Last night, with the changes in power, there were, of course, discussions and debates that went on between Republicans and Democrats. One of these discussions led to a woman saying that Thomas Jefferson was an Orthodox Christian. She went on to say that she knew this because Wikipedia said so.
My goodness! How far we have come when we can use a website that anyone can have an account on and anyone can change most entries on as a source. Now, I will admit that I did use Wikipedia as a source in some college papers when I needed a quick source. That was around the time Wiki was first opened, and by the second or third time I did it, professors were quite aware of the lack of authority that source contained.
If you think that Wikipedia is an infallible source, then one only needs to look at the image below. It is an example of how Wikipedia can be turned into a source of entertainment for people.
If that can be done on an unimportant page, then can you imagine what could be done on a more serious page?
Second of all, Thomas Jefferson wasn’t an Orthodox Christian. Orthodox Christianity actually refers to churches that are typically associated with the Eastern Orthodox movement. Next, he wasn’t an orthodox Christian in the sense that he did not hold tenets of the traditional Christian churches of his time. In fact, Jefferson said the following about the traditions of his time:
- I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.
- Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.
- Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies.
Now, of course, the woman who I told this to doubted the legitimacy of my sources. (For Thomas Jefferson’s religious tendencies, I used religioustolerance.org, which is considered by many educators to be a legitimate source of valid information. For Benjamin Franklin, who we were also discussing, I used PBS.) I found it quite funny that I could use reliable sources and end up having my statements challenged because of the flawless nature of Wikipedia.
There may be some topics that Wikipedia has an edge on, but that doesn’t mean it is perfect and it certainly doesn’t make it a valid source. And if you use it for a source, then you should prepare to be laughed at and mocked.