Talk:Criticism of Christianity/Archive 3

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

Evangelism

Perhaps criticism of evangelism should be moved here?

Denominations

Removed this: For example, following the death of the Catholic Pope John XXIII in 1963, the Protestant Reverend Ian Paisley denounced the dead Pope, saying "This Romish man of sin is now in Hell!". There are about one thousand different Christian faith groups in North America who believe themselves to be the only true denomination[1]. There are many other denominations who believe that all other denominations are going to Hell.

The quote attributed to Ian Paisley is uncited and thus impossible to verify. Given the nature of the quote, and Wikipedia's recent embarassment, it had better be left out unless it can be verified by the general public. The linked article about the denominations in North America actually says, "Some of the approximately 1,000 Christian faith groups in the U.S. and Canada believe themselves to be the only true Christian denomination." Thus, there are a total of 1,000 Christian faith groups in the U.S. and Canada (not North America, as the quote omits Mexico), only "some" of which believe they are the only true Christian denomination. From what I read, it did not assign a number to "some." finally, there appears to be no support for the claim that "there are many other denominations who believe that all other denominations are going to Hell." Would these many other denominations be those who do not believe they are they only true denomination, but still think that all others are going to Hell? Not only is it uncited, it makes no sense. Wesley 05:47, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

I have no idea if its genuine, but it is certainly very plausible. Ian Paisley does hold views like that and has certainly been quoted in news clips, interviews, etc. expressing vehemently "the pope is the antichrist" views, even showing no respect for illness, or injury etc.. Clinkophonist 12:05, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Then quote a specific news clip or interview that can be verified. Otherwise we run the risk of libelling him and further undermining Wikipedia's credibility. And in case you wondered, I'm not at all sympathetic to the notion that the Pope is the antichrist, although I'm not Roman Catholic. Wesley 19:07, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
This has the quote [2] - That website is university in Northern Ireland. There are countless pages that quote him as saying that [3]. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 01:11, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Ian Paisley is anti-Roman Catholic; he does not advocate that his own denomination (a branch of Presbyterian) is the one true church, nor does he claim that all other denominations are false. In fact, Ian Paisley has close ties to several ministers of other denominations. He preached several times in one non-Presbyterian church of which I was a member. So, quotes from Ian Paisley do not support the thesis statement for which he is being used. Pooua 18:54, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Actually, relatively few people in American Christendom believe their denomination is the only correct denomination or that all other denominations are doomed to Hell. Probably more people make the accusation than hold the belief. That accusation is simply a form of broad-brushing, and the people making it, in my experience, are simply too apathetic to learn the merits of the arguments. Pooua 18:59, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Albigensian crusade a genocide?

I'm not that familiar with either the Albigensian crusade or with genocide, but based on the material in Albigensian crusade and genocide, this particular crusade does not appear to be an instance of genocide. Its goals appeared to be the conversion of Cathars to mainstream Catholocism, with the thinly veiled goal of giving away land in the south of France to nobles from the north of France who would help the Church accomplish this. The methods used were very harsh, but I don't think they ever intended to kill every last Cathar, but rather to kill or torture enough to frighten the remaining ones to convert or repent. Land would have been quite a bit less valuable to the conquerors if there were no peasants left to work it, would it not? Naturally, there's also the question of who it is that considers this crusade a genocide. A citation would be best, but at least naming a general group would be better than the passive voice "widely believed to be..." Wesley 06:22, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Since no support or citation has been offered for this in over three weeks, I removed the bit about it being genocide. Wesley 21:06, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
It is funny that you question whether the Albigensian Crusade was genocide, on the basis that the Catholics did not intend to exterminate ALL Albigensians, when the Wikipedia link to the term 'genocide' clearly states that it is the destruction of a group 'in whole or in part,' or the establishment of conditions that would destroy a group 'in whole or in part.' I am of the opinion that the term 'genocide is over-used, but there is no question that the Roman Catholic Church fully intended to exterminate Albigensian belief by the use of lethal force, that they were willing to pursue that goal to the end, and, in fact, did. Pooua 19:07, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

moved here from article

Criticisms Regarding Christianity and Education

A number of other critics fault Christianity for influencing education not only in the Creation-evolution controversy but in other areas such as sex education. Many argue that because some Christians insist on Abstinence only education and have used their political clout to push this on the education system, a number of teens are now woefully ignorant of sexual issues.

I moved this section here for two reasons:

  • It's completely uncited, relying on passive voice weasel words, and thus is likely the editor's personal opinion;
  • It's also talking about criticism of some very specific U.S. political controversies, and is not even discussing a criticism of Christianity in general.

Wesley 21:12, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Selective Interpretation

I have turned the "Christianity and Biblical adherence" article into a redirect and rewriten the section on this page. As far as Levitical rules go, simple ignorance does not need several paragraphs in two articles to expound itself.

There's still a lot of stuff than can go in this section. The accusation is very frequently used by Christians in theological debates, for example. A.J.A. 06:38, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Is this article intended to encompass criticisms and disputes among Christians, or criticisms of Christians by non-Christians? I would have assumed the latter, if only to limit the scope of this article. Wesley 05:19, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
Good point. Maybe a Jewish form of the criticism would be the way to go. Their criticism is more often a knowledgeable one, hence worthy of more attention. A.J.A. 05:34, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

G.W.B's Christianity

I noticed there was disagreement and reverts being made about inclusion of that link on Bush's Christianity, but I did not see any talk here about it. I'm not sure I agree with those who are taking it out saying it’s not relevant. It seems relevant at least because one point in the article is specifically concerning this point: British columnist George Monbiot has also argued that Christian fundamentalists are driving the United States's current foreign policy, to the detriment of all concerned[4]. Also, the fact that Bush heavily uses Christian beliefs in his platform for getting elected, applied it to his policy decisions (sex education), was voted into office by mobilizing the right-wing Christian vote, is all pertinent facts regarding criticism of Christianity: namely that Christian beliefs, in this case, played a deciding role in giving the us G.W.B.Giovanni33 14:21, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

In the cline from relevant to irrelevant, there are many stages. It's not as irrelevant to critcism of Christianity as a link to an article about boolean algebra or about contact lenses would be. But looking at the article, I don't feel it's relevant enough. It's a criticism of Bush, and yes, it does deal with his Christianity. But it's not really an article about criticism of Christianity. If it were normal on Wikipedia to add dozens of links that had any kind of relevance to the subject, then I think it could be justified, but I don't think the subject of that external webpage is central to this article. Also, it requires registration, although it didn't seem to last night. AnnH (talk) 19:19, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
At this moment, the site is down, so I'm going to have to wait until it's fixed before I can point out the parts that make it relevant. Alienus 19:24, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Alienus, you've violated 3RR by re-inserting the link at 23:40 yesterday, and at 17:32, 18:42, and 19:16 today. Remember that partial reverts also count. I've made my arguments and you haven't responded to them. Yet you say in your edit summary The relevance of this link has been explained. Take it to Talk if you have a complaint. Strange. I did take it to talk. AnnH (talk) 20:23, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, be careful about the reverts because Ann does report to get you blocked. I know because I was. I'll have to read the whole article on Bush and his Christianity myself to see how relevant it is. 64.121.40.153 20:39, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
No, Giovanni, as you know, I do not have a habit of reporting to get people blocked. If I had, I would have reported you on your first violation, instead of warning you again and again. It was only after you had done eleven reverts, and six, and five, and four, (all within twenty-four-hour periods,) and that you showed absolutely no intention of respecting the rule that I reported you. You are the only person that I have ever reported, and I have seen many violations of the 3RR rule from my "opponents" in articles. The difference is that they stopped after four or five, so I didn't want to be petty and try to get them blocked just so that I could have the article to myself. (My upbringing had some British influences, and you know, that "wouldn't be playing the game, old chap!") In fact, the reason that I warned Alienus here was because I did not intend to report him. And as a matter of fact, as far as I know, Str1977 has never reported a 3RR violation either, and the only time that I have ever known KHM03 to do it was when someone continued after repeated warnings. And even in that case, KHM03 specifically requested that the person be given a warning from an admin rather than a block. If you have any concerns about my lack of generosity in not waiting until you have twelve reverts, please bring them to my talk page rather than here. Thanks. AnnH (talk) 23:10, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

(reset indent)

Uhm, did you just threaten me with a 3RR violation report right after I said I can't get the cited page to load so I'm giving up on this for now? If so, what exactly was your point?

For that matter, when did we all stop being editors and become lawyers? I must not have received that memo. If I had, I could have coordinated with Gio to alternate reverts so that neither of us would technically be in violation.

This legalism is silly. Let's go back to the whole point of this discussion, which is to figure out how to make this article suck less. If you do want to threaten, I'll have my lawyer contact your lawyer, and they can bill us both for their three-martini lunch together. Alienus 23:22, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Alienus. I don't understand how you can use the word "threaten" after reading my post in which I said that I did not intend to report your fourth revert. You said that you were not going to be able to point out the relevant parts until you got the page to load. You said nothing about giving up on reverting, so I wanted to ensure that you would know not to make a fifth revert. That was my point. I see nothing legalistic in warning people that they're violating a rule and risking a block. And since I could have reported you and didn't, don't you think the hostility in your tone is a little inappropriate? One final point — Giovanni is not in a position to alternate reverts with anyone. After his recent block for massive violations, he could be blocked again if he reverted, say, three times in a twenty-four hour period. Not by me, I hasten to add, but there is a precedent here for blocking previously-blocked 3RR violaters for "gaming the system", even if they stay "technically" within the rules. I've seen it happen on a few occasions. I don't want it to happen here. AnnH (talk) 23:56, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
If I can't read the citation, then I can't argue for its inclusion, so how could I possibly justify restoring a link to it in the article? I thought it clearly followed that I wasn't going to make any changes with regard to that link, which is why I was surprised that you started bringing up revert counts and rules and punishments. Pointing out your ability to get me blocked is itself a threat, even when it's linked to a statement about choosing not to use that ability. Compare it to "I could have blown your head off with this gun, but I'm just going to put it away for now".
As I see it, the bottom line is to do the right thing. If it means a fourth or even fifth revert, so bet it. It might annoy the lawyers, but it would still be what the article needed in order to improve. Rather than worrying about possibly breaking rules whose stated purpose is to help us make the article better, let's focus on making the article better. Otherwise, we'll be following the rules but thwarting their goal. For this reason, I'm utterly uninterested in gaming the system or otherwise trying to fool the admins. The worst that could happen to me is that I wind up prevented from freely giving my time and effort to improve this article. And whose loss would that be?
Now, back to the point, it looks like that G.W.B. site is now enforcing registration, which makes it unsuitable for linking to. (Note that this means that I am not going to be linking the article to it. Clear enough?)
Perhaps someone could dig up a good replacement that clearly focuses on the role of Christianity in the modern justification of wars and torture, and then we could talk about whether it fits. Until then, there's nothing of substance for us to consider, unless there's some other rule I violated just now. Alienus 07:44, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

expansion of sections, new material

Ok, I've significantly expanded several sections, and make language changes, all in an attempt to improve this article. I've removed what I thought was POV language, too, where it could be corrected. In all I think this article is much better now. I hope my contributions are looked on favorably I notice there is a warning tag for both inaccuracy and POV. I would like to know the specifics for claims of inaccuracy, first. It should be easier to determine questions of fact and get rid of anything that can be proven to be a false statement of fact. Lets see if we can get consensus and make this article a featured one without the POV/Accuracies tags. Giovanni33 15:58, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Post-Giovanni33 Copyedit

I went through and cleaned it up a bit. For the most part, I fixed language. In a few places, I tried to clean up any POV that snuck in. For example, like Aaron McDaid, I also noticed some problems with that last section. However, I've tried to salvage it instead of throwing it out. Perhaps people could contribute to it, so as to further balance the article. I'd also like to stick the GWB link back in, because I can see a strong case for it based on what Gio said above; the impact of Christianity upon foreign policiy was specifically mentioned in the article. Anyhow, the question that remains is whether there is any further need for the "neutrality and factual accuracy" disclaimer. Unless someone is still complaining, I suggest we remove it. Alienus 17:31, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

This is also POV from the article: "All of the above objections are socio-historical."
What does it mean to say an objection is "socio-historical"? It's not correct to say that the every critic makes no attempt to use, for example, reason. I don't think it's possible to improve it with a "Some would say ...". How about simply saying that some people disagree with the criticisms? Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 17:48, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
I second the notion that the last section "objections are social-historical, and the talk about language and Shakespear" should be thrown out, unless someone can make a good case why its needed in this article.Giovanni33 17:56, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I tried to salvage it, but it sounds like I failed. I won't complain if you kill it. Alienus 18:00, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Lets leave it to get a consensus first from other editors before taking it down. I don't like to revert anyone's work without hearing their argument(s) first, and coming to agreement. So, if anyone objects and thinks this section is needed here, or finds a way to make it work, then please make the case, or add to it, etc. If no one responds after some time (couple weeks?), then I'd say its ok go take it off. Giovanni33 18:14, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
I acted without waiting for your response. At this point, if someone wants to recreate it in a more NPOV manner, they're encouraged to make the attempt. Alienus 19:17, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Hi everyone, I only just saw this discussion. I've been responsible for the points under discussion, and I suppose I should offer some explanations. Regarding the "socio-historical/personal," the point is that the value of Christianity to any individual is "personal," while the problems related to Christianity necessarily involve political and social entities like "the church" or "the Spanish Inquisition" or even "Christians," as a collective. The second point about the language of the Bible is that, after getting translated from the Hebrew to Greek to Latin to Stuart English, it is entirely possible that things get lost in translation. Even if all the translations are entirely consistent with each other - and it would take a Biblical scholar to say - there remains the literary aspect of language. "Poetry is what is lost in translation," said whoever. I chose the Shakespeare example because firstly I figured that would be familiar to many people, and secondly, it is not controversial. Cheers. --Quadalpha 23:53, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

(indent reset)

The article is about criticism of Christianity, so the "Responses to criticism" section should address the criticism. What you wrote about translation issues, which debatable and in need of citation, is the right sort of thing. However, the section on Christianity being personal, hence immune to criticism on any objective basis, doesn't fit very well, particularly without citations. That's why I removed it. At this point, I recommend repairing or removing it. Alienus 23:57, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Could you explain why it might not fit, and perhaps suggest a direction for repair? --Quadalpha 00:08, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Hi guys, I've just rather hastily reverted Quadalpha's comment. In hindsight I must admit it was quite good. It's only the 'socio-historical' sentence that I object to now. I can't find any definition of 'socio-historical', but I'm guessing it's an implication that people reasons aren't 'logical' or 'rational'. I'll put it back in again. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 00:45, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Socio-historical just means "related to society and history." Put rather crudely, Christianity would like its follows to be Christians because they believe in the truth of the Bible, etc., so from that perspective - that the Bible is true, etc. - criticism of Christianity based on social or historical aspects is like not buying a car because it didn't sing songs; it would not be a relevant point from that perspective. I am assuming here, of course, that Christianity does not aim to have followers who only follow because Christianity has a nice reputation. --Quadalpha 03:43, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Ok, but wasn't there a section about theism? I would think that this directly relates to Christianity being true, as opposed to any social or historical asides. Alienus 04:52, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, what was the bit about theism? Also, I can live with the current edit, though there really isn't a non-socio-historical argument there. --Quadalpha 06:33, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

(reset indent)

Check out the section marked "Criticisms regarding Christianity and reason", which refers to "Existence of God" as the main article. It doesn't really talk about society or history, but whether there's a rational basis for Christian belief. That's why I slightly diluted your "all". Do you think I was mistaken to do so? Alienus 07:29, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Well, I think if we got into a debate about the social construction (if there is any) of rationality or started comparing philosophy and religion, we'd be here for a pretty long time. I don't suppose there is much "right" or "wrong" in the matter, and I'm fine with the current compromise. --Quadalpha 08:03, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and here's a more general and succinct and wiki-fied version of the "social/personal/truth" thing: Christians are not always a fair representation of Christianity. :) --Quadalpha 08:07, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Since we're agreed on the matter, I'll avoid commenting on the other issues you've brought up. Alienus 08:09, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps I might suggest (half-seriously?) that the page be renamed "Criticism of Christians"? --Quadalpha 08:15, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

White paragraph

I move the following paragraph over here, as there are serious issues about NPOV and accuracy.

"Some of the bloodiest battles, White believed, had been fought during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, during what is often described as the Scientific Revolution. During this time, powerful church leaders repeatedly tried to silence the pioneers of modern science. Examples include Nicolaus Copernicus, who located the sun at the center of the planetary system, and risked his very life to publish his heretical views, escaping "persecution only by death". Many of his disciples met a less happy fate: Giordano Bruno, his tongue in a gag, was hung upside-down naked on a pubic stake and "burned alive as a monster of impiety; Galileo, tortured and humiliated as the worst of unbelievers; Kepler hunted alike by Protestants and Catholics." Andreas Vesalius, the sixteenth-century physician who laid the foundations of modern anatomy by insisting on careful first-hand dissection of the human body, paid for his temerity by being "hunted to death". While White's scholarly work throughly documented how Christian doctrine was enforced with torture, murder, deprivation of freedom, and censorship, was published more than a century ago, it has remained the mainstream view among the historians of science today."

Just quickly:

  • Copernicus did not risk his life, had no conflict with clerics, and "heretical" is POV in this instance
  • Bruno was no disciple of Copernicus and the details would be should "shock tactics" elsewhere
  • Gallileo was not tortured, humiliated is a bit fuzzy

More when I get back. Str1977 19:14, 29 January 2006 (UTC)


The entire of White's work, I actually found online. See: [5] I corrected the passage for accuracy. White says that his treatment and threats were equivalent to torture. I changed it to under threat of torture to be more precise.

About Bruno, you misunderstand the use of the word, disciple. Not of Copernicus the man, but of his ideas. In anycase, I changed the wording to refect that. And Copernicus himself most certainly did risk his life in publishing his theories because even though these theories were declared as "heretical," yet, they were soon after. If you go into the section of the book where he talks about Copernicus directly, you see how he feared for life and took measures by to hide the realiy of the theories as just "immagination," among other tactics. Still the risk was real and the fear warrented. If he had lived, there is all indication that he would have been subjected to the same treatment anyone would have been for such "heresies." He indeed did escape it with his death. The section about Galileo from White is below. But, its an excellent book and I recomment reading it in its entirety:

"The world knows now that Galileo was subjected certainly to indignity, to imprisonment, and to threats equivalent to torture, and was at last forced to pronounce publicly and on his knees his recantation, as follows:

``I, Galileo, being in my seventieth year, being a prisoner and on my knees, and before your Eminences, having before my eyes the Holy Gospel, which I touch with my hands, abjure, curse, and detest the error and the heresy of the movement of the earth. He was vanquished indeed, for he had been forced, in the face of all coming ages, to perjure himself. To complete his dishonour, he was obliged to swear that he would denounce to the Inquisition any other man of science whom he should discover to be supporting the ``heresy of the motion of the earth.

Many have wondered at this abjuration, and on account of it have denied to Galileo the title of martyr. But let such gainsayers consider the circumstances. Here was an old man - one who had reached the allotted threescore years and ten - broken with disappointments, worn out with labours and cares, dragged from Florence to Rome, with the threat from the Pope himself that if he delayed he should be ``brought in chains; sick in body and mind, given over to his oppressors by the Grand-Duke who ought to have protected him, and on his arrival in Rome threatened with torture. What the Inquisition was he knew well. He could remember as but of yesterday the burning of Giordano Bruno in that same city for scientific and philosophic heresy; he could remember, too, that only eight years before this very time De Dominis, Archbishop of Spalatro, having been seized by the Inquisition for scientific and other heresies, had died in a dungeon, and that his body and his writings had been publicly burned.

To the end of his life - nay, after his life was ended - the persecution of Galileo was continued. He was kept in exile from his family, from his friends, from his noble employments, and was held rigidly to his promise not to speak of his theory. When, in the midst of intense bodily sufferings from disease, and mental sufferings from calamities in his family, he besought some little liberty, he was met with threats of committal to a dungeon. When, at last, a special commission had reported to the ecclesiastical authorities that he had become blind and wasted with disease and sorrow, he was allowed a little more liberty, but that little was hampered by close surveillance. He was forced to bear contemptible attacks on himself and on his works in silence; to see the men who had befriended him severely punished; Father Castelli banished; Ricciardi, the Master of the Sacred Palace, and Ciampoli, the papal secretary, thrown out of their positions by Pope Urban, and the Inquisitor at Florence reprimanded for having given permission to print Galileo's work. He lived to see the truths he had established carefully weeded out from all the Church colleges and universities in Europe; and, when in a scientific work he happened to be spoken of as ``renowned, the Inquisition ordered the substitution of the word ``notorious.

And now measures were taken to complete the destruction of the Copernican theory, with Galileo's proofs of it. On the 16th of June, 1633, the Holy Congregation, with the permission of the reigning Pope, ordered the sentence upon Galileo, and his recantation, to be sent to all the papal nuncios throughout Europe, as well as to all archbishops, bishops, and inquisitors in Italy and this document gave orders that the sentence and abjuration be made known ``to your vicars, that you and all professors of philosophy and mathematics may have knowledge of it, that they may know why we proceeded against the said Galileo, and recognise the gravity of his error, in order that they may avoid it, and thus not incur the penalties which they would have to suffer in case they fell into the same.

As a consequence, the processors of mathematics and astronomy in various universities of Europe were assembled and these documents were read to them. To the theological authorities this gave great satisfaction. The Rector of the University of Douay, referring to the opinion of Galileo, wrote to the papal nuncio at Brussels: ``The professors of our university are so opposed to this fanatical opinion that they have always held that it must be banished from the schools. In our English college at Douay this paradox has never been approved and never will be.

Still another step was taken: the Inquisitors were ordered, especially in Italy, not to permit the publication of a new edition of any of Galileo's works, or of any similar writings. On the other hand, theologians were urged, now that Copernicus and Galileo and Kepler were silenced, to reply to them with tongue and pen. Europe was flooded with these theological refutations of the Copernican system.

To make all complete, there was prefixed to the Index of the Church, forbidding ``all writings which affirm the motion of the earth, a bull signed by the reigning Pope, which, by virtue of his infallibility as a divinely guided teacher in matters of faith and morals, clinched this condemnation into the consciences of the whole Christian world.

From the mass of books which appeared under the auspices of the Church immediately after the condemnation of Galileo, for the purpose of rooting out every vestige of the hated Copernican theory from the mind of the world, two may be taken as typical. The first of these was a work by Scipio Chiaramonti, dedicated to Cardinal Barberini. Among his arguments against the double motion of the earth may be cited the following:

``Animals, which move, have limbs and muscles; the earth has no limbs or muscles, therefore it does not move. It is angels who make Saturn, Jupiter, the sun, etc., turn round. If the earth revolves, it must also have an angel in the centre to set it in motion; but only devils live there; it would therefore be a devil who would impart motion to the earth.... ``The planets, the sun, the fixed stars, all belong to one species - namely, that of stars. It seems, therefore, to be a grievous wrong to place the earth, which is a sink of impurity, among these heavenly bodies, which are pure and divine things.

The next, which I select from the mass of similar works, is the Anticopernicus Catholicus of Polacco. It was intended to deal a finishing stroke at Galileo's heresy. In this it is declared:

``The Scripture always represents the earth as at rest, and the sun and moon as in motion; or, if these latter bodies are ever represented as at rest, Scripture represents this as the result of a great miracle.... ``These writings must be prohibited, because they teach certain principles about the position and motion of the terrestrial globe repugnant to Holy Scripture and to the Catholic interpretation of it, not as hypotheses but as established facts....

Speaking of Galileo's book, Polacco says that it ``smacked of Copernicanism, and that, ``when this was shown to the Inquisition, Galileo was thrown into prison and was compelled to utterly abjure the baseness of this erroneous dogma.

As to the authority of the cardinals in their decree, Polacco asserts that, since they are the ``Pope's Council and his ``brothers, their work is one, except that the Pope is favoured with special divine enlightenment.

Having shown that the authority of the Scriptures, of popes, and of cardinals is against the new astronomy, he gives a refutation based on physics. He asks: ``If we concede the motion of the earth, why is it that an arrow shot into the air falls back to the same spot, while the earth and all things on it have in the meantime moved very rapidly toward the east? Who does not see that great confusion would result from this motion?

Next he argues from metaphysics, as follows: ``The Copernican theory of the earth's motion is against the nature of the earth itself, because the earth is not only cold but contains in itself the principle of cold; but cold is opposed to motion, and even destroys it - as is evident in animals, which become motionless when they become cold.

Finally, he clinches all with a piece of theological reasoning, as follows: ``Since it can certainly be gathered from Scripture that the heavens move above the earth, and since a circular motion requires something immovable around which to move,... the earth is at the centre of the universe.

But any sketch of the warfare between theology and science in this field would be incomplete without some reference to the treatment of Galileo after his death. He had begged to be buried in his family tomb in Santa Croce; this request was denied. His friends wished to erect a monument over him; this, too, was refused. Pope Urban said to the ambassador Niccolini that ``it would be an evil example for the world if such honours were rendered to a man who had been brought before the Roman Inquisition for an opinion so false and erroneous; who had communicated it to many others, and who had given so great a scandal to Christendom. In accordance, therefore, with the wish of the Pope and the orders of the Inquisition, Galileo was buried ignobly, apart from his family, without fitting ceremony, without monument, without epitaph. Not until forty years after did Pierrozzi dare write an inscription to be placed above his bones; not until a hundred years after did Nelli dare transfer his remains to a suitable position in Santa Croce, and erect a monument above them. Even then the old conscientious hostility burst forth: the Inquisition was besought to prevent such honours to ``a man condemned for notorious errors; and that tribunal refused to allow any epitaph to be placed above him which had not been submitted to its censorship." 64.121.40.153 20:20, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Hi, Giovanni. When someone moves a disputed passage to the talk page it's considered rather poor form to revert the move fifteen minutes later. There are lots of things to talk about concerning the amount of change in the article today (though of course, you've also added some useful information), but one passage in particular was found sufficiently problematical to be moved here. Putting it straight back with a few very minor changes shows a lack of respect. From the wording the Str1977 used, it seemed that he found serious problems, but was in a hurry and just outlined a few. I'm not a historian, but it is my understanding that history books written over a hundred years ago are often considered to be inaccurate, flawed, and biased in many ways, though valuable in other ways. Of course, they can be quoted, but just quoting White, without giving any indication that his work is disputed, doesn't help the NPOV-ness of this article. Encyclopaedia Britannica, for example, says:
The pope [Urban VII] gave Galileo permission to write a book about theories of the universe but warned him to treat the Copernican theory only hypothetically. . . . The commission found that Galileo had not really treated the Copernican theory hypothetically and recommended that a case be brought against him. . . . It should be noted that Galileo was never in a dungeon or tortured; during the Inquisition process he stayed mostly at the house of the Tuscan ambassador to the Vatican and for a short time in a comfortable apartment in the Inquisition building. . . . After the process he spent six months at the palace of Ascanio Piccolomini (c. 1590–1671), the archbishop of Siena and a friend and patron, and then moved into a villa near Arcetri, in the hills above Florence. He spent the rest of his life there.
There are also various responses made by Catholic writers (I don't claim they're historians) to the general accusation that the Church tortured Galileo. See, for example, Johnston, Conway, Madrid, and the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
I'm sure the ordinary man in the street believes that Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake." But it would be wrong for a Wikipedia article just to quote a nineteenth-century historian who said that she said that, and not give any indication that reputable historians dispute it. I see no harm in having a short quotation from White, balanced by something that shows the other side. What you're trying to do is let White dominate that section with his inaccuracies and misleading words.
Please, Giovanni, if something is disputed, don't be so eager to re-insert it. Be patient. Wait. See if your fellow editors are comfortable with a proposed solution. Give Str1977 a chance to comment on your reply here. I have seen him and KHM03 reaching compromise, civilly, with other editors on numerous occasions, when the other editors left things for discussion on the talk page without this constant "I've-changed-three-words-and-I've-waited-thirteen-minutes" reverts. AnnH (talk) 21:38, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
I did not re-insert it--I changed it to address the points in disput, which were easy to fix and did not justify removing the entire section. I think that editors should not revert others work without reaching consensus on the talk page. Adding, editing, is fine, but not undoing others work, and esp. not after it points of contention have been addressed. Giovanni33 21:58, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Also, its not true that there is a general accusation that the Church tortured Galileo. The claim is that he was under the threat of tourture. I note that White says that what they put him through was the equivalent of tourture. I bypassed the point by simply stating he was under the threat of tourture, instead of tortured. I don't think anyone, Catholic writer or otherwise, that disputes this claim. Giovanni33 22:03, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot to address your other point, regaring White's work being dated and therefore not as valid, I'd say is refuted by the fact that the intellectual historian Bruce Mazlish certified White's thesis to have been established "beyond reasonable doubt," and the late George Sarton, a distinguished historian of science at Harvard found White's argument so compelling that he urged its extension to non-Christian cultures. See Mazlish, Preface, P. is; George Sarton, "Introductory Essay," in Science, Religion and Reality, ed. Joseph Needham (New York, 1955), p. 14. Giovanni33 22:21, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Hallo, let me resume my critique of the passge:

Ann has suggested that this is all a quote from White or at least giving his content. In that case, the exaggerations and iaccuracies are comprehensible, but they then need to be marked as such - we would need much more "according to White", as right now it isn't clear that this is all White.

Nonetheless, it is not NPOV and not balance to simply give a rendition of a book's over the top wordings, especially if not much of this is factual.

As for these points of fact (all addressing historical reality - White very well might haven written what you said he did, as I question not your honesty but White's validity):

  • Bruno was no disciple of Copernicus or his ideas in any way and in fact doesn't belong among pioneers of modern science.
  • Copernicus did not escape persecution by his death. He didn't publish his book for a long time because he was afraid of being ridiculed by his fellow academics. He published it after his confessor insisted on him sharing his thoughts with the public. And Copernicus was ridiculed, and condemned by a certain cleric (his name was Martin Luther) but somehow he was not touched in the least by the Church. You say he was soon condemned - that's incorrect. His book was put on the index in the context of the Gallileo case, some decades after his death.
  • Gallileo wasn't tortured during his trial - he was shown the instruments, which was a formal part of any inquisition trial. Whether that is equivalent to torture I leave to the reader to decide. But no one involved in the trial wanted to torture G. and in fact the prosecution took care to indict him on disobedience (by having published his theory about heliocentrism as established fact) and not actually because of heresy. - Someone wrote before, that years earlier G. had been ordered not to treat his theory as established fact, but he did so nonetheless. At this trial, this order was provided in written form. Historians are not decided on whether G. was really ordered that way years earlier or whether the note was only produced during the trial (hence forged), with the intention of moving the charges from heresy to disobendience.
  • After abjuring, G. was put under house arrest in Florence - hardly a life of persecution.
  • Any remarks about his theory being weeded out from universities forgets that G's theory wasn't that widely accepted. In fact, it was G's fellow academics that refused to even look through G's telescope. During that time it was Roman cardinals that were G's sponsors and especially one cardinal that came to be Urban VIII.
  • The Gallileo trial is not a nice event - it was a conflict of egos (both G. and Urban), of issues of scientific methodology (in which G. is clearly the culprit), of anxiety about Biblical interpretation in the age of the Reformation, of transition of Aristolism to what eventually became modern science - but it wasn't the carricature that "Black-and-"White paints.
  • That White brings "papal infallibility" into play, is also a blunder on his part. Only "ex cathedra" defintions are considered infallible - this was a verdict given by a ecclesistical court.
  • Is there any evidence of Kepler being hounded - I though he spent many years at the Emperor's court, quite unharrased.

Setting aside these issues, where is there any evidence for the following passage:

"While White's scholarly work throughly documented how Christian doctrine was enforced with torture, murder, deprivation of freedom, and censorship, was published more than a century ago, it has remained the mainstream view among the historians of science today."

It certainly is not the mainstream view among historians today, from all I read. Str1977 22:27, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Some references:

  • Gerhard Prause: Niemand hat Kolumbus ausgelacht. Fälschungen u. Legenden d. Geschichte richtiggestellt. Düsseldorf u.a.. 1988.
  • Thomas Schirrmacher, "Und sie bewegt sich doch!" & andere Galilei-Legenden, Professorenforum-Journal 2000, Vol. 1, No. 1 3.
  • Thomas Schirrmacher, The Galileo affair: history or heroic hagiography?, Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 14.1 (2000) 91-100

Again, anything that is White's POV must be marked as such in the text, or if factually inaccurate (and that's basically all), deleted. That's a minimum - the section still doesn't need to be White rolled out all over the place. Or is he the only thing the section is based on? Str1977 22:36, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Giovanni, you say in your edit summary that the points have been addressed. I acknowledge that you are conscientious about giving an explanation for your edits. The problem is that you don't wait to see if anyone agrees with you. I don't agree with that paragraph as it stands. The whole paragraph ("Some of the bloodiest" to "historians of science today") was removed by Str1977, and as we can see here, you brought the whole page back to what it had been, with just a few changes, even though he indicated that he was for the moment only stating a few objections and would be back later. He wanted to discuss it here first. You reposted a modified version less than fifteen minutes later. I expect the Str1977 will have some objections to the modified version. I know I do.
You have the following bit in quotation marks: "burned alive as a monster of impiety; Galileo, under threat of torture, humiliated as the worst of unbelievers; Kepler hunted alike by Protestants and Catholics." Is all of that White, or is some of it you? "Humiliated as the worst of unbelievers" sounds very POV; it's rather sensational language. What about "While White's scholarly work throughly documented how Christian doctrine was enforced with torture, murder, deprivation of freedom, and censorship, was published more than a century ago, it has remained the mainstream view among the historians of science today"? On what grounds do you make that claim? It seems unlikely to me, anyway. Besides, from a linguistic point of view, a "work" can't be a "mainstream view". Perhaps the views expressed in it can, but I doubt that that's true in this case. I see that Str1977 has just posted while I was typing my response, and Str, you've eaten up a bit of someone else's post again, through that software bug, but don't worry — I've restored it (I hope)! AnnH (talk) 22:42, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Some confusion needs to be clarified. The problem was not with White, it was with me. I found those quotes by White that someone else made of White, however when I went to the original source (White's actual work), I did not find those quotes. It could have been inaccuracies or simply refering a different version. I note that White did have several versions and he changed many things. His latest verion is the one that is highly respected, not just in his time, the 19th century, but the 20th century, accepted as mainstream. My evidence for this claim is the fact that the intellectual historian Bruce Mazlish certified White's thesis to have been established "beyond reasonable doubt," and the late George Sarton, a distinguished historian of science at Harvard found White's argument so compelling that he urged its extension to non-Christian cultures. See Mazlish, Preface, P. is; George Sarton, "Introductory Essay," in Science, Religion and Reality, ed. Joseph Needham (New York, 1955), p. 14. I included in the link above the actual full work online. I've not checked to find the quoted passage, and it appears to be this instead: "Copernicus, escaping persecution only by death; Giordano Bruno, burned alive as a monster of impiety; Galileo, imprisoned and humiliated as the worst of misbelievers; Kepler, accused of ``throwing Christ's kingdom into confusion with his silly fancies; Newton, bitterly attacked for ``dethroning Providence, gave to religion stronger foundations and more ennobling conceptions." Found here in Chapter 3:[6]
  • You say Bruno was no disciple of Copernicus's ideas in any way and doesn't belong among pioneers of modern science. I disagree. Bruno was heavily influenced by the ideas of Copernicus. The reason he left left Naples in 1576 was to avoid the attention of the Inquisition, and he left Rome for the same reason and abandoned the Dominican order. He travelled to Geneva and briefly joined the Calvinists, before he was excommunicated, officially for his adherence to Copernicanism, and then left for France.
  • You say he doesn't belong among pioneers of science, but in his writing, In De l'Infinito, Universo e Mondi, he argued that the stars we see at night were just like our Sun, that the universe was infinite, with a "Plurality of Worlds", and speculated they could be inhabited by other intelligent beings, like today the Drake equation speculates about. These two works are jointly known as his "Italian dialogues." In 1582, Bruno penned a play summarizing some of his cosmological positions, titled Il Candelaio ("The Torchbearer"). This is my evidence that he was a disciple of Copernicus's ideas, a pioneer of modern science, and was persecuted and then was brutally tourtured and murdered for these "heresies". Can you refute any of this? If not, I don't see how you can maintain your position fairly.
And Copernicus himself most certainly did risk his life in publishing his theories because even though these theories were declared as "heretical," yet, they were soon after. In 1616 th the Congregation of the Index, moved to solemnly rendered a decree that ``the doctrine of the double motion of the earth about its axis and about the sun is false, and entirely contrary to Holy Scripture; and that this opinion must neither be taught nor advocated. The same decree condemned all writings of Copernicus and ``all writings which affirm the motion of the earth. The great work of Copernicus was interdicted until corrected in accordance with the views of the Inquisition; and the works of Galileo and Kepler, though not mentioned by name at that time, were included among those implicitly condemned as ``affirming the motion of the earth.
Still the risk was real and the fear warrented. If he had lived, there is all indication that he would have been subjected to the same treatment anyone would have been for such beliefs. Copernicus had been a professor at Rome, but kept his doctrine relatively silent as early as 1500, and then only harmless conjecture. But to Copernicus, steadily studying the subject, it became more and more a reality, and as this truth grew within him he seemed to feel that at Rome he was no longer safe. And, we are not talking redicule here. He therefore returned to his little town in Poland. Even to publish here was dangerous since he kept it for thirty years in the hands of only private friends. When he finally dared to make his publication, "Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies," "he dared not send it to Rome, for there were the rulers of the older Church ready to seize it; he dared not send it to Wittenberg, for there were the leaders of Protestantism no less hostile; he therefore intrusted it to Osiander, at Nuremberg." But Osiander's dared not launch the new thought boldly. "He wrote a grovelling preface, endeavouring to excuse Copernicus for his novel idea, and in this he inserted the apologetic lie that Copernicus had propounded the doctrine of the earth's movement not as a fact, but as a hypothesis. He declared that it was lawful for an astronomer to indulge his imagination, and that this was what Copernicus had done. " Because of the real danger this greatest of of scientific truths was forced, in coming before the world, "to sneak and crawl." On the 24th of May, 1543, the newly printed book arrived at the house of Copernicus, but he was on his deathbed at this stage, died a few hours later putting him beyond the reach of persecution. When Galileo tested the waters with his evidence the that theory was true, proved by his telescope, the book was taken in hand by the Roman curia. The statements of Copernicus were condemnned. We don't seem to disagree about the facts surrounding Galileo, exempt that his persecution was real and deamining and they did hounded him the rest of his life-- even mstreated him after he died-- as White describes above. That is a life of persecution. And, if Galileo had decided to speak the truth, as he beleived, then he would have been tourtured and murdered like Bruno was. I don't think anyone has any serious question about that. Giovanni33 00:02, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Giovanni and the minor issues have already been fixed. The Church role historically has been one of persecuting scientists. The list of those who earned the wrath of the Church reads like a Who's Who of Science: Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Halley, Darwin, Hubble, even Bertrand Russell. The Church has also been on the wrong side of the social sciences for over 1,500 years, actively promoting slavery, anti-Semitism, the torture and murder of women as witches, sexual repression, censorship and the Inquisition, Crusades and other aggressive wars, and capital punishment for misdemeanors (suggest this for a new section?). Ofcourse, this has given rise to a Christian field called apologetics, which attempts to defend the Church's errors, even claiming that science and Christianity are compatible friends, not enemies. But the atrocities and scientific errors were too profound, and stretched on for too many millennia, to be defended in any reasonable manner.

Being proven wrong on any count undermined the Church's authority, which means its political and economic power as well. Not surprisingly, the Church moved energetically against scholars attempting to make scientific progress, branding their work as "heresy" and persecuting them to the fullest extent that they could. The full range of the Church's actions included harassment, discrimination, censorship, slander, scorn, abuse, threats, persecution, forced recantations, torture and burning at the stake. The list of great scientists opposed by the Church reads like a Who's Who of Science: Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Halley, Darwin, Hubble, even Bertrand Russell. At no time has the Church been on the cutting edge of science -- it has opposed virtually all scientific progress for nearly 2,000 years.

The scientists who challenged this Absolute Truth came to bitter ends. Although the vast majority were Christians themselves who had no desire to harm the Church, their findings were completely unacceptable to the popes, saints and theologians who were already committed to a previous version of the truth. Here is what happened to some of the most famous scientists:

Copernicus had concluded by 1500 A.D. that that the sun is the center of the solar system, but he kept his theories secret for 30 years, not wishing to draw the wrath of the Church. Shortly after publishing Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies, he died of old age, and was thus spared their angry response. But they got their revenge anyway, by burying him in a grave that marked none of his great accomplishments, but said: "I ask not the grace accorded to Paul; not that given to Peter; give me only the favour which Thou didst show to the thief on the cross." Then they kept silent about his work for 70 years -- until the appearance of Galileo.

Bruno had no such luck; when he publicly defended Copernicus, the Inquisition arrested him, tortured and burned him at the stake.

Galileo, often called "the Father of Modern Science," was the first astronomer to claim actual evidence that the earth was not the center of the universe, but revolved around the sun. For this, Galileo came under intense criticism and persecution from the Church. Pope Urban VIII personally gave the order in 1633 that Galileo, then an old man of 70, should be threatened with torture if he did not renounce the heresy that the earth revolved around the sun. Under repeated threats of torture, Galileo finally renounced his beliefs. He was then placed under house arrest, and not freed even after he went blind. Technically, the Catholic Church never convicted Galileo of heresy (only a "vehement suspicion of heresy") but it did make clear that the "heresy" in question was defined as the belief that the earth rotated around the sun. And, to leave absolutely no doubt about how completely it condemned the ideas of Galileo, the Church censored and prohibited all books supporting his scientific findings for over 200 years. This censorship was placed in the Index of Prohibited Books, which was personally signed by every pope who renewed it. Protestants would be mistaken in thinking this is a Catholic embarrassment only. Every Protestant church before 1800 rose in bitter opposition to the "atheistic" findings of Galileo.

Campanella was tortured seven times by the Inquisition for a number of heresies, one of which was writing Defense of Galileo.

Rene Descartes, alarmed by the Inquisition's persecution of Galileo, delayed his plans to publish The World, a book that agreed with Galileo's views. Later he wrote Meditations on First Philosophy, which introduced the idea that truth can be discovered only through scientific investigation and the scientific method. This earned the hostility of the Church, and their persecution caused Descartes much suffering. This great philosopher, who is famous for attempting a logical proof of God's existence, was called an atheist, and his works were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books. Protestant theologians in his resident Holland wanted him tortured and put to death.

Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler and Edmond Halley were pioneers in describing the orbits of celestial bodies like comets and planets. The orderly laws of nature they described contradicted the Church's belief that comets were thrown in anger from the right hand of God, or that they portended disaster and war. For over a hundred years the Church argued against them -- to describe how heated, bitter and personal this debate grew in a single paragraph is impossible. But Halley secured the final victory by accurately predicting the return of the comet that now bears his name. All three would have been brought before the Inquisition had they not been Protestant.

Isaac Newton kept his true religious beliefs secret, for fear of persecution, until literally his dying day. He privately rejected his native Anglican Church at about age 30, convinced that its teachings about Christ's divinity and the existence of a Trinity were a fraud. He instead accepted Arianism, a 4th century Christian heresy. Only on his deathbed did he reveal his true beliefs by rejecting the Anglican sacrament. Many Christians opposed his scientific findings as well, for everyone had previously believed that God actively and frequently intervened in the ordinary events of the universe. Christians charged that he "took from God that direct action on his works so constantly ascribed to him in Scripture and transferred it to material mechanism," and that he "substituted gravitation for Providence."

Georges Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon, one of the more colorful scientists in history, was the first to study fossils and suggest that life forms had changed in the past. The proto-version of evolution earned him the enmity the Church, which forced him to resign from his Sorbonne University position and recant his views. The Church then humiliated him by publishing his recantation.

William Buckland, Charles Lyell, Louis Agassiz, and Adam Sedgewick were all 19th century Christian geologists who originally set out to prove the story of creation and Noah's Flood. But despite their best attempts to reconcile their discoveries with the Bible, their findings kept pointing in the other direction: namely, the earth was several billion years old, not 6,000. One by one, they recanted their belief in the literal interpretation of Genesis and accepted the findings of modern geology. For their intellectual honesty, they came under terrific attack from the Church, which hurled epithets like "infidel," "impugner of the sacred record," and "assailant of the volume of God." Their geology was condemned as "a dark art," "dangerous and disreputable," "a forbidden province," "infernal artillery" and "an awful evasion of the testimony of revelation."

Robert Chambers created a major scandal in 1844 when he published an anonymous best-selling book entitled The Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. The book contained the blasphemous suggestion that an orderly progression in the changes of fossils indicated that species themselves had evolved. Religious leaders demanded to learn the identity of the author and denounced the book in the angriest terms possible. The ensuing controversy proved that Chambers had made the correct decision to publish anonymously.

Charles Darwin knew that his revolutionary theories on natural selection would invite the full fury of the Christian world. He therefore delayed publishing his theory for over 20 years, agonizing over the decision of whether or not to publish. His hand was forced in 1858, when he learned that the naturalist Alfred Wallace was about to publish the same theory. His fears proved true -- the reaction from the Church was shock, disappointment and anger. The world-wide attacks on his character, theories and personal life are common knowledge now, but he was saved from physical harm for two reasons. First, nearly the entire scientific community was quick to see the soundness of his theories, and rallied immediately to his defense. Second, the age of the Inquisition and other torture-based persecutions had finally passed.

Bertrand Russell found that Christian persecution exists even in the 20th century. One of the greatest of modern philosophers, Russell angered many Christians with his essay, Why I am not a Christian. And they exacted their revenge in 1940, when Russell accepted an appointment at the College of the City of New York. The Christian community launched a furious and protracted campaign to prevent the appointment, printing slanderous accusations of homosexuality, child molestation, public nudity and lechery. (This, for his mildly liberal views on sex, which would be considered tame by today's standards.) Even New York's highest political officials joined the assault, calling him a "dog" who should be "tarred and feathered and driven out of the country." Christians sued in court to prevent Russell's appointment, and in a trial filled with legal howlers, Russell was barred from teaching in New York State -- in a word, censored. BelindaGong 07:40, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

"The Church role historically has been one of persecuting scientists." Here's where I see your (possible) false dichotomy: Church vs. science/truth/knowledge/etc. --Quadalpha 08:14, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Belinda, thanks for repeating all these legends Giovanni had declaimed before. Only, it doesn't help any debate if you simply ignore and negate contrary evidence. You say "The Church role historically has been one of persecuting scientists", which sounds ridiculous once you have taken a clear, unbiased look upon the actual historical record.
Even in the case of Galileo the matter is not as clear cut as you and White would have it.
Had the church been an opponent of science, she could have made sure that there was no science - why did she allow such things in the first place, why did she set up universities? Why did clerics, up to the highest ranks, sponsor men like Copernicus or Galileo.
Darwin's case is valid since this is "Criticism of Christianity" (and hence not directed against the RCC, though some of your comments seem to suggest that it was her that "persecuted" Darwin), but you cannot claim "Oh they would burn him if they could". That's contra-factual historiography - an interesting past-time but not serious.
Why turn Bruno into a scientis when in fact he was bent on reviving a speculative paganism. I certainly don't condone that he was burned but given the circumstances of his time the main surprise was that he wasn't burned earlier.
What has Mr Russell to do with this all? Are you citing him as an authority (he was no historian) or as an example (well, he was no scientist, was he?) Academic appointments are often subject to intrigue and campaigns, then as now. You might disagree with what happened with Russell, but to call it censorship is ridiculous! Censorship is when the state (or another authority outside of the publication process) controls, supervises or revises what is published before publication. Was Russell banned from publishing? No, hence no censorship.

Unfortunately I must say that your diatribe does not add anything to the discussion. Str1977 09:28, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

You answered belinda's post but not mine, in which I provided evidence to back up my claims, and which refute yours. You have yet to prove how these are but legends. Brunos scientific theory about the nature of the stars turned out to be true. He was persecuted for supporting Copernicus's theories. While you point of some of the grey areas, and other factors, it changes nothing to the main point being made, which is still remain true: Those whose ideas, however true based on the evidence, went against the official dogmas of what the Christian faith believed was the absolute truth were not tolerated, and subject to pesecution. Lets not lose site of the forest for the trees. Bruno, like other proto-scientists were forerunners, and their bravery in speaking out for the convictions of their beliefs were met with violent supression. The fact that they showed and told G. that he would be tortured unless he humiliated himself daily, and submit to the degradation of house arrest (they would not even let him go after he was blind!), and the fact that others were who did resuse to obey, is evidence enough that he would have been tourtured and murdered otherwise. There is no reason to even suggest that the Inquisition was merely joking in their threats.
I grant you, Giovanni, that any Christian that contradicted elements of doctrine could be calle before an Inquisition court - scientists (or whomever you call forerunners) not excepted. However, the showing of the instrument was a formality, normal under the circumstances as torture was at that time part of standard judicial proceedings (not just by the Inquisition). Recent debates indicate why this could be. We may abhorr this now but then it was standard and to state that it was equivalent to torture is absurd. House arrest is hardly a degredation (and the reference to his blindness is "heart-warming"). The inquisition were certainly not jokin and I believe that, had G. refused, they would have totured him. But that wasn't what they wanted. Str1977 11:48, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

There is long tradition of warfare between science and Christianity. This is not legend but fact. The source of this conflict stems from the fact that both attempt to do the same thing: to explain the world around us, and offer solutions to our problems. The difference between these two attempts is basically one of age. Religion comprises very old explanations and solutions; science, newer ones. And because they differ, they enter into conflict. Sure, they sponored Universities, and scientists but they were supposed to affirm and prove their dogmas true. They really believed in their mythological constructions. There is no contradiction here. The point is that when facts emerged which cast doubt on the faith, it was suppressed, and those who dared to stand by truth were eliminated.

That is exactly the dispute: there is no long tradition of warfare between science and Christianity. There is a long tradition (well 300 years) about such a warfare, which I polemically called legend. Representatives of Christianity have, at time, been in conflict with scientist, that's true (though details are not that clear-cut), but Christianity is also one of the intellectual foundations on which modern science rests, e.g. the idea of the two books of Revelation and Nature. In G's case it was more a conflict between Aristotelism and new ideas. Aristotelism was the standard of scholarship (or should I say science) at the time and hence it was held by academics and clerics. Hence it's not science vs. religion but old science vs. new science.
Thanks for kindness of assuming that "They really believed in their mythological constructions", though such statements don't help my believing in your ability to overcome your bias.
And it wasn't "facts emerged which cast doubt on the faith" - in fact Cardinal Bellarmin (or was it Baronius) stated that if the movement of the earth could be proved than the Church would have to reconsider its interpreation of the Joshua passage, and he even stated how such a new interpretation would look like. But, as he also said, there was no proof for that and hence the Church stayed with its old, face-value interpretation. To portray the Cardinals as ignorant or intellectually immobile is more than a carricature (granted some where ignorant as well). G. didn't have proof (though he claimed he did - the tides) - only Kepler provided it. G also delved into the area of biblical exegesis, i.e. Private interpreation, which had the Inquisition's alarm bells sounding in the age of Luther. Str1977 11:48, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

That this conflict would occure is logical. All human societies have attempted to answer the question: "Where do we come from?" In ancient Israel, the answer was God and Creation, as described in the book of Genesis. But as human knowledge has advanced and grown, different explanations have arisen that challenge the legitimacy and authority of these dogmatic defenders of myths that they forced people to belive on the pain of death. This is why historians like White can exhaustively cover hundreds of historical cases, and able to demonstrate that the Church generally repeats the same three-step process whenever confronted by a threatening scientific discovery:

1. First, the Church tries to crush the "heretical" view, often through censorship and persecution of the scientist.

2. The evidence supporting the scientific viewpoint inevitably grows, the Church struggles to find a compromise position that incorporates both viewpoints.

3. When scientific victory is complete, and the Church is left to indulge in apologetics, to try explain away and defends the Church's actions. Here it is common for apologists to claim that there is not, and never was, any conflict between the Church and science.

Just because White makes such claims doesn't mean that all his finding are true. In fact, it is a quite dodgy book. But you seem to believe in old books like Gibbon and White.
Your three step process is the normal process anyone who has been in error about new ideas and will admit to it later.
One could find the same process in academic science as well, only that "apologetics" gets replaced by "silence". Proponents of scientific triumphalism just don't admit that scientists ever were wrong. What about the guy that advised Nils Bohr to study music, as there was nothing left in physics. Funny, that the field of physics is never accused of ignorance etc. Str1977 11:48, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

This process has occurred like clockwork down through history, resulting in a Christian Church today that is completely unrecognizable from the Early Christian Church -- indeed, if the two could ever meet, they would denounce each other as heretics!Giovanni33 10:33, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

History doesn't work logically or like a clockwork. I could also say, if today's scientists (I mean the more ignorant sort of, such as ... well, you quoted him) ever met the heroes they worship, they would denounce each other: Copernicus as speculative, Bruno as an obscurantist, Galíleo as a fundamentalist and Newton ... Str1977 11:48, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

About the "mainstream-ness" of the view: statistically, that is probably what most people believe, but then, a majority of Americans also believe the capital of Canada is Toronto. --Quadalpha 15:46, 30 January 2006 (UTC)


Str, I think I understand your objections. They rest in a fundamental misunderstanding about the real big difference between science and religion. Specifically their methodolgy. That is why while Scientists have been proven be incorrect (subsequently wrong), they were not wrong at the time, in the sense of being a valid scientific theory. This is in contrast to reglious theories of reality which were wrong and were defended despite the evidence, because their methodology was not facts but faith, not evidence but revelation, not a willingness to change theories and hold then as simply tentative in nature, but to hold them as absolute truth, as in a dogma. Your argument rests on ignoring these fundamental differences. It is because of these differences that the conflict between religion and science are real, and that religion is not just like science. Ofcourse, everyone to some extent must change but only because of the new grounds fought for by Science at great cost by those who try to hold back advancements in understanding and defend the old myths despite evidence. Giovanni33 03:49, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
The Vatican has been quite clear about the fact that the church does not try to lay claim to any science. They did not support teaching intelligent design in science class, for example. I know you were not arguing that point, but given that religion and science have different goals, it would be hard (if not impossible) to compare them without imposing one's own biases in valorising one goal over another.--Quadalpha 05:39, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Representative of Christianity

Christianity is organized, with official leaders who can speak for parts of the organization. Atheism isn't an organized religion, or a religion, or even organized. Nobody speaks for atheism with any authority, because atheism is the simple lack of theism. Therefore, arguments about the bloodshed caused by political leaders who were atheists miss the target. In contrast, arguments about the bloodshed caused by religious leaders who are Christian do have relevance. If actual priests participated in genocide, this is a problem much worse than mere laymen doing the same. Likewise, if there are churches dedicated to racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry, this is different from individual atheists having the same flaws. For these reasons, KHM03, I believe the paragraph you deleted needs to be restored. Do you have any sort of counter-argument? Alienus 22:47, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Was the genocide (or any acts by white supremacists) sanctioned by any official Christian denominational body? For example, was the Rwanda incident sanctioned by the Vatican, or was it just an example of a few people (who happen to be Christian) behaving horrifically? KHM03 23:02, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
I can see how you might argue that the laypeople were just some people who happened to be Christian, but this doesn't apply to the clergy. For that matter, I seem to remember the Vatican admitting to complicity for its acts during WW II. Is that just a few people who happen to be Christian? I'm sorry, but if you are in a position of authority, your actions must be taken as representative of the organization that authorized you. Alienus 23:11, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
If you wish to implicate certain Christian leaders or Christian organizations for their alleged involvement or lack their of in certain historical events then please do so. However, you should do so on the pages relevant to those events. For example, you could start a section (although I am sure one already exists) on the Catholic church's lack of response during the Holocaust, but do so on the Holocaust page. The fact that the Vatican did not speak out against the Holocaust during WWII is not a criticism of the Christian faith. This page should deal exclusively with criticisms that people have brought against the set of ideas and beliefs that are collectively known as Christianity. For example, some would argue that Jesus of Nazareth never actually existed. Christianity posits that he did. Therefore, this would fall under the rubric of "Criticism of Christianity." The Rwandan incident does not comport to this standard and therefore should not be included. I think this is fairly clear. Mcb197 23:30, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Now you are criticising an organisation. --Quadalpha 00:30, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Remember, Alienus, that this article is called Criticism of Christianity, not Criticism of Christians. I haven't heard of the Vatican admitting to complicity for its acts during WWII — can you provide a source? Is there evidence that actual priests participated in the genocide? Where are you getting the idea that there might be churches dedicated to racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry?
I'm not very knowledgeable about the events referred to in that paragraph, but I do agree with KHM03, both with what he said in his edit summary, and what he said above. Of course, Christianity does not support genocide and racism. If terrible acts are carried out by Christians, or by people who call themselves Christians (I'd very much like to know the extent to which these people acknowledged Christ as Lord in their lives), then unless the terrible acts were in obedience to the teaching of their Church, they were simply Christians who did not follow Christianity.
I have a problem with this sentence:
Over 90% of the population of Rwanda at the time was Christian, but nevertheless, the Archbishop and other Bishops have been implicated in inciting the genocide, while others refused to send help to stop it.
First of all, who says that the Archbishop and other Bishops have been implicated in inciting the genocide?
Secondly, what does it mean to say that others (other whats? bishops? Christians? people?) refused to send help to stop it. "Refused"? Were they asked to? Did they say, "No we won't because we don't care" or did they simply do nothing, in which case "neglected to" would be more accurate than "refused to". I didn't donate to my usual Third World charity this year, as I was sending money to Abigail Witchalls. Does that mean that I "refused" to help the starving people in Africa?
There's nothing in the article Rwandan Genocide about Bishops inciting the genocide or refusing to send help. (Yes, I know we're not meant to use one Wikipedia article as a means of claiming verifiability for claims made in another.) I'd still like to see some verification of that.
It's true that atheism is not an organized religion. But some of the things you want in the article have no relevance to Christianity as an organized religion. If it's an article about criticisms of Christianity (as opposed to Christians), then it should cover inconsistencies (or perceived inconsistencies) in Christian beliefs. It could also cover wrong-doing carried out by Christians in obedience to the teachings of their Church. It should not turn into a list of all the bad things that Christians did when they were acting, not as Christians, but as ordinary people. AnnH (talk) 00:42, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Atheism is not a religion period. It's simply a lack of belief in what it regards is a silly, unsubstantiated assertions of supernatural creatures ruling the universe, because, in their view no such evidence exists, and nor is it logical. The overwhelming majority of scientists share this view. The application of this criticism to practical movements it contributes to is used as a basis for, is also valid criticism.

About the objections to the Racist and Genocide sections, I think these objections do not stand. The fact is that white supremacist movements are linked to fundamentalist Christianity or Christian Identity, churches. They teach racism, and are connected with racist movements, basing their racism in Christian doctrine, and using the bible for such beliefs. Yes, the bible is very open ended, open to interpretation so within Christianity you can have opposite movements, everything from Christian Communists, to Christian Fascists. If this fact needs to be stated, that’s fine, but the fact that it has been argued to be a vehicle for advancing racism in the form of a right wing fundamentalism is a criticism that needs not be suppressed. Simply because they do not subscribe to your version of Christianity, you can not say that they were not really Christians (that is POV). About the genocide, the point is very valid precisely because Christians make the argument that Christianity creates morality and decency in people--indeed they go so far as to argue the lack of theism, results in immorality! This kind of widespread Christian belief is criticism as false in the examples of modern day genocide committed by professed Christian populations, and Christian leaders, as well. But there is also a second point why this should be included. Another critism is not only that the arguments for being a Christian are false but actually harmful. The critism is that if you can get people to believe in absurdities, then you can more easily get them to commit atrocities. That blind faith, irrationalism, and dogmatism are essential factors in producing the worst evils commited by man. These are all widespread criticism of Christianity. You might not agree with these but you can't deny they are not real.Giovanni33 03:12, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

This is absurd. Should science be criticised for promoting rationalism because it has been used to justify some of "the worst evils commited by man," like eugenics, perhaps. Should science be criticised because it has been used to commit "the worst evils commited by man"? I'm afraid your argument seems over-simplistic and affected by point of view, though it might be a fascinating document for future sociologists. --Quadalpha 03:53, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
It's not absurd at all. Its logical and factual. Again, what we see here is a misunderstanding of science. Eugenics was not science, it is a good example of psuedo-science, which is anti-scientific. Science is based on evidence, and logical principals, the principal of parsimony, for example. It does not claim morality either, as does religious beliefs such as Christianity. To show they are false, as is evideced by immoral behavior among Christian populations, is thus fair game for a page dedicated to criticism of it. Giovanni33 05:07, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
When you use the word "science" in your argument, you mean the idealised concept of science, but when the word "Christianity" is used, everything that has a finger in the pie, so to speak, everything that claims to have been done in the name of Christianity, gets dragged in. I agree that what I mentioned is not a valid criticism of science, but could be a valid criticism of scientists. Draw the parallel, etc. Though of course now we run into the "true Scotsman" fallacy. :) --Quadalpha 05:33, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Your point is not valid because Science has strict rules that make it science, and to deviate outside its methodology, which is clearly defined and not a matter of interpretation, is not to do science but something else like junk science or psuedo-science. Also, keep in mind that part of science is publication in peer review journals so other experts in the field can reproduce and verify claims and conclusions. This is science. Its not being idealised at all. Those who don't do that, like "creation scientists" can use all the science sounding words and copy the forms, etc, but they don't do this. There is no peer review, for example. On the other hand, there is no such clear methodology for determing if something is Christian or not (unlike Science) that exists. All that is needed for one to claim to be a Christian is to say the comon things Christians say to idenfity themselves, i.e. that they accept Jesus Christ as their savior the Lord, ect and hold the Bible as their book of faith which they use to justify their beliefs. Then they use some kind of logical argument based on what the Bible says, which is a matter of interpretation. Therefore, we have thousands of different Christian groups all differing and all thining they are the one rule religion; yet they all can legitimately call themselves Christian since they use the same Bible to push their various agendas. Some of those agendas have been racism and slavery, for example. This used to be the dominant Christian view (defend slavery) and now its not. But, sure enough they found support for it in the Bible (both the old and new testiment does support and sanction slavery). Other Christians may argue this is a wrong interpretation but that is just as much a POV, since the bible is about interpretation, and there is no one common sense view. Its just the nature of their methodology--biblical reveation, use of scriptures, and their interpretations. The Bible contains quite a number of broad, vague, and even contradictory statements, that allows exactly this. Again, no comparison with science at all, where one can easily see that someone is doing bad science, and therefore not being scientific. 64.121.40.153 13:09, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
So basically, you're saying that Christianity should be judged by Christians, but science should not be judged by scientists? --Quadalpha 15:55, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
No, go back and read again. I don't know where you cam up with these conclusion. I do not say that Christianity should be judged by Christians. It can be judged by anyone, using its own stardards and practices (the Bible, its method, and its adherents). Science, likewise, has stanards based on its own methods that that make objectively judging its practice much more precise, and narrow. This can ofcourse also be done by anyone who understands how science works. The point is that science and religion are of different standards by their very nature. Giovanni33 17:41, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
What I meant was, you're saying that the measure of Christianity should be the behaviour of Christians, but the measure of science should not be the behaviour of scientists? --Quadalpha 18:21, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Also, even if it were decided that it would be fair to judge Christianity by Christians, then it still has to be decided who is a Christian and who is not, which would be POV. --Quadalpha 16:03, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
On the sake token there should be a section dedicated to Christianity and the Oppression of Women for the same reasons. Giovanni33 03:23, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Giovanni33, I commend you for insightful critique of some of the problems inherent in sola scriptura. When anyone can interpret the Bible any way they like, we do indeed find tens of thousands of differing opinions, at a conservative estimate. That notwithstanding, some of your points I think are just slightly misstated, though probably not intentionally. First, my understanding of the 'morality claim' is that in the absence of some religion, the atheist has a weaker rationale to follow an outside, standard code of moral behaviour. Of course an atheist may still find utilitarian or other reasons to behave morally; and sadly, many Christians have behaved and do behave immorally despite the greater rationale afforded by their religion. But I've never been aware that Christians claim to be sinless, and only a few sects, such as some Wesleyans, believe that that's even possible in the "present life," this side of Heaven. So I think you're creating a bit of a straw man. The Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and similar churches even require their members to regularly confess their sins, presuming that they will have committed sins that need to be confessed and forgiven. Many Protestants also make some provision for this, in the form of "altar calls" or "rededications."

Regarding slavery, there are of course biblical passages that can and have been used to condone slavery. Two further observations are warranted though: the institution of slavery in the first century of the Roman empire was far different than slavery as it was practices in the Old South of the U.S. So what the New Testament authors were condoning, or at least tolerating, was something rather different. Secondly, at least some passages that call upon slaves to obey their masters, also call upon masters to well treat their slaves. And within the Church, Paul wrote that there was no longer "slave or free," and in the book of Philemon he urges Philemon to free his slave Onesimus. It's fair to say that some Christians in some places have ignored these balancing passages, but their disregard of such passages should be the criticism, not that they were exemplifying their faith. Wesley 17:50, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Why do I even bother?

You know, there's a reason why I avoided contributing to this page, and the text above exemplifies it. Anyone who wants to point out historical facts that are unfavorable to someone's pet religion has to deal with irrational levels of resistance, having the evidential bar set arbitrarily high, and -- eventually -- accusations of bigotry. The fact is that science is not an organization, it is a method rooted in evidence, while Christianity is an organization based on belief regardless of the evidence. Science makes claims to facts but does not claim moral authority, while Christianity lays claim to both. Therefore, any attempt to draw analogies between the two is doomed from the start.

  • spit*

I wash my hands of this page and all of you people on it. I wish I could wash the foul taste of dealing with you out of my mouth, but I can't. You want this page whitewashed to oblivion? More power to you. You get what you deserve. Alienus 04:23, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

I understand your frustration with the distruptions and obstructionism by these Christian edtors who seem to be ignorant of what science is about, but I assume good faith, i.e. they are just honestly confused, misinformed and ignorant of it, and thus the validity and legitimacy of these real criticism of Christianity. I say do not give up so easy. With the guidelines of NPOV, the topic of this article, and making arguments, it will prevail. You have to stand up for truth and struggle for it. Its never free, and its never easy. Failure is only when you give up. I and others will continue to make this case so please stay and join in. Giovanni33 05:15, 31 January 2006 (UTC)


That's a great response Alienus. In my post above I tried to explain, using rational arguments, why I did not think the paragraph about the Rwandan genocide was relevant to this page. In your post here you have not responded to any of those arguments, but instead responded with this immature and insulting diatribe. I agree with you that proponents of certain causes (mainly religion, but also feminism and racial issues) are far too quick to throw out words like "bigot," when people bring up facts that they don't like. However, when you make an argument, other people respond to it, and then you respond again with, "I wish I could wash the foul taste of dealing with you out of my mouth..." it really doesn't make you look very good. Your position on this issue weak and you just proved it by failing to respond to my arguments with anything even remotely resembling an intelligent response. Nicely done! Mcb197 05:12, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
True, he said he didn't want to argue about this because he felt it would lower him to the level of the absurd objections that have been raised to supporess and remove these sections. But, I did respond using rational arguments that make the case why it is a logical and defendable criticism of Christianity, which stipulates morality as part of its argument for belief. This is shown to be false and thus a valid criticism. Giovanni33 05:21, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Well then I applaud your efforts to engage in rational discourse. However, I still don't think you have made a strong case for why there should be any mention of the Rwandan genocide in an article entitled, "Criticism of Christianity." I understand the title, "Criticism of Christianity" to include all criticism put up against the collection of ideas and beliefs that fall under the label, "Christianity." Logically, each criticism would then require a corresponding Christian belief or idea that it is attacking. The fact that a genocide occurred in Rwanda does not have a corresponding Christian idea, and therefore is not relevant to this topic. A historical event cannot in and of itself be a criticism of anything -- it is simply something that happened. Mcb197 05:42, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Wow, this is a very intersting analysis: A historical event can not be a criticism of anything? Ofcourse the event itself is not the criticism but the event can be appropriately used to make a criticism. History is a power tool for criticism and arguments. And, not its never the case that "it is simply something that happened," as if that is the end of story. Things happen within contexts, on a stage, with causes and reasons that are explainable and can be understoood by looking at the factors that create the happenings. This is where one can use the happenings to make valid criticism. Giovanni33 06:00, 31 January 2006 (UTC)


First you ridicule my statement: "Wow, this is a very intersting analysis [sic]," and then in the next line agree with it: "Ofcourse the event itself is not the criticism [sic]" You then go on to say that "the event can be appropriately used to make a criticism." Obviously you are correct. However, no one has done this with the Rwandan incident, and this was the point of my comments regarding the neutrality of historical events in and of themselves. I thought that this was clear when I wrote, but I guess I was wrong. In my comment below I have given you some much needed advice on how to construct a logical criticism of Christianity, which I would suggest you read. Mcb197 06:11, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I poke fun at the statment because its a truism. Ofcourse its true that an event itself is not the criticism. No would ever claim such a silly notion. Obviously when one uses an event to make a criticism its logically connected to a specific argument that relates to the nature of the event which supports the argument or criticism. I think that case has been made, and if not then lets hear the objections. About the genocide, the point is valid precisely because Christians make the argument that Christianity creates morality and decency in people--indeed they go so far as to argue the lack of theism, results in immorality! This is a claim made my Christians. The criticism is that this is false. The modern day genocide committed by a Christian populations, with Christian leaders, serves as an example to support this point.
But there it also makes a second point illustrated by this example. The other criticsm is not only that the arguments for being a Christian are false but actually harmful. Note that this criticism isn't based on a refutation of a claim (that Christianity is good), and therefore benign. No, its a positive attack that its harmful. The argument is that if you can get people to believe in absurdities, then you can more easily get them to commit atrocities. That ideologies that focus on blind faith, irrationalism, and dogmatism, that one has the absolute truth, are dangerous and produce worst evils commited by man. These are all widespread criticism of Christianity (and other religions that both breed fanatics and encourage sheepish obedience) esp. from proponents of strong atheism/anti-theism. You might not agree with these but you can't deny they are not real criticism. Giovanni33 03:12, 31 January 2006 (UTC)


Now that is a POV comment if there ever was one. I think you'd find some rather prominent philosophers who might disagree with you. --Quadalpha 06:04, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Haha, I was about to give up a while ago too. Personally, I have no stake in this article whatsoever, though I have a somewhat more idealistic image of Wikipedia than as conveyor of a mishmash of second-hand ideologies. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Etc. Rename the article "Criticism of Christians" and we'd be out of this mess. --Quadalpha 05:27, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Christianity can be criticized by pointing out that its practice, as evidenced by the actions of its professed adherents are linked it its ideology and doctrine. Secondly, it points to the falsity to one its main claims: morality. Because of those these reasons its fair to use the examples of immoral behavior by Christian populations, as well as the racialized theology and interpretations of racist Christians who use the bible to push racism. It’s a criticism of Christian doctrine itself that it lends itself to such wide varying interpretations and practices.Giovanni33 05:43, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Giovanni33 writes: "Christianity can be criticized by pointing out that its practice, as evidenced by the actions of its professed adherents are linked it its ideology and doctrine [sic]." To do this successfully you would need to identify specific tenets of Christian doctrine, and then explain how these tenets, when applied correctly by believers, lead to undesirable ends. You could then give historical examples to support your claim. However, you would also have to prove that the historical actors in question were indeed motivated by the doctrinal tenet in question. In the case of the Rwandan genocide, no one has yet done this, and, hence, the paragraph was rightfully removed.
Oh, but this has already been done. 1. specific tenets of Christian doctrine are used by the Christians themselves who are racists, and were cited as links to some of these racist Christian churches. Do I need to go further and identify the particulars? There are many Christian groups who ascribe to such racialized theological interpretations of the Bible, both today and in the past. Recall that even the KKK was founded as a Christian organization and still sees itself in terms of defending true Christianity. Especially in the earliest days, Klansmen openly recruited in churches (white and segregated, of course), attracting members from all strata of society, including the clergy. Ofcourse, I, like anyone else, can look at their arguments, and cite the parts of the Bible that they use. But, I don't think you doubt their existence since they were included in the removed passage. But, if you'd like this section expanded, I think its best left for other articles. A link is enough.
Now the second part that you say is required is part of the point I've making. You say " explain how these tenets, when applied correctly by believers, lead to undesirable ends." Its easy to point to racist ideas leading to desirable ends (would anyone disagree here?). The problem do they "correctly" apply it? That is impossible to say objectively since is that there is no one accepted standard that can be used in this areana to judge if a tenent is "correctly applied" because its a matter of interpretation carried out by the respective Christian churches. Not long ago the majority of Christians interpreated their doctrines as one that defends and encourages slavery. Now they are in a minority. Same things with racist Christians, who today use the bible to support their own bigotry against others. All can claim to be legitimate Christians just as much as other Christians can claim they alone are the only correct interpretation of Christian tenants. All that is needed for Bible to be used to justify an action, is a particular interpretation; the Bible contains quite a number of broad, vague, and even contradictory statements. The interpretation can be objectively defended by appeal to text and context, which they do. This is why one of the most abominable chapters in the history of how the Bible has been used and interpreted involve the questions of race and slavery. Although Christians will be loathe to admit it, their religion shares a significant part of the blame for raical oppression in the US. Ofcourse, people on all sides of racial and slavery issues have interpreted the Bible through the filters of their personal and cultural assumptions. But, one can not say that one the Christians who support your interpretaton are correct, whereas others are not. In my view they are all wrong, and using the Bible as a belief system is inherently nontenable given its many contradictions.
Lastly, you say I have to prove that the actors were motivated by these doctrinal tenents. I disagree. Infact, all I have to show is that these docrinal tenants did not produce moral behavior in its adherents. It doesnt matter if the actual motivation for, say, robbing a bank and killing someone in the process was motivated by greed and money, if a Christian acted in such a way, then this is evidence that Christians are not superior moral agents by virtue of their Christianity. Even more so when we have a whole population ether supporting or allowing such evils as genocide. Its a valid example that connects the event to a refutation of the Christian claim, and therefore a critcism. This also ties in with the opening statment by Noam Chomsky about the Bible being a book of genoice, and ties in with the points make about support of G.W. Bush, Christianity and his policies. Giovanni33 15:08, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Giovanni33 writes: "Secondly, it points to the falsity to one its main claims: morality [sic]." Christians don't claim that professing to be a believer automatically makes one, "moral." Christian scriptures give a set of guidelines for how one should live. Whether or not one correctly follows these guidelines is what determines whether or not one can be considered to be living a morally acceptable life.
Ah, but I did not say just professing to be a believer, but rather that one is a Christian, and we only know what they profess and what they do. And, we do know that Christians claim that that being a Christianity makes one moral, whereas lack of belief leads to immorality. That is what Christians charge of Atheists, no? Well, it follows that if one is a believer one does in actions. The actions are evidence for what one believes in, in addition to what they claim to bleieve in. So we note that tere are people who claim belief in the Bible (their version), and we can assume he believes according to how he acts, since actions are a demonstration of thoughts. Where are we left? Again, the same problem as I explained about about contradictory interpretations rears its problematic head. There is no one set of guidelines for how one should live that is agreed upon so as to determine if one is "correctly" follwoing it or not. Since we cant know that, we have to go based on the evidence that they are Christians (enough presented), and see how they act. And there are expliced examples, too, where there is active reference of the Bible to support racism. Could anyone argue that a Christian is not correctly following "the set guidlines" by supporting and particpating in that most cruel and despicable horror known as the slave trade? That would be hard to do, no? The Christians who supported (the majority beefore) did so did so according to the bible, and how can you say that they are not correctly following what the bible says when the Bible clearly gives its support, in any objective and logical reading? Back to the other point, its a stretch to say that we can discount a whole population of Christians who act in a certain way and assume that are acting contrary to their professed beliefs, when they state their professed beliefs clearly (evidence enough), and when the doctrine can itself be stretched to support almost anything given the power of interpretation. Who are we to say they were not really Christian, simply because we don't like their negative example? No basis for this, other than our own pov and bias. All I have to show is that they called themselves Christians, and they acted in such a such way. When we have a whole population that does this and in different times in history and in different parts of the world, the evidence is strong that morality and Christianity need not go together, and if anything seem to make it all the more easier to be barbaric given the nature of superstitious belief, and the arrogance to think that they posses the aboslute truth. The examples of facts are relevant, and let the reader draw their own conclusions about what it means or how strong it supports the argument being made. Giovanni33 15:08, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Giovanni33 writes: "It’s a criticism of Christian doctrine itself that it lends itself to such wide varying interpretations and practices" This claim is illogical. If you and I disagree on how to solve an equation is that a "criticism" of algebra? Obviously not. The fact that you and I disagree doesn't matter: there is still a right and a wrong answer regardless of what we think. What if you took your statement and substituted Hamlet? "It’s a criticism of Hamlet itself that it lends itself to such wide varying interpretations..." Clearly this line of reasoning is absurd. Mcb197 06:03, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
No, its not illogical, your analogy is flawed, as is any that assumes a similarity between religion and science. It’s debatable if mathematics is properly a branch of sciencebut it shares much in common with it, in contradistinction to religion. Therefore, your analogy fails on the same grounds. We can disagree about how to solve an equation and there may be many ways to solve the same equation but the truth of the equation and its solution is easily verified beyond dispute. There is a clear right and wrong answer, as you say. That we disagree about how to solve a problem is therefore not tied to the problem itself. This, however, is not true of Christian doctine. As I already argued above (and many times), Christian doctrine is contradictory, abusrd, illogical, and open to vast and differing interpretations given its vauge and broad writings. It itself is part of the problem, in that any biases can latch onto the Bible and use it to promote their own bias and bigory under the banner of absolute truth and divine inspriation--the word of god! In short, it breeds dogmatism. This is indeed a criticism of Christian doctrine itself. Giovanni33 15:08, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Hold on, Christians believe that all men are sinners, so I guess your examples are right on the money. --Quadalpha 06:09, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
It seems that we disagree on what exactly "Christianity" is. This is a stickier point than I care to deal with at 1AM, but simplistically, do you think you might be judging the car by the driver? --Quadalpha 05:57, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
To try to use your analogy (despite limitations), yes, I say that users of the car, how the car is used, is also valid critism of the car. This is infact true, literallly for criticism of cars today--that they kill people. This is an argument by those who would prefer us to go back to bikes. Note this is apart from criticism of cars mechanical features, i.e. efficiency, etc, which are also valid points to be critical of. Giovanni33 06:05, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Your arguing that cars can be criticised because, when the user loses control of the car, the large energy of the car tends to become dangerous. That is still a criticism of the car, but not the driver. --Quadalpha 06:09, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it is still a criticism of the car alone, and note that the car needs a driver. You are making my argument for me. See, a car alone, is not dangerous. It just sits there in a show room or lot. Its rather harmless. So are dead religions, thought only in terms of a mythology, in which no one practices them anymore. They are likewise harmless. But, as the analogy shows, cars become quite dangerous only when they are in use by drivers. Note again this is not a criticism of the drivers (not of Christians), but still of cars in their interaction in the world as it exists today and in the past. If you accept this analogy, your own, then you can see that this is about criticism of Christinaity not the actions what bad things Christians happen to do, although they necessarily involve Christian actors. Giovanni33 15:26, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I was pointing out the flaw in your use of the analogy. In this case the car has an intrinsic flaw, so you are still trying to find a way to blame the immorality or somesuch of the driver on the car. --Quadalpha 15:59, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
The car may have instrinsic flaws, but we are not dealing with those at the moment. Those are not controversial and are accepted to be flaws, where proved. What I am showing is that even when the driver uses the car in a responsible way, the car will still result in thousands of deaths and injuries, maiming millions, even. That is a valid criticism of the car, even though its impossible without the driver. To object on the basis that we are only describing the driver does not stand, except as sophistry. Likewise in Christianity. We do not only look at the flaws of doctrine alone, we look at the effect of doctrines by actors who use it as their own vehical in the world. In this respect its caused much harm to, and to make criticism of this as part of Christianity is valid and proper. Giovanni33 17:34, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
So "possible misuse" is the responsibility of the maker? Hence the "Not designed for use as a boat" label on tractors? --Quadalpha 18:25, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Where did I ever say anything about misuse? Clearly I said "even when the driver uses the car in a responsible way." Not everyone who dies or gets injured in car accidents are from the results of misuse or driver error. So, the criticism is not of the driver, but of the car. But, the driver is still necessary in order for the reality that the criticism is based on to exist. Giovanni33 18:52, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
This isn't really my argument, but Gio, could you please give an example of a car accident that isn't the result of at least one or both of the drivers being in error? This isn't really meant to be an attack, I just can't think of any examples, and am curious to see if you had one in mind when you wrote that. Oh and don't say something about ice on the roads because that would not really be the fault of the car either.
How about innocent people in the car who are not driving but die? How about good drivers who get hit by bad drivers, say one running a red light? How about cars hitting pedestrians or bike riders because they didn't see them? And, yes, road conditions, black ice, things in the road that cause problems, etc. I think you still don't understand that this isn't about it being the fault of the car or the driver. Its about criticism of the car. All one has to show is the negative affects of the use of the car on a whole in society. Likewise, the argument doesn't rest on drivers never making errors. On the contrary, all humans make errors. That is a given. Add that to the use of cars, and we get a predicable number of injuries and deaths. Lots of them. These are predictable social outcome from use of the car, and criticism laid at the car for large number of deaths and injuries yearly are proper irrespective of the fact the it happens in conjuction with drivers. If we accept these are valid points in criticsm of cars, then for the same reason we should accept that Christian actors are not the focus of the criticism either, Christianity is-- despite the need for its actors (drivers) to use their ideological vehical (the car), which the yields real social harms. Giovanni33 19:32, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
This analogy is getting slightly out of hand. I wouldn't object if we dropped this and proceeded with some more productive points. --Quadalpha 19:33, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Rwanda, White Supremacists, etc.

The point was made some time ago that these don't belong. The rationale has been that white supremacists, for example, may claim to be Christian, but they disagree (strongly) with basic Christian thought. Can a person who believes in God, for example, still legitimately claim the label "atheist"? That's the issue here. Anyone can claim to be Christian (or atheist, or Hindu, etc.), but if they violate key tenets of said faith, is their claim legitimate? KHM03 11:29, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

If it were only so simple as that, KHM03. The exmaple you give is true, those are logical impossibliites by definition, i.e. a theist athist, or a, say, married bachelor as another example. This is easy to show. You are probabaly aware there are such things as "Christian Atheists." This goes to show you how far the Christian doctrine can stretch, even so far as to not believe in a literal God. Granted that is an extreme example but I use it only to prove a point. You would probably not call them Christians, I would guess, but they would object, using greater leeway of interpretation that you would allow for your version of Christianity. Much less is needed for others to find objective, logical and contextual support in the text of the Bible for racist beliefs, sexists beliefs, and homophobic beliefs,and all sorts of ugly things. And thus they are used by what all evidence points to as real Christians. Did not most Christians support the institution of human slavery? Does not the Bible make it clear that its gives such support today, even though most Christians today would regard that as immoral by today's standard? And, yet is not the Bible thought of to be devinely inpired by most Christians, and therefore one must concluse that God's view of slavery is not negative? The problem is that the Bible itself is contradictory. No "common sense" interpretation can deny such things without doing violence to the text itself, and nothing can be criticized as having been "taken out of context." Christians should perhaps consider admitting that their Bible was written in a primitive, barbaric age and as such represents the primitive, barbaric attitudes of that age. Those that follow it and choose to be barbaric themselves out of whatever other bigoted and racist ideology can find support in the Bible and will find a Christian churc that supports such an interpeation. You may define key tenents of the faith, in a way that the self professed Christians who you do not agree with would be in violation, and therefore not true Christians, but this would be an interpretation and not like the example of a logical impossibility you gave ealier.Giovanni33 15:52, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
The Bible as a literary text is subtler than you might suppose. But that would be a POV comment. --Quadalpha 16:00, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, many passages are very subtle which is part of my point. But there are sections that are not so subtle either, in particular with regard to slavery. I point out that people on all sides of racial and slavery issues have interpreted the Bible through the filters of their personal and cultural assumptions, and were held by the majority of Christians well into the 19th Century--we are not just talking antquitity here.
Now as far as what the Bible says, a human law, it is to be expected and the norm, but but as the will of an all loving god, it's abominable. And the fact that Christians regard the Bible was devinely inspired and this book says these things pretty clearly, is part of the problem (from the POV of those who hold to this criticism). Let me gives you just some passages, for fun. Im curious to see how you can fine any subtleties here to inprepret away:
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. (Eph. 6:5-6)
Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior. (Titus 2:9-10)
Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval. (1Pet. 2:18-29)
What do you make of these representative quoted passages? I'd say its what we'd expect to find in the period, and nothing shocking. However, if those authors were indeed divinely inspired, as is commonly thought by Christians, then we must conclude that God's attitude towards slavery is not negative. I don't see how an interpretation can deny such things without doing violence to the text itself, and nothing can be criticized as having been "taken out of context." This is true no matter if today mainstream Christians form official bodies to define what parts are acceptable beliefs themselves--its still in the bible and other groups outside the mainstream can thus still regard themselves as Christians, and support all kinds of morally outdated beliefs, and do so with the confidence that its God's will. That is scary. The ones that are not scary are the Christians who are willing to admit that their Bible was written in a primitive, barbaric age and as such represents the primitive, barbaric attitudes of that age, not the will of God. Giovanni33 16:57, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
It seems presumptious to claim that one knows the will of God. See the point below, and maybe also Seneca Ep. Mor. 47.10. --Quadalpha 17:16, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Isn't presuming the will of God somethin what Biblical inerrantists and literalists do to explain difficulties away? - G3, 05:25, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Forgive me if I've misunderstood, but the argument seems to be whether bad things done by "Christians" counts as criticism that she be included. But if you believe in such a thing as a "Christian atheist", couldn't you include anyone at all? A.J.A. 21:30, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Bad things done by Christians is relevant to criticism of Christianity in some areas, such as common Christian claim that being a Christian makes for more moral behavior than being godless. Fundamentalists love to make this false argument. To refute this all we have to od is look at all the bad things that have been done by Christian populations, Christian States, and by organized Christian authorities.
Do you deny there exists "Christian Atheists?" I didn't invent them, but I guess your not familiar with the full spectrum of Christianity. Its true that atheistic beliefs are often accompanied by a total lack of supernatural beliefs, but this is not a necessary consequence of atheism. Some atheists who are not irreligious or secular. These are most common in spiritualities like Buddhism and Taoism, but they also exist in sects of religions that are usually very theistic by nature, such as Christianity, especially in some Liberal Quaker groups. A number of atheistic churches have been established, such as the Thomasine Church, Naturalistic pantheism, Brianism, and the Fellowship of Reason. There is also an atheist presence in Unitarian Universalism, an inclusivist religion. See Inclusivism. Other, unrelated practitioners of Christian atheism may include Liberal Christian atheists who follow the teaching of Jesus, but who may not believe in the literal existence of god. Ofcourse, some Christians dispute whether the atheists in question are truly Christians, but certainly are by some of the looser definitions of the word. On the other side of the spectrum we have the right-wing fundamentalists churches, incldes a whole slew of racist and facists Christians. The fact that they can all be called Christians is a commentary on the nature of the doctrine, which is one of the criiticism's being made. 64.121.40.153 06:06, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
You seem to misunderstand what Wikipedia is for. The article is about Criticisms of Christianity, it's not here to actually criticize Christianity. And even if it were, your criticism fails: you can't know whether the Christian populations, etc, would have been better or worse without the influence of Christianity, although the behavior of non-Christian states certainly doesn't put your argument in a good light.
Of course I deny the existence of Christian atheists. What a silly question. A.J.A. 06:34, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
If it is about Criticism of Christianity, don't you think that one must include the actual criticisms? Im here trying to present the criticism, and the standard has been raised to say that they must actually be valid criticism, so I'm showing how they are valid and legitimate arguments, although I think that all criticism should be included regardless if others think they are not valid or not. At Wikipedia, we do not engage in the disputes, we are supposed to only represent them fairly, characterize them, etc. That is the NPOV platform.
Maybe you sould visit some of the Christian Chruches I pointed out that are filled with self professed Christians who use the Bible and who deny the exisitence of literal God, but follow the teachings of Jesus, etc. When you go there and meet some of then, make sure to point out that you don't believe they exist! hehe Actually, do deny their existence is just ignorance, but what you really mean is that you disagree that they true Christians given their inclusivist interpretations. That ok because they disagree that with you, and others would say that you are not a ture Christian. Such is the arrogance of this doctrine which is open enough for thousands of interpretations and yet they all have the arrogance to claim that everyone else is wrong excpet the one they ascribe to. Incredible. Giovanni33 08:16, 1 February 2006 (UTC)


Gio -- I'm not sure I'm the best person to answer your questions. While I consider myself a firm Arminian/Wesleyan evangelical Christian, and do believe the Bible to be divinely inspired and authoritative (for Christians), I do not subscribe to any form of Biblical inerrancy, and I support contemporary Biblical criticism (when responsibly applied). So, it's easy for me to say that much of Scripture is influenced by the sociological norms of the folks who wrote the books. And in the Biblical era, generally speaking, slavery was viewed as acceptable.

The problem is that "slavery" in antiquity is a somewhat different term than our term "slavery". I'm not endorsing either view, but slavery in antiquity was surrounded by a sense of justice (inasmuch as the ancients graped that term) and fairness. It was illegal to mistreat or kill your slaves. Also, the Old Testament talked about a year or season of jubilee, which, for the Hebrews, involved freeing their slaves, so as to end the multi-generational horror experienced by slaves in, say, antebellum America. So while the words are the same, the meanings are quite different. To say - given our modern understanding - that the Bible condones slavery is not to say that the Bible condones the kind of slavery to which we typically refer. I'm not sure I'm being clear, so forgive my lack of clarity.

At any rate, there are official bodies and official works which do define appropriate Christian doctrines/practices/norms/interpretations of Scripture. Certainly the early Church Councils qualify, but also, I would say, do "standard" (for lack of a better term) denominational bodies such as the various Orthodox Christian denominations (the world's oldest, in my opinion), the Roman Catholic Church (the world's largest denomination), and various recognized-around-the-world Protestant denominations such as the United Methodist Church (go team!), and others (Presbyterians, Lutherans...a hodgepodge here). Also ecumenical groups such as the WCC and the NCCCUSA. None of these groups sanctions white supremacism in any way and, in fact, they reject the view as non-Christian. Maybe we can take some of these well meaning ans somewhat authoritative folks at their word.

Yes, the Bible is pre-modern and at times contains things which utterly offend modern sensibilities, and I struggle with much of its content. But we ought not condemn an entire religion because of the sick acts of a few who don't even fairly represent the Faith. KHM03 16:33, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Giovanni, please, I beg you, proofread your posts. I found it very difficult to make sense of your writing, given the persistent presence of awkward constructions and errors in spelling and grammar. That being said, you are simply wrong when you make statements like, "you say I have to prove that the actors were motivated by these doctrinal tenents. I disagree. Infact, all I have to show is that these docrinal tenants did not produce moral behavior in its adherents [sic]." Do you realize what you are saying here? You are saying that because Christianity says A, and the historical actor in question did action B, which violates the command of Christian doctrine A, Christian doctrine A is responsible because it failed to "produce moral behavior in its adherent." I'm sorry sir, but with all due respect, this is nonsense. You must demonstrate that individuals were motivated by the Christian tenets which you are criticizing. If you cannot do this then you cannot use their behavior as an example. Your continued claim that Christianity should produce moral behavior in its followers is also incorrect. You must not have read what I wrote on this point above so I will repost it here for your convenience: “Christians don't claim that professing to be a believer automatically makes one, "moral." Christian scriptures give a set of guidelines for how one should live. Whether or not one correctly follows these guidelines is what determines whether or not one can be considered to be living a morally acceptable life.” Simply saying, "I am a Christian," has nothing to do with it. I'm sure that you would be quick to criticize me if I professed to be a scientist, and then failed to use the scientific method. If I didn't use the scientific method, and then as a result drew some wacky conclusions, would you then go create a Wikipedia entry entitled, "Criticisms of Science," and list my incorrect conclusions as a "criticism of science?" When people questioned your doing so would you respond with the following: "you say I have to prove that the actors were motivated by these doctrinal tenents [in this case meaning the scientific method]. I disagree. Infact, all I have to show is that [the scientific method] did not produce [correct results] in its adherents [sic]." Your arguments are fallacious and incorrect. Atheists love to go on and on about the ambiguity of the Christian scriptures and how really, when you get right down to it, you just can’t make any sense of them of them at all. You make many such statements in your posts. For example: “the doctrine can itself be stretched to support almost anything given the power of interpretation.” While this line of thinking is very convenient, it is spurious. First, just because there are multiple interpretations of something, doesn’t mean that isn’t one correct interpretation, rendering the others incorrect. Theology is an academic discipline just like any other, and our understanding of it is constantly improving as we learn more, and new thinkers contribute to the discussion. This being the case, we can rightly say that our theologians today understand the scripture better than did those theologians in the past who would have defended slavery. Mcb197 18:28, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Hi guys. While ultimately I would like to see these sections added in again in some form, I don't see any harm in leaving them out for the moment. There are two questions here:
  1. Does Wikipedia care about whether a criticism is valid or not? I think not, I think any criticism leveled against Christianity should be included, even ones that aren't very convincing. These criticisms are relatively popular and deserve to be included somewhere in Wikipedia. Where better to educate readers about the criticism's flaws than in this article?
  2. Are criticisms of Christians, or purported Christians, a proper subject for the Criticism of Christianity article. I suppose this is the more controversial point. Strictly speaking the answer is no, but many readers will criticize Christianity because of how historically very Christian countries have condoned slavery and racism. Again, where better to educate readers than in this article? Also, Wikipedia has essentially unlimited space, so as long as the section is introduced properly, it would be useful to include it. And the power of Wikipedia is in it's linking, so I would like to see every article trying to link to as many related issues as possible. (Although I'm not suggesting we put these examples into a separate article from Criticism of Christianity).
I think we should have a separate section for this. I don't know what to call it. It should start with something like "Many people, who happened to be Christians, have brought their religions into disrepute with their actions. Most of their coreligionists were abhored by their actions and considered them to be totally at odds with their faith. Here are some examples ..."
On another issue, there seems to have been some agreement on other threads for a Responses section where rebuttals of the criticism could be placed. I think these rebuttals should be placed immediately after the criticism in question, and for these controversial issues this would be the ideal place for making clear the distinction between the religion, the majority of the followers, and these minorities. I would prefer separate criticism and rebuttals because it allows each case to be clearly expressed, rather than endless tweaking of a single paragraph. Detailed discussion of rebuttals and responses is a subject for another thread, but I think it would be useful with these two controversials issues. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 23:53, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Hear, hear. --Quadalpha 00:02, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Mcb197, you fail to understand my arguments and your own arguments reveal major flaws. You say I’m wrong for arguing that all have to show is that these docrinal tenants did not produce moral behavior in its adherents. My argument is that its not wrong because its refutes the myth that one being a Christian makes for moral behavior. You say that Christianity doesn’t make such a claim but I encounter it quite often by Christains, esp. fundamentalists. It's often decribed as the “moral argugment.” Lets assume that such an argument does exist for now. I'll be happy to present promient Christian thinkers, activists and groups who make this argument, if you don't believe me. But to show that Christians in practice are not any more moral as evidenced by their actions throughout history than any other group, is alone all that suffices as evidence to show the claim is false.
You write “Do you realize what you are saying here? You are saying that because Christianity says A, and the historical actor in question did action B, which violates the command of Christian doctrine A, Christian doctrine A is responsible because it failed to "produce moral behavior in its adherent." No, I am not saying that. Let me correct you, so you know what I do say. I never make the claim that the Action B violates the command of Christian doctrine (that is your pov). I don’t know if it violates it or not. I only show that the historical actor in question did action B (and immoral act), and that this may or may not be consitent with Chrstian doctrine A, which depends on how one interprets it. I maintain and argue that its not possible to say definitively what is the “correct” following of Chrstian doctrine because there is no one accepted standard. I argue that those who provide evdience that they are Christians, and fit within a lose definition that is inclusive of a majority professed Christian Churches is valid grounds given the nature of Christianity to accept that they are infact really Christians, and following their own interpreations of what that means in practice. The fact that Christians disagree is moot point since they all disagree with each other all the time anyway. I don’t take sides, I only need to show that the actions are really Christians (or should be accepted as such given a lack of grounds to exluding them), and that they engage in actions that most would call immoral behavior. Therefore, it follows that the notion that Christians, by virtue of their religious adherence, posses positive and superior moral attributes is shown to be a completely false claim. No reference to what motivates them, which is really impossible to know anyway, is necessary to prove this point.
And before you repeat yourself, I already read clearly what you wrote before and responded, already too. You must not have read or understood my response, so I’ll repeat it. You say: “Christians don't claim that professing to be a believer automatically makes one, "moral." Christian scriptures give a set of guidelines for how one should live. Whether or not one correctly follows these guidelines is what determines whether or not one can be considered to be living a morally acceptable life.”
I did not say “just professing” to be a believer is enough, although that is strong evidence that they are Christians. My argument rests on an acceptance that they are Christians in fact, not just because someone professes to be. It’s a subtle difference. Professing alone is not my criteria, just a major part of it. The argument is that they are Christians. This then follows that by definion they adhere to Christian scriptures, etc. The problem, though, is how do we determine who is “correctly” following such scriptures? Who is a real Christian and who isnt? This is sticky point you keep ignoring. Since I maintain we can not say one way or the other, given the broad and contradictory nature of the texts in the Bible, the standards of evidence for who is a Christian must be kept fairly open as well. Hence my accepting their claims of being and following Christians teachings itself as valid evidence they are also Christian. We only know what they profess they believe in. There is no basis to say they are not really Chrisitans because you don’t like or agree with how they act according to your version of what makes a good Christian, your version of what is “correctly” following scripture, etc. . Such a line of argument is very convenient for you since you can then select out and count only the good ones while ignoring the bad ones as not really being Christians. I claim this is what is what is spurious reasoning. As I’ve shown, we have Christians of every strip, from Marxist Christians to Fascist Christians, even Atheist Christians, and everythign in between. That this exists is proof there is no one correct way to interpret and that yields one Christian ideology.
The only way to deny these these immoral actor's Christianity is to define "Christian" in a bigoted manner, ie- "to be Christian is to be moral", which is the refrain of those who would believe that you can determine someone's morality (or lack thereof) by simply asking what religious beliefs he holds, and this is a tautology. Those who would deny Hitler's Christianity, for example, on the basis of his immoral actions are also guilty of not only religious bigotry but the same circular logic: as they see it, Hitler is consistent with their belief that all Christians are moral because he was not a Christian, and they know he was not a Christian because all Christians are moral!
I mentioned this difficulty somewhat earlier. Just because there can be no NPOV way of defining a Christian, does not mean you could impose your own view that "anyone is who says so." --Quadalpha 17:16, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Given the record those are generally described as being Christian you would have to define "true Christian" in such a narrow way so as to say that majority of Christians were in fact not acting as true Christians. The medieval Catholics did everything Hitler did and more; does this mean they weren't "true Christians" either? When they hacked a "witch’s breasts off, violating her with heated metal instruments, and then tearing her limbs out of their sockets on the rack, were these not act of true Christians? I define a Christian as one who believes that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. Others define it far more narrowly, so that they can exclude people like Hitler and Mengele. But if they are to use such a narrow definition, then they must be willing to admit that most self-professed "Christians" throughout history have not been truly Christian. I don’t think its our duty to make such special pleading arguments but let the reader decide and include these historical examples of genocide both by Germany, and Rwanda, along with the terror and horrors of the medieval Catholics on the record as immoral behavior by self professed Christians. Let the reader draw his own conclusions. At the very least it refutes the nonsense claims to moral virtue. To discount a whole population of Christians who act in a certain way and assume that are acting contrary to their professed beliefs, when they state their professed beliefs clearly (evidence enough), and when the doctrine can itself be stretched to support almost anything given the power of interpretation, is unjustified. Who are we to say they were not really Christian, simply because we don't like their negative example? No basis for this, other than our own pov and bias.
Now you get back into the false comparision between religion and science when you say, “I'm sure that you would be quick to criticize me if I professed to be a scientist, and then failed to use the scientific method. If I didn't use the scientific method, and then as a result drew some wacky conclusions, would you then go create a Wikipedia entry entitled, "Criticisms of Science," and list my incorrect conclusions as a "criticism of science?" Yes, indeed, I would because Christianity is NOT science in any way, shape or from. Unlike the Bible, science has a very well established methodology that NO ONE who is a scientists disputes. Those who deviate from its methods are easily and clearly shown to not be doing science. Its objective not subjective. There is no comparision as the standards are completely different. So, it's is your arguments that are fallacious and incorrect, not mine. This is especially true when you keep comparing the two.
You then say “Atheists love to go on and on about the ambiguity of the Christian scriptures and how really, when you get right down to it, you just can’t make any sense of them of them at all.” I don’t know what they “love” but secular voices do point out the obvious, and I make the argument as well: The doctrine can itself be stretched to support almost anything given the power of interpretation. You say this is spurious by saying that “just because there are multiple interpretations it doesn’t mean that isn’t one correct interpretation, rendering the others incorrect.” Yes, that is what all Christians say that, and all religious belifes make the claim that they are the one true interpreation, that their god is the one true god, etc. But all this proves is their own narrow bigotry and intolerance. There is no basis to prove this. Its just subjective interpretation. Theology is not like science. You say, “theology is an academic discipline just like any other…” No, you are wrong here, too. Theology has a significantly problematic relationship to Academia that is not shared by any other subject, and is distinguished from other established Academic disciplines that cover the same subject area, such as Comparative religion, Religious studies, Philosophy of Religion, the History of Religions, Psychology of Religion, and Sociology of Religion. All these approach religion with humanistic presuppositions unlike most theology. To say that “our theologians today understand the scripture better than did those theologians in the past who would have defended slavery” flawed in so far as it suggests that its just a matter of objectively understanding, and ignorance, instead of subjective interpreation that reflects the cultural bias of the times (no less than it reflects the bias of our own time). True, we may understand many things better today, such as how the Bible is full of contradictions, open for vastly differing and selective interpretations, and how it more and more is shown to be at odds with true and science. Also, that it contintues to be used by different groups who find it a means by which they can rally support for prejudice (or almost any other cause) in the name of Christianity as referenced and supported by their interpretation of its texts.
Now, I don’t say it’s not problematic to evaluate the morality of a religion or philosophy based on the past behavior of its adherents, no matter how heinous. Hitler was a Christian and he killed millions. The Roman Catholics were Christians and they killed countless tens of millions throughout the Dark Ages, with the Crusades, Inquisitions, and the brutal conquests and subjugations of Africa and the Americas. This, far from indicting Christianity gives one a better claim to moral behavior, a direct comparison of historical records should, if anything, give Christians a moment of self-doubt regarding this claim, and refute it well for others. Giovanni33 07:59, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Giovanni, what are "tenants?" When I looked that word up in my dictionary, I got an answer that didn't really fit in with your blatherings. Please explain this word to us. Thanks!
Also, when you say: "I only show that the historical actor in question did action B (and immoral act), and that this may or may not be consitent with Chrstian doctrine A, which depends on how one interprets it. I maintain and argue that its not possible to say definitively what is the “correct” following of Chrstian doctrine because there is no one accepted standard." How do you judge action B to be "and immoral" act, if there is "no one accepted standard?" What standard do you use, and isn't that just your POV? Please, keep posting Gio -- they are a lot of fun to read! RussianBoy 15:55, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Russianboy, I judge an act is immoral by the commonly accepted standards of society. Today slavery is considered immoral whereas in the past it was not. The immoral acts in question, though, are likewise not diputed, being genocide. Genocide was made possible only by support among Christians both in Rwanda and Germany. This is not to say that if they were non-Christians that such would not have been possible. My argument only is that Christianity does not make one any more moral than a non-Christian, as evidenced by these historical examples of Christians behaving as immoral historical actors. I know some would say that no such claim is made and this is a straw man but as I'll show shortly, such an argument is widley made. Giovanni33 21:33, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
RussianBoy, I think Giovanni33 meant to say "tenets," not "tenants," meaning the beliefs or teachings of Christianity. Wesley 17:07, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Thank you Wesley, that clears things up. RussianBoy 17:38, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

What about your claims that Christianity makes evilness more likely? Substantiate beyond the simplistic "It's irrational!" "Hence my accepting their claims of being and following Christians teachings itself as valid evidence they are also Christian." - that is a POV statement. --Quadalpha 08:42, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Actually, Qudalpha, I don't really make that an argument. It's not a strong argument and while I think its a sub argument that can be stated, I don't argue it at lenght. I don't think being a Christian in itself makes one any less moral than anyone else. As far as the practical effects the closest I'd argue along these lines is that many tyrants both past and present, such as Hitler, used the mantle of religion to justify and further their selfish, hateful, and destructive agendas and prejudices. And, by conditioning people to blindly accept the pronouncements of authorities, instead of teaching them to think for themselves, religions like Christianity can make it easy for such evil dictators and demagogues to succeed. This is a notion well supported in political science and sociology. Giovanni33 21:33, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Giovanni33, please note my earlier post that you are creating a "straw man" of this belief that Christians are themselves morally superior to others. Only a few small sects even claim it is possible to be sinless this side of Heaven, and even in those sects few claim to have achieved it. The oldest denominations, Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy and related, require members to regularly confess their sins, thus presupposing that they will not run out of sins to confess. Even evangelical and fundamentalist churches have a mechanism to do this at least occasionally, through "altar calls," "rededications" and similar occasions. These well known traditions demonstrate that Christians do not claim to be without sin; do you dispute this? If not, then it is not enough to cite examples that prove Christians sin, to show a cause and effect relationship between Christian teachings and immoral behaviour. Regarding theology as an academic discipline, fields like sociology and psychology that study people do come under criticism from some of the "harder" sciences like physics, precisely because it's difficult to reproduce a controlled experiment that exactly reproduces the results of a behavioural survey. This is much easier to do in something like chemistry; theology is not unique in having problems with verifiability and repeatability of results. Wesley 17:07, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
It's only a straw man if in fact I'm distorting the real argument to create one that is easier to knock down, and then pretending that I knocked down the real argument. Clearly I'm not doing that. I identified the argument I'm knocking down and I proceeded to do that. Your claim is that no such argument exists. Well I disagree and will prove it exists. First let me point out that the fact the Christians who do make this argument do not claim to be without sin. They only claim that those who don't believe in God are less moral, or worse, immoral as a result. They only claim to be more moral. Their argument is that the existence of moral values itself depends on the existence and nature of God, and to not believe in a God leaves one without a basis in a consistent universal morality. As a result such Christians think they are better, more moral, than those who don't believe in God. Some examples: Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland, states, "the ultimate values of [secular] humanism are incapable of rational justification" (Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI. Baker Book House, 1987: p.121) and "Christian theism is a background theory that makes the existence and knowability of morality more likely than does the background theory of atheism" (J.P. Moreland and Kai Nielsen, Does God Exist: The Debate between Theists & Atheists. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus, 1993: p. 119). Fundamentalists are especially fond of saying that humanist morality isn't "universal". They argue that we humans cannot distinguish right from wrong without divine guidance, so humanist ethics are essentially a rudderless ship, with each person defining his own version of morality to suit his convenience. "If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being."- Jerry Falwell According to Jerry Falwell, a man like Albert Einstein was a failure as a human being. If only we could have more such "failures"! Anyway, you get the idea. They all argue that by virtue of religious belief in God, they possess a superior morality than those who are without, or that it’s more likely to exist for them, etc. Note that a common argument historically by Christians against Atheists is exactly this argument, in which they label Atheists as immoral as a consequence of their lack of belief, esp. in contrast to those who do believe. Some go as far as to say that lacking belief makes us evil, agents of the devil! In any case, the examples clearly throw mud in the face of such bankrupt notions and make decisive refutations for if Christians can succumb to perpetrating wholesale genocide then “with friends like these who needs enemies?” Regarding my statment that theology is not like other disciplines I did not say it was a soft vs. hard one. I said it was different than all the other similar soft ones. Anyway, this is debatable as there are many different schools of theology. I'm sure if you go back to what I wrote about it you will see what I actually said.Giovanni33 22:57, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Even if we grant your claim that Christians think they're more "moral" - whatever that means - your examples of immoral behavior say nothing about the relative morality of Christians, only that they are not perfectly moral. You need to show that the participants of these amoral acts would have behaved more morally in the same circumstances had they not been Christian. This may prove difficult. --Quadalpha 00:22, 2 February 2006

(UTC))

Oh, the examples I give shown more than someone being less than perfectly moral. hehe No one is prefect. What I show is a complete failure of moral behavior such that it produces the greatest evils immaginable: genocide. Now, I do not need to show that non-Christians would have behaved better in order for my argument that Christians are no more moral than non-Christians to stand. I only need to show their completely moral failure. These are two different arguments. Now, one could argue the second point based on proving the first one, but it would be more speculation than proof. I invite you to read this scholarly and well refrenced piece:

The Great Scandal: Christianity's Role in the Rise of the Nazis by Gregory S. Paul [ http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=paul_23_4]

It argues that:

"A growing body of scholarly research, some based on careful analysis of Nazi records, is clarifying this complex history. It reveals a convoluted pattern of religious and moral failure ...Christianity had the capacity to stop Nazism before it came to power, and to reduce or moderate its practices afterwards, but repeatedly failed to do so because the principal churches were complicit with—indeed, in the pay of—the Nazis.

Most German Christians supported the Reich; many continued to do so in the face of mounting evidence that the dictatorship was depraved and murderously cruel. Elsewhere in Europe the story was often the same. Only with Christianity’s forbearance and frequent cooperation could fascistic movements gain majority support in Christian nations. European fascism was the fruit of a Christian culture. Millions of Christians actively supported these notorious regimes. Thousands participated in their atrocities."

Now, regarding the second point, the argument is real and does exist too. For that I point out this paper, also scholarly: Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look suggesting that religion is a major, if not the primary, source of social evils. [7]

Again, whether or not we agree with the criticism is not the point. The point is if its a legitimate criticism that is being made. If so we should report it. Some interesting silent testimony: [8]

Giovanni33 09:34, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

"What I show is a complete failure of moral behavior such that it produces the greatest evils immaginable: genocide." You seem to be saying that Christian behavior is so bad that it could not have been worse if, say they had been atheists. While your "greatest evils" point is quite dramatic, it is POV. I can easily imagine greater evils than anything the Nazis did: simply take the historical facts and one more person or destroy one more city. In any case, you will need some conception of the relative nature of your argument - "Christians claim to be more moral than atheists, but are in fact less moral" - and the absolute nature of your evidence - "Christians are immoral." The evidence does not prove or disprove the argument. Reportage is very well and good, but there shall have to be a section showing its inherent flaws. --Quadalpha 16:59, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Gio, you are certainly making a straw man argument. The actual argument you made was that Christians claim a superior rationale for moral behaviour, compared to atheists. Your own "extrapolation" is that therefore, Christians at all times in all places should be expected to behave more morally than they would if they were atheists, and that any "complete moral breakdown" indicates a failure. However, you have not shown that Christians actually make this extrapolation; thus the straw man.
That notwithstanding, you attempted but failed to knock down the straw man you set up. let me give you another example of the "greatest evil imaginable:" the Killing Fields of Kampuchea under the Communist Pol Pot. Witness also the tragedies of the Cultural Revolution in China and the mass killings by Stalin and other atheist leaders, also in the 20th century. Their depravities were far more widespread and longer lasting than the Rwanda 'genocide'. You are also making in implicit, unproven assumption that the moral breakdown in Rwanda would not have happened had those Christians been atheists instead. Wesley 05:56, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

All About Gio

Wow Gio! If your strategy is to drown the opposition in excessive verbiage, then I think you are close to winning the war! When I saw how long your latest masterpiece was I almost pulled an Alienus on you all and quit. However, I am pleased to say that I did read through your post, and have given you and your ideas their own subject heading on this talk page. But, Gio, you didn’t seem to heed my advice about proof-reading your posts. You are not doing anyone any favors by refusing to write in a way that can be clearly understood.

Its clear enough. I'm not writing for a grade or masterpiece.

Gio writes: “I never make the claim that the Action B violates the command of Christian doctrine” Gio, if you aren’t claiming to be criticizing Christian doctrine, then you probably are on the wrong page. This page is dedicated to the criticisms of Christianity. Please straighten yourself out before posting again.

No, this page doesnt say "criticism of Christian doctrine," it says Christianity. That is a little wider. Christianity could be 1. The Christian religion, founded on the life and teachings of Jesus. 2. Christians as a group; Christendom. or 3. The state or fact of being a Christian. This includes common arguments and attitudes held by Christians, such as the claim to superior morality over others because they believe that God is on their side, or that they are on God's side, etc. Criticism can be made without needing to make them against specific doctrines.

Gio writes: “I argue that those who provide evidence that they are Christians, and fit within a lose definition that is inclusive of a majority professed Christian Churches is valid grounds given the nature of Christianity to accept that they are infact really Christians…” I don’t think this is really what you want to say, because you will never find “a majority of professed Christian Churches” that agree with White Supremacy or the Rwandan genocide. Everyone on this board would be happy to accept this standard, and in fact, this is exactly what we have been arguing for the entire time. I’m glad you are finally coming around my friend!

Yes, that is exactly what I meant to say. You didn't understand it. hehe I never said that I define it so that the majority of Christian Churches would accept the definition; rather so that the defintion itself (outside of any one Church's own defintion) is inclusive enough to encompass all professes Christians-- within reason. That is, that they call themselmselves such and claim the same guiding book (Bible), following the teachings of Jesus. This is all I need to call them Christians.
Gio, I have addressed the issue of your definition several times already; please respond to them rather than repeat yourself. --Quadalpha 00:26, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Gio writes: “Therefore, it follows that the notion that Christians, by virtue of their religious adherence, posses positive and superior moral attributes is shown to be a completely false claim.” Correct! Too bad nobody here is making that claim. I will quote myself: “Christians don't claim that professing to be a believer automatically makes one, "moral." Christian scriptures give a set of guidelines for how one should live. Whether or not one correctly follows these guidelines is what determines whether or not one can be considered to be living a morally acceptable life.”

Wrong. It's too bad that they are making the claim. I wish they wouldn't. See my resonse to Wesley above, where I quote a number of Christians who do make such an argument regarding morality and belief. And as far as your repeating your argument about "correctly" following scriptures, I already refuted this line of argument twice. I don't see why I should do it again, if you are not going to counter it. Suffice it to say there is no universal standard accepted by all Churches to determine what is "correct" within Christendom. As long as one uses a logical argument to support ones interpretation given context and text, it can be filtered through vastly different political and ideological lens. It's like a tree that is easly blown in different directions. Its the same tree but it moves in different ways. :) For example, look at the pro-choice vs. pro-life Christians. Some support terrorism "to defend the unborn." Or, better yet, look at this quote: "None provoking the people to idolatry ought to be exempted from the punishment of death"- John Knox, founder of Presbyterianism in Scotland, from Knox's Works. Sadly, there is no theological problem with this position, since God repeatedly orders that idol worshippers and their children be put to death in the Bible. But, others would disagree. What is commonly accepted has to do with modern conventions, not revealed truth. Religion is not science there there is no one correct interpretation. Its a matter of POV, inherently subjective given limits of the canvas that one in painting on, ofcourse.

Gio writes: “I did not say “just professing” to be a believer is enough, although that is strong evidence that they are Christians. My argument rests on an acceptance that they are Christians in fact, not just because someone professes to be. It’s a subtle difference. Professing alone is not my criteria, just a major part of it. The argument is that they are Christians.” Does anyone else here understand what he is talking about? Maybe I am just dumb, but I have absolutely no idea what he is trying to say. “My argument rests on an acceptance that they are Christians in fact, not just because someone professes to be.” Huh? “It’s a subtle difference.” Apparently!

I have confidence that if you try harder you will get it. I know a light will go on and you will yell out, "eureka!" I'd explain this in other words but why take the fun out of it for you?

Gio writes: “Who is a real Christian and who isnt? This is sticky point you keep ignoring [sic].” Actually, Gio, I would be happy to accept your own standard, defining Christians as those that who “fit within a lose definition that is inclusive of a majority professed Christian Churches [sic].” We would need to first clarify what a “lose definition” is, but I am sure that some sort of consensus could be reached.

I already did, above.

Gio writes: “Hence my accepting their claims of being and following Christian teachings as itself valid evidence that they are Christian. We only know what they profess they believe in.” Wait a minute Gio! Didn’t you just say a minute ago that you “did not say ‘just professing’ to be a believer is enough...” and that your, “argument rests on an acceptance that they are Christians in fact, not just because someone professes to be?” Reading on you write that, “It’s a subtle difference. Professing alone is not my criteria, just a major part of it.” Wow, apparently it is a very subtle difference! Although, I must admit, I really have no idea what you are talking about, so maybe this whole thing is unfair to you. Could someone else please come and be Gio’s translator? I’m totally serious.

No contradiction there. I know you said you didn't understand this subtle difference and maybe I should not have made it a point, but I like to be precise with words and it does address your earlier objection that professing alone doesnt make one a Christian. Notice that it's not their claims itself which makes one a Christian. Rather it's the fact that I accept the claims as being valid based on argument for accepting the claims, and therefore designate them as true Christians on that basis. In a practicle sense this is a distinction without a difference but it addresses your logical objection earlier.

Gio writes: “Those who would deny Hitler's Christianity, for example, on the basis of his immoral actions are also guilty of not only religious bigotry but the same circular logic: as they see it, Hitler is consistent with their belief that all Christians are moral because he was not a Christian, and they know he was not a Christian because all Christians are moral!” Good point! I propose we add the Holocaust and Nazism to our list of Criticisms of Christianity.

Me too--I am glad we can finally agree on something!

Gio writes: “I define a Christian as one who believes that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.” Me too – I am glad we can finally agree on something!

Gio writes: “Others define it far more narrowly, so that they can exclude people like Hitler and Mengele.” Gio, for the billionth time, the actions of professing Christians do not in and of themselves constitute “Criticism of Christianity.” By your logic, we could include the name and biography of every single Christian in the world under “Criticism of Christianity,” because every single Christian in the world has committed numerous immoral acts. To criticize Christianity, you need to criticize some tenet (notice I did not write “tenant” -- please stop using that word) of the religion. You can then use historical examples to illustrate how that tenet leads to undesirable ends. I am really getting tired of explaining that to you, over and over again.

You miss the argument, again. Certain actions committed by whole Christian populations that are deemed the epitome of evil (genocide) are in of of themselves specific criticism of one of the notions advanced by Christians at least---superior claims of morality.

Gio writes: “There is no comparision [between Christianity and science] as the standards are completely different [sic].” Gio, please read things slowly and carefully so that you can grasp what people are saying. I was not comparing the standards used in theology and science. Clearly, as you astutely observe, “Christianity is NOT science in any way, shape or from.” Why don’t you go back and read it again.

Yes, you were since your comparision is only valid if the standards are the same. You said: I'm sure that you would be quick to criticize me if I professed to be a scientist, and then failed to use the scientific method. If I didn't use the scientific method, and then as a result drew some wacky conclusions, would you then go create a Wikipedia entry entitled, "Criticisms of Science," and list my incorrect conclusions as a "criticism of science?" As I pointed out, yes, I would critize you as everyone would because they could do so with certainty that you were not acting according to the very well established practices of what constitutes the practice of science. Its objective and there is little room for argument about what is science and what is not science. Unfortunatly, its not so easy to distinguish with a rejection or acceptance in a universally accepted manner of what constitues genuine vs. phoney Christians--they can and do can look very different, due to the methodology (interpretation, revelation) being a very open system. But, I'm glad that you agree with me that science and religion do not share the same standards. I hope you won't make this mistake again.

Gio writes: “The doctrine can itself be stretched to support almost anything given the power of interpretation.” This is clearly false. Provide me with an interpretation of the Bible that is pro-necrophilia. Yes this is a ridiculous example, but it is all one needs to disprove your statement.

I said "almost" anything, not literally anything. So ou did not disprove my stament. To prove my statment all I need to do is show that extemes on opposite side can be supported. I've already done that. On a side note, though, I would not be surprised if someone could go into the Bible to make a case using theology for necrophilia! hehe

Gio writes: “You say this is spurious by saying that ‘just because there are multiple interpretations it doesn’t mean that isn’t one correct interpretation, rendering the others incorrect.’ Yes, that is what all Christians say that, and all religious belifes make the claim that they are the one true interpreation, that their god is the one true god, etc. But all this proves is their own narrow bigotry and intolerance [sic].” Gio, there is an objective truth about the nature of things. Christians think they have it. Now, they might be wrong, but they are not automatically wrong simply because other people disagree with them. Perhaps the Muslims are correct. I really don’t know, but I do know that your assertion is illogical.

Sure there is objective truth, but there is not one objective truth about something that involves subjective, cultural interpretations. If a passage is inherently vauge there could be equal validity in context to make an argument either way, then there is no basis to claim absolute truth for one POV vs. another. Take a painting, for example. Is there one objective truth about what it may mean to you vs. what it may mean to someone else? The only objective universals are the things like the technology used, its style, date, color, size, etc. How and why a painting inspired you and what it means to you is not a matter of objective truth, its inherently subjective, and another POV can claim just as much truth in an opposite interpreation. The arrogant part is when one party says their interpreation is the only valid truth.

Gio writes: “True, we may understand many things better today, such as how the Bible is full of contradictions, open for vastly differing and selective interpretations, and how it more and more is shown to be at odds with true and science [sic].” You don’t know much about theology do you? That’s okay though, because at least you know a lot about “truth and science!” But wait Gio, I thought that those who make truth claims are only proving, “their own narrow bigotry and intolerance?”

Again, you are falling back into comparing religion with science? I thought you said you don't do that? Science can make claims of truth, even though they are tentative pending new data, but since they are verifiable based on evidence, subject to peer review, and subject to testing predictions, such claims can be accepted as truthful, given the qualifers. Need I explain the differences again with science and religion?

It’s been a pleasure going through your post. You’re a master of prose Gio – hats off to you! Mcb197 17:34, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Its good that you recognize a master. hehe Giovanni33 00:20, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Mcb197 -- There are numerous problems with Gio's proposals and with his apparent understanding of Christians and Christianity, but your tone was somewhat less than friendly and really just unacceptable. Please review WP:CIVIL and WP:NPA. Thanks...KHM03 22:12, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree KHM03. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 22:54, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I think we should end this particular thread, as it possibly getting a little personal. There are other threads to discuss the article itself. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 23:04, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I think we are still managing to stick to the arguments. There was a little talking passed each ohter and some snide remarks and tone issue, but I nothing terribly uncivil (yet) and sometimes a bit humorous. But, I do prefer if we stuck to a more respectful tone. Remember we are not here to make polemics against each other but to iron out misunderstanding of each others view, even if we disagree, and to work out a reasonable solution for what is appropriate material to include in the article. But I appreciate your sensitivity to the issue of civility, KH03. I know could have improved in the past myself. Giovanni33 00:33, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
OK, first, I apologize if I got carried away and my tone got a bit unprofessional. But, that being said, Gio clearly is a guy who likes to argue and I really don't think that I hurt his feelings. Gio, you addressed some of my points satisfactorily. But in all honesty, I cannot understand what you are saying here: “I did not say ‘just professing’ to be a believer is enough, although that is strong evidence that they are Christians. My argument rests on an acceptance that they are Christians in fact, not just because someone professes to be. It’s a subtle difference. Professing alone is not my criteria, just a major part of it. The argument is that they are Christians.” Perhaps I am just not clever enough to understand the subtlety, so if anyone does understand it, could they please explain it. I am not trying to be rude. I really don't know what Gio is talking about. If that makes me dumb, then so be it.
Second, I still don't see how, Gio can say that Christians claim that Christianity automatically makes people more moral. The whole point of Christianity, as opposed to many works-based faiths, is that nobody is moral enough to make it into heaven. There is nothing I can do to be good enough -- I will never be righteous enough or holy enough to make it into heaven. That is basic Christianity. You used the following quote to justify your claim:
"Christian theism is a background theory that makes the existence and knowability of morality more likely than does the background theory of atheism" (J.P. Moreland and Kai Nielsen, Does God Exist: The Debate between Theists & Atheists. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus, 1993: p. 119)
If you believe that this quotation supports your idea that Christians "claim to be more moral" than anyone else, simply based on their being Christians, then you have really misinterpreted what Moreland was saying. He is arguing that the existence of objective moral absolutes is far more likely in a theistic universe than in an atheistic universe. Whether or not an individual chooses to follow those objective moral absolutes is not being discussed. You, Gio, clearly believe in moral absolutes. If you didn't, how could you condemn the Rwandan genocide or the Christians that supposedly allowed/caused it to happen? If you didn't believe in moral absolutes, then all you could say about the Rwandan genocide is that you, Gio, did not agree with it, and therefore, from your POV it was wrong. I, however, could reply that from my POV it was a fine thing to do, and who are you to tell me otherwise? It's just your POV. Yet, if a god exists and he was the one who set the standards for what is right and wrong, then indeed we could get beyond our limited POVs. The point is that you have misinterpreted the quote you provided. Christianity does not claim that simply accepting Jesus as the messiah automatically assures moral behavior. As I have previously stated, the Christian scriptures simply provide guidelines for how one should live. They do not automatically assure one's superior moral status. Mcb197 18:24, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
As interesting as this conversation is, it isn't helping us to decide what, if anything, should be put into the article. We all seem to agree that the Rwanda genocide and the racism are wrong. I'm therefore pretty sure we all agree that somebody or something needs to be criticized for it. The only debate is over whether or not that criticism should be described as criticism of Christianity. That question is clearly a controversial one, on which there are different answers. Clearly, Wikipedia itself should not take a position on whether the criticism should be directed at Christianity or not. For example, an article called "Is it Christianity's fault that the Rwandans were killing each other?" should list both the Yes and No answers. NPOV is about listing all the popular opinions. I, the readers, and probably most of the editors don't care about which opinion is right. That's not what Wikipedia should be about.
I don't think we have any option but to include the criticisms, but prefix it with "Many people, who happened to be Christians, have brought their religions into disrepute with their actions. Most of their coreligionists were abhored by their actions and considered them to be totally at odds with their faith. Some believe these are fair criticisms of Christianity, some do not. Here are some examples. "
This could be seen as a compromise suggestion, but I have alse become convinced that this is the only correct way to do this. Anything else involves forcing the article to take a POV on the question "Is this a fair criticism of Christianity?" Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 20:00, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
I have said as much months ago, but I will repeat myself: the Ruandian genocide only constitutes criticism of Christianity if it can be argued how the genocide flowed out from the teachings of Christianity. That it was done by Christians is not enough. Str1977 09:37, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes. But that's not actually relevant. The question of whether the genocide can't be used as a crititicism is NOT a question that Wikipedia should answer in any way. The only way for Wikipedia to be NPOV on this question is to include the text in this article, and to give it an appropriate introduction as I have explained earlier in this thread. It would be blatant POV for Wikipedia to not include these criticisms. By the way, I might well think these are not valid criticisms, so folks here are going to need a different argument if they want to change my mind.
Or, put simply, you're all wrong :-). Removing the text is just as POV as including-it-without-a-suitable-intro Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 18:33, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
I think the point he's making is that they were Christians who murdered anyone who was non Christian. It was their Christianity that gave them their identity as a group. You seem to be trying to make the same point to Gio that I tried to make to you about the French Revolution. Then it didn't matter what they did or how it fitted into the teachings Christianity - they were Christians who were murdered. In this case of course I agree with you. Anyone can call themselves something and yet not really fit into that category by their actions. A way round this may be to say they claimed to do this as Christians but since it is expressly against the teachings it cannot be considered a criticism of Christianity. I would see that as factual and NPOV. SOPHIA 17:20, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Good points, but can we really say that it is "expressly against the teachings?" That is a question I don't attempt to answer one way or another except to point out the teachings are used to murder and oppress, as much as they are used to counter it. To say what are the right teachings in something as contradictory and vauge as the Bible is best left as answerable. I look at the historical actors and note the relevant facts, which are used as part of the critcism of Christianity. To the degree that this is a valid criticism is left up to the reader. I agree with Aaron about erring on the side of inclusion of a broader notion of criticism with a preface, and letting the reader decide. Otherwise, we are excluding a real criticism, which is just suppression motivated by POV. Giovanni33 00:14, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
As Gio has said, we can't say that their actions were against the teachings of Christianity. But we could point out that many/most Christians nowadays would oppose those actions and would say those actions are opposed to Christianity. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 01:37, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Of course we can say their actions were inconsistent with the teachings of Christianity. Did any contemporaries at the time argue from Christian scripture, tradition or principle that those killings should be undertaken? If not, then there is NO ONE making this claim except outside observers. Weren't the Rwandan killings perpetrated by members of one tribe against another? Even if one tribe was Christian and the other not, the tribal difference should be at the very least mentioned as an additional or alternative possible factor, IF any of this is included at all. Wesley 05:36, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Yet More

I'm not against discussing the criticism itself. The problem is that the article already makes a POV attempt to substantiate the criticism, and what Gio's arguing for is in effect to make it even more so. I repeat: the article is about criticism of Christianity, it's not a vehicle for making criticisms.

I don't even know if he's realized it yet, but not only does he insist there are atheist Christians, he also believes there are Muslim Christians. A.J.A. 18:40, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Well there are such things as atheist christians. Didn't you see the links I provided? But, I never said there were Muslim Christians. I don't believe there is such a thing. Can you tell me where you come up with that idea?
In order to have an argument about criticism, the criticisms must be made that are representative. There is no contradiction. Giovanni33 00:40, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
You defined a Christian as someone who believes Jesus is the Messiah. Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah. QED.
As for the links, I didn't bother reading them. The existence of atheists who consider themselves Christians merely demonstrates that some atheists are confused. A.J.A. 19:25, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Wrong, again. This is what I did say: "that they accept Jesus Christ as their savior the Lord, ect and hold the Bible as their book of faith which they use to justify their beliefs."I guess you must think that Muslims hold the Bible as their book of faith instead of the Koran, eh? Care to back that up with links like I did? Don't worry, even if I think they are confused, I won't be afraid to learn about it, and realize that such may be a plausable and real branch, undersand the rationale, etc. Then, I'll make up my mind of they are confused or not. To do less would be to be extremely arrogant and bigoted. Giovanni33 08:34, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Your exact words:
"I define a Christian as one who believes that Jesus Christ was the Messiah."
Which would include Muslims.
So you're using two different definitions, which would imply you're not thinking clearly. Your other definition won't help you either, since you can't really accept Jesus as Lord if you don't believe in a Lord, now can you? (For reasons having to do with the LXX and the conventions of translation, "Jesus is Lord" has the force of "Jesus is YHWH", so without belief in the God of the Old Testament you can't call Jesus Lord in the meaningful sense.) And what would an atheist think Jesus saved him from? Do you see the problem here? Clear thinking just isn't possible without clear definitions. A.J.A. 23:57, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
This irrelevant discussion should stop immediately. Even better, anyone who's wasting time talking about the existence of Christian atheists should delete their comments. Wikipedia is not a debating chamber. Talk about the article. Go to Talk:Atheism if you must. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 00:59, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Giovanni doesn't seem to think that theology is an academic discipline. I guess that Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Duke, UNC, Princeton, Vanderbilit, Emory, Columbia etc., etc. all missed that memo. Shall I forward the news on to them Gio? RussianBoy 19:14, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Incorrect. I know there is theology an academia. I used to be in academia. What I said was that it was not like every other discipline. I wont repeat the argument, here. I wont assume bad faith that you are deliberatly distorting what I say, Ill just assume you did not read carefully what I did say. Giovanni33 00:40, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
RussianBoy -- There are numerous problems with Gio's proposals and with his apparent understanding of Christians and Christianity, but your tone was somewhat less than friendly and really just unacceptable. Please review WP:CIVIL and WP:NPA. Thanks...KHM03 22:14, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree KHM03. Everyone should be more civilised. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 22:55, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I think we should end this particular thread, as it possibly getting a little personal. There are other threads to discuss the article itself. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 23:03, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Proposal to resolve Supremacist and other debates

Here's what I think we should do:

  • For the time being, keep the two contentious pieces of text off the main article. I don't think there is any major dispute as to the accuracy or neutrality of the rest of the article. So we could remove the neutrality tags altogether until we resolve this.
  • I've put the contentious text into this subpage. We should fix it there. This will not be linked to from the main article. If/when we have a version that is an NPOV coverage of criticism of Christianity or Christians, then we discuss whether it should be copied into the main article.
  • In the meantime, we try not to discuss whether it should go in, or even whether it's relevant to 'Criticism of Christianity'. Simply try to improve it so it's an NPOV discussion on 'something to do with criticisms of Christianity and/or Christians'.
  • Maybe try to redirect further discussion on either of these pieces of text to the subpage?

Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 23:22, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Premature archiving

I have reverted the anon's archiving of this page, as I consider it very premature, though it may well have been intended as helpful. Also, when archiving a talk page, you should give it exactly the same title, followed by a slash (/), not a dot (.), followed by something like Archive1. That will ensure that the real talk page can be reached through a link at the top of the page. I have created an empty Archive2, which I have placed at the top of this page, and if there are no objections, I intend to delete the one that has a dot in the title. AnnH (talk) 23:58, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

And I see that the link for Archive2, which was red while I was previewing this page, has now turned blue. Someone, correctly, moved Talk Criticism of Christianity.Archive2 to Talk:Criticism of Christianity/Archive2, so now the archive has a correct address.
My inclination is to delete the contents (rather than delete the page), but I can well understand why it was created so early. We can move things back into it later. Does anyone think we should abandon all the contents of this page and start from scratch? Or should we continue the discussion?
By the way, Giovanni, if something is available on the internet, either through another Wikipedia page or through an external website, could you refer us to it with a link or a web address rather than posting such lengthy extracts here? (I'm referring to the White extracts here, and to the long quotation from the NPOV policy that you posted elsewhere.) A brief extract, or a few brief extracts are fine. Thanks. AnnH (talk) 00:13, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Ok, point well taken. Giovanni33 00:43, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

I just removed the POV tags.

I'm not aware of any ongoing dispute about the existing text. I know some people want to add new text, but the current text is pretty much OK, isn't it. I apologise if I've missed something and there is in fact a controversy. Please tell me what the problem is, if any. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 03:04, 2 February 2006 (UTC)


Pagan Christ

I'd like to propose a section on the criticism that Christianity is largely unoriginal, and is an amalgam of pagan sun-worship religions. For example, note the similarities with Mithraism. ^^James^^ 08:55, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Here's some info on Mithra that suggests this point of lack of originality:[9] 64.121.40.153 09:47, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Good idea. There is lot of evidence to support this, and although I don't view it inherently as a criticism of Christianity, the fact that Christians don't like it and see it as a criticism make it one. :) 64.121.40.153 09:39, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Some info that can be used for this section:

The origins of many aspects of Christian mythology are found in earlier mythical constructs and religious belief systems from which it emerged and had contact with as it developed. It is generally accepted that initially Christianity emerged as a Jewish sect in the 1st century, developing into a number distinct divisions constituting the early Christian movement of this period. Early Christian theologians such as Origen synthesised elements of Greek philosophy, especially Platonism, and while a matter of controvery, it is commonly accepted in academic circles that Christianity was strongly influenced by the mystery religions of the Greco-Roman world and the Near East in which it developed. Among those that may have had an influence on the form, language and doctrines include Gnosticism, the Nasseni, Essenes,Therapeutae, Dionysus,Mithraism and various mystery cults. According to Martin A. Larson, in The Story of Christian Origins (1977), Mithraism and Christianity is derived from the same sources: the savior cult of Osiris. It is known that many followers of developing Gnosticism, for example (Valentinius}, were also Christians and taught a synthesis of the two belief systems. Many scholars, such as Professor Barry Powell, argue that the cult of the Dionysus myth played a significant influencing role in the development of Christian mythology.

Christianity adopted and absorbed--as it was bound to do--many world-wide doctrines found in older religious. This is true with most of the main doctrines of Christianity--namely, those of Sin and Sacrifice, the Eucharist, the Saviour, the Second Birth, and Transfiguration. They all show that they are by no means unique in for this religion, but were common to nearly all the religions of the ancient world. What we see is simply giving these older notions new fine spiritual significance, a redressing, while it often also narrowed the application and outlook of the doctrine down to a special case. The same happened with regard to other Pagan doctrine, the doctrine of transformations and metamorphoses; whereas the pagans believed in these things, as the common and possible heritage of every man, the Christians only allowed themselves to entertain the idea in the special and unique instance of the Transfiguration of Christ. The basics of the Eucharist had a widespread celebration (under very various forms) among the pagans all over the world. By partaking of the sacramental meal, even in its wildest and crudest shapes, as in the mysteries of Dionysus, one was identified with and united to the god; in its milder and more spiritual aspects as in the Mithraic, Egyptian, Hindu and Christian cults, one passed behind the veil of maya and this ever-changing world, and entered into the region of divine peace and power.

A lot of this is just substantial amelioration of a more modern outlook with regard to these matters, but the same had begun already before the advent of Christianity and can by no means be ascribed to any miraculous influence of that religion. Abraham was prompted to slay a ram as a substitute for his son, long before the Christians were thought of; the rather savage Artemis of the old Greek rites was (according to Pausanias)1 honored by the yearly sacrifice of a perfect boy and girl, but later it was deemed sufficient to draw a knife across their throats as a symbol, with the result of spilling only a few drops of their blood, or to flog the boys (with the same result) upon her altar. Among the Khonds in old days many victims (meriahs) were sacrificed to the gods, "but in time the man was replaced by a horse, the horse by a bull, the bull by a ram, the ram by a kid, the kid by fowls, and the fowls by many flowers."[2] [1] vii. 19, and iii. 8, 16.

[2] Primitive Folk, by Elie Reclus (Contemp. Science Series), p. 330.

In respect to these main religious ideas, and the matter underlying them (exclusive of the manner of their treatment), Christianity is of one piece with the earlier pagan creeds and is for the most part a re-statement and renewed expression of much wider and earlier doctrines.

64.121.40.153 09:44, 4 February 2006 (UTC)Gio

I think this new section sounds a good idea as it relates directly to christianity. SOPHIA 10:19, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't think the "It's unoriginal" claim is valid here. It's hardly an academic criticism of Christianity. And, if we're serious about its lack of "originality" (as if that matters), a sentence about Mithraism, etc. is more than adequate...you should be focusing on the fact that the whole religion is a "spin off" of Judaism. Buddhism borrowed from Hinduism, Islam borrowed from Judaism and Christianity, etc. I don't think this is a valid criticism in any way. KHM03 12:36, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Is this just saying that significant parts of Christianity are unoriginal, or to go so far as to say that Jesus doesn't exist?. Assuming the former, I don't really see this as a criticism. Criticism is meant to make one think about whether Christianity is correct. I can't see how anybody would take this evidence of unoriginality to be helpful in deciding on the correctness or otherwise or Christianity. Of course, if somebody can confirm the existence of a POV that unoriginality is relevant, then I'd be happy to have it included.
I do think the Jesus myth should be mentioned. But whichever criticisms are mentioned, we do not need to give a complete description of it's evidence. Just look at how short the Criticism_of_Christianity#Criticisms_regarding_the_Bible is. It's just enough to give people a taste of the issues, and links to a main article. A similar approach should be taken with the Jesus myth and the unoriginality claims. Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 17:53, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
We'll need to curb Gio's enthusiasm as I agree a short section with links to the larger articles that deal with this in more depth is most appropriate. I think the unoriginality issue is important as christianity does portray itself as unique and original and it does come as quite a surprise when you find out there are older parallels. SOPHIA 23:14, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Significant source of social evil?

This argument may be more to do with religion in general than Christianity (is there an article on Chrticism of Religion?), but this paper, which is scholarly argues this point: Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look suggesting that religion is a major, if not the primary, source of social evils. [10]

And, ofcorse we still have the genoice examples. This paper makes the case:

The Great Scandal: Christianity's Role in the Rise of the Nazis by Gregory S. Paul [ http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=paul_23_4]

It argues that:

"A growing body of scholarly research, some based on careful analysis of Nazi records, is clarifying this complex history. It reveals a convoluted pattern of religious and moral failure ...Christianity had the capacity to stop Nazism before it came to power, and to reduce or moderate its practices afterwards, but repeatedly failed to do so because the principal churches were complicit with—indeed, in the pay of—the Nazis.

Most German Christians supported the Reich; many continued to do so in the face of mounting evidence that the dictatorship was depraved and murderously cruel. Elsewhere in Europe the story was often the same. Only with Christianity’s forbearance and frequent cooperation could fascistic movements gain majority support in Christian nations. European fascism was the fruit of a Christian culture. Millions of Christians actively supported these notorious regimes. Thousands participated in their atrocities."

64.121.40.153 22:40, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, let's zero in a bit, rather than paint with too wide a brush. The fact that the European Church failed to stand up to Nazism is a legitimate criticism. It doesn't maean that Christianity is a "significant source of social evil", but it does speak to the failure of the Church in Europe during the 1930s (although there were significant opponents to Nazism, notably Bonhoeffer, Barth, and Tillich). So, how can we add this fairly? KHM03 22:59, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
KHM03, I think 64.121.40.153 was suggesting the social evil and Nazism examples as separate. I can't think of any social evil examples off the top of my head, but one possible example might be to allege that women's rights and issues have often been ignored? 64.121.40.153, would you consider the Nazism suggestion to be a separate question from your social evil suggestion? Aaron McDaid (talk - contribs) 23:17, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, they are different. The significan social evil thesis I presetend with a link to the paper that advances the criticism: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/pdf/2005-11.pdf

64.121.40.153 00:25, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

The same argument, btw, is common among secular humanists. For example in this page, there is an article entitled: Christianity's Social Harms Christian doctrines have harmed society in a variety of ways. And the doctrines continue to impede efforts to solve social problems.'' http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/religion.htm and http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/Christianity's_Social_Harms.htm 64.121.40.153 00:12, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

So, what exactly are you suggesting we add to the article? One of the problems we may have is the term "social evil" itself, which is POV. To say that denying women equal rights is "social evil" may be true to some, but others might disagree that this is evil. So, maybe we need to tweak the semantics a bit. KHM03 01:37, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, we can define social evils by the examples that the argument purports to make as its criticism of the religion. The paper, if you read it, does define what it means by social harms/evils" as well. Yes, it's a POV as is the argument itself, but thats ok as long as we properly craft the language to refect the contention as this whole article is about common POV's. I suggesting simply adding as a section along with the Nazi/genocide examples, as examples that fit into the thesis. We can also add something to the effect that such a criticism is controverial and disputed by Christians. My interest is just to see that all the major criticism, valid or not, are represented in this article, provided that they are real criticism's that are widely made. One should be able to come to this article and see all these common criticism's given coverage. 64.121.40.153 01:54, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Btw, the IP address above is mine. I guess I was not logged in. Been busy but I want to get back to this article and see what progress has been made here. Giovanni33 08:00, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Weasel words

  • There are questions raised...
  • Critics of the bible argue...
  • ...are also questioned by scholars...

These are weasel words. Unless someone can provide citation to notable scholars and critics, I'm going to remove them as unsupported.Tom Harrison Talk 14:46, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Actually the whole section is deeply suspect, as it relates to sections of the law in the Hebrew Scriptures which are not regarded as binding by any Christian group that I know of. It ought to be in 'Criticism of ancient Judaism', if anywhere. Myopic Bookworm 15:25, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
POV template added. Ming the Merciless 16:35, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Hi friends sorry about the weasel words, I am quite new to wikipedia, so didn't know such a rule existed. Anyway I have removed such wording.. Where ever I have quoted scholars I have given reference. All I have quoted here is from the new international version of the bible, the other sections of this article is also quoting from the same version I suppose, (correct me If I am wrong). I am removing the POV template as no valid reason was given, I have quoted it directly from the bible itself, its not POV. thanks Mystic 16:50, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
To take one example, you might say, "Professor Whozat contends that the bible condones rape of a single woman by allowing the rapist to marry her (Whozat, 2005)", with a reference to Whozat's magnum opus at the bottom. You may not say, "The bible condones rape of a single woman by allowing the rapist to marry her" because drawing that conclusion is original research on your part. Tom Harrison Talk 17:03, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Morality of the bible

Rather than delete the material, I've added the NPOV-section tag to give you some time to come up with references. Tom Harrison Talk 17:06, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
This article is on Criticism of Christianity, not Criticism of the Bible (which is a separate article) so it's not enough just to quote the Bible: you need to show some references that indicate Christians actually accept the morality of the passages you cite. I've never met a Christian who believed that these laws or customs apply in Christianity. Myopic Bookworm 17:11, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Sorry again I thought Christianity is based on the bible? Is it not? Dont tell me christians believe in anything other than the bible? Now I dont know for sure.. please enlighten me on this. I dont think we need to give any reference to show that christianity is based on the bible. As far as I know Judaism is based on Torah, Islam is based on the Quran and the Sunnah, Buddhism is based on the Thripitaka, Hinduism is based on Bagavat Geeta and Christianity is based on the bible. PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND.. Mystic 17:22, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Or are you suggesting that christians selectively accept certaing parts of the bible? Mystic 17:24, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
I just went through the Criticism of the Bible article it says "This article is about criticisms which are made against the Bible as a source of information". thats not what I am talking about here. I am trying to talk about the morality of the bible and the religion based on it. That article is about bible as a source of information. Mystic 17:29, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
"Don't tell me christians believe in anything other than the bible?" "Or are you suggesting that christians selectively accept certain parts of the bible?" Sure; so what? Speaking only for myself, Christians believe lots of things other than what's in the Bible, and don't believe lots of things that are. There are very few if any Christains who believe the laws God gave to the Israelites apply to Christians today. Christians don't abstain from pork, sacrifice animals, or stone adulterers. It's not clear to me how the ancient Hebrew laws on marriage can be read as criticism of Christianity, which is probably why you have no citations to any scholar criticsising Christianity on that basis. Tom Harrison Talk 18:52, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
I have just adjusted the Criticism of the Bible article, as it quite clearly has a section on 'Ethics in the Bible', so is not just about a 'source of information'. The intro is trying to distinguish 'Criticism of the Bible' from the academic discipline of 'Biblical criticism'. It might be appropriate to give a brief summary there of the two issues raised (ancient Hebrew laws on rape; genocide of the Amelekites), but not here.
Christianity is not "based" on acceptance of the entire Hebrew Bible. Fundamentalist Christians sometimes like to give that impression, but it's inaccurate. Myopic Bookworm 11:03, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Myopic Bookworm wrote:

"Christianity is not "based" on acceptance of the entire Hebrew Bible. Fundamentalist Christians sometimes like to give that impression, but it's inaccurate."

Why do you say this? please make your case. As per my knowledge religions are based on the scriptures of the religion. Like the law of a country is based on its constitution. Mystic 12:18, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

You realize, don't you, that Christians eat pork? Tom Harrison Talk 12:26, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

It's completely misplaced, as there is the Bible criticism article. Additionally, the proposed material critiques a specific interpretation of Scripture, and not the dominant one. It's got to go. KHM03 (talk) 12:44, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

As per my knowledge religions are based on the scriptures of the religion. Like the law of a country is based on its constitution. This is simply not true. It may be true (to some extent) of Islam, in which religious belief and practice has a very direct relationship with its religious text, but it is not true of Christianity. Also, this article is not a place for people simply to air their own criticism of Christianity, it is an encyclopedia article for documenting well-established criticisms of Christanity. Ming the Merciless 12:47, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Even in Islam, however, Osama Bin Laden may interpret the Quran differently than, say, a moderate American Muslim. Is Bin Laden's interpretation the dominant one in Islam (I sure hope not!)? is it fair to say, "He uses Islam to support hate, terror, and anti-God activities; therefore, Islam is hateful, terrorist, and anti-God?" No...that's not fair or accurate. I think what we have here, with all due respect, is someone (Arsath/Mystic) who doesn't really understand the subject (Christianity) very well. KHM03 (talk) 12:52, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
That statement is unfair and inaccurate not just because it generalizes one person's views and actions over an entire religion, but because it's even misrepresents the views of that one person, and is thus simply untrue: bin Laden is not "anti-God"; he's anti-atheism and anti-secularism, like most religious extremists. I know what point you're trying to make, though. -Silence 02:30, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Hi please do not revert my edits just because you dont agree with it.. How could I build a consensus without having my edits on the page? I learnt from your user page that you are faithful christian but I think you are taking these things little too personaly..Please take it easy.. There is no need to bring in Osama Bin Laden here (Everyone knows what kind of a man he is!!),and This article is not about How Osama Bin Laden interprets Islam, its about "Criticism of Christianity". You have said I dont understand the subject very well. But this is not my style of critcising people, (downsizing their knowledge) I personally wouldn't judge anyones knowledge on a subject. All I know is The contents I have provided are authentic and they are with reference qouted directly from the bible. And this is accepted as the word of god by christians. Maybe you dont believe in these parts of the bible that doesn't give you the right remove it as inaccurate!! Its 100% accurate and its from the bible, I read 19 different bible translations of the chapters I have quoted in my contents. If you want I can list you all the versions I read. Please prove what I have put on the article is not on the bible and majority of the christians do not accept it as the word of god then we can peacefully remove it. No point we getting into a revert war. Its only gonna bring bad reputaion to us. ;-) Thanks Mystic 18:02, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Arsath/Mystic: Every user has access to your proposals in the page history, whether or not they are currently posted. The problem with leaving them up is that a reader may wander onto the article and think that your proposals are acceptable and agreed upon. Since I can't remove your additions, and so a reader doesn't believe erroneously that your proposals are accepted and accurate (they are, in my view, very POV and highly inaccurate), I have placed a "warning tag" at the top of the article. Any user is free to remove the additions as well as the tag, but I cannot for the next 24 hours or so. KHM03 (talk) 18:10, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

What do you mean inaccurate? thats what the bible says... Tell me WHERE HAVE I GONE WRONG? WHATS INACCURATE? WHICH PART OF IT IS INACCURATE? Mystic 18:15, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

The misunderstanding arises because not every Christian takes every word of the Bible literally...you apparently assume that they do. In fact, most Christians in the world do not interpret every word of the Bible literally. I used Bin Laden as an albeit extreme example to demonstrate the point. Is his interpretation of the Quran the interpretation? Certainly not. To claim that would be inaccurate. You've claimed that a particular interpretation of the Bible is the interpretation. Clearly, you're incorrect. Additionally, there is an article about the critiques of the Bible which is more appropo for your kind of suggestions. KHM03 (talk) 18:17, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Hi How do you say most "Christians in the world do not interpret every word of the bible literally". whats your reference? Mystic 05:26, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Most Christians in the world are Roman Catholic. A little research shows that they interpret much of the Bible allegorically. Another large group are the Orthodox. They are even more allegorical. Among Protestants, most take the "plain meaning" of the text but understand that there is much that is parabolic in nature. Fundamentalists, a relatively small group among Protestants, interpret the Bible literally. For more on all of this, you can see any edition of the "World Almananc", or an introductory text such as Alister McGrath's "Christian Theology" or Justo Gonzales' "Story of Christianity". KHM03 (talk) 05:32, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Again, your proposals have been removed (this time by User:SOPHIA). Please gain consensus here before simply inserting them again. KHM03 (talk) 18:27, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
this article is not a place for people simply to air their own criticism of Christianity, it is an encyclopedia article for documenting well-established criticisms of Christanity Differences between English translations simply show that translating ancient Hebrew is not easy, and perhaps that the opinions and beliefs of the translators may affect how they put it in English: since the Hebrew law in question has never been applied by Christians, it is not a relevant example in this context. (And rputable Christian scholars would read the Greek and Hebrew texts in any case, not pin anything on the exact wording of an English translation.)
A valid criticism might perhaps be made along the lines that Christians adjust their translations of the Bible to suit their theology. For example, some versions have 'virgin' in Isaiah 7:14 (which is important for the doctrine of Virgin Birth), but others do not: scholars argue about whether the Hebrew word actually meant 'virgin' so it impossible to translate the verse into English without potentially taking some kind of doctrinal position.
By the way, 'referenced' doesn't mean that you just give the Bible references; it means that you give the references to the scholars who criticize Christianity in this way. Otherwise it is original research (and is just your own personal criticism of Christianity). Ming the Merciless 07:18, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I see there are also pages called Ethics in the Bible, Internal consistency and the Bible, and Biblical inerrancy, that some may be interested in. Tom Harrison Talk 14:43, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Regarding whether Christianity is "based on the Bible": I don't think any significant number of Christians really tried to make this case until the 16th century, when the Protestants came out with sola scriptura. Before then, it was generally understood that the faith was based on apostolic tradition, which eventually became church tradition. In other words, it was the faith that Jesus taught the apostles and other disciples and followers, which they in turn taught to later generations. The Bible is certainly important, but Christians of all stripes still interpret it within the context of their tradition, whether the tradition they embrace is the patristic tradition of the early centuries or their favorite authors published at the neighborhood "Christian" bookstore. (Scare quotes because "Christian" in this context refers to a marketing strategy rather than actual religious affiliation, typically.) So what people have been saying here is quite correct: if you read the Bible and it seems to you to command something that you don't like, but no Christians or few Christians interpret the passage the way you do, then it would be the case they agree with you. For instance, I've never heard of a case of a child or teenager being stoned to death for dishonoring or disobeying their parents. To use a passage like that to criticize Christianity is a straw man argument. Wesley \

On the other hand, passages critical of adultery and sexual promiscuity, including homosexuality, in both Old and New Testaments are much more widely held to be applicable today by Christians, to some degree. Still haven't heard of any groups actually literally stoning an offender though, so they still don't seem to be taken completely literally. It's ironic to me that critics of Christianity sometimes seem to want to interpret the Bible more literally than even the most fundamentalist Christians. Wesley 17:12, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Citation and original research

Arsath wrote in an edit summary, "this part is relevant and cited." It is not cited. We cannot just make up our own criticisms. That is original research, as if I would say, "This passage where Jesus says, 'Drink ye all of it' encourages alcholism." This is an encyclopedia article about criticism of Christianity, not a web-board where any individual can record his criticism.

Similarly, "Criticisms are also sometimes raised because of contradictions arising between different English translations of the Hebrew or Greek text." Raised by who? and what are they specifically? Tom Harrison Talk 11:51, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree it could be clearer and only added it back as I really only wanted to remove Arsath's additions. Should we remove this also or add {{Fact}} tags? Pansy Brandybuck AKA SophiaTalkTCF 11:56, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't object to having it remain while we discuss it at a leisurly pace. I would like to resolve the issues of citation and original research. I don't see a need for tags, but I don't object to them if someone else wants them. I don't think it's a bad-looking article, but it does suffer from a lack of citation. I think over time people have added their own more-or-less cogent criticisms without bothering to track down half-remembered quotes from GB Shaw or Whatshisname the mathematacian. That's understandable, but we need to work on tightening things up a bit. Tom Harrison Talk 12:51, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
Its true that I have cited only the bible, this is the criticism of christianity article and not criticism of bible article, if I am criticizing the bible I agree just citing the bible wont be enough but I am not criticizing the bible here, I am trying to explain the selective interpretaion of the bible. I think you should have an understanding of the "citing" issue here. The Hebrew and Greek Bibles are an historical, relgious document. As such its a primary source of reference. The versions of the bible I've quoted are difinetlty peer reviewed and are very good references so they are enough as reference. Going by what you are suggesting the whole article should be removed, as none of the other sections of the article, provides any citation other than the primary source. Tom says: "but we need to work on tightening things up a bit" I don't quite understand what he means by this? Is it removing anything that he disagrees with. All in all your arguments only amounts to information suppression. Mystic 04:44, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Actually, it has nothing to do with suppressing information. What scholars have voiced the criticisms you're citing? What books or articles did they write the criticisms in? If it's just Arsath's opinion, that's original research, and we can't use it. We've asked this before...so please cite us the scholars. KHM03 (talk) 05:19, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

This is very kiddish behaviour.. If I say the "Fish live in water" do I have to give a scholars reference to that as well. Its obivious. Its not my opinion that I am trying to void here..I am trying to put the facts in place.. Its as clear as the Sun and the Moon, its in the two different versions of the bible. Mystic 05:33, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Any scholars who support your view? If not, it's a violation of WP:OR. KHM03 (talk) 05:36, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Okay in that we'll remove the entire section.. Because the whole section only refers to the bible. What do you say? Mystic 05:50, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Are you referring to the section "Criticisms regarding selective interpretation of the Bible"? If so, I'd agree with you. KHM03 (talk) 05:51, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
How can you simply not see the truth.. And only you seem to be disagreeing with me. I think only you need to build consensus here Mystic 06:03, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Again...please review WP:OR. Please. KHM03 (talk) 06:05, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Are you doing this only in the interest of WP:OR. I need not read this as I have read it very well. You should also understand with consensus in the talk page one can include what I have added. (see Criticism of Islam, Crticism of judaism,Criticism of religion). Moreover, I dont see anyone opposing the section I have added except you. So if you are opposing you are the one who should build a consensus. The earlier reason you gave for removing "Morality of the Bible" (Which I will add in the Cricism of Bible article) was "not enough consensus build consensus in the talk page". Now you are twisting your own story.Mystic 07:18, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Okay I have added the examples for your comment. If you dont accept the part of the bible I have quoted, there is no need to be ashamed of it. Mystic 09:12, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

I can tell you that KHM03 and I do not always agree on things but he is completely correct in this case. Your additions read like WP:OR. As he rightly points out you need to quote scholarly texts that give the examples you do otherwise it is not verifiable and cannot be include in wikipedia. It's great that you are trying to add to the article as new views are always welcome but they must be verifiable, referenced and not presented to give undue weight. In fact I'm sure KHM03 will have a chuckle at me telling you this as we have had similar editing disagreements to the one you are currently having. When you are not used to how wikipedia does things it can seem like information suppression but infact it's the only way to ensure the quality of the encyclopedia we are building. Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 10:11, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Aminz' recent edit is a good example of citation. He found and linked to a critic saying something specific. (Plus, it's an interesting link: suggested Jewish responses to Christian missionaries; I'll have to read through it.) I wanted to redo the Bible verse citations with Template:bibleverse, but that didn't allow me to link to the same translation. I linked to the New International Version, and changed the quote to match. The one Aminz used is, I think, the World English Bible, which is a fine translation as well. I have no particular preference which translation is used, and I just changed the wording to match that of the one I was able to access through the template. It was not my intention to change the substance of Aminz' edit, and I don't think I did, but feel free to change it back if you think otherwise. I'm content with quoting either translation. Tom Harrison Talk 03:38, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Thank you Tom! Any translation is fine with me. I was actually doubtful as to whether I should add that criticism or not. I prefer to be an apologist rather than a critic. Take care. --Aminz 04:33, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
The recent additions read well and have good links - thanks. Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 16:19, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Gary Miller?

Is a mathematics professor now a legit scholar of Christianity? KHM03 (talk) 23:59, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

I was wondering about those references too. AnnH 00:01, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

What standards do we have before we can call someone an "expert"? Is a phD in mathematics suuficient training to be an acceptable expert on Christianity? KHM03 (talk) 00:08, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Well, no, having a PhD in math is not enough but please have a look at Gary Miller thx. --Aminz 00:17, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

So what is his formal training? Expertise? What makes him a legit scholar? KHM03 (talk) 10:43, 11 April 2006 (UTC) I have to be honest...I'm a bit skeptical that someone with less formal academic training in the field than I have can be considered a scholar. Heck, I've posted articles on the web...if I get a phD in any field...related or not...am I as legitimate a scholar, source, and authority as Miller? I'm leaning toward deleting the whole Miller section unless we can find other, more reputable sources to support those claims. KHM03 (talk) 10:49, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

His page says he is a theologian, though it seems to be in the sense of one who thinks and writes a lot about theology. I didn't read his argument in detail, but his remarks seem at least rational, and not too far from other things I've heard. I think we should keep the section, adding information about Miller's background, and let his criticism stand or fall on its own. Tom Harrison Talk 13:20, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

You mean say, "Mathematician Gary Miller believes..."... KHM03 (talk) 13:36, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Mathematician, author, convert to Islam, whatever; we don't have to pack it all into a string of adjectives. Enough might be a sentence or two of brief bio up front , and a link to his Wikipedia page (which could use some expansion and balance.) If his arguments are well thought out, they will have application to things other than Christianity. If they're not, they won't convince anyone who doesn't already agree with him. Tom Harrison Talk 13:51, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Since this article's purpose is to document criticism of Christianity, and Miller appears to be an outspoken critic, he's probably notable enough to include here, with or without formal training. I do think it's worth noting that he converted to Islam; that's more relevant to this article than any training he might have in mathematics. And yes, his bio page could use some more work. Wesley 17:35, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Messiah

I am confused how "In modern translations it only appears in the two passages where the Greek transliteration (Μεσσίας) appears (john 1:41, john 4:25)." is relevant. Christ = Messiah. NT uses the word "Christ" a lot. This sentence seems irrelavant to me. Can anybody help me?

Also, "The English word "Messiah" only appears in two verses in older translations of a Daniel's prophecy(dan 9:25-26)."

Well, the new translations also use Messiah. It is supposed to be a prophecy of Daniel. This also seem not relavant to this section here. The prophecy I believe is supposed to refer to jesus. Can anybody help me here again? thx. --Aminz 00:34, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Amniz:
  1. If it's not relevant, then the whole paragraph is not relevant, since it argues that translations are inconsistant for using different translations in different places. The passages cited use both words: "Messiah" and "Christ"; and most (see next point) modern translations are consistant in using "anointed one" (or similar) in the OT and "Christ" in the NT.
  2. The ASV, ESV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, NET, WEB, JPS, GW, AB, NLT have "anointed one" in Dan. 9:25-26; CEV, GNB have "chosen leader"; NKJV, NASB, HCSB [w/ note "an anointed one"] have "Messiah". So I should have said "most modern translations". The KJV was translated in 1611-1613, and last updated in the 1800's, so it is not modern.
  3. It may be a prophecy about Jesus, but the best translations will not translate a word based on an interpretation, but will only translate based on the grammar and syntax; as most modern translations do. Albert Barnes explains this in his commentary: "So far as the 'language' is concerned here, it might be applied to anyone who sustained these offices, and the proper application is to be determined from the connection. . . . All that the language fairly conveys is, 'until an anointed one.' Who 'that' was to be is to be determined from other circumstances than the mere use of the language, and in the interpretation of the language it should not be assumed that the reference is to any particular individual. . . . The object now is merely to ascertain the meaning of the 'language.' All that is fairly implied is, that it refers to some one who would have such a prominence as anointed, or set apart to the office of prophet, priest, or king, that it could be understood that he was referred to by the use of this language."
Regarding your requests for citations; to this sentence "the Book of Daniel was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, while the New Testament was written in Greek, so a strict comparison based on a common English word used to translate two different words from different languages may be misleading" you added "In response some christians argue that", then asked for a citation. You set up the need for a citation. The original sentence is factually verifiable and needs no citation. It is a fact that the book of Daniel was written in Hebrew and small portions in Aramaic. And it is a fact that arguments based on an English term that translates two words from different langauges which have an overlapping semantic domain may be misleading, as one language may be more expressive than the other, or may have social connotations which the other doesn't, etc. Regarding your last request, I've given the versions above and will correct the sentence to read "most modern translations". » MonkeeSage « 05:34, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
MonkeeSage, thank you! I now understand your point better. I will merely re-add the word "only" to one of the sentences as you did before. we seem to be in complete agreement. thanks for your contribution to the article. --Aminz 06:11, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

The term genea

In the section Criticism_of_Christianity#Criticisms_regarding_selective_interpretation_of_the_Bible we find an short paragraph about the Parousia and the term "generation". It includes a footnote pointing to an article of an apparently Atheist website: http://www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/2000/4/004genea.html This article maintains that the Greek word genea only means generation in the sense of "people living at the same time". The argument is made by a statistical analysis of several Bible dictionaries and translations. This article is mere propaganda. Linguistic sciences don't work with statistical evidence based on existing translations but instead it works with historical aspects of the language, with etymological aspects.

The term genea is derived from the verb gignomai which means "to come into being" and "to become". In the history of the Greek language genea then gets two meaning. Firstly, it means the span of years between a father and his son, and secondly, it means a group of people of common descent. Therefore the translation generation is only one possibility to translate genea. Imo we should delete this unscientific link. --Benedikt 20:45, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Criticism of Judaism

--Greasysteve13 09:33, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

cleanup needed

half of this article goes on about the bible. We have Criticism of the Bible for that. Then there is some stuff about social issues and persecution. Well, what the reader should expect to find here would be theological criticisms of Christian theology, including intra-Christian debates of the trinity and what not. Criticism of individual translations of the bible hardly amount to "Criticism of Christianity". What should be criticized should rather be the various interpretations of the Bible by notable creeds, and of other dogmas and ritual that are part of Christianity (Christianity is not just about the bible, you know...). As it is, the article is rather disappointing and hardly rises above generic "Criticism of sheepish religiosity". dab () 18:19, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

cough. I created the Criticism of the Bible article specifically to move all of that stuff there (and from several other articles such criticism was lurking). On this article I was reverted. Hopefully this time most editors will realise the value of moving the criticism of the bible to Criticism of the Bible rather than leaving it in this article. Christianity isn't the bible and vice versa. Christianity is a religion. The bible is a book. Clinkophonist 22:24, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree with both of you. --Benedikt 10:26, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
You think this article is disappointing, take a look at Criticism of Islam. Bishonen | talk 08:28, 19 July 2006 (UTC).

Page protected

Please discuss your disagreements here. Tom Harrison Talk 21:02, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

I am responsible for all the information, including sources. I am a philosophy major at Indiana University Bloomington and I have worked hard on it. All suggestions are appreciated as I would like the info to be reposted.. here it is just in case. It very much parallels the article Faith, Hope, and Belief by the late Professor Louis Pojman.

68.58.71.152 21:48, 9 August 2006 (UTC)


Reason motivated by Salvation

Christianity is one of the many religions of the world where its participants promote belief through faith regardless of reason. Christians believe that without faith in God, one is subject to eternal hellfire. In the Epistle of James it states even belief is insufficient for salvation, for "the devils believe and also tremble" (James 2:19). Saint Paul also states in Romans that confession of the Lord as your savior entails you will be saved and "He that doubted is damned" (Romans 14:23). Not only is doubt insufficient for salvation, but hope to Saint Paul is an unacceptable sign of uncertainty, "For hope that is seen is not hope: for what man sees, why does he yet hope for? (Romans 8:24)" Not only must one have unwavering belief and faith to receive salvation, but according to Saint Augustine, one of the church's prime theologians throughout the medieval era, those who are already saved are predetermined, they however must have been baptized and a member of the church.

Since we all inherit Adam's sin, we all deserve eternal damnation. All who die unbaptized, even infants, will go to hell and suffer unending torment. We have no reason to complain of this, since we are all wicked. (In the Confessions, the Saint enumerates the crimes of which he was guilty in the cradle.) But by God's free grace certain people, among those who have been baptized, are chosen to go to heaven; these are the elect. They do not go to heaven because they are good; we are all totally depraved, except in so far as God's grace, which is only bestowed on the elect, enables us to be otherwise. No reason can be given why some are saved and the rest damned; this is due to God's unmotivated choice. Damnation proves God's justice; salvation His mercy. Both equally display His goodness.[1]

This salvation through faith ideology is often subconsciously accepted among many Christians and according to Professor Alvin Plantinga in Is belief in God Rational, the mature theist often accepts this and God's existence as basic on hypothetical grounds:

It is worth noting, by way of conclusion, that the mature believer, the mature theist, does not typically accept belief in God tentatively, or hypothetically, or until something better comes along. Nor, I think, does he accept it as a conclusion from other things he believes; he accepts it as basic, as a part of the foundations of his noetic structure. The mature theist commits himself to belief in God: this means that he accepts belief in God as basic. [2]

Reason through Science

In order for one to reason properly for God's existence one must conduce a logical argument, these are called ontological arguments or arguments logically deriving the existence of God. There is no known scientific argument that can prove God's existence, less all people would believe in God. This absence of scientific proof per say does not entail God does or does not exist, simply that it is unproven. Many Christians and dissenters of science will point to the subjective nature of knowledge in response to this, subsequently appealing to the fallacy of ignorance stating we can't know anything. Philosopher Bertrand Russell responds to this by stating such a claim is utterly baron:

When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others. It is much more nearly certain that we are assembled here tonight than it is that this or that political party is in the right. Certainly there are degrees of certainty, and one should be very careful to emphasize that fact, because otherwise one is landed in an utter skepticism, and complete skepticism would, of course, be totally barren and completely useless. [3]

Russell's support of science and degrees of certainty is supported by distinguished biologist Dr. Edward O Wilson. Wilson claims in his Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge that he preferred an objective search for truth as a boy because, "I found it hard to accept that our deepest beliefs were set in stone by agricultural societies of the eastern Mediterranean more than two thousand years ago." Wilson also claims religion, in particular Christianity, precedes science in it's attempt to explain the nature of the Universe:

To wit, people must belong to a tribe; they yearn to have a purpose larger than themselves. We are obliged by the deepest drives of the human spirit to make ourselves more than animated dust, and we must have a story to tell about where we came from, and why we are here. Could Holy Writ be just the first literate attempt to explain the universe and make ourselves significant within it? Perhaps science is a continuation of new and better tested ground to attain the same end. If so, then in that sense science is religion liberated and writ large.

Reason through Faith

Since God's existence cannot be scientifically derived, it is worthy for most ethicists to explore the merits of belief and what it means to have faith. The definition of a theist provided by Professor Alvin Plantinga is one who believes in God through hypothetical grounds. This is often called "Faith based on zeal," or belief based on passionate devotion. Most philosophers agree this ideology is detrimental, this can be observed in Plato's Crito where Socrates states to the naive Crito, "Your zeal is invaluable, if a right one; but if wrong, the greater the zeal the greater the evil." This ideology is also shared by philosopher Bertrand Russell who states any zeal (or faith) based on the absence of reason is evil.

Christians hold that their faith does good, but other faiths do harm. At any rate, they hold this about the Communist faith. What I wish to maintain is that all faiths do harm. We may define ‘faith’ as a firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. When there is evidence, no one speaks of ‘faith’. We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence. [4]

The process of believing in a particular thing through the absence of reason is called direct volitionalism (or the act of willing a belief). According to philosopher William Kingdon Clifford, "It is wrong always, everywhere and for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence." [5] Professor Louis Pojman in his article Faith, Doubt, and Hope reasons that direct volitionalism, or the practice used by most Christians through faith, compromises one's ability to seek the truth.

"Cognitive violiting is a sort of lying or cheating in that it enjoins believing against what has the best guarantee of being the truth. When a friend or doctor lies to a terminally ill patient about her condition, the patient is deprived of the best evidence available for making decisions about her limited future. She is being treated less than fully autonomously... Cognitive voliting is a sort of lying to oneself, which, as such, decreases one's own freedom and personhood. It is a type of doxastic suicide which may only be justified in extreme circumstances... Whether it be Pascal, William James, John Henry Newman or Soren Kierkegaard, all prescriptive volitionalists (consciously or not) seem to undervalue the principle of truthfulness and its relationship to personal autonomy." [6]

This sentiment is also shared by Dr. Wilson who states,

"And I thought, surely a loving personal God, if He is paying attention, will not abandon those who reject the literal interpretation of the biblical cosmology. It is only fair to award points for intellectual courage. Better damned with Plato and Bacon, Shelly said, then go to heaven with Paley and Malthus." [7]

Instead of willing faith or believing in a particular thing without reason, Professor Pojman preaches the benefits of a verific person, or one who is a truth seeker, and the concept of hope.

"The verific person is one who can be trusted to reach sound judgments where others are driven by bias, prejudice and self-interest. If we have a moral duty not to volit but to seek the Truth impartially and passionately, then we ought not obtain religious beliefs by willing to have them, but should follow the best evidence we can get. "[6]

Reason through Belief

Professor Pojman states that "We may have morally unacceptable hopes, but not morally unacceptable beliefs." Consider the differences between:

i. "I believe that we are heading towards World War III in which nuclear weapons will destroy the world."

ii. "I hope that we are heading towards World War III in which nuclear weapons will destroy the world."

"For those who find it impossible to believe directly that God exists and who follow an ethic of belief acquisition, hope may be a sufficient substitute for belief... the desire involved in hoping must be motivational, greater than mere wishing. I may wish to live forever, but if I don't think it is sufficiently probably or possible, it will not serve as a spring for action... hoping involves a willingness to run some risk because of the position valuation of the object in question... hoping, unlike believing is typically under our direct control... hoping, like wanting, is evaluative in a way that believing is not." [6]

Professor Pojman also supports the notion of profound hope in relationship to the advocation of Christianity. As an example, Moses' brother Aaron might very well doubt Moses in his journey to overcome the Amalekites, but Aaron will go along with his plan and support him in his warrior take over. "His scrupulous doubt may help him notice problems and evidence which might otherwise be neglected, to which the true believer may be impervious". Thus to doubt and have profound hope in Christianity is the morally superior position to philosophers such as Louis Pojman. Beliefs to Pojman are not something we choose, "Although we have some indirect control over acquiring beliefs, we ought not violate the Ethics of Belief and get ourselves to believe more than the evidence warrants."

Pojman concludes his article Faith, Hope, and Doubt by saying:

"We can be judged by how faithful we have been to the light we have, to how well we have lived, including how well we have impartially sought the Truth. We may adopt theism and/or Christianity an experimental faith, living by hope in God, yet keeping our mind's open to new evidence which may confirm or disconfirm our decision. If this argument is sound, the people who truly have faith in God are those who live with moral integrity within their lights - some unbelievers will be in heaven and some religious, true believers, who never doubted, will be absent". Those absent will learn not to compromise the truth and the good by thinking critically and morally. [6]

Discussion

This is original research. It is an essay. A personal essay isn't encyclopedic. IrishGuy talk 22:39, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
I very much agree, so how can one widdle such a thing down rather than completely dismiss all of the research? It is, in a sense, the research of others through published works. I guess in this sense, than it is wikipedia policy. Perhaps it is an essay of published essays, this, to me, seems like the essence of an encyclopedia. I have done some thought and perhaps the first section should be called reason and salvation.. rather than Reason for salvation or something of that sort. I welcome all critiques of the material, I hope to settle the dispute soon, I spent much time gathering sources only to have it taken down because it was labeled an "essay". I have done my best to simply quote others rather state my own opinions.

68.58.71.152 00:00, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

An incremental approach might be useful. Add a paragraph or two, supported by citations, and see what people think. Tom Harrison Talk 00:17, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps reason through science will do for now.. and I shall expand once others agree.. perhaps this is ok 68.58.71.152 05:08, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm glad to see discussion taking place. Don't forget about the citations - anything added has to be verifiably cited to a reliable source. I'm un-protecting the page. Tom Harrison Talk 13:49, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Proposed addition

Reason through Science

In order for one to reason properly for God's existence one must conduce a logical argument, these are called ontological arguments or arguments logically deriving the existence of God. There is no known scientific argument that can prove God's existence, less all people would believe in God. This absence of scientific proof per say does not entail God does or does not exist, simply that it is unproven. Many Christians and dissenters of science will point to the subjective nature of knowledge in response to this, subsequently appealing to the fallacy of ignorance stating we can't know anything. Philosopher Bertrand Russell responds to this by stating such a claim is utterly baron:

When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others. It is much more nearly certain that we are assembled here tonight than it is that this or that political party is in the right. Certainly there are degrees of certainty, and one should be very careful to emphasize that fact, because otherwise one is landed in an utter skepticism, and complete skepticism would, of course, be totally barren and completely useless. [3] Russell's support of science and degrees of certainty is supported by distinguished biologist Dr. Edward O Wilson. Wilson claims in his Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge that he preferred an objective search for truth as a boy because, "I found it hard to accept that our deepest beliefs were set in stone by agricultural societies of the eastern Mediterranean more than two thousand years ago." Wilson also claims religion, in particular Christianity, precedes science in it's attempt to explain the nature of the Universe:

To wit, people must belong to a tribe; they yearn to have a purpose larger than themselves. We are obliged by the deepest drives of the human spirit to make ourselves more than animated dust, and we must have a story to tell about where we came from, and why we are here. Could Holy Writ be just the first literate attempt to explain the universe and make ourselves significant within it? Perhaps science is a continuation of new and better tested ground to attain the same end. If so, then in that sense science is religion liberated and writ large. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.58.71.152 (talkcontribs)

Josh

Click Edit to the right.. type words underneath mine (respond to anything you want)...When your done... type "~" four times and hit save page.

To 68.58.71.152

What are you doing? You have more or less rewritten this page from scratch. Please read the basic Wikipedia instructions and guidelines before doing such major edits.

  • Register as a wikipedia user, dont just use your IP address.
  • The article should not be too long. Currently it is much too long.
  • Please try to learn and understand the difference between an encyclopedia entry and an essay.
  • The article should stick to the point - the section on Dionysus for example is irrelevant.
  • Don't just delete large amounts of what others have done, or they will just do the same to you.
  • Sign your posts.
  • Read the Wikipedia guidelines, again.

I'm afraid that much of what you have written will be deleted or reverted by other editors. Poujeaux 12:46, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Clearly the recent additions need a lot of work, both for length and sourcing. Who ever is interested should jump in and do it. If there are disagreements, the talk page is available to discuss different approaches and work toward consensus. Tom Harrison Talk 22:26, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

How did "god" get here?

I think this is something that should be in this article. For me atleast, the concept of not only a superior being, but a superior being who had pre-existing knowledge of the proper ways to regulate their own creations and further at one point, judge and punish them, is questionable enough to a point where valid doubts of Christianity, or any belief in god can arise. How was god granted divine powers to "create" heaven and earth? How did he/she/it get there in the first place? Christians claim that God was "always" there, and that there was no existance before him, and this is usually an argument where even the most religious Christians can simply not answer, and often respond that its just an explanation that would be beyond human comprehension. Why devote yourself to something you can not even truly understand yourself?

Any discussion on this?


I usually attempt to stay away from discussions of this type but Einstein's quote which calls into question the grounds of a person God raise doubt as to his existence. While Christians perhaps accept this as basic, some without reflection, doubts of this type raise doubts into the idea that a personal God somehow begot a son. If a personal God can be called into question so can criticism of christianity be raised.

Responses to Criticisms - highly POV

I have deleted massive violations of WP:NPOV from this section, such as: The contribution of devoted christian thinkers to any field of science, art and knowledge is so overwhelming evident that one just has to question the intellectual honesty of those who claim the opposite. This whole section is of questionable value, and an embarrassment to Christians if the counter-arguments are presented as non-neutral and full of loaded language. The section should be here, but in its present form, even after my edits, it should be eliminated entirely until someone can do a decent job with it. -Amatulic 00:40, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Word, i just deleted the whole thing. It was poorly written and while I do agree that there should be a (sizeable) section devoted to the matter, what was there before was nominally unprofessional and poorly constructed.Walk0nwalls 23:41, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Criticism via Science - highly POV

The current version of the Criticism via Science section, after the recent edits by user:74.129.230.61 is too much slanted towards the conflict thesis POV and portrays a wrong description of current scholarship on the subject. Factual inaccuracies abound when the text frames mainstream revisions made by today’s historians of science as "the argument of some Christians", or "a position previously held by a few historians", etc. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 01:16, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

I will offer my response to this: The particular thesis I edited was responded to and refutted by Carl Sagan. This thesis was against Wikipedia policy. I am no more allowed to go on Christianity's webpage and speak of religion's psychology than a Christian is allowed to go on a critic page and write about a particular book. This book maintained that the dark ages and its clerics were not dark, but the "age of enlightenment" as science and the church complimented each other well. If only it were true, one only need laugh twice at the quote from Martin Luther to realize it's not. It is also against policy. I will not be the one to delete it as I encourage others to do so.

74.129.230.61 02:03, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Hi, 74.129.230.61. Before further discussion I'd like you to read the quotations I provided bellow, see you tomorrow. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 03:06, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

In regard to the idea of conflict between science and religion, here are quotes from the first two articles in a current book about the history of science. They were provided by user:Ragesoss in the discussion *here*. Ragesoss is a student of history, as well as the administrator of the History of Science WikiProject. The book is a published volume that contains essays by a number of authors; it presents professional historian's POV of what the current consensus among historians is. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 02:58, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

While some historians had always regarded the Draper-White thesis as oversimplifying and distorting a complex relationship, in the late twentieth century it underwent a more systematic reevaluation. The result is the growing recognition among historians of science that the relationship of religion and science has been much more positive than is sometimes thought. Although popular images of controversy continue to exemplify the supposed hostility of Christianity to new scientific theories, studies have shown that Christianity has often nurtured and encouraged scientific endeavour, while at other times the two have co-existed without either tension or attempts at harmonization. If Galileo and the Scopes trial come to mind as examples of conflict, they were the exceptions rather than the rule. (p. ix)



But while [John] Brooke's view [of a complexity thesis rather than conflict thesis] has gained widespread acceptance among professional historians of science, the traditional view remains strong elsewhere, not least in the popular mind. (p. x)

— From Ferngren's introduction

The conflict thesis, at least in its simple form, is now widely perceived as a wholly inadequate intellectual framework within which to construct a sensible and realistic historiography of Western science." (followed by a list of the basic reasons why it's wrong) (p. 7)

— by Colin A. Russell, From the first essay, "The Conflict Thesis"

The most prominent view among both historians and scientists in the twentieth century has been a presentist conflict thesis that argues as follows. (followed by explanation going back to 19th century writings on the history of science, when the conflict thesis emerged) (p. 14)



By the 1980s and 1990s , there had been nearly a complete revolution in historical methodology and interpretation." (Goes on about the reaction to "Whig history", which historians were revolting against) (p. 23)



This radically different methodology yielded a very different overall conclusion about the historical relationship of science and religion. If 'conflict' expressed the gist an earlier view, 'complexity' ebbodied that of the new. The new approach exposed internalism as incomplete and conflict as distortion. Past thought turned out to be terribly complex, manifesting numerous combinations of scientific and religious ideas, which, to be fully understood, often required delineation of their social and political settings. (p. 24)

— David B. Wilson, From the second essay, "The Historiography of Science and Religion"

The book is:

  • Gary Ferngren (editor). Science & Religion: A Historical Introduction. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8018-7038-0

--ragesoss 18:21, 8 October 2006 (UTC)


Ok, I just did a rewrite of the section that resolved the more blatant POV problems and also removed the POV-tag. Before making alterations, one should be clear about an important point: the criticism articles in WP exist for NPOV discussion of notable instances of criticism – they are not articles intended to be critical per se. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 00:46, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

The Elusive Second Coming

The following factual statement, and valid criticism, at the end of the first paragraph has been reverted three times since it's origin: "Otherwise, considering roughly 2000 years of disappointment, faith in the Second Coming seems remarkably resilient[11]."

The wiki policy is[12] ... Be respectful to others and their points of view. This means primarily: Do not simply revert changes in a dispute. When someone makes an edit you consider biased or inaccurate, improve the edit, rather than reverting it.

So, please consider improving the statement while maintaining the main facts and the reference URL (above): 1) Faith in the second coming is strong, remarkably strong considering ... 2) 2000 years of failed predictions, prophecies, and waiting.

This is simply step two of the "Resolving disputes" guidelines. DustOfTheEarth 05:46, 10 October 2006 (UTC)


The picture is relevant

File:White angel killing devil.jpg
The European angel killing the African Devil.

If the discussion is about race dominace in the religion then this image shows the problem in a depiction of a white angel and the devil or demon as black.please discuss this issue and do not remove the image without the debate, this is no a dictatorship---Halaqah 00:59, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Most of the debate has taken place on the Christianity talk page already in one of the latest topics.... Homestarmy 01:38, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, we have debated the picture over there. Let me sup up for you, Halaqah:
  • The picture title is wrong, as the Devil cannot be killed.
  • The picture itself has nothing to do with race, it depicts Michael casting the Devil into hell.
  • The difference in complexion is minute if not non-existant.
  • The Devil has no African features at all.
  • The caption is entirely your own interpretation, hence original research.
Str1977 (smile back) 08:20, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

The image isnt my making, CHANGE THE TITLE THEN. The image is correct. It is your opinion that it has nothing to do with race. Your opinion. It is not original research just because you don’t like what it is saying. The devil doesn’t have African features according to you, again your opinion. The picture is used as an example of the "darker brother" being killed. I guess the Angel doesn’t have any "European" features either. Please stick to areas you know, unless you are defining what African is. The image is relevant and argue the facts not opinion. Maybe you feel uncomfortable with it for personal reasons and need to justify its removal. The tradition of White is good, black is bad is a debate played out in Eurocentric depictions of angels and the devil. These are facts that Africans have always contested.i have changed the title, i dont know how much truth you are intrested in but the notion of black as sinful white as pure is no myth and it is always expressed in European art. Until the debate is over do not delete this image--Halaqah 09:40, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

who said the devil cannot be killed, i think that is your version of the Christian faith, just like your definition of race. But thanks for telling me. "no African features at all" what a statement of authority maybe you are an Anthropologist who speaks for the entire Christian faith. bring me one image from popular EUropean Christianity where the "evil" person is blonde with blue eyes.--Halaqah 09:47, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

  • I didn't say the image was your making. No matter who made the photograph, you certainly did not make the original image. Whether that is a violation of copyright I leave to others.
  • Changing title of images is not that easy. If it is not deleted for copyright reasons I may have a go at that.
  • Or if you referred to the caption, I did change it ... and after the caption was accurate, the picture was off topic, as it shows two angels battling and has no relation to race.
  • The last point you called my "opinion". It is not merely my opinion, as the content of the picture is quite clear (see above). The burden of proof lies on your side.
  • Michael certainly looks European as it is a picture imitating Renaissance art. But the Devil doesn't look non-European at all.
  • White/Light as Good and Black/Dark as Evil is indeed a long reaching tradition but has in itself nothing to do with race. Ancient Hebrews were not particularly pale in their complexion. In any case, certainly links to race have been drawn in history (one only has to read Shakespeare for that), especially in Colonialism. But this not an essential part of Christianity as such (though a version of your point is on topic here), nor is this picture relevant for this, unless you can show how a published source makes your point ... and then it has to be in a NPOV manner.
  • The Devil is a fallen angel. Angels are not mortal beings. Some branches of Christianity would argue that God can and will annihilate him at the last Judgement (along with all the damned) but that is certainly not the traditional nor the majority position of Christianity (or Judaism or Islam).
  • I don't have to prove the opposite extreme to your extreme POV in order to tell you that your edit is OR, POV and unsubstantiated. Str1977 (smile back) 11:01, 12 October 2006 (UTC)


Halaqah, your interpretation of the image is controversial. Since the non-controversial description makes the picture off-topic, you would basically need a reliable academic source agreeing with what you claim this picture means for it to stay in the article. (See: Wikipedia:reliable sources). --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 15:36, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

opinion opinion opinion. I have just posted this image on a African forum and it seems my view of the image isn’t "exotic" at all. You have eyes i have eyes. I see a white skinned man attacking a dark skinned man, but you are telling me i am seeing things. I guess his hair is yellow and his skin is white either. if you delete something then the burden of proof is on you to bring proper reasoning not opinion. The white mind sees things in white, why when Madonna did the video why did everyone complain? Umm, what was the problem, because it broke with the tradition of black is evil white is good. What was Malcolm x talking about? I guess he was seeing things as well. But yes you are right something is wrong with me, I have a chip on my shoulder, i have an exotic mindset, i am controversial, I am with the nation of Islam, anything else? This is the problem when democracy means mob rule. Do you know i cannot even add slavery to the Christian section as a sub article--is that fair? The Islam site allowed it. This section is called Criticism, not some criticism but "general" criticism you understand. You have yours others groups have theirs.--Halaqah 18:17, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

This has gone on too long, nobody so far has provided a single real reference as to what exactly this picture is, when it was made, and who made it. Without that information, it doesn't matter what the picture really is about, it shouldn't be described in Wikipedia when its identity has not been precisely confirmed. It is 100 percent fair to leave this image out when the description is compleatly unverified, and making interpretation of the image for yourself is clearly a WP:OR violation. Homestarmy 18:33, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

FOr myself, so what you are saying is the Angel is not blond with white skin, and that the person he is standing on isnt daker? The point is images like this or maybe you are outside of non-European reality are always an issue in African churches, the young tear them up the old put them up---Halaqah 19:05, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Michael is blonde (or some shade of brown) but Satan is not dark skinned. But he is bald! Maybe bald people should complain about being villainized! Str1977 (smile back) 19:44, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Anyway, according to WP policies, the burden of proof is with Halaqah. Str1977, Interesting you mentioning baldness. AFAIK baldness it more common in European/white ethnicity and relatively rare among African/black people. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 21:06, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

okay i will leave it alone and go and fetch proof. But DO NOT DELETE THE TOPIC!!! I dont know who deleted the race dominance thing. It is valid. Wikipedia works as we have seen through debate. You said the burden of proof is on me, and i have to bring it! I have no reposted the image to the topic, this is legit discussion. Now I would appreciate if the section i added is not chopped, it has been there for sometime, and it it needs refining then say so, dont just cut it. i dont know where some of you live but many Christians of color complain about the race dominance in the religion. hence why Madonna caused a stir with like a prayer. Clearly it was an issue and a common discussion. It will be vandalism it is deleted again---Halaqah 08:33, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

No one deleted the section - some one (Ming the Merciless) moved the section further down and reworded it. Please be more careful the next time.
Like A Prayer was controversial for a number of reasons and cannot be used to make general statements about Christianity. Str1977 (smile back) 08:55, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes but i am talking about the race aspect, now you know if you were around the African on the cross was a serious issue, see the cnn news of the time. I am a little defensive as i dont seem to have made many friends.--Halaqah 09:26, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Sure. Just don't overdo the Like a Prayer thing.
And please look what actually happened before you decry "deletion" the next time". Str1977 (smile back) 10:35, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
FYI: The image appears to be a simplified version of Image:St. Michael the Archangel.jpg ([13], which is not only a famous painting by Guido Reni but the devil is a portrait of Pope Innocent X, an Italian. KillerChihuahua?!? 12:23, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Dear KC, I have taken the liberty of including the link. Thanks for your detective work. Str1977 (smile back) 12:27, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Not a problem. The image is quite recognizable, which is relevent to an article on Criticism of Popes or Criticism of the Papacy but not for Criticism of Christianity, unless in a section about the criticims about the Church hierarchy and/or officers, prelates, and clerics. KillerChihuahua?!? 12:31, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Criticism through Analysis section

The section doesn't appear to mention much of anyone who, in the terms of the references given, is criticizing Christianity at all, just the concept of God or concepts of God which are similar to the Christian one. I fail to see how it shows people directly criticizing Christianity, just forms of theism which feature a personal God or something like that, the Einstein quote in particular only mentions the word "preist" in possible reference to Christianity in the very last sentence, leaving the rest of the quote not really pertinent to criticism of Christianity directly. Does anyone else see what i'm trying to get at? Homestarmy 00:04, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, and I agree... maybe it can be moved to "Criticism of religion", but it would require some modifications. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 01:52, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Anyone else care to comment? Homestarmy 00:16, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
If nobody else comments, I might just delete the whole section, surely somebody would object to that? Homestarmy 17:16, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree this section is off topic. My objection is to simple whole sale deleting of content, without finding a better home for it. I would suggest seeing what can be merged with Existence of God or any of the numerous spinout articles of that. I also think there should be either a dab link at the top, or a sentence in the intro directing readers to criticism of the notion of deities in general, instead of specifically to Christianity (which is what this article covers). What think ye?--Andrew c 16:53, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Arguments point by point for NPOV; Summary of work needed

Is there a parallel article on defense of Christianity? If so, at least this one should link to it.

As far as I can tell, every negative criticism in this article has been countered somewhere, but at present the article presents only one side. As it stands, this page is useful for one looking to bash a Christian, and little else. It is not useful as an encyclopedia entry. (That's almost the definition of non-NPOV.)

My proposal, then, is to complete the work that has been started to break this article up. Then, on each of the more specific pages, include point and counter-point. To ensure NPOV, don't include any criticism one way without either including a response or clearly indicating that we are still searching for a response.

It looks from the past discussion that there has been trouble doing this. So let's think about refactoring instead of rewriting, along the following lines:

  • Structural NPOV (point, counterpoint)
  • Textual NPOV (well hashed-out in other parts of discussion, but not really implemented)
  • Orthogonality of content (all coverage of Biblical accuracy in one place, all discussion about existence of an Abrahamic-type God in one place, etc.)
  • Citations (and try to cite both a proponent and an objector to a view)

I doubt I'm bringing up anything new, but hopefully this can serve as a summary of the problems and an action plan to get us moving in the right direction.

--Ken 04:05, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Disputed Passage in discussion

However, most today's historians of science and related academics now consider that the conflict thesis has been superseded by subsequent historical research, as is expressed by Gary Ferngren in his historical volume about Science & Religion:

While some historians had always regarded the Draper-White thesis as oversimplifying and distorting a complex relationship, in the late twentieth century it underwent a more systematic reevaluation. The result is the growing recognition among historians of science that the relationship of religion and science has been much more positive than is sometimes thought. Although popular images of controversy continue to exemplify the supposed hostility of Christianity to new scientific theories, studies have shown that Christianity has often nurtured and encouraged scientific endeavour, while at other times the two have co-existed without either tension or attempts at harmonization. If Galileo and the Scopes trial come to mind as examples of conflict, they were the exceptions rather than the rule.[8]

The view of the relationship between Christianity and science as being predominantly one of conflict is still prevalent in popular culture[9] But the new historical research indicates that Christianity may have a much more complex and close relationship with science than most presuppose. Christian organizations figure prominently in the broader histories of many sciences, with many of the scientific minds until the professionalization of scientific enterprise (late 19th century) being clergy and other religious thinkers. (See, for example: List of Christian thinkers in science).

Clerks studying astronomy and geometry.
France, early 15th century.

Moreover, many scientists through out history held strong Christian beliefs and strove to reconcile science and religion. Isaac Newton, for example, believed that gravity caused the planets to revolve about the Sun, and credited God with the design. In the concluding General Scholium to the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, he wrote: "This most beautiful System of the Sun, Planets and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being." However, though scientists are often drawn into their field through intrigue of the unknown, in many cases their conception of God and thus religion drastically differs: Einstein believed that "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" albeit he maintained that belief in a personal God was for the naive man and Christianity was only of merit due to its moral teachings.

Medieval scholars sought to understand the geometric and harmonic principles by which God created the universe.[10]

Historians of science such as J.L. Heilbron,[11] Alistair Cameron Crombie, David Lindberg,[12] Edward Grant, Thomas Goldstein,[13] and Ted Davis also have been revising the common notion — the product of black legends say some — that medieval Christianity has had a negative influence in the development of civilization. These historians believe that not only did the monks save and cultivate the remnants of ancient civilization during the barbarian invasions, but the medieval church promoted learning and science through its sponsorship of many universities which, under its leadership, grew rapidly in Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries, (see also: "Medieval science" and "Renaissance of the 12th century"). St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church's "model theologian," not only argued that reason is in harmony with faith, he even recognized that reason can contribute to understanding revelation, and so encouraged intellectual development. He was not unlike other medieval theologians who sought out reason in the effort to defend his faith.[14] Also, some today's scholars, such as Stanley Jaki, have suggested that Christianity with its particular worldview was actually a crucial factor for the emergence of modern science.

Discussion on criticism of christianity and science

While the above is good information it is not altogether correct. The Medieval Era marked an emergence between Church and State, it was termed "the Dark Ages". The only scholars who could freely pursue knowledge without potential troubles with the soverign were clerics who pursued knowledge as ancillary to divine or revealed truth. The "conflict theses" attempts to argue Religion or medieval church fathers pursued science to a great extent. This is an impossible view if one acknowledges the Copernicus trial. As an aside, the source mentioned above is Gary Ferngren, a Christian author at Oregon State University. Though his work is published, most works that are published in relationship to Christianity and science contain opinionated topics. This is by no means an objective work. The great theologians Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas pursued reason to a remarkable degree, many of their arguments were quite elabrate, albeit all did so as a means to further their own ends.

The above thesis in question also ignores the majority opinion of scientists despite what the author Gary Ferngren claims. Martin Luther is perhaps more indicative of the relationship between reason and the church as clerics were more mixed over the issue. (I have just added the quote to discourage non-objective viewpoints)

For reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but – more frequently than not – struggles against the Divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God. - Martin Luther, Table Talk v.xiii

In summary I think the above makes a defense that some clerics pursued science and the riddles of the universe as a means to further their own religious endeavors. This does not logically refute the idea that the church initially condemned many scientific theories which conflicted with scripture. Also please refrain from putting information promoting Christianity on the "Criticism of Christianity" WebPage. One would not think it allowable for a critic of Christianity to freely alter articles on Christianity's mainpage with opinionated works. The above information can be altered and put into a response section at the bottom of the page albeit it must mention Gary Ferngren as the author who argues his own thesis. His claim that his thesis is “accepted by a majority of scholars” is also his opinion.

Biblical1 02:17, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Excuse me, but the so-called Dark ages refers to the period immediately after the fall of Imperial Rome, and refers not to the division of Church and State, but to the dearth of historical records from that time. The time period called Medieval refers to the time after the "Dark ages." Justin Eiler 02:56, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
The dark ages was between 476AD to 1000AD. They are still classified as the dark ages by a majority of scholars. Augustine and Anselm were both in this time period (370-1100) and are classified as "Medievail theologians". This is in essence the most important time period during the Church and its theological pursuit to resolve reason with religious doctrine. In other words, theologians attempted to ratinally explain the atonement, God's divine essence, etc.

Biblical1

Theologians are STILL attempting to rationally explain the Atonement, just as Wiccan theologians are attempting to rationally explain the Wheel of the Year. Rational explanation of theological doctrine is not the sole province of the Medieval era, nor of Christianity.
Nonetheless, you have completely gutted the section dealing with the refutation of the "Conflict model". This is an important facet of proper information for this article, IMO. Those skeptics and non-Christians who decry Christianity for being "against science" do so in grave ignorance of the scientific advances made within the Church, and under the auspices of Christianity. Justin Eiler 03:11, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
Your point that the church pursued science to prove their theological theories is not in line with suggesting the "conflict thesis is out of date". The later suggests the church promoted science and reason for its own sake which is not correct. IT is also a neccessity that information dealing with science and christianity not deal with an author from a public university who writes Christian apologetic-type works. The veracity of the work is questionable, we should continue to speak of it here before promoting opinions about Christianity and Science.
Albert Einstein suggested there was no conflict between religion and science, that science was inspired by a type of religious feeling. What he had in mind was that science was promoted through intrigue, he believed anyone who took scripture literally and attempted to ratonally explain it's theories was a "feeble minded soul". The point of science is not to reason for a God's existence. Einstein and others have argued it can never be proven because it will always lay in gaps devoid of scientific understanding, moreover the stage of human development does not allow for the riddles of the universe to be completely answered. It follows that it's illogical to suggest the Church and science had a good relationship simply because the dark ages allowed such a thing. When all of society retardeds for a thousand years and the only scinetists are priests who search to rationally prove their doctrines their is not a favorable relationship. Any objective search on the subject will reveal this. Please reference Carl Sagan or any other author, perhaps Charles Darwin. Sagan and Darwin are much more reliable than creating a thesis called the "conflict thesis" and suggesting its incorrect based on 4 christian historians. Indeed it is not favorable, the created "conflict thesis" is correct, science was perverted by the church. I will post a picture of Copernicus trial if you would like.

Biblical1 14:50, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

There is no good reason for the removal of the information above. This article is supposed to be for the discussion of relevant criticism toward Christianity, in this context NPOV policy assures that all relevant POVs should be provided. --LeinadBRAlogo1.png -diz aí, chapa. 18:11, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
The passage in discussion is not shared by a majority. The reason it is not allowed is because it is on a criticism webpage in which all "responses" of criticism must be under the appropriate section. Moreover simply because a work is published does not mean it can be allowed, all responses must remain objective and properly attribute the source and his thesis to the appropriate section. It is inappropriate to arbitrarily insert information on christianity and science into a section dealing with criticism on christianity and science. Wikipedia does not allow responses on each individual section or the name of the page must be changed. This is against wikipedia policy. I am not one to warn more than once.

Biblical1 01:33, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Excuse me, Biblical1, but you are not the arbiter of what is and what is not allowed on Wikipedia. Such decisions are made by consensus of the community as a whole, not by you alone. If you have an issue with that rule, may I invite you to start your own open content encyclopedia and determine the rules of what is and what is not allowed there. Justin Eiler 01:37, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't understand your reason for controversy. I just resolved the section after much hardwork and placed it at the bottom simply to conform and allow Fernberg's views. I take it to offense I spent time to point out the problems with Fernberg's thesis and was rebuked and the page was subsequently changed.

Biblical1 01:46, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't think the discussed passages need to be at a separate "response section". There is no policy or guideline I am aware of saying how each section of criticism articles must be organized, and it is certainly not true that all criticism articles in Wikipedia use this "response at the bottom" scheme. I'd also like to remind that Feinberg is a professional historian explaining the prevailing view about the historical relationship between Science and Religion among today scholars in the area. We have no reason to think he is lying or mistaken. To call his description "the Fernberg's thesis" while claiming that it is a minority view is no help without a good source to support this contention, (see WP:V). I've been studding the historical relationship between religion and science for some time, and I think it will be pretty hard to find a today’s scholar on the area disagreeing with Fernberg’s quotation. (BTW, scientists are not reliable sources in this matter, unless the specific scientist is also a professional historian or something like that). --LeinadBRAlogo1.png -diz aí, chapa. 13:02, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
I would like to formally disagree. The quote from Sagan is more than adeqaute. Scholars who attend public universities such as Oregon State are not those highly renown nor authorities, usually publishers with credence entail "Harvard, Routledge, Oxford University Press" and so forth. Though this does not negate Fernberg's thesis, in order to understand the relationship of science and religion one must study science and religion from objective resources. Fernberg is by no means a majority, he is a christian scholar who deemed the historical problem between science and church as the "conflict thesis". It is factual information that the church used knowledge and science as a means to explain their theoretical beliefs. I am a religious studies and philosophy scholar. It is my field. This is why I know this, Fernberg arguing a particular thesis is not adequate grounds to continually reinsert it. It is wrong mostly but you are content to place wrong information in the section, moreover it dwarfs all the controversies of religion and science making the thesis look even more foolish. Moreover it is against Wikipedia policy to entertain Christian responses (that are not a majority mind you) in a criticism webpage, this must therefore be allowed in each section. (Imagine thesis of Christian scholars with 3 paragraphs each in each of the pages' more than 10 topics) Have I mentioned Fernberg's thesis is incorrect? Sagan was an astrophysisit at Princeton, he was the primere astronomer in the 21st century. His documentary "The Cosmos" is perhaps the most famous in science of all time. I have a few of his books, he is a favorite of mine. Irrecovable of this you can take his opinion with credence, he does not attend a public university and create "thesis" about religion and science. What he says is fact, it is not to be ignored to post subjective material on wikipedia. If you wish to continue to argue the varacity of Fernberg's thesis you must respond with sources and page numbers from Fernberg and more renowned individuals. You can see why I challenge you to this, if you do, you will see the idea that the "church and science had a fecund relationship" is foolhardy.

74.129.230.61 03:27, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Excuse me, Biblical1, but you do not own this article. You may earnestly believe that Feinburg's research is secondary to Sagan's statements, but you have been repeatedly told by others in the community that your point of view does not take prominence over community consensus. As things stand now, consensus is to retain the sections that you omitted. If you do not like that, then I advise you to come up with more persuasive arguments and allow the community to change their minds.

Secondarily, you do not give "warnings" on content disputes. If you feel that the content dispute has gone beyond the point of discussion, then the proper way to address the perceived problems is to go through the dispute resolution process.

If you are not willing to take those steps, then perhaps you may consider putting your arguments on your own webpage, instead of constantly engaging in contentious editing. Justin Eiler 04:15, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree completely with the procedural points. A slight note though, this article isn't Science and the Bible. This article is too long as it is, there is nothing wrong with summarizing content covered in other spinout articles. Maybe a compromise would be reducing the size of this disputed section, and moving the rest to the main article on this topic?--Andrew c 04:22, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
I actually have no problem removing the section entirely, provided it is done by consensus rather than contention. Not only do I agree that the article is far too long, but I feel that Feinburg's work either needs its own aricle, or if it fails notability, can be scrapped entirely. My only issues were the procedural ones. Justin Eiler 04:33, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

(1) I am against summarizing this section without doing the same summarization with the other sections of the article as well. For example, the whole "Criticism trough analysis" section is a much better candidate for summarization if the article's size must be reduced, since it barely mentions Christianity. (2) Again, the quotation being discussed is not "the Fernberg's thesis". Fernberg is simply describing the main POV among today's professional historians of science. The rejection of the conflict thesis among historians has been extensivelly discussed in other talk pages. For a discussion were Feinberg's book is mentioned many times: see *here*; and *also here*. I will quote a reply written by the coordinator of the History of Science WikiProject in the debate I mention:

We have multiple professional historians of science stating clearly that most historians of science reject the conflict thesis, and no evidence to the contrary, and you still want to qualify the statement "now largely rejected by historians of science" with "according to Russell, Wilson, Ferngren, Brooke, Numbers, and Lindberg" ?(the list could go on, and it's not hard to find more quotes). That current historians of science broadly reject the conflict thesis is not controversial; Numbers, who is top scholar of American creationism, was recently president of the History of Science Society (see Conflict thesis and Andrew Dickson White for his reference). The qualifier "largely" is there mainly just to be safe; I'm not aware of any current historians of science and religion who endorse the conflict thesis.--ragesoss 18:08, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

--LeinadBRAlogo1.png -diz aí, chapa. 11:33, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Update: The "Criticism through Analysis" section I mentioned above has just been removed by user Homestarmy (see the talk-section he started above for more details). Meanwhile, I am still waiting for actual reliable sources contradicting the quotation by Ferngren. Can anyone provide it? Ferngren is a published author stating clearly that most historians of science today reject the conflict thesis. One editor's claim that he is "wrong" is simply not enough evidence against it (according to policies such as WP:V and WP:OR). --LeinadBRAlogo1.png -diz aí, chapa. 15:54, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
I think the arguments presented against the conflict thesis are misleading. Most scholarship recently has been along the lines of the complexity thesis, saying broad generalizations such as conflict or harmony are problematic. John Hedley Brooke discusses this very well in his book Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives. We cannot arange a false dichotomy where any criticism of the conflict thesis automatically supports the harmony thesis (and I feel the current version is a little biased towards harmony). I think that the articles should reflect this diversity, instead of taking sides either way because it is more representative of contemporary scholarship. There are examples of Christianity holding back science, and there are examples of Christianity helping science. And the issue is much more complex than blanket statements like this. (also, the final paragraph seems off topic for the science section. It is rebutting the popular notion of the "dark ages", not discussing Christianity nor science really.).--Andrew c 21:31, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
If anyone is under the impression that the rejection of the conflict thesis automatically means harmony between science and Christianity I’d like to clearly state that it does not represent what most scholars are trying to say. Andrew, by pointing to the rejection of the model of conflict by modern historians, I'm not trying to say that there were no instances of conflict between Christianity and Science. It's really possible that, as you feel, the current text is a little biased towards a "harmony thesis", but an evaluation to see if the section is slightly biased or not seems to me as something very different than Biblical1 contentions until now. His view that the rejection of the conflict thesis is some kind of "minority Christian POV" is simply wrong, and it's specifically to this view that I am replying above. If the debate regarding Biblical1's POV on Ferngren is resolved, we can move forward to improve and fine-tune the text. Thanks for engaging the discussion and trying to bring it to another level. --LeinadBRAlogo1.png -diz aí, chapa. 01:19, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, I'm fine moving forward. Sorry to upset you and not put up the fight that Biblical1 had :P. Maybe we should wait for a response. What I personally would like to see is for future steps for this article is making a brief summary of this section, and probably further summarizing the rest science section, and merging any important content with one of the spinout articles Relationship between religion and science, Science and the Bible, etc.--Andrew c 01:34, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
OK, Let's wait for a response :-). Meanwhile, I’d like to stress one point that is not automatically obvious for new users such as Biblical1. As every article in Wikipedia, the text in "Criticism of Christianity" must aim at a 100% neutral point of view. It means that, while relevant criticism toward Christianity will be the topic in discussion, there needs to be plenty of space for all relevant rebuttals. This article is not supposed to be a "critical page". Instead, it is supposed to be a neutral page, about criticism. --LeinadBRAlogo1.png -diz aí, chapa. 17:27, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
    • ^ A history of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, Simon & Schuster, 1945
    • ^ Is Belief in God Rational in Rationality and Religious Belief, ed. C.F. Delaney, Notre Dame University Press, 1979, p.27)
    • ^ Bertrand Russell, Am I Atheist or an Agnostic
    • ^ Bertrand Russell, Human Society in Ethics and Politics
    • ^ The Ethics of Belief, William King Clifford.
    • ^ a b c d Faith, Hope, and Doubt Louis Pojman
    • ^ Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, Edward O. Wilson
    • ^ Gary Ferngren (editor). Science & Religion: A Historical Introduction. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8018-7038-0. (Introduction, p. ix)
    • ^ From Ferngren's introduction:
      "...while [John] Brooke's view [of a complexity thesis rather than conflict thesis] has gained widespread acceptance among professional historians of science, the traditional view remains strong elsewhere, not least in the popular mind. (p. x) - Gary Ferngren, (2002); Introduction, p. ix)
    • ^ The compass in this 13th century manuscript is a symbol of God's act of Creation.
      * Thomas Woods, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, (Washington, DC: Regenery, 2005), ISBN 0-89526-038-7
    • ^ "J.L. Heilbron". London Review of Books. Retrieved 2006-09-15. 
    • ^ Lindberg, David (2003). When Science and Christianity Meet. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226482146.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
    • ^ Goldstein, Thomas (1995). Dawn of Modern Science: From the Ancient Greeks to the Renaissance. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306806371.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
    • ^ Pope John Paul II (1998). "Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), IV". Retrieved 2006-09-15.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)