I think we need a new term for marriage. Too often we seem bent on changing definitions to match with the times, when perhaps a more appropriate term like “familial union” or whatnot could be used. You see, people get more uptight about progression when you try to distort a term that meant something sacred and honorable to them to mean something different. I’m not saying that a same-sex marriage is sacrilegious or anything, but using that term is going to make it harder for more conservative people to accept.
This came up because I was reading about the basic beliefs of the Democratic candidates and got to the page on gay rights. Even some of the Democrats oppose gay marriages although they support rights for couples similar to heterosexual marriages. Finally I decided I should see what the dictionary has to say about marriage. Sure enough, most definitions reference either a man and woman or a husband and wife joined by ceremony. Seems to me that rather than trying to change the meaning of a word so important to some people, things might move along more smoothly if we just used terms like “same-sex union”.
The meanings of words change over time, but it seems to me that we are too anxious to force that as if we are bringing about a more modern world by doing so. I stumbled upon a horrible “Atheist vs. Theist” discussion on the Penny Arcade Forums. Let me preface this by saying that you should never go on those forums. The comics may be funny, but most of the fans that go there “to discuss things” are pompous asses who constantly misuse terms and substitute mispelled “big words” for making any sort of grammatically correct and intelligently thought-out statement. Basically rather then discuss the nature of the universe and why people believe different things it broke down into an argument over the meanings of atheist, theist, and agnostic. Even sadder, probably 75% of the people involved still don’t know the truth.
You see, a lot of atheists like to change what they claim to believe in. Atheism is a denial in the existence of a god or gods. I’ve got no problem with this, as it’s merely a different ideology than mine. However a lot of people (and this was all over the “discussion”) try to morph the concept of disbelief into one of a lack of active belief, which is just plain wrong. These idiots argued back and forth, and whenever a voice of reason spoke up, he was quickly squashed by someone else proclaiming that “languages evolve” and “definitions are not absolute”. But at least one poster was wise enough to point out that definitions must still be agreed upon in order for a discussion to go anywhere. And, unfortunately, these guys couldn’t agree.
The best analogy I read, however, was about vegetarians. The poster said that you can call yourself a vegetarian, but if you go out and eat a big steak for dinner everybody else knows you’re lying. Similarly, anyone can call themselves an atheist, but if you don’t actually disbelieve the existence of a god, you’re lying. Like I said, I’ve got no problem with someone who believes something different, just don’t try to sugarcoat it.
Today I saw a long evolution vs. creation “debate” going on in the forums. After reading a page I was embarassed for our education system. The absolutely horrid “arguments” used on either side made me want to abandon any type of belief in the existence of the universe and hope that we are just characters in a VR experiment gone wrong. That’ll teach me to ever go back there. I wouldn’t mind those discussions so much if it weren’t for the smug elitism demonstrated by so many evolutionists and non-religious types. Some guy I knew once told me that he was surprised that I believed in God and creationism because he thought I was smart. I felt like replying “well I’m not surprised you believe in evolution because you seem to me to be a guy whose never put together a coherent thought outside of what’s in a textbook.” But I’m too nice.
I could say so much more on all of these topics, but I’ve meandered way too much and I’m sure it’s just plain incomprehensible at this point.