Talk:Christianity and violence

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Scope and name[edit]

I think one of the things that has generated problems at this article, is the name and the scope. "Christianity and violence" is ambiguous.

Currently, clearly the article is meant to address some "mappings" of these two specific concepts onto another, or the intersection of these two specific concepts. (There are articles about other intersections of broader or more narrow concepts, like the broader Religious violence and many more narrow article about specific events where Christians, as Christians, were violent or had violence visited upon them -- see the disambig-ish page Christian persecution for some of both). The intersection of "christianity" and "nonviolence" or "peace" is in Christian pacifism, which is linked from here. Not really in scope but included because... well, I think it has been necessary due to objections of this being only about the intersection of Christianity with "violence".

Most of the article answers the question: "What violence has been done in the name of Christianity?" The article does it a ~pretty~ thorough job of answering it.
Some of the article answers the question: "Are there aspects of Christianity that promote violence and if so what are they"? This is pretty thin, but there.
Some of the article answers the question: "Are there aspects of Christianity that prevent violence or promote nonviolence and if so what are they?" This is pretty thin, as noted above.

So - what should the scope be, and what should the name be?

If we take the main two questions this article does address, we could break this article into two others along these lines:

That would be "splitting". Another approach could be "lumping" and pull Christian pacifism into this article and call it something like Violence and peace in Christianity or something....

Anyway, just wanted to kick this off. Thoughts? Jytdog (talk) 23:52, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

The conjunction "religion and violence" is pretty standard in RSs. One can see it from various book titles, and in finer-grained form in the table of contents of The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence. I think the existence of an article with the present title is well-founded.
As you point out, the result is a mixed bag of topics, and one could -- and does -- have spin-off articles for some of them. Christian pacifism is a related topic. It comes up in discussions of the extent to which Christianity may promote violence or non-violence, where it should be given due weight, and it is also a prominent subject in its own right, which should have a summary with a main link in this article. All in all, I think this article has a reasonable structure. Eperoton (talk) 00:40, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
@Eperton: Okay, I took your advice--mostly--and edited four sentences. I just couldn't bring myself to do one. :-) I did not change or remove anything extant. If you would be so kind as to take a look and tell me what you think, I would be grateful. It is my opinion this article takes a position in an area of current debate--it makes an argument that, as Gråbergs Gråa Sång says, "it's Christianity's fault." I personally think it's okay to make that argument because there is a long list of scholars who think that. But I think it's okay so long as both sides of the debate are summarized; there is a lot of other evidence as well. Jytdog says Wiki articles aren't supposed to make an argument--but this one does. I am not wrong in that. It's why people keep coming along and wanting to either counter or beef up the argument they can clearly see is there. I don't see how that can be changed either; it is the nature of the topic itself. If you could take the time and look at the construction of an article on another debated topic, and note how it is written, I think it is a good example of handling things like this. Tell me what you think if you can take the time.§ Thank you for your participation. I am grateful. Jenhawk777 (talk) 18:34, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree the existence of the article is well founded and necessary. I would like to see a more balanced view within the content. I disagree that the article does a thorough job of answering question one posted above, and the fact that question three is "pretty thin" is what makes the article weighted to one view only. It should include contrasting views of all disputed material. If someone concludes wikipedia needs a spin off article, let me know. I'd like to write it. Jenhawk777 (talk) 04:37, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
It´s a difficult/controversial topic, and editors can easily clash over what they see as balance/neutrality versus WP:BALANCE/WP:NEUTRALITY. What violence done in the name of Christianity do you think the article omits, and what sources would you use to add it? What are the views that need to be balanced? As I understand the current lead, the expressed views are "it´s Christianty´s fault" and "it´s the Christian´s fault". I can imagine other views, such as "it´s a bit of both" and "that´s just how people are, specific religion never change that very much in the long run", but that´s my OR. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 11:37, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: I have been looking at the article again trying to think of all you have said about writing here, and Eperton's recommendation to start with a sentence, and as I look it over for the fortieth time trying to pick where to begin, (I think I have it memorized now), I get more and more disturbed. I don't see how anyone can say this article does not make an argument. It does. It makes the argument that Christianity is violent. Gråbergs Gråa Sång directly above me here sees it saying "the expressed views are 'it's Christianity's fault.' That's an argument. They see it, I see it. Others must as well because, as you said, they keep coming along and trying to either counter the argument or beef it up. This article is not just a summary of information because it does not summarize all of it; in that approach, it takes a position and makes an argument. It happens to be one that is hotly debated by those in the field. This isn't about passion or even about truth, it's about Wiki standards. This article does make an argument. That's why I wanted to try and balance it a little and present both sides. I'm not wrong on this Jytdog. We have to work out some kind of an approach that will either bring in both sides of the argument or eliminate the argument aspects of this current article--which I don't actually advocate--or something somehow. This article makes a biased argument. Can you not see that? Jenhawk777 (talk) 16:06, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
You know, I tend to pay very little mind to the lead, which is just meant to be a summary of the article per WP:LEAD. I just really read the lead, and I believe I understand why some people react so negatively and want to "correct" the article. The body of the article is quite decent. I just revised the lead in these diffs to summarize the body; it is telling that a not a single ref was lost when I did that. Jytdog (talk) 16:15, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
The change in the lead is good, but if the lead is a summary that is supposed to indicate what the article will cover, and then the article itself only really discusses one, isn't that a problem? Jenhawk777 (talk) 16:46, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
I think between my comment above and yours just here, I had further revised the lead to reduce WEIGHT on pacifism, as this is lightly touched on here, because it is dealt with in depth in the article about christian pacifism.
There is a whole system in Wikipedia of "main" articles about X that are summarized in "daughter" sections in other articles. The main and daughter should also be related per WP:SYNC and WP:SUMMARY.
So we have a whole article on christian pacifism, and the best way to keep this and that SYNCed is to just copy the lead of that article (which summarizes it) here. This article is about violence. The same should probably be done at the pacifism article, with regard to this one (it should have a section on "violence" that summarizes this one). (these are "shoulds" - I need to check to see if the pacifism section here really recapitulates the lead of the pacifism article. One of the hard things about working WP is that there is no authority here - there is nothing to stop somebody from changing a bunch of stuff in the pacifism section here and never changing the main pacifism article, and WP gets all out of sync with itself and brambley, all the time. You find this everywhere - it is a constantly arising problem that needs constant gardening/tending) Jytdog (talk) 17:06, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
That might be sufficient to accomplish clearing up some of the problems in this article. I understand this should not include a whole article on pacifism per se--this article is about violence--I get that completely and I even agree it is a correct approach. Narrowing one's topic is absolutely necessary. But I maintain this is not a thorough or balanced discussion of the stated topic--of your stated question number one--and so this article makes an argument in a debated area. If you would, please, take the time and look at the construction of the article under "The Kalam cosmological argument" which is another article on a debated topic.§. It does a marvelous job of presenting both sides pretty equally. It seems to me that pattern is how this article should also be constructed or it will never be balanced. I have made two edits to the article. I'm pretty sure you will go ahead and revert them but please tell me why with some specifics. Jenhawk777 (talk) 18:34, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jenhawk777: I'm glad there's progress. I've looked at your additions, and I have some concerns about the part that says: "there have been almost no non-violent movements for social change that did not begin within that tradition". First, is this generalization explicitly made in the cited sources, and if so on what page? You did not provide page numbers, which is standard for book citations (see WP:CITEHOW). Secondly, this sentence seems out of place in a section called "Attitude to military service". Eperoton (talk) 23:22, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Also, I'm concerned about WP:SYNTH happening in the reference to "that tradition" at the end. Is the author specifically referring to the tradition of non-participation in the military as the origin of American "non-violent movements for social change", as the phrasing suggests? I doubt it. Eperoton (talk) 23:41, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Thank you! This is really good. You're right of course, pronouns so easily lack clarity. It should be changed to pacifism rather than "this tradition," and yes, it is a claim made in the source stated in a much longer statement which lists the movements by name. I shortened it, thereby making it more general and probably causing it to lose all value. But you are also right that it has no real application to military service the way I have it's stated now. Perhaps it should just be removed. The Quakers did serve in the World Wars as non-combatants. They were kind of famous--they ran ambulances. Perhaps I could just say that instead? I'll be more careful about page numbers. Thank you! So does this mean I got one sentence in? I can't believe it!

I don't know whether to laugh or cry!  :-) Jenhawk777 (talk) 02:59, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

@Eperton: It's three sentences!!!The one under war about Robert Clouse too!!! I just took out the questionable sentence. Why worry about one sentence right? Thank you! YAY! Thank you , thank you!! Jenhawk777 (talk) 03:08, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

I'm a bit late to this question, but would much prefer the splitting this article as Jytdog suggested. I think the theory part should be kept at this title, that is, this article should be about the impacts of various aspects of Christianity (teaching, practices, etc.) on violent behavior and responses to violent behavior. Including a long list of historical examples of Christian violence will both overwhelm and bias this discussion, and there is more than enough content on that topic to merit its own article. Sondra.kinsey (talk) 12:13, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

What we have here is not a list of "Christian violence", which may, depending on the definition, include virtually the entire history of violence in the West over the last two millennia, but rather a discussion of how Christian teachings have been used to support or regulate violence of different kinds. The article doesn't even cover all religiously inspired violence, which would include at least the European wars of religion. Eperoton (talk) 16:14, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Moved here per discussion above.[edit]

Eperoton had some issues with the end of it; I struggle with the first sentence.

There is no record of Christian participation in military service before the end of the second century because Christianity's first three hundred years were pacifist.[1] That tradition of non-participation was revived in the 1500's by the Anabaptists, the Mennonites, and the Quakers of the seventeenth century. The last two hundred years of American history give evidence this tradition is extant in that there have been almost no non-violent movements for social change that did not begin within that tradition.[2][3][page needed]


  1. ^ Robert G. Clouse, ed. (1991). War Four Christian Views. Intervarsity Press. pp. 11–15, 30, 90. ISBN 9780830813094. 
  2. ^ Brock, Peter (1970). Twentieth Century Pacifism. Van Nostrand Reinhold. OCLC 462761617. 
  3. ^ Brock, Peter (1968). Pacifism in the United States from the Colonial Period to the First world War. Princeton University Press. OCLC 641801263. 

-- Jytdog (talk) 04:33, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

@Jytdog: What is your concern about the first sentence? Jenhawk777 had removed the sentence which I objected to, so I'll strike it above, though now we need a citation for the last remaining sentence. Eperoton (talk) 13:58, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
@Eperoton: I came back this morning to find the entire section with my two sentences gone. Jytdog previously eliminated most of the lead in order to deal with the objections there. If this is the method for dealing with every section I have a problem with, eventually the entire article will be gone. That is not my goal here. I do not want the article deleted, though others have attempted that twice. There is a large body of legitimate scholarship who support the view that intolerance within Christianity causes violence--that needs to be here.
I also agree absolutely the article has to be limited to topic, I do, but I ask you--what topic--especially what controversial topic--is it possible to thoroughly cover while overlooking or ignoring objections to it? Presenting one side of something that is hotly debated, and writing as if that is all there is, does not do either the topic or neutrality --or our readers-- justice.
The first category listed now is The Bible. The first sentence is good, but the body of that section does not cover what the first sentence indicates will be covered. None of the people referenced are actual authorities on the Bible. Plus there is nothing actually from the Bible in the whole section. If you are going to have a section on what the Bible says, then what the Bible says should be in it. Or that section should also be removed entirely. And there we will be--paring this poor article down one section at a time. And that's just wrong.
Instead of actual information from the Bible or from qualified Biblical authorities, this section has unqualified people making unsupported claims about what the Bible says without actually demonstrating what the Bible says. And see--you as a reader have no way of knowing --even after you've read this article on Wikipedia--what the Bible does say on the subject. And that's entirely because the statements included in this section give you nothing but their unsupported opinions. Anybody can say anything--but that doesn't make it so.
I want to attempt to edit this section to produce a balanced and neutral discussion of both views of what the Bible actually says--to stick to topic and do what the lead sentence says.
Dare I attempt another edit? I am about to the limit of how many reverts I'm allowed aren't I?
Oh, and the sentence in the military service section that is now gone that Jytdog didn't like is simple fact. There are extant records of Roman military service and other historical records of Christianity's early pacifism. There is one tiny reference to this in the article on Christian Pacifism that says "Some scholars believe that "the accession of Constantine terminated the pacifist period in church history." Obviously, something can't be terminated unless it is first there. The fact he had a problem with it bothers ME. Jenhawk777 (talk) 15:37, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) So I don't have the source, let me start by saying that, but I struggle with this on a bunch of levels. 1) "there is no record of Christian participation in military service"... to which I respond -- really?? There are none? 2) "there are no records...because.... " to which I respond -- OK, if (and it is a big if) there are no records, would the only reason be that the early chuch was universally pacifist? Maybe (if) there are no records, it is because we simply don't have them.. 3) "Christianity's first three hundred years were pacifist" to which I respond - the early church was very heterogenous, even with regard to some issues that we see as fundamental theology today, like the nature of Christ, as well as practical things like the role of women.
So the question-begging and generalization are difficult to accept.
I did some other reading and found
  • Kreider, Alan (2003). "Military Service in the Church Orders". The Journal of Religious Ethics. 31 (3): 415–442. JSTOR 40008336.  (which I will be happy to send to anybody who wants it, but it is available through jstor)
which is a good survey as of its date. It says things like: "Tertullian (De Idololatria 19; De Corona 11) sees Christians as “sons of peace” for whom service in the military is intrinsically difficult. He recognizes that two conditions mitigate the difficulties: (a) when a soldier is in “the rank and file,” in which case “there is no necessity for taking part in sacrifices or capital punishments,” which were harder for the upper ranks to avoid; (b) when a soldier is serving “even in time of peace,” doing guard duty, in which case he could serve “without a sword, which the Lord has taken away,”in contrast to war-time service. Tertullian admits that a soldier “may be admitted to the faith,” but would ideally like a newly-baptized soldier immediately to abandon military service, or “all sorts of quibbling” will be necessary. He does not allow for a believer to enlist. Nevertheless, it is clear that things weren’t always happening as Tertullian wished."
What is clear there, is that early Christians at least in the region and time where/when Tertullian was working appear to have doing "military service" which contradicts the proposed content.
The article also starts out by saying: "Military service in the early church: to discuss this subject is to wander into a minefield. The Christian traditions, East and West, Catholic and Protestant, state church and free church, have not primarily been pacifist. But some Christian writers of the early centuries wrote things that could make it appear that the pre-Constantinian believers had been pacifist. A lapidary sample comes from Tertullian (De Idololatria 19):“Christ, in disarming Peter, unbelted every soldier.” Within the past century scholars in the pacifist pockets of the Christian churches have written substantial books to demonstrate that the early church was as pacifist as they; they have also attempted to explain how a once-pacifist church (to quote the title of one book on the subject) “made its peace with war” (Cadoux 1919; Driver 1988). These writings have irritated non-pacifist Christian scholars, who have attempted to respond with sounder scholarship and juster argument, thereby liberating us all from“the burden of mistaken assumptions and misread history” (Helgelandet al. 1985). In the latter half of the twentieth century the debate seesawed back and forth." The author then describes what he sees as a 4 point consensus of historians about the attitudes of early christian communities toward military service.....
but yes, i find the first sentence problematic. Jytdog (talk) 15:43, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Jenhawk777, dispute resolution (see WP:DR) is part and parcel of WP editing. Sometimes one can add a whole page of material without objections and at other times details of a single sentence may prompt a lengthy discussion. It is better to concentrate on reaching WP:CONSENSUS on a specific issue at hand.
Jytdog, thanks, this is a good survey. It should be reflected in discussion of Christian attitudes to military service. Jenhawk777's source may be incorporated into this discussion, but we need to verify that 1) it supports the generalizations; 2) it's WP:DUE. Jenhawk777, please give the name of the author of that particular chapter. I note that we identify InterVarsity Press as "a publisher of evangelical Christian books", so, depending on the author, drawing on it may be WP:UNDUE next to a peer-reviewed academic survey. If it's DUE, it would help to have quotations of passages from the source which support the sentence under discussion. Eperoton (talk) 17:09, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
It's my understanding the reference can be included so long as their position and possible bias is also included. Is that correct? Jenhawk777 (talk) 05:19, 25 June 2017 (UTC)


Okay, this back and forth over every sentence is normal? I'll adjust then. I like quoting the early church fathers. There are several who wrote on this subject. Origen defended Christians against the charge of disloyalty to Rome written in 178 by pagan philosopher Celsus who argued that if everyone behaved as Christians do and refused to enter the imperial Forces, Rome would fall. Edward Gibbon in his classic work attributes the fall of Rome to the Christian pacifism that kept them out of military service. If my sentence is problematic--include this Tertullian quote and other quotes from the early church fathers on what the instead. I am fine with that. The statement ""it is clear that things weren’t always happening as Tertullian wished." Do you have a reference for that? This Tertullian quote does not contradict my source since the context of it is about soldiers who are already in military service who get converted. "The author then describes what he sees as a 4 point consensus of historians about the attitudes of early christian communities toward military service..... " Please expand this. This is interesting and might be good to include. The accusation of "misreading history" because people don't agree with their view is one of the problems of, not only this article, but the subject itself. H.A.Drake has a long and thorough --and pretty neutral-- discussion of many of these accusations in his book: "Intolerance, Religious Violence, and Political Legitimacy in Late Antiquity." which I paid $40 to rent for two weeks from: They offer a free two week trial. It is possible to go to their site and read what he says on that. Drake is a highly respected ancient historian and is known for balance and objectivity. Jenhawk777 (talk) 18:03, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

The name of the author was included in the reference, but there are actually three authors in the book "War four Christian views" that make the particular claim. Those would be Herbert A.Hoyt, Myron S. Augsberger and Robert G. Clouse the editor who writes the forward and makes the claim there. Their essays are also online, but I own the book too. Hoyt wrote the essay on Non-resistance and augsberger wrote on Christian Pacifism. Those are the titles of the articles. Google those titles and you'll find them. I will go so far as to say the view that early Christianity was pacifist is the mainstream view of ancient historians though I do not have a single reference that makes that particular claim about other historians. Should I provide those quotes here? So they can be reviewed before adding them to the article? I can probably find alternate references if this one is not acceptable. Jenhawk777 (talk) 18:03, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

I have another question. Well, two actually. If the discussion of attitudes toward military service is "wandering into a minefield" is that why it was removed? Because this whole topic is a minefield--and it should not be removed. In my opinion. And I would like to have a discussion of the Bible section. I have issues with the references and some of the quotes there. I believe they have, at least partially misrepresented the intent of the person being quoted. I have examples. Should we start that someplace else or what? Jenhawk777 (talk) 18:03, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

Thanks, Jenhawk777. The Four Views book seems to be a questionable source as far as the history of early Christianity goes, at least in part. For example, Myron Augsburger is identified as a preacher and professor of theology rather than a historian. I don't know if his and Hoyt's essays on the publisher's website are taken from that book, but they appear to be pastoral rather than academic historical works. Clouse seems to have somewhat stronger academic credential in this area. Drake's book looks like a solid source, based on both the publisher and the author. Eperoton (talk) 18:25, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Are all theologians going to be disallowed? Or is it just this section because it's more historical? I really like the jstor article--[[1]] There is a quote that's worthy I think on page 417 titled "The new Consensus" --really that whole page is good! And it does seemingly call into question part of Augsberger, Hoyt, Clouse and even Edward Gibbon who has been the standard for two hundred years! I really kind of love that when that happens! This article is all about the early Christian church leaders though; it does not directly address actual practice of Christians themselves, it is just about "church orders." That is in the Abstract on the title page. The author's point number two under New Consensus supports what my references say about military service before the end of the second century. It should definitely be included--if the section goes back in that is. I would have copied the entire abstract if I could have!!! This is a worthy reference I think. Including this, along with mine maybe--and then adding, if we could run down one on actual practice amongst ordinary Christians, which one of Drake's earlier books does cover I think, then we would truly have a good presentation in this section in my view. Does anyone else agree? Jenhawk777 (talk) 18:53, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
In general doing social history is difficult, methodologically. And the issue of whether individual early Christians participated in the miltary, is exactly such an issue. One thing people look at, to try to get at it, are guidance documents. Part of the methodological reasoning of looking at these "Church Orders" is that you don't need rules about X, if X wasn't something people in the community were doing or involved in. (similar thing with all the fulminating about the "high places" by the biblical prophets in the hebrew bible. they wouldn't be ranting about that if people weren't doing it. so what does that say about the reality of monotheism among every day people at the time (whenever that was) that the prophets were doing their thing? That sort of thing)
and in general we look to high-quality scholarship by experts in the field to generate content about the field; so we would look to historians for content about what early christians did and did not do; we would look to theologians to speak about theology. some theologians do history of theology, of course. but that is often "what origen said" and the like, not necessarily what everyday people then did or believed. Jytdog (talk) 19:24, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree with what you say here. It is confusing when a subject is raised--such as Tertullian and the church orders--and a door seems to open--then it closes again when I say I agree and would like to participate in pursuing that. I didn't raise the church fathers as a reference--but if we use this book, they will have to be referenced I would think. High quality content from experts in the field--I wholeheartedly support that idea. That means the whole Bible section has to go then doesn't it? There is only one name there that qualifies--and they are not centrist.
Maybe I misunderstand you now, but "centrist"? On WP, a reliable source can very well be un-neutral (that´s a WP:ESSAY of course, but valid here). If there´s disagreement about which sources are WP:RS for what, the Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard can help if necessary. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 10:03, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Of course, a scholar like, say, Ra'anan S. Boustan is of course a reliable source for his own opinions, that is not an issue. What can be challenging for our valiant editors is forming a consensus on WP:WEIGHT, does a particular scholar "deserve" to be in our article? Reasonable minds can come to different conclusions. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 10:18, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
@Gråbergs Gråa Sång: Perhaps "centrist" is not a good word--it is not one I would include in an article! But people range from what is termed conservative to what is called liberal and in the "center" on this. It's alot like politics! But all I meant was Drake is neither particularly to the liberal view or the conservative one. The best scholars seem to be like that in my view. He's a good one. Jenhawk777 (talk) 22:10, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
[Edit conflict] Jenhawk777, yes reflecting the JSTOR article and any other RSs that may complement it is a good idea. The status of theologians for WP purposes is a difficult issue. I've struggled with it elsewhere. Clearly, if a professor of theology publishes an academic work about theology, that's a RS. But there are a number of grey areas. In particular, when a theologian comments on an area of history where they aren't an academic authority, and when they seem to act in a pastoral rather than academic capacity, their statements should be treated with caution. Eperoton (talk) 19:33, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
In the article by Michael Kreider on jstor--Military Service--that you found--good job btw!! He says on page 431 that “no Christian theologian before Constantine justified Christian participation in warfare." Could that quote be used? The earliest record of Christians in the Roman army is 173 A.D. It is reasonable to depend upon the Roman records. Speculating on the reasons why we don't have other records might make a useful PhD thesis some day but it is not a good reason to keep information out of a Wikipedia article. Historians don't really call the validity of the records into question. Theologian and best-selling author Preston Sprinkle says in his new book, "The issue of killing was prohibited in every mention by early church writers. Whenever the issue of military service and warfare was discussed, Christians were prohibited from participating. Nowhere in the written record in the first three hundred years of Christianity is killing ever justified. Not even for soldiers." That is excerpted from "Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence" (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2013). He writes popular books, but if I understand correctly, it's okay to use writers like that so long as you explain that's what they are. It's also a verifiable statement by referencing the early church writers themselves: Lactantius in (Divine Institutes, 6.20). Origen (Against Celsum 8.73). Tertullian (The Crown) and throughout other of his writings such as (On Idolatry). The "Canons of Hipolytus" say "a soldier must be taught not to kill men and must refuse to do so if he is commanded." (It's no wonder the Romans kept trying to kill the Christians off. :-)) Jenhawk777 (talk) 05:19, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
On page 12 of War 4 views, Clouse says: "There is no evidence of a single Christian soldier after New Testament times until after 170 AD. ...Toward the close of the second century the situation began to change and there are records of Christians in the army despite the condemnation of the theologians. Many soldiers were converted to Christianity because of its increasing popularity... some felt a person could be a model Roman as well as a follower of Christ." It seems fair, if it is decided that this could be used, to qualify it as "evangelical" if Wiki lists the publisher that way. And now we have a veritable plethora of quotes and references all saying basically the same thing. My goal here was not to make a one sided argument in the other direction. Christianity became extremely militant in the Middle Ages; it seems to me these references do support that it did not begin that way and that was the assertion in the "military service"-- that has now been completely removed. So now what? Jenhawk777 (talk) 05:19, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
The article here on Wiki on Gibbons's 'decline and fall' also offers some possible quotes. Gibbon "believed that Christianity's comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit." There is an extensive quote fro Gibbon's book there that makes some applicable usable statements for us here. "Christianity, had some influence on the decline and fall of the Roman empire. The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged; and the last remains of military spirit were buried in the cloister: a large portion of public and private wealth was consecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotion; and the soldiers' pay was lavished on the useless multitudes of both sexes who could only plead the merits of abstinence and chastity. " and "The bishops, from eighteen hundred pulpits, inculcated the duty of passive obedience to a lawful and orthodox sovereign; their frequent assemblies and perpetual correspondence maintained the communion of distant churches; and the benevolent temper of the Gospel was strengthened, though confirmed, by the spiritual alliance of the Catholics. The sacred indolence of the monks was devoutly embraced by a servile and effeminate age; but if superstition had not afforded a decent retreat, the same vices would have tempted the unworthy Romans to desert, from baser motives, the standard of the republic. Religious precepts are easily obeyed which indulge and sanctify the natural inclinations of their votaries; but the pure and genuine influence of Christianity may be traced in its beneficial, though imperfect, effects on the barbarian proselytes of the North. " These are both at: [[2]] Jenhawk777 (talk) 05:37, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jenhawk777: Since we've all agreed that the survey at JSTOR is a solid source, I think the priority for someone who has the time and desire to fill out this gap in the article should be writing an WP:NPOV summary of that paper. Other sources can be used to complement it, keeping that same policy in mind. Clouse and Sprinkle probably qualify as RSs, though their use may or may not lead to disagreements in light of NPOV. As a general principle, views of an academic specialist should not be given equal weight to views of a non-specialist; however, I haven't looked at the sources closely enough to have a set opinion on the specifics of applying that principle here. For all the merits of Gibbons, his work is not up-to-date scholarship. Eperoton (talk) 18:59, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Also, it seems that you may be using the notion of verifiability in a way that's liable to cause confusion on WP. WP:V is a core policy, and it states that all article content must be verifiable. However, that does not refer to judging statements found in RSs in light of primary sources, which would violate WP:PRIMARY. It refers to verifying statements in WP articles against non-primary sources. Eperoton (talk) 19:04, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
May I volunteer? Or should I just do it and see what you all think? Is that how it's done here? I do understand verifiability--but thank you for checking!! I am unsure exactly what is being referred to in that comment--but I am guessing it was my comment about the Roman records??? That was an answer to the question raised about the first sentence in my previous paragraph that Jytdog had reservations about. He stated there could be other reasons for not having the records--and that is irrefutable--and I was just explaining what I thought about might contribute to that objection being invalid--even though it is an absolutely true statement. That's the historian's call. Right? We are not qualified to judge the primary sources. That's all I was saying. I agree completely those sources should not be on an equal footing. It's like people quoting Hitchins--he's popular. So why not? If--as you say--possible objections are noted. Eperoton I know I am not supposed to comment on other commenters but I can't help but say thank you. You have been genuinely helpful--so reasonable and fair. Jytdog has been kind and patient and everyone here is really great. I hope you all don't quit on me before I get this figured out! I'm trying not to be too prickly!  :-) Jenhawk777 (talk) 20:35, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words, Jenhawk777. The normal process is to WP:Be bold and then work toward consensus if there are objections. Personally, I would appreciate it if you took the lead composing this content. I'm interested in the subject, but it's not at the top of my to-do list. Eperoton (talk) 21:43, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Blessings be upon your head O Wise one!  :-) Jenhawk777 (talk) 22:10, 25 June 2017 (UTC)


It currently starts "Scholars are divided on whether the text of the Bible itself supports the waging of violence." There is though, no scholar mentioned who denies that there are such texts. I actually wonder if there is any WP:RS scholar who would state that there are no texts in the bible that supports the waging of violence. Would a reasonable change be ""Scholars are divided on to what extent the text of the Bible itself supports the waging of violence"? Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 20:10, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

That is well pointed out, and btw thanks for your edits going through the article. Jytdog (talk) 20:19, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Actually, the first statement is correct; scholars are divided on the issue--not on the extent of it. Those that say the Bible does teach violence quote mostly old testament texts surrounding war, and Joshua, and point to the murder of Cain, the sacrifice of Isaac, and a couple others--which should probably be listed in this section specifically; those that say it does not answer that describing history is not advocating it, they'll say no race was ever actually extirminated so if the Bible advocates violence does it do so by word or by deed? Then they will add that the old testament's history is from a time when the world was a more warlike place--it's just how it was for everyone back then. I have read, and this may--may--be true though I haven't checked, that every nation of that period has a war record longer than Israel's. There are other arguments on both sides but those are the primary ones--I think. The fact there is no scholar cited--on both sides--is part of my problem with this section too. Theologians will need to be quoted in this one though as well as historians. Jenhawk777 (talk) 05:19, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Per your description it still sounds to me that those you allude to mostly do not deny that there are texts in the bible that supports the waging of violence. That they are in the OT do not mean that they don´t exist, that "everybody was doing it" does not mean that they don´t exist. But sure, if some "describing history is not advocating it so there are no text in the bible that supports the waging of violence" WP:RS scholar/scholars could be added to the section, it would justify the current writing. On the OR level, I would have a problem with for example verses 10-forward here [3], but I am not a scholar. BTW, is Cain/Abel really used as "support"? As I remember, God was displeased about that. Though Cain did ok. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 06:19, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Per WP:BALANCE, I would not be surprised if something like "Scholarly consensus is that there are texts in the bible that supports the waging of violence." would be reasonable in this context. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 06:41, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Stating that a text "supports the waging of violence" can mean different things. I think a formulation like that needs to be explicitly sourced. We should either find a source for it, stick to truly non-committal phrasing similar to the new lead, or remove this generalization altogether. Eperoton (talk) 19:08, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Agreed Eperoton. I vote for sticking to the phrasing as is. These are my reasons. Gibbons is old, very true, and many of his views are outdated, to some degree, but he has had more influence over scholarship in this subject area-- in the last two hundred years--than any other scholar EVER. He is the one who originated the explanation: intolerance in Christianity was responsible for violence. Much scholarship since then has been built on that premise: they assumed he was correct and proceeded from that point. Modern scholarship is just beginning to add to and analyze that premise. H.A. Drake and William Cavenaugh are two I want to add into the discussion here who have done brilliantly at that. Cavenaugh's latest book is set to become the new standard on 16th century religious violence. While they both agree intolerance is an issue, they say religion was never, by itself, a cause of violence, and it is an oversimplification, and an insufficient explanation, if that's all that's offered to explain violence. Drake calls the intolerance theory "too slender a reed" to support the weight of events all by itself. In light of those shifting views I would say that there are plenty of people who DO deny that the Bible actually teaches violence. But yeah, every reference to every violent act recorded in the Bible--including Cain--is used as "evidence" that the Bible advocates violence by mentioning it without condemning it--even though condemnation is often observable through consequences on down the road. It doesn't matter that God disapproved--often the people taking this position don't believe in God and feel that objection is irrelevant. Their perspective should be included just as those that object to that view should also be included. Jenhawk777 (talk) 20:35, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
There is not the consensus among scholars one might expect--on this or any subject related to the Bible or faith et al.. Since Evangelicals are not a small group--I'd have to check PEW for exact numbers and I don't think anyone has tried counting liberals--but it's true that nine out of ten seminaries are conservative--while nearly 100% of Universities are liberal--and what that means is those writing theology and historical studies on this are pretty evenly divided. The quality of the scholarship done at both is pretty equal, but it's wrong to assume either side of this discussion is free of bias. Just because someone is at a University does not automatically prove objectivity--or the opposite. N.T. Wright is probably the greatest living Bible scholar today. He is famous famous famous in the biblical world. He teaches at Oxford--and he went to seminary as well as to Oxford for his doctorate--and he says the Bible does not teach violence--and he is not a conservative. Nor would I say he's a liberal though! He defies categorizing! He has a recent book out on the christian and the State where he discusses it some. Anyway--if the only side of this discussion you have ever heard is from a university professor--it looks cut and dried--but it probably looks just as cut and dried to all those seminarians--of the opposite opinion. That's why both sides need to be included. "Everyone was doing it" does influence societal culture. We are--at least to some degree--all products of our time and place. People fought for survival then more than now--at least here in the west. It was a bronze age culture after all. The world was a violent place. A lot of that is recorded in the bible. Whether or not that "advocates" for anything--or warns as some maintain--is the discussion that should be presented. The body of scholarship is split. Jenhawk777 (talk) 20:35, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Starting with the politics is the wrong way. The right way is to start with the highest quality refs available and see what they say. if there is actually disagreement among them, we look to high quality sources to explain the differences. For example, The Oxford Companion to the Bible and the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, are both top notch totally mainstream refs. We start with stuff like that. Jytdog (talk) 22:19, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: Did I say something to make you think I started with any position here? Is the fact I already have a background in this subject clouding things? I used politics as an example to explain to someone unfamiliar with this field to try and explain how scholars spread out on this issue. That's all. I have used the Oxford companion. I have never used the New Jerome. I would not expect to use Bible commentary to any great extent in this kind of work though. Is that what you recommend? Jenhawk777 (talk) 05:07, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Both of the refs I mentioned have high quality overviews that are great for WP work. Violence in the Bible is not a hard thing to describe. Trying to make theological sense out of it is an entirely different matter. We don't do that in WP. We do and should do more description of accepted knowledge about various approaches to violence by Christians which will include descriptions of theology. We should probably not handle that in this section; it is something that will come out in the other sections. This section is really background to me at least. Jytdog (talk) 05:34, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Descriptions of theology?? I don't understand exactly what you mean by saying a section titled Bible is background. You say violence in the Bible is not hard to describe--but do you realize that is a point of view? I agree the various approaches to violence by Christians should be discussed. How about expanding the sentence from Clouse under "War"? Jenhawk777 (talk) 15:37, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
No it isn't a point of view. The bible says various kinds of things about violence and those things can be neutrally described, in their historical context. Again what meaning people put on them is another matter. This section is about the bible. War stuff is above. Jytdog (talk) 22:19, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Okay, I didn't understand what you were saying, but--if I understand you correctly-- this is perfectly reasonable. when you were discussing the scope of the article above and suggesting possible other connected articles, I thought that was brilliant on your part. I really like that idea. You may be right that we are simply trying to do too much in one article because the subject seems so huge. A pared down version seems inadequate--but it just isn't possible to include everything. And hey, I thought you were planning on moving the lead to the pacifism article here too--did you change your mind or are you working on it or did I misunderstand --or what? Jenhawk777 (talk) 02:27, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

Attitude toward the Military[edit]

Jenhawk777 You made sections such as Just war, holy war, Inquisition, Attitude towards slavery etc subsections to "your" section, was that your intent? Also, there´s some weird external links in your text, some I think were supposed to be wikilinks, they need to disappear/change, Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 10:32, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

Hi! I am still brand new here so if I seem a little clueless--it's because I am! I don't understand quite what this means about it being "mine." Is it because of the size of the headings? Really "War" should be the big heading and the others should follow under it, because they are all aspects of that larger idea, but I did not make that change. I also don't know how to interpret "weird" links. What is weird? All of the links should be accessible--are they not? It was late, I was tired, I just stopped after a while. I couldn't figure out how to fix the problem with the co-author on the Matthews and Platt reference--could you tell me? You seem to understand all this! Jenhawk777 (talk) 15:30, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Hi! The subsection thing seems to have been fixed so that is moot. By "your" I only meant you added the section that caused the problem, [4] making a lot of sections fall under "Attitude toward the Military" that didn´t fit. Hmm, so "weird" isn´t helpful enough? That´s we... I mean I can't see why. ;-) Look at the text Jytdog put below, for example "Charlemagne (768-814) is an example of this fusion of culture. [link] ". Try clicking the [link]. That is weird. My guess is that you wanted to wikilink Charlemagne. From what´s in the article: "adding the amount of literature on this subject is now "immense." [15] [1]". The [1] is weird, we don´t add external links to the text of the article like that. I´ll do better next time. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 17:33, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Actually, the sections are still weird (sorry). Compare the current table of contents to this earlier version [5]. Currently "War" has to many subsections, Inquisition-Domestic violence should not be subsections of war, they´re, well, "civil service". Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 17:48, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Also, the Church Before Constantine section have a couple of links to a blog, Any good reason to use this blog for anything? WP:BLOGS. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 18:31, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
@Gråbergs Gråa Sång: Wow! Thank you so much! This is helpful. I tried to fix the subsection thing but in doing so created the other issue of too much under the war heading because I did not work my way down and do them all. I can't remember how the headings were before that 'attitude' section was removed, so that's why I didn't put it back the way it was before removal. If you think the headings should revert, I support you doing that. The two of us at least can have consensus on it.
I did go in and fix all the wiki link issues you mentioned--thank you for that btw-- but by the time I did, there was an edit conflict, so I just let them go away. The gates of nineveh can be replaced; it was one of four quotes I had stating the same thing, but the others are copyrighted still and this one is free use. Since I knew it was duplicated elsewhere and not a rogue opinion, I went ahead and used it. If you think that's a bad choice, I am happy to cooperate with that view and change it. No problem. I liked the idea in quote form. The others will have to be paraphrased. "Weird" was fine--I eventually figured it out. It was two AM when I just quit last night. I knew I was leaving some stuff imperfectly done, but I was getting "fuzzy-brained." So thank you for the help today! I know I needed it! Jenhawk777 (talk) 21:23, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
WP:Edit Conflicts do indeed suck, and espescially for new editors. An experienced editor, at least, has a chance to remember to copy-paste their intended change before clicking "save changes" at a busy page. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 10:05, 28 June 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, it told me to do that, but almost all of those issues were in the section that got removed, so I didn't think it was worth it. I wanted to let it be removed until there could be some consensus on whether or not that part of that section should stay out, be reworked and put back in or what. The heading is Attitudes toward the military but it only discusses 300 years out of 2000, so I think either the heading should be changed or the content. What do you think? Jenhawk777 (talk) 14:43, 28 June 2017 (UTC)

subsection on Attitudes toward the Military in the Middle Ages[edit]

This subsection is mostly OFFTOPIC, and what is on-topic duplicates content under just war or holy war.

Attitudes toward the Military in the Middle Ages

In the first years after the fall of Rome, life was precarious, largely reduced to an agrarian existence, and the little security available was provided by the Christian church through its spreading network of monasteries and convents; these served as hospitals, hospices, orphanages, and their communities through strict law, self-denial and the motto "work and pray." [6] [1] Three Germanic tribes arose and occupied parts of the old Roman empire, became dominant, and gradually Germanic warrior traditions fused with the existing Christian/Greco/Roman culture of the church. This society had an upper warrior class headed by the King. [1] Charlemagne (768-814) is an example of this fusion of culture. [7] He established the first real empire in medieval Europe since Rome, promoted education and the arts, creating what is sometimes referred to as the "First Renaissance," and ordered the mass execution of 4500 Saxons at Verden for refusing to convert to Christianity in what is known as the Massacre of Verden. [1] [8] Matthews, in The Western Humanities explains: "With origins in both Roman and German practices, feudalism evolved... [and] Europe became dominated by a military aristocracy" by the High Middle Ages (1000 A.D.- 1300 A.D.)

Causes for the Eastern and the European Crusades are as hotly debated as the pacifism of the early church, but no one debates the effect on the Christian church: the church militant arose. After 1100, there is a merger of violence and holiness at all levels of Christian life. [2] ""The liturgy was expanded to include the blessing of weapons and standards. Knights were consecrated by ceremonies which often were continuations of old pagan customs. There were new religious orders established such as the Templars who promised to fight the enemies of God... When violence became became wrong to show mercy to those enemies... The code of the just War was in abeyance..."" [2]

Christian theologians of the High Middle ages accepted war as a condition of society. [1] There was little serious dispute about the necessity of fighting the Turks. [2] In the culture at large, the chivalric ideal emerges as the hero image, and the humble monk and servant Priest are replaced as the Christian ideal with the Knight. [2] It is not until the sixteenth century that Christian pacifism, non-resistance and just war theory begin to recover theologically, and the church's attitude toward the use of military force becomes more diverse and less overtly militant. [1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Matthews, Roy D. (1992). The Western Humanities. Mountainview, California: Mayfield Publishing Co. pp. 198–204, 209, 210, 329–342.  Unknown parameter |co-authors= ignored (help)
  2. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference Clouse was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

I think the intention was to provide historical context but it needs to be more focused on what it has to do with violence. If we are going to do this, the section should also track East and West separately until the fall of Byzantium at least. For the western side, the impact of Germanic christianity should be woven in, especially as regards to its way of fusing the power of the state and Christianity and the subsequent effect on Christian attitudes toward war. Jytdog (talk) 16:20, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

Okay. I don't object to removing it altogether if that's what you recommend. It didn't seem right to me to have a section titled as broadly as this one yet limit it to one short period of time. It seemed on topic to me because it shows the attitude toward soldiering morphing, which contributed to later violence, and both those things are the topic in both the overall article and this section. Only the first and the final sentence is background--the rest directly addresses the attitude of the church toward being a soldier and killing. Jenhawk777 (talk) 16:36, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
And you are 100% right about including Byzantine views if you decide this information should be added somewhere else. My bad! Jenhawk777 (talk) 16:46, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: What if we changed it to: "After the fall of Rome, three Germanic tribes arose in the West occupying parts of the old Roman empire, eventually becoming dominant, and fusing Germanic warrior tradition with the existing Christian/Greco/Roman ethic in the church. This society developed a rigid class system with warriors at the top headed by the king. Charlemegne is an example..." etc. etc. Then a few sentences here about the Byzantine attitude. What do you think? Jenhawk777 (talk) 16:56, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
This section seems to start with some strange romanticism, grossly oversimplifies the transition from Rome to successor kingdoms like the Franks (only three German tribes???) then jump to a society with dominant warrior elite. Where is the role of e.g. bishops in the Frankish kingdom as civic and military leaders - something essentially Roman which continues. The interlocking of church and aristocracy because they were drawn from the same social group (and often the same families)?

It might be worth putting the massacre at Verden into the context of a war of expansion eastwards which will continue for some time - it appears like an incongruous one off at present.
The section should mention the Truce of God movement in the late 10th to mid 11th century, which sort to limit certain types of warfare and the days on which it could legally take place, even if the predominant place for this would be under the "non-violence" parallel article. A good basic reference for this would be Contamine, Philippe (1984). War in the Middle Ages. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 270-5. ISBN 0631131426.
Finally, there seems no acknowledgement that, if just war theory disappeared from theological concern, discussion had been taken up by lawyers like John of Legnano. The article is currently misleading in implying there was no development here in the Middle Ages. I hope this helps.Monstrelet (talk) 17:01, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Hi Monstrelet! Nice to meet you! It does sound slightly romanticized but is "almost" a quote from the referenced book--close enough I was slightly concerned--quoting directly would make it longer. The book referenced is a history of the humanities I got in college--long ago--but is still used. It's a great book--and it focused on the three 'primary' tribes that prospered and grew. This does make a swift jump from Rome to warrior culture, I agree. This wasn't intended as a full discussion--which would not be possible here-- just a swift reference to how the warrior tradition transitioned into (and out of) the church. If you had to pick just a few main points about this--focusing on the church's attitude toward soldiering and on violence (which is the main subject) --what would you pick?
I equivocated about the generalization including just war, and thought about discussing Aquinas, but decided that should be in the actual 'just war' section--so long as it's somewhere it doesn't all have to be here. There were only a couple of developments in just war during the late middle ages, and one was about the law, and this is focused more on religion, and the work done was primarily on founding just war on natural law rather than religion, so it seemed like this section was not the place to include that. But discussing attitudes toward soldiering should probably mention the warrior culture do you think? The Truce of God movement should be in the "sister" article on pacifism--but perhaps there should be more references to that alternate article here in this one. Perhaps you'd be willing to go add some discussion of it there and include a link here. What do you think? Jenhawk777 (talk) 21:00, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jenhawk . Appreciate the work you are doing here, the patience you have shown and your ability to learn the ways of wikipedia. I'm only here because ofa call to the MILHIST community, so I'm restricting myself to that. I realise that to an extent I'm trying to answer the topic "the military and the Church outside the crusades" rather than attitudes to military service. The problem with attitude towards military service is that it isn't really something anyone said much about. It was a legal obligation in some form or other to most lay men and in many cases for clergy. If you were called up, you served (or paid to get out of it, or found a substitute). It was essentially a legal issue, not a moral one. However, the church inherits a position of power from the Roman Empire which it maintains among the successor states. It seeks to expand that power by gaining some levers of control over the fighting classes. So, we see attempts to control the use of violence and, increasingly, the elevation of the fighting elite into a quasi-religious calling. I think in writing about it here, the focus is wrong in placing the emphasis on Roman tribes or Charlemagne, rather than the Church and how it is strengthening its position in medieval society and trying to influence the shaping of the political elite. Monstrelet (talk) 08:21, 28 June 2017 (UTC)
Correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding there was no "draft" as such, which is how I interpret legal obligation, in Rome, and that Napolean was the one who began the legal draft. Jenhawk777 (talk) 14:49, 28 June 2017 (UTC)
The later Roman Empire installed processes for conscription of recruits from local government (the civitates) to make up the chronic manpower shortages in the army. This was essentially a tax-in-kind, but could be commuted to a monetary tax. Militia service was also instituted for local defence by 5th century.

Fast forward to the Middle Ages. Most European countries operated on a basis of legal obligation of adult males to contribute to the defence of their community. The exact details varied. There were different levels of responsibility. For example, the main responsibility might be to maintain and garrison a local fortress for which the payback was right of refuge. But there were usually selective processes to raise forces for wider service - what you might call drafts. So towns might be assessed to find a certain number of soldiers, or in England a county might have a quota of men it needed to array. How these men were selected was usually down to local custom - some volunteered drawn by the excitement and opportunities for enrichment, others ended up doing it because they weren't rich or well connected enough to dodge it. And some of course - the gentry classes - might feel it was an obligation for men of their social standing. Not sure that advances the article a lot but I hope it enlightens a bit. Monstrelet (talk) 15:43, 28 June 2017 (UTC)

@Monstrelet: Well--no--it doesn't't advance the article but it's still very interesting! This article is such a broad topic as it is--narrowing it is a Herculean task! The one section we just did some editing on focused solely on Pre-Constantinian Roman empire. The heading was "Attitude toward military service" but that is too broad for a section that only discusses 300 out of 2000 years. I attempted to add in some references to how militant the church's attitude became in the middle ages, but it immediately got reverted by the guy who monitors this article. Anyway this is all fascinating! But I think if he put a call out to the military history buffs here, he was probably just checking accuracy. It seems impossible to say the church had an attitude toward military service in the middle ages since they sort of were military themselves then. Keeping it simple, I just explained two aspects of how that came about. I know it's inadequate. I hoped it was better than nothing! It will probably be easier to just change the heading of that section!! Thanx for this anyway! This was fun! Jenhawk777 (talk) 05:32, 29 June 2017 (UTC)

@Jytdog: I like the changes you made to the Military Attitude section. You cleaned it up nicely. I think it reads better--thank you! Jenhawk777 (talk) 15:08, 29 June 2017 (UTC)

@Jytdog:, I see you removed the who-info I added to Helgeland and Kalantzis, was that intentional? If so, I disagree with it, in an article such as this, where so much is "opinion"-based, it´s relevant to mention who´s opinion we´re using. Wikilinks are neater, but they´re not always there to be had. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 06:59, 30 June 2017 (UTC)

It goes too far to say that all history is opinion based - in my view we went too far in attributing statements that are widely held and about which there is not significant disagreement.... Jytdog (talk) 14:26, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
The was not exactly what I meant, hence the "", call them schools of thought, accepted view of modern historians or whatever. However, as long as these names remain in the text (Helgeland x4 in a short section), as a reader, I want to know something about who these people are. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 16:32, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
Hm. Helgeland should have an article to which we could WL, I reckon. But he doesn't. Does this work for you? Jytdog (talk) 19:39, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
Good enough. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 19:59, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: There is significant disagreement, I completely disagree with that statement. Helgeland is not the final word on this he is represented as. His work has been challenged--but the section still represents both views even though it has been weighted to one side again with this last revision. I agree that including the references is good. This section is okay now. I don't really like it, but it's okay. Maybe we could stop revising it? Jenhawk777 (talk) 05:37, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
The article says now "he (Helgeland) found that early Christians mostly opposed military service due to the Roman religion and rituals of the Roman army" and that's exactly what the article you found disagrees with. Yet it is stated here as though it's fact. Kryder says they opposed military service because of the killing--and that conclusion is no longer included here. I object to that. Jenhawk777 (talk) 08:08, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
Found does imply that Hegeland is correct on this, yes. WP:SAID. So perhaps, stated, said, concluded? Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 10:55, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
@Gråbergs Gråa Sång: Is it customary here on Wikipedia to remove a whole section of an article when there is disagreement?Jenhawk777 (talk) 14:34, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
Like most things on WP, it depends, and context matters. But basically, per WP:BOLD, if you see it as an improvement to remove a section, remove a section. Here [9] is me doing so since I thought I should, and nobody said anything against it (not on WP, anyway). You are supposed to think about it first, WP:PRESERVE, and if someone disagrees, try Wikipedia:BOLD, Revert, Discuss cycle. Removing a section can be seen as the R or the B, depending. Of course, there´s nothing wrong with trying to start a discussion before wielding a large axe, that can work surprisingly well. [10] Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 16:31, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
@Gråbergs Gråa Sång: Would you explain your reasoning? Jenhawk777 (talk) 19:54, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
Not sure what you want explained. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 20:11, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
why the section was removedJenhawk777 (talk) 23:20, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
Which section? I was talking about WP in general. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 23:35, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I wasn't speaking in general, I was speaking specifically. If you go look at the article, the section we are discussing is no longer in the content--at least as of now. I wondered why--but if you didn't do it you can't really explain it can you?!? Jenhawk777 (talk) 01:37, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

The article does not state that what Helgeland found is true. Our two most recent overviews say that a new consensus formed around Helgeland's view. One of those two is Kalantzis who himself says that he dissents from the Helgeland consensus. This is exactly what the content says. Jytdog (talk) 20:38, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
WP:SAID states: "For example, to write that a person clarified, explained, exposed, found, pointed out, or revealed something can imply that it is true, instead of simply conveying the fact that it was said." And that´s how it reads to me, like "the court found" or "the detective found". So like I said, can we use another word? Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 20:49, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Gråbergs Gråa Sång. Jenhawk777 (talk) 23:21, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
{ping|Jytdog} Could you maybe clean up this sentence--"[Kalantzis] took a contrary stance that up to the time of Constantine, the early Christians always opposed killing"--to make it a little more representative of what he actually said? The word "contrary" is particularly problematic here in my view. Jenhawk777 (talk) 05:46, 5 July 2017 (UTC)