When I was a toddler, all I wanted my mother to read me was dictionaries and encyclopedias.
My poor mother tried in vain to get me to listen to stories, but I had no interest. (It wasn’t until she read me Winnie-the-Pooh that I developed any interest in fiction.)
While I can say today that I’ve since expanded my horizons and read other forms of literature, I’ve never lost interest in dictionaries.
Words have meanings and those meanings are determined by usage. Dictionaries simply tell you how a word is commonly used.
So why would this matter?
It’s because we live in an evil world. And people who want to harm you are rarely going to do so through brute force. They’re going to do it through propaganda… through words.
It really surprises me how few people understand how deceptive propaganda works. I would guess most people are cynical enough to believe that institutions are lying to them, but they don’t even realize all the lies they believe. Knowing that people are liars doesn’t make you any less susceptible for falling for a specific lie.
A skilled liar will not give you blatantly false information. Instead, he’s going to change the meaning of key word without telling you and then make a solid argument on top of the dubious meaning.
A great example is one that Vox Day talks about:
Atheists will argue that there is no “evidence” for God. But this is bullshit. There is tons of evidence for God. If you look up “evidence” in a dictionary, it simply means “an outward sign” or something like that. There was a Babylon Bee headline a while back that read “Local Atheist Demands Evidence for God, Besides Entire Universe.” That about sums it up.
What atheists won’t tell you is that they are using the term “evidence” in an uncommon way. They are referring specifically to scientific evidence. But it’s a stupid argument argument because one can’t use the scientific method on metaphysical realities.
Anyhow, this is just one example how Christians who don’t pay attention to key terms get bullied and duped by intellectual frauds. It happens all the time and the church is the worst place where it happens.
Some think it’s petty to bring up dictionary definitions in an argument. But the dictionary is very often the most powerful tool for exposing the root of the deception.
It’s perfectly fine to use words in uncommon ways, so long as one is upfront about it or the audience understands the jargon.
But charlatans are never upfront about their terms. They love to take advantage of ambiguity. They love to say one thing and let the listener think something different.
This is why I intend to continue in my dictionary obsession.