The Diabolical Heritage of the English Language

The Diabolical Heritage of the English Language

May 5, 2017

Originally published in Face to Face: Intimate Moments with God © 2013. Reprinted by permission of the author.

"But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3, ESV).
If I were Satan and my mission to capture souls for hell, I think my first theater of operations would be the dictionary. I could greatly enhance my diabolical plan for world dominion if I could subtly change the meaning of words so that verbal accuracy was lost and truth became foggy. My dictionary might include entries such as the following.

Bigot n. Anyone who has strong beliefs about anything you don't approve of.

Christian adj. Nice.

Evangelical n. Right-wing political zealot who desires a theocracy. (see "bigot")

Faith n. Believing something you know isn't true. Synonyms: gullibility, naiveté, wishful thinking, irrationality.

God n. 1. A swear word. 2. A benevolent cosmic influence that wants everyone to have a nice day. 3. A generic term useful for describing ultimate realities one knows nothing about, e.g. God helps those who help themselves.

Heaven n. The place where everyone goes when they die. Christians will sit on clouds and strum harps, and everyone else will go to a giant amusement park and party forever. Synonyms: Las Vegas, nirvana, happy hunting grounds, Shangri-La.

Holy adj. Sanctimonious, puritanical, Pharisaical, hypocritical.

Human Being n. A highly evolved mammal with non-specific gender.

Love n. 1. The feeling one feels when one feels good feelings. 2. Being made happy; experiencing pleasure, e.g. I love chocolate cake. I love my wife. 3. Something one can't control; it "happens," e.g. My sister has fallen in (or out of) love.

Prayer n. A psychological method of visualizing positive outcomes. Self-talk. A way to attain harmony and peace.

Sabbath n. archaic. The weekend.

Sin n. archaic A word that describes the behavior of Attila the Hun, Hitler and people you don't like. When applied to yourself, it is preferable to use words such as "issue," "problem," "growth area" or "inappropriate behavior." e.g. My habit of sleeping with my neighbor's wife is an issue that I need to work on.

Success n. The state of getting one's own way.

Truth n. Personal preference, opinion. Note: The word should never be capitalized.

"Men suppose their reason has command over their words,
still it happens that words in return exercise authority on reason."
Francis Bacon
Point to Ponder: Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive; they describe the way we use language rather than telling us how we should use it. How do your own definitions of the above terms describe you and your view of today's culture?

Prayer Focus: For wisdom and insight to help you discern which of your thought processes come from the Word of God and which ones come from culture.

Rev. Stan Key

About Rev. Stan Key

Stan Key speaks frequently in churches, conferences, retreats, and camps both here in the U.S. and abroad. Stan’s education includes an M.Div. degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Th.M. degree in Missions from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has completed additional graduate work at the Faculté Libre de Théologie Evangélique in Vaux-sur-Seine, France. After serving churches in Virginia, Kentucky, and Illinois, Stan and his family served for ten years as church-planting missionaries in the suburbs of Paris, France with One Mission Society. From 1994–2012, Stan was the senior pastor of Loudonville Community Church in Albany, NY. Stan joined the staff of the Francis Asbury Society in 2013 and was named president a year later. He serves as editor of The High Calling newsletter and authored The Last Word (Warner Press, 2015), a study on the book of Revelation, Marriage Matters (Francis Asbury Press, 2017), and Jeremiah: Fire in His Bones (Warner Press, 2017). Stan is a member of the boards of One Mission Society and Sammy Tippit Ministries and has also served as the spiritual dean for the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS). Raised in Georgia, the son of a Methodist preacher, Stan came into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ while he was a student at Asbury College. It was there he met Katy, to whom he has been married since 1977. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

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