Linguistic Gymnastics In Religion

On the web everyday are articles by Christians of one persuasion vilifying those of another. It is not just non Mormons against Mormons or Catholics about non Catholics. Everyone knows of these. I’m talking of disputes within narrow bands of Christianity.

Of course, there have always been splits in denominations over one unimportant detail or another. I think the wars are escalating for two reasons. One is politics, the election of Donald Trump. The other is the newly perceived reality that the size of orthodox Christianity, nearly all denominations, is falling. This latter means that to grow denominations, or branches of denominations, need to raid their enemies. For the faith it is a zero sum game. An example of all this can be seen in the commentary after the recent defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama.

Recently a prominent Presbyterian preacher in New York City criticized press coverage of the Moore defeat. He said the press and survey houses asked voters if they were “evangelical”. The preacher went on to say the press should differentiate between those who merely call themselves evangelical from those who are genuine evangelicals. He put the “E” in caps for white Evangelicals who are Moore/Trump political conservatives and called people serious about theology to be small “e” evangelicals. In other words, he or his group should decide who is a legitimate “evangelical”.

By recycling words and religious concepts, each branch of believers can brag only they hold the ultimate truth.


10 Responses

  1. Henry

    Atheists get a little touchy over linguistic gymnastics of their own. One atheist a few years ago was just inflamed that the freethinkers in Fargo called themselves the Redriverfreethinkers which did not include Grand Forks. Touchy, touchy. And then when atheists twist the sodomy passages of the bible to their liking, theiy get a little touchy when it is pointed out that their linguistic gymnastic interpretation doesn’t harmonize so well with the other passages within the Bible.

    1. unregenerate

      Henry 1.11.2018 @ 6:29 am

      Here’s a little exercise in linguistic gymnastics:
      1. There is one and only one God
      2. Each of the Persons of the Trinity is essentially God
      3. The Persons of the Trinity are different from each other
      4. God is utterly simple, uniform, and perfect

      1. unregenerate 9:02 Well done.

        When one considers the linguistic gymnastics of the Trinity it sounds like a God assembled by a committee. As I understand how the Trinity came into being, my impression is it actually is a definition written by a committee.

      2. Henry

        Unregenerate 9:02, that is not tall cotton at all. We have no human explanation for it, nor do we have an either/or explanation as to whether light is a particle or a wave. Yet, it is merely accepted by observation that light is both. No current controversy.

    2. Henry 6:29 Yes, we do a little linguistic gymnastics. That poster, Bob as I recall, had the notion there was too much Fargo in the Red River Freethinkers. The fact is, one of the founding members is from Grand Forks and worked for UND. The man gave lots of money to RRF.

      Skeptics have their factions. I had an angry guy here early on who had my private email. He repeated about what idiots atheists are, the only correct view of skepticism being agnostic. Dawkins spent 9 pages on these two words and clearly admits we cannot for certain, at this time in history, be 100% atheists.

      That, not being 100% certain, is the difference between believers and nonbelievers/skeptics. I have asked here several times for the most enthusiastic Christians to admit they cannot be 100% sure there is a god. Even though no Christian has a reason to be 100% sure there is a god, no one here has ever owned up to this fact.

      To put it another way, skeptics do linguistic gymnastics over how much doubt they have in their lack of faith. Deep Christians do not have terms for levels of doubt. Their gymnastics are all about inside issues. (The exception might be literalists versus semi-literalists. But most of that is not over doubt about the existence of their god.)

        1. Henry 4:11 as you referred to as a “safe facities’.
          That clinic and the current one have good records for quality care. The only safety hazard were the times anti abortion zealots tried to set fires to the original one.

          1. Henry

            Very unsafe for the little ones shredded and vacuumed. However, there is hope. In Fargo in the past 25 years, the abort clinics have been reduced by 50%. That is a little safer.

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