Tenacious Inerrancy

Spectrum of TenacityPeople get attached to words because words are packed with much more than just one dictionary definition — words are packed with history, community, values, feelings and memories.  And though people’s positions on a concept or issue may change, they are less willing to yield on their labels than they are to yield on that concept.  This tenacity is simply because of how people actually use language.  This clinging to verbiage is because, thought their thinking has changed, these people are not yet ready to yield notions of community, of feelings, or of memories attached to words or phrases they used in their old positions.  Our various levels resistance to changing our words to keep up with our concepts, I will call the “Spectrum of Tenacity”.

Above I have illustrated the spectrum to tenacity to the notion of Biblical Infallibility or Biblical Inerrancy.  I smile when I see this phenomena occurring on liberal Christian blogs or books where the authors may have come to understand their scriptures in a much more qualified sense than their fundamentalist colleagues, yet they still are attached to using the words: “Infallible”, “Inerrant”, “Word of God”, “God’s Revelation” and others.  But as I mention in the first paragraph, such tenacity is more understandable when one understands the real nature of our use of words and language.

Though I have illustrated such tenacity around concepts for the inerrancy of Christian scriptures, it happens in many other arenas too.  Here are just three other examples:

1) “Vegetarian“: It is funny that people still want to call themselves “vegetarians” even though they may eat a little fish on Fridays or they will eat fish and chicken but no mammals. There are many similar examples.  These individuals may say, “Well, fish are different from other animals because don’t have the same emotional life as mammals”.  They go through all sorts of intellectual gyrations, gymnastics and contortions to preserve their precious word “vegetarian” because it allows them to continue to feel good about themselves in some way.  I have at least one example of such an individual– myself.  It took me many years to admit I was no longer a vegetarian.  It was hard to let go of the sanctity that I had fooled myself into thinking went with the word.

2) “Christian“:  Likewise, I clung on to this word far longer I should have — so you can see, I have a very personal understanding of the tendency phenomena.  When I had given up on the central concepts that defined my version of orthodox Christianity I still lived among Christians, had a girlfriend was Christian, and felt that only Christians could be truly moral.  I did not want to loose my friends or feel immoral so I clung to the word “Christian” far too long or at least till I no longer needed the life preserver.

3) “Democracy“: I will let the reader reflect on how this word is manipulated.

Readers, please give us other examples of this.  Personal confessions will be the most enjoyable !


Filed under Critical Thinking, Linquistics, Philosophy & Religion

6 responses to “Tenacious Inerrancy

  1. Earnest

    A similar deterioration of the tenacious can be seen in the martial arts. There are those who cling with ferocious tenacity to training to kill people with their bare hands at will. And, truly, back in the day this sort of skill had merit as something to be worked at every day. Then came the Dojo Wars in Chicago in 1970 and at least 2 martial artists died during one of the battles. Some of the protagonists were found placing a bomb near a rival dojo. Around this time a new movement of what I would characterize, perhaps unfairly, as the Soccer Mom Martial Arts movement. In this version, there is still usually some focus on self-preservation with violence but there is also a significant amount of time devoted to mental discipline and physical fitness as a goal in and of itself. The old guard often disparages this new current as being “impure” and not consistent with the initial goals and design of the martial arts. And so a spectrum of arts has developed, with a migration of students (and funding) from the violent toward the non-violent arts. I was myself once an old-guard true believer, until I looked around and saw how irrelevant my leadership was becoming in society in general.

  2. Earnest

    So I suggest that #4 is “Martial Artist”.

  3. Ah, good example — and fun story. But let me check to see if I see your meaning:
    Tenacious Term: “Martial Artist”
    You use to proudly call yourself a “martial artist” when it had the meaning ” a strong person who has the skill and ability of deadly force” but the term has evolved to mean, an owner of a belt which is rewarded if you can do dance steps and pay for classes (OK, and throw a few weak punches and kicks). And though you still call yourself a “martial artist”, it no longer has the same meaning in reality but it still has the image of potentially lethal and in shape — neither of which you can comfortably claim — but hell, the listener doesn’t know that.
    Is that fairly accurate?

  4. Interestinly enough, wouldnt a “Martial Artist” be someone who follows a certain code of conduct, both morally and ethically? The ability to use their skill with force was only used when they were in jeopardy. The emphasis was much more on character, well, at least before the Americans got a hold of it.

  5. Indeed, discipline is a part of many traditions, but martial is martial — war ! The training was to kill. It became sanitized to please those it offended.
    I am not saying that is bad, that is just the fact.

  6. Im curious, did the originators actually use the term “martial”. We know the Okinawans developed it because they were denied weapons, but couldnt that be seen more from the aspect of protection rather than “War”

Please share your opinions!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s