Language: And How We Use it

Language: And How We Use it

We can use language
Positively: to build others up, give them the information they need to live as they should, thank them when they do something nice and in so many other ways. We can also use it:

Negatively: critise them, assign bad motives to what they do, label them etc.

Language can be either:

Personal: what we say to friends and family and

Public:  What we do and say in the public arena or.

Both: In churches, clubs, board meetings, but here it is only semi-public and open to insiders.

If we put what we say into the public domain, as I am doing with this, then we have to accept it if someone replies and disagres.  But we do not expect to have what we say privately to be listened to by others and put into the public domain.

This was written during the time Rupert Murdoch’s media organisation was being investigated for hacking into the phones of others.  It stared out with those in the public domain, politians, celiebrities, etc.   But then it emerged that those who talked to their family and friends on the phones after the most awful tradegies, such as 9/11 in the US and 7/7 here had had their phones hacked.  The public responded to this with horror and campaigned against him.

The purpose of language is to communicate information, ideas, etc from one person to others.  But if someone gives a word a different meaning to that which it should have they are either not communicating, or if they are the word can be said to being used illegitimately.

Often the reason a word, or words, are changed is so that language can be used to label people using them as terms of abuse.  We can then convince ourselves that they are different from us and anything we do to them is legitimate.  Words that are being used in this way recently are: fundamentalist and fundamentalism.

This is making an adjective into a noun and is not a legitimate use of language.  Think about it and you will realise that the words fundamentalist and fundamentalism cannot be used as nouns, because what is fundamental to one thing can be the opposite to what is fundamental to something else. For instance wet is fundamental to water and heat is fundamental to fire.   Doing good is fundamental to love and doing evil is fundamental to hate.

On Friday 22nd July 2011 in Norway a citizen of that country planted a bomb by the government buildings to explode and then crossed to an island where there were a group of people he had obviously so labelled and shot some of them.

To find out more I accessed the BBC World Service and found that they were doing the same thing.  He had earlier opened an account on Facebook and said that he was a Christian and this was taken up by them and others and given the context used as a term of abuse.   I would point out that anyone can call themselves anything, but surely they have to prove that they are.  A Chrisian is a person who is following Christ who said that we would know people by their fruit and that evil beliefs bring forth evil actions.  The question has to be asked if Christ would recognise him as his own.

They qualified it saying he was a fundamentalist Christian.  This, up to a point, is a legitimate use of language, but others go further and label people Fundamentalist.

Language: Definitions of Fundamentalism

One definition of A Fundamentalism is:

A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.

A 2nd definition of fundamentalism is:
An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in opposition to Protestant Liberalism and secularism, insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture.

Note the language used and the fact that the word was initially used by Christians to describe themselves.  I have not read what those who first used it had to say.  But what is certain is that those that have read it know that it is being used by Christians.   But this is not the case with those who have taken it and applied it to other religions, philosophies, etc.

Language: How Words Are Used

Let us look at these terms and see what emerges.  Is intolerance a bad thing, as is suggested by those who want to use the word as a term of abuse?  Those applying these labels do by their words say no.  They are saying that no one should commit acts of terrorism, murder, slander, as these are bad. They are also universally condemned.

So if the core beliefs of a group, be they religious or otherwise are these then a return to them is good, but if the core beliefs advocate doing them then a return to them is not.

The core beliefs of a Christian are:
The Bible is God’s Word to us, Jesus Christ is God Incarnate and He came to die for us and is God’s last word to us.

The core beliefs of Muslims are:
Muhammad is the last and greatest prophet.  Jesus Christ is only one of many prophets and is less than Muhammad.  The revelation given to Muhammad is God’s last word to us.

These are mutually exclusive and any language that says otherwise is misleading and illegitimate.

So let us use language legitimately and uphold what is good and condemn what is bad.

In the last post Social Networking was looked at and it was said that people join them to talk to their friends.   But if the words we use do not mean the same to the person who is using them and those hearing them they are not communicating but talking to themselves.

Here we have looked at how language can be used illegitimately and to denigrate others.  In a latter post we will look at how those in a position of authrity, be they Government (national and local), large corporations, etc are using language, or rather stopping others from doing so by banning those whose views they disagree with.

One Response to “Language: And How We Use it”

  1. […] an earlier post I looked at Language and How We Use it. .  I demonstrated that some words are being used illegitimately. In this post I want to look at […]

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