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The Death Of Dialogue

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By DONALD DeMARCO

Language exists for the purpose of communication. It unites people by allowing them to share a common experience of reality. The Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us.
God is the Word and the Logos. Dialogue means speaking across the Logos, or sharing in the meaning of that which is both real and rational. There can be no communion, community, or dialogue in the absence of meaning that is accessible and knowledgeable for all people. The Trinity is an eternal dialogue between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Concomitant with the eclipse of God, language no longer communicates something that is real, and therefore sharable by everyone. It has degenerated into an ideology that supports one group but is unintelligible to others. The importance of using words properly is powerfully stated in Matt. 12:36: “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment.”
Below are brief analyses of ten commonly used words that are used, not to communicate reality, but to promote an ideology. The first five words are used in such a restricted way as to block out other legitimate uses of the word. The next five words are used so broadly as to convey far more than what they are intended to mean and therefore mean nothing.
Discriminate: This word has been truncated so that it no longer means “to make reasonable distinctions” — this is a dog and not a cat; this is an adult and not a teenager — but to discriminate unjustly. Thus, a blind fencer in Canada feels that he is being discriminated against because he is not allowed to fence with competitors who are sighted. Anyone can make the charge that he is a victim of discrimination simply because he or she is called male or female, lean or heavy, tall or short. A reasonable distinction can be misunderstood as a stereotype and therefore a form of discrimination.
Impose: This word is used so broadly that it includes making a suggestion, ministering to another’s needs, or stating a position. Thus, Notre Dame University students objected to a distinguished speaker for merely stating the values of Christian virtues. “He was trying to impose his values on us,” they cried. “Imposing” is now a fearful word that represents, in the minds of many, taking away one’s freedom.
Choose: This is the sacred word of pro-abortionists. What is egregiously omitted is any reference to what is chosen. But choice is not self-justifying since arson, murder, and rape can also be choices. As an intellectual faculty, the ability to choose is a gift from God. What we choose, however, may be evil. The faculty and the use of the faculty are two different enterprises.
Hate: Hate is contrary to love and is unacceptable. But hate is now disagreement with an ideology. A 17-year-old high school student in Manitoba was suspended for objecting to wearing an LGBT poppy. She thought that honoring this group on the same level as that of the soldiers who fought and died for Canada was an outrage. What seemed more important, however, was how the LGBT group reacted to it. The student had committed a “hate crime.”
Offend: Thou shall not offend seems to be an eleventh commandment these days. People find the Lord’s Prayer offensive, as well as honoring the flag of one’s country, red and green colored cookies at Christmas, and virtually anything that does not conform to their arbitrary ideology. No regard is given, however, to the people whom the hypersensitive ideologues are truly offending. Offending God does not seem to be a matter of concern.
Diversity: Diversity is merely a word, not a philosophy. As such it is neutral. It is desirable or undesirable in relation to what it includes. If it is composed of harmonious elements, then it can be good. On the other hand, if it consists of warring elements, then it is bad. The current use of “diversity” is ideological and excludes anyone who does not share that ideology. To praise the diversity of God’s Creation is not considered an acceptable way of celebrating diversity.
Inclusivity: Christianity violates the narrow dogma of inclusivity by excluding both sin as well as the Devil. Inclusivity pertains only to those groups or individuals that profess an allegiance to what is truly an exclusive group. It makes no sense to support inclusivity if its membership includes contradictories, such as Jews and Nazis. Inclusivity is a buzzword for those who prefer not to think.
Rights: Genuine rights are relatively few and are usually associated with duties. The new notion of rights is synonymous with desires. At the extreme edge, militant ideologists believe they have the right to violate other people’s rights. One group has the right to do pretty much anything it pleases while denying another group its right to defend itself against unjust aggression. In documented instances, children have been accorded the “right” to choose their own sexual identity while their parents are not allowed the right to intervene. Rights were recognized not for the purpose of starting friction, but in an attempt to avoid them and establish justice.
Equality: We are equal as human beings and unequal in sundry ways. Heterosexual and homosexual marriages cannot be equal since they are fundamentally different. But an unborn child and one who is born are equally members of the human family. Yet equal rights for the pre-born and the post-born are not recognized. By the misuse of the word “equality,” un-equals are seen as equals while equals are regarded as un-equals. Injustice is pandemic.
Dignity: Dignity has two legitimate meanings. The first applies to the seal that God has placed on the human soul by which it has an unalienable worth or dignity. The second meaning pertains to a manner in which one comports himself or a favorable condition. One can gain or lose dignity in the second sense of the term. However, one cannot lose the dignity that is an indelible characteristic of his being. Therefore, the popular notion of “death with dignity” is grossly misleading, since it implies that without some form of mercy killing, one would forfeit his essential dignity.

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(Dr. Donald DeMarco is a professor emeritus of St. Jerome’s University and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He is a regular columnist for the St. Austin Review. His latest books, How to Navigate Through Life and Apostles of the Culture of Life, are posted on amazon.com.)

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