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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hijacking a Word

I would like to hijack a word, like the gays have done. The word "gay" has pretty much lost the former meaning, and is almost exclusively used to mean homosexual. There are other words that have been given new alternate meanings in our time, such as "special" and "black".

The word I want is "church". I don't want to take it over completely, just to reduce the strong ties to Christianity.

Here are the 3 meanings that Webster's Online gives for "church":

1. A group of Christians; any group professing Christian doctrine or belief; "the church is debating the issue of women priests".

2. A place for public (especially Christian) worship; "the church was empty".

3. A service conducted in a church; "don't be late for church".

The MSN online dictionary gives 6 definitions. The one that is most appropriate for us is: "2. religion's followers as group: all the followers of a religion, especially the Christian religion, considered collectively". (You can see the other definitions here: Notice that they say "especially the Christian religion", implying that the word church could apply to us if we are a religion.

The Church of Earth is supposed to be like a religion or church in several ways, but not in all ways. We are not Christian, and we don't have fixed beliefs except for a reliance on experience and science. But we want to provide most of the benefits that churches have provided in the past, especially before there was much science. So I want to bring the word and concept of Church into the scientific age.

Also, we are not exclusive. A person may retain their religion, and still be one of us. We are a social and political organization.

I don't really know how to do this except to keep stubbornly pushing. If a few thousand people would join us we might have a shot. I'm not in a big hurry.

The Unitarian church has done this, but we can't use their method. They started out as a Protestant Christian church, and then very gradually gave up the Christian part. It took them a very long time. I may not be in a hurry, but I don't want to wait as long as it took them! However, they can be an example to us. If we create an organization that works, and lasts, we can emulate them in respect to the word "church".



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