Talk:Christianity/Archive 2

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Problems in Christianity

Should there be such a section?

I say yes, but it should be a series of links with perhaps an introductory paragraph, not an in-depth discussion. There are a couple of links in the external websites at the bottom. --Camipco 7 July 2005 06:49 (UTC)


If you want all the answers go to the Bible and vist Bible Gateway. com

The cross

Right now there is only one graphic in the article, a nice illustration of the ichthys fish, and no mention of the cross in the entire article. I suggest that if there is only to be one illustration in this article, that it be a cross, not the fish. Although I see no reason not to keep the fish as well.

According to tradition, the ichthys fish was pretty much just used as a secret code among the early church. It has not been in wide use, or even widely recognized among Christians, for most of church history. The recent resurgence of the the fish among Western (or at least American) Christians is something of a '90s fad. Somehow this fish meme got started, and it played to the religious right notion that Christians were being persecuted in secular culture, and thus became a popular fixture on bumper-stickers and jewelry, much like the whole WWJD? thing. The fish hasn't disappeared and isn't likely to anytime soon, but it is already much less prominent than it was in the height of fish-promotion.

By contrast, the cross was established very early in the Catholic church as a Christian symbol, and among virtually all of the three major branches of the church mentioned in the article--Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants,--the cross is recognized as the symbol of the Christian church. While there are many variations of the Christian cross preferred by various groups, a plain cross consisting of a vertical bar and a shorter horizontal bar is universally recognized as a Christian symbol. There are a few groups, mostly on the fringes like the Mormons and Moonies, that do not typically use the cross.

All that to say that I think there should be a graphic of a cross and some mention of the symbol in the text of the article. 141.158.238.201 22:17, 1 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It took less than a month, but I'm firing in the requested picture - comments/suggestions welcome. I've used elements of ...238.201's text for the caption. Krupo 19:57, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)

While I would not agree entirely with the "christian right" notion above - maybe in America, but probably not in Europe, where the fish is recognised fairly universally as a Christian symbol, I do agree with the general argument above. Also, I think the shorter explnation on the fish which was in use a while ago was better and more to the point Refdoc 22:40, 1 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The Christian Cross is certainly a much more widely used symbol of Christianity, both around the world and down through the centuries. It would be worth putting it in either instead of or in addition to the ichthus. Wesley 01:36, 2 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Agree. Tom 22:01, 3 Aug 2004 (UTC)

So the photo's in, although I'm wondering how to make the layout look better. I tried putting the cross on the left and leaving the Ichtys on the right, but the cross then collided with the 'map' of branches. Any better ideas? :) Krupo 20:00, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)

I've shortened the cross caption slightly and moved the icthus picture down one paragraph. Is there any chance of making the cross picture a bit smaller? It'll probably look better that way! --GRutter 22:36, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Agreed, good edit, btw. Making it smaller is simple - just add 999px, where 999 is the desired width. I set it to 150px, which looks sort of okay, but the big gap caused by the contents sucked. I swapped the fish/cross in a preview, but that looked worse, so I stuck with the previous layout. 140px is probably as low as you can go before the text in the caption gets too jumbled up. The super-last-resort alternative of adding more text to fill up that big white gap became extremely tempting, so I added in a bit of material that helps bridge the intro into the next section. The intro was hashed out super-fast, help definitely appreciated. :) Krupo 20:15, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)
Actually the Icthys is pre-christian, and was used by people and philosophers such as Pythagorus (who believed it to have mystical power). It owes its origin to a mathematical construction: take two circles whose centres are seperated by half the radius, the Icthys is the overlap plus the two "tails" of the circle upto the tangent to each circle parallel to the central line of intersection. This should be easy to see/ or visualise.
The mathematical ratio of the length of the icthys to its height as expressed by the pythagoreans was as the ratio of two whole numbers. The particular numbers in question happen entirely by coincidence (cough) to be the numbers involved in the story of the "feeding of the five thousand". This biblical tale can also be viewed as a simple pythagorean formula for the Icthys symbol.
This was reasonably well known at the time the New Testament was authored, and points to a deeper meaning to the tale for those in the know. See Mystery religion for details of these sorts of tales. --81.156.179.151 20:57, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Actually, the cross is a pre-christian symbol as well. It occurs in many of the (then common) meditteranean Mystery Religions, for example, in the Osiris cult, it is the Ankh symbol.--81.156.179.151 20:54, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)


A Very recent National Geographic special on the Cross and Crucifixion was rather interesting. All conclusive evidence suggest that the cross Jesus was crucified on was actually in the shape of a capital T, lacking the head shown in christian imagery. Both arms would hang above the head, hands nailed to the corners of the T, with a place to bind the feet so that the hands did not rip through. According to the earliest known painting portraying the execution (the painting was by a non-christian who painted Jesus with the head of a donkey looking away) there was a sign nailed to the top of the crucifix reading the Greek words for "King of the Jews" which is where the upper headpiece of the cross supposedly comes from.--Lucavix 16:57, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

80.49.239.231's edits

An anon IP (User:80.41.239.231) is making a lot of edits to the article (see 80.41.231.239's contributions). Can someone more knowledgable than me check them out?

Thanks, BCorr|Брайен 19:43, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Emergence of National Churches


Why does the hard fact part of this article keep getting modified (that there was an election, that there was conflict), but no one seems fit to edit the poor grammar and logical flow of the rest of it? Are some simple facts to hard to handle they need multiple revisions, yet good grammar and article quality don't deserve a little attention?

Probably because the misrepresentation of the current text is so great. (I don't know what it has been replaced with, other than the one time I edited it.) As the text now reads, it sounds as though nobody thought that Jesus was divine, but Constantine made them have a vote on it and *POOF*, he became divine. That representation of the facts is very much leaning toward the atheist/skeptical viewpoint.
The problem is, there was very much a disagreement about the nature of Christ's divinity. One faction, led by Athanasius, or Saint Athanasius as the Catholic Church now knows him, succeeded in that election. So in fact, yes, this was a seminal moment. And in fact, both parties in the disagreement were self styled Christians- despite the question of Jesus' divinity. Therefore at that juncture Christianity took a defining turn. I don't think it is honest to gloss over that. And I think, if anything, Christianity should be honest.
How's this for an alternative?
In the early years of Christianity there was a dispute about the nature of Jesus, whether he was just a man (opinion put forward by Arius, among others) or whether he was divine (opinion put forward by Alexander of Alexandria, among others). The issue was settled by vote at the First Council of Nicaea in 325.
The comment about "paving the way for the divine right of the Catholic Church" is POV and offensive, and IMO adds nothing to the article. Catholicism and Orthodoxy remained united for 700 years after that moment. Mpolo 09:10, Nov 6, 2004 (UTC)
It's hardly POV Mpolo. Do a little research. Certainly the Catholic Church has done a lot of things it currently may not be proud of, and there is no point in concealing yet one more facet of that history.
Could someone explain exactly what the "divine right of the Catholic Church" is? Further, it is very POV that the Church "took a turn" at the Council of Nicaea. The supporters of Athanasius and of Arius each accused the others of changing Christian doctrine by affirming or denying Jesus' divinity. To state that this was a change is to unilaterally uphold the Arian POV. Wesley 04:09, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
In sum; before Nicaea, there were Christians who were Trinitarian and Christians who were not. They disagreed on the divinity question. After the election one side, Arius's side, was eradicated and the disagreeing views, and all written records, were burned, exhiled, etc. This established the subsequent tone for the succeeding centuries, whereby trinitarianism was dominant. It is therefore revisinistic to claim that there was no determination here.
Sorry, but your history seems to be incomplete. Far from being eradicated, Arianism actually dominated much of Christianity during the fourth century. Athanasius was banished from Alexandria at least five different times, perhaps as many as seven times, because of his opposition to Arianism. (He was also tried for murder, but exonerated when the supposed victim appeared at trial to testify on his behalf.) Certainly there were Arians before Nicaea, but it's debatable whether there were Arians prior to the fourth century. Arius himself didn't start teaching his view until I think around 309 or so; it spread quickly partly because he was also skilled at writing catchy tunes that reflected his theology. So it's not at all clear that there was a big change at the Council of Nicaea, even if it was deterministic in the sense of fending of both Arius and other future innovations in theology. Wesley 17:52, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That's like saying that after 9/11, Osama has been running free- even though we all know the U.S. has been doing what it can to get rid of him. There were two basic things that came from the first council of Nicaea- setting the date for Easter (yawn), and basically excommunication/exhiling/banning Arius and his followers- why? Because their ideas were a greater threat to the goals of Constantine and Athanasius/the Early Catholic Church than any other things out there.

Sorry, I don't quite follow your analogy to Osama bin Laden. Constantine's main objective in calling the council was to promote or attain unity among the Christians. Some historians think he actually favored the Arians before the council, but let the bishops decide and then went with their decision. Athanasius was trying to defend the Christian faith as he understood it from what he believed was a grave error. Incidentally, Athanasius himself was only a deacon at the Council of Nicaea and so didn't have a vote, although he was present as assistant to the Patriarch of Alexandria and I think was allowed to speak there. He had been opposing Arius for some time prior to the council, since both were from Egypt. He was by no means the only vocal opponent of Arius at the council. Wesley \

Getting back to the point, can we agree that the Arians and Orthodox both thought they were espousing the 'original' Christianity, and each accused the other of inventing a new doctrine regarding Jesus Christ? Wesley 17:50, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Reaffirm? So America reaffirmed that Bush should stay in office? 24.176.6.165 17:39, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"decided that Jesus was always/is God " This is the primary statement of the Council of Nicaea. There was debate about whether God exhisted before Christ, etc. The Council resolved that Jesus is and always had been God. That is in fact the statement of the Council, the result of the Council, and it should be recorded rather than all this pussyfooting around the subject. This statement alone accounts for so much subsequent history it is negligent to omit it. 24.176.6.165 17:59, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The problem is that, as you have stated it, this can be interpreted as the thesis of a certain book of pseudo-history called The Da Vinci Code. This is not the thesis of serious scholars of Church history (or very few scholars of Church history). Arius's teaching was something new. It's not that the Christians were divided from day one on this issue, and the council "decided it". The vast majority were with the "is God" viewpoint, until Arius started spreading his doctrine, starting between 315 and 317. (Arius didn't work in a vacuum, of course. The school of Antioch was tending in that direction even with its founder Lucian of Antioch, who some scholars see as the true father of Arianism. He saw his conclusions as coming directly out of the Gospel, of course.) But the theory was largely limited to that city until Arius' efforts. At the moment the Council was held, there was considerable discussion, and even a large number of bishops supporting the Arian view, but that division only dates from less than forty years previous to the council. The statement you want to put in could easily be interpreted to mean that "no one thought that Jesus was God, but the Council had a vote and imposed that belief", as Dan Brown would have us believe. This is simply false. Mpolo 18:49, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)
Although I have heard of the The Davinci Code I have never actually read it. However, the writings of Athanasius and others can be found on the Writings of the Church Father's website and clearly demonstrates a very meaningful discourse. Mpolo, you are making straw man arguments (the opposite argument in an extreme case is false, therefore your entire argument is false; for example, there are Democrats who have been members of the KKK, therefore all Democrats are racist) and diminishing the topic. There is a crucial point here that is very pivotal and it has demonstrated itself in the response by various non-Catholic/Orthodox religions from Islam to Mormonism to many flavors of Protestantism regarding this very debate. 24.176.6.165 20:51, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
My point is that the way this is being stated implies a state of affairs that isn't true. Yes, there was a lot of discussion on the issue. However, the discussion stemmed from the last 40-50 years before the council (one could argue that the opinion existed but was never formalized, but that argument remains speculation, since we don't have any documents to back that up). That's why the wording "reaffirmed" is better. We can and should make it clear that there was a division. (Which, by the way, didn't end with the vote of the council, as some of those who have supported your wording in the past might argue.) What we can't do is pretend that there is no sign of unity on the issue before Arius. I'll try to think up an alternative formulation to satisfy both sides here. Mpolo 08:16, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)
The reaffirm implies that the Trinity / both God and man in past present and future dualism was in place before 40-50 years beforehand; however, that theory was posited by Athanasius in an attempt to solve the conundrum. Do we have any non-biased sources that support this, that have not been tainted by the Church, that support the Trinitarian concept before 250 AD? Even 1 John 5:7/1 John 5:8 has been a forgery conducted to support the Trinitarian concept added later on; we need some unbiased evidence that it was there beforehand- and I don't think the Catholic Church will be the source of such an unbiased document, intrinsically. 24.176.6.165 14:01, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Several references to early trinitarianism

(Back to the left) Here are several references:

  • Didache 7:1 (dates from about AD 70): "After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. . . . If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"
Although Didache mentions them separately there is no indication that he is stating that Jesus is God; in fact, quite the opposite; does one say 'pay your bill to AT&T, Bell South, and Ma Bell?' No, it would be illogical to write the same concept three times unless you were trying to make a point. Unless Didache were in fact making that singular point, the statement undermines rather than supports a mainstream concept that Jesus is and always had been God. 24.176.6.165 18:16, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Ignatius of Antioch (AD 110) : "[T]o the Church at Ephesus in Asia . . . chosen through true suffering by the will of the Father in Jesus Christ our God"
From the Wikipedia on Ignatius: Nowadays only the shorter variants of those seven letters are thought to be genuine writings of Ignatius. Their longer variants are thought to be emendations from the fifth century, created to postumously enlist Ignatius as an unwitting witness into certain theological fights of that age, while the other letters bearing his name, and the purported eye-witness account of his martyrdom, are thought to be pure forgeries from around the same time. 24.176.6.165
  • Justin Martyr (AD 151): "We will prove that we worship him reasonably, for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things, but they are ignorant of the Mystery which lies therein"
Second is hardly identical. 24.176.6.165
  • Athenagorus (AD 177): "The Son of God is the Word of the Father in thought and actuality. By him and through him all things were made, the Father and the Son being one. Since the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son by the unity and power of the Spirit, the Mind and Word of the Father is the Son of God. And if, in your exceedingly great wisdom, it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by ‘the Son,’ I will tell you briefly: He is the first-begotten of the Father, not as having been produced, for from the beginning God had the Word in himself, God being eternal mind and eternally rational, but as coming forth [from the Father] to be the model and energizing force of all material things"
  • Theophius (AD 180): "It is the attribute of God, of the most high and almighty and of the living God, not only to be everywhere, but also to see and hear all, for he can in no way be contained in a place. . . . The three days before the luminaries were created are types of the Trinity: God, his Word, and his Wisdom"
  • Ireneus (AD 189): "For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and from their disciples the faith in one God, the Father Almighty . . . and in one Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became flesh for our salvation, and in the Holy Spirit."
This doesn't state that Jesus is and always had been God. Further, one of Ireneus' books is 'On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis', demonstrating an early mainstream debate on Christ's divinity. 24.176.6.165 18:10, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Tertullian (AD 216): "Keep always in mind the rule of faith which I profess and by which I bear witness that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are inseparable from each other, and then you will understand what is meant by it. Observe now that I say the Father is other [distinct], the Son is other, and the Spirit is other. This statement is wrongly understood by every uneducated or perversely disposed individual, as if it meant diversity and implied by that diversity a separation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"
Tertullian was one Partisan in a spiritual debate against Marchion; this is more of the same sort of thing we see around the time of Nicaea; and Tertullian is one side. This hardly counts as evidence that there was a universal Christian understanding of the trinity, instead it supports the idea that the debate went a lot earlier than 50 years before Nicaea, to at least as you point out, 216. See the Tertullian Project at [1] for an example. 24.176.6.165
  • More from Tertullian: "Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are one essence, not one Person, as it is said, ‘I and my Father are One’ [John 10:30], in respect of unity of Being, not singularity of number"
  • Hippolytus (228): "The Word alone of this God is from God himself, wherefore also the Word is God, being the Being of God. Now the world was made from nothing, wherefore it is not God"
Here we have an example of someone stating that the Spiritual transcends the temporal; there is not explicit statement that Jesus is and always was God. 24.176.6.165
  • Origen (225): "No, rejecting every suggestion of corporeality, we hold that the Word, the Wisdom, was begotten out of the invisible and incorporeal God, without anything corporal being acted upon . . . the expression which we employ, however, that there was never a time when he did not exist, is to be taken with a certain allowance. For these very words ‘when’ and ‘never’ are terms of temporal significance, while whatever is said of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is to be understood as transcending all time, all ages, and all eternity"
This does not say that Origen states the 'the Son is God' - what it says is that the discussion of these divine concepts transcends time- which it may well; however, one could also argue that the ten commandments transcend time as well. 24.176.6.165 18:10, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • More Origen: "For it is the Trinity alone which exceeds every sense in which not only temporal but even eternal may be understood. It is all other things, indeed, which are outside the Trinity, which are to be measured by time and ages"
Again, this is a statement that the spiritual concepts transcend time; they do not state that Jesus is and always was God. 24.176.6.165 18:10, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Novatian (235): "For Scripture announces Christ is also God, as it announces God himself is man. It has described Jesus Christ to be man, as it has also described Christ the Lord to be God. Because it does not set forth him to be the Son of God only, but also the Son of Man; nor does it only say, the Son of Man, but it has also been accustomed to speak of him as the Son of God. So that being of both, he is both, lest if he should be one only, he could not be the other. For as nature itself has prescribed that he must be believed to be a man who is of man, so the same nature prescribes also that he must be believed to be God who is of God . . . Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the Son of Man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God"
Novatian sounds very odd and one may wonder about how mainstream were his views: see the Catholic Encyclopedia on Novation at [2]. 24.176.6.165 18:10, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Pope Dionysius (262): "Next, then, I may properly turn to those who divide and cut apart and destroy the most sacred proclamation of the Church of God, making of [the Trinity], as it were, three powers, distinct substances, and three godheads. . . . Therefore, the divine Trinity must be gathered up and brought together in one, a summit, as it were—I mean the omnipotent God of the universe. . . . It is blasphemy, then, and not a common one but the worst, to say that the Son is in any way a handiwork [creature]. . . . But if the Son came into being [was created], there was a time when these attributes did not exist, and, consequently, there was a time when God was without them, which is utterly absurd"
Unfortunately as I said Pope Dionysius is part of the Catholic Church, by definition, and had something to gain/ was biased. 24.176.6.165
  • More Pope Dionysius: "Neither, then, may we divide into three godheads the wonderful and divine unity . . . Rather, we must believe in God, the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus, his Son, and in the Holy Spirit and that the Word is united to the God of the universe. ‘For,’ he says, ‘The Father and I are one,’ and ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in me’"
Gregory is more recent and about the same timeframe as the early Arian movements. 24.176.6.165
  • Gregory Thaumaturgus (265): "There is one God . . . There is a perfect Trinity, in glory and eternity and sovereignty, neither divided nor estranged. Wherefore there is nothing either created or in servitude in the Trinity nor anything caused to be brought about, as if at some former period it was non-existent and at some later period it was introduced. And thus neither was the Son ever wanting to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son; but, without variation and without change, the same Trinity abides ever"

So where is your evidence that Arius' doctrine predates him and Lucian of Antioch? (Note that I included quotes from Tertullian, a Montanist, Hippolytus, an anti-Pope, and Origen, whom the Catholic Church has never considered a saint, though I think the Orthodox do.) -- Mpolo 15:18, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)

Clearly as many of your example's primary writings centered around debates about the divinity of Jesus Christ, there is no demonstrable evidence that early Christians were uniform in believing in the Jesus is and always was God concept. There was in fact an ongoing debate that far preceded Arius and his teacher. 24.176.6.165 18:10, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
This argument is really getting pointless. You have a point of view for which you can present no evidence, and have essentially said that anyone who is Catholic will be rejected out of hand, and at the same time reject anyone who is not Catholic (Novatian was an antipope) out of hand as non-mainstream.
I have admitted that there was discussion. The witness of a wide range of writers though, is meant to show "consensus". The First Council of Nicaea did not represent a break with tradition, but rather confirmed the belief of the majority of early witnesses. Perhaps "reaffirm" is the wrong word, though, as it might imply that there was no discussion at all before Arius. Let me try a more long-winded, but hopefully more accurate phrasing:
The question of Jesus's divinity was central to early Christians. A wide range of early writers, including Justin Martyr and Tertullian testify to belief that Jesus was God, or that he was second only to God the Father. At the same time, various groups arose that denied this teaching. The situation came to a head with the teaching of Arius, who brought large numbers of bishops and faithful to his belief that Jesus was a created being. The issue was settled by vote at the First Council of Nicaea, where the teaching later championed by Athanasius was enshrined as dogma. Arianism continued to exist for several decades after the decision of the council.
Is that acceptable? We ought to include the name of at least one pre-Arian Christological heresy that denies the divinity of Christ (Marcionism was more the relation between Old and New Testaments, not denying the divinity of Christ at all, making him the son of the "good God" of the New Testament.) Mpolo 18:56, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)
I'd go far that one. 24.176.6.165 19:12, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
My only quibble is that it survived for several decades within the Byzantine Empire as you said, but until at least the fifth or sixth century among some European tribes who had been evangelized by the Arians in the fourth century. If I remember correctly, I think the First Council of Nicaea had only two dissenting votes out of over 300 bishops assembled; if that can be verified, I think it would be worth mentioning. Wesley 01:16, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That's fine if we can add in how clubs were employed at the Council of Nicaea. 24.176.6.165 13:22, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Very Early non-trinitarian reference

From the Gospel of Thomas. circa 50-90, unearthed in 1945: 104 [100]. They showed Jesus a piece of money and said to him: "The people who belong to Caesar ask us for taxes." He said to them: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, give to God what is God's, and what is mine give me!" (Translation, Doresse, http://www.gospelthomas.com/gospelthomas100.html#)

Apparently a writer that preceded Athanasius' Canon, saw fit to mention Caesar, Jesus, and God as three separate entities. Now that additional bit disappeared from Athanasius' Trinitarian Canon. Interesting, No?
Please remember to sign!


Exactly: NO! – Maybe the learned contributor of the above comment feels injured at my brief response. All the commiseration I can offer is that I am increasingly appalled at the obviously poor Christian religious education in our times, that also makes it possible for someone to deem the above comment correct and relevant in the context of what aims to be a serious encyclopedia. Portress 9 July 2005 08:16 (UTC)

Cross

I think the insertion that

and in some groups it is considered idolatry and not used in worship.

Is worthy of inclusion somehow. Rather than simply deleting it, we should probably incorporate it. As for an image for Christianity, I think it is appropriate that there be a cross with an explanation in the caption that the cross is the generally recognized icon of Christianity, though some Christian groups don't identify with its use. In other words, we can include the NPOV-requisite disclaimer without getting into particulars of idolatry and worship. Tom 18:37, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The only thing we have to do in my opinion is throw a bone to people who are going to be continually tempted to chip in their two cents because the cross is at the top of the page and they say, "Wait, that's not *my* Christianity!". Sheer entropy control is all I am after. If we can come up with something that will tend to stabilize the page, then we are making progress. I tried a non-specific reference that I thought might work. And I think maybe in this case a very brief, non-specific reference will satisfy people. If we say LDS and JW, then before we know it someone comes along and disagrees. The anon who made that edit will be back, and for two considerations, we need to be sure he is happy. 1) We want him as a Wikipedian. 2) We don't want to continually have to fight him. I don't want to be disagreeable, but could we do something a little more non-specific, but still accurate? Tom 20:52, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

restore caption for now -- it seems weird to refer to it as an icon for "Non-Christians"

The non-Christian POV of the cross is quite important. The cross is the world symbol of Christianity even if I don't choose to use it in my worship and iconography. Tom 21:05, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

IMHO, while the first points are true for some very small number of the world's Christians, noting it in the caption for a cross very much overemphasizes the matter. Can it be put somewhere in the text of the article? And as far as the second, while it is true, I would argue that it is not an essential characteristic of the cross, and that that should go into the article Christian cross if it's not there already. Thanks, BCorr|Брайен 21:07, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

What does a fellow ask himself when he visits that causes him to change the image caption? I think he says a few things:

  • "Why did they choose the cross as the main image for this page?" Anybody could ask this, and only a few months ago the icon was a fish. I believe it should be a cross, though perhaps a more generic two black lines instead of somebody's wooden cross.
  • "Why don't they say that some people don't use the cross as their personal icon of Christianity? My POV is not being represented here." We apparently have to address this or explain briefly why we are using the cross as the illustration for the article. (I again think we are right, but apparently we need to justify it.)
  • "I am going to explain here that some don't use the cross. After all, it says Edit this Page right there." I think we have to head this off.

Now, I grant that 30 million known official non-users of the cross in LDS and JW are small compared to 2 billion Christians and 4 billion humans. Perhaps we should let this issue go for a while. But if it keeps popping up again, we are eventually going to be forced to throw that POV a bone in good Wikipedia fashion. Thinking now was the time to do it, I jumped in to try. But maybe I am premature. Tom 22:42, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm going to remove the part of that caption that talks about it being established as a Christian symbol in the fourth century based on these earlier references:

  • Paul says in I Corinthians that he will boast in nothing but the Cross (as opposed to his academic training, lineage, etc.);
  • The Epistle of Barnabas (first or second century) discusses the symbolism of the cross as found in the Old Testament, including Moses' outstretched arms during the Israelite's battle with the Amalekites. So the author of the epistle already saw it as a symbol of salvation and victory for God's people;
  • Ignatius of Antioch also writes about the cross as a symbol in his Epistle to the Trallians, again no later than the second century.

If these references are deemed insufficient, I'm confident I can find more. I can also look up more precise references and actual quotes of the three alluded to above if anyone wants those. I just don't have them in front of me right now. Wesley 16:02, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Analitical materials

The Original Teaching of Jesus Christ

1) "Christianity" in Wikipedia is not only christian's view. The article, which not contain different views, is non-enciclopedian, but only "confession". It is not good.

2) This material is not commercial information.

3) This book was written with blessing of God and under His guidance and contan deep knowledge.

4) I think you not read this book yet.

Sorry for my bad english,

Yours faithfully, Skywalker

I removed the "Original teaching" link, and wrote "v minority, POV link". I think that this is an accurate statement. To answer your points - 1. The article isn't written from a Christian's point of view - it's pretty neutral I think. 2. I didn't consider this when deleting the link. 3. That's your point of view - I'd seriously disagree with it, but again that isn't why I deleted it. 4. No, I haven't read all of it, but I have read a few of the pages.
The reason I deleted it is because the book makes unverifiable statements about what its author believes to be true. It does not attempt to reconstruct the orignal teaching of Jesus by any historical, textual criticism or scientific method that I can see. The text itself is probably more Gnostic than Christian, while the website on which it is published is syncreistic. I think that the purpose of the Christianity article should be to present information on the beliefs of mainstream and large minority groups, and on groups who disagree with these beliefs. I think that the current article does that, but I don't think that the addition of the link accurately represents what is believed about Christianity by any significant minority of people. Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a collection of websites - we'd soon be swamped if we included every website which discusses Chrisitanity. I think we can only choose the most appropriate to list, and I'm afraid that in my opinion, this website is not on that list.
Furthermore, I note that a link to the same book (on a different webiste) is also listed on the Jesus page - I certainly don't think it needs to be listed twice. I hope that this helps you understand why I deleted your link. If people disagree with me, then I'm sure they'll say and the link will be re-instated. --G Rutter 10:10, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think the true christianity is not "crosses" or "fishes"... It is not symbols. I think the christianity doctrine is not only approved of God (Thrinity, Father, Son) existence...

This is only packing of christianity... But this box is empty now.

Where is content? True content of this theaching is LOVE, but people removed it (removed out of maind, hearts and encyclopedias ) :) I read this word in Biblie, but I can't find word "Love" in this article... Doctrine without Love is dead, this is only description of christianity "box".

I think the spirit of this doctrine may be discribed here.

Unfortunately, my english language is bad and can't write about it in article. Could you do it?


"listed twice" - You are right, this is my mistake.

Yours faithfully, Skywalker

Lack of balance

This article is generally good but one-sided. I believe that there should be a section on criticism of Christianity, including some mention of the mass murder and cultural destruction that it has wrought over the past two thousand years. What do others think? Shorne 17:08, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Done and done. See this in the main article, and this article. The article on the Catholic church has a section too. Having said all that, a link to the Crusades would be handy - that's been added too. Wiki's got it. Krupo 20:12, Oct 5, 2004 (UTC)

Christian or Christian?

So what is an adherent? An editor just chaned adherent to claimant. While making the case ambiguous (claiming what?), the debate goes, what makes someone Christian? Mostly it comes from the Christian belief that a person can belong to only one religion. I personally belong to four religions. If someone says that they are a Christian does that make them one? I think the question is complicated by the fact that different religions retain membership in different ways. For instance, Jews are Jews only if they are a convert or have Jewish mother. The ambiguousness comes to a head when we add all the Christian denominations. 70% of Americans consider themselves born-again Christians, just because they are not babtised and don't attend Church who are you to say they aren't Christians? --metta, The Sunborn 20:29, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Leave it as adherent. More standard for this type of usage, I say. Tom - Talk 20:38, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Claimant may not be the best word, but adherent is a distortion. The Roman Catholic Church, to which most Christians belong, keeps people on the books once they're listed as Catholics and is generally quite obstructive about removing their names when asked to do so. Hundreds of millions of "Catholics" never go to a church or otherwise practise Christianity; many of them are adherents of another religion or atheists. I very much doubt whether there is any basis to the claim that two billion people in the world actually believe in the dogma of any variety of Christianity. Shorne 20:50, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Yeah, you may be right, but I think that the estimates used were from cenci which would be more accurate. The problem of maintaining internal lists is also seen in Mormonism and Bahai. So I magine that these things were considered. --The Sunborn

The most credible numbers I've seen (overall) are at www.adherents.com. At least there they account for all people and make the numbers add up to 5 billion (or whatever :-) ). Tom - Talk 21:41, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I cannot believe that these things were taken into account. Two billion is about 80% of the population of the world outside non-Soviet Asia. Do you honestly believe that that many people are Christians? Shorne 22:16, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I had a look at www.adherents.com. Here's an example of the distortion that I mentioned: the first six presidents of the US were non-Christians, yet three of them are listed as Episcopalians. (Two of the others as Unitarians, the remaining one as being of "no specific denomination".) If this place doesn't compile accurate data on forty-odd individuals whose biographies are widely available, how reliable can it be on such matters as the religious affiliations of all the people in the world? Shorne 22:25, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, who are you going to cite as more reliable? I realize it is challenging, but is there a better answer other than original research? Also, it sounds like there is dispute about what the religion of a particular person (president) is. Tom - Talk 23:28, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I don't have any research to cite. Being an atheist, I don't really care much about the relative popularity of various religions that are all wrong anyway. But that doesn't mean that the "research" of www.adherents.com is any good. Hell, it lists juche as a religion—the tenth largest in the world, no less—, when it's nothing but a political ideology.
I checked their "research" and found that a number of their sources go back to the Encyclopædia Britannica, which does use church membership as its starting point. In other words, lots of people are counted as Catholics without even knowing it, merely because at some point their parents had them registered as such with a church. Shorne 01:27, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Um, that is a fallacy of small sample size. I will demonstraight. The first presidents are a special case as I listed above, people can be more than one religion. Many of the founding fathers of the united states were not christian, but actually deists. This would not have looked so great in a land with many Christians so many still went to church and acted and called themselves Christians. The non-religion presidents were probably deists too. --The Sunborn
Jefferson made no secret of being a non-Christian. "Episcopalian" Washington escorted his wife to church every week but stood outside the sanctuary and waited for her, so repugnant was Christianity to him. Two of the first six US presidents were Unitarians—an inoffensive way to say "atheists". It's not clear to me that these four, at any rate, called themselves Christians. Shorne 01:27, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
As for the sample size, I agree that the methodologies will be different. But I think that there is enough evidence to cast doubt on the numbers posted at www.adherents.com, as I indicated above. Shorne 01:27, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)


George_Washington#Religious_beliefs. ??? Can somebody do a better job than adherents.com? If so, cite them. Tom - Talk 23:31, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Claimant versus Adherent- I prefer Adherent. To define a Christian as one who 'claims' to be a Christian (claimant) would of course, by simple logic, remove the deaf mutes. It would also remove people who do not communicate for the most part to others. However a large part of Christianity has been the Monastic movement, characterised by Silence, and Adherence to certain beliefs and ways (See Rules of St. Benedict). A Christian can be a Christian on a deserted island. 24.176.6.165

First statement in image caption

I think the first statement the cross is an ancient Christian symbol is POV. Jehovah's Witnesses and some historians don't believe that. See also Talk:Christian cross. Rantaro 03:24, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

You are correct that would make it POV. But are you disputing the meaning of ancient? What exactly don't you believe? Tom - Talk 03:48, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
See Talk:Christian_cross#Moved_from_article. Rantaro 09:42, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Poll on image and caption

What do you propose would be the ideal:

The ideal primary image for the article? Tom - Talk
I can't think of a good reason why Wikipedia can't use a cross as the primary image for this article despite the fact I don't have one in my home. Christianity is iconized in the world with a cross, and that's just the way it is. I don't like the cross that is there right now. It looks too much like a Catholic believer's cross. I think a simple black painted cross like a small t without a tail would be perfect for Wikipedia. If I were to disregard tradition and world opinion, I might prefer a picture of a man in a white or red (blood-stained) robe with arms stretched down and out out and apparent nail prints in hands, feet, and wrists with clouds in the background representing the risen Lord of Christianity.Tom - Talk 03:46, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The ideal NPOV caption if the image must be a cross? Tom - Talk
The cross is recognized across the world as a symbol of Christianity. Tom - Talk 03:46, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
oops, changed before reading talk, sorry guys. I didn't touch ancient and the edit was well summarized though. --metta, The Sunborn 04:02, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Most people think that the cross is an ancient symbol... What?!? Earlier on this page, I've quoted from St. Paul in the New Testament, the Epistle of Barnabas, and Ignatius of Antioch as examples of early Christians using the cross as a symbol in their writings. Are these uses contested? How many more examples does it take? It seems easier to make the argument that Jesus never existed at all, than to make the argument that there weren't any Christians who wrote about the cross and what it symbolized. Someone please enlighten me. Wesley 04:17, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I think that the cross is the best symbol to use and that the caption should read something like "The cross is widely recognised as an ancient Christian symbol", etc. In addition to Wesley's quotes, the earliest image I've been able to find is from the grave of Rufinas and Irene (early 3rd century), although there is also the anti-Christian graffiti "Alexamenos worships his God", (late 2nd century) which shows a person with a donkey's head being crucified on a cross. I got this info from The Lion Handbook History of Christianity, but the images can be seen online at Bible Picture Gallery. I don't think there can be any serious historical doubt that the cross is a very ancient Christian symbol. --G Rutter 09:28, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe that Jesus died on cross, but on stake. See Talk:Christian_cross#Moved_from_article. Then I think you understand this is POV. --Rantaro 09:52, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The objections of the Jehovah's Witnesses to the cross as a valid symbol are quite rightly documented both on the Christian cross page and on the pages dealing specifically with Jehovah's Witnesses. However, the vast majority of people, both Christian and non-Christian, associate the cross with Christianity. The Jehovah's Witnesses were founded in the 1870's and only abandoned the use of the cross in 1936 (according to Wikipedia). The historical evidence that Wesley and I have cited shows that the cross was used early on as a symbol of Christianity, and so the statement "the cross is an ancient Christian symbol" is therefore factually accurate. I therefore think that removing the cross as the first symbol on the Christianity page is actually more POV than leaving it there. --G Rutter 14:13, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Any good Christain and non-Christian should know the fish was the first symbol of Christiandom. It was use in "Jesus's Lifetime" occording to biased sources. Also, it was found in a Christian grave circa 74AD. First no, primary yes. ---The Sunborn
It might be possible for the JW's to insist that Jesus died on a stake, but that later Christians mistakenly thought he died on a cross. They already disagree with other assertions of the early church. So, saying the cross was used early on as a symbol of Christianity doesn't necessarily contradict the JW's, any more than saying that early Christians thought Jesus was God. JW's admit this, just say that they were wrong on this point, as far as I understand. See Great Apostasy for instance. Wesley 16:22, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

We need to stop arguing about the cross and make it look better. The Islam article is head and shoulders about this one in the aesthetic category. We need a simple two-tone computer-generated cross graphic and a Christianity series box like the Islam one. Tom - Talk 04:15, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Jesus as son of God

It says- "The vast majority of christians believe that Jesus is the son of God" All True christians believe that Jesus is the son of God. Nintendomon74 21:14, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)

JW also believe that Jesus is the son of God. If your definition is right, JW are "True" Christians. Rantaro 00:47, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Then the question is, which Christians don't believe Jesus is the son of God, that causes the artical to say "The vast majority" instead of "All"? Wesley 16:22, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I don't know, but I'll bet this: Any Christians who say they don't believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God will probably also agree that nonetheless, "Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." In other words, I don't know of anyone who would come right out and claim that believing Jesus Christ is not the Son of God is their official Christian stance. Tom - Talk 19:29, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The statement above by Nintendomon74 is an example of the No true Scotsman fallacy; please see it from more information. Jayjg 04:37, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)
While your comment is true, Jayjg, I made a non-fallacious statement. You may be a true scottsman and not put sugar on your porridge, but my statement refers to religious views. To be a Christian, you have to believe that Jesus is the son of God. Nintendomon74 16:43, Oct 10, 2004 (UTC)
Given the comments, unless someone can provide evidence that a group calling themselves Christian nonetheless deny that Jesus is the Son of God I think that we can alter the statement to "Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God." --G Rutter 12:41, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Jehovas Witness believe that Jesus is not the son of God and they don't belive they go to heaven they think that heaven is earth.

Evolution vs. Creation

I've deleted this discussion, as it doesn't belong here and has been covered elsewhere. If you really care you can read it here (but please don't edit it otherwise you'll remove any more recent changes). --G Rutter 08:11, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Monotheistic vs Trinitarianism

Note: The "Monotheism" vs "Trinitarian" statements which were in the lead paragraph are contradictory. I realize that not everyone may see it this way. But these points are explained fully and more appropriately below under "Doctrines"

For the sake of editorial accuracy, here is the second sentence which was deleted:

"As a trinitarian religion, it encompasses numerous religious traditions that trace their origins to Jesus."

A careful reading of it reveals that THIS SENTENCE ADDS NO INFORMATION that is not already in the preceding sentence save the use of the term "trinitarian". And so it appears that the only reason it was added was to offset the word "Monotheistic" in the first sentence. (That word is still in the text, but hidden.)

Again, it seems more appropriate for these two ideas to be left to later in the article where THEY CURRENTLY ARE DISCUSSED AND DEVELOPED MORE FULLY UNDER THE "DOCTRINES" SUBHEAD. --DannyMuse 06:42, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)-->
I'm afraid I don't agree. Chrisitianity is a monotheistic, trinitarian religion - and most Christians would agree with that. Yes, it's confusing, but then so is wave-particle duality, so I don't think that's a good reason for deleting the sentences - it is a basic part of the Christian faith, so I think it should be reinstated. How about:

Christianity is a monotheistic, trinitarian religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in the New Testament (see Doctrines below).

as a revised version of the first sentence?
Also, I note you're new here - welcome! I hope that you enjoy editing. But, for future reference, it's best to suggest contentious changes on the talk pages first and then wait until there's some sort of consensus before making the edits. I've reverted your "contradictory language" edit while we discuss it here. Also, some people think it's rude to write in capitals (it's seen to be the equivalent of shouting). --G Rutter 11:13, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think the first sentence Christianity is a... trinitarian is POV. This statement implicitly insist that non-trinitarian is not Christianity. Besides, Bible (New Testament) doesn't refer to trinity. Obviously, trinity depend on tradition. Rantaro 09:36, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I modified this to say that most Christians are trinitarian and some groups that identify themselves as Christian do not accept that belief. Is that acceptable to all? Mpolo 12:14, Oct 23, 2004 (UTC)
I think your explanation seems to have been different from the first sentence. Rantaro 13:18, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
It might be least biased to omit the reference to monotheism altogether. In saying this I am of course implying that "monotheistic" is not core to the definition of Christianity. I think that this is in harmony with the debates that have gone on here about "What is a Christian?"
  • Christianity is a religion based on the ministry (or life and teachings) of Jesus of Nazareth, who in Christianity is called Christ, or the Jewish Messiah. Christianity began around 34 A.D. as a sect of Judaism. Tom - Talk 14:26, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I think that the reference to trinitarianism is unneccessary in this sentence. Identifying the religion as monotheistic helpfully categorizes it among other world religions, but as "trinitarian" has no significant meaning outside of Christianity, it only adds confusion in this introductory context.

Anon above makes a good point. However, "true" monotheists such as Jews and Muslims may object to calling Christianity an unqualified monotheistic religion. I'm not sure what is appropriate here other than to follow broad conventions. Have we an expert in the house? Tom H. 21:23, Jan 11, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, many muslims and jews accuse Christian trinitarians of polytheism. Including something about the trinity at least qualifies Christianity's claim to be monotheistic, and from that perspective is NPOV. Mpolo's suggestion seems most balanced, namely that most Christians are trinitarian but some that identify themselves as Christian do not believe in the Trinity, or something to that effect. Wesley 17:06, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)
However, saying a Christian is a Monotheistic Trinitarian is like saying a Democrat is a Capitalistic Communist. I guess he's Chinese :). Christianity at core precedes Trinitarianism; it excludes those who seek an original state of Christianity, as many are interested in, rather than a particular implementation- just as a Communist might be offended at being called a Capitalist, despite most of today's Communists being Very Capitalistic (the Chinese).
One POV is that Christianity at core precedes Trinitarianism; it's the POV generally held by Christianity's detractors. Another is that Christ revealed that the one God exists in three persons who share a single divine nature or essence, which teaching was eventually expressed as trinitarianism to distinguish it from later similar but incompatible teachings, such as Arianism. Wesley 04:59, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Wesley, when some Americans were pointing out that American Car Companies in the 70's and 80's were putting out junk cars- was this a criticism of Americanism or American Industry? No, it was a concern for the overall quality of product, and a concern that American Car Companies were ignoring quality and resting on the laurels of success. They accused people who criticized them of unAmericanism, and being detractors of American industry- the fact is, they needed work- and whether it was their enemies in foreign auto manufacturers who pointed out the flaws, or their own people who were 'unAmerican'-it doesn't matter. You are doing the same thing in terms of Christianity- anyone who does not support the dominant trinitarian movement is a detractor of 'Christianity' as a whole- which is completely false. 68.79.132.164 16:50, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)
No, what I said was that the idea that "Christianity at core precedes Trinitarianism" is a POV generally held by Christianity's detractors; I had in mind Jews, agnostics, atheists and so on, who try to demonstrate that Christianity is based on a collection of man-made ideas rather than on divine revelation. Some non-Trinitarians claim to be supporters of Christianity, but in this point they are agreeing with, and often basing their conclusions on, the work of people who don't even pretend to be Christians. But now that you mention it, I believe they are detractors of Christianity itself, because Christianity is essentially trinitarian and always has been, even when it was not expressed in the same language eventually adopted at Nicaea. Wesley 04:31, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
There are non-Trinitarian Christians today, as there were almost 2,000 years ago. I'm sure then and now they didn't consider themselves "detractors of Christianity". Jayjg (talk) 04:49, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Well, nowadays they mostly call themselves "reinventors" or "rediscoverers" of Christianity rather than "detractors" - see the Great Apostasy article. They are open detractors of the Christianity of history, since that Christianity is trinitarian. They can never agree on exactly when this "Great Apostasy occurred", or provide any real evidence of the non-trinitarian sort of Christianity they postulate. When they try, they wind up citing the same evidence atheists use to show that Christianity is entirely man-made, which only further undercuts their own beliefs. 2,000 years ago, the gnostics didn't mind saying they were different from what became "mainstream Christianity", and were certainly as open in opposing it as orthodox Christianity was in opposing the gnostics. Wesley 05:08, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
(back to left) Let's suppose the following:
  • 1) A person is deeply Christian, raised Christian, etc
  • 2) That person's interest in Christ leads them to look at the Archaeological and textual history surrounding Christ in order to have a better understanding- to see through the smoke
  • 3) In the process, that person learns that numerous passages in 'the Bible' were generated in a biased way, such as is found in 1 John, after the fact, further learns that Jerome was more or less commisioned by a partisan in a theological argument to write the 'Canon' in a particular way, and that translation, the vulgate, became the de facto standard for the King James Version et al
  • 4) Suppose further that person learns that there was a corrupt election in 325 that set the stage for the next few millenia- deciding that Jesus was divinen and identical to God- in the face of a raging theological argument
  • 5) Suppose that person runs across the scrolls unearthed in 1945, the gospels of Thomas, authored 50-90, well before gnosticism or Orthodoxy, in which Jesus clearly describes himself in relation and distinction to God and Caesar- not himself/God/Holy Ghost
  • 6) Despite all that, the person is still driven by a passon for the base meaning and mysticism communicated by Jesus- the way to live life, seek understanding, and probe spirtuality- now is that then less of a Christian- and why? 69.51.152.226 18:51, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I would say that such a person appears to be sincerely seeking Christ, but has not yet found Him. If the full revelation of God to humanity through Christ was expressed in some ancient, unpreserved and only recently discovered manuscripts, then there exists no religious community today who has preserved that tradition, and you are truly left to guess at what, for instance the gospel of Thomas really means and how its truths should be lived out. A religion arrived at this way would be a new one of your own making. You cannot reconstruct with confidence the true meaning and teaching found in these texts without a new, direct divine revelation, such as the Mormons claim to have received from Jesus, Peter and other heavenly figures. Our other hope is that the original "core" faith has been preserved by one of the churches that does have a plausible historical connection with the earliest church, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, or the Armenians, Copts, etc., all in all only a handful. If at least one of them has preserved the revelation given by Christ, then Christianity is to be found there, preserved by God in a church full of sinners.
If you haven't already, I would highly suggest reading more of the early fathers, such as the letters of Ignatius and Polycarp, the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, and so on. To bring this back to the original question relating to the article, these early writings, which were widely circulated in the early church along with the books that were ultimately included in the New Testament, reflect a Christianity that does believe Jesus is God, and one that is certainly not inconsistent with the doctrine of the Trinity. Or at least, that is the belief of the Orthodox Church and the other handful of churches who trace their historical origins to this period of history. Wesley 04:05, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Great info, Wesley. I'm loving reading you. Your good friend, Tom Haws 06:15, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)
So Wesley, what you're saying then is; it's not WWJD (What Would Jesus Do)- It's WWAROJD (What Would Athanasius' Rendition of Jesus Do), or WWPROJD (What Would Polycarp's Rendition of Jesus Do), or WWECSOJD (What Would the Early Catholic Church's Spin on Jesus Do). Further, despite the article stating that there are billions of Christians, only those who have some 'divine revelation' are true Christians- so what do we have left? Maybe we should revise that number down at the beginning and say 'a few thousand people who embrace dogmatically the texts as determined by Constantine, Athanasius, et al.'- the rest are just being pragmatic and are not Christian- because they do not embrace Athanasius' view- they are not Christian. Further- who are you to tell what is divine revelation and not? How about if I say it is divine revelation that all shoppers should go to Wal-Mart. If you believe otherwise, you haven't been touched yet. Great marketing, bad truth. 24.176.6.165 12:42, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Er, no one I know of gives Constantine any credit for determining texts, while nearly all self-described Christians endorse the 27 books of the New Testament first listed together by Athanasius. Most Protestants and newer groups don't claim to have explicit divine revelation, other than a very general being "led by the Holy Spirit into all truth," so (in most cases) I'm not really arguing with what they say about themselves. Just observing that they're generally counting on being able to figure out which parts of the tradition they received are right and which are not, through prayer and their own intellects. If your alternative is to figure out that the Nag Hammadi collection is more authentic and then figure out on your own what it means, I don't know that you're any better off. If you don't believe God exists or any divine revelation exists, then this discussion is pointless to you and there's no point continuing. Wesley 04:26, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Here is a good book for you to read, Wesley- Lies My Teacher Told Me - Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong,by James W. Loewen. You can find it online. It describes how myths are created for political reasons and over time fossilize into belief. 69.51.152.226 13:26, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I understand the concept. I merely observe that if you believe all tradition that's been given to us is man-made myth, you have to have either direct revelation yourself, or give up on learning anything at all beyond what materialistic science and philosophy can tell you. I personally think there's just as much reason to be suspicious of people today trumpeting the early gnostics as heroes, as there is to suspect more traditional Christians. Wesley 04:26, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)
There is a distinction between when observance/science/reality comes into play, and when faith comes into play. Because God created reality, so we believe, all reality should be a reflection of God's will. Therefore, what we see, what we perceive, unless it is false, is a greater understanding. Faith fills in the gaps where we do not or can not know something. For a long time no one could 'see' germs, but when scientists discovered germs and communicated that to the public, now even people who have never looked in a microscope have 'faith' that germs exist. In Christianity we have been getting greater revelation into truths- greater exposure to God's reality. The 'theological scientists' so to speak are seeing more things than were known for thousands of years. This is a good thing, that rather than dispels faith, should make it stronger. The faith we have today that bacteria exists is unwavering; before science it did not exist at all. 69.51.152.226 14:44, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, all truth is God's truth. Are the 'theological scientists' seeing divine truths in a way that is verifiable by others, seeing actual visions, or are they philosophically speculating? I suspect the last of these three, which if so makes the "scientist" term seem misleading. For those things already revealed by God to the Church, there are no "gaps" to fill in. Our understanding can improve, but should not contradict or undermine the foundation already laid. If it replaces the existing foundation, that's all well and good, but it becomes something different. That's really my only point; if theologians or anything else come up with something "new and improved," they should be honest enough to say up front that it's something new. Wesley 18:41, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I think Wesley knows very well that I come from a very different tradition with different ways of speaking of Christ than his. In fact, I am sure he knows I probably see things more the way you two anonymous folks do than the way he does. But he also knows I appreciate and honestly delight in the careful and respectful way he has learned to express himself. Wesley, what would you call the idea that the full revelation of God to humanity through Christ is expressed newly in each sanctified believer, and that any other expression, such as in the printed word or in the sacraments of a church, is a symbolic approximation, perhaps expressed best by "the Kingdom of God is within you". Would that be somewhat gnostic, and would it have a parallel idea (such as perhaps sanctification) in the historic churches? Tom Haws 16:34, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)
I wondered if you'd notice this thread, Tom. Naturally I thought of you when I mentioned modern new divine revelation. ;-) I'm not quite sure what to make of your statement. Orthodoxy would see the printed word and the sacraments as quite different things, with the sacraments being much more than symbolic approximations. The word "symbol" comes from two Greek words that mean literally "throw together", and in a sacrament divine grace is thrown together with the material, particularly in the Eucharist but in other rites as well. Don't know what to make of that first part though; can't say it's gnostic, just that it seems "off," perhaps because it doesn't seem to recognize the uniquenes of the Incarnation. For parallels the theosis article might have the best pointers. Wesley 04:26, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

What is a Christian?

A Christian is a person who believes that Jesus died for us on the cross, taking the full wrath of God on himself, and who has trusted in Jesus for his salvation from hell in the life to come. - 207.27.152.6 [UNSIGNED]

RESPONSE: This is already defined on the Christian page:

  • a follower of the faith of Christianity
  • those who followed Jesus as his disciples

Since the first definition is a circular reference to this page, only the second is helpful. It is specific enough to be meaningful, yet broad enough to not be controversial and start more "Edit Wars," (ie. "My doctrine is more Christian than your doctrine!")

The problem with the previous UNSIGNED definition is that it includes some doctrinal beliefs that not all that profess to be Christians would agree with. There is a definite trend here among many contributors to define things in terms that INCLUDE themselves and EXCLUDES those that they don't agree with. Obviously, this is not NPOV. --DannyMuse 20:09, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There's also the matter of using generally understood meanings versus newly invented meanings. Wesley 06:29, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Wesley, I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Could you please clarify by being more specific, perhaps giving some examples of what you mean and an explanation? Thanks! --DannyMuse 16:16, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
For instance, a follower of Rev. Moon might agree that "Jesus died for us on the cross..." as stated above, but believe that his mission failed for whatever reason, necessitating another messiah such as Rev. Moon. A muslim might even subscribe to that statement, believing that Jesus died for us, and that trusting in Jesus' moral teachings (which he thinks are consistent with the Koran etc.) will lead him to eternal life. Short simple statements like that can be interpreted a dozen different ways, often in direct contradiction to what was initially intended by the statement or definition. (sorry to take so long to respond, didn't see this question until now.) Wesley 17:03, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Deleted phrase

I removed this phrase from the section talking about Emperor Constantine and the [[First Council of Nicaea:

  and paved the way for the divine right of the Catholic Church

First, I'm not sure what the heck it's supposed to mean. I'm familiar with the "divine right of kings", but this is clearly something different. The "Catholic Church" is usually understood to mean the Roman Catholic Church, which at this point in time was still several hundred years shy of being independent of the rest of Christianity. Is there a better way to phrase this, or should it just be left out? Wesley 06:29, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I think the intent might have been the first meaning listed at the catholic page.- Will2k 17:17, Nov 7, 2004 (UTC)
Meaning it paved the way for the universal or whole church? Sorry to sound dense, but this doesn't make much sense. Could someone spell this out a little more clearly for a simpleton such as myself? Maybe it will lead to something even more helpful and clear for the article. Wesley 04:13, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That might have been the intent. Still, leave it out, I don't think it's necessary.--Will2k 04:27, Nov 11, 2004 (UTC)


AD vs CE

I see that DannyMuse has changed all of the BC and AD in the article to BCE and CE. Despite what the supporters of the CE would like to belive, BC and AD are the accepted labels in use in the world. The CE article even states that "few know[] what the designation means." Be it Christo-centric or not, they are the most common lablels. Fursther, I think that the fact that this is an article on Christianity, I cant come up with a better place to use the Christian labels? I haven't yet reverted them as that I know that it would start an edit war. What do ya'all think that the appropriate labels should be? Cavebear42 17:29, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I agree with Cavebear42. BCE/CE is not well understood (I have never even seen a reference to it in a British English usage guide, for instance), and google searches show its usage to be small in comparison to AD/BC. The terminology AD/BC (I changed it back) is used consistently on this page, in accordance with Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers). DannyMuse should take the commonsense option and use terms that everyone can understand. jguk 19:19, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The manual of style does not state a preference of BC over BCE or AD over CE; where do you think it does? As for the usage, it is common amongst academics, and becoming moreso elsewhere. Jayjg 03:35, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
You misunderstand me. The Manual of Style requires consistency, and does not sanction a change from consistent use of BC to BCE. (Or, indeed, from BCE to BC.) I changed it back to BC as the original change to BCE was not sanctioned by policy. jguk 07:35, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
This boils down to an issue similar to color vs. colour. We use color in "American" articles and colour in all other contexts. Since B.C. and A.D. have their roots in Christianity, it would be natural to apply them here.--Will2k 04:57, Nov 18, 2004 (UTC)
I think that this is the best solution. Pretending that the "common era" that just happened to have been chosen in an attempt to date Jesus's birth has nothing to do with Jesus might work on a page about Roman history, but it's almost offensive on a page about Christianity. (I personally think that the academics who want to get rid of AD and BC should invent something else -- "Before Newton" and "After Newton" or some such -- rather than saying, "If we pretend hard enough, everyone will forget about Dionysius Exiguus.") Mpolo 08:15, Nov 18, 2004 (UTC)

I agree that CE & BCE to become the norm. This world is not Christian and Christians do not have exclusive right to historical terminology no matter what they believe (after all it is a belief not a fact). The BC & AD are terms that falsely try to centralise Christians place and mark on the world. With Agnostics and Atheists the most steadily growing group over the last 150 years world wide and the rest of the worlds other religious views, collectively out numbering the Christians I see it relevent to lay waste to the narrow ideology of the AD & BC terms. sandsmansage

"...lay waste to the narrow ideology..." ?? You make it sound like the reason for using BCE and CE would be POV pushing, sandsmansage. Wesley 04:48, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Oh for crying out loud! sadsmansage sounds more like some atheistic extremist thumping his chest and trying to proclaim this whole issue as some "Flaslely Incorrect Christian Opression" and that athiesm will dominate the world. UGH. I stand with what Mopolo says on the issue; furthermore, this is a page about Christianity itself, making sadsmansage's babblings about false Christian centralization even more absurd. If there's a page about a specific subject--such as Christianity--where a relevant calendar can be used, use it. If we were talking about Islamic or Bhuddist topics, I'd be inclined to have dates in their relevant calendars (with more general translations for everyone else).
It amuses me that you are so afraid of the influence of Christianity that you feel a need to remove the most readily understood units of dating. Also, if I'm not mistaken Islam is the fasting growing religion in the world but you feel no need to transfer to their calender. jguk was right, there is no reason to change the article.
It amuses me that you are so afraid of the influence of Christianity that you feel a need to remove the most readily understood units of dating. Also, if I'm not mistaken Islam is the fasting growing religion in the world but you feel no need to transfer to their calender. jguk was right, there is no reason to change the article.

"civilized world"?

In the Emergence of National Churches, I read this:

By the second millennium, Christianity had spread to most of the civilized world.

This should be phrased differently. "Civilized world" is a meaningless term - there have been civilizations all over the world. In most uses it is extremely ethnocentric, implying that the writer's civilization is the only really "civilized" one. I'd change it, but I don't know jack about the history of Christianity, only enough to know that there are plenty of civilized places that are not particularly Christian now and never have been. So might someone who knows about this stuff fill in a specific term, like "had spread to most of Pitcairn Island" or "had spread to most of western Greenland" or whatever the right term is? Thanks! - Cdc 07:42, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Hm, I just made a change myself, making it "most of Europe" since I'm guessing that that's what the author meant by "most of the civilized world", but like I say, I don't know for sure what was meant. Feel free to fix it if that's wrong, but I couldn't let the implication of Christianity==civilized world stand any longer.. Cdc 22:23, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Christian-lineage Image - POV

While this might seem to be a useful image of common thought concerning Christian faiths, it is not NPOV as it favors Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy as being "closer" to the roots of early Christianity (the center), whereas Restorationism and Nestorians are depicted as being "further" from early Christianity, departing from it the earliest and moving the furthest away.

Additionally, whereas in this picture the gray line represents early Christianity, the line color does not change until it reaches Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, leading readers to believe that those are direct derivations, while the rest are not. In other words, were this a more neutral image, the line would change color from gray after the first departure, being Restorationism (though still not a neutral depiction - perhaps a colorlessness would suit it better?). Moogle 04:16, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

You are misinterpreting the image. It is a historical representation of the development of Christianity. It isn't a representation of relationships to early Christianity. Placing Catholicism and Orthodoxy at the middle is just for convenience. We can't have lines going every which way. Besides, someone has to be in the middle there.
As for the colours, they represent the amount of time that tradition was in place. So early Christianity functioned without much change until about the 11th century when Catholicism took prominence. Again, those colours are effective only on their own sub tree. They do not affect the colour of the root path.--Will2k 04:53, Nov 30, 2004 (UTC)
So it isn't a timeline, right? And in that sense, the restorationists are plugged in directly (via their dashed line) to Early Christianity. Is that right? Tom - Talk 07:06, Nov 30, 2004 (UTC)
It's not exactly a timeline, more like a family tree. I believe that when that dashed line was added, it was for the purpose of representing the restorationists' claim to, well, be restoring early Christianity. Wesley 01:25, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Nonetheless, the fact that I did misinterpret it evidences that it does leave place for misinterpretation. This attests to its lack of clarity as well.

Additionally, Will2k's statement that it represents "the development of Christianity" assumes that there is development (which could be interpreted as corruption) in the first place. Assuming that it only represents development, how does it represent development except in the displacement of lines from the center — where Early Christianity is located? Perhaps rather than having this type of representation a timeline with early Christianity absent would be better. That way there is no reference point for comparison other than the denominations themselves.

The statement that someone has to be in the middle is moot as the 11th century schism shows. The line could have just as easily split with the Nestorians or Oriental Orthodoxy.

Also, saying that early Christianity did not change until the 11th century is false. That statement alone shows POV as it shows complete disregard for the Nestorians and for Oriental Orthodoxy by suggesting that they were not early Christians, or (once again) that they removed themselves from Christianity. On that note, Nestorianism states that the Assyrian Church of the East does not teach Nestorianism, which Assyrian Church of the East reiterates.

That the colors represent time is not true in the sense that Roman Catholicism claims its existence from the beginning, (i.e. not different from early Christianity) and therefore the early Christian line should be completely red beginning with Peter, from that point of view. As I see it, there is simply no way to make this depiction NPOV.

If it is a family tree, denoting lineage, then this suggests that one group is derived from another, which - though in some cases this is true - is not. I realize that this does not make it any clearer (believe me, I am boggled), but I think that at the very least it does demonstrate that this is flawed and could have a better representation in its place. Perhaps a timeline showing relationships to all the churches in a spectrum with no early Christianity would be best - yet still not quite the solution I realize. Until one is found, I am content to leave this image here until a better image can be found. Moogle 05:23, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I agree it's not perfect. I wish there were a way to show the continuing fractures (with occasional unions) all the way up to the over 30,000 denominations today, but that's not practical, and might be seen as POV. I think it would be horribly POV to completely omit the early church and pretend that all "branches" are the same age. Some Protestants would love that I'm sure, especially the ones that just struck out and started new denominations this century. As it is, the picture's current level of detail seems to be a bit of a compromise between those extremes. I'm not sure why you want to say that later groups aren't derived from earlier ones. That only makes sense with groups like the Mormons that believe a direct divine visitation took place, but most denominations don't make that kind of claim about their origins. Wesley 06:07, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I have liked the image from the first time I saw it. I think it gives a good overview of the major branches, and it's fun to look at. Tom Haws 14:51, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)
I agree that the colours are mildly problematic, but it'd be tricky to improve on without a good deal of loss of clarity. The 'derived from' relations seem sound though, aside from the one case of "Protestantism" being seemingly derived from "Anglicanism" (true for Methodists and some others, not true for Lutherans and Calvinists). Broadly speaking, I like it. Alai 01:13, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Thanks

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who created this high quality article. It's very NPOV and talks about Christianity from historical and philospophical persepective, unlike sorry Wikipedia entries about Islam and Qur'an that spread hate and intolerance.

Do they? Where? Slinky puppet 15:57, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

Opposing views

is the "Opposing views" links relevant here , Opposing to what ? --82.213.33.73 22:24, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)


"The original apostles are believed to have written some of the New Testament's Gospels and Epistles." Couldn't one say the opposite here and still be just as correct since authorship of most or at least many are in serious doubt?

Yes, one probably could. Even better would be to summarize who believes they did write some, and who believes this is in serious doubt. Broad generalizations would probably suffice, as long as the generalizations aren't meant to be prejudicial. Wesley 22:22, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Quotes about Christianity

Do we really need this section here?

Maybe the quotes should go in the individual wikipedia articles "Rowan Atkinson"'s for example.

Rowan Atkinson's is a comedian and hardly a philosopher or theologian.

What is a freethinker?

--Vizcarra 17:21, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Removed that section. I think a link to wikiquote would probably be alright, though. PaulStansifer 21:31, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Christian population of the world and each country

I posted this on my talk page User:OneGuy/Christianity by country. It was easy to create this since I already had the program/data file from Islam by country article. I would like to see some comments/correction and if such an article should be on main namespace OneGuy 20:59, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Somewhat misleading sentence

"Although Christianity is the largest religion in the world and there are massive missionary efforts under way, as a whole it is declining in terms of the overall population." This sentence suggests that the total number of Christians is declining. But that isn't so, as noted immediately afterwards (1.12% rate of growth). I think what you should write, to be more clear, is that Christianity's proportion of the total world population is slightly shrinking.

Christianity and persecution

"In the second half of the 20th century a battle in Northern Ireland continues between Roman Catholics and Protestants over the forced British occupation of Ireland."

Wrong tense, on two accounts; characterisation as a "religious battle" is over-simplified; "forced occupation" is a tautology, wildly "Greener than Sinn Fein" POV in rhetorical terms, and confusing out of context. (Vaguely implying the "occupation" started around 1950, not c. 1200 (or 1600, or 1700 take your pick).) Alai 06:55, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I am concerned with the statement that Christians are persecuted in the Indian subcontinent - which is mainly India. Imagined persecution and the harmful effects of proselytization and foreign funding will need to be addressed to make this section more meaningful. When Christianity was being persecuted in the rest of the world, India harboured and welcomed the first Christians (Syrian Christian community in Kerala).While there are many persecution stories to be found in evangilical websites, I have found few to be true and reported in the mainstream Indian media, which is extremely vigilant about attacks on minorities. Also, it may be meaningful to mention that several pastors in India have publicly made derogatory statements about Hinduism, the majority religion in India. --Pranathi 03:56, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Mormonism

There is a bit of reverting going on in the mormonism section - and i have been part of this. So before it escalates I suggest that we have a short chat what we exactly want to achieve in this section.

1) why is this section here in the first place? Directly after Judaism? Or rather why only Mormonism - which is after all largely an American religion, rather than something of significance e.g. where I am - If I would look where I am Jehovah's witnesses or Muslims would have a far better claim on being mentioned here, both being also "post-christian" and "improved" forms, return to "the true meaning" of the gospel etc etc. What makes Mormons special in this respect? This is not meant to be disrespectful.

2)While Mormons feel obviously strong about themselves being trhe truest forms of Christianity, fact is not one of the large denominations accepts Mormons as fellow Christians - Membership in World Council of Churches, Evangelical Alliance, Catholic-Whatever dialogues, regional Christian councils - whatever -are all fora which jump to mind for a largish denomination to be involved in - at least one or another. So to write "some Christians" do not accept Mormons as proper Christians is far too weak and really does no justice whatsoever to the matter.

There are more questions, but this should be the start of a dialogue so I give some space to others ... Refdoc 15:30, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

heya -- just to clarify my position, i'm not a mormon or in any other denomination, but consider myself a "mere christian." with regard to why it's there, i agree with you -- i think a single link to the article on topic would be perfect. but somebody else wanted it here and there was a bit of a revert war about a month ago with a lot of namecalling etc ... so i stepped in to write the version which you altered to "strengthen" the non-mormon position. i think the best approach here is to be analytical as possible -- instead of saying "they think they're the best" and "they think they're a cult," we try to define the issues as succinctly as possible. in what ways are mormons christian? in what ways are they different from other denominations? either that or just link out to the page on the topic. i just want to make sure this doesn't turn into another cliche war about who's christian and who's not:). Ungtss 15:40, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I think, this is much better, thanks, Ungtss for contributing. Refdoc 17:38, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

thank you too:) -- excellent stab at addressing the issue ... i tried to broaden it a bit ... what do you think? Ungtss 18:19, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Mormon Tom thinks you are a meister, U. Excellent work. You might link to Mormonism and Christianity. Tom Haws 04:54, Feb 3, 2005 (UTC)

This is probaly irrelevant (spelling that right? I dunno I'm tired), but this is my take as to Are Mormons Christian?:

 But even if we or an angel should preach a gospel other than other than the one we teached you let him be eternally condemned.! -Galatians 1:8

(Please don't delete this message if it is indeed irrelevant (?) just ignore it and go ahead with whatever you are talking about; -using that right?- or just move it where it is appropriate or will be seen. And post where you move it.)

The Baha'i Faith

The statement which I corrected said that the Baha'i Faith is trying to correct the perceived corruption in the church. This is untrue. I didn't know how to change the paragraph to say that so I added a couple sentences. If you want to just remove the Baha'i Faith from the paragraph altogether, that is fine as well. Baha'is believe in the divine nature of both Jesus and the Bible, they believe the Bible is God's holy text. The main difference in what Baha'is differ in belief from Christians is that religion is progressive and thus Baha'u'llah has updated or changed many of the laws from the Bible. -- Jeff3000 21:53, Feb 2, 2005 (UTC)


Miracles et al

I do believe it is important to leave the sentence on miracles in the first paragraph. These are a central feature of Christian faith - not the basis, but a central feature nevertheless. Even today - both in the Roman Catholic church (what else is Lourdes etc about?) and in charismatic/pentecostal churches. To call these "supernatural nonsense" is gross POV Refdoc 08:58, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)


"Others grew into major world faiths (such as Islam and Mormonism)" -- Mormonism is not a "major world faith." Islam is, Christianity is, etc. LDS has about 12 million or so adherenets, while Islam has around 1.3 billion. To put the two in the same sentence and label them major world faiths is almost laughable.

Orthodox /Correct beliefs

I reverted the last change by Aaargh, as the "Correct beliefs..." does not imply in the context that such beliefs are correct as such (as in "Wikipedia affirmed", but that such groups hold it for important to have "correct beliefs". I hope this is clear enough Refdoc

The context is vague. The word is hardline. "Correct beliefs (as held by the group)" is clearer (my change) but verbose. I can see where Aaargh is coming from - and you Refdoc Dizzley (Peter H) 19:01, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

This is a good and very clear change. Refdoc 19:27, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I am changing this back to 'traditionally established forms of belief'. This is less POV than the term 'correct' beliefs, and is also inline with most dictionary definitions of the term 'orthodoxy'. The word 'correct' here is misleading and inappropriate.
here are the definitions for 'orthodox' from answers.com:
1. Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religion.
2. Adhering to the Christian faith as expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds.
3. Orthodox
1. Of or relating to any of the churches or rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
2. Of or relating to Orthodox Judaism.
4. Adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional: an orthodox view of world affairs.
The word 'correct' is POV. Sorry, but in the interest of neutrality this should be changed, and the term 'traditionally established forms of belief' is both neutral and accurate. Reverted back Aaarrrggh 11:12, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I stress this again - "correct" is not meant as "Wikipedia correct" but as Dizzley wrote "Correct as held by the group". This is hugely important, often a significant reason for schisms etc and not at all only related to "traditionally established", quite often exactly the opposite. So while you are trying to be NPOV - a laudable undertaking - you are actually restricting and limiting the article to one particular aspect. I am not calling it a POV, but it is limiting. "Roman Catholic" and "Greek Orthodox" might defend "traditionally established beliefs" and have both a very high view of "tradition" other churches and denominations attempot exactly the opposite - a search for truth in teaching and practice, independent from precedent and tradition. To be perfectly clear I am not out to do editwarring, but I am searching for the right and clearest expression clarifying the matter and I am more than happy if this is not the one I initially suggested Refdoc 11:59, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)


I know that you were happy with the last edit, but I was not yet - sorry... . So I re-wrote it incorporating mine, Dizzley's and your changes. I hope this is now clear and NPOV enough. Refdoc 12:11, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

No Problem Refdoc. I just wanted to compliment you on the changes you've just made, and to say I'm happy we sorted it out without resorting to an edit war. Although it's only a small change, I think the article is better for it. Aaarrrggh 12:14, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"over the past two millennia, Christianity has been grouped into three main branches: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism."

That's, obviously for anyone, not true: the split of the first two branches happened less than a millenium ago, not to mention the third?

It'd be hard to claim there was only one "trunk" for these to branch off of in the first place though

Those are the three largest "branches," if you group all Protestants together as a single group. There were other divisions earlier, most notably the Nestorians and the Copts ("monophysites"), but numerically they were much smaller. Still other divisions were even smaller, and in some cases have all but disappeared. Naming three main branches is a bit of a simplification, but it's also not that far off the mark just to give people a general idea. Wesley 05:04, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)