This Non-Religious Life ep. 2 – Fun with Words

This Non-Religious Life ep. 2 – Fun with Words


Words, words, words…

It is uncanny how much power words have. Language is by far the most important human development in our entire 160,000 year history as a species. With language we have refined the ability to express abstract ideas like time, indicate specifics about an object like colour or shape, and define the world around us. As far as languages go, English is the magnum opus of human communication. It is a language with a vocabulary which is arguably larger than any other and a set of grammatical rules which are complex yet specific. However, the meanings of words are not inherent to the words themselves. Many people drown in the sea of words which they do not hear every day. They suffer to understand meanings to words which are uncommon for them. This puts people at a disadvantage when discussing certain ideas.

For the average Christian, they may not understand that atheism is a position without a positive claim or what that means for the burden of proof. The young earth creationist fails to differentiate between the colloquial definition of a theory and the scientific definition. Many people simply have no idea what agnostic even means, let alone the more nuanced and esoteric terms ignostic or misotheist.

For this reason, we will explore in this week’s episode of This Non-Religious Life some of those words, their definitions and the weight they carry in conversation. In the words of Paulo Freire,

“Dialogue is the encounter between [people], mediated by the world, in order to name the world. Hence, dialogue cannot occur between those who want to name the world and those who do not with this naming—between those who deny others the right to speak their word and those whose right to speak their word has been denied them. Those who have been denied their primordial right to speak their word must first reclaim this right and prevent continuation of this dehumanizing aggression.”#1

If we desire to move forward in the light of reason we must define the terms of the discussion so that we stand on even ground. Truly, the understanding of concepts must be had by both sides if we want to eradicate irrational thinking. We will discuss some terms, though bear in mind that this list presented is not exhaustive. It would literally take days, if not weeks, for us to cover all the terms which are so often misunderstood and misrepresented and though the hosts here can be prolix in their descriptions, they are admittedly lacking in the skills to define some of the more scientific terms to the degree they deserve.
– Ken



Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Trans. Myra Bergman Ramos. New York: Continuum, 1983. 68-81.


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About author

Jason Bayless

Jason Bayless is a life-long activist and is currently working at The Pachamama Alliance. When he is not working he spends, working with Center for Farmworker Families and spending his time recording shows, writing blogs, collecting 3D movies, and playing VR games.

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