Have you ever found yourself in a conversation, using words you learned in the media but words with which you disagree?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #52 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
For a while now I have been thinking that conservatives or Christians specifically are losing ground in the culture wars in part because the words we’re using are developed and defined by those with whom we disagree.
The abortion debate ran into this a long time ago. People who support abortion as a legal option for ending a pregnancy, never talk like this. They talk about “reproductive health” or “reproductive freedom.” They refer to themselves not as pro-abortion but as pro-choice, and they now refer to those who oppose abortion as “anti-women.”
If you talk about transgenderism and you say something like “trans affirming” or “transphobic,” you just referenced the topic at hand using vocabulary developed by those who promote trans ideology. If you say you do not believe trans men should be permitted to participate in girls and women’s sports, then media will not describe you as protecting women or pro-girls but as “anti-trans.” If you are a parent that does not support your child’s desire to live a trans lifestyle and possibly to medically transition, then you are described by school districts as a threat, the bigoted enemy. In some states, parents can be prosecuted for not unquestioningly supporting their child’s pursuit of transgenderism. Author J.K. Rowling, who has expressed a preference for calling herself and other female persons, “women,” as opposed to womyn or some other twist on female status vs trans women, has been attacked as “trans exclusionary.”
If you talk about pregnancy and you say “pregnant people” rather than pregnant women, you just bought into the ideology promoting the anti-scientific, anti-biblical idea that men can have babies.
If you say, “sexual orientation” or “gender fluidity,” words now so common they have their own acronym, SOGI, you just acknowledged if not affirmed that sexuality is somehow a choice, an orientation, and that gender, a socially constructed concept to begin with, not only exists separate from biological sex but it can change, that “being binary” as is now said is not the only option.
The new fad concern for pronouns, as in when you meet someone you say, “My name is Rex and I use the pronouns he/him/his. Are there any names or pronouns I can use to best respect you?” is now a commonplace in media, education, and corporate life. In other words, to be in sync with the “prevailing acceptable narrative,” one must use the right pronouns, so a boy or girl who declare he or she is some version of non-binary, now demands that everyone refer to him or her as “they” or “ze” or “Xe” or one of an indefinite and always changing set of neopronouns used by the gender non-conforming, which is to say, those who reject their divinely determined biological sex. So, we’re considered disrespectful if we do not use these ostensibly gender-neutral pronouns and we’re expected to declare our own—on emails and other publications—even if we do not agree or otherwise participate in this gender confusion.
If you want to discuss race relations and begin with phrases like “white fragility” or “whiteness” or “white supremacy,” you just bought into a set of assumptions and cultural interpretations that bias the discussion in favor of leftist views of oppression, race, and justice. Even the phrase, “Black lives matter,” needs definition. If you mean the organization, then you are promoting a host of values unsupportable in a Christian worldview. If you mean simply that the lives of black persons matter, then absolutely the phrase rings true, as does “all lives matter” or “blue lives matter,” though again, the problem confronting us is that any and all words or phrasing—especially on social media—can quickly be turned on their axis to represent a stated or implied political posture in opposition to or even attacking another point of view.
The word “equity” is now regularly used in place of “equality,” the former meaning sameness of outcome or result and the latter originally meaning sameness of opportunity. Equity assumes injustice and unfairness if any differences exist, whereas equality—this word, too, a victim of political revisionism—historically meant everyone is able to begin, to live, to pursue moral interests without opposition. Today, equity is the penultimate goal, equality is a means to achieve it.
If you say, “women’s rights,” a concept that would seem to be something Christians and conservatives should embrace, and indeed they do, you still need to define your term because in many usages today this phrase is a euphemism for abortion advocacy. Point being from the left, women’s rights are unattainable without full-on abortion-on-demand up and possibly after actual birth.
Same for the phrase “social justice,” a concept that is now so thoroughly immersed in Marxist, socialist, or secular progressive values as to have no alignment with what the Bible means when it talks about justice.
“Climate change” is another phrase that’s been defined, redefined, adulterated, and propagandized to the point it is almost unusable. And even if you use it, you still need to say what you mean, or better what you do not mean, by the phrase because undergirding much of the push for climate change policies is a secular, progressive, globalist big government, anti-capitalist intention. What that form of climate change is about is much more than Creation care, environmental stewardship, or conservation.
“The fact is, for the (climate cataclysm cabal) rants and demands aren’t about climate change. They’re about control. Control of our energy and economic future. Our jobs and living standards. The kinds of homes we can have, and how much we can heat and cool them. What kinds of cars we can have, and how far we can drive them. What we can hear, see, read, learn, think and say, under full-throttle Green Fascism.”
I’ve shared a few examples of the utter chaos that is now the English language, chaos that did not just happen but is rooted in a wholesale postmodern, post-Christian cultural rejection of Judeo-Christian values and the abundant Western Civilization those values made possible.
As I have said many times and will necessarily keep saying it, in a culture that has jettisoned the idea of absolute truth, including moral absolutes and often including God himself, there is nothing left to hold the culture together. There is no other so-called metanarrative comprehensive and true for all times countries and cultures that can define reality as God defined it at Creation. There is only the Tower of Babel, confusion.
So, we live in a time when word salads are our daily experience.
The key for our Christian witness is to speak truth. This likely means we must work harder to understand how words are being defined, particularly if they are biased in the direction of a worldview or ideology with which we cannot agree, and then determine how we should define them in terms of our Christian faith.
Our task is to know our own convictions, to be informed, and to take courage in expressing our Christian worldview.
As Scripture reminds us, “Buy the truth and do not sell it—wisdom, instruction and insight as well,” (Prov. 23:23).
In a time of division and confusion, careful, truthful communication can be a light in the darkness.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
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