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Fundie Phrase Dictionary

When you debate with a Christian fundamentalist, you may often find that the two of you are going around in circles, almost as if you are speaking different languages. The reason for this is simple: you are speaking different languages.

Common
Phrase
Normal Person's
Definition
Fundie
Definition
Freedom of religion The freedom to choose your religion without penalty. The freedom to act on your religion without penalty.

This interpretation means that a believer can violate secular laws with impunity or refuse to meet the job requirements of his employer while still expecting the same salary as everyone else. This effectively creates a religious caste system, where the religious caste has more privileges than everyone else.
Scientific theory An explanation of the facts. Not facts, therefore meaningless.
Accepted scientific theory A well-tested explanation of the facts. Also: the only explanation which makes sense. Not facts, therefore meaningless.
Freedom of expression The freedom to make literature or films without censorship, provided you don't violate someone's rights. For example, child porn violates children, snuff films kill people, etc. The freedom to make literature or films without censorship, provided you do not offend Christian values (see gay pornography for examples of material which is censored in many communities across America for no crime other than offending Christian values).

Also: see "freedom of religion".
Marriage From Merriam-Webster:

(1) the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.

(2) the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.
A religious ceremony between one man and one woman, defined in the Bible and created by the Christian church for the sole purpose of sanctifying procreation.

Note: the Bible does not actually document marriage rituals anywhere, it contains many examples of marriage which do not fit the modern definition (ie- polygamous or forced), and marriage was common all throughout the ancient pagan world long before the Bible was written anyway.
Liberalism From Merriam-Webster:

(1) A political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.
A catch-all label which is applied to all social and political movements which are perceived to be "new", such as feminism, secularism, gay rights, environmentalism, sexual liberation, and social welfare.

Note: most fundies subscribe to the notion that the past was some kind of "golden age" of "traditional values", so modernity itself is the enemy; this attitude is particularly widespread among fundamentalist Muslims in the Middle East.

Over time, fundies learn to dismiss ideas simply by calling them "liberal", as if no further explanation is required.
Secular From Merriam-Webster:

a : of or relating to the worldly or temporal
b : not overtly or specifically religious
c : not ecclesiastical or clerical
Anti-religious.

Note: since fundies view religious freedom in such a manner that it should inevitably result in special legal privileges for the pious, it should come as no surprise that they view secularism (an inherently religion-neutral approach to governance) as the enemy of religion.

In reality, secularism actually benefits the freedom to choose one's religion by preserving the essential divide between religion (which should never use force) and government (which is empowered to use force).
Atheism From Merriam-Webster:

(1) disbelief in the existence of deities.
People who reject God.

Note: fundies cannot comprehend the concept of not believing in God. They are utterly convinced that atheists secretly believe in God, but choose to reject him for some reason. Usually they believe that the atheist is angry or "bitter" about God, or that the atheist is guilty of some terrible sin and wishes to avoid "accountability" to God for his crimes.

Their dirty little secret is that they assume these things because that is how the fundies themselves have felt at least once in their lives, usually at some low point.
Humanism From Merriam-Webster:

(1) a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason.
A synonym for "liberal", "atheist", and "secular".

Note: It is actually none of those things; it is in fact the foundation of the American Bill of Rights and all other human rights legislation, and it is possible to be both Christian and humanist.
Occam's Razor The logical principle of parsimony, which states that when formulating a theory, you should not invent or employ terms unless you absolutely need to. In its original formulation, it stated simply: "do not multiply terms unnecessarily"

For example, the explanation "God produced life" requires an extra term compared to "the natural universe produced life", since the existence of the natural universe is necessary for both theories but the existence of God is not.
The logical principle of parsimony, which states that the simplest sounding theory is always right. Alternatively, the theory which requires the least effort to explain is always right.

Therefore, "God did it" is simpler than the theory of evolution even though it doesn't even attempt to explain how God did it (thus making any comparison to evolution theory an apples-to-oranges comparison).
Shoving your beliefs down peoples' throats Forcing other people to support your beliefs or observe your rituals.

For example, the use of public institutions to spread religious beliefs effectively forces taxpayers to support religious activity.

For a more severe example, you can be fined or even imprisoned for selling sex toys in several southern US states including Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas.
Demanding the right to do things in your personal life even if they offend religious peoples' beliefs.

Note: for example, anti-abortion protesters believe that "pro-abortion views are being shoved down our throats" because other people are allowed to have abortions. Also: anti-gay rights demonstrators believe that "gay marriage is being shoved down our throats" because other people are allowed to have gay marriages. In both cases, they believe that their personal freedoms are somehow impacted if other people are allowed to make personal choices which offend them.
Evolution Biologically speaking, there are 2 forms: the process of evolution (a fact) and the theory of evolution (to explain the fact).

1) The process of evolution is the observed process of heritable change between generations in a population of living organisms. Not to be confused with metamorphosis.

2) The Theory of Evolution is Darwin's explanation for how the process of evolution works. One of the ramifications of this theory is that it can be used to explain the origin of species.
The idea that man came from apes. It is based on the idea that everything in the universe came from nothing for no reason, that bacteria sprang spontaneously from mud, and every species on Earth appeared as a result of some freak mutation.

Note: sadly, this is not a caricature or an exaggeration; most fundamentalists seriously believe that the above statement is a reasonably accurate summary of evolution theory.
Intelligent Design Theory, aka "ID theory" Creationism in a clown suit1.

ID is just creation theory with the word "God" replaced by the more vague term "intelligent designer". It remains the same basic idea that has fueled religion since the Stone Age: attribute all mysteries to deities which are conveniently defined in such a manner that no testing or verification is necessary or even possible.
The theory that God an "intelligent designer" magically created all life. We know this must be true because science does not yet understand everything in the universe.

Note: the ID movement draws its strength from the idea that if we don't know exactly what a particular species or feature's evolutionary precursors looked like, then there must not have been any, so it must have appeared spontaneously at the will of God.
Irreducible complexity The logically flawed central argument of "intelligent design", which assumes that if two parts of a biological system are interdependent and required for its function, then they must have been created magically by God.

Of course, it's also possible that evolutionary precursors of the two parts performed different functions before they started evolving to become interdependent, but ID proponents ignore this possibility because it disrupts their neat deductive chain.
The shining unassailable core of "intelligent design theory": the idea that if two parts of a biological system are interdependent and required for its function, then they must have been created magically by God.

Of course, we cannot explain why or how God made these decisions or implemented them, but we don't have to. That's the beauty of "intelligent design" theory; we can demand total omniscience from science while providing zero comprehension of our own.
Bigot From Merriam-Webster:

(1) a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.
Anyone who says bad things about Christianity.

Note: the typical fundie regards attacks on a religion (ie- a personal choice) in much the same manner that a human rights advocate would regard attacks on a race, yet the same fundie will vigorously attack other peoples' personal lifestyle choices (such as sexual promiscuity) and even attempt to use force to prevent them (usually by passing laws, although lynchings were common in past eras).
Big Bang Theory The theory that the universe's ongoing expansion, size, and layout are consistent with a very rapid expansion from a single point in the distant past. The theory that the universe came from nothing.

Note: this has to be one of the most common scientific misconceptions in existence. Virtually 100% of creationists believe that "rapid expansion from a singularity in the distant past" somehow means "something from nothing", even though it means nothing of the sort.
Radiometric dating A method of determining how old something is, based on nuclear physics. Since it combines nuclear physics and geology, it requires a fair bit of training to do properly. Different methods have different margins of error and different ranges.

For example, C-14 is used for objects which are a few thousand years old while longer-lived radioisotopes are used for objects which are millions of years old, just as you might use a measuring tape to measure short distances and a laser to measure long distances.
An evolutionist scam. You can tell it's a lie because if you get a bunch of untrained creationists to do it wrong, it doesn't work. Also, it has "error" built in. Everyone knows that real measurement techniques have no error. Worse yet, carbon-dating is totally inaccurate for objects which are older than ten thousand years.

Note: as comical as it may sound, creationists honestly believe that these are devastating critiques of radiometric dating. Unfortunately, to the average layperson who struggled through high-school science, they might very well be.
Medical miracle Somebody survives when doctors didn't expect him to. It reminds us of how far we have to go in terms of understanding the human body. A Christian survives despite the dire predictions of doctors. Clearly, God's mighty hand saved him and proved science wrong.

When it happens to non-Christians, it reminds us of how far we have to go in terms of understanding the human body. Unless a relative prayed for him, in which case it was God's mighty hand.
Evil Total disregard for the welfare and feelings of others.

Examples: Murder, rape, torture, racism, pedophilia, destroying the environment, genocide, endangering others, etc.
Disobedience to God.

Examples: Murder (except when God does it or says it's OK, like in the Old Testament), rape (except when God does it or approves it), torture (except when God does it or approves it), racism (except when God does it or approves it), pedophilia (except when God does it or approves it), worshiping "false gods", pornography, disregarding the Bible, homosexuality, extra-marital sex (except when God approves it), nudity on TV, and any form of philosophy which does not believe in God.
Good Beneficial. In a social sense, it is usually that which is beneficial to society.

Examples: Helping others, promoting human rights, risking oneself to protect others, and of course, avoiding everything found in the definition of "evil" above.
Obedience to God (especially blind obedience, eg- Abraham's willingness to kill his own son on command).

Examples: Helping others, risking oneself to protect others, and any act which will promote the worship of God or suppress any philosophy that does not worship God.

Note: according to fundie ethics, the welfare of human beings is far less important than the welfare of the church. That is why they emphasize obedience to God rather than benefit to people. In other words, in their ideology it is an acceptable trade to destroy human beings if it will help preserve the religion and ensure the continued worship of God. That is how they rationalize the many acts of unspeakable cruelty in the Old Testament.
Catholicism The modern incarnation of the original Christian church, which effectively created the Bible by selecting which of the ancient manuscripts would be considered "canonical" and which ones would be rejected as heresy. They also modified its content in the early period by adding material, such as the famous "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" story which was not found in the earliest manuscripts. The "Great Whore", led by the AntiChrist.

Note: fundies seem to feel that the authority of the Bible transcends the organization which created it, edited it, decided which content would be in it and which content would not, etc. This has always been a serious contradiction in fundie thinking.
Christian moderates Christians who work out a compromise between secularism and their beliefs. They often support separation of church and state. Contemptible traitors who "pick and choose" elements of their religion, as if they're browsing a salad bar.

Note: moderates are often demonized for picking and choosing which elements of the Bible to believe in, but doesn't that merely demonstrate the ability to exercise personal judgment rather than mindless obedience? This is where we run into a real philosophical divide: according to fundies, mindless obedience is a good thing, while individual judgment is bad.
Christian liberals Christians who support liberal social movements such as gay rights. They always support separation of church and state. Disgusting traitors. Even worse than moderates.
Theistic evolution The religious idea that God created life, but he did so through the process of evolution as determined by scientific methods. The lies of traitors.
Homosexuals People who are attracted to others of their own gender for some reason. People who have consciously chosen to be attracted to others of their own gender because of our "permissive" society, and they're probably pedophiles too.
Feminism From Merriam-Webster:

(1) the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

(2) organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests
A radical extremist movement, more properly termed "feminazis", which is dominated by man-hating lesbians.
Armageddon The end of the world: a terrifying idea. The time of tribulation which will be heralded by the Rapture and which will culminate with the Second Coming of Christ and the glorious fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.
Christian From Merriam-Webster:

(1) one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

From Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis: "those who accepted the teachings of the apostles."
When attempting to prove that the American Founding Fathers were Christian: "anyone who ever said anything good about religion or Christianity in his life."

When attempting to prove that Hitler was not a Christian: "a person of fine upstanding moral character who obeyed all of the rules in the Bible and lived up to the legacy of Jesus Christ and who regularly professed his faith in public and who had no associates who were not Christian and who never harmed any Christians or opposed any of the established Christian churches."

1This definition is credited to Damien Sorresso.


Last updated: August 27, 2007


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