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Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 24 2011,11:53   

Quote (fnxtr @ Nov. 24 2011,16:08)
[SNIP]

?

So, it has to be a text, but not necessarily a Christian text.

Like I said, arbitrary.  

The OED is descriptive, not prescriptive. People are gonna use words any way they want. I'm not happy with the way the latest generation uses "gay", and I fight it when I can, but there you are.

No letter to The Times from me.

It's no more arbitrary than any other word or term.

Once quick thing, Wesley kindly reminded me I erred, in Christianity "fundamentalist" comes more from the adherence to five fundamental principles of Christianity than any specific reading of any text. The literalism/specific readings comes into it, but that's not the biggest or original bit. The same question remains however, what fundamentals are these atheists sticking to? Considering Christians are also atheists, as are Muslims, Jews, Sikhs etc etc etc I think you'll find that the definition needs so much stretching that it breaks.

Anyway, yes language evolves. So? I don't think the distance between "fundamentalist" as "someone who adheres to the fundamentals of X" and "frothing lunatic fanatic nutbar" or whatever is sufficient. Especially, contra "gay", the original meaning is still in majority use. Wesley suggested "Evangelical Atheist" due to the "for the shared property of not being satisfied to leave another party with the same beliefs that they started with". Now that is a bloody good way of phrasing it, even if I would prefer another word to Evangelical. At least it confers the right connotations. It even maintains the rhetorical punch.

One doesn't simply Humpty Dumpty-esque get to define words as one wishes and maintain clarity. Whilst language evolves the use of words with reasonably shared definitions is what permits good communication. What Greta (and I) is saying is that as a descriptor "fundamentalist" is a crap one. It implies, falsely, an equivalence of opposed positions that the middle ground would be preferable to. I.e. that between "fundamentalist religionists" and "fundamentalist atheists" there exists some median point at which the right answer lies. It's false balance.

Consider the phrase "fundamentalist a-Santaists", i.e. fundamentalist people who do not believe in Santa. It's an absurdity. Likewise "fundamentalist atheist". The only reason this isn't considered so is simply because we are swimming through a religiously privileged sea, we are used to accommodating and apologising for religious privilege. And I do mean WE. I do it too. (Just so Carlson doesn't get his fee-fees hurt again, I can do that directly, I don't need hints).

Louis

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Bye.

  
  315 replies since Nov. 23 2011,18:52 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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