem here with controversy - so let's solve it - if it breaks out with other 'myth' categories, folk involved with those religions can decide whether to follow our lead. --Doc (?) 09:27, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

"Christian narrative" gets my vote- subdivided into "New Testament narrative" and "Extra-biblical Christian narrative" and I like the "Christian fiction" sub-cat and new stub ideas as well. --G Rutter 11:53, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
OK, I'll toss another two cents in for this solution. (How many is that so far?) This is the most logical answer I've seen so far, exactly as it stands written above. I only hope that the personal hatred of me is not so intense, that by adding my support for this proposal, I'm actually disqualifying it... (just joking! ;o) ) Codex Sinaiticus 14:19, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Willing to go with that proposal, but how will mythological events be distinguished? I.E. that someone named Jesus lived is not really mythical, but that he walked on water is.... Or the whole garden of eden thing, or the tower of bable, or the creation myth..... FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Yet another renaming proposal

I'll be brief. How does Category:Christian folklore sit with you? Smerdis of Tlön 03:41, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

If "folklore" isn't an ethnic idea, as it sounds at first as though it is, then there are fairy stories and similar tales that would apply. Do you think that it's quite broad enough for everything that has been categorized as Christian mythology. Christian legends, wives tales - maybe. But hagiographies, epic poems, etc. ? I'm not sure. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 03:58, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
*cough* the following is the definition of "fokelore":
1. The traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a people, transmitted orally.
2. The comparative study of folk knowledge and culture. Also called folkloristics.
3.
1. A body of widely accepted but usually specious notions about a place, a group, or an institution: Rumors of their antics became part of the folklore of Hollywood.
2. A popular but unfounded belief.
Uh-oh, the forbidden word appears in THAT defintion, too! FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
I think I'd rather go with narrative, folklore isn't bad - but it carries a connotation of popular but unofficial, and oral rather than textual. Much of the 'myth' stuff could be classed as folklore - but I'm not sure that NT stories - which have an authorative textual basis would sit comfortably in it. --Doc (?) 09:24, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I'll be equally brief. Good as a subcategory of "Non-Biblical Christian narrative", bad as a replacement for "Christian mythology." As Mark points out, it is not sufficiently broad. JHCC (talk) 13:21, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I would also agree that "folklore" is too similar to "myth" to avoid controversy. Grika 15:34, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Must all religions be categorised the same?

OK, this page is getting confusing, so can we have this debate down here?

As far as I can understand it, Festival of Souls is arguing that, even if we get a consensus that 'Christian narrative' should replace 'Christian myth' we can't do it, unless all religious myth categories are to be changed.

I say this is wrong. Categories should be non-controversial. 'Christian Myth' (although I'm personally happy with it) has obviously become controversial. If narrative commands more support - we should go for that. This is ‘’not’’ special pleading for Christianity - the same goes for other faiths, indeed any other topic - if a category becomes controversial, find a less controversial way to categorise. If the category 'Jewish myths' becomes contentious (and I don't know whether it is or not) then I'd support it changing too, but that would be a debate for those involved in Jewish articles. WP:NOT a bureaucracy - nor is it totally consistent. Let's be pragmatic, if we make this change we can get on with building an encyclopaedia and stop being a pedantic debating society. --Doc (?) 17:07, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

It is highly controversial to say that it is ok to call one religion a myth and not another. Take a look at ALL the arguments Codex and Co use("I am too stupid to read a dictionary and myth means false" and the like) and the arguments they make against calling christian stories mythical ("It is wrong to call anything people believe in a myth" and "only non-biblical stories can be called myths") and try and tell me with a straight face they are not trying for special treatment, or that they are not trying to push POV. FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree entirely with Doc, and with the following comment from Mark. JHCC (talk) 17:43, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Actually, self-described pagans have argued that the word "myth" has none of the negative connotations for them, that it has for many of us - the Biblical definition notwithstanding, "false" is not what "mythos" is, to them. However, at least one adherent of a variety of Hinduism has argued that for their sect at least, the word does not neutrally describe their understanding of the Vedas scriptures. Obviously, some Jews see the same difficulty. Different religions are different beliefs and attitudes. Our difficulties shouldn't be projected onto them, and neither should our fix. ... — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:05, 9 September 2005 (UTC), copied from above by JHCC (talk) 17:43, 9 September 2005 (UTC))

A portion of the discussion has been deleted by common consent, but can be found in the history, here.

JHCC's proposal

Something to think about over the weekend.

1 Rename Category:Christian mythology as Category:Christian narrative.
2 Subcategorize this category under the following scheme:
  1. Category:New Testament events (Events the NT describes happening)
  2. Category:New Testament stories (Stories told by people in the NT)
a. Category:Parables of Jesus
  1. Category:Christian folklore
  2. Category:Christian hagiography
  3. Category:Non-Biblical Christian historical narrative
  4. Others as needed

What do people think of this? JHCC (talk) 21:05, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

I'm confident that implementing everything under 2 will work. I'm not as sure that eliminating Christian mythology is the most supportable thing to do as a starter. However, maybe I'm just fretting needlessly. I have no objections of my own. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 21:19, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, major flaw in your plan, as it doesn't distigush myths from the other stories, and that is a useful distinction. FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
It is a useful distinction, but it is also an interpretive one. We are trying to remove interpretation from the categorization scheme, and leaving that job to the articles themselves. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 20:16, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
Then why have the catagory system at all, if it cannot be used? FestivalOfSouls 15:28, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Interpretation is inevitable, and can't be swept under the rug by pretending to look the other way. A category scheme that classifies the life of Maximilian Kolbe as being equally credible or incredible as the traditional story of Saint George has also adopted a point of view. Some distinction between ancient wonderlore and verifiable historiography needs to be kept, and in most cases it isn't too hard to draw that line. Also, some figures straddle categories. Saint James the Great and Joseph of Arimathea are Biblical figures; but legends that put St James in Spain, and Joseph in England, are implausible folklore. Smerdis of Tlön 22:38, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
Excellent point! That is a distinction that should not be lost no matter what the bibles-as-100%-fact group would have you think.FestivalOfSouls 15:28, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Well made point; but did I overstate my case or do you basically disagree? I think that the process of collaboration on the articles establishes the consensus from which categorization arises. Categories should reflect interpretation, rather than impose it regardless of consensus. A scheme should be chosen which guides readers rather than seeking to persuade them. "Unintentional self-parody" would not be a good category for Calvinism, although Keith might like the idea, for example. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 23:41, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
Smerdis's point is well taken, but Mark is saying that the "distinction between ancient wonderlore and verifiable historicity" should be discussed in the individual articles, not included in the categorization. The only way that you could include a story in an "ancient wonderlore" category would be if there were consensus that it is not "verifiable historiography"; in the case of stories conveying religious belief, such consensus would be practically impossible to achieve. On the other hand, note below that Doc proposes two subcategories of "Non-Biblical Narrative": "Hagiography" and "Biography". Saint George would go in the former; Maximilian Kolbe, the latter. JHCC (talk) 15:16, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
This, too, begs the question of what counts as "religious belief." Even for institutions like the Roman Catholic Church, there are many historically venerated saints about which the Church's apparent position is that no one is required to venerate them or even believe they existed. You gather that the RCC tolerates established cults from before the formal process of canonization was instituted, without necessarily endorsing them. Relaxation of the strictures that hold that individual articles should appear in only one of several subcategories, or not in a subcategory and a parent category, might get around the problem. It seems likely that St. Bernard was a historical figure; it seems less likely that St. Bernard tricked the Devil into building a bridge by promising the soul of the first creature that crossed the bridge, and making sure that the first creature was a cat (or a goat). If an article contains both sorts of information, it will belong in several subcategories. Smerdis of Tlön 14:53, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Generally agree - a good start, but a few points. 1) I'm not sure what would be a 'New Testament story' other than a parable? 2) I think 'events' may be a little loaded - it will imply 'things that actualy happened' and we'll end up with people insisting that miracle narratives should eb classed as stories not events. 3. Could we not just have 'New Testament narrative' as a subcat of 'Christian Narrative' and 'Parrables of Jesus' as a subcat of that. 4. 'historical narrative' will also cause disputes - is that narratives that claim to be historical, or ones universally regared as historical (and nothing is ever universally regarded as historical. 5. I'm not sure what folklore means - and what would be in it.

I'd simplify it like this - avoiding words that seem to imply 'true or not-true'

  • Category Christian narrative (replacing 'myth')
    • New Testament narrative
      • Gospel episodes
      • Parables of Jesus
      • episodes from Acts
    • Non-Biblical Narrative (??do we need this - or is everything not in NT subcat not 'non Biblical' by def)
      • Hagiography (lives of saints)
      • Biography
      • (As required)

--Doc (?) 21:57, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

If it replaces christian mythology, it needs to have the same catagorization itself as christian mythology. That wont be acceptable to some people, as they argue that some of the stories in the bible are not myths, which got us to this point....FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

"Episode" has a tight meaning, in the context of a narrative; and yet, I think that it will work in all cases that I can think of. Even as tight as it is, it leaves room for pericope, if our categorization required such fine focus. Nice. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 22:18, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

This is all very well, and the three or so of us can sit here fine-tuning it, but the bigger question remains: can we get a general consensus to replace myth with narrative? I doubt FofS will agree (although stranger things have happened) but what about others. I suggest we let this sit for a few days - and see who chips in. Then we might need a fresh RfC to gather wider comments. There is no point in changing the categories, only to be reverted on sight. --Doc (?) 22:26, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I like Doc's suggestions, and would only change "Episodes in Acts" to "Non-Gospel NT episodes" or something similar to also cover the (brief) narrative descriptions in Paul, not to mention the narrative sections of Revelation.
Doc is right to say that everything not in the NT subcat is "Non-Biblical" by default. Nonetheless, it is a useful subcat to have, if only to provide structural balance.
And with that said, I'm happy to await comment from our colleagues. JHCC (talk) 02:29, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
The better way to say that, I think, is that descriptions of events in Acts and the epistles are "NT episodes". Those in the Gospels are "Gospel episodes", which is a sub-category of "NT episodes". And Doc is right, by the same logic of organization, that we don't need the category "Non-biblical Christian narratives"; they are Hagiagraphies, Christian epics, Christian biographies, Christian legends, Christian folktales, NT narratives, etc.; all of which are subcategories of "Christian narratives". — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 04:49, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
See above, if it is to *replace* the christian mythology category, it needs to distinguish myth and non-myth, or some close proximity, otherwise you are not using the categorization system fairly, and as intended. FestivalOfSouls 20:04, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
Festival, could you please explain what you mean by "it needs to distinguish myth and non-myth"? Do you mean "it needs to distinguish narratives that convey belief from those that do not" or "it needs to distinguish narratives that are historically false from those that are historically true"? Or are you saying that those two distinctions are, in fact, identical? JHCC (talk) 14:32, 12 September 2005 (UTC)


If you have 2 catagories, X, and Y, and each contains 2 articles, a,b, and c,d, respectivly. Now pretend a POV-Pusher comes along and says "sorry you cannot use catagory X, since it offends my religious belief, due to my personal bias". Makeing a catagory W to "replace" X with would not include a,b,c, and d. No distiction is made between the 4 articles, and any benifit of haveing X is gone. You have no created a suplimental catagory, not a replacement. If W and X exist, you have more information than if W, or X alone exists, but with JUST W, you lose all information X provided. It is not a replacement unless the same information is provided. Their is a HUGE difference in Santa claus and the life of Jesus, and the two should be catagorized diferently. The same goes for the story of adam and eve, and the story about the sermon on the mound. FestivalOfSouls 15:28, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

OK Festival, you have some valid points here. But have you a solution to offer - that can leave 'Santa claus' in some sort of 'untrue story' category, whilst not catagorising in such a way as to imply that the Sermon on the Mount or the resurrection are either untrue (or true for that matter)? I don't think is is about arguing that 100% of the Bible/Christian tradition is historically accurate (that's certainly not my position), but it is about making sure that we don't have endless edit wars, or categorising that his heavily POV (either Christian or sceptical). Anyhow, my question, given no solution is ideal, do you have any suggestions that might command a consensus here (unanimity will be impossible)? --Doc (?) 15:46, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps a follow-up. Would not having separate (sub) categories for 'Bible narrative' and 'hagiography' not meet some of your point. Santa and St George would be hagiography - and it would be up to the reader to judge whether hagiography was more true or untrue that Bible story. I'm unhappy with having a Bible category separate from a ‘myth’ category - precisely because it looks like Christian special pleading, as it implies that Bible stories are not myths. Whether Bible stories are myths or not (if myth=untrue) is POV - and categorizing should neither support nor deny a Christian POV. But separating Bible stories from hagiography is reasonably objective (of course Arimathea could be in both categories - as it has elements of both. But the categorizing would not label either as true or untrue).--Doc (?) 15:59, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
a) In the absence of a better term, use "christian mythology" it is consistent and good enough for all the other religions.
b) Find a better catagorization name, for instance "Historical Christian Myths" which cover the historical events, which are either generally not argued, or have some historical record of happening. Sermon on the mound, the fact that someone named jesus existed, Roman occupation of the middle east, that sort of thing. "Non-historical Christian Myths": Garden of Eden, Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gromorah, that sort of thing, things which can be biblical, but which no non-biblical evidence has been found. It could also include Santa clause, lives of the saints, and the appropria I would have to re-read the Flood article, but it might go in the former, if it discusses the evidence for a massive regional flood, or this catagory if it doesn't. This appears to me pretty gosh darn neutral, not making any factual claims other than whether scientific evidence exists or not. You can even throw "Popular Christian Myths" or "Popular Christian Cultural Myths" in there to place santa in, and the easter bunny, and the like, if you want to be even more segragated. Since the catagories can be rigidly defined (Myths with or without verifiable historical basis) debate can be settled based on the definition, and wether an article or topic fits them or not, rather than personal POV and Bias, such as decreeing that everything in the bible is true, like the "biblical/non-biblical" method Codex is attempting to push on us. FestivalOfSouls 16:11, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Festival, thank you for your hypothetical example and your proposal here, but you didn't answer my question (or maybe you did but I'm too stupid to see). What specifically distinguishes "myth" from "narrative"? What information is lost by changing the name of the category, that is not preserved by the proposed subcategorization?
As for your Santa Claus/life of Jesus example, the proposed categorization and subcategorization system would put both in "Christian narrative", with Santa Clause in "Christian folklore" (or its equivalent) under "Non-Biblical Christian narrative" and the life of Jesus in "Gospel narratives/episodes" under "New Testament narrative". There is a distinction between the two articles — a much clearer distinction than simply including Santa Claus in "Christian mythology". JHCC (talk) 16:19, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Just out of curiosity, where would "Tower of Bable" fall? Or "Garden of Eden" or "Resurection"? or "Sodom and Gromorah" and "David and Golaith"? What about the unverifid miracles?FestivalOfSouls 16:29, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
The Tower of Babel, the Garden of Eden, Sodom and Gomorrah, and David and Goliath are all Old Testament, common to both Judaism and Christianity, and therefore should not be categorized as solely "Christian". The Resurrection is a New Testament episode, as are the miracles of Jesus.
I've answered your question. Could you please answer mine? What specifically distinguishes "myth" from "narrative"? Thank you. JHCC (talk) 16:53, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
The common use across the board of the word mythology to refure to religious stories on wikipedia means that refusal to use it in the exact same context due to personal beliefs is bias and POV. That is what specifically distiguishes the two terms in this context. FestivalOfSouls 17:32, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
In other words, you maintain that any religious story should be categorized as "myth"? JHCC (talk) 19:48, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Only so long as every religion is treated the same. To do otherwise is POV. FestivalOfSouls 22:28, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
In Wikipedia, every religion (and every belief, whether religious or secular) should be treated the same: with respect and without judgement as to its truth or falsehood. As previously demonstrated, applying "mythology" to religious beliefs can be legitimately understood as questioning truth or falsehood, and as such is inappropriate. The fact that practitioners of some religions may not find the term inappropriate does not justify applying it to all. JHCC (talk) 04:48, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
The argument boiled down is, lack of non-biblical evidence (for historicity), is argument for categorizing the story as non-historical (myth). This cuts out beliefs, and postures historical method as the basic way of discerning myth. It's the "Jesus Project" applied to Wikipedia. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:33, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
I am confused... are you saying objective standards are a bad thing, or not...? FestivalOfSouls 16:42, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Objective standards are good; we're just trying to figure out what the objective standard should be.
  • If the objective standard is that "all religious stories should be categorized as myth", that doesn't solve the ambiguity problem. With no qualification or disclaimer, stupid people like me will not know what definition of "myth" is intended. Wikipedia cannot imply the truth or falsehood of any belief.
  • If the objective standard is that "all Christian religious stories should be categorized as mythology because all other religious stories are categorized as mythology", this assumes that is is neutral usage to apply "mythology" to all religions. As we have seen already, this is not true. Even if this is current usage, however widespread, there is no Wikipedia policy that all religious stories must be categorized as "myth". JHCC (talk) 20:26, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
That seems to ignore the fact that to selectivly choose which religions are ok to call myth (which you claim is not objective) and which is ok. FestivalOfSouls 22:28, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Mark, did you mean Jesus Seminar? KHM03 16:36, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes. Sorry about my haste, the Jesus Seminar is what I meant. And, I am not saying that an objective standard is a bad thing; however, I am saying that on Wikipedia the elusive "objective standard" is not assumed to have been attained. As I've repeated many times in my discussion with you, FofS, we don't assume that the Neutral Point of View is a point of view. At the same time, we do not assume belief to be normative either. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:54, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
However, wether it has been attained or not, it should always be the goal, and CAN be obtained. The neutral point of view is by definition objective, and therefor is by wikipolicy the one we should use. If an article or catagory has a POV, such as not lableing things acourding to the definition, due to personal religious belief, then it is not objective. If it is objective, it cannot be POV. FestivalOfSouls 17:32, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
This is daft. The 'Jesus Seminar' is not an objective project - and certainly not an attempt at consensus. The are opinions to the left and the right of it - from Biblical literalists, to the 'Jesus didn't exist brigade. And there are plenty of scholars without an axe to grind who disagree with them. Categorising stories by provenance (Bible/apocrypha/life of saint/ traditional / biography etc) is (reasonably) objective - and fairly easy to arrive at consensus upon. Categorising as to 'degree of truth' is pointless - you'd need a page of discussion, longer than the article, for each categorisation - with no hope of reaching a consensus at the end. I'm post-modern enough to give that type of 19th century 'objectivity' up as a lost cause - precisely because it is utterly subjective. In any case, categorisation ought to be about conveniently grouping articles, not assessing their subject matter - that's for the content (if at all). --Doc (?) 18:03, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Hear! Hear!
Codex Sinaiticus 18:15, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
I would add to Doc's comment that categorizing by "degree of historical verifiability" (let alone truth) is equally pointless, for the same reason. JHCC (talk) 20:26, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Just to make clear on my last comment, I am most emphatically NOT saying that we should not discuss historical verifiability or include it in WP; we should, but only in the articles themselves. I AM saying that we should not categorize Wikipedia on this basis. JHCC (talk) 20:38, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Wow, you people and your stunning stupidity are amazing. Santa Claus shouldnot be distinguished from Jesus due to historical evidence? what utter BS. FestivalOfSouls 22:28, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Just saying it's a bad way to categorize. Make the distinction in the article text. JHCC (talk) 04:48, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

What is stunning is that you aren't banned yet. You stopped contributing to this discussion almost immediately after you got us off our duffs to address this problem. Thank you for that, and for the rest, why should we care what you think? You add nothing, except an occasional colorful insult. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 23:29, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

JHCC's new proposal

Another attempt at consensus.

1 The Category:Christian mythology is, at least for now, retained.
2 Create new Category:Christian narrative.
3 Subcategorize this category under the following scheme:
1. Category:New Testament narrative
a. Category:Gospel episodes (Events described in the Gospels)
b. Category:Episodes in Acts (Events described in the Acts of the Apostles)
c. Category:Parables of Jesus
2. Category:Christian biography (Lives of Christians)
a. Category:Christian hagiography (Lives of saints, as a subcategory of Christians)
3. Category:Christian folklore (Traditional Christian stories and folktales; this may have some overlap with Christian hagiography)
4. Category:Christian literature (Fictional literature written by Christians to tell Christian stories or convey Christian themes: Chronicles of Narnia, Ben Hur, Left Behind, etc.)
5. (Others as needed)

Hopefully, at some point in the future, the Wikipedia community will come to consensus on the neutrality (or lack thereof) of categorizing stories that embody belief as "mythology". In the mean time, this proposal stands on its own as a useful categorization scheme, which may eventually provide a realistic neutral alternative to "mythology", both here and for other religions.

Thoughts? JHCC (talk) 14:17, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

The discussion of this proposal has been moved to Category talk:Christian narrative. Please add any further discussion there.

Project page

As FofS has pointed out, writers under other religious topics might be interested in these proposals, and some of them might have different ideas. If we have steered an unbiased course, here, the proposals could potentially serve a wider purpose. Writers on Judaism and the LDS will undoubtedly have an interest in how these categories are used. Pagans, students of comparative religion and skeptical writers have already seen the significance of categories for arranging articles according to their standards of objectivity. I think that this discussion should be copied to a new project page, and invitations and an RfC should accompany our implementation of the plan.

Does this sound like a good idea, assuming an appropriate name might be found? If so, what should that project be called? — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 21:03, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Discussion of this proposal has been moved to Category talk:Christian mythology. Please add any further discussion there.

Forked talk

When talk pages fork, the discussion goes on behind a curtain to some degree.

  • The main talk page should be archived at Category_talk:Christian mythology/Archive_1 and blanked,
  • The leading proposal from this page should be copied to the main talk page.
  • Links to both sub-pages should be added to the main talk page with summaries of their content.
Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 23:51, 13 September 2005 (UTC)