A way with words

THE word Christian appears just three times in the Bible. And among the 773,600 or so words in the English translations of the book there is not one specific mention of theology, fundamentalist, pope, purgatory, dogma, Sunday school, patriotism, democracy or atheism.

But the word God appears many times and so does the word love. Often they seem to be synonymous.

There are others that commonly appear but are almost incomprehensible to agnostics and atheists words such as grace, redemption, and blessing.

They require some sort of experience to be understood. After all, love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning


30 thoughts on “A way with words

  1. Not quite on topic, but a good general-purpose quote I came across:-


    “Remarkably virtually everyone in developed countries desperately tries to believe that they are immune to indoctrination. They think for themselves and readily know the difference between truth and falsity, fantasy and reality, superstition and science, fact and fiction.

    Technologically sophisticated cultures are conditioned to accept belief systems, behaviors, and values that would have been rejected out of hand by their stone-age predecessors. “Primitives” would instantly sense the obvious threats to survival and adjustment, or simple nonsense, inherent in many of the treasured beliefs of modern society.”

    -Wilson Bryan Key Ph.D. (1925 – 2008), Author (Subliminal Seduction, 1974, et al), Researcher (Courtesy of the Cecils)


    • But come on, Dabs! Those primitives would have rejected out of hand the possibility of the motor car, the splitting of atoms, etc.

      They may have thought too that you could make an edible substance by hanging milk in a skin under only a specific sort of tree, only when the moon was at a certain phase, and only when there was a wolf in the vicinity.


      • ….um…Yes.
        And your point is?

        Mod cons can be a wonderful thing, but we ~ as creatures of instincts ~ pay a price beyond comprehension: Ourselves.

        …and while we don’t (no longer can) comprehend it, deep down, in the dark of night, we’re aware of our loss.

        …and are vaguely conscious that we made a losing deal.
        In the order of ‘Completeness’ what purpose does the motor car have? What does it benefit us to split atoms?

        Perhaps that’s what some authors mean ~ knowingly or not ~ when they talk about our being born with an innate ‘yearning for god’.

        We miss ourselves.


      • But I’m not explaining myself well! I didn’t mean to imply that modern discoveries were on the same level as spiritual understanding, just that by rejecting anything out of hand didn’t necessarily make them right.

        Personally, I think those people were just as individual as we are, each with their own failings and qualities, each with the same sort of certainties and doubts, etc. They were human, here to learn much the same lessons as we’re here to learn.

        Like I read here not long ago, the school changes with the times, the lessons may change, the syllabus might alter, but grade 3 for example is still grade 3.


      • Not at all, Strewth. I think you explain yourself perfectly well.
        It’s WHAT you say that I take issue with ~ though probably on a more unconventional plane.
        (‘more fundamental one’, I think I mean.)

        For example, there was a time when, although ‘human’ (if only just) we were yet still very much creatures of the animal kingdom and operated on the same basis that wombats, say, still do: on the basis of genetically-embedded instinct. They too would ‘reject out of hand’ much of what we hold to be important or necessary ~ but not as any sort of thought process; simply because their instincts tell them such things do not fit into their world, and are ~ at best ~ a waste of time.

        Dogs*, domesticated these last 15000 years are a good example of the transition our species went through over several million years. Though they still retain the instincts and faculties of their untamed ancestors they have, to whatever varying degree, been seduced by things they’ve been taught to seek (eg ‘treats’ and ‘walkies’ and ‘frisbees’). But the ‘Call of the Wild’** persists in the unthinking use and responses of their noses and the determined pursuit and unashamed ravaging of a bitch in heat, etc. (No legalities, ‘cultural traditions’ or Political Correctness ~ nor even a concept of good old ‘honest morality’ ~ need apply! 😉 ) ***

        The ‘Primitive’ I was referring to was he who harked back to when the tribe was more the essential element than the individual, and before the invention of even such things as “spirit”.

        * as distinct from undomesticated canines like wolves and African Hunting Dogs, for eg.
        ** the title of a brutal but incisive story (aka White Fang) about the experience of a domesticated dog reverting to it’s ancestral instincts in the harsh Alaskan goldfields.
        Ends beautifully! Do try to find the time to read it.

        (The Eve of the canine world; Seduction by the name of ‘Collie’ !)

        “The days came and went, streaming their unbroken sunshine over the Santa Clara Valley. But as they grew shorter and White Fang’s second winter in the Southland came on, he made a strange discovery. Collie’s teeth were no longer sharp. There was a playfulness about her nips and a gentleness that prevented them from really hurting him. He forgot that she had made life a burden to him, and when she disported herself around him he responded solemnly, striving to be playful and becoming no more than ridiculous.

        One day she led him off on a long chase through the back-pasture land into the woods. It was the afternoon that the master was to ride, and White Fang knew it. The horse stood saddled and waiting at the door. White Fang hesitated. But there was that in him deeper than all the law he had learned, than the customs that had moulded him, than his love for the master, than the very will to live of himself; and when, in the moment of his indecision, Collie nipped him and scampered off, he turned and followed after. The master rode alone that day; and in the woods, side by side, White Fang ran with Collie, as his mother, Kiche, and old One Eye had run long years before in the silent Northland forest.”


      • This sounds as though all animals are sorts of clones of each other, doesn’t it? I see so much difference in individual animals, mammals anyway and I suspect others also, that I can’t believe they all have this great innate wisdom. Sorry.


      • I rather suspect the school analogy applies to animals too, that they are here to graduate to a human form, perhaps graduating in only one field – intelligence, will-power, or caring. Those being reflections of the divine Wisdom, Love, and Power.

        Then like us humans the learning goes on until we achieve a modicum of all three – wisdom, love, and self control – and enter ‘Big School’.

        Yeah, but the Bible doesn’t say so! 😆


      • Of course there are differences, due to all sorts of things like mutation, environmental pressures, social evolution and individual experience, etcetcetc.
        (to refer to your Grade 3 curricular changes)

        But at the end of the day we’re clones to the extent of shared genetics; and that’s clearly demonstrated by the fact that all living things have the same basic requirements and drives: get food in order to reproduce. All that follows is mere detail and (successful or otherwise) trial and error in pursuit of those same basic requirements.

        And the “innate wisdom” is no more than the extent to which the ‘memory’ of that pursuit and experience persists. Not the ‘memory that can recall a telephone number (though some strange things can happen even there; tell you one day) but the memories built into the structure of the dna of all living things ~ and which persists countless years after death ~ or even extinction of the species. (eg dinosaur genomes)

        A new-born needs no instruction to head for the nearest nipple, and no male (animal or plant) needs a Grade 3 education to know what females are for!

        So I’d be inclined to say the ‘school analogy’ isn’t really relevant. Y’can call it anything you like, but Grade 3 is only Grade 3 because of Grade 2, which is only of any relevance if it served the basic purpose of maintaining life in order to reproduce. Much as we like to brag about how far we’ve come, the fundamentals don’t change; and when we’ve removed ourselves far enough from our earliest ancestry we’ll become extinct, the same as any other of the billions of previous species have.
        About the only difference will be that we’ll likely have done it to ourselves: we’re THAT ‘intelligent’. 😯 !

        The whole suggestion of ‘graduation’ doesn’t make any sort of sense to me either. Every step away from that earliest, successful ancestor is a DEgenerative, NOT a generative, step ( mutation and necessary environmental adaptation notwithstanding). As we ‘progress’ we don’t move towards ‘Unity’, but away from it.
        eg. (In religious terms, for the sake of simplicity !! ):- At the moment of creation, was not Adam closer to god than anyone today could ever be? And the instant BEFORE he was created, was he not part of god:- ie ‘united’/’unity’ ?

        Even if you do go to heaven, you’ll never be closer to god than Adam was.
        (Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is a different question 😉 )

        I wish SOMEBODY would take up my suggestion to read ‘African Genesis’, which covers this whole subject simply and convincingly, in the prosiest of language. Y’d probably have no end of trouble getting a copy, but I’m happy to send a scanned copy (email or on disk) if anyone wants to have a look outside the dingy little box of preconception.
        (send an email to dabbbles@gmail.com) Computer crashed and I’ve had to reconfigure it, but should be ok.


      • Well thought out Dabs, but I’m not agreeing. As far as Adam is concerned I’d like to know who he actually was! Certainly not the first humanoid. First homo-sapiens? Or first to have a spiritual awareness, to know God?


      • There y’go fossall: proof that you’re as wise as the average wombat!
        ….but better looking.
        …sort of. 🙂


      • About a hundred years ago there was a book called ‘Drum’, about slaves and slavery.
        Just another novel, but the thing that struck me then and that I’ve remembered vividly ever since was the scene early on, where the very first thing the primitive black (still in the wilds of Africa) did immediately upon the birth of his son was to take the boy out of the hut and hold him up to the different corners of the night sky at arms-length, introducing ~ and at the same time offering ~ him to the universe and the universe to him.
        A stunning image ~ and concept ~ that has stayed with me for more than half a century….and with which I can identify.

        Compare it to just cleaning up the gunk, wrapping the baby in ‘swaddling clothes’ and tucking it into an impersonal crib. (or manger).

        ’tis truly said that “we are what we were”.


  2. Once again, this is not connected to today’s blog. — Is there anyone else who might make an effort to meet up in Melbourne with Dabbles and me, – and possibly Bryan, Kathleen and whatever? The more we have, the more possibility that we might even get Monica.

    Personally, I would have no objectrion to a heart to heart chat with just Dabbles, but it would be nice to catch up with a few of the other faces from this forum. Anyone????



  3. True.True. —> “After all, love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.”

    ….and if you need a clear-cut demonstration of that, get a dog. 😉

    (ps. there’s an ugly but delightful little terrier on off to the right home.)


  4. Haven’t connected with you in a while. Been busy moving my blog and starting a new one to house both former ones. I so agree and I have to tell you I love that sentence:” …love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.” That’s one of the best things I’ve ever read. Is it original to you? I would love to reblog just that sentence. Let me know who to give credit to. Tx. God bless.


  5. Does the Bible have the words: spirituality, new age, universe, feelings?

    Why would it have the word Pope or even Patriotism or dogma.

    Didn’t it explain certain dogmas of the old church leaders? How dogmatic they were even if it didn’t use the word?


    • Yeah, it’s odd, that.
      “In the beginning god created the heavens and the earth”
      ………and then some time later, as somewhat of an afterthought, “he made the stars also”.

      have no idea why anyone in this day and age would believe ANYTHING these ignorant, unimaginative old scribes and soothsayers had to say.


      • You could throw up a whole lot of words, chosen to suit you, and say that they are not mentioned in the Bible.


      • But isn’t that the point? It’s what the bible DOESN’T say that makes it an exercise in futility.
        ….and worse: a tool of Hatred.


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