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Refining has also many other meanings - it's not just materials processing. One can for example refine searches, reports, concepts, mathematic formulae, graphical design patterns, etc. It can mean making things simpler by pruning or polishing them, but also complicating, intricating or enriching. Usually it means (slightly or gradually) increasing the "maturity" of a tangible or an intangible object either in a simpler or a more complex direction, or even both at the same time. Sakaal (talk) 10:17, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
As the above comment points out, "refining" has many metaphorical applications. However, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Each article is about a specific concept, in this case the concept of the kind of purification of materials called 'refining'. For that reason, I believe the metaphorical uses of 'refining' (religious and otherwise) do not belong in this article. They certainly belong in the corresponding wiktionary article, and they may merit encyclopedic treatment in their own articles in some cases. --macrakis (talk) 15:29, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
Certain of the Old Testament references are about separating the pure from the impure, that is silver (or gold) from lead in cupellation. They are thus directly relevant to the subject. I discussed this subject a few years on a specialist discussion list, and this was overwhelming view of the participants, who are specialists in the subject. Peterkingiron (talk) 21:39, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
There may well be references in the Hebrew Bible to the concept of refinement of metal, and some of those may have some historical interest, just as references to metalworking in (say) Homer or the Rig Veda may have historical interest. However, the section which I removed was about the metaphor, and indeed explicitly about the "spiritual/personal connotations" (not my language). The metaphor is of course based on the notion of refining of metal. That doesn't mean that the metaphorical uses should be discussed in his article, any more than we discuss St. Peter in the rock (geology) article, though clearly the metaphor there refers to rocks in the geological sense. --macrakis (talk) 02:38, 8 February 2010 (UTC)