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should not Church be the disambiguation pate, and Church (building) the article on the buildings? The term is too ambiguous to just point to the buildings article. dab () 10:59, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

I absolutely agree. Speaking as a theologian, the English word 'Church' refers to church buildings only in a subsiduary sense, even if that is the etymological root.

English bar?[edit]

I thought there was a bar in London called Church or the Church, maybe not there any more. There were some press reports. m.e. (talk) 17:03, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Roman Catholic Church[edit]

While it is true that information about the Roman Catholic Church can be found in the Christian Church article, the fact remains that people often refer specifically to the Roman Catholic Church when using the term "Church." That is why I placed the Roman Catholic Church on the Church disambiguation page. The fact that an article is mentioned in an existing article, is not, by itself, sufficient reason to remove it from a disambiguation page. ŁittleÄlien¹8² (talk\contribs) 19:00, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Why have you reverted this page without discussing it first? You could have responded to this post or simply commented on the Church discussion page. I thoroughly disagree with your choice to remove the Roman Catholic Church from the Church disambiguation page. I am currently fixing links to this disambiguation page, and the Roman Catholic Church is often the intended destination of these internal links. If this were not the case, I would leave this matter as it stands. But I do not see a good reason (nor have you offered one) to remove this link, given the reason I stated above. I have reverted your edit once again, and I would appreciate a more thorough explanation than POV or "they were removed in the past." Neither of these explanations suffice. ŁittleÄlien¹8² (talk\contribs) 19:54, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
As stated before the
I do not see why people are really apt to search for "Church" and mean "Roman Catholic Church."
It you are "currently fixing links to this disambiguation page" then point any to "Roman Catholic Church" that need it, but is you that have the burden of proof to make your change, not I -- but I have posted you comments here for you if you are disputing the link. --Carlaude (talk) 20:15, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
I am a Protestant Baptist, and in no way am I try to advance my own personal agenda. In fact, I would support adding the Protestant Church to this page to give the overall page a more neutral appearance. Please do not accuse me of POV violations when I have clearly articulated my reasons for adding this link. Also, your first and third points seem address the same issue (remove entries covered by other list articles and not likely to be searched as simply Church). You are asking me why people are apt to mean Roman Catholic Church when searching for Church, and since I will not claim to know the intentions or reasons of others, I will not venture to answer this definitively unanswerable question. The more important question is whether or not people mean Roman Catholic Church when using the term Church (not why?) and a good indication of this can be determined by the internal links that lead to this page. You can check them out for yourself (or I can find a few if you'd like me to). Simply click on "what links here" in the toolbox and you will find that 1:10 - 1:20 of the 5,000 links to this page refer specifically to the Roman Catholic Church. This, in my humble opinion, is enough to warrant the addition of this link. And, to make things seem more neutral, we can added a link to the Protestant Church. ŁittleÄlien¹8² (talk\contribs) 20:41, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Please do not take offence. You asked for more detail. If you add a links for other churches I will not consider the overall edit POV-- but an edit can be POV for reasons that are not POV. Please consider my comments to be about the edit and not your purpose.
I be more clear-- the question "why..." is rhetorical. I see it as unlikely that people would search for "Church" and mean "Roman Catholic Church."
Wikipedia editors put internal Wikipedia links for very different reasons than why others-- Wikipedia users would search for "Church". Furthermore the Wikipedia policy on the first is clearly stated at the bottom of each disambiguation page: If an internal link led you here, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended article. As for internal Wikipedia links they are often done for such sill reasons as whatever comes to their mind, or whatever is easier to type.
While you note that "1:10 to 1:20 of the 5,000 links to this page refer specifically to the Roman Catholic Church." It would seem that is beacuse of the habits of the many Roman Catholic editors, not Roman Catholic users that mistook Wikipedia as a Roman Catholic encyclopedia or that never heard of another broader meaning of the term "church." --Carlaude (talk) 21:45, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
A couple of points:
  • Your claim about the habits of Wikipedia editors being entirely different from Wikipedia users is rather bold. Particularly, how the habits of Roman Catholic editors lead them to mistakenly mis-link "Church," while the the habits of Roman Catholic users absolve them somehow of this mishap (i.e. the confusion between the terms "Church" and "Roman Catholic Church"). Bold indeed. You assume a sense of intentionality in the user, that you deny in the editor. To me, the opposite seems true: much more thought seems to go into internal linking (as sill as the reasons may be) than into typing text in the Wikipedia search field. I thus thought that if one were to discover the former (i.e. that editors often make the mistake of adding a "Church" link when they mean to add a "Roman Catholic Church" link), they would logically admit to the later (i.e. that users also mistakingly type in "Church" in the Wikipedia search field when referring to the "Roman Catholic Church"). I guess not.
  • Secondly, your response to my argument about your first point seems to be off the mark. I am well aware of Wikipedia's disambiguation policy. In fact, I was compelled to edit this disambiguation page after correcting over a hundred internal links to this page, realizing only after, that a large number of them were referring to the Roman Catholic Church specifically. I do not see, however, how your reply (i.e. "if an internal link led you here, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended article") somehow justifies removing Roman Catholic Church simply because it was mentioned in the Christian Church article. There seems to be a gap in this logic.
  • Lastly, when referring to the Church prior to the Reformation, one is almost always referring to the Roman Catholic Church. Examine this scenario: A student is given an assignment to discuss how the Church affected the feudal system of Western Europe during the Middle Ages (note: in most high-school and college European history courses the term "Church" is used, referring to the "Roman Catholic Church"). He, therefore, types in "Church" in the wikipedia search bar, hoping to find pertinent information related to his inquiry. The user's intent, in this case, is to find the Roman Catholic Church article, regardless of whether or not he knows this fact or is informed of a broader meaning of the term "Church." Just think of all of the other inquires that are related to the pre-Reformation Church. You real don't think that people make the aforementioned mistake? Another bold claim indeed.
I really want to resolve this issue, so can we agree to add this link back along with a link to the Protestant Church (and, perhaps, other sub-Churches of the overall Christian Church that are equally prominent)? What do you think? ŁittleÄlien¹8² (talk\contribs) 02:11, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Your example is interesting, but knowing the articles in question, it seems only to be a reason to include a link to History of Christianity-- rather than a link to the Roman Catholic Church.
  • I think it will be fine with me to do as you propose-- Protestant & RCC, depending on how it is done. Please go ahead and try if you are so inclined. If need be, it will be easier to talk about it after I see it.--Carlaude (talk) 23:07, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
It looks like someone beat me to it. I made some additional changes (in addition to the ones that User:Closedmouth made). What do you think? ŁittleÄlien¹8² (talk\contribs) 17:28, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

"Clergy" and "Religion-supporting organization"[edit]

Maniadis, sorry I removed the link to Clergy; I had no idea "church" could mean "clergy", and this synonym wasn't mentioned on the target page. In this case, evidence to support your position was easy to find, but it wouldn't have hurt to give some evidence when you re-made your change. I'm reformatting your entry to better conform to WP:MOSDAB – the piped link is incorrect – and removing the duplicate you introduced; as noted in my edit summary, Religion-supporting organization was not removed, but moved down to "see also".

I believe moving Religion-supporting organization was justified, as its meaning is significantly different to "church"; again it's not mentioned as a synonym in the article, nor was this meaning in the dictionaries I consulted. Inclusion is justified in the "see also" section as several meanings of "church" would come under the definition of Religion-supporting organization, which is a much broader term (the page discusses religious charities, for example). If you want to move Religion-supporting organization back into the main section, please provide evidence "church" is used as a synonym.

--Rogerb67 (talk) 21:08, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

  • The term church of <something> is used for non Christian religions. A quick search in the List of new religious movements I found at least three. The best term I could come with, to describe this religions and the way they use church was Religion-supporting organization. If you can find something better be my guest. For the moment, I am going to leave this to some more experienced editor to think and fix. Maniadis (talk) 23:43, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
    • I think WP:D#Partial title matches "[d]o not add links that merely contain part of the page title, or links that include the page title in a longer proper name, where there is no significant risk of confusion" applies there; "church" is not going to be used as a synonym for "Universal Life Church". --Rogerb67 (talk) 01:05, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
      • And yet, I do not see you removing: Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Protestant Church, National church, Church body, Church service. They all seem to fall under the WP:D#Partial title matches rule that you quote. Can you elaborate on that? Maniadis (talk) 02:31, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
        • Indeed. All of these are commonly referred to as "church"; that is, one might say simply "church" when one is referring to the subject of one of these articles. For example, one might say "I'm going to church". An alternative way of saying this is, articles on a disambiguation page should be able to reasonably have the name of the page or something very similar as an article name, if none of the other articles being disambiguated existed. This holds true for the disambiguation links on this page, but not for Religion-supporting organization, or a page about organisations named church of <something>, if one were to exist. The target of a disambiguation page is not to grow the list – or the see also section – as large as possible, but to remain focused and helpful in directing people to pages they are likely to want if they type in the search term. --Rogerb67 (talk) 00:10, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
          • Interesting that you mentioned this particular example, because this example is what I had in mind when I thought that there should be a link here for the followers of non-Christian religions. I am running the risk here to be considered as a follower of one of these movements, but I only think about the neutrality of the page. I am guessing here that the expression "I am going to church", or "The members of the church", or "After the church" or any other similar expression might (and indeed it has already) appear in Wikipedia articles about these movements. Therefore, my felling was that there should be some link here, to help people disambiguate correctly these links. Of course, you seem to watch this page longer than me, and you probably know better what has been proposed and/or removed from here in the past.Once again WP:NPOV is the only reason we have this discussion. Maniadis (talk) 19:31, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
            There are links already for the first two expressions you mention as generally understood; Church service and Church body. Not sure what the context of the last one is. I don't claim any seniority on this page; as I see it, it's a matter of interpreting the policies and guidelines. Personally I think that including New religious movement and Religion-supporting organisation on the dab page is probably going a bit far, but I can see some arguments for inclusion in the see also section, so I'm not going to try to remove them from there. WP:NPOV is quite clear that while significant minority views deserve mention (which here might apply to the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches), tiny minority views (such as that of a NRM) do not.
            I'm not sure I understand some of your last reply, are you saying you are associated with a new religious movement with the word "church" in its name? If so, please be very careful of conflict of interest here.
            --Rogerb67 (talk) 11:38, 15 October 2008 (UTC)


Before cleaning up the page, I observed the above past discussion about what links should be listed here, particularly for all the various religions with "church" in the title. This is one of those areas where the "Is someone likely to search for this topic under the name 'Church'?" rule does not make things totally clear. But my thinking in deciding to remove Catholic Church, etc. is that although it's not entirely unreasonable that someone would search for this religion under the name "church", is it unreasonable that, upon not finding it specifically listed here, they would have no idea how else to find its article? I think it is. In other words, I can't think of how a person looking for the catholic church wouldn't try looking for "catholic church", or a person looking for the Eastern Orthodox church wouldn't look for "eastern orthodox church", even if they first looked here and failed to find it. And I did insert a link to List of Christian denominations which I believe lists all those topics for which I removed links here. It doesn't list Church of Scientology, but, again, anyone should be able to look under "scientology"; I don't think we need to clutter the page catering to the tiny minority of people that might first try "church."

I also removed Invisible church because it seemed very improbable that someone looking for that would look under "church", and same for Church-Turing thesis. Propaniac (talk) 15:18, 14 August 2009 (UTC)


In politics the term "church" is often used to refer to religion as a whole as in "separation of church and state". Does that mean separation of christianity and state or religion as a whole? Pass a Method talk 12:17, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

I assume you can read the word "generally" in the text that I added in deference to the sentiment you were going for. You know the word "man" is also used to mean All of Humanity, but generally it means one human or even one human male. Generally, "church" means a Christian congregation or the building where they gather. It would not generally be used to describe where Muslims meet, or where Jewish believers meet. Mormons often use the term "stake center", but they might say they are "going to church". Hindus might go to the shrine in their home or the temple at times. So while "church" can be used as a general term to mean "religion", it is ill suited to that use. "Church and State" is used because that is the term that Thomas Jefferson used in his Danbury Baptist letter. Since he was writing a letter to Christians, he would have used a term that was meaningful to them. You might note in the Treaty of Tripoli, just prior to the Danbury Baptist letter, the word "religion" was used. And of course, in the First Amendment to the Constitution, the word "religion" is used. "Church" is most commonly used to describe the things of Christianity, not of other faiths. -- Avanu (talk) 12:46, 14 September 2012 (UTC)


Under the religion heading there are many examples of other religious insitutions besides Christianity who describe their place of worship as a "church". As such should the lede sentence be modified to reflect this? Pass a Method talk 13:34, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

Would they misuse the word like that in the hope of at least appearing respectable to a casual observer? Eddaido (talk) 04:31, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
What do you mean? Pass a Method talk 17:48, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Well, they are not churches because they are not Christian but if they look like all the (Christian) others they then acquire a (false) veneer of respectability. Taking someone else's name (identity theft) can help you be accepted by others and that is what they have done, presumably for that reason. If I called myself Pass a Method away from Wikipedia (where that would be prevented) there is not much you could do about it is there? If you did not like that I could always claim I was "sincere" and unaware that you also used it. Eddaido (talk) 21:38, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the Lead should be modified by dropping the "christian", however, we should also get rid of the list of specific (and miniscule) denominations that happen to have "church" in their name (eg. Wiccan church, Church of Scientology, Raëlism, etc.). I've made a sample edit here. Feel free to revert if you think it needs more discussion. ~Adjwilley (talk) 23:08, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Happens I strongly disagree with dropping the word "Christian". That would be incorrect. Why do you want to do that? Eddaido (talk) 02:14, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Adjwilley, those were not denominations, those were religions. I added those links specifically because a few months ago some editors claimd that only Christians use the term church. Pass a Method talk 05:52, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
@Eddaido: it has nothing to do with what I want. I've seen the discussion above and realize there's opposition to dropping the word. I just saw it as the shortest path to resolving this dispute (which I see has been going on since at least the beginning of September). Yes, "church" is generally applied in a Christian context, but I don't think that needs to be said explicitly in the Lead sentence. It will show up in the links just fine. There's no Christian monopoly on the word "church".
@Pass a Method: The word Christian has been dropped from the Lead, which is what I suspect you've been going for this whole time. We all know that this list of tiny non-Christian religions is inappropriate for a disambiguation page. Please don't add them back again, otherwise it looks like you're just being disruptive to make a point (one that you've already made). ~Adjwilley (talk) 15:59, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Also, just to be clear, this edit was intentionally meant to be a compromise for both "sides". I removed the "Christian" which annoys Eddaido, and I removed the list of other religions which annoys Pass a Method. If you're going to revert me, don't do a "partial revert". Revert to the 18 October version before I edited. ~Adjwilley (talk) 16:09, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I dont feel strongly about this, but i do disagree with your characterization of them being "tiny" religions. Wicca is the worlds largest neopagan religion. Raelism is the worlds largest UFO religion. Scientology is one of the largest NRM's in the western world. Pass a Method talk 16:43, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. In my mind neopaganism and UFO religions are also tiny in the context of religion as a whole, but I don't think arguing on this point is going to get us anywhere. Thanks for the response. ~Adjwilley (talk) 17:03, 20 November 2012 (UTC)


If you put define:church into Google this is the first result:

A building used for public Christian worship.
A particular Christian organization, typically one with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines: "the Church of England".

Are you suggesting Google is wrong to define it as Christian? Eddaido (talk) 03:14, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

I wouldn't call Google a reliable source any more than I'd call Wikipedia a reliable source. I'd give your argument more weight if you were using something along the lines of Merriam Webster or ~Adjwilley (talk) 03:40, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
As for your other edit, the terms should be listed in order of how frequently the word church refers to them–not chronologically. Thus church the building and church service should come before church the society founded by Christ. I'd revert, but I generally try to stay below 1RR. ~Adjwilley (talk) 03:50, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Then you should check with whichever dictionary you choose. Eddaido (talk) 06:46, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
I have checked the above dictionaries and they do indeed give special mention to Christian religious denominations or buildings. In the future you would do well to perform your own research when someone asks you for a source. I'm fine now with leaving it in the Lead. I have removed the Christian Church that you added to the list, because it was already in the list before you added it, and there's no need to say it twice. ~Adjwilley (talk) 21:01, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
May I suggest "you would do well to" check in the obvious places before rushing your personal ideas to your computer screen! Eddaido (talk) 01:21, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

The Use of the Word "Church" as Only Christian[edit]

I do not understand why every definition of the word "church" in Wikipedia includes the word "Christian". What about the Church of All Worlds, the Church of Scientology, the Church and School of Wicca, the Church of the SubGenius, the Church of Satan, the Church of the Tree of Life, the Church of Mithra, the Church of Synanon, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Church of Eternal Life, the Church of Light, and others that are NOT Christian? All of these have Wikipedia articles, by the way.Rosencomet (talk) 02:12, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

How would people feel about modifying the first line from:
Church is a Christian religious institution, place of worship, or group of worshipers.
Church is a religious institution, place of worship, or group of worshipers that is generally Christian.
There are many organizations describing themselves and generally accepted as churches which are not Christian, so the present text is not accurate. Christian churches are by far the most common meaning so that it should be mentioned prominently. Thanks, SchreiberBike talk 18:51, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
I strongly support SchreiberBike's suggested changes to the lead of this disambiguation page. As it still gives more weight to the Christian uses of the word church, but also acknowledges that over the years it continues to be used by groups that are not exclusively christian anymore (like by some Unitarian Universalist congregations) and now by some other religious groups. --Devin Murphy (talk) 17:53, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
I strongly disagree. That is ridiculous, a church is by definition Christian! Its like saying red is blue because I like to call it blue. It seems to be saying "I like to think of my religious organisation as warm and friendly like a Christian organisation so I will call it a church" - not that my religious organisation actually IS Christian. See what I mean? If you do not please just say so. Thanks, Eddaido (talk) 09:21, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
What this change is attempting to do is something similar to what is don in the lead of the Church (building) article which reads "A church building, often simply called a church, is a building used for religious activities, particularly worship services. The term in its architectural sense is most often used by Christians to refer to their religious buildings but can be used by other religions...". The Church (building) article then spends 99% of the artificial discussing church buildings as a Christian thing, but it dose list links in its see also section to related articles with non-Christian content like List of Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist churches. I am suggesting we take this approach here as well. Am not locked into this wording for the lead, if you would like to change it to better reflect this by all means go right ahead and do so. But I think we ought not to deny the fact that this word is now used by groups that are either no longer exclusively Christian or are not Christian at all. And I believe It is not up to us to decide how a word or concept is used here on Wikipedia, just for us to reflect their real world usage. --Devin Murphy (talk) 05:58, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

I've made two small changes in wording: "group of worshipers that is generally Christian" to "group of worshipers, usually Christian"; and " particularly worship service that is generally Christian" to "particularly Christian worship service". I thought the previous wording was slightly ambiguous. To my ear, although the intended meaning is 'most such groups are Christian', it could also be understood as 'most members of any particular group are Christian'. This does not suggest any argument against Devin Murphy's position. Cnilep (talk) 05:54, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

Cnilep I like your changes. --Devin Murphy (talk) 02:20, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Don't forget the Church of Elvis!! All hail The King!! DeistCosmos (talk) 04:55, 17 April 2014 (UTC)