Talk:Religion/Archive 7

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Yes if you want to believe it or not Jedi is an actual religion 390,000 (% .7) marked down Jedi a their riligon why is this not mentioned in the article? I do believe this is something that needs to at least be mentioned do to the fact that it has as many followers as it does. It is not a cult a cult assumes it is to a select few who are included and have the knowledge that is exists, most people know of the Jedi religion just not all see it as an actual religion due to the fact that is was from a science fiction movie. -- (talk) 15:42, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Impossibility of Definition?

In one sense attempting a definition of religion is potentially meaningless because a religion can be viewed as what any individual holds to be true regardless of any outside influences such as facts, environmental factors, proofs and so on. In this view there are as many different religions as there are people and therefore no two people agree exactly on what religion involves. If any given definition works from the viewpoint of consensus (what most people think religion involves on average) it should first provide empirical evidence that such a consensus exists in reality, and this must be on an international, not simply a national basis. It would be very interesting if anyone can cite any studies of this nature that have been done? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:42, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

There are standard definitions of religion, which appear in (for example) dictionaries. I'm not familiar with any such definition which defines religion as "what any individual holds to be true regardless of any outside influences..."
Generally these definitions are formalized by looking at international usage of the language, citing references in published literature. In that sense, one can determine from the use of (for example) the word "religion" in published works in the English language that there is, indeed, a consensus regarding what religion is considered by most users of the word to be. -- MatthewDBA 17:17, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
But is this really true given that the vast majority of the population are not interested enough to publish works defining religion, and therefore any such work is unrepresentative? Further, even accepting such a literary definition, you would have to include ideas about religion taken from the contemporary media as well as atheist/non-theist sources (for instance the definition of religion as it is understood in Marxist literature).
Quotation supporting the idea presented in the original point "Above all, we ought to submit to the Divine authority rather than to our own judgment even though the light of reason may seem to us to suggest, with the utmost clearness and evidence, something opposite." - René Descartes. Quoted from The Philosophical Works of Descartes, translated by Elizabeth S. Haldane and G. R. T. Ross (London: Cambridge University Press, 1973), vol. I, p. 253. So definintions of this type would still have to be included in the survey of literature. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:02, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Why don't we just start with the dictionary definition and then break out additional information under each of the meanings within the definition. We don't have to re-create the wheel here, the meanings of the term, although varying, are fairly simple to delineate. This is from

re·li·gion /rɪˈlɪdʒən/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ri-lij-uhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun 1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. 2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion. 3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions. 4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion. 5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith. 6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice. 7. religions, Archaic. religious rites. 8. Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one's vow. —Idiom9. get religion, Informal. a. to acquire a deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practices. b. to resolve to mend one's errant ways: The company got religion and stopped making dangerous products.

[Origin: 1150–1200; ME religioun (< OF religion) < L religiōn- (s. of religiō) conscientiousness, piety, equiv. to relig(āre) to tie, fasten (re- re- + ligāre to bind, tie; cf. ligament) + -iōn- -ion; cf. rely]

—Related forms re·li·gion·less, adjective

It would make sense that the purpose of this article should be to expand on the definition provided and provide links to related topics on Wiki. Sovereign797 (talk) 02:17, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Let religion be the focus on the organized beliefs of groups claiming a religion, while spirituality be a separate field that captures the personal beliefs about our existence and relationship to spirit, including atheism, or the belief there is not God or spirit... still is a spiritual belief. A religion does not require a belief in God, rather is an organized set of beliefs held by its followers. This allows the many sub categories we already have identified that clarify the many attributes of 'relgiousity'. Preceeding signed by: Bnaur Talk 05:27, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Religion: False hope, outdated theories, and a set of rules. Cut, paste and print! (talk) 05:50, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Present day adherents

This section is a long way from factual. Not based on proper research, its biased, and uses very poor information website/garphs. this whole POV section whould be removed.-- 10:17, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

I have to agree. This section is poorly researched, and fails to address the fact that large numbers of Asian people do not identify with one particular religion. Nor does it acknowledge that the labels applied to the "world religions" are the constructions of European scholarship, and are wildly misleading. For instance, the notion of "Hinduism" existing as a religion in the same way that Catholicism does laughable. The same goes for Buddhism and Chinese folk religions. --Joechip123 02:10, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

I was a bit puzzled when I found a broken link to the section "Religion in modernity." Turns out this is what that section eventually mutated to over the course of the last three years, and the original link had never been updated to reflect the renamed section heading. I eventually tracked down the section in the article "Major religious groups" and relinked it. It occurs to me that it would be useful, though resource-intensive, to have a script to track down broken section links.

Anyway, good job getting this section moved to a more appropriate home and revised. Emoticon (talk) 20:50, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


there is a lot of space after the demographics part. can somebody delete that space---from the most irritating person born yet

The demographics animation is wrong please change it, for the Philippines Luzon and Visayas and Mindanao were mainly paganistic then Islamic then now Catholic, Only small parts of Mindanao are Islamic (5% of population). Thanks. 06:47, 20 February 2007 (UTC) AARON

while is is good that the source is well described, we really need counts from multiple sources - possibly an average of them?Motorbyclist 05:37, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

The graph fails to explain the difference between Atheism and non-religious. Also, I think parody religions should be added (as a seperate survey, because of many people who have a parody religion AND real beliefs they hold. Example: a Pastafarianist who is also Jewish). Plus, It needs to be updated, as many of them are changing constantly. Karonaway 14:55, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

shouldn't rastafarianism be under the abrahamic religions? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:23, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

I think may be right there. Are there any objections to me moving it up? DanielDemaret (talk) 20:12, 14 January 2008 (UTC)


It should also be noted that many consider Mormonism to be a distinct denomination of Christianity, because of their fundamental belief in Jesus Christ. However, it has been deemed appropriate to list Mormonism as a separate religion for practical purposes.

No...believe it or not, Mormonism is Christianity. This statement is biased. I would like to hear these so-called practical purposes. The numbers for Mormonism should be included in the Christianity section. Mormons are just as Christian as Anglicans, Jehovah's Witnesses, or Baptists. bob rulz 16:47, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Most Mormons consider themselves to be Christians but most non-Mormon Christians do not consider them to be Christians. A similar situation occurs with Jehovah's Witnesses. Also, I am told that most Roman Catholics do not consider non-Roman Catholics to be Christian while some Baptists do not consider Roman Catholics to be Christians. It makes it hard to count. Rick Norwood 19:19, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Roman Catholics do consider many non-Roman Catholics (like Anglicans, Baptists, Lutherans...) to be Christians. At least that seems to be the official Catholic teaching. But, AFAIK, Mormonism is not recognized as a Christian denomination by the Catholic Church. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 15:44, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
I would like to hear a good reason why Mormonism is not Christianity. It's considered Christianity in both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Christianity articles, why should it be any different here? For all intensive purposes, Mormons are Christian. bob rulz
It should be noted that the Christianity article claims only the Mormons "self-identify" as Christians. Even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says only that Mormons "count themselves" as Christians (a POV that is also in several other articles on Mormonism / the Latter-day Saint Movement cf. Mormonism and Christianity). So, let's return to your question: why should it be any different here? The distinction this page makes is quite in line with the distinctions made elsewhere on Wikipedia (though may, perhaps, be too specific to properly belong to an article as general as this one.
If the issue is only one of demographic figures, then it should be noted that adding 12 million Mormons to 2.1 billion Christians would make no statistical difference and would only eliminate Mormonism from the list altogether (which may not be a bad idea as this is the path the original source [] seems to have taken).
In any case, it does not seem to be the intention of that passage to claim that Mormonism isn't Christianity so much as to indicate that listing it separately may give the wrong impression. Ig0774 13:07, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
  • It all boils down to what these various religions believe: Who is Christ? Mormonism, unlike say, Catholism and Christianity, does not believe Christ is the Son of God, or, holds any Deism as fully God (IOW, he is just a good man/prophet/etc.). That's one major reason why Mormonism is considered not to be part of any religious Christian denomination. Mormonism also denies the Christian belief variation of a Trinity, denies that the Bible is the absolute truth, sees a complete different path to salvation (Christians would say by "works"), and believe that man can work his way to a level equal with Christ and ultimately God. Their messengers even witness to "Christians".
  • But also, we need to clarify exactly what a "Denomination" is, too. Note that in the Wikipedia articles on "Denomination" (even does not include Mormonism.

Colonel Marksman 18:15, 11 April 2006 (UTC) PS: Not that it shouldn't be included. If it should, then someone ought to change that.

I don't normally try to argue with ingorant people, but in this case what you said is so incredibly not true that it's ridiculous. I grew up in a Mormon family, and while I'm an Atheist now, I still firmly support the Mormon faith and try to clear up misconceptions about its religion. Mormons do believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I would like to hear where you heard they didn't believe that. And just because there's a few minor differences between Mormonism and a few other Christian beliefs doesn't mean that they're not Christian. bob rulz 19:40, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
- Ok. Let's see it this way. Sometimes we do bad things that appears to be a good thing and vice versa. This is what happened to the Mormonism. From one point they are Christian because they believe in Christ and worship him. There is no way not to be. In the contrary of Jehova's Witness they don't believe in Christ as Lord or Son of God. But Mormonism are not Christian because they have another teaching, other evangelism, something else that Christ didn't teach. And, that's is why the government of USA consider them as a Sect Cult and not even a religion! A.G. 05/18/2007
There are huge, major differences between Mormonism and Christianity about the nature of God, the meaning of Sonship, the creation of humanity and its relationship to God, and numerous other subjects. These cannot be simply glossed over as "a few monor differences". They're major enough that even Christians who are informed about Mormonism cannot consider it a branch of Christianity. TCC (talk) (contribs) 22:10, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

I completely agree with the statement above me. If what I've read is true, Mormons are *not* Christians and it can be plainly seen through the discrepancies between the one and only 100% true Word of God (the Bible) and the majority of the Mormon scripture. My main point would have to be the fact that Mormons believe in a completely different God. I've done extensive research in this area, at least more than the average person, and I have solidly come the conclusion that Mormonism is a cult. One website sums it up quite nicely...

"As we can clearly see, the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sharply opposed to biblical Christianity. Because of this, the LDS Church is not just another Christian denomination, but is a non-Christian cult."

The predicament with people “Bob rulz”, and many other former Mormons/current Mormons, is that they are taught morals, values, and beliefs that contradict or do not take into account what the older generations of Mormons are taught. In addition, if what I’ve learned is accurate, current (and especially the younger) Mormons don’t even know half of the principles, history concepts, and beliefs that their religion takes part in! This, in addition to the information gap between the generations I explained earlier, would explain why they constantly wonder where we come up with statements like “Mormons do not believe in the Trinity” and “Mormonism denies the Virgin Birth”.

In summary, Mormonism is not a distinct denomination of Christianity, in fact, it is a completely separate entity. Being considered a “denomination of Christianity” would entail more than just a belief in Christ… it also includes believing in the only true version of Christ, found in the Bible, and the fundamental doctrines taught in the Bible. ~Andrew, 5/15/06

Odd, you'd think that a church with the name "the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" would believe in Christ. Thier teachings clearly reflect this. They teach that he was the son of god, etc. The main difference is that we believe that Christ =\= God.

Icezebra 17:21, 5 March 2007 (UTC)In order to agree on whether or not Mormonism is part of Christianity we need to first agree on the definition of Christianity. The current accepted Wikipedia definition is:

“Christianity is a monotheistic religion centred on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. Christians believe Jesus to be the Son of God and the Messiah prophesized in the Old Testament.”

This boils down to 2 key issues, that Jesus was the Son of God; and that Jesus was the Messiah prophesized in the Old Testament. The other key point is rather more subjective. Not every Christian follows the teachings “religiously”[pun intended] (indeed, to follow them to the point you are expected to give up your family and never speak / have contact with them again... madness!).

Thus we are left with the two criteria, religions that conform to these should regard themselves as part of Christianity and vice versa. I’m not an expert on Mormonism, and so will leave this particular point to you to decide on. I have though, in a brief search, found two Mormon – run sites. One proclaims:

“We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.”

Immanuel – another word for messiah. This statement seems to suggest Mormons are Christians, no? Yes, one might think that perhaps the inclusion of "Jesus Christ" in the official title of their church, could imply a conection to Christianity, but it is not formally accepted by Christians as a denomination. Therefore, I think that Mormonism should not be put under the Christian umbrella, along with the fact that many Mormon beliefs about theology and history do not bear a resemblance to Christianity. One definition of Christianity impinges on being trinitarian; Mormons have no concept of the trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). JIMBOB —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jimbob10045 (talkcontribs) 01:40, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Another site ( offers a whole diatribe on their beliefs regarding Jesus.

On a related note; the preceding comment makes a point about Mormonism being a cult, and then takes the jump to non-Christian cult. I’d like to see the evidence behind this, rather than just the conclusion as stated above.

The problem with this statement is that “cult” is a subjective word, there are several definitions of this all revolving around:

“an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers”

A slightly more specific definition related to the issue at hand: “a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader”

There is essentially no difference between Christianity and Mormonism except in numbers, and neither can claim substantially to be “the true faith”, indeed, neither can even claim substantially (or, even logically, reasonably, scientifically et cetera) to be true...

To conclude; if Mormonism is a cult, then so is Christianity, however this doesn’t really help the argument at hand. The best definition would be that Mormonism is a sub-cult of the Christian cult, just as Protestantism, Methodism, Jehovah's Witness(ism?) are all sub-cults of the same.

What does help is that Mormons themselves base their beliefs on Christ and the Bible, and conform to the definition of Christianity. Surely that’s enough... I feel there's sufficient evidence to include it as a denomination of Christianity.

Furthermore, quoting "the one and only 100% true Word of God (the Bible)" in an argument, discredits the validity of your research... If you're going to believe the Bible without any reasoning or logic applied, how can we trust (without sight of evidence / reasoning process) your reasoning and logic in this area? Can you elaborate more on your extensive research? Icezebra 17:21, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

In the West, there has always been the question: Why are we here on this planet? The Chinese also have a question. Chinese classics maintains JiLaiZhi ZeAnZhi 己来之 则安之, we come we remain. The question is while we are here how do we walk the path of life. The difference between Religion and philosophy: Religion is a theory that needs to be proven. Philosophy suggests methods to conduct life. China has no religion of its own. Buddhism is from India. Chinese do not worship their ancestors. They extend sincere respect and love to their deseased ancestors. Shen Yi, July 11, 2007

The Catholic Church now officially says that only Catholics are (true) Christians. List it under "frauds" maybe?--Svetovid 22:07, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
I would be grateful if you could you site a good reference for that statement. DanielDemaret (talk) 20:32, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Every group that defines themselfs as christian should be called christian, why should one person belief rule out others, if going to chose one, why not chose catholics who say most other christian churches are not christians and exclude them too!-- 09:58, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

I believe that Mormons are christians even when i am not; im catholic. I can see were some people would say their not thou —Preceding unsigned comment added by Uglyducklings (talkcontribs) 05:57, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Raelians believe in JC, knowing he was resurrected because Elohim cloned him, Elohim probably transported him to the Americas and told Joseph Smith about it, forming III Nephi account. Still Raelians are not offended to not be included as not being called Christian even though they believe in him. Raelians accept that they have a different understanding of who Jesus was, the cloned Elohim. Allow Mormons their belief as Christians, even if it is different, it is offensive to Mormons to be excluded and other Christians already have their hands full trying to 'protect' the notion of the virgin's God on the cross who walked on water and raised the dead. Its all rather ridiculous anyway, the religion gets to claim what they believe, not others. Others get to voice their disputes and criticisms which we should also document respectfully. Preceeding signed by: Bnaur Talk 05:44, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

First paragraph

Comment about the section before the first paragraph:

what it says now: "For a member of a religious community, see Religious order."

what it should say to more correctly reference the other article: "For a religious community, see Religious order."

The "Religious order" article is not about a member of the religious order, it is about the religious order.

Thanks, and sorry for any protocol intransigence as I'm not knowledgable about wikipedia editing.

Cpnugent (talk) 20:40, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

As I had a vandal claiming Freemasonry was a religion (based on this article), I had a look at the lead here (although I know we don't source articles from other articles). The changes I made address the following:

  1. A religion is a set of common beliefs held by a group. Different beliefs obviously don't make the same religion.
  2. Community was inaccurate. People of the same religion can live wherever they want. It was a bit too vague.
  3. the adherence to belief was redundant, as the beliefs as underlying principle was already stated.
  4. Religious law is part of the codification of religion, so I added that.

I'm not sure I like the lack of qualification of mysticism. Most mysticism is considered an offshoot of the main orthodox religion, except for certain cases, but I'm not clear on how to address that without minimizing it. MSJapan 17:33, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

The 4 things you define what a religion is is not the same as all others, there is alot of definitions on what a religion is! So if some group claims they are religion it should be respected and allowed.-- 10:01, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

First, when defining religion, we at least need to ask, "What is necessary for religion?" There is an overabundance of useless definitions on this subject. The best I have come across include: "An ultimate concern" by Paul Tillich. World view is helpful. Similarly, it can be defined as what one considers to be ultimate reality. For instance, theists will say God; Non-theists will say matter or matter in motion. Although theists may prefer (although not necessarily) the term "religion," Non-theists seem to prefer world view. I find religion defined as a world view persuasive for everyone has one. They are either consistent with their world view or inconsistent with their world view and they are conscious or unconscious about their word view. Religion can be considered a philosophy although it would pertain to the most ultimate concerns in philosophy. So, one could say that all science is founded upon some philosophy and all philosophy is based upon some world view (religion). I'll appreciate any criticism of this, but you must provide something better in its place. (talk) 02:16, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the first paragraph could use some work, but in the case of the religion article I think it's likely that there will always be someone dissatisfied with it. I don't think we can just say "an ultimate concern," or a worldview. While I agree that all religions are worldviews, I don't think it's true that all worldviews are religions, at least not given a conventional understanding of "religion." Most definitions seem to include reference to the supernatural and to spiritual insight, as well as a questioning of ultimate concerns and ultimate reality. So, while I might personally believe that many things (say, Capitalism or Communism, for example) have a religious quality to them (at least in terms of people's devotion to them), I still don't think that a loose, more philosophical definition of religion that includes such things is appropriate for an encyclopedia, at least not without heavy qualification.--Pariah (talk) 05:26, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
  • There will always be someone dissatisfied with almost anything. Your second sentence, "I don't think" does not show much conviction, which is understandable. I would argue that all religions are worldviews and all worldviews are religions. The difference between the two would be that religion has broader connotatations. Otherwise, they are essentially the same. Both ask the same questions, the ultimate questions. You say "most definitions." Most terms have more than one definition. Popularity can only be the first definition if what is essential cannot be given; otherwise, popularity moves down in rank. "Most" religions do incorporate supernatural, but definitions are first about what a thing is, if possible without exception. A philosophic definition is more appropriate for they are universal in nature as opposed to empirical observationalism which can never account for universals. All definitions have at least some philosophy. My "loose" philosophical definition accounts for every religion. What you have offered on the other hand does not. Marxism, Buddhism, and Atheism have all been described as religions as well, and for good reason. This needs to be accounted for. The difference between world view and religion should be between connotations. Religion may have 5 or more definitions; whereas, world view may have less. Can you name something that is necessary to religion that world view does not contain or vice/versa? If not, then they are first and foremost essentially the same. The difference is in connotations which should be included secondly, thirdly, etc. in the definition.Adriansrfr (talk) 08:55, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Further, the historic use of religion should be included (the Romans binding themselves to their gods)and how religion has been historically used in America would be helpful as well. Below I provided Noah Websters 1828 dictionary definition of religion as well.Adriansrfr (talk) 08:55, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
If you read the article carefully, there is already a section on etymology, with reference to the Roman / latin term. However, singling out American historical usage is unfair to the rest of the English speaking world--unless you'd like to do a history of the use of the English term "religion" everywhere. The 1828 definition is rather limited--it is not inclusive and is possibly offensive to non-Christians. As for whether or not all worldviews are religions, I simply don't agree. A religion is a special case of a worldview, but a worldview is not necessarily a religion. I did mention at least two necessary conditions for a religion: the supernatural and special insight (revelation or inspiration)--neither of which exist in Marxism or Atheism. Buddhism straddles the line between religion and philosophy, so its inclusion as a religion seems justified to me.--Pariah (talk) 16:02, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Noah Webster is representative of American culture predominately and if that needs to be a separate section, then that would be fine. What is your historical contrast for other countries of the time? Your definition might have served its purpose over a hundred years ago when religion essentially meant Christianity, but times have changed and to limit the definition to that alone does not account for over one hundred years of history. Today, what is considered religion includes Satanism, Wicca, and Secular Humanism as a few examples. One hundred years ago this would be absurd. Today, it is a reality. The most relevant of the three is Secular Humanism. The Humanist Manifesto I considers itself a religion. The Humanist Manifesto II changes the term religion to faith (another common substitute for religion). I think you are trying to hold to a narrower Marxist definition of religion. Further, Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961)367 U.S. 488 footnote 11 acknowledges Secular Humanism as a religion. Secular humanism does not acknowledge "the supernatural" or "special insight" yet, it calls itself a religion. (talk) 05:43, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Emile Durkheim understood religion apart from the supernatural or revelation about 100 years ago. Supernaturalism is a particular of metaphysics (sometimes associated with vitalism, teleology, mind, or under the category of ontology) and revelation is a particular of epistemology. Lastly, if you scroll down to on religion definition, you will find that what is provided aligns more with religion as a world view than the two necessities you provided. (talk) 05:43, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
  • About two thousand years ago, Christians were considered "atheists" because they did not believe in the "Pantheon". Did the Romans mean that Christians were not religious? I appreciate your definition, but many will find it too narrow and miss many important connections. The definition that you provided should be included for historical reasons by extension, but for the purposes of intension, world view offers the best start. (talk) 05:43, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you're not making a lot of sense. You propose using a 180 year old definition of religion, then you propose defining religion in modern terms so broad as to make the word meaningless. Also, if you read my posts carefully, you'll see that I never actually proposed a definition; I only mentioned, for the sake of example, some of the things people typically think of when they consider "religion" as opposed to secular worldviews. Secular humanism may be defined as a religion for the sake of a court case regarding public officials, but if you read Secular humanism, you'll see that secular humanists are just that: secular, and see their philosophy as an alternative to religion, not an actual religion. Religion encompasses a great many things, but that does not mean that we should collapse its definition into "worldview"--at least not for the sake of Wikipedia. In another forum, I might agree that the line between religion and non-religion is sometimes blurry, but Wikipedia is not the place for that kind of commentary, at least not without a very strong reference to that effect. I think it would be fine to include the term worldview in the lead, and/or make note of Durkheim's theory in the definition section; but neither should be to the extent that we start including ostensibly secular worldviews into our definition of religion.--Pariah (talk) 06:46, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Related forms of thought: Religion and science

The article Religion and science should be edited to remove the following quote:

“All scientific knowledge is probabilistic and subject to later improvement or revision in the face of better evidence. Scientific theories that have an overwhelming preponderance of favorable evidence are often treated as facts (such as the theories of gravity or evolution).”

The first sentence should be removed because it does not accurately represent the main article: Relationship between religion and science. It includes false statements and employs biased language that is not found in the original text. For example, nowhere in the main article does it claim that “all scientific knowledge is probabilistic.” That’s not just a false statement, it doesn’t even make sense.

  • The relationship this statement is making between religion and science is one of epistemology. The statement is not false. It sounds to me you are confusing philosophy with science or engaging in scientism. The goal of science is change. Science never produces knowledge in the way Plato and Aristotle understood the word. Even Einstein understood this. He believed his theories were false, but just more accurate than Newton's. As another example, see the problem of induction.Adriansrfr (talk) 09:40, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Maybe I wasn't being clear about my objection. My objection is to the word probablistic. Scientific knowledge is based on observation and repeatability and, because new observations add to knowledge, it is subject to change. The word probabilistic has multiple meanings and, unless the specific meaning intended is made clear, its use in this case is confusing at best. The sentence could easily be edited to read, "All scientific knowledge is subject to later improvement or revision in the face of better evidence." with no loss in meaning, and with a significant increase in clarity. This is really an issue of neutrality. The word probability is being used here to suggest that science knowledge is not to be trusted. In fact, there is another change I would recommend for the same reason. The word "better" is POV loaded as it suggests there is something wrong with existing knowledge, whereas it is simply incomplete. "Better" should be replaced with the word additional. I propose editing the sentence to read: "All scientific knowledge is subject to later improvement or revision in the face of additional evidence," as it is a far more neutral description of the epistemological reality. Mmyotis (talk) 15:50, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Nor does the article state that “all scientific knowledge is subject to later improvement or revision in the face of better evidence” which as it stands is biased, misleading, and outright wrong. Scientists don’t get “better” evidence, they make new findings. New findings neither improve our knowledge nor revise it, they simply add to it.

The second sentence should be deleted because it is not true as stated. Scientific theories are treated by scientists and most educated people as logical explanations of how things work that are built upon a multitude of facts. Often, folks who do not appreciate the difference between a theory and the facts which a theory might be built upon are either poorly educated, or have allowed their religious beliefs to interfere with their ability to reason logically.

Mmyotis 22:13, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Religions will all accept science up to the precise point that what they believe crosses with science. Then they have excuses why science is wrong in that one regard, while trying to embrace the rest of what science offers them and appearing mainstream. I agree that those who reject the scientific method, or good science, are poorly educated. Evolution for example, isn't just a theory on the table, it is the ONLY theory on the table. All evidence in a lab points to its truth. I personally believe aliens may have had a hand in life on earth, but that is not a scientific theory and it is impossible to prove, just like creationism by Deity. Those are simply religious beliefs that formally contradict good science. I am for letting science prevail, as religious dogma will take us all over the place with the vast variety in (false) beliefs. Preceeding signed by: Bnaur Talk 05:58, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

What would a wiki religion be like?

could a wiki religion work? I don't mean to belittle other religions but it seems that most of them are out dated and could use some feedback.

See Rev Bem 18:09, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't quite understand what you mean. Could you elaborate? Karonaway 23:31, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Here's how it COULD work: All editors give their personal glosses on the words they use. For instance. if an editor uses the word "God" he gives the definition he uses. I got mine from the Maamar VeYadaata/library/ THE POWER ABOVE ALL DEFINITION(limitation). One's power of definition.

Disagreements can usually be traced to a difference in definition. Editors who are largely guided by their definition of the term can at least trace their disagreements with other editors to their differences in their definitions.
It is popular to have the term mean everything(and thus nothing) so those loyal to a popular religion that uses the term prolifically likely won't join in.Johnshoemaker (talk) 13:29, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Links, amazon reader

there is a search box in the amazon reader if you type in something like religion, all the pages will display. The same goes for PDF, the use of Ochre is sometimes seen as symbolic of religion. Muntuwandi 16:03, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Doesn't matter, proper citation requires an author and a page, and a publisher and a date, just like any other academic or research article that cites other work. You can't just paste bad cites and expect them to stick. Not only that, I think a discussion of religion's origins is way beyond the scope of this article. MSJapan 16:08, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
This is even better than citing an author or research article because you can read the information directly without requiring a subscription. The origin of religion is important because it did not appear from nowhere. It must have had a beginning. I will provide the information from more Journals later on Muntuwandi 16:10, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
You're missing my point, which is that you are not citing material properly. Work on the material in your userspace first if it's not ready to be included. MSJapan 16:16, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
An ISBN and a page number is sufficient enough as a citation. Muntuwandi 16:18, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
No, it isn't. Author and Publisher info is standard. The proper citation should be:
  • "Wade, Nicholas - Before The Dawn, Discovering the lost history of our ancestors. Penguin Books, London, 2006. p. 8"
I make no comment on whether the material being cited is relevant or reliable in the context of this article. Blueboar 19:23, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
I will, though - Wade is a science reporter, and the book is about DNA and genetics, not religion. The PDF is a review of literature written by a psychology researcher. Neither of them are reliable for this article. MSJapan 00:28, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Nowadays there is a merging of disciplines to help understand what it means to be human. Genetics, archeology, linguistics, and anthropology are all being merged and not being treated in isolation as before. Currently anthropologists link religion to symbolic behaviour, and abstract thought. Furthermore it is believed that the development of language was a necessary prerequisite for the evolution of religion. Researchers have made putative dates for when these stages in human evolution may have took place. For example the increased use of red ochre in African sites dated to 50,000 years ago are at the moment the strongest indication of some form of ritualistic behavior that could be associated with religion. I believe the inclusion of important dates is important The evolution of religion. Muntuwandi 00:41, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Believe me, I know all about interdisciplinary research, but the sources you cite are clearly not interdisciplinary in the way you say they are, and do not assert what you claim. The new source you cite does nothing for your argument either, because you are engaging in OR by synthesizing statements from disparate publications to make conclusions that are not made in the sources. For example the PDF you cite now isn't called "the evolution of religion" as you state; it's called "Ritual, Emotion, and Sacred Symbols: The Evolution of Religion as an Adaptive Complex", which is psychology, not history. MSJapan 00:54, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
MsJapan, you have reverted more than 3 times. I suggest you revert back and we can continue the discussion on the origin of religion. I am open to modification, but this is a valid subtopic. Religion did not just drop from the sky. It has its origins and some scientists have researched this area, on which I would like to make additions. Muntuwandi 01:06, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
That's fine, but you're not quoting those scientists; you're quoting offhand remarks in one sentence amongst 50 or 100 pages that have nothing to do with the topic, as long as the one statement fits with your POV. If you want to talk about the origins of religion, find scholars and sources working on the origins of religion. More importantly, as I thought, this is not the right article - you want Development of religion for what you want to do. MSJapan 01:11, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Can the origin of religion be dated? A surprising answer is yes, if the following argument is accepted. Like most behaviors that are found in societies throughout the world, religion must have been present in the ancestral human population before the dispersal from Africa 50,000 years ago. Although religious rituals usually involve dance and music, they are also very verbal, since the sacred truths have to be stated. If so, religion, at least in its modern form, cannot pre-date the emergence of language. It has been argued earlier that language attained its modern state shortly before the exodus from Africa. If religion had to await the evolution of modern, articulate language, then it too would have emerged shortly before 50,000 years ago. Before the Dawn

Please don't forget to revert. Muntuwandi 01:22, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

That's precisely what I mean about things taken out of context - Wade is a science reporter, and the book cover and the review both say the book is about genetics and other scientific breakthroughs that allow us to learn about history. The book is not about religion at all, and does not support the statement in the way it needs to to be reliable, because Wade probably never touches on the statement again in the following 312 pages. I'd be interested to know what the preceding and following paragraphs are, as your little trick on the reader didn't work for me. MSJapan 01:30, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
You mean religion cannot be studied scientifically. I don't always agree with Wade, but he is one of the best science journalists. His best talent is articulating the "greek" and "latin" of scientists into language that regular folks understand. He does not do the research himself, but he relies on the information from other experts and simply translates it into everyday language. He writes for the New York Times. that is credible enough. If you go through the reader and search for religion you can see it pops up at least 25 times. So this is not just a one liner in the book. If you get a chance you could just read the whole book, it has been reviewed favorably. However they are many other sources that say the same thing though I think Wade articulates it best. Muntuwandi 01:43, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Reviewed favorably by whom? This is definitely not the venue for these additions, which are nothing more than highly spurious theories. Where do you get that religious rituals "usually" involve dance and music, btw? While I would happily believe that the creation of language and religion are most probably intricately related (see for instance Roy Rappaport's Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity) there is nothing widely accepted in the particular argument you are trying to advance. By the way, if you take Rappaport seriously (which I'm not suggesting you do) then ritual and religion may in fact pre-date language--not communication but language. Any theory about the development of religion will in fact be scientifically spurious and if you ask me nothing about the origins of religion should be part of this entry at all except perhaps for a reference to the existence of such theories and then a link to the development page.PelleSmith 03:11, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

I think the assertion made in this book is very much common sense and is a descent scientific explanation. At the moment the scientific consensus is that all humans are descended from a population of Africans who lived about 50,000 years ago. From this group a small subset of Africans left Africa into Asia and went on to reach Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas[[1]]. The question that arises then is how to explain similarities between the present day populations who last shared common ancestors 50,000 years ago. Similarities can only occur by 3 ways, that is

  • Convergent Evolution
  • borrowing
  • Common Origin.

It is a well known fact that religion is practiced by all human populations. Consequently it either was evolved independently in places such as Australia and or South America or it has a common origin in Africa. The most logical explanation is a common origin in Africa. And this is all that I believe should be included. Muntuwandi 04:13, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Look this isn't evolution. Accepted notions about human evolution or about approximate dates for the evolution of language do not belong in this entry. The problem comes in when you try to tie these theories into a theory of the creation of religion, which, however logical it may sound to you is unverifiable and simply not necessary here in this entry. Go to the Development of religion page with this stuff please.PelleSmith 04:42, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
What is with the hostility. This is cited information from the emerging synthesis of human origins. I find it to be very fascinating and very simple to understand. It is also critical to the questions role that religion plays in our lives. Muntuwandi 05:03, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
There is no hostility. This material simply doesn't belong in this entry. You will never build consensus either to keep it in. Please explain to me how your material isn't 1) based upon highly theoretical propositions--even if many scientists believe they are true (something we don't even know) 2) a synthesis of such materials--OR. Anyone can go around citing aspects of what they edit into an entry. The existence of a source that relates to a fact used in creating this kind of synthesis doesn't make the source or the synthesis itself worthwhile.PelleSmith 16:16, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Agnosticism and Skepticism

In regards to a recent removal and revert of the sentence: "Agnosticism is by definition skeptical of religion." This statement is patently false. First of all agnosticism is uncertain and not necessarily "skeptical"--skeptical is a charged and POV rendition here of "uncertain." As an agnostic, I'm also much more comfortable with uncertain than skeptical as a description but maybe that's just me. On top of this what agnosticism is uncertain about is the existence of deities and not "religion." Its sad to see the persistence of this Monotheistic (more so particularly Protestant) bias in religious criticism. Religion, to many of its naive post-Reformation Western critics may chalk up to a belief in or faith in God, but that is NOT the definition of religion AT ALL. Religion involves several other aspects and may not involve deities even, in some notable cases. On the flip side of the coin the statement "skeptical of religion" may therefore include anyone skeptical of any component of religion. I may fully believe in a god but be skeptical of religious institutions. Likewise I may be uncertain about the existence of gods but not be skeptical at all of several religious institutions and/or religious practices.PelleSmith 12:52, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

It seems that it might be more accurate to describe Agnostics as those who are skeptical of the supernatural. If Agnosticism is a worldview and all world views are religious, then agnosticism is a religion. This would harmonize your point with many of the other perspectives in this discussion. Adriansrfr (talk) 03:43, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Encyclopedia Britannica (part of)

[2] religion Encyclopædia Britannica Article

human beings' relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine. Religion is commonly regarded as consisting of a person's relation to God or to gods or spirits. Worship is probably the most basic element of religion, but moral conduct, right belief, and participation in religious institutions are generally also constituent elements of the religious…

religion... (75 of 218 words)

Austerlitz -- 18:05, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Here, it is important to define the term worship. Different religions and world views will define worship differently. Some would consider worship to be singing, while others particular body posturing, and others acts of obedience. Considering I have studied religion in general for almost twenty years, praxeology seems to be the best definition of worship. Worship includes the acts that flow from one's beliefs or more particularly world view. All religions are world views. Worship is to religion as praxeology is to world view. Hopefully this taxonomy is useful. (talk) 02:27, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Origin of religion once again

There is no need to force contentious material into the entry without discussing it first. It was successfully kept out of the entry once already, hence I think some discussion is in order instead of simply reverting. Can someone explain how this is 1) notable 2) not a synthesis and 3) not OR?PelleSmith 23:21, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Note: For those interested in this discussion it should be noted that the parent entry of this information, which was created today by the same editor who added it back to this entry, has also been nominated for deletion. Comments would also be appreciated at the AfD. Thanks.PelleSmith 23:29, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

  • It is notable because it is scientists say so. Around 50,000 years ago for the first time very elaborate burials of humans become ubiquitious. These burials are indicative that belief in the afterlife had fully matured by 50000 years ago.
  • It is notable because this is what archaeologists have dug up.
  • It is a synthesis by notable scholars not by wikipedians.

Muntuwandi 23:28, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

No it is a synthesis by you, quite clearly. Also none of what you have mentioned proves anything about the existence of religion. Its just speculation, and not very notable at that. Do you have any references for the synthesis itself and not for sporadic facts from archeology?PelleSmith 23:31, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
As long as it is speculation by reputable scientists, then that is fine. I mean evolution is speculation too. Muntuwandi 23:34, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Not quite at this level, and Evolution is notable.PelleSmith 23:35, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Where does evolution fit in with religion, I don't see any mention in this article or in the article Development of religion that mentions aspects of human evolution and religion. If humans did evolve, then religion must have evolved with them. This is why I created the article. Muntuwandi 23:44, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I was careful to add citations in that section to anything that may have seemed like a synthesis. Could someone please say what the problem is? What claims are unreferenced that should be? TCC (talk) (contribs) 01:20, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
References to individual facts that are part of a novel synthesis do not circumvent WP:OR issues. Lets paste the text you ended up with here, with references and take a look at it.PelleSmith 02:27, 10 October 2007 (UTC)


Every human culture has possessed beliefs in spirits, gods and the supernatural.[3] Each culture having its own unique beliefs about the origins of the universe and the role of humans. However recently a number of scholars have began to search for secular reasons as to how religion may have arisen and why it is so ubiquitous. According to the Recent single origin hypothesis, anatomically modern humans emerged less than 200,000 years ago and around 50,000 years ago humans began dispersing out of Africa to populate the rest of the world.[4] This has led many scientists to suggest that when humans dispersed 50,000 years ago from Africa, all the traits characteristic of modern human behavior, including religion and language had evolved. For example science writer Nicholas Wade states:

"Like most behaviors that are found in societies throughout the world, religion must have been present in the ancestral human population before the dispersal from Africa 50,000 years ago. Although religious rituals usually involve dance and music, they are also very verbal, since the sacred truths have to be stated. If so, religion, at least in its modern form, cannot pre-date the emergence of language. It has been argued earlier that language attained its modern state shortly before the exodus from Africa. If religion had to await the evolution of modern, articulate language, then it too would have emerged shortly before 50,000 years ago. -- The Dawn: Discovering the lost history of our ancestors


Half of what is left is a block quote from a completely non-notable individual who is not an authority on religion at all. What the block quote speculates about is not in any way commonly accepted fact. BTW what does it mean that he is a "science writer"? Is this even an academic? Sure the Recent single origin hypothesis may be more commonly accepted than the Multiregional hypothesis, but the implications to "religion" and the origin thereof are spurious at best. For instance even the idea that religion and religious ritual has to have post-dated language is not in any way commonly held. Roy Rappaport, who is a recognized authority in the field of the anthropology of religion, in fact suggests the opposite (to give one example). Conversely, lets say that religion post-dates the development of language (the dating of which is also disputed btw) why are we to believe that it developed soon after the development of language? Similarly, as Muntuwandi is suggesting elsewhere, why are we to believe that the existence of burial practices, or the theory that elephants understand something about death, in any way means anything substantive about the development of religion? These are just spurious associations aimed at one thing and one thing alone. Proving that religion developed out of Africa. The issue here is that some basic and perhaps mostly agreed upon facts, like the Recent single origin hypothesis are being used to provide a foundation upon which to add speculations about the origin of religion made by people who are not authorities in the field. That is why its a synthesis and why its OR.PelleSmith 02:47, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Then cut the bit about the single origin theory, since that seems to be the problem, unless the connection can be sourced.
The "non-notable individual" is a science writer for the New York Times and has a number of popular science books in print. Interviewing researchers and presenting their work is what he does. If the goal is to come up with some kind of idea about what the consensus view is at this point, this is exactly the kind of source we should be looking at because we can't get this information from primary sources (i.e. scholarly papers, which naturally present the hypotheses of their authors and are not intended as overviews.) Let's at least grant him the benefit of some kind of editorial review. One doesn't have to be an expert on a subject to write a book about it if what you're doing is reporting hypotheses put out by others, which is mainly what he's doing here. Yes, it would be better to source him than to plop down a blockquote. The right thing to do is to fix it, not delete it. And if there are other points of view on the subject -- if (as I know is the case) the question is far from settled, then present them. Don't delete a section just because it disagrees with the researchers you know about. Especially a section on a subject that really ought to be discussed here. TCC (talk) (contribs) 03:04, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
PelleSmith, the Neanderthals were burying their dead in Europe and in Iraq 300,000 years ago. Elephants are also found in India. What has that got to do with Africa. Muntuwandi 03:44, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
All of the connections made to Religion, the actual subject matter of this entry, are completely speculative. In fact any "theory" about the origin of religion, whether secular or religious in nature, is equally speculative. If there are enough notable theories that are similar in nature they deserve a generalized mention in terms of the origin and development of religion. I certainly agree with that. The problem is that there is nothing notable here except for the basic premises that aren't even about religion but about evolution and human development. You suggest getting rid of the single origin theory, but if we do that what is left? Let me take a stab at answering that.
  1. Useless generalizations like "Every human culture has possessed beliefs in spirits, gods and the supernatural."
  2. Problematic generalizations like "Each culture having its own unique beliefs about the origins of the universe and the role of humans."--for instance many cultures share belief systems or aspects of belief systems with other cultures.
  3. False statements like "However recently a number of scholars have began to search for secular reasons as to how religion may have arisen and why it is so ubiquitous."--Not only was this secular concern foundational to the study of religion, but also to the very disciplines of sociology and anthropology. See for instance Edward Burnett Tylor. Of course such theories have long been discarded due to their highly speculative nature.
  4. Unverified speculations like "This has led many scientists to suggest that when humans dispersed 50,000 years ago from Africa, all the traits characteristic of modern human behavior, including religion and language had evolved."--many scientists believe that "religion" developed 50,000 years ago? The only reference here is a block quote not from a scientist but from journalist.
This same journalist, in said block quote, suggests that religion has to post-date language, and hence given the single origin hypothesis most probably developed 50,000 years ago in Africa. So if we believe that religion has to post-date language, and we believe the single origin hypothesis then it isn't a stretch to state that religion came out of Africa 50,000 years ago. That's a lot of ifs.PelleSmith 04:39, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

The single origin hypothesis is becoming less and less of an if but more of a reality. How do you interpret this

"the Upper Paleolithic marks the first time in history where a substantial number of females were buried with elaborate grave goods, indicating an elevation in their social status .
"Deep cave sites in combination with the evidence for elaborate burials and fertility concerns suggest that the Upper Paleolithic marks the emergence of something new in religion: exclusive rituals that existed alongside community-wide ones."[5].

These are not ifs. If people are burying their dead with grave goods, it involves some aspect of ritual and belief in the afterlife. And scientists have dated these events to 50000 years ago, how can this be original research. Muntuwandi 04:57, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

What you have said is completely speculative. What if burying people with goods was a means of settling disputes over inheritance? What if burying people with goods was done because the surviving members of the group believed a dead person's tools were cursed (btw superstition and or belief in something akin to "magic" does not = the existence of "religion")? What if burying someone with their goods was done because early humans weren't sure initially about death and in case the lifeless body presented them were in fact not dead it may become angry to find out its possessions had gone missing? And the list could go on and on and on. There is no way to factually claim that burial or the existence of grave goods means a belief in the after life. Organized ritual behavior does suggest an elaborated and organized way of dealing with something like death, but again to draw the link, as if it were simply obvious, from this to what we consider "religion" is speculative at best.PelleSmith 05:07, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
This is not my opinion, but mainstream consensus on Grave goods is that the represent some sort of superstitious belief, most likely in the afterlife. The goods will be taken with them into the afterlife. This is well established you see it in several tombs of the Ancient Egyptians as well. It is not mere speculation, it is mainstream consensus. Muntuwandi 05:13, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Mummification and specialized grave goods designed to aid in the afterlife (such as small human figures called ushabtis) are also characteristic of Egyptian burial practice (Smith 1992)[6] for example.

  • Grave goods - Objects placed within human burials to equip a person for the afterlife or to identify the deceased.definition

Most of the more complete human skeletons from before the Middle Palaeolithic and Middle Stone Age appear to be the result of extraordinarily favourable taphonomic contexts. No evidence for deliberate burials exists for the Lower Palaeolithic or ESA. Despite arguments to the contrary by Gargett (1989, 1999) and other colleagues, there are a wealth of Middle Palaeolithic human skeletons that seem to have been buried deliberately (Solecki, 1971; Trinkaus, 1983; Defleur, 1993). Such burials could be motivated by purely practical factors like the need to dispose of undesirable cadavers, but it is more likely that the numerous burials of Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans of the Middle Palaeolithic reflect the deliberate burial of kin and are linked to personal and emotional ties between the living and the dead. Defleur (1993) has summarised much of the evidence for Middle Palaeolithic burials and points to a number of convincing cases in Europe and the Levant. The question of the deliberate inclusion of grave goods and the identification of specific ritual practices is more contentious and difficult to demonstrate beyond doubt.

In the Upper Palaeolithic the data are unambiguous, and many burials preserve opulent grave goods that reflect the status of the individuals and the needs of the dead in the afterlife. An overview of the patterns of behavioural change in Africa and Eurasia during the Middle and Late Pleistocene

We will likely never know when the first religious idea was born, but a substantial number of researchers have concluded that the art, artifacts, and burial practices of the Upper Paleolithic reflect religious sentiments (Breuil, 1952/1979; Dickson, 1990; Dowson & Porr, 2001; Hayden, 2003; Leroi-Gourhan, 1982; Lewis-Williams, 2002; Lommel, 1967; Mithen, 1996; Winkelman, 2002; see Hamayon & Francfort, 2001 for a contrary view).The Religious Mind and the Evolution of Religion Matt J. Rossano Southeastern Louisiana University Muntuwandi 07:01, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Getting back to the point

Look the point here is, and always has been, from my perspective at least, that any notable and sourceable aspect of these speculations belong in Development of religion and perhaps even more relevantly in Prehistoric religion. What is the problem with that assertion? Have you tried working with those entries, which most editors here would agree are the logical places for this type of material? After placing such information within its appropriate sub-context there one would have a better understanding of how, if at all, to mention it in a very summary manner here. You seem to have attempted to circumvent that process by creating a separate entry for this information. Other editors don't think your particular synthesis of material on human development with suggestions about religious belief merits an entry of its own when clearly it exists within the framework of the Development of religion and Prehistoric religion, and that is essentially what has caused a problem and has instigated the AfD of that entry. What do you have to say about this?PelleSmith 13:18, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Could we also have some more voices here? This shouldn't be an argument between two editors, besides I'm sick of making these particular arguments when the solution seems so simple (see directly above). I also suggest having a look User:Slrubenstein's comment on the AfD of the main entry, because it is highly pertinent.PelleSmith 13:27, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
I've commented on this before, above, and that still stands. One cannot use a 400-page book on cows as a decent source on birds just because one sentence says "birds often land on cows", and thereby, postulate that birds and cows are linked. However, that type of reasoning is precisely what is going on here, and it is wholly inappropriate. MSJapan 15:41, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
PelleSmith, the article Development of religion makes no reference to archaeological findings. It deals more with religion from a psychological perspective. Muntuwandi 19:23, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
If Development of religion isn't up to snuff then help fix it, and what about Prehistoric religion?PelleSmith 20:02, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
My understanding is those are different disciplines altogether, for example development of religion states

The development of religion is concerned with a variety of perspectives on the ways in which religions come into being and develop. Broadly speaking, three types of models provide different perspectives on the subject:

  • Models which see religions as social constructions;
  • Models which see religions as progressing toward higher, objective truth;
  • Models which see a particular religion as absolutely true;

There is no mention of what archaeologists have found regarding religion. This is a social science analysis of religion. The origin of religion deals mainly with information from archeology and evolutionary biology which goes back millions of years. The very first evidence of any sort of behavior that can be directly associated with any form of ritual, spirituality or religion is the intentional burial of the dead by the Neanderthals some 300,000 years ago. No other species on the planet is known to intentionally bury the dead, especially with the addition of grave goods. All this is not present in the development of religion, and is actually a distinct field. so to say that the origin of religion is a POV fork is incorrect, because they are not covering the same material. Muntuwandi 21:33, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Development of religion is deeply flawed by design and needs to be split into at least three independent articles, one of them history of religion. This latter should include a section on prehistoric religion, and one of the origin of religion, which in turn should discuss Anthropology of religion. Theological discussions on "progressive revelation" are offtopic to this and belong in separate articles. dab (𒁳) 15:33, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

I think you are right but trying to jam this particular view on the origin of religion into this entry and creating a seperate entry Origin of religion without as much as attempting to engage Development of religion is not the way to achieve this--ditto goes for creating an entry that isn't a neutral space for engaging various theories of religion's origin. Clearly archaeological speculations about the origin of behaviors and beliefs that relate to what we currently consider "religion" are not just interesting but important. That very fact however makes what the Muntuwandi is trying to do here all the more problematic. He doesn't seem interested in working with anyone to provide a solid, notable and well referenced account of theories (not one liners but theories) that suggest something akin to what he's claiming and to do so in what others have suggested are good starting locations. He wants his poorly documented and partly synthesized evolutionary perspective to be presented as the explanation of religion's origin, or perhaps more precisely the affirmative dating of religion's origin. He repeatedly shows no interest in adding information to either Development of religion or Prehistoric religion. Again, the first entry is clearly flawed, and the second is a stub, but aren't these the logical starting points here? Don't you find it problematic to go around suggesting that this material be presented as the Origin of religion?PelleSmith 16:12, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
The question is whether religion has a biological basis. Humans are social creatures, and our ability to socialize is built into our biology. The question arises is whether religion is biologically based, when in the process of human evolution did humans become religious. Nobody knows the exact details, but there is plenty of evidence from archeology to make sound inferences. The article origin of religion should present the major scientific theories on religion. These beliefs are entirely secular, so if one does not believe in evolution, they shouldn't bother reading them. Scientists are actively debating these issues. As yet no person has made an y direct challenge of the information contained in the article. Muntuwandi 19:00, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Update--I have provided an in depth analysis of the entire entry that addresses this issue. You can't miss it because its huge. Just go to Talk:Origin of religion. Cheers.PelleSmith 00:12, 12 October 2007 (UTC)


The demographics part is taking up too much space here, and duplicates material at major religious groups. It is a nightmare to maintain, and should only be featured in one central place. Either split it to major religious groups, or merge both into a new religious demographics article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dbachmann (talkcontribs) 21:23, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

The CIA World Factbook:World largely agrees with the pie chart in the article. Someone requested additional citations... here you go. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Could you add this following link to external links please?

Could someone please add the following link to the external links section please., this is the main religion wiki on Wikia. It provides a place for everything missing from this article to live. Rev Bem 18:13, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Confucianism is a religion?

Ridiculous.Then we should call Maxism, Leninism "religion". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 2ndlife (talkcontribs) 14:56, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

See my comment under Encyclopedia BrittannicaAdriansrfr (talk) 02:34, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Origin of religion

We have a link to the development of religion and a section titled "origins and development". Yet there is no information discussing the origin of religion. If we have agreed on some of the content of the origin of religion then we should have something written. I am requesting a volunteer to write one or two paragraphs. If nobody volunteers I shall do so myself. Muntuwandi 22:27, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Before you insert anything in the article, you should put your suggestions on the talk page. Based on your previous work, your content is off-topic, has undue weight, and is a synthesis of work, leading the reader to certain conclusions. Regards, -- Jeff3000 23:11, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Since you dispute the information I am adding, I am requesting someone else to write about the origins of religion. You can do so yourself. But necessary information regarding this very important topic is missing. Muntuwandi 23:13, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Reality of Unreality

Nowhere in this article can one find the following words, all of which relate to evaluating religion's effect, growth, and validity: birthrate, control, exploit, gender, government, invisible, majority, poverty, totalitarian, war (non-intellectual). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:02, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Category:Animals in religion --- ought to be mentioned somewhere in the article

According to religious and scientific views, most of human beings are evolved from animals, except for the celestial figures who discended from outer space, right? Therefore, animals are our ancesters in roots, and mention them pls.

No matter how holy the animals are in religion, they are animals....

holy animals maybe more sincere than human being, but they are much less wiser than humans. Therefore risk management should be implemented for religious use of animals and their souls that are of tasks, so does for food.

Pls add a link from Religion and ecology to the article

it is an important subject of religion

Please mention all the TV programs about religion in the article....

including Compass (TV program), and sincere/genuine/objective contents from TV channel of The Word Network, 3ABN

TV programs are important media for people to embrace various ideas, cultures, spiritual and religious knowledges which promote the understanding of the ethnics of all kinds

Revamp of Criticism section

Buddhism does in fact involve a belief in god (, this is a western misconception. I think the section singiling out Buddhism is inaccurate and should be removed. (talk) 16:58, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Please read the article you linked carefully. If you do, you'll find that the statement at the end of Religion ("criticism regarding the existence of god(s), for example, has very little relevance to some forms of Buddhism.") is not inaccurate. In some forms of Buddhism, particularly Theravada, the existence of God(s) is not very important--instead the personal efforts of the meditator toward psychological liberation are emphasized. God_in_Buddhism also makes it clear that the idea of God as a first cause of the universe is not part of Buddhist doctrine (citing ignorance instead as the closest thing to a first cause). Also, in a talk given to the University of Toronto, Robert Thurman relates a story from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition about the Buddha travelling to heaven to meet Brahma, to find out the ultimate cause and meaning of all things. Brahma makes a show in front of the other gods, telling the Buddha that the truth cannot be revealed to a mere mortal. But as the Buddha leaves heaven, Brahma in disguise stops him. No longer in front of the other gods, Brahma admits to the Buddha that the universe was already there when Brahma appeared on the scene--as the oldest god, he just pretends to be the creator of all things to keep the other gods from panicking. He then asks that the Buddha, when he does discover the truth of existence, come back and tell Brahma, because he's curious about it, too. The story reveals that even God cannot say for sure what the universe is all about.
So, while there may be some worship in certain sects of Buddhism, on a conceptual level it is not a misconception to say that God is not particularly relevant to Buddhism in general.--Pariah 00:15, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

the "god wars"

as i see it,there should be more mention of religos wars,and also the new propaganda sytle war in this article.. (talk) 01:00, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the first part. There should be mention, the world is what it is today because of the differences and clashes! The Christianity page should also include Crusades.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:38, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Not necessarily an institution

Religion may be more socially defined than a belief system, but that doesn't necessarily make it an institution. Stating that it is held by a group of people already covers the social element. --Tsuzuki26 (talk) 19:37, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Please provide an example of a religion that isn't a social institution. It is another matter to say that religion isn't only a social institution, but I believe this entry already retains that perspective. Perhaps the language there could be improved, but again, what religions are not social institutions?PelleSmith (talk) 13:21, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Some atheists claim that they are not an institution and therefore not a religion. However, American Atheists is an institution and so is Atheist Alliance International. Others would argue that all institutions take part in some religion in at least one way or another if we define religion as a world view. The institution may focus on more proximate matters such as science, mediate matters such as philosophy, or ultimate matters such as religion, which is a form of world view.Adriansrfr (talk) 02:49, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Aren't religions also individual belief systems? In fact, don't almost all followers' beliefs vary within the group? Or do we seriously believe that every single person in a religion believe the same thing? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:42, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Evolutionary origins of religion

What is wrong with providing a link to the article in Evolutionary theories on the origin of religion. If we can get more experienced editors we can get more input and further improve the article. These findings will arguably be the most important aspects of religion in the future. The debate about creation and evolution is only going to increase as more knowledge becomes available to people around the world. Muntuwandi (talk) 04:16, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

First of all, that entry is ridiculous but the biggest problem here is in how you are attempting to link it ... as if it is the parent entry expanding on religious "origins" in general.PelleSmith (talk) 04:20, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Are you saying that studies done by anthropologists are ridiculous. I guess you are much smarter than them even if you had never heard of the Out of Africa hypothesis.Muntuwandi (talk) 05:59, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
What I believe (e.g. that religious practices probably originated with homo sapiens, the lineage of which can all be traced back to Africa, at some point after the development of symbolism and language) is not the point here at all. Thanks, for misrepresenting what I believe to prove some ludicrous point. I don't think anthropologists are ridiculous, I think what you are doing is ridiculous and I'm fed up with it. I would rather see the material about what we know from archeology presented in a reasonable way instead of getting tied into your strange crusade. All of this aside, what you are trying to do to this entry is simply not correct. The entry you created is not the parent entry about the origin of religion, period.PelleSmith (talk) 17:37, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
What would you like to see. In my opinion you would be content if this whole issue would just disappear. You haven't articulated what you would want to see, only what you don't want to see. Muntuwandi (talk) 17:42, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
What I want to see is you actually attempting to engage the Prehistoric religion entry where this stuff belongs, and then not pushing your POV about what the origin of religion is onto this entry. I'm pretty sure I've been a broken record about what it is I actually would like to see.PelleSmith (talk) 18:47, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Putting this section under "History" is really not quite right. The first evidence of religion in the archaeological record comes distinctly from "prehistory."PelleSmith (talk) 17:57, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Religious Origins of Evolutionism

European religious thought: the sacred and profane

The most orthodox branches of Judaism (clearly western in the east versus west dichotomy) have an extensive history of considering "profane" everyday life imbued with sacred value if lived a certain way. For example, sex between married people on the sabbath is considered a mitzvah. Moreover, Judaism distinguishes between acts that happen to be consistent with mitzvot and acts done for the purpose of fulfilling mitzvot. This distinction is analogous to the Kantian notion that, for an act to be moral, it has to be motivated by moral obligation, not simply consistent with actions that would be considered moral. I think these are fairly strong counterexamples to the statement that European religious thought is primarily based on a firm separation between the sacred and profane. I would suggest moving Durkheim's theory far lower in the article or at least redacting its claim to be the primary foundation of western religion. --Davidstrauss (talk) 08:08, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I think you make several interesting points. Perhaps the comment should be qualified, or moved to a distinct section where it can be presented along with alternative theories. Do you have a source we can reference for the counterexamples you mention?--Pariah (talk) 22:48, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
I would suggest instead that the redirect for European religious thought and the page it directs to Western religion are the problem here in suggesting such a large role for Judaism. European religious thought has historically and certainly demographically been dominated by Christian religious thought. By this I don't mean anything other than the fact that one example from Judaism doesn't exactly make a strong case in terms of some broader category of European religious thought. Of course we could find examples in Christian religious thought as well where aspects of the everyday world may be imbued with the sacred. This fact does not mean however that even those examples obliterate the distinction between the sacred and the profane (and does your example even do this?) and it certainly doesn't mean that a majority of European religious thought (Judaism included) isn't built on a foundation that to some extent or another accepts this basic dichotomy. In other words I'm not convinced at all that most European religous thought doesn't sit firmly on a foundation that accepts the dichotomy and I think if we want to downplay it a much more substantive defense of such a move must be made.PelleSmith (talk) 03:30, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I would like to add that I firmly believe that there are problems with Durkheim's categories, but I think these problems for the most part come into play outside of the "Western" world -- which is where Goody's critique comes in. These categories have had such a long shelf life in Western thought exactly because of how entrenched we are in them, again, for the most part.PelleSmith (talk) 03:40, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I guess where I agree with Davidstrauss is in the possibility that there are alternative theories. I agree that the sacred-profane dichotomy exists and that there are exceptions to this rule even in Western religions, but are there other foundational theories of religion that we can draw on? I just think they would enrich the article if we can find them.--Pariah (talk) 05:59, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
See user:Andries/Theories of religion. Durkheim's theory is one of several and I doubt whether it is important enough to be mentioned in the sumnmary. Andries (talk) 09:59, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
We need to be clearer here. "Durkheim's theory" is not actually "mentioned in the summary." What is mentioned in the summary is a dichotomy about which Durkheim prominently wrote. Sure enough Durkheim's functionalist "theory of religion" rests on, among other things, an assumption that such a dichotomy exists within all religions (something Goody, among others, has criticized him for). Look through Andries' list of theories and ask yourself if any of these theories actually call into question the idea that there is a conceptual separation between two realms, one sacred and one profane, in mainline European religious thought. Perhaps this component of European religious thought isn't worth mentioning in the lead, but I don't think that has anything to do with the existence of theories of religion other than Durkheim's or the idea that the dichotomy doesn't exist in most European religious thought.PelleSmith (talk) 18:01, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Can the article mention, that religion, makes, profane, anything against their sacred, beliefs and books ? What logical legal right do thery have over the self defense of others against this ? (GeorgeFThomson (talk) 19:41, 25 January 2008 (UTC))

section title: definitions not "definition" (singular)

There are many different definitions of religion. I propose to rename the section and to add the following classic definition by Clifford James Geertz (1968)

"Religion is: (1) a system of symbols (1) a system of symbols (2) which acts to establish powerful, pervasive and long-lasting moods and motivations in men (3) by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."

I think that the wording is a bit complicated and the definition can hopefully be explained a bit. source:Religion the Modern theories by Seth D. Kunin Edinburg univ. press page 133153 Andries (talk) 10:14, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

If religion is narrowed down to mere symbols, then some branches of Christianity will then become non-religious. For instance, those denominations in the Reformed faith are against symbols for they are vague. Reformed denominations emphasize the word (the logos/logic). The history of iconoclasm is the revolt against symbols. Did the iconoclasts become non-religious? Some Christian, Jewish, and Islamic sects may be against particular symbols for it would represent idolatry or false gods. Symbolism seems to be more of a common tenet to postmodernism. Although symbolism may be necessary or essential to some religions i.e. Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholicism, and Buddhism, it is neither necessary nor sufficient for the taxonomy of all religions. A fair starting point might be Paul Tillich's definition of religion as an "ultimate concern," or even better to define religion as a world view. Although many religions may contain many common features, commonality should come last in a definition while necessity should come first. Adriansrfr (talk) 03:22, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

I think this assumes a different definition of symbols and symbolism than was intended by the Clifford Geertz quote. Symbols in that context are not just images or idols; but anything (including a word or a metaphor) that refers to another concept. Given that definition, they apply in large part to all human behaviour, including religion. We are a symbolic species by nature.--Pariah (talk) 05:31, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. A language is the most obvious example of a system of symbols. The wiki entry on language starts thus: "A language is a system of visual, auditory, or tactile symbols of communication and the rules used to manipulate them."PelleSmith (talk) 14:08, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Ok, if no distinction is going to be made between words and sentences to that of symbols, then all this talk is moot. The definition is tautological. In other words, saying that religion is a "system of symbols" provides no new information, unless, we want to maintain that all "systems of symbols" are religions. This is unhelpful at best and absurd at worst. Regardless, this definition needs to be removed either for conciseness or if the distinction is to be maintained then my earlier commnent holds and means that some religions are not "religions." (talk) 00:42, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Please note that the Geertz definition isn't actually in the article at present, only on the talk page. Also, after stating that "religion is: (1) a system of symbols..." it then goes on to discuss what separates religious symbols from other kinds of symbols. So it is still a useful definition and warrants some consideration for the article. That does not mean it is the best or only definition--religion is a complex topic with many possible definitions. That is, I think, all that Andries was pointing out when he started this topic.--Pariah (talk) 05:04, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
True, I believe religion has many aspects and a lot of different view points and definitions are possible. These aspects, definitions, and viewpoints should be treated in this or one of the many ancillary articles. Andries (talk) 19:35, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree. His definition could be applied to a world view as well. What many might find offensive in his definition is that it makes religion sound deceptive i.e. "clothing these conceptions","seem uniquely realistic." The same points have been argued about with naturalistic world views such as Marxism, Communism, Atheism, Scientism, etc. Although some religions can be deceptive I do not think you will find too many people happy to agree that all religion is deception. Religion is a very broad term, but not so broad as to make deception a necessary attribute.Adriansrfr (talk) 10:02, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

I do not think that Geertz meant to say (or suggest) that religion is deceptive, but I believe he meant to say that religion fulfills some psycholgical or social needs and has certain functions in society. Andries (talk) 12:52, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps you can get it "explained a bit" for us here, because this definition strikes me as being very problematic. An explanation might get rid of the problems. DanielDemaret (talk) 20:05, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Psuedo Religion.

What is Psuedo Religion? What does it mean? Where did it come from? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Historically in America, religion has been synonymous with Christianity and only in the loosest sense as Jewish or Muslim.

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines religion:

RELIGION, n. relij'on. [L. religio, from religo, to bind anew; re and ligo, to bind. This word seems originally to have signified an oath or vow to the gods, or the obligation of such an oath or vow, which was held very sacred by the Romans.]

1. Religion, in its most comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of his will to man, in man's obligation to obey his commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man's accountableness to God; and also true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties. It therefore comprehends theology, as a system of doctrines or principles, as well as practical piety; for the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands, is not religion.

2. Religion, as distinct from theology, is godliness or real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men, in obedience to divine command, or from love to God and his law. James 1.

3. Religion, as distinct from virtue, or morality, consists in the performance of the duties we owe directly to God, from a principle of obedience to his will. Hence we often speak of religion and virtue, as different branches of one system, or the duties of the first and second tables of the law.

Let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.

4. Any system of faith and worship. In this sense, religion comprehends the belief and worship of pagans and Mohammedans, as well as of christians; any religion consisting in the belief of a superior power or powers governing the world, and in the worship of such power or powers. Thus we speak of the religion of the Turks, of the Hindoos, of the Indians, &c. as well as of the christian religion. We speak of false religion, as well as of true religion.

5. The rites of religion; in the plural. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Adriansrfr (talkcontribs) 03:37, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

See the article Pseudoreligion for a definition of that term.--Pariah (talk) 05:31, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Does the religion not have to include arbitrary rules on what people should wear and eat too? Is that not the way that God shows His divine will? There is nothing so important to religions as these issues, all disclosed by Divine Revelation. 51kwad (talk) 23:47, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Defaced section

Below the 'Cosmology' section there is a long passage about "Mr. Reynolds" inserted that i'm pretty sure doesn't belong there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:42, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes. I came across it quite casually. It looked like a highly unappropriate joke by a deadly bored schoolboy. Just deleted. Jacek Z. Poland (talk) 11:56, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

And judging by the illiteracy of the vandalism, I guess we can only hope Mr Reynolds isn't an English teacher, or his leading preacher is going to have a nasty shock come the day of judgement... - Shrivenzale (talk) 00:54, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Hinduism demographics (talk) 01:13, 19 December 2007 (UTC) Please mention than Hinduism has 1 billion followers - not 900 million, which is an old & outdated estimate.

Void in the middle

The new additions are harder to keep down than the phoenix bird, but as now placed- leave a large void in the middle of the article. Hardyplants (talk) 02:39, 20 December 2007 (UTC)


The history and origins should proceed in chronological order. Hence I propose refactoring to reflect this order

  • Evolutionary origins up until the time of records circa 4000ya
  • History of religion-ideally this article should begin with or mention ancient egyptian religion because it is one of the first to have sacred texts. It is the invention of writing and agriculture that played a major role in shaping the worlds major religions, this should be mentioned in there somewhere. Muntuwandi (talk) 21:05, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Is Religion Different to Ideology?

I have been wondering if this is true.

Since an Ideology is a set of values or ideas by which a society is guided. why would religion be different? I mean, of course an ideology comes from thinking, and comes from what some people want to achieve as society, shaped by the majority´s interests, while religion suppossedly comes from a deity that also wants to shape a society´s behavior.

being that the case, Isn´t religion an Ideology? one that imposes a set of rules by which you guide a specific part of society? We might argue about the origins of the different religions we have, but most of them have been allegedly created by a part of a society that wants control over the rest, and then having the feeble minded believe that the elite´s interests are their interests as well. All that creating a fear of a superior being watching over them.

seeing religion from that point of view... is it different to ideology?

I appreciate any comment you can post

Marcel Casella

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:44, 22 December 2007 (UTC) 
Wikipedia is not a forum, so the article's talk page really isn't the place to answer questions like this. Any possible answer would be speculation anyway. That said, I think you've answered your own question. But I'll pose a few questions for you to think about: Do you know for sure that all religions believe in a superior being and/or strict rules to control the masses? Is it possible that there is more to religion than just beliefs or ideology? (i.e. what about practices & rituals, or transcendent experience?)--Pariah (talk) 06:59, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
I think your question is relevant to the current definition in the article. The main difference, I think, is that ideology is mostly belief system, but is not as strongly associated with practices - which is also part of the definition here. Not much difference to me, and yet enough to have different words for it. DanielDemaret (talk) 22:44, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Religion, generally, implies more, than an ideology, solely by concept or definition ! ! ! (GeorgeFThomson (talk) 02:21, 26 January 2008 (UTC))

One of the clearest examples of where the differences blur is the North Korean state ideology Juche, which is considered a religious movement by some political scientists. DanielDemaret (talk) 03:28, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I think that religion is not just a belief system. Science is not a religion, nor is maths. Those beliefs have to be irrationally held to qualify as a religion, surely? Else you just have a science. 51kwad (talk) 23:42, 18 February 2008 (UTC)


I think this should be added to the Name of Group Name of Religion Number of followers Date of Origin since it is a growing religion and is well known. I believe it currently has 8-15million members.I am not a scientologist but i think that religions should be listed if they have over a couple of million. Wikiuserfreak (talk) 21:54, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't think the purpose of the article is to list every religion, there are already categories for that, and scientology already has its own article. It is a more general look at religion, so it would need to be fully cited and within the context of the subject matter. Also, please add new topics to the bottom of the page. Pharmboy (talk) 00:01, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Scientology is not a religion. It is only dogma. Maybe an ideology. Maybe a non-sense XD Sorry... I've watched it on TV in a Southpark Episode. XD "Sue me" :D kızılsungur 06:44, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Scientology is no religion. It is a cult and it is a fraud. (talk) 06:17, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
It is not the place of an encyclopaedia to pass moral judgements on its subject matter - only to record it and provide proper cites. I am no fan of Scientology myself, but the Talk page is for discussing how an article may be improved, not for expressing personal opinions. - Shrivenzale (talk) 11:39, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Shrivenzale, I couldn't have said it better myself. -Karonaway 23:02, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Scientology is not a religion. It is only dogma. Maybe an ideology. Is there a distinction here? Roman Catholicism is just dogma. Is that a religion? Scientology is also just dogma so should be treated the same. 51kwad (talk) 23:39, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the Scientology part- but are you comparing scientology with catholisicm as the same?uglyducklings (talk) 10:01, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

It is a cult and it is a fraud. Like all the other religons! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:21, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Pie Chart incorrect

The pie chart showing the break-down of many religions by percent of the world's population is slightly incorrect. The Zoroastrianism percentage should be 0.004% (no more than 250,000 in a world of nearly 6.5 billion). It has 0.04%. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:48, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

New definition

I see we have a new definition, without so much as a word of discussion about it. Is everyone ok with the new definition? DanielDemaret (talk) 19:10, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Does Religion exist outside the human brain?


Is there a basis for this question in a content dispute, or is this a random question? If it's the former, please frame the dispute. If it's the latter, please close the RFC and direct yourself to the reference desks. Someguy1221 (talk) 00:44, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Do we need a section on this? Mike0001 (talk) 11:18, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
There's already a section on that topic, Religious_belief#Modern_reasons_for_adherence_to_religion. But that study shouldn't even be mentioned there until it has published results. Someguy1221 (talk) 20:21, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

RFC closed as there's no context at all... — Scientizzle 03:39, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Napalm and Silly Putty

I see that this article cites "Napalm and Silly Putty", which appears to be a book of humour from stand-up-comedy. Is this really appropriately encyclopedic reference material for this subject? DanielDemaret (talk) 16:10, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

The opinion of a single person published in an unreliable source...definite no. Someguy1221 (talk) 20:23, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

"Mysticism And Esotericism" mistakes corrected

I edited this section but left most of this talk section to explain it.

That section said "mysticism in contrast with philosophy," but mysticism is (or can be) philosophical--even Plato, the founder of Philosophy was mystical--a lesser reason being that most people cannot understand some/much of his works, but concede that if he was not being nonsensical a few experts may understand him. Moreover it says "... contrast with philosophy, denies that logic is the most important method of gaining enlightenment" and gives Yoga as an example. The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is very logical. Mind is not the sole realm of logic, which is from the root Logos, which besides reason/logic is also divine spiritual consciousness. Higher consciousness is still reasonable perhaps how irrational numbers are reasonable but more advanced than rational numbers. This section said "esotericism claims to be more sophisticated than religion," but esotericism may only claim to be more sophisticated than the exoteric [religion,] and esotericism is exoteric in its outer form and so arguably religious in any case. Philosophy, esotericism, mysticism, religion, etc. are overlapping synonyms--there is no reason to be divisive and deliberately unclear about the words.

This section also implies mystics use psychoactive drugs, but most mystics consider it wrong to do so. Some sadhus use a drug, but are an exception rather than a common occurence. --Dchmelik (talk) 06:46, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Etymology, Latin: re-ligion

Latin Re-ligion means reconnection. Ligaments connect the mind(nerve tissue in muscle is element of mind) with members of the body. The mind which is babelling to itself about its addictions is at times disconnected from the body to the extent that the heart races, breath is held and guts squirm. The body thus seperated from the mind suffers. Techniques for escaping domination of the internal dialogue(Death of the Word) are elements of all religions. The prime characteristic of a popular religion is that it tends to affect the populous in group activities: National, commercial, ceremonial. Techniques for reconnection of mind and body are secondary. Perhaps it is relevant to research the re-ligion elements of each popular religion. Johnshoemaker (talk) 10:30, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Comments by Johnshoemaker

“Although religious rituals usually involve dance and music, they are also very verbal, since the sacred truths have to be stated. If so, religion, at least in its modern form, cannot pre-date the emergence of language.”

  • Certainly not since man had no need to reconnect his mind and body—escape the affect of the words—before they could have dominated him. Ecstatic dance, which allows a man a stance outside his verbally dominated self might be conscious of verbal truths but these verbal forms do not, at the moment, control his physical movement. His gesture is not affected by the socially implanted symbols that impress the “proper” way to dance—or think.

“The question is whether religion has a biological basis. Humans are social creatures, and our ability to socialize is built into our biology. The question arises is whether religion is biologically based, when in the process of human evolution did humans become religious. Nobody knows the exact details.”

  • Biology? When did the special voice-box throat bone appear? The restriction between mind and body. Likely during this same era man became conscious of the sense of health, enthusiasm, energy when he escaped the domination of the verbally, socially prescribed symbol system—for a moment.

Burials indicating belief in afterlife?

  • One opinion: “Let the (spiritually) dead bury the dead.”

"Religion is: (1) a system of symbols (2) which acts to establish powerful, pervasive and long-lasting moods and motivations in men (3) by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."

  • This “religion” is the product of a society using symbols to motivate men. Words like “seem” “factuality” and “realistic” imply that the “religion” affects the person’s apperception. This gloss appears to be of a popular “religion” created to maintain a specific social prescribed structure of apperception which seperates the most intimate bodily function, sensing, from the most affective product of the mind--perception.Johnshoemaker (talk) 13:29, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Are these musings meant to suggest any changes to the content of this entry? With no disrespect to your comments, this is not a forum to discuss religion in general, or to muse about religion through the entry, but a talk page on which to discuss changes to those contents. Regards.PelleSmith (talk) 16:04, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Divine Revelation

This has been added:

"For religious proponents to claim they are acting in a particular manner in order to comply with a divine will of some sort, it would be reasonable to support this claim with some form of communication with God or his representative. The Abrahamic religions, in particular, and perhaps some other religions as well, all claim to have had communication with God in some fashion."

'Divine Revelation' has been given a section of its own. I'd ask for some discussion of this paragraph, since although I can't put my finger on it, something doesn't sit right. I think that, partially, the problem is that it's not saying anything that isn't already implied - if not stated - by the bulk of the rest of the article. Secondly, I'm a little concerned about "it would be reasonable to support": views on religion vary wildly from the passionately in favour to the fiercely opposed, and an assumption that any conclusion about religion would be 'reasonable' is necessarily POV (in that it's bound to be argued by someone somewhere). Can we provide some basis for the statement that any one point of view would be 'reasonable' above any other? And besides, are we in the business of supporting one thing or another? Can we reword this? Does anyone else feel it needs rewording, or is it just me? - Shrivenzale (talk) 10:50, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

It may have been implied by the bulk of the article but being such an important part of the Abrahamic religions, it should be expressed overtly. The initial sentence was merely an introduction to the latter sentence, which expresses the views of the Abrahamic religions. I was intending to add more, but I had to sign off, so I removed the partial paragraph I had written after this one and left this to remain until I could return. Being reasonable is the defense of the religions who have it -- allow the religions who do not claim divine revelation to defend themselves as to how they can know God and/or his wishes without communication, either in written or oral form. If they are following a religion of extraterrestrials, let them defend their practice with a date and time when they received word from these extraterrestrials on how to practice said religion. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 15:26, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I follow your aims exactly, but we should not be defending the truth claims of any religion in this entry, nor should we be refuting them. This means that calling any of them "reasonable," or conversely denying reasonableness to any others is entirely out of the question in a WP:NPOV presentation of religion. The fact that divine revelation is a hallmark of several religions could/should be noted, but from a neutral perspective, and simply as a matter of fact.PelleSmith (talk) 15:36, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. My only specific concern is that, in my experience at least, it's all too common for people to confuse 'religion' in general with one specific faith or group of faiths. This is often because one particular faith is of great importance to them, or because one particular faith is the focus of their disapproval. This article must not be allowed to contribute to that confusion by suggesting universality where none necessarily exists. - Shrivenzale (talk) 16:37, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
My edits and subsequent defense has been misunderstood. Some religions, and they being the most common by both member population (% of total) as well as popular culture (most referred to in current media, novels, other references, etc.), i.e the Abrahamic religions, are fundamentally based around divine revelation. They are practiced because one or more people allegedly saw, spoke to, was spoken to by or heard a God or a representative of Him. I find it troubling that this is not mentioned outright in the article, but rather merely "implied." I am not saying that all religions claim this, but those that do make a reasonable claim -- not to say that those which do not are not objectively reasonable. To assert that because not all religions claim divine revelation it should not be included is ludicrous -- few religions make a claim that laughter is a prerequisite for prayer, but the article includes that. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 14:55, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
The most significant issue with regard to the edit you made is that most of what you said is contained in the article, and linked articles, already. This article already includes several references to divine revelation, and there is already a link to the Revelation article. There is certainly no need to be 'troubled': the concepts you describe are, as far as I can see, adequately covered. You have yourself hit on one of the problems of your own phrasing, though, when you say that although Religion A is 'reasonable', you're not saying that Religion B is 'unreasonable'. (Personally - and I speak as a religious person - I'd say that all religions are by definition objectively unreasonable.) The fact that you've had to offer this disclaimer highlights the danger of commenting on reasonableness in an article on religion. Best to make no specific or implied judgements as to what's reasonable and what isn't if you're seeking to maintain NPOV.
As far as the reference to laughter goes, on balance I agree with you. The substantial treatment of the specific Trickster concept in the second part of that section threatens to outweigh the more general first part; and the Trickster, though common in religion, is not universal, and is not a necessary component of religious belief. In view of this, with respect to the author of it, I've removed that segment. - Shrivenzale (talk) 15:34, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
I removed the bulk of the second paragraph, as it focused on information relating to the tiniest iota, if even that, of religion. On the issue of divine revelation, I would like to expand and include a discussion on comparative notions of divine revelation. Please comment on the parameters that should be maintained to limit my efforts, should they subsequently result in reversion. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 12:56, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

(Outdent) I think there is a misunderstanding here of how WP:UNDUE and WP:NPOV function here as guidelines. The fact that most "religious" people in the world belong to one of the Abrahamic religions, or the fact that the Abrahamic religions are more commonly represented in the media of Western nations, in no way justifies weighting the entry with aspects of those religions not shared by others. We don't write about Culture with an emphasis on aspects of Chinese culture. We also don't write about the President of the United States of America, with a weighty emphasis on George Bush's presidency simply because it is more current in the popular media. Lets not also forget that that the major reason why more religious people today identify with revealed religions is in no small part due to the imperialism, conquest and less coercive means of conversion variously played out in the histories of two of these religions (the third in fact isn't all that big to begin with). Add to this the fact that all three stem from a relatively narrow source and it becomes clear that things like Divine revelation are not common in Religion as a historical phenomenon, but simply common in three religions that are intricately connected to regimes of dominance and power throughout recent history. We are not reporting here simply on the religions of the victors, we are trying to cover religion, as best we can, as a universal human phenomena. There is ample space to point out demographic trends, but there is absolutely no reason at all to weight the entry towards specific aspects of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.PelleSmith (talk) 14:10, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Nicely stated. However, because this article is on religion, and three of the major religions of the world (not as an evaluation, but merely as an observation) do lay claim to and are based heavily if not entirely on their claims of divine revelation, mention of this should be in an overt form stated explicitely in a dedicated section/subsection rather than exist as a fleeting mention or as an implied reality. The fact that the Native American trickster has been a part of this article for as long as it has without contest begs the question of whether or not the obstacle to an expansion of a section on divine revelation is contrived out of a novel POV. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 14:46, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
The fact that the Trickster section remained unquestioned for as long as it did shows only that the section had not been questioned before. Now the item has been questioned, and it has been removed. The fact that that segment has now been removed does not in itself provide a basis for the inclusion of the more specific - and, if I'm honest, rather confusing - segment on divine revelation that you originally added. Divine revelation is covered in this article: it is described throughout and is specifically linked to its own article from this one. In my view, further elaboration on that specific topic would not serve to benefit this article - rather (and particularly in the segment you added) it risks implying that divine revelation is part of religion as a concept. It is not. Not wishing to labour the point, there are a great many different religious systems out there. - Shrivenzale (talk) 15:32, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
(Responded to user on his/her talkpage) DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 14:09, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Shrivenzale, and would like to further point out that from the outside perspective (or historical and social science perspectives at the very least) divine revelation is only a means to adjudicate truth claims. In other words, it is "claimed," in these religions, that religious truths have been divinely revealed. The claim may be notable, but it is far from universal (see above), and it is also a narrative that rejects a historical perspective. It isn't entirely clear either, in any given instance when certain beliefs and practices developed--after the claim of divine revelation came into discursive existence, or before it. In fact it isn't even very clear how important divine revelation is to the mundane day to day practice of religion amongst the multitude of people who self-identify with one of the Abrahamic religions. I digress, but the point here is simply that there are many reasons not to harp on this concept, and it is much better to explicate it in an entry that is specifically about religious belief or religious truth claims, and/or entries specifically about one of the, or one aspect of the Abrahamic faiths. If there are more religions out in the world that are not divinely revealed then that is ample reason enough to keep the type of text you wanted to add out of this entry.PelleSmith (talk) 19:30, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
I take considerable issue with your comments. Jews know that God exists and that they follow his word because we have an eyewitness account of his revelation from Sinai -- something no one else has ever claimed. Valid testimony as accepted in any court of law includes eyewitness testimony, as does confirmation that any event actually occurred. I'm sure you never met George Washington or even Charlie Chaplin but you more than merely believe he existed. The picture on the dollar could be the engraver's best friend, and the Chaplin movies could be as truthful as Tom Hanks' handshake with John F. Kennedy in Forrest Gump. But you do know because it is well documented that hundreds if not thousands of people saw them, met them, talked to them, etc. If there were 3 million Jews at Sinai who claimed to witness first hand his revelation to them, how can you doubt that claim any more than you doubt that Washington or Chaplin really did exist outside of fiction and folklore? This is more than can be said for Christianity and Islam, which base their belief on the events surrounding their "revelation" without any witness other than the person claimed to have received it and who benefits tremendously from perpetuating a lie to that end. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 14:09, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
You "take considerable issue" with my comments, and then deride Christian and Islamic claims to divine revelation as somehow less reliable than Jewish ones? Are you really claiming that there were verifiably three million people on Sinai that can be considered as eye witnesses in the sense of someone that testifies in court of law in the present age, whose testimony is recorded infront of many other uninvolved eye witnesses? And what were these people eye witnesses to exactly--revelation or someone's testimony about revelation? Does their "witness" meet scientific or historical standards of proof that the revelation itself occurred? I take it at the very least that you have the individual testimony of three million people and that third party witnesses can verify that this testimony was given by each individually. I mean that's what your analogy to our legal system suggests. BTW, I am in no way trying to refute your claim about "revelation" but I do certainly refute your analogy. Here again I see a wish to pass judgment on the narratives of specific religious traditions, and now you are telling us the Jewish ones are particularly "reasonable." No entry on Wikipedia should be passing these types of judgments, certainly not this one. We accept the claims of all religious people, and non-religious people, as exactly what they are "their claims." We do not go about convincing people that this or that claim is more or less reasonable, and we certainly don't when there is no way to use the guidelines we have in order to do so. Other than the fact that I do not believe as you believe, I'm not sure exactly what there is to take considerable issue with in my past commentary or this commentary, at least within the framework of Wikipedia and its policies, such as WP:NPOV. All the best.PelleSmith (talk) 14:55, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Please do not be enraged by my words -- I was merely responding to something you brought up. Yes -- Judaism's claim (and this will be no doubt whittled down to Orthodox Judaism by those who do deny the validity of the Oral Law of Judaism) is that all religions and their respective instances of revelation other than Judaism and those of Judaism, including Christianity and Islam, are and were a hoax. That does not mean that Judaism damns all of the gentiles to eternal Hell -- on the contrary, we do not demand nor even ask that gentiles convert to follow Judaism. But you made it a point to assert:
In other words, it is "claimed," in these religions, that religious truths have been divinely revealed.
It isn't entirely clear either, in any given instance when certain beliefs and practices developed--after the claim of divine revelation came into discursive existence, or before it. In fact it isn't even very clear how important divine revelation is to the mundane day to day practice of religion amongst the multitude of people who self-identify with one of the Abrahamic religions.
...and yes, these are comments made without the slightest consideration of the proofs brought to support both the certain incidence of and the point along the timeline attributed to divine revelation at Sinai. I did not intend to place this information in the article, so I don't understand why you resort to dismissing it as POV. This is a discussion and in discussions, people have POVs. We might attempt to collaborate on an article to present a NPOV, but I see no reason why we can't openly discuss our POV in order to reach a concensus.
And in reference to your attack on my analogy, I do defend it wholeheartedly, as it is not my analogy, but one made by Judaism, and in fact, by Menachem Begin, the first Prime Minister of Israel, known for anything but his love for traditional (used in this sense to refer to rabbinic) Judaism (He used this reasoning as a petition to the United Nations for the permission to have the State of Israel). Our claim is that approximately 3 million (as the count in Exodus of the Israelites leaving Egypt is restricted to males between the age of 20-60, we can assume that the mention of 600,000, when added to the other men and women and children was somewhere near 3 million) Israelites were present at Sinai and witnessed God speak to the entire nation. Why don't the other religions back up their incidences of revelation with a claim of national revelation instead of revelation to individuals who then ask people to believe in them with blind faith? We say it is because they can't lie about such proportions, because it would be unverifiable. So yes, that is our claim, and your comments were made flippantly and without consideration of information of which you might not have been aware. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 21:09, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
This page is in fact not a forum for discussing religion or aspects of religion more generally but for discussing content in the entry. Also you misunderstand the ideas of consensus and NPOV. For instance, you present the following perspective here:
"Judaism's claim (and this will be no doubt whittled down to Orthodox Judaism by those who do deny the validity of the Oral Law of Judaism) is that all religions and their respective instances of revelation other than Judaism and those of Judaism, including Christianity and Islam, are and were a hoax."
This perspective is fine if it is presented as a claim common to a religious group. It is not a perspective that should inform what we try to write objectively about religion as a human phenomena. It adds nothing but a narrow value judgment by one group of believers on another group. Contrary to what you might think, Wikipedia does not aim to become the end result of compromise between truth claims that are unverifiable within our standard methods of verification. We present such claims as the hallmark of specific religious communities and we do not attempt to adjudicate them. Do you not understand that this is the only neutral way to present such truth claims? Your negative beliefs about Christian revelation and Muslim revelation (which are just as impossible to verify historically and/or scientifically as their positive internal beliefs) are not part of some negotiation, they are only an example of a social fact--the social fact that people like you hold those beliefs. I mean no offense but "neutrality" in the realm of objective portrayals of religion means taking a secular perspective (and I do not mean a Secularist perspective) hat does not make any claims to specific religious truth. Also, nothing you have said regarding Menachem Begin or what you "can assume" about the population of people present on Sinai adds any validity to this comparison between apples and oranges. In one instance we know beyond a reasonable doubt that those testifying existed and in another instance we do not. Either way, we cannot know in the court case, or in your example of revelation, if what the testimony claims is actually true. Hard evidence is required, and in court cases we may in fact be able to scrounge up some hard evidence, which in the case of divine revelation is completely impossible. This is not to say that such a revelation is impossible, but that it cannot be adjudicated through science. It exists, in the world outside of the religious community, as simply a belief, however true it may be to the believer. I fail to understand, btw, how this digression relates to this entry anymore. What is your argument for adding the materials you want to include? Does it rely on presenting your religious community's beliefs as objective fact, because that it isn't acceptable? Best.PelleSmith (talk) 22:02, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

(Outdent) From what I can see, we are primarily in disagreement about our beliefs/convictions regarding religion -- which is expected, as we do not share a religion or even a sect of a one. The past few entries on either side have been occupied with civil sparring over a comment you made about the Abrahamic religions, such as your statment about the inherent lack of clarity regarding how important divine revelation is to the mundane day to day practice of religion amongst the multitude of people who self-identify with one of the Abrahamic religions. Isn't it objective that the quality of the evidence for claimed divine relevation directly impacts on the legitimacy of the religion based on that revelation? Divine revelation, then, being so crucial to those religions which claim to has experienced it, should have a prominant place in an article about religion. Not because every or even most religions claim it, but because those that do will essentially live or die by those claims and the quality of the evidence for those claims. That was my argument, and you argued against me, stating that revelation has been mentioned or implied throughout and consequently, a paragraph dedicated to the mention of divine revelation is contraindicated. The rest came about as an albeit digressive debate over specific claims and the quality of the evidence of such claims -- important to discuss yet not entirely apropos to the discussion of whether a dedicated paragraph/sub-section should be included in the article.

You have confused my arguments with someone else's when you claim that I stated "that revelation has been mentioned or implied throughout." This conversation has ceased to be about anything productive vis-a-vis this entry. Please keep your own religious POV out of the entry. Thanks.PelleSmith (talk) 01:03, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Ah...I just scrolled to see another disagreement we have. I'd like you to please explain to me why you invalidate my analogy. I know that there was Thanksgiving in 2007 (because I was there and celebrated it) and in 2006 (because I was there and celebrated it)...and I can go back to 1980 (even though I wasn't born yet), because my parents told me that they were there and they celebrated it...we can go back in history all the way back to the actual event and be certain, not just hope or have faith, that the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, etc. Similarly, I know there was a Passover and a Shavuos in 2007, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and national divine revelation at Sinai, respectively, because I was there and I celebrated it...I can go back through the generations to the actual events we are commemorating and not believe but know that that occurred. Why is that not sound? How else do we know anything in the past occurred if any individual person is not as old as the time since an event occurred? DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 00:05, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Whether or not a holiday was celebrated 27 years ago is a far cry from divine revelation occurring for 3 million people. If you are more comfortable with the proof provided for you by your religious belief system than with basic propositions that govern empirical investigation and knowledge then you are welcome to that perspective, but don't confuse your beliefs with the type of facts that can be verified for our purposes here. This conversation is outside of the bounds of what this talk page is for and I'm done. If you start trying to add the type of judgmental commentary that you have used here you will readily be told by editors other than I why it violates core policies. Good day.PelleSmith (talk) 01:03, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Buddha's enlightenment could be considered a "divine revelation." You must have a very poor knowledge of Christianity to say that Christians do not claim to have eyewitness accounts of divine revelation? Any way most religions claim some sort of divine revelation, Abrahamic or not. Also, religions tend to be old. New religions often build their foundations on new ones. Islam borrowed from Christianity and Judaism. Christianity, see it's self as the continuation of Judaism which in turn traces it's roots to the beginning of time. Modern religions such as neo-paganism claims to be a return to the abandoned religions of pagans. An exception is Scientology, which still has common aspects with older religions. Rds865 (talk) 19:23, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Religious Belief

The following text was removed from the article (from the Religious Belief section):

Many native traditions held clowns and tricksters as essential to any contact with the sacred. People could not pray until they had laughed, because laughter opens and frees from rigid preconception. Humans had to have tricksters within the most sacred ceremonies for fear that they forget the sacred comes through upset, reversal, surprise. The trickster in most native traditions is essential to creation, to birth".[1]

While I agree that this statement really didn't belong where it was, I do believe it warrants some attention somewhere in the article. The quote needs to be cleaned up a bit (there seems to be a missing quotation mark, and it seems a little bit general), but maybe the original author can fix this. I know its hard to summarize indigenous religions, but they do deserve proper mention.--Pariah (talk) 23:02, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Why do "indigenous religions...deserve proper mention"?
Alternatively, this information can easily be summarized as a sentence in the beginning paragraph(s) of the 'religious practice' section as Native American traditions generally required the presence of a trickster to elicit a religious feeling prior to contact with the sacred. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 00:49, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
Aspects of indigenous religions deserve mention in this entry if they are notable enough because just like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam these traditions are also religions. I think that this is pretty self evident. That said they are mentioned in the entry under classification. In terms of putting in more detail it would be most useful if there is some more general aspect of religion that is common amongst indigenous religions that can be fleshed out with examples therefrom. The paragraph that was removed seems much to narrow in focus to be of use here.PelleSmith (talk) 01:23, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Please stop changing the existing summary table.

Let's see the differences between my existing version (and its summary table was the original one in many years) and Herunar's version [7]. Herunar has broken the summary table [8] and he called my warning is...[9]. Which one is more valuable? People, please vote! Thank you so much!

Angelo De La Paz (talk) 15:34, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia isn't a vote, and would you stop spamming everyone you know on Wikipedia? You're getting on my nerves. You deleted my messages and OMGed when I reverted your spamming. And then you gave me two vandalism warnings. You haven't answered (or read) any of the five comments I left you - on your talk page, on the bot page which you spammed on, and on an admin's page. I fixed the table already, now what the fuck do you want? Herunar (talk) 16:11, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Please show me the evidences which show that I've deleted your replies. And these are my evidences that show you has deleted my messages to other members [10][11] and you was hurting me by hard words [12][13][14][15] Angelo De La Paz (talk) 16:18, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Okay, you pissed me off, really. You have thousands of edits, you should know better. Here's what happened: I editted the page, fixing a few things I feel wasn't right. You reverted all of my edits claiming that my edits made the table confusing - which I didn't understand, so I reverted. Then you reverted again and told me that I messed up the table, which I did. You gave me a vandalism warning which I reverted because that wasn't vandalism. I fixed up the table and you reverted again, this time telling me that I didn't cite a source. Then you went on to spam about 8 users, including one bot, asking 2 of them if my vandalism warning was deserved and asking the other 6 to vote on your version. I left out the first three and attempted to revert the rest, but you OMGed me so instead of reverting I left a comment at each page. You removed those comments and I added them back. You then added another one of your messages to one user you have already spammed - I removed that. I'm sorry if I was impolite in the process - but you're pissing me off, quite frankly. You did delete my reply on at least one occasion - when I added a message, you reverted it. I assume it is a mistake; I also assume you could pay attention to what you're doing and offer good faith instead of massively spamming everyone. Now could we sit down and discuss the changes? I can speak Chinese if you don't understand English well enough. Herunar (talk) 16:25, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Here's the evidence you want.
And here's the definition for vandalism: WP:VANDALISM. Please read it.
Here's the first revert I made. Here's my second edit (I marked it as a rv but I fixed the table, so it addresses your concern). Here's my second revert, and it's different content again. Two reverts in total; the 3RR rule states that we shouldn't revert more than 3 times (which is 4 times or more) in 24 hours. This warning is thus groundless. Herunar (talk) 16:35, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Hold on. Could you actually respond to my replies before going off spamming everyone? I'm on a tight schedule, I don't know what the hell you're on about, you've wasted 2 hours of my time, and you're irritating me. Herunar (talk) 16:42, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

STOP: Can you both please calm down and stop arguing about each other's behavior on the talk page. As far as this entry goes the only thing that matters is the differences in content between the two versions. Herunar, it is not SPAMMING to bring up content disputes with editors who frequently edit entries. Its good to have more than two disputing voices chime in on these matters. Now can we discuss the differences in content here please. Thanks.PelleSmith (talk) 16:51, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

That was spamming, because I addressed his concern and he simply gave me vandalism warnings which I removed, then went on and asked every user whether those vandalism warnings were deserved. There is no content dispute - read my explanations above. Thanks. Herunar (talk) 16:53, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with PelleSmith. I recommend to the both of you to concentrate less on who did what outside of the article and instead step away for a moment and discuss the actual change to the article. A couple of good things for the both of you to read would be Wikipedia:Assume good faith, Wikipedia:Dispute Resolution, and Wikipedia:Civility. -- Gogo Dodo (talk) 16:54, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I addressed every concern he every laid out. I fixed everything. He hasn't responded, simply reverted my replies and went on spamming everyone. I've said that clearly above, read it. Herunar (talk) 16:57, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
He requested a citation for one of my additions, that Shinto originates from Taoism. This is actually implied in the paragraph above the table; I simply added it there to clarify. No, I don't have a citation for this. Since he disagrees, I removed my addition. Everything's done, party's over, 3 hours well wasted over one problem that would be solved in a minute if he simply told me. Okay, I'm not frustrated. Herunar (talk) 17:04, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Content Problems

I've reviewed these edits and there are some serious issues here, none of which I see addressed anywhere on this talk page:

  1. Shinto does not originate from Taoism. Where do you get that? If you want to make this claim it is up to you to do so in a referenced capacity, but I'm not entirely sure how you are going to do so since its simply incorrect. The the etymology of "shinto," the term used to label the religion comes from Chinese (and yes "to comes from "dao"), but the religion itself originates in Japan.
  2. While it may be correct to remove Confusianism from this entry altogether it is notable that there is difference in opinion as to how to categorize the tradition and therefore it does merit discussion.
  3. Why is it preferable to remove the specificity of Christianity and Islam, simply claiming they are "worldwide?" I can see arguments on either side of this but it would be nice to see one made for the change.
  4. The idea that Judaism's major region is Israel is not really true for most of the last few centuries. Diaspora is a major part of the geography of Judaism. I absolutely disagree with that change.
  5. What is the point of removing "known" from "no known founder?" The old version was clearer.

Now can you please discuss these points in a civil manner. Thanks.PelleSmith (talk) 17:29, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Oh yes, Pelle! Your eyes are fantastic.Angelo De La Paz (talk) 17:33, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for summing it up. I discussed point 3 here. Point 1: Shinto is a folk religion based on the mix of Chinese Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism that went to Japan. It does not strictly come from Taoism, but the paragraph above stressed that these have the same origins and concept "Tao", so it's not far-fetched to say that these are at least very much related. I removed it anyway, since it's useless there. Point 2: There are gray areas, but one clear thing is Confucianism does not have the concept Tao. I simply rephrased it above so that it says Confucianism is also included. I didn't remove Confucianism altogether. Point 4: So what should we say? The Jews are everywhere - Western Europe, Eastern Europe, United States, even North Africa and China. Worldwide? No. The United States? Not just. The religion originates from Israel so I believe it should simply state so. It says "region", not people. Point 5: The point is, there couldn't be any founders because they are folk religions. There is no point in adding "know[n]". Herunar (talk) 17:39, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
  1. That isn't exactly correct. Shinto is a folk religion (originating in Japan) that was significantly influenced by (and indeed partly organized through) the Chinese traditions you mention. This organizational aspect is very much so related to the adoption of Chinese terminology you also mention. If you are OK with having removed it I guess we don't have to discuss it further, but do you see the difference here, why it clearly does not "originate from" Taoism?
  2. It is my understanding that Neo-confucians did utilize the concept Tao, so what do you make of that? Also, while I tend to agree that Confucianism is perhaps not a "religion" the native Chinese distinctions are not entirely helpful since "religion" is a western category, which few if any non-Western cultures have equivalent terminology for. I still think its worth discussing.
  3.  ???
  4. Yes diaspora is perhaps the most significant geographical aspect of Judaism in the last couple of centuries. We should absolutely make its significance clear. The way it was originally presented was just fine.
  5. Unfortunately history is not that as simply as your logic, and the truth is we can't possibly know. Do you prefer "no claimed founders?"PelleSmith (talk) 17:56, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
2. In modern Chinese, for religions, we use the word 宗教. Before western influences, we generally refer to god-worshipping religions as 教, also the word for sects and means "teach" as a verb, e.g. what we perceive as heretics are called "邪教" (evil sects). The philosophy of Confucianism and Taoism is a completely different and quite complicated matter. Tao, as a concept, is part of the philosophy originated by Laozi (before Confucius); later people created the religion Taoism (道教), which is very different from the original concept of Tao (道家思想, literally Tao - School - Thought) - Dao ke dao, fei chang dao (The Tao that can be uttered is not the Tao, which Taoism defies by worshipping select gods). Confucianism (儒家思想) is another branch of philosophy that originated in the Spring and Autumn period, which emphasizes on the common goods of people and teaches emperors how to govern the people, which is why it gained "popuarlity" - Han Wudi thought that it'd be good if everyone followed the principles of Confucianism which tells people to be nice and loyal to the emperor, instead of other schools of thoughts, some of which tell people to be independent. It has nothing to do with religion or Tao, but ignorance and convenience made us group all these together as "traditions" and impose it as the religion of the Chinese people. 4. Okay, adding Jewish diaspora is fine. The original version states "USA and Europe" as well, which I believe is not necessary. 5. No. The logic is that folk religions have no founders. There is no history involved, because the nature of folk religions is that they are founded by tradition which gradually evolve. There can't be founders, so it is a logical impossibility to know any founder. Thus, adding "known" there is purely stupid. Herunar (talk) 18:25, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the Chinese lesson, but I think it only highlights why the Chinese categories (none of which as you note yourself directly translate to "religion" are not useful here). Call it cultural imperialism or what have you. The Jewish diaspora has its most recent historical and cultural roots in the United States and Europe, where it remains very socially and culturally salient. I don't see the problem with that at all. As to the logic of folk religions, my point here is that "logic" is not the correct method to determine what we do or do not know about historical origins. However, as I note, the category says "date of origin" and not "who founded the religion." The correct thing to put here is the word "unknown," only, or if historians stipulate a date of origin for the religion that is ok as well. Whether or not the religion claims a founder should not be the determining factor here at all.PelleSmith (talk) 18:37, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

The main points

The main points of dispute between me and Herunar, that is the summary paragraph (Christianty, Islam and Judaism only). Let's see our differences. I believe that my version (and also the original version in many years) was much more better, fuller and more factual:

  • My version:
Name of Group Name of Religion Number of followers Date of Origin Main regions covered
Abrahamic religions
3.4 billion
Christianity 2.1 billion 1st c. Worldwide except Northwest Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and parts of Central, East, and Southeast Asia.
Islam 1.5 billion 7th c. Middle East, Northern Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, Western Africa, Eastern Africa, Indian subcontinent, Russia, China, Balkans, Malay Archipelago
Judaism 14 million 1300 BCE Israel and Jewish diaspora (live mostly in USA and Europe)
Bahá'í Faith 7 million 19th c. Dispersed worldwide with no major population centers
  • Herunar's version:
Name of Group Name of Religion Number of followers Date of Origin Main regions covered
Abrahamic religions
3.4 billion
Christianity 2.1 billion 1st c. Worldwide
Islam 1.5 billion 7th c. Worldwide
Judaism 14 million 1300 BCE Israel
Bahá'í Faith 7 million 19th c. Dispersed worldwide with no major population centers

And please look at these maps. SEE? My version was much more better and far right than the Herunar's version. This is my only and the last disagree...NO MORE NO LESS

Angelo De La Paz (talk) 17:43, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

What is your argument? Here's a few questions, to make it clear: 1. Do you disagree with my version of Judaism? You haven't made it clear. 2. If you disagree with that, and thus believe USA should be included, how many Americans are Jews? 2-3%? Why should the United States be a main region of Judaism? Some estimate that 5% of Chinese are Christians - which by both percentage of population, percentage of religion and sheer number is more than the number of Jews in the U.S. Why is China not a main region of Christianity then? 3. How do you disagree that Islam is not worldwide? Yes, its center is in North Africa and the Middle-East, but as I have said above, 10% of Britons are muslims (by one estimate; other estimates put it at 5%), more than the number of Christians in Iraq (by most estimates), and thus shouldn't Islam be "worldwide" or at least "worldwide except..", like is said in Christianity?. 4. Do you disagree or not that Christianity has followers worldwide without exceptions? 5. Or with exceptions? What data have you got to show it, except original research? 6. How will you be able to cite all these with reliable sources and clearly? Herunar (talk) 17:58, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with your version of Judaism, and I answered your points again above (sorry for the confusion). There is a historical consideration with Judaism, not to mention a cultural one. Its not a simple matter of percentages. Also its more significant to look at where the percentages of Jewish people live from within the religion (as in X % of Jews live in Y country), and not how large of the population of each country belongs to a certain religion. Regards.PelleSmith (talk) 18:09, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
To Herunar: 10% of UK's population is Muslim??? Where is sources??? I think it must be France, not UK (Islam in France). And Christian population is bigger than Muslims (OMG!), I remind you that 97% of Iraq's population is Muslim...About Judaism, everybody here is agree that we should treat Jewish population as a special particular case because their population is extremly low and it's the only one religion of all the Jewish and it's still one of the most important religions in the human history and World civilization (Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam). There is no problem to say: Judaism is the state religion of Israel and the predominantly religion among the Jewish diasporas (live mostly in USA and Europe).

Angelo De La Paz (talk) 05:03, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

  • OK, I've reverted to the original summary paragraph and changed some words (from the disgaree points of Herunar) and I think we should be open-minded with Judaism [16]. Please take a look:
Name of Group Name of Religion Number of followers Date of Origin Main regions covered
Abrahamic religions
3.4 billion
Christianity 2.1 billion[2] 1st c. Worldwide except Northern Africa, South Asia, with large population centers existing in the Southeast Asia, East Asia Middle East and Central Asia.
Islam 1.5 billion[3] 7th c. Middle East, North Africa, Western Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, Malay Archipelago with large population centers existing in Eastern Africa, Balkans, Russia, Europe and China.
Judaism 14 million [4] Iron Age Israel and among the Jewish diasporas (live mostly in some parts of USA and Europe).
Bahá'í Faith 7 million 19th c. Dispersed worldwide with no major population centers
Indian religions
1.4 billion
Hinduism 900 million Ancient Times South Asia, Bali with large population centers existing in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Americas and Africa.
Buddhism 376 million Iron Age East Asia, Southeast Asia, parts of Russia, South Asia.
Sikhism 23 million 16th c. India with large population centers existing in Pakistan, Africa, Canada, USA, United Kingdom
Jainism 4.2 million Iron Age India
Far Eastern religions
500 million
Taoism unknown Spring and Autumn Period China and the Chinese diaspora
Confucianism unknown Spring and Autumn Period China, Korea, Vietnam and the Chinese and Vietnamese diasporas
Shinto 4 million no founder Japan
Caodaism 1-2 million 1925 Vietnam
Chondogyo 1.13 million 1812 Korea
Yiguandao 1-2 million c. 1900 Taiwan
Chinese folk religion 394 million no founder, a combination of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism China
400 million
Primal indigenous 300 million no founder India, Asia
African traditional and diasporic 100 million no known founder Africa, Americas

Angelo De La Paz (talk) 07:55, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I believe Angelo's version of the page is much more informative than Herunar's. While the two large Abrahamic religions are spread worldwide, there are clear regions where they are more concentrated, and that information is useful. Regards, -- Jeff3000 (talk) 05:16, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
The point is, how are you going to cite them? Angelo's version is nothing but original research. He simply gives the definition of prevalence himself, often by a simple glimpse of the map. There's no scientific way that we can clearly lay out which regions follow Islam more than Christianity, vice versa, or neither. Angelo's version also makes little grammatical sense, although that's not important as I can fix it ("live mostly in" and "worldwide except..with"). Of course it is preferrable if we can accurately locate the geographical centers of each religion - but we can't. To point out a few flaws with Angelo's version, he put China as a main region of Islam and East Asia as a main region for Christianity - this does not make sense because Islam is more widespread in East Asia than Christianity, but Christianity itself is more prominent in China. Furthermore, he put Southeast Asia as a main region of Christianity and Malay Archipelago as a main region of Islam - in fact, the Malay Archipelago is part of Southeast Asia, while the other parts of Southeast Asia are dominantly Buddhist and Islam as well. So there is nothing Christian here. Herunar (talk) 11:21, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
  • So what is your version? Mostly people here don't like your edits to the spread of Abrahamic religions (only "worldwide"???) because it isn't useful and lack many informations. Better one, please!

Angelo De La Paz (talk) 11:33, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

The point isn't about being useful. Speaking of usefulness, I doubt anyone would want to know that Islam covers "Middle East, North Africa, Western Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, Malay Archipelago... Eastern Africa, Balkans, Russia, Europe and China", which is pretty much..everywhere. The point is, it is immensely difficult to present the information - does 3% account for a main region? 5%? 10%? Who defines this? How come Christianity is "worldwide except.." when there are nearly fifty countries with less than 3% Christian populations, while the same case could not be said for Islam? Herunar (talk) 11:38, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
  • But all people here don't like your explanations. Could you make it better than only word "worldwide"? So I will appreciate it if you can do it, Herunar!

Angelo De La Paz (talk) 11:43, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't care what you like. Wikipedia is not a vote. 99% of Austrians supported the Anschluss and Hitler was elected by the German people. Herunar (talk) 11:46, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Please look again, ALL THE PEOPLE here (not me only, as you said above) DON'T SUPPORT YOUR EDIT! And remember that is Wikipedia is a public project, not your own website and you must respect the majority (but as everybody can see: you didn't and here is the evidences [17][18]; many dirty words and you disrespects anyone).

Angelo De La Paz (talk) 11:52, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Then convince me. Say what's wrong with my edit or my argument. Point out a flaw of my logic. Don't just say you don't like it, because I don't care. I don't respect the majority - as I've said, Wikipedia is not a vote. If everyone tells me that Hillary Clinton is a man, I will not respect their majority. I respect people who can discuss and make good contributions to Wikipedia - I don't respect those that have no understanding of fundamental Wikipedia policies or social skills, those who run off hysterically spamming the talk pages of 9 users and a bot, those who frankly have no respect of me or the community's judgement in the first place. Herunar (talk) 11:56, 5 April 2008 (UTC)


Herunar, I believe you are misreading the chart rather wildly in what you assert it says above. You are implying that South East Asia is presented as a main region for Christianity and China a main region for Islam, when the point is that while there are centers with large populations there but they are for the most part very slightly populated with those religous groups. The point of saying that they are large population centers, as opposed to main regions, is exactly that distinction. Now, if that is wrong, if for instance there are no large population centers of those religions in those regions then we can change it. That's how this project works. The same goes for wording ... if the current phrasing is not ideal we can change that too. That's why we discuss content on the talk pages. So why don't you outline the problems with the specificity and lets discuss how to deal with it. Lets all try to stay on topic here and deal with content questions and problems only.PelleSmith (talk) 13:21, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

No. The distinction between main region and large population centre is none of my concern. I do not need your advise on what I wish to say on a talk page. Kindly read WP:CIVIL and learn to listen to what others are saying. My first and foremost point is that all discussions on this topic is pointless since we cannot create a satisfying version without breaching WP:OR. The errors are only examples of what are wrong - they are not necessarily my argument. Nonetheless, I stand by my argument that, as an example only, Angelo's version is wrong. Whether it is a population center or a main region does not matter - fact is, there are more Christians in China but fewer in East Asia as a whole; vice versa for muslims. Thus Angelo's interpretation is misleading and inaccurate. Herunar (talk) 13:32, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
The only real content issue in Angel's version that you have pointed out I tried addressing just now--and it seems you don't want to discuss it in a manner through which we can create a better version that includes specificity. Please explain why his version is wrong in entirety or why we cannot fix a version similar to his ... that is, one that includes specificity. Also can you please explain why or how any of this is WP:OR. Please understand that while you seem to think that you have offered those explanations I do not see them above. If I'm just not reading well enough then please do us a favor and reiterate. Asking editors to keep to content issues on a talk page is not out of line, in fact its just a restatement of policy. As you can see in the diff you dug up from November, I self-reverted my commentary on that other talk page after cooling off and realizing that I was commenting on an editor's behavior and not on entry content. Cheers.PelleSmith (talk) 14:17, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
It is OR because there are no sources supporting it. Angelo simply made his on judgement on the issue and changed it according to his own will - it is not necessarily wrong, but it is original research. If you cannot understand my simple English, too bad, as it is my third language. We cannot create a better version with specificity because specificity is impossible given the complex and changing demographics. There is no norm or definition of what exactly is prevalence and what exactly makes a main region or a population centre. If you can provide a source which claims "such and such regions with a religious following of more than 5% is defined as a major region", okay. But you can't. Herunar (talk) 14:30, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
FYI--China is included in East Asia, which the current version does include as a region with "large population centers" for Christianity. So do you think this should be broken down or specified more directly? In other words the current version is not wrong if you admit yourself that there is a significant population of Christians in China, which is a region within East Asia. What you are pointing out is that we could be more specific since outside of China, in East Asia, its not quite the same. Same goes for Muslims ... I don't think you're pointing to mistakes but just to the lack of specificity. Why, again, is it preferable to go with less specificity, especially when the problems you are pointing to are the exact converse of that? Why not just fix it and make it more accurate?PelleSmith (talk) 14:27, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Again, this is a problem of false logic. There are more Christians in China (yes, part of East Asia) but more muslims in East Asia as a whole. Thus, if we do agree to make it specific (which I don't agree, so this is simply an example of the faults of Angelo's version), then China should probably be listed as a main region/population centre of Christianity, while East Asia should be listed as a main region of Islam - the current version is the exact opposite and makes little sense. Herunar (talk) 14:32, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
By all means tell us why we should remove all the specificity, since that seems to be your preference. I can't speak for other editors but I'm more than happy to consider everyone's arguments here, I'm just not hearing an argument for removing all specificity yet, especially now that you have suggested a way to fix it instead. Please elucidate.PelleSmith (talk) 14:39, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
I have stated my reasons - WP:OR. You could actually read the page if you need an argument of why we should remove OR. Or do you doubt that Angelo's interpretations are OR? Herunar (talk) 14:45, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
You can't just list a policy and say that someone needs to read it and figure it out for themselves. I know what WP:OR states and I don't see it. You have to explain how it violates WP:OR if you want anyone to understand this claim. I'm perfectly open to understanding this but without such an explanation I cannot. Thanks.PelleSmith (talk) 14:54, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Either you didn't bother to read my replies, or you lack the fundamental ability of comprehension. It violates OR because there are no sources given. Pure and simple. Herunar (talk) 14:57, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Lack of sources in not an WP:OR violation in itself. We have tags [citation needed] for this, especially if it is sourceable and/or common knowledge. Is there another reason you think it is original research? Please explain further.PelleSmith (talk) 15:01, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Yea, we have tags like those, and their purpose is to ask for a source. That's what I'm doing here. Can you find a source? No, you can't. So we have to remove them now. Too bad. Herunar (talk) 15:04, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
So you think all of what you removed is unsourceable? If we make the corrects you suggested that is also unsourceable? When we apply those tags we usually do so and give other editors some time to find sources. I would suggest that if we get it correct it will be either sourceable or simply common knowledge. Either way, and especially when people disagree, we should give Angel or anyone else for that matter time to find sources, or to discuss if sources are appropriate.PelleSmith (talk) 15:15, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
The problem is, we can't find a source. There's simply no source available for Angelo's interpretations because those are his interpretations. Every user will have another interpretation. Every source may also have different definitions. The common sense to me here is that there can't be a source for something that an user created based on his interpretation of a map. Of course, there may be sources which do give similar information, and sources which don't. The use of which will be OR. Original research is when you write a conclusion based on your own research - which is what Angelo did - and it doesn't matter or not whether you find a source later which supports it, because it is OR from the start and should be removed. Common sense. Herunar (talk) 15:20, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
That is a strange interpretation of WP:OR. A source is a source, whether or not an editor was unaware of it prior to making a specific claim. The way to go about it is to raise the issue on the talk page or to put in the tags and see what develops from there. If you make a bold edit and someone reverts you its time to take it to the talk page, that's basic wiki editing. I notice you wholesale reverted to your preferred version again. Why did you change the part about Judaism? Europe and the United States are the most important regions in the Jewish diaspora in the last few hundred years.PelleSmith (talk) 15:29, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, a source is a source, and if every source on Earth does say exactly the same thing that Angelo said, then he is a genius and fine. But no, Angelo based his edits solely on original research, and we know that is original research because he said so. When we give others time to find sources, we assume that they have read a source about it and it is accurate, they simply did not add it. When we know that it is definitely original research, we remove it. Moreover, he hasn't been able to provide a source anyway. Herunar (talk) 15:41, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) With all due respect he has not had much time to find a source. Until the adequate opportunity is given we can't just assume that no sources exist, and some things are common knowledge and do not need sources. Specifying that a major region for Islam is the Middle East, or Christianity is Europe North America, and South America doesn't exactly require sourcing. As we branch into more problematic regions there are different ways of dealing with the problems presented and maybe his way isn't the best at all. I'm not disagreeing with that possibility. But it is, in my view, and so was Jeff's (see above) that it is more informative to have some specificity since there are regional differences and trends between, for instance, Christianity and Islam. They are not just simply "worldwide" in the same way. Some of these differences, like the obvious ones I mentioned just above, are also very stable ones. I don't see how it is original research to state common knowledge that can be verified by any book that even touches the matter. So with the common knowledge assertions aside it becomes a matter of dealing with problem areas. Using more broad and flexible language, in regards to the problem areas, is a good way to overcome some of those difficulties, in my view.PelleSmith (talk) 15:50, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Again you display a lack of the fundamental ability of comprehension. When a user does original research, there is no source. A source could be regarded as a sort of research itself. By doing original research, the user creates his own source. Well, of course, there are plenty of sources which may support the user and plenty of sources which may not. But that's not the point because he has already done his own research - finding a source to support his own original research is not necessary for him since he already regarded it as true. We can agree or disagree with a statement if it comes from a source. If Angelo or you can find a source which says the same thing, I'll discuss about it. But when it comes to original research created out of thin air, we remove it.
Common sense is not sufficient. Of course the Middle East is a main region of Islam. But by including it as a main region, we also conclude that other regions are not main regions unless we include it. We don't know this. Specifics is of course nice. But specifics that cannot be proved is not. Herunar (talk) 15:56, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Common knowledge is entirely sufficient for the examples I gave. The argument has been made by myself and by Jeff (and I'm assuming Angelo agrees) that it is more informative to specify. There are some regions what are also clearly not main regions for a given religion, and again when a common encyclopedia, or a general history text book can verify this and there is no disagreement we don't need to source it. There are gray areas, or problem regions, as you have pointed out and as I clearly agree. The issue is over how to deal with those. You have not presented any good reasons for leaving out the obvious regions. It would be as easy to say that something like: main regions include X,Y, and Z with possibly smaller population centers in the rest of the world. 1) There is nothing untrue or OR about such a statement and 2) it specifically does not discount other regions (such as the gray areas). How about that?PelleSmith (talk) 16:05, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Okay, let's just assume that I disagree with you about all your "common sense". Let's say that I disagree that Islam's main region is in the Middle East. Let's say that I disagree everything simply because I wanted to. Now how are you going to convince me? Sources, of course. Sources is absolutely necessary, no matter how common sense you believe these are. As I've said, this is simply not common sense. Are we going to include China as a main region/population center? If we include it, we need a source. If we don't include it, we still need a source because some might think it should be included. How hard is this to understand? Sure, Middle-East is a main region. What about Thailand and Malaysia? There is no common sense here, no definition. Some might include it as it has nearly as much muslims as the Middle-east, but that's just nearly. We simply need a source for this. Everything else will simply be OR. If you define something to be common sense, that is OR too. And if there isn't a source, we remove it. Simple as that. If Angelo could indeed find a few sources which give the same definition, then there is room for discussion. No source, no discussion. Herunar (talk) 16:12, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
OK. My point about "common knowledge," which 'is not the same as "common sense," is precisely that any such assertions can be easily sourced all over the place. You do not actually disagree with the examples I gave either, you're just arguing on principle. If you believe them to be true, and also think they need to be sourced, then the good thing to do is to find a source, but if you don't have the time at least tag it and let someone else find it. Our objective here is to present accurate information. Its pretty simple. Do you or do you not agree that it would be more informative to have accurate information about regional differences? If you do agree but think we need sourcing then isn't the right thing to do to work on the sourcing and to be sure that the language doesn't misrepresent. What about my suggestion if you add that that any specific claim made, common knowledge or not, all have sources?PelleSmith (talk) 16:21, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Fact is, we can't find a source that says the same thing Angelo wrote, because that's his own original research. What we need to do is remove Angelo's OR, and attempt to find accurate information from sources. NOT add a tag. Read the corresponding Wikipedia policies, please. Herunar (talk) 16:34, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
But the problems you present are with specific pieces of information, and not with all of the information. I know the corresponding policies. Where does it state that we should remove good information along with possibly bad information because it was added by the same editor? There are verifiable statements we can make about regional differences in Christianity and Islam ... and some of what Angelo prefers clearly falls in this category, so why again should we delete that part? And what if we source the good bits? Why not just do that?PelleSmith (talk) 16:40, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Of course there are good information and bad information. And what part of you judges which of them are good information? We don't know which is good information unless we have sources. We don't know which are bad information if we simply rely on "common knowledge" that isn't common. We can't source only parts of it because sourcing parts of it and removing the other parts means that the other parts are wrong, which requires sources. We simply need goddamn sources. Now what's so damn hard with agreeing that we need sources and everything will be up to discussion? Herunar (talk) 16:56, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
OK. Can you respond to my suggestion then. Lets say we state something like this for the main regions of Christianity (for example): "North and South American and Europe, with smaller population centers in the rest of the world." We source the Americas and Europe, and I see no OR or lack of sources here, nor do I see any suggestion that we are claiming anything by omission. Of course any other sourceable region can be added as well, like lets say parts of Africa, the Philippines, Austrailia and New Zealand, etc. My exact language is just a suggestion, but I don't feel that your concerns can't be dealt with in a way that includes more instead of less information. Can you please respond to this suggestion thanks.PelleSmith (talk) 17:08, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Religion and superstition

The section on this needs work. First, it refers to the Latin etymology, without giving it. The term religious believers sound odd. a sentence like, "Some religious beliefs, and even religion itself are seen as superstitious, by those who do not follow them. Some superstitions are not considered part of the formal religion and can be secular. Superstitions can come from other religions, such as pagan practices that survived the Christianizing of Europe." Rds865 (talk) 04:06, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Formal vs. Popular Religion

should there be something about formal vs. popular religion? if you don't know formal is what the experts believe(such as priests, theologians, gurus, monks etc.) where as popular is what is practiced by the masses. Formal tends to be much more strict, and is decided upon by authoritative leaders, often after debate with other leaders, while popular religion is often just practiced. Rds865 (talk) 04:06, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Unprotected - resume discussion please

The entry was unprotected. Could we continue the discussion before starting another revert war? I am waiting for a reply about my suggestion (see above) for how to deal with specificity in the geography of Islam and Christianity (and Judaism for that matter), which is what most of the reversions were over. It would be great to get some views on this, from the reverting parties, but also from others.PelleSmith (talk) 13:28, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Life stance

There was recently an edit (April 9, 2008) where the term Life stance was removed from the article. While I agree that the addition itself was out of place and that the term is not well known, perhaps it does warrant some inclusion somewhere in the article--perhaps in the first paragraph. The term is unusual, but it is inclusive and well defined by it's article. As such, I think it would aid in diminishing the debates about how "religion" should be defined, and would be a bit more inclusive of non-theistic religions. Wikipedia is all about being inclusive. In short, referring to religion as a type of life stance would put religion into a wider context and contribute to the value of the article. Yay? / nay? --Pariah (talk) 21:50, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I think a major strength in Wikipedia is its ability to link together everything in such a way that one gets an overall view. Therefore, I really think there could be some linking with non-religious views as well. Mikael Häggström (talk) 12:52, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
I'll get to work on a way to include it somewhere near the beginning of the article.--Pariah (talk) 20:43, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Some small errors

I cant edit this, and I don't want to try, but there are some errors here.

On the right side, the picture with the 9 religions and the titles underneath, Christian, Jewish, and Hindu are adjectives to the faiths of Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism. But, Islam isnt an adjective. Its adjective is "Muslim". Also, for "Shinto", it is "Shintoist". It shows a noun, but it should be an adjective.

Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:01, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

All sorted out. Thanks for the headsup!--Pariah (talk) 02:50, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

In the Classification section where it says New Religions, it also says "inspired by science fiction". This is offensive —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:57, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

God-fueld ammunition

There seems to be an edit war going on over this uncited comment in the Criticism section:

Most of such firepower, however, is focused on the Abrahamic traditions and tends to overlook the fact that God-fueled ammunition somewhat misses the target if aimed at immense and venerable Asian traditions such as Confucianism or the Buddhist Theravada, described by western scholars on occasion as "non-theistic."

With adjectives like immense, venerable and God-fueled it sounds like POV based original research to me. Discussion is needed before it can be included in the article. Mmyotis (talk) 09:48, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Sorry Mmyotis--I didn't mean to start an edit war. You're right--the language of that statement is quite POV and I should have removed it rather than simply undoing the edit. I was just concerned that the basic statement remained--that most of the recent criticism does not apply to non-Western religions. I think Pellesmith has solved the problem.--Pariah (talk) 23:24, 16 April 2008 (UTC)