Template talk:Criticism of religion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Religion (Rated Template-class)
WikiProject iconThis template is within the scope of WikiProject Religion, a project to improve Wikipedia's articles on Religion-related subjects. Please participate by editing the article, and help us assess and improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details.
 Template  This template does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.

Scope of list of critics[edit]

Is it intended that the list of critics include only those who criticise religion as a whole? The template appears on the Criticism of Jehovah's Witnesses page, and it would be appropriate to list there some of the critics who have focused on that religion - Raymond Franz, James Penton and Edmond C. Gruss. LTSally (talk) 00:19, 29 September 2009 (UTC)[]

Im not sure. I suppose it is better to err on the side of including more critics than too few. Just make sure it is a fairly notable critic, not a minor one. --Noleander (talk) 01:42, 29 September 2009 (UTC)[]
I would definitely say just the critics of religion as a whole, not just those who criticize one religion. The ones included seem a bit slanted towards the most recent and popular critics too, as with other areas of the template. Richard001 (talk) 08:20, 31 October 2009 (UTC)[]

Why delete notable critics?[edit]

Shii: why do you say that these notable critics are only critisizing Christianity? Have you read their works? --Noleander (talk) 22:51, 22 January 2010 (UTC)[]

I've read The God Delusion and it doesn't discuss Buddhism. Same thing with Douglas Adams, Why I am not a Christian, and atheism in general. Shii (tock) 05:34, 12 February 2010 (UTC)[]
Can you explain a bit more? If there is a notable critic that criticizes several religions, like Spinoza or Dawkins or Hitchens or Voltaire, and they criticize several religions, but not Buddhism, why would that make them irrelevant? Why do you single out Buddhism? Did you mistakenly edit this template, thinking it was a template about Buddhism? --Noleander (talk) 01:33, 25 February 2010 (UTC)[]
I'll go ahead and restore the "notable critics" section. If you want to address the topic some more, let's discuss here first. Thanks. --Noleander (talk) 03:27, 1 March 2010 (UTC)[]
Did you mistakenly edit this template, thinking it was a template about Christianity? Shii (tock) 17:15, 11 April 2010 (UTC)[]
Shii: would you mind discussion changes before making them? thanks. What is your concern about the content you deleted? --Noleander (talk) 14:07, 12 April 2010 (UTC)[]
Gives too much weight to recent anti-Christian books, deprivileging classics and more complete books Shii (tock) 15:49, 12 April 2010 (UTC)[]
I dont understand your point. Could you give more detail? Are you saying Hitchens and Dawkins only criticize Christianity? And regarding books: What books would you consider to be "classic" and "complete" that are critical of religion? --Noleander (talk) 16:18, 12 April 2010 (UTC)[]

Combine "Belief systems" and "Organizations"?[edit]

The distinction between those two sections is a bit fuzzy. I know that some articles fit cleanly into one or the other, but many do not (Mormonism? LDS? Roman Catholic?). Maybe it would be simpler if those two sections were just combined into a single section "Religions and organtizations"? --Noleander (talk) 21:49, 7 June 2010 (UTC)[]

Seeing no objection, I made that change. --Noleander (talk) 04:41, 16 September 2010 (UTC)[]

Stupid question...[edit]

 – Question moved to Actual ArticleThe Resident Anthropologist (talk) 23:06, 28 September 2010 (UTC)[]

Why is Douglas Adams included here, he was no doubt an Atheist and wrote alot of good satire but I would not nessecarily call him a critic of religion any more than Jon Stewart The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 17:04, 27 September 2010 (UTC)[]

And is this a good place to discuss it or should I take it to Criticism of religion article to discuss this? The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 17:07, 27 September 2010 (UTC)[]

Violence links[edit]

The links to Christianity and violence and similar articles are not appropriate on this template as they simply are not about criticism or critics. Their prescence is especially irrelevant for the Abrahamic ones because these articles have details of members of these religions both being pacifist and violent. Articles for other religions could be made similarly. And Hinduism and violence is not appropriate to redirect to religious violence in India anyway because some of religious violence in India is perpetrated by other religions. Sometimes Hindus aren't even involved, like when the National Liberation Front of Tripura attacks Buddhists. Munci (talk) 13:21, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[]

Several points: (1) This footer NavBox is nothing more than another way of supplying a big list of "See Also" links in a compact format, and there is no requirement that the articles in the NavBox be tightly connected with the theme of the NavBox. If we were discussing the Criticism of religion article (or the Irreligion sidebar template) the necessity of tight connections would be more relevant. (2) The topic of religious terrorism is highly topical in today's world, and this encyclopedia should help readers find articles related to that topic. (3) If you look at the parent article of this template, Criticism of religion, you'll see that a large portion of that article does, in fact, address criticisms related to violence. Omitting articles from this template that are expressly about the connection of religion to violence would hide important links from readers. (4) The vast majority of material in the "SomeReligion and violence" articles is explicitly made within the context of the source criticizing the religion. For the above reasons, the articles should stay in the NavBox. That said, if there are one or two links that are not specifically about "religion and violence" (such as the Hinduism link) then I concur that those should be removed. --Noleander (talk) 14:13, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[]
Also, similar to my point at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2010 September 29#Category:Criticism of Richard Dawkins, atheism should be replaced in this template with antitheism. Munci (talk) 13:24, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[]
Including an article in a footer NavBox does not suggest to the reader that two topics are somehow related in a cause-and-effect manner (or any other significant manner). The NavBox is simply a list of "see also" links, in a compact format. Articles should be included if a typical reader may find the article relevant. Many notable atheists do criticize religion (often within the context of declaring why atheism is attractive) and so it is highly relevant to this footer NavBox. On the other hand, I have no objection to adding Antitheism into the navbox. --Noleander (talk) 14:19, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[]
I added a Antitheism link; and I changed the name of the link to Religious violence in India from "Hindu" to "India". --Noleander (talk) 14:41, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[]
Cool changes. I'd say an easy change would be to separate movements from books; there's a clear distinction between the two. Munci (talk) 16:59, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[]
Yeah, that's a good suggestion. But that would increase the vertical height a bit: the NavBox is getting tall though: it is nearly 3" high on my screen, which seems to be hitting the max of what is aesthetically pleasing. Not sure what is best. --Noleander (talk) 17:13, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[]

Too many "notable critics"?[edit]

The list of notable critics is getting a bit large. I'm not proposing that any be deleted, but I did want to note that some don't seem to be all that notable, including: Dan Barker, Steven Weinberg, Greg Epstein, Stephen Fry, and PZ Myers. Also, I'm not too familiar with Ayn Rand, but I thought her philosophy was more political/economic, not so much critical of religion. And I thought Charles Darwin was religious, no? Granted, the theory of evolution has been involved in some criticisms of religion, but did Darwin himself ever criticize religion? Again, I'm not suggesting that any be deleted, I just wanted to capture some ideas in case the topic comes up again in the future. --Noleander (talk) 14:36, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[]

I do think that Darwin should be removed; he was Christian. Rand should stay though because, while the main area you hear about her ideas is in economics, she was also pretty strong atheist and opposed to Christianity. Munci (talk) 16:59, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[]
Done. --Noleander (talk) 17:13, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[]
All of the critics on the template are not experts on any of these issues nor have they published peer reviewed material on these issues. They simply are expressing their opinions and their works on religion are usually polemical not empirical. Why keep these guys there when they are unreliable sources? Also the bias is clear since there are no other critics of other religions mentioned like Robert Spencer and Ibn Warraq on Islam. We can also put in William Lane Craig and other Christian critics of naturalist atheism. Atheism is a part of this template so why not include those that criticize the critics also? This whole thing looks rigged and one sided. What do you guys think?Ramos1990 (talk) 18:20, 12 December 2011 (UTC)[]
This part of the category is going to continue to draw WP:N and WP:NPOV arguments, some heated, and could it be handled in another way? I don't understand how it is helpful as part of the organization tool linking all Criticism of religion articles. Alatari (talk) 14:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]

Change the name of the template[edit]

I propose the name of this template be "criticism of religions" since it is clear that religions are diverse anthropologically so it make no sense to label all the religions under one "type" or one category. Ramos1990 (talk) 18:24, 12 December 2011 (UTC)[]

Of the pages linked, how many are about criticisms of individual religions, and how many are criticisms of religion in general? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:42, 12 December 2011 (UTC)[]
Per part of the comment below, my reaction to the suggestion of adding critics of a broader range of religions, such as Islam, Hinduism, etc., is that it would be a good idea. Getting away from a U.S./Europe-centric bias is a good thing. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]

Including Criticism of atheism[edit]

Atheism must be included in this list because so much of it involves atheism speaking on these issues. Also there are "religions" not "religion" singular. Many people are foolish in lumping everything into one category of phenomenon when there are many different phenomenona. Atheism may not be considered as religion by some but that is mainly due to anthropological ignorance of both secular and religion. If you want you can make this template more rational and call it "criticism of religions and secularities" if you wish. I suggested this in the nomination for deletion page since the religious violence and religious war pages include criticism of the secular too since all of this is relevant. Also some are in agreement with including criticism of atheism because of relevance and as such this template would be nothing but criticisms of these popular worldviews. But as it stands this template is clearly not balanced at all and is pretty much a "heads I win, tails you lose" nonsense that atheists often exhibit on wikipedia. Why don't you include other critics that are on Islam, Hinduism, and atheism too to be more balanced? Plus looking at all of the "critics" list, they are all non-exerts on all of these issues since pretty much all of them have not done peer reviewed material or first hand empirical research on any of these religions or aspects which they critique. For further look at religious atheisms please read "Atheism and Secualrity" 2 vol. Edited by Phil Zuckerman. Mannings essay documents "Freethought Denominations" and in other sections highlight that not all naturalist atheists deny the supernatural at all (e.g. "convinced atheists" in Netherlands). Furthermore, you have the Quaker Nontheists who are clearly a part of the Religious Society of Friends. Anthropologically most religions are religions of atheism (or nontheism as some have called these). See the anthropologist David Eller's comments in "Atheism Advanced" Ch. 1 and Ch. 1 in "Atheism and Secularity" Volume 1. He notes that a true atheist should deny all other supernatural things, besides gods. Clearly to be an atheist does not mean one is irreligious or that one denies all of the supernatural by default. Only god-belief is lacked by definition. All else is open game. Ramos1990 (talk) 03:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]

I'm just saying religions because the category contains more than one entry 'Criticism of X religion' and so under English plural/singular grammar rules we use the plural. As for criticism of atheism; the Religious Tolerance website, which is getting sourced a lot in Wikipedia, uses the convention that atheism is a philosophy about religion and therefore is included in the discussion. Also, since the category is like set of all real numbers it should include zero (atheism) as one of the numbers. Alatari (talk) 14:39, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]
Except that this isn't a series of numbers, but a collection of links. I don't feel strongly about including or not including atheism, but I would note that there are objections to inclusion at the template deletion discussion, and it probably is not helpful to be changing the template while that discussion is in progress, because it makes it a moving target. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:26, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]
How long does the NfD stay up? It should be closed with decision Keep by now. --Alatari (talk) 20:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]
A week, minimum. But I think you are correct that the consensus is going to be keep. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:25, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]
  • I was looking again at the template, and wondering about moving atheism out of the first section, and instead putting it into "Critical books and movements", listed as Criticism of atheism, and putting it just after atheism, just before Flying Spaghetti Monster. That might be a way of satisfying the complainants, while also not suggesting that atheism is the first of the religions that are criticized. And that got me thinking. Would it really make any sense to include in this template a listing called "Criticism of criticism of religion"? It gets a bit silly sounding, doesn't it? And yet, that is what we would really be doing by leaving atheism where it is now. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:33, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]
Hmmm, is atheism criticism of religion? FOr some definitions it is but for the soft nontheists it's just lack of belief. This website has been very influential in sourcing debates in the atheism and a few other articles with it's including nontheist classifications as part of religious debate. If we could throw it out as a WP:RS I'd support removing Criticism of atheism from this template. You know scholars that side one way or the other? Alatari (talk) 22:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]
It isn't my point that atheism is or isn't exactly a criticism, but rather than that it's a view opposing the views of most religions. The point is that it's illogical to equate criticism of atheism with criticism of religion(s). (Think of it as "criticism of rejection of religion", if you prefer. That's not the same thing as "criticism of religion"!) Most religions would criticize atheism, so does that mean that religions are critics of religion? (In the same way that they are critics of disbelief?) As for that source, I think a big part of the answer is in the dot-org part of it. It's a website devoted to a particular form of advocacy, advocacy for religious tolerance. As such, it's a perfectly good primary source for what the people behind the site have said, but it isn't a secondary source for defining atheism, nor is it necessarily a scholarly source, at least not a peer-reviewed one. So I would say that if the only reason for including criticism of atheism as a "criticism of religion" is that, then of course it doesn't belong in the template. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]
That religioustolerance.org site is being used as a primary source to define atheism and some other concepts in other articles. I've had to try to disgrace it as a source before. Review the atheism talk page for details. Alatari (talk) 00:09, 14 December 2011 (UTC)[]
Atheism is not a religion. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 23:00, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]
That too. Face-smile.svg I really don't think that there is sufficient consensus to put it back now. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:33, 13 December 2011 (UTC)[]
This is why I suggested renaming the template to Criticism of religious philosophies or something else. There is a significant number of sources out there claiming that belief in non-existence of god and promoting that belief is a 'faith'. The POV appears to be trending upwards. --Alatari (talk) 00:09, 14 December 2011 (UTC)[]

I agree with Alatari so I changed the template section to a more open "criticisms of worldviews" and included atheism there. The template name should be something like that since atheism and nothing but non-expert atheist critics are to be found in this template. The way it currently stands: it is like "Criticism of Jews" and having a bunch of Nazis be the critics and posting their polemical works only. It seems also like a "criticisms of black people" index and having a bunch of white supremacists like the KKK be the critics and posting their polemical works only. I think this page should be about criticism on all of the positions that are involved, including atheism. I am aware that most atheists are not empirical in their research when it comes to cultures or even societies and especially what they often dub as "religion", but seriously are people in many of these pages that close-minded and narrow in their view of the world and how diverse people generally are? Often times when people talk about "religions" what do they contrast it with? Lumping things into a "one size fits all" conceptions are the foundations of stereotypes. It seems many target one thing, but never reflect on what is left. Nor do they notice that the "one thing" is not one thing at all, but a grip of things that are not uniform from person to person. This template is best as an "everyone criticize everyone" page. It would offer people who look at it diverse perspectives and would be most neutral.Ramos1990 (talk) 02:43, 14 December 2011 (UTC)[]

I've reverted you. The title and subject of this template is "Criticism of religion". It isn't about criticism of "worldviews". Shall we add criticism of optimism and pessimism? Pacifism? Conservatism? Existentialism? Just because you object to the idea of criticizing religion does not change the fact that there are numerous secondary sources that treat criticism of religion as a notable subject. You are engaging in one ploy after another to do away with this template because you just don't like the subject matter with which it deals. If you can't get consensus to delete it, you are trying to render it nonsensical. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:06, 14 December 2011 (UTC)[]
I did a Google search. On Google Books, "criticism of religion" gets 191,000 results; "criticism of religions" (plural) gets 2,360; "criticism of religious philosophies" gets ZERO; "criticism of religious worldviews" gets ONE. On Google Scholar, "criticism of religion" gets 2,350 results; "criticism of religions" gets 67; "criticism of religious philosophies" gets ZERO; "criticism of religious worldviews" gets ZERO. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:17, 14 December 2011 (UTC)[]
I never was against criticism of "religions" nor am I for getting rid of this template. I don't think you have read my comments correctly. My last sentences summed it up last time: This template is best as an "everyone criticize everyone" page. It would offer people who look at it diverse perspectives and would be most neutral. In terms of world views, you can just add "ultimate world views", "lifestances", or whatever you like. Of course there are many sources that criticize "religion" though the vast majority are prone to lump and treat most religions as if they were theistic, Christian like, and uniform. Most never bother to really look into the diversity of religions even though most religions are atheist religions (See anthropologist David Eller's comments in "Atheism Advanced" Ch. 1 and Ch. 1 in "Atheism and Secularity" Volume 1). As it stands, this template is clearly nonsensical and fundamentally absurd. Really, look at how many atheists are the only critics cited on it. And yet so many object to the criticism of atheism to be included on the template. Really can't you see how absurd this page is? Like I said before, The way it currently stands: it is like "Criticism of Jews" and having a bunch of Nazis be the critics and posting their polemical works only in this template. It seems also like a "criticisms of black people" index and having a bunch of white supremacists like the KKK be the critics and posting their polemical works only. I think this page should be about criticism on all of the ultimate worldviews that are involved, especially atheism. Just the "criticism of religions" section, not the title of the template, can be made more neutral by calling it what it is - criticisms of ultimate worldviews. People can be redirected to this page by looking up "Criticism of religion", then they can see the more neutral section title. As it stands, with the "Critical books and movements" having the "criticism of atheism", it looks like it doesn't belong there. Ramos1990 (talk) 19:49, 14 December 2011 (UTC)[]
OK, thanks, I definitely don't want to misrepresent or misunderstand where you are coming from. But I very much reject the argument that the subjects listed in the template are comparable to Nazis or the KKK. They aren't genocidal or terrorists or anything remotely close to that. I fully understand your point that there is an abundance of anthropological and other evidence that not all religions are the same, that traditions and practices vary greatly as one looks around the world. But your personal opinion that subjects linked in the template have not given sufficient consideration to that diversity is irrelevant. It's "criticism", not "criticism that Wikipedia has somehow determined to be valid". Critics can be "wrong", but they are still critics.
I put criticism of atheism in the critical movements section as an attempt to find common ground with editors like you who want that page to be included in the template, as well as with those (including me) who feel that it is a mistake to put it at the beginning of the list of religions that are criticized. There are sources that argue that atheism can be thought of as equivalent to a religion, and there are sources that argue that atheism is absolutely not a religion. The latter are probably in the majority, especially if one allows that the former include arguments such as atheism should be afforded the same legal rights as religions (which isn't the same thing as saying it is a religion). We shouldn't take a position that atheism is a religion. I figured that if we include atheism as amongst the movements that are critical of religion, an approach to having "balance" would be to immediately follow it with criticism of atheism. If however there really isn't a section of the template where editors can agree the link belongs, then it should probably be removed.
You say the template is obviously absurd. I say to you that it seems entirely reasonable to me. I'm not seeing the absurdity that you are seeing. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:18, 14 December 2011 (UTC)[]
Thanks for clearing up a few things. By me comparing KKK and Nazis was not to match them up by their crimes, it was merely to display that the only people on the critics section are clearly the cliched group of people that are generally atheists and their views of religion are theistic and Christian biased. Like I said earlier why not include Ibn Warrq or Robert Spencer under the critics page. For that matter we should also include William Lane Craig and Ahmed Deedat as a critic of other ultimate worldviews like atheism too. The one sidedness of the template like is what constitutes the absurdity. Also the only books noted are clearly those of atheists. Only one is on Islam. What about the rest? Come on. The fact that this template is so lopsided only shows who has been taking care of it. No one seems to be stepping up to making corrections to this either....Ramos1990 (talk) 00:05, 15 December 2011 (UTC)[]
I think I said this somewhere before, but I would be very much in favor of adding more links, to make it less theistic/Christian biased. The solution to that is to go ahead and add those people. I doubt anyone would object to that. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:48, 15 December 2011 (UTC)[]

Concepts of god[edit]

Guess I have not made myself clear so I'll try again.

  • These criticism articles are an ongoing wide spread debate over various peoples concepts of god, gods, the divine or lack thereof. When trying to get a better understanding of the overall debate you want to read critics from all sides. When you engage in a debate you give time for a rebuttal. Failing to review the critiques of the godless by those with gods does not get you a whole picture. For example: reading even a review of The Dawkins Delusion gave me some insights I had missed.
  • The Supreme Court has made several 1st Amendment rulings about treating atheism as a religion for the purpose of protecting free speech.
  1. "Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of 'ultimate concern' that for her occupy a 'place parallel to that filled by . . . God in traditionally religious persons,' those beliefs represent her religion."
  2. This is, essentially, the basis for their decision. They have, in the past, considered atheism to be a religion in the specialized sense that atheism, like theism, specifically addresses the concept of god for the individual. This definition is an attempt to address the implied protections guaranteed by the First Amendment.
    • This statement in bold font led me to a new idea for the category: Criticisms of religious concepts - atheism without theism does not exist. If there is no concepts of gods at all then denying those gods would also not exist and humans wouldn't even have a word atheism. Atheism is a concept of religion. --Alatari (talk) 03:44, 14 December 2011 (UTC)[]
I appreciate that you are saying this in good faith, but you are over-thinking it. If we include religious concepts, where do we draw the line? Criticism of charity, kosher food, sectarian conflicts, heresy? I can appreciate the desire to be non-offensive, to provide "balance" so as not to offend editors who object to criticizing religion. It's a kind impulse. But it is a very severe misreading of NPOV. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:25, 14 December 2011 (UTC)[]
Atheism is not a religious concept; and to say otherwise is offensive to many atheists. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:17, 16 December 2011 (UTC)[]
Actually, Pigsonthewing, Atheism IS a religious concept. Check out "The Secularization of Early Modern England: From Religious Culture to Religious Faith" by Sommerville Chapter 4 for a thorough review of the emergence of "secular" words including atheist and atheistic. You would be surprised to see that words like this emerged in the last 400-500 years as religious terminology to differentiate between cultures and beliefs even though, since the 11th century via the Papal Revolution, the emergence of the secular state was already established. Why did the identity of atheists grow from the 17th century and up, and not before? Protestant Christianity helped create a world where autonomy and individualism could grow and thus pioneered the movement of atheists we see today. Read "State and Secularism: Perspectives from Asia" for more on this point. Literally atheism would not exist as it is today if was not for Christianity and its culture or rationalism which comes from the early medieval period. Its just a shame that most atheists are not rational enough to study history or culture from the medieval period or primary sources. To call atheism a religious concept may be offensive to culturally illiterate atheists who pretty much see gods as a needed concept for religion, though as mentioned before on my first few comments most religions are religions of atheism. See "Atheism and Secularity" (2 vol.) for a more empirical look at the diversity of beliefs atheists have globally. In Europe, many atheists are quite respectful of religion and don't mind it as much as the religious American atheist species. In fact in Scandinavian countries, you have a "Paradox" where 47% claim membership to the Church. Others such as the British are indifferent to both theism and atheism overall. The fact that most countries do not have aggressive atheists in their midst means that most would probably not get offended. I am Hispanic, and so far the regular Spanish speaking atheists from many countries don't seem to mind seeing atheism as a religious concept. They definitely don't use the word "religion" often as much as American atheists. They are definitely are more open to others beliefs without getting offended. Ramos1990 (talk) 18:20, 16 December 2011 (UTC)[]
Alatari referred to it as possibly being a "concept of religion". I would see it as a "concept about religion", but not a "concept within religion". It's fine with me to treat it as the former of those two, but I would object to treating it as the latter. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:19, 16 December 2011 (UTC)[]

Serious Perceived NPOV issue with the notable critics[edit]

None of themthe first 9 I have checked are theists. Paul the Apostle is a noted critic of Judaism but he was also a devout Christian and a very notable person but he's not in the list. I'm sure there are many, many more notable Islamic, Buddhist, Jewish scholars of note that have criticized other religions that need to be added to this list. Otherwise all we have is the notable critics from a single POV. Tryptofish, you have worked closely on other Criticism of X religion articles and you must know of many other theist critics. --Alatari (talk) 04:03, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[]

OK that is so odd.... The list is in alphabetic order but the first 9 critics are all atheist but the end of the alphabetic list is where you find the theist critics.... Very odd. So the list is much more balanced than I thought originally. Guess we could list them in atheist/theist/atheist order instead of alphabetical. meh --Alatari (talk) 04:23, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[]

Good addition. I do see this critics section, as how you mentioned before, as a never ending list. Notable critics of theism and atheism should be included so that the list is consistent as a critics page. I'll add more later.Ramos1990 (talk) 07:14, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[]

Those two you added are critics but of atheism which is not part of this template. I understand your catch-22 but the consensus is to keep the template as it is named. So only critics that criticise articles within the templates confines are to be added. The only compromise I can see is a renaming of the template but since you tried to have the template deleted your political position in this consensus is undermined. --Alatari (talk) 07:52, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[]

I never wanted to delete this template. Please read my previous comments since this was very clear. I think bias is clouding the view. William Lane Craig has often been a critic of Islam for example and has debated on this. That is why I added him. Theodore Beale is indeed a critic of atheism but since this is about critics of all the views, that is why I added him. In the case of atheism as religion, Atheism IS indeed a category of religion and is the opposite category of theism (mono, poly, pan, etc.). Atheism would include animisms, animatism, ancestor-spirit, naturalistic spirituality, etc. I think that most atheists in the West are simply not aware the anthropological evidence from religions globally which obviously include even environmentalism and other ultimate worldviews. You cannot forget at least that Buddhism and Taoism as inherently god-lacking related religions. Read their scriptures.
Atheists are definitely a weird group of people in the West because of their strange views on "religion" and for the most part they have a Theistic/Christian bias of what classifies as religion. They do not have an empirical-rational outlook when it comes to talking about "religions". As noted earlier with citations, the most common forms of religions are religions of atheism. "Freethought Denominations" and even the Quaker Nontheist Friends are strong support that even naturalist atheists are indeed religious people. At the same time it should be noted that theists are extremely secular people also and that just having a belief in gods does not make anyone religious per se (i.e. Deists). You should not forget that many Christians are quite irreligious themselves and rarely care about Christianity. There is obvious overlap in secularity and religiosity from both directions, but I think many atheists do not necessarily see it or even emphasize it. I know personally because I am a part of two fanatical religious groups called Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists. They don't like to be called that but they simply are doing the same thing as Christians have been doing in their organizations and they try to convert people to their views by using reversed language like "unbeliever", "skeptic", etc, which are all universal words and are literally context-dependent. These words fit theists quite well also since they really are "unbeliever", "skeptic", etc. when it comes to other people's beliefs. The only difference between theists and atheists is really god belief, that's it. To be an atheist does not mean one is irreligious or that one denies all the rest of the supernatural. Read "Atheism and Secularity" 2 vol. for more on the religious diversity in atheism. Check out "Religion Without God" by Ray Billington for a good survey on this. I can only hope that atheists break out of the theist/Christian view of religions and look at the vast majority of religions - which are of the category of atheism. Just a few thoughts. Ramos1990 (talk) 18:08, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[]
tl;dr, but I support inclusion of critics of religion and critics of religions. I oppose inclusion of critics of atheism. Are we going to include every religious thinker in this template? Of course not. Are we going to arbitrarily select a few of them to include? Per WP:UNDUE, no. This isn't a template about anything other than criticism of religion. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:30, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[]
On the "Too many "notable critics"? section of this discussion, the endless list of "critics" was noticed. Who should be included and for what? Alatari noted, what would this bring to the template also? Perhaps it would not be a good idea to keep this part of the template. Actually after thinking about it again, this section sounds quite absurd no? To have critics of "religion" would be just as weird as having critics of "government" or critics of "culture". Which ones are they criticizing? Surely the critics on the list are not criticizing ALL the possible ones. Usually they seem more sympathetic to some like Buddhism and other supernaturalist atheist religions. Since there is no such thing as "religion", but "religions", and since most of these critics so far are pretty much criticizing mainly three forms of theism, which are extremely small in number compared to the number of atheist religions, it may not not be possible to make this section of the template represent the global reality in terms of critics. All the other sections in the template look more balanced and universal. Is there a good reason to keep the critics section? This section only leads to biographies, not to relevant pages on the topic of the template. The criticism pages in the rest of the template seem more appropriate and to the point of the template. Ramos1990 (talk) 23:35, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[]

There are not that many people in atheist religions. I attended a Pure Land temple for a while and while it is constantly claimed they don't have a deity Amida rules over a heaven and can make anything he wishes to appear for you there. They pray to him for hours on end asking for his aid to do many things other than just enter his kingdom. It was like I had walked into a Vietnamese version of Christianity. He is a god and they are theists. So ended my exploration into becoming Buddhist.... maybe there will be a secular Buddhist temple in this town someday.

I oppose the notable critics section for purely mathematical and Wikipedia editors peace of mind reasons. There are 5 major world religions of which each has it's notable critics of the other 4 religions. That's 5x4 combinations of choices for choosing just one critic from each major religion to critic the other 4. Since we have included nontheists that adds another 5. Then there is 3000 years to choose from. Then there is the hashing out a criteria of who is notable enough to include in the list. Ramos1990 included a theist from very recent times I had never heard of but after seeing his William Lane Craig article and the preponderance of books he has written I'm wondering why should he not be included?

If we are to keep the notable critics section there there needs to be a clear criterion for who to include and how many to include and what constitutes a NPOV in the representation of these critics. -Alatari (talk) 00:02, 22 December 2011 (UTC)[]

Absolutely, many people today are indeed theists. No doubt about that. Half of the world at least with Christainity and Islam. But the template is about the number of religions, not the number of people that belong to them. Some branches of Buddhism do have gods, but the core texts do not include gods nor do they require god-belief. Also, not all things that appear as gods, or even translated as "gods", are gods in Buddhism since they do have other beings/concepts. Languages from other regions of the world add different dimensions to the concepts we think are linear and structured in Western languages. In China, for example, "Tian" which means "heaven" was often translated as "God". But since god-belief is not fundamental or even necessary to Buddhism, then it is an atheist religion inherently. Even Dalai Lama has written on the issue of Buddhism without gods and even "religion". I've been to a Theravada Buddhist temple before. Seems nice even though most in that temple didn't have beliefs in gods and if they did, they showed indifference. I agree with you on the math on the critics. This can get crazy and there are many other people than can be included in the list. Like William Lane Craig, Norman Geisler can be added since he has written extensively on other religions. But I don't know if you want to put him on. I agree either we have a criteria or we dump the "critics" section since it only leads to their biographies, not criticisms of religions. It does seem out of place like you mentioned earlier. Ramos1990 (talk) 00:34, 22 December 2011 (UTC)[]
I'm not at all convinced that there's really a problem here. It makes perfectly good sense to include links to bio pages of critics of religion in a template about criticism of religion. If there is concern about criteria for inclusion, there's a simple solution: inclusion requires sourcing, either that the person has described themself as a critic of religion, or that reliable secondary sources have described them as such. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:09, 22 December 2011 (UTC)[]

Proposal for notable critics section[edit]

  • In order to save time and future grief on criteria and debate on inclusion I propose we use the existing Category:Critics of religions or philosophies to tag any notable critics articles and then direct the reader to the category listing page.

--Alatari (talk) 06:23, 22 December 2011 (UTC)[]

    • Is there a way to use Wiki markup to have a template show a random selection of, say, 20 names from the category every time the Template is loaded? --Alatari (talk) 06:23, 22 December 2011 (UTC)[]
The answer to your last question is no. (And it would probably be confusing to readers if the list changed every time they came back to look at it.) About your main point, the idea is complicated by the fact that the category is being considered for deletion, and also to some extent by the idea behind WP:CIRCULAR. Nonetheless, I think there could be some value in looking at the pages for each person in the template section, or being considered for addition to it, and seeing to what extent the bio page does or does not characterize them as a critic of religion. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:15, 22 December 2011 (UTC)[]
I don't see how WP:circular applies since it is only us editors that are making the choice as to who to include as notable critics and it's Wikipedia editors that are placing the various biographies into the Category of critics of religion. A link to the category page is no different than us building the current list that resides there. Now if there is a source that has a premade category of the top 100 critics of religion that would take away Wikipedia editors making this determination. --Alatari (talk) 18:46, 23 December 2011 (UTC)[]
I like your proposal, Alatari. Also, I note that the Template:Criticism of Islam is comprised of mainly a list of critics. At the same time, I am bothered by the fact that what constitutes a "critic" and "criticism" is ill-defined. Religious reformers are full of criticism of their faith or fellow practitioners, but most of the critics in these articles appear to range from non-believers to polemicists. An attempt should be made to include reformers as well under this very broad umbrellaJemiljan (talk) 23:51, 28 December 2011 (UTC)[]

Nomination for merging of Template:Criticism of Islam sidebar[edit]

Template:Criticism of Islam sidebar has been nominated for merging with Template:Criticism of religion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for discussion page. Thank you.Jemiljan (talk) 23:51, 28 December 2011 (UTC)[]

People not notable as critics of religion[edit]

I am sceptical about the list of critics which has been debated on this talk page rather often. Some of these people are not at all notable for their criticism of religion. In particular, the article on William Lane Craig does not mention any criticism at all. In general, I have doubts about the inclusion of religious people who only criticise other religions but defend their own; that's not really criticism of religion. For example, Norman Geisler doesn't seem to have any problems with religion in principle. Huon (talk) 13:59, 4 March 2012 (UTC)[]

Hey Huon. I mentioned these guys in previous posts here. I know the critics issue is discussed in many of these previous sections. Others have argued that the critics section is very much irrelevant, but in terms of Craig and Geisler, they are indeed critics of religions also. Craig and Geisler for example have argued against Islam and Geisler has done one publication on this too. Both have done much on arguing against other worldviews when they compare other religions so their work is relevant. This is why they have been included. Another editor here put in Paul the Apostle for his views on Judaism. The issue of critics is quite broad so its up to you to convince others that only a few should be included in the list. The issue here is not in problems with religions in principle, since most of those on the critics list are not anthropological researchers and they usually criticizes theistic religions only, not the majority of religions which are atheist religions. Its about any criticism of all of these worldviews. Hope this helps clarify the situation.Ramos1990 (talk) 20:27, 4 March 2012 (UTC)[]
Firstly, I don't think Paul belongs on this template either. Being a critic of a certain religion (or of all religions but one) is not the same as being a critic of religion. Or do you claim that whenever two religious people disagree on religious matters they both become critics of religion? I don't understand what you say about "atheist religions"; with the possible exception of some strains of Buddhism and some forms of ancestor worship I'm not aware of any, let alone of them being the majority. Could you clarify what you meant? Secondly, as I said above Craig's article does not even mention Islam or criticism of religion, only defense of religion. Since we can hardly add sources to the template, the right procedure would be to first clarify in the article why he's an important critic of religion, and only then add him to the template. Huon (talk) 21:30, 4 March 2012 (UTC)[]
I'd be inclined to err on the side of including too many persons, rather than too few. A template like this one is only a guide to readers, saying "if you are interested in this article, here are other articles that may interest you too." I would not include anyone who never criticized anything about religion, of course, as that would indeed be misleading. But I think it's acceptable to include critics who only criticize certain facets of religion, or certain groups of religions. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:40, 4 March 2012 (UTC)[]
Hey Huon. I hear your concerns, but I think we all a similar views to Trypofish. This template is a "if you are interested in this article, here are other articles that may interest you too." The contents have to involve some criticism of certain relevant material in an overarching sense like people criticizing Buddhism or Islam, not inner disagreement between Sunnis and Shiites. The fact that there are may types of religions, not one general one means that there is a wide range of critics that can emerge. Most of the critics here are only criticizing theistic religions pretty much (which are a minority anthropologically). Craig has debated extensively on Islam and other issues seen here (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=q_and_a_archive) and here (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5725). He studied Islam in his theological studies in Germany and has debated it with people like Jamal Badawi and Shabir Ally. I will add this to his article since it is a good point that is missing. In terms of atheist religions (religions without gods) are the majority type of religions by number of cultures and history. You presumably have been like many others - been exposed to very few cultures and very few religions (most being theistic). You may read an anthropological perspective on this point in Ch.1 of "Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker". Most cultures never developed god concepts. Instead animism, animatism, ancestor, spirit, etc were the most prevalent. I think you can preview part of Ch.1 at Amazon. Ramos1990 (talk) 23:53, 4 March 2012 (UTC)[]
This seems like a recipe for original research to me. The articles linked in the template should make clear why they are included. Thus, the "critics of religion" should indeed be called critics of religion in their articles, preferably with a reliable source. I just tried to find a reliable source calling Paul the Apostle a "critic of religion" and failed. The Craig and Geisler articles currently also do not show why this template should include them, and I am not aware of reliable sources calling either of them a "critic of religion".
On the "atheistic religions": I just checked that at least 70% of modern mankind are Christians, Muslims or Hindus. It is hardly surprising that critics of religion concern themselves more with majority beliefs than with small minorities, but I expect the criticisms of, say, Dawkins or Marx hold for all religions independent of whether the supernatural beliefs include a deity or not (and the line between gods and spirits is rather vague anyway). Huon (talk) 00:27, 5 March 2012 (UTC)[]
This is not original research as the template is simply an index which is meant to show a diversity of criticisms. This is not an article. For the most part the critics on the list do not label themselves as "critics of religion" nor is this their professions. Usually the media may arbitrarily label them with titles such as this. But to call oneself as "critic of religion" is as broad and useless as someone calling themselves a "critic of government" or "critic of culture". Which ones are they talking about and to whom are they referring to? The diversity of religions means that many critics would emerge from many angles naturally even if they are not labelled as "critics of religion". This template is just about people who have criticized openly some religions in some substantial way. You are correct that many people today are theists, but the issue is that the critics on the list often complain about only a small handful of religions (pretty much Christianity and Islam) and only a handful of people (that are not representative of the vast majority of members globally) and they use these as templates for all religions - which is erroneous. By number of religions and cultures alone most never had gods. The ones that are popular with many people today are really a small number that are not representative of the diversity of religions. None of the critics on the list complain much about Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, the Church of Satan, Scientology, the Hua of Paupau New Guinea, Native American religions, Wicca, Unitarian Universalists, Ethical Culture, Raelians, etc. all of which have lots of different things and practices that are absent in Christianity and Islam. One cannot assume that religions are uniform or that they have certain traits that are exclusive to them nor can one assume that massive international bodies of people like all billion Christians from all cultures have the same mentality, habits, and behaviors and that they have the exact same beliefs and cultural practices. This is the absurdity of thinking that "religion" is singular, not plural. Your assumption that the criticism of Dawkins or Marx apply to all religions is therefore anthropologically erroneous and false. Again which ones are they talking about and who are they referring to? Most on the list could better be labelled as "critics of Christianity" not "critics of religions" since they normally don't criticize other groups in any significant detail nor do they put in much effort to diversify their criticisms. But despite their limited criticisms they are put in the template because they have made some criticisms on groups in some substantial way. Ramos1990 (talk) 02:22, 5 March 2012 (UTC)[]
Labeling people as critcs of religion when no reliable source does so is not original research? I beg to differ. Furthermore, your criteria for inclusion ("people who have criticized openly some religions in some substantial way", but "not inner disagreement between Sunnis and Shiites") are entirely arbitrary. Does Martin Luther qualify for openly and substantially criticising Catholicism? Or is that just "inner disagreement"? Why isn't Paul an "inner disagreement" in 1st century Judaism? What makes Craig's debates with imams "substantial"? Huon (talk) 04:07, 5 March 2012 (UTC)[]
As was noted earlier the criticisms should be overarching and broad such as a Christian criticizing Islam or atheist criticizing Christianity, not necessarily between sects specifically because this template is a broad index, not specific to any particular religion and inner disagreements that could exist. Notice that the category on the template says "Critics" in general not "Critics of Religion" specifically. Look at Robert Spencer's page, he is a "Critic of Islam", but under you assumption he would have to be removed from the list since he is not officially called "critic of religion". Should we remove him? Dan Barker is not officially named a "critic of religion" in his article either but he is known for his criticism of religion (namely Christianity) without a citation. Do you want to remove him? Dawkin's page does not have him officially named as "critic of religion" either but he is seen as one. Do you want to remove him? Many of these don't have the official title you are asking for, but their actions make them candidates for the template. Your request is not realistic because to be a critic one need only to criticize (in speech or writing), not be "officially" labeled as one. Originally this template was very biased where all you had was mainly atheists talking about religion, but since others cross criticize each other then it was agreed to include criticism of all views from wide angles, not just atheists. The template as a result became more general and neutral to help find relevant articles for a bunch of topics from multiple views. Please read previous sections for the whole discussion. This template is to help people find other broad articles that are relevant to criticisms from one to another, not have it be a one way only template. Some have noted that the "critics" section of this template is problematic since the list could be long and it would be hard to draw a line. What do you think? Ramos1990 (talk) 06:52, 5 March 2012 (UTC)[]
I indeed think that the entire "critics" section is somewhat problematic. Of the people you ask about, Spencer is a borderline case, Barker is said to be known for criticism of religion in the infobox, and Dawkins is called "a prominent critic of religion" in the article proper. One could argue about Spencer both ways, and the other two should be sourced in their articles, not removed from the template. I expect that's possible, but if those portions of their articles cannot be supported by reliable secondary sources, I would immediately advocate for removing them too. (Barker seems not significant enough a critic of religion for this template, but that's another matter and independent of whether he is a critic of religion in the first place.)
In general, I think the line of reasoning about us calling that section "critics" and not "critics of religon" amounts to playing word games. It's a template on criticism of religion; what kind of critics should one expect if not critics of religion?
Furthermore, the template is, rather obviously, about critcism of religion. It is supposed to be one way only. That's not a bug, it's a feature. And we cannot really be surprised that people critical of religion tend to be irreligious themselves. We might decide to add a section on apologists responding to said criticism, but we should not mix the critics and the defenders. And because, as you say, the template is not specific to any particular religion, I'd say a member of religion A criticising religion B for "doing it wrong" is not overarching and broad enough. That's still an inner disagreement among the religious.
At an even more basic level, we need people be labeled critics by reliable sources to avoid original research. You seem to say that Paul, Craig and Geisler are critics of substantial enough a standing to be included, I say they are not. That's just your opinion and mine; the way to resolve this is by reliable secondary sources, and the burden of evidence is on the editor who wants to include information - in this case, on you. Being a critic without being labeled one is not enough; Wikipedia is about verifiability, not truth. Huon (talk) 19:42, 5 March 2012 (UTC)[]
Others have noted the problems you have mentioned. Looking at Dawkin's page, Hume's page, Dennet's page, Maher's page, Gaylor's page, Epicurus' page none of these have a sourced mentioning of the title "critic of religion". Some of these don't have the term either. Also some like Epicurus participated in Greek religion too. What do we do with him? "critic of religion" is more of a side description than actual title for these people. In essence all of these people in the template are not just defenders of ideas they also attack and provide counter arguments. It does not make sense to just focus on one aspect that they do. In the case of Geisler and Craig (I didn't put in Paul), they have done much offensive work on relevant topics to criticism of both religion and irreligion in general so I think they earned their spot here. The fact that they have debated many ultimate worldviews make them relevant to the criticism template (this is verifiable). I like your idea of adding a response to criticism page and linking it to this template. This may help. But at the moment since this is a template and since a template is not in and of itself an argument or an article but an index to other articles that maybe of interest I see no problem with keeping them and adding others who have done notable work in criticizing parts of the religion landscape. Don't forget the even the religious are very critical of religion also. Look at the criticism of Buddhism page, it says "Sources of criticism can come from, for example, agnostics, skeptics, "anti-religion" philosophers, proponents of other religions, or by Buddhists espousing reform or simply expressing dislike." What do you think? Ramos1990 (talk) 00:51, 6 March 2012 (UTC)[]
I'm going to backtrack a bit from what I said above, after considering Huon's points about WP:OR. What occurs to me is actually more a matter of WP:UNDUE. Although I stand by what I said about including persons who only criticize certain aspects of religion, I think that we run into a problem with "critics" who devote 99% (not intended by me as an exact number!) of their comments to defending religion, with only 1% as criticism. In cases where WP:BLP arises, the concern becomes particularly significant. The two pages cited in the opening post are William Lane Craig and Norman Geisler. Geisler's page does discuss his criticism of Mormonism. Unless there is a reason to be concerned that his criticism of Mormonism is treated in an UNDUE manner on that page, I'd probably be OK with keeping him here. But if it is actually UNDUE, I'd prefer to delete him. Craig, however, really strikes me as a problem. He comes across as someone who is entirely devoted to defense of religion. Ramos gives two links, above. I didn't go in detail through the first one, but the second, a compilation of Craig's writings, does not include anything about criticism of Islam that I can see. Especially in the case of living persons, I think we should not include anyone who, if they were to see the template, would be likely to react by thinking "why am I listed as a critic of religion?". --Tryptofish (talk) 00:56, 6 March 2012 (UTC)[]
I'm ok with the change. Geisler has written quite a bit on other religions specifically like Islam and other groups so I think he has earned his spot here. Craig has debated Islam (not in his writings but in the Debates section of the webpage Shabir Ally), but maybe not in an aggressive way. Ramos1990 (talk) 03:30, 6 March 2012 (UTC)[]
WP:BLP certainly does not support including Craig without a source. Regarding the people Ramos1990 asked about: I had no trouble at all finding reliable sources calling Hume, Dawkins and Dennett critics of religion. I found a scholarly source crediting Epicurus with the beginning of the materialist criticism of religion. For Maher the sources were worse, but both his proponents and his opponents can be shown to use that label. For Gaylor I couldn't find such a source, and she seems to be included in this list ex officio. Thus I'd say Epicurus, Hume, Dawkins and Dennett should stay, and if necessary their articles can be improved; Maher is another borderline case where one could argue both ways, and Gaylor is probably not significant enough a critic of religion for this template.
I also have to note that Ramos1990's main replies to my contentions about Craig, Geisler (whose criticism of Mormonism he would probably consider "inner disagreement" between different Christian sects and thus not worthy of inclusion in the template) and Paul were of the "but what about other persons on this template?" type. This seems to me like WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. I haven't checked the other supposed critics of religion, and whether or not they should be mentioned on this template is not at all relevant to whether Craig, Geisler and Paul should be mentioned.
I'll ask for wider community input at WT:WikiProject Religion. Huon (talk) 03:44, 6 March 2012 (UTC)[]
I'm here from the WikiProject and I agree that a sidebar on criticism of religion should comprise critics of religion, not of specific religions. I believe there are several more specific sidebars for criticism of specific religions; this one should be about religion as a phenomenon. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 05:53, 6 March 2012 (UTC)[]
Huon, getting more eyes is a good idea, and Ramos, thanks for agreeing about Craig. Huon, I'm surprised that you would question Annie Laurie Gaylor and Bill Maher as critics of religion. I guess one could debate the academic/scholarly significance of their criticisms, but there seems to me to be no question that they would consider themselves to be critics of religion. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:25, 7 March 2012 (UTC)[]
I have no idea about Gaylor; I couldn't find any sources whatsoever calling her a critic of religion. She may well consider herself one, but I can't read her mind. Her article does not say anything about criticism of religion either. For Maher primary sources exist, but I couldn't find secondary sources. In my opinion that indeed makes him a borderline case because of his (lack of) significance, not because there is a doubt about what he considers himself. Huon (talk) 00:47, 7 March 2012 (UTC)[]
Gaylor, per the lead sentence of her page, is co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. It seems to me that people who want to be free from religion would tend to be critical of it! As for both of them, the issue of notability or significance is settled at the biographical pages, not here. There's certainly a case to be made that Maher is (in the US at least) a culturally influential critic of religion. We shouldn't limit this to academics/scholars. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:59, 7 March 2012 (UTC)[]

The case about Maher's significance would have to be made by secondary sources. Such secondary sources may exist though I didn't find any when I was looking for them. If only primary sources have cared to actually call him a critic of religion, he can't be all that culturally significant. Regarding Gaylor, I personally tend to agree, but without a secondary source that's all just our personal opinion and thus original research. What I disagree with is that her rank as co-founder of an advocacy organization on its own makes her significant enough for this template. Huon (talk) 01:33, 7 March 2012 (UTC)[]

There are plenty of cases where it's important to rely on secondary sources. In this case, not so much. This isn't an AfD discussion. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:44, 7 March 2012 (UTC)[]
Did you have a look at the expansion tag you just added? Adding BLPs to a template without a reliable source is a very bad idea; adding others without a secondary source isn't much better. I begin to believe that a list article (linked from the template) would be better than this mini-list without any inclusion criteria but "I feel like adding person X". Huon (talk) 21:47, 13 March 2012 (UTC)[]
Yes, of course I looked at it. (Actually I modified one that another editor first added.) Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it actually says that a reliable source is needed, not that it isn't needed. As for secondary sources, I've already answered that. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:52, 13 March 2012 (UTC)[]
So you agree that Paul the Apostle, Norman Geisler and Annie Laurie Gaylor, all of which do not have any source at all calling them "critics", should be removed? OK, done. I've also removed Theodore Beale aka Vox Day, who is anything but a critic of religion. Huon (talk) 14:33, 14 March 2012 (UTC)[]
Well, look at what I actually said. I've restored Annie Laurie Gaylor, for the reasons I've already explained. But I have no objections to removing those others. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:54, 14 March 2012 (UTC)[]
Then go ahead and find a reliable source calling Gaylor a critic of religion. I have tried and failed. Huon (talk) 11:40, 15 March 2012 (UTC)[]
[1]. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:30, 15 March 2012 (UTC)[]
That entire book does not contain the word "critic", and it says the FFRF's primary focus is church-state separation. Advocating for secularism is not in itself a criticism of religion. Huon (talk) 19:43, 15 March 2012 (UTC)[]
I'm trying not to lose patience with you, but, really. Now I do realize that there are people of faith who call for separation of church and state, but the source I provided clearly states that she and her collaborators are atheists. An atheist who works to have religion separated from public life is being critical of religion. That's just common sense. If you are going to wikilawyer that the exact word "critic" must be used, then, well, you would be wikilawyering. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:50, 15 March 2012 (UTC)[]

If you cannot find a source calling Gaylor a critic of religion we not only face the risk of original research (and you calling it common sense does not mitigate that problem), it's also a very strong indication that Gaylor is too insignificant to be mentioned on this template. I might be persuaded that your source is sufficient to call her husband Dan Barker a critic of religion, but her? Not so much. Huon (talk) 20:35, 15 March 2012 (UTC)[]

Barker is on the template as well. I have given you a source that calls her a critic of religion, but it doesn't call her a "critic of religion" in those words. As for what you keep calling "insignificance", I've already said that notability is not decided on the template page, but on the biography page. I think you and I have reached an impasse. If you are dissatisfied, please feel free to call an RfC. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:03, 15 March 2012 (UTC)[]

Deletion of all critics[edit]

To solve the issues above I have deleted the complete group of critics. Category:Critics of religions or philosophies‎ (which we should maybe link from the template) is more accurate and is updated automatically. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 06:32, 11 March 2012 (UTC)[]

Alan, thank you for noting in your edit summary that you consider your edit to be a bold one, because I'm going to invoke WP:BRD and, respectfully, revert you. Here's why. I don't really think that the disagreements here are that big a deal, and we likely are heading for a reasonable consensus. The most important purpose of the template is as an aid to our readers, to find other pages that may interest them, and it's easier for readers to use the template than to track down the category page. Also, whatever disagreements we see here do not go away by relying on the category: instead, there would be arguments page-by-page as to whether or not to include the category. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:00, 12 March 2012 (UTC)[]

List of books incorrect?[edit]

Should books like The Dawkins Delusion? and The Rage Against God be on the book list? Because they're not really criticism of religion, more "criticism of criticism of religion". Pokepal101 (talk) 13:38, 19 December 2012 (UTC)[]

Books about criticism of religion seem relevant enough as long as they don't entirely dominate the template. Huon (talk) 13:55, 19 December 2012 (UTC)[]
I agree with Huon. Templates are links to pages that maybe of relevant interest on a given topic. Some books that counter should be ok as long as they do not make up the majority in this template since they do indeed discuss criticisms in detail. Actually if you think about it, most of these books on the template are not really criticisms of "religion" at all. They are more like criticisms of few specific religions only. They all pretty much aim at discussing criticisms of only three monotheisms which are a minority type of religion and not representative of the vast majority of religions. Anthropologically, most religions are not monotheistic, or even theistic for that matter, but even with the narrow and unrepresentative views in the books on the template, they do contribute to something on criticism. --Ramos1990 (talk) 17:20, 19 December 2012 (UTC)[]
I don't feel very strongly about this, because I prefer to be inclusive with respect to pages that might interest readers, but I tend to agree with Pokepal101 that those two books probably don't belong. They are criticisms of criticism of religion, or, removing that double negative, they are defenses of religion. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:26, 19 December 2012 (UTC)[]


Socrates would be more in a category of people who criticized one form of religion in preference for another. Plato didn't just write the Euthyphro but also made it very clear in the Apology that Socrates was most definitely not an atheist and has him making arguments for the immortality of the soul in the Phaedo. If you include him, you'd probably also have to include Jesus for his criticism of the Pharisees religion. --2610:E0:A040:7EFD:D923:DDD:1B6D:3EE7 (talk) 06:35, 20 July 2013 (UTC)[]

List of "notable critics" - deleting[edit]

I'm removing the lengthy, "grab bag" style list of "notable critics" from this template. There is no commonality among the names on the list, which includes such disparate figures as Frank Zappa, Howard Stern, and Socrates.

  • Some criticized a particular religion, whereas others criticized religion in general
  • Some are philosophers, others are scientists, others writers or political activists
  • Some are specifically atheist figures, while others are not.
  • Some figures are of high importance, while others are extremely marginal figures.
  • Some are ancient, whereas others are modern.

In sum, this is an indiscriminate list. I note that Template:Irreligion doesn't have a list of "notable individual figures" — probably for the same reasons that having such a list in the template is a bad idea. Neutralitytalk 05:24, 1 August 2016 (UTC)[]

No portal, no portal link[edit]

The Criticism of religion portal was recently deleted. I've removed the red link from the template. BlackcurrantTea (talk) 11:02, 27 April 2019 (UTC)[]