Some interesting discussions going on at yesterday’s post, “Guide lines, protocols, ground rules, or indicative ideological injunctions on talking about stuff, and things” in case anyone missed it. This piece was written as an attempt to propose some basic guidelines of “DO NOT DO THESE THINGS, YOU FUCK” in communicating with others on religious matters, in order to facilitate less fucked-up-ness in the whole process of defining, differentiating, and in some cases dislodging religious traditions from and/or with one another.
The question of the importance of acknowledging the reality of the gods has come up (which is not a surprise, though it wasn’t the intent of my entry), which is something that has been getting a lot of returned attention of late (with PSVL recently writing about it in reference to atheistic attendance in polytheistic hospitality, etc). I pre-caffeinatedly shared my thoughts on this and hope that I didn’t say anything I’ll regret (I rarely regret things, honestly… that is what whiskey is for…).
I am interested in furthering the discussion of the use of language, though, and hearing more people’s thoughts on how we can maybe go ahead into 2014 without calling anyone a word that means something entirely different than our intent (such as Nazi or schizophrenic), which in fact are words that should really be left alone to be used in their correct context (as they apply to, and have real effect on, many people alive today who may or may not but often are also involved in these conversations).
Calling somebody schizophrenic for having a religion which accepts and acknowledges gods of agency who may go about communicating with them, or calling a religious author whose views and opinions are strongly poised and emphatically stated a “Nazi”, is immeasurably destructive and hurtful to individuals and families for whom these words have real (rather than mere illustrative) impact. Families who are dealing with schizophrenia directly, individuals who suffer the harsh and fucked up and oppressive bigotry thrown at them for experiencing clinical schizophrenia, should not have to be further hurt by this injurious use of language. Families or individuals whose personal stories were shaped by the events of the 20th century’s genocides should not have to subject themselves to misuse of the word Nazi in order to find engagement in polytheistic discussions. That is fucked up. That is inhumane and shameful and godsdamned wrong.
So how can we collectively aim to stop it?
(Answers of “just watch what you say, you can’t control what others say” are not helpful, unless followed up with “but here are some great ways to MODEL appropriate use of language”. Responses of “get over it, they’re just words” will actually be deleted, because you’re a fucking ignorant ass for even thinking that.)
How can we stop this, change this, in order to constructively move on to discussions that are safe enough to engage with, but still edgy and toothy enough to get into the necessary nit-and-grit of doing what the fuck our gods have us doing?