When the girls were little we did not have “bad words” in our house. I did this for two reasons: 1. I do not believe any word is inherently bad. 2. I did not want them growing up in a perfectly sanitized bubble, and to later be unable to function in a world that uses what so many consider to be offensive language. However, this is not to say that we did not have rules for the language they used. They were just little more unique than what you might find in most Christian homes. They were as follows:
1. In order to use a word, you must know the definition. Not what you think it means, not what your friends tell you it means, and never just because you think it makes you sound more educated than what you truly are.
2. In order to use a word, you must know the proper context in which to use it. To clarify this I used the example of swim suits and church. Obviously, you would never wear a swim suit to church, but conversely, you would not wear your church dress to the lake.
3. (And this was THE non-negotiable rule.) You should always respect your audience. In other words, while mama might not care that you referred to a body part as your butt, grandma will. So you do NOT do it in her presence because that is disrespectful to your audience.
I imposed these rules in my house because they made sense to me. However over the course of the past week, I have been reminded that not everyone adheres to these simple ideas of communication. I don’t get it. I really don’t, and I particularly don’t get why more people don’t follow the first rule as a matter of responsible communication.
Look, I am not stupid. I know that the entirety of the world did not get the benefit of all my wondrous wisdom and did not get the benefit of having these rules were explicitly explained, but really? Who needs to be told that you should know the definition of a word before you use it in public? We have dictionaries, people! You can even look up words online! It is the simplest thing in the world, really. Just go to your favorite search engine, type in the word that has caused you doubt (or should have caused you doubt), and add this magical word afterwards – “definition”, and boom! Out of the wonders of the universe, the definition of the word from multiple dictionaries will appear on your screen. Click one! Or better yet, click two or three!
I am also not writing this post because I am just generally outraged at the stupidity of humanity. I am writing this post because three times in the last week, I have had people defend idiotic notions based on the argument that they were reading a word or verse from the Bible that had been TRANSLITERATED.
Allow me to put to help you out – NO! No you have not! You do not possess any English Bible that has been transliterated.
Now, I am not correcting you because I am some horrible witch of a woman who wants to shame you. I am correcting you because every time you open your mouth to defend OUR faith you are making all of us look stupid. Please, allow me to help us all out by enlightening you to the truth.
And that truth is this – you should never use a word when you do not know the proper meaning. It completely invalidates the rest of your argument as it tells me and the rest of the world that you will say the first nonsensical thing that floats through your mind to vindicate whatever foolish thought you may have – without any thought or consideration to the truth or facts. Furthermore, it is a huge red flag that you are not above trying to bully another person with the illusion of superior wisdom. You are just the type of person that should never be allowed to represent the Christian faith. Seriously, this is where you should thank God above that he is far more gracious than I will ever be.
Now if you care to actually learn a thing or two, and aren’t caught up in your pride, allow me to give you the proper definition of “transliterate”. Better yet, allow me to link you to some very well respected dictionaries that will tell you the definition, because I never want you to take my word for it. I actually want you to learn, to know, and to grow in maturity and faith.
Since I know that definitions can sometimes be confusing allow me to provide an example:
Do you know what that word means? Unless you have studied Greek, I am going to bet that you don’t. It means grace. Yup, grace that sounds nothing like the Greek word χάρη. Why? Because grace is not a transliteration, it is a translation, and translations are different than transliterations. Chari is a transliteration, grace is a translation, but don’t take my word for it, here are couple of links for the definition to translation:
Now that you have seen the difference, I hope that you will understand that the English Bible you hold in your hands is not a transliteration. It is a translation. Why? Because it would make absolutely no sense to anyone who did not read the original language. And even then, why would you write a language that someone knows in an entirely different alphabet than the one that they had to learn in order to learn that language in the first place? It make no sense. None. Nada. Zip. Transliterations are provided so that you, an English speaking individual, can know how to pronounce the word in its original language. They are not a substitute to actually knowing a language that you do not speak. In fact, I can think of few things less foolish than transliterating an ancient text into a full volume.
So the next time you feel like defending the your view points, and let us be clear that is precisely what you are doing - defending your views and not the Bible, you might want to rethink any temptation you might feel to make yourself look smarter by using words whose definitions you clearly do not know. Because all you are really doing is putting your stupidity on display for the entire world to see.