Getting a Grip on Words and their Meaning

I subscribe to the Presidential Prayer Team (PPT) newsletter and was suprised to see that they picked up an article by James Watkins, a writer and humorist whose work I admire and have previously shared on this wee blog.  Mr. Watkins reports that he has been called a “a hateful, judgmental propagandizing nut case” but he prefers to be known simply as a child of God who tries to write and speak the truth in love.  So, if it is good enough for the PPT it is certainly good enough for me.  The article can be viewed at : One “Bad” Column! or: Can be viewed HERE. RMF

Redefining words and their meanings

Hope & Humor By James Watkins

In 1984, if someone sang, “I’m bad, I’m bad, You know it,” it would be assumed that person was, well, bad:

(bad) adjective. 1. of poor quality, inferior or defective; 2. ill; 3. evil, wicked.

Today, thanks to Michael Jackson and pop culture, bad is good. George Orwell, in his famous book, Nineteen Eighty-Four, predicted this very mutation of meaning when it was first published in June of 1949: 64 years ago!

One "Bad" Column!

Orwell wrote, “The very word ‘war’, therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous, war has ceased to exist… War is Peace.”

Orwell was disturbingly correct: The Vietnam “war,” was never a war, but a “police action.” The weapons that defended the United States against Russia’s nuclear threat during the Cold War were not thermo-nuclear weapons capable of completely destroying life on this planet, but were “Peacekeepers.” In later wars, civilians killed in the fight against terrorism were “collateral damage.” In fact, the United States never dropped a single bomb on Iraq, but instead “delivered ordnance.”

Disclaimer 1: This “bad” column is not about politics. It’s about something more sinister than even “Big Brother.” Nearly 2,700 years before Orwell’s “thought police” and “newspeak,” the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20 ESV).

Truth # 1: You now live in a culture where meaning and morality have been turned upside down

Christians, who Jesus said are to be known for their love (John 13:35), are now reviled as “hateful, judgmental homophobes.”

Profane and obscene language has become “freedom of speech.”

Actions that God called “an abomination” are now “gay” and largely accepted as an “alternate lifestyle.” For example, President Obama once again proclaimed this month as “LGBT Pride Month.” In my lifetime, I’ve seen lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people move from the closet to the national stage.

The shooting at Fort Hood, was not an act of terrorism by an Islamic radical, but “workplace violence.”

The killing of unborn life is now “pro-choice.” And that unborn life is now “tissue” and simply a part of a “woman’s body.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember – from fifth grade science class – that this “tissue” has its own unique DNA, may have a different blood type and has a fifty-fifty chance of being male. As such, it’s not a “woman’s body” for which she can determine its fate.

All of these verbal gymnastics are encouraged, not by Orwell’s “thought police,” but by the agents of “political correctness” in the educational system, the media and government.

Disclaimer 2: I am not suggesting a return to racist, sexist and crude names for those who disagree with what’s stated here. No, Jesus said you should love even your enemies.

Truth # 2: Whoever defines the words, defines the culture

Orwell wrote, “And in the general hardening of outlook that set in…practices which had been long abandoned [such as] imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages and the deportation of whole populations – not only became common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive.”

Disclaimer 3: Again, this is really not a political rant, but when I read the above, the Guantanamo “detention camp” and “water-boarding” inevitably come to mind.

Hopefully, the recent 5,000 percent increase in sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four will make Americans aware that whoever controls the language, controls the thoughts of the populace. And, more specifically, make Christians aware of the subtle way that changes in the meaning of words can numb the public toward the sinfulness of sin. Perhaps it’s time for fully-devoted followers of Jesus Christ to shed the image of being “enlightened and progressive” and return to God’s definition as a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9).

In addition to Isaiah’s observation in chapter five, the prophet also writes:

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8 ESV)

Truth # 3: God’s definitions of good and bad do not change with culture

Godly people can have their political differences on what constitutes “just war,” “enhanced interrogation,” etc. etc. It’s complicated! I understand that, and respect those who disagree with me.

But I trust Bible-believers will be united in what God calls “good and evil” – and pray for His Truth to prevail over political correctness and newspeak.



About ronfurg

Former naval officer, federal investigator, forensic scientist, senior executive service member and pastor. In retirement serves as volunteer and life group leader at New Life Christian Church ( Devoted to beautiful wife, kids and grandkids. Looking forward to the time when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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