Ok, so you may have seen or heard this headline out there in the Atheo-sphere....

It's not exactly rigorously scientific, I think, but people who have examined data from the popular dating site OKCupid have noted that if you're a stickler for grammar, odds are you're probably an atheist.


To which I can only say...




I have some personal experience with this an my über-religious ex-wife's (ab)use of the English language....and some painful memories of some painful, painful games of Scrabble...."Yes, honey, that's a real word; No, honey, don't challenge that...ok, ok, here's the dictionary....so you lost a turn, huh?  Sorry about that, honey..."


We eventually stopped playing Scrabble.  It was even worse with Trivial Pursuit, where I mopped the floor with her.  She made me play lots of Monopoly, until I learned better strategy and could beat her at that often, too.


She would use the word "conscious" to mean both, er, conscious and CONSCIENCE.  That drove me up the wall.  That and I didn't learn about her wacky creationist beliefs until we'd already been living together a month or so.


If you're too lazy to use language properly, it also betrays a more general laziness in habits of thinking.  If you are unable to use language properly, you're unable to THINK properly as well, since thinking involves the use of language, either inside one's own head or out loud.


Wittgenstein observed that "Philosophy is merely a misunderstanding about language."  Perhaps that's overstating it a bit, but there's at least some element of truth to that.  Theology DEFINITELY is confusion and obfuscation about language.


Matt Dillahunty has recently added a new question to his old standbys of "Tell me what you believe and why"; he's added "...and do you care if your beliefs are true or not?"


I belong to a Facebook group called "I judge you when you use bad grammar" and to another "Just Say No To Txt Spk!"


I remember once my ex-mother-in-law handing me a letter that her pastor made her write.  She said it was supposed to be as an imagined exercise...what if God wrote you a letter...write a letter from God to you, what would it say, etc.


There was nothing out of the ordinary about the letter, usual Christian fluff---but I did have to bite my tongue to keep from blurting out "Jesus, God can't spell worth a damn..."


*Sigh*  I'm not perfect when it comes to grammar and usage, by any means, but being correct DOES matter to me.  I hate it when I miss a typo, etc.  Always good to have 2 pairs of eyes reading a composition, because as the primary author you're bound to miss things because your brain "sees" what isn't there, mentally fills in gaps for you, etc, that an objective reader will stumble over and go "WTF?".


Christians, I get the impression, don't much care if they're exactly correct in what they write...and they get annoyed by smart-ass atheists who correct their grammar out of the gate before tackling any of their more "substantive" arguments.  Sorry, Theists, but bad grammar, as well as inattention to correct spelling makes you look like an uneducated dolt to whom it is not worth listening in the first place.  It's just the way human language games work, thank you for playing.



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Comment by John Camilli on March 11, 2011 at 11:27am
I liked the comment about Vedism and Sanskrit. You might try looking into modern Bengali and the literary tradition typically associated with Brahmin Hindus. The eastern Indian culture has retained a reverence for words and philosophizing. I've been trying to teach myself Bengali for a little while now because of it, although I really wish I could just download the knowledge into myself - and Kung Fu too, lol.
Comment by John Camilli on March 11, 2011 at 11:21am
think the correlation between proper grammar and proper philosophizing is in wanting to be understood. Those for whom it is important to be understood (perhaps because their surroundings have often found them oppositely so) will go to great lengths to explore an idea - their own side of it and another's - often finding idealogical inconsistencies along the way. Too much of this precludes theism because religions are only superficially convincing. They spout clearly recognizable truisms, like "treat your neighbor as yourself,' but they also mix in self-contradictory dogma like the idea of an all-loving god who created good and evil (in my opinion, the contradictions come from trying to overlay a moral system onto a purposeless existence). The discerning mind quickly recognizes that, if people are to understand each other and have some semblance of peace, such a state will not be reached through religion.


I am not an atheist who condemns religion for attempting this, though. A theist is just a philosopher who was too frustrated to continue the cogitating, and decided to get down to living (or someone who was taught to do this from the start, thinking be damned!). If not for at least a few of these people, humans would not have survived, since a philosopher seems unable to make his or her mind up about anything, myself included, and decisions are required for living.


Without god as an authority providing the rules of "right" and "wrong" action, people would not have had communal law which, harmful though it may appear at times, has allowed for a certain amount of progress. And even though that progress is at the expense of all who have not agreed, perhaps it will allow us to reach a stage of humanity where 'believe' or 'don't believe' are not the only options; where indecision is not a guarantee of death, and people can respect each other's right to think and do as they please. The Matrix is coming y'all!!! Get ready for that shit!

Comment by Angie on March 10, 2011 at 11:07am
But, but...I can haz cheezburger? Pweeese?!

Actually, I completely agree. Laziness in grammar often seems to be correlated with laziness in regards to logic and critical thinking.
Comment by Aaron S. (USA) on March 9, 2011 at 11:53pm
duz this mean I'm not an atheist no mores? D:
Comment by Aggiememenon on March 9, 2011 at 10:25pm
I would always insist we use an Unabridged Dictionary for Scrabble, to have the best chance of getting away with foreign loan words, etc, as well.

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