December 27, 2003

You, too, can speak Curmudgeonese

(Last updated June 26, 2014)

Christianity, like any field of expertise, has its own distinctive jargon. And Evangelicalism, of which I am a part, certainly has its own flavour of Christianese.

It occurred to me a few days ago, while putting together an upcoming blog entry, that after several years of debating various positions on the Net, I've both adopted and developed a fair bit of jargon of my own. Here, then, is the first few entries in the Glossary of Curmudgeonese.

Aryan bonehead

White supremist. Technically, I suppose, "Aryan bonehead" is redundant. Anyone who thinks one part of humanity is morally or genetically superior to another, merely because Providence dealt them a different set of chromosomes, isn't firing on all cylinders. I picked up this phrase from an English professor of mine when I was in school.

Cage-Stage Calvinist

Many new Calvinists go through a period during which they become hyper-zealous for the cause of Calvinism and attempt to convert their Arminian friends more aggressively than most Jehovah's Witnesses. Theologian and philosopher George Grant calls this period the "cage stage." New Calvinists ought to be locked in a cage for about the first two years, or until they mellow out and realize John Calvin isn't God, the Reformers weren't infallible, and the Westminster Confession is not a Bible.

Church of the Holy Horseshoe

Nickname for KJV-only extremists who think that even differences between KJV editions in spelling or orthography constitute some sort of Satanic corruption. So called because of their belief that dropping the U from "Saviour" (thus reflecting American usage) actually paves the way for worship of a counterfeit Savior, the Antichrist.

Members of the Church of the Holy Horseshoe are like Ruckmandroids (see below) but even more psychotic.

Conspiracy Boy

Nickname for Texe Marrs, author, radio host of Power of Prophecy, home-church advocate, and Ruckmandroid (see below). As Phil Johnson says, Texe never met a conspiracy he didn't like.

De-Marification

Modern-day iconoclasm! Vandalism of "apparitions" of the Virgin Mary appearing in water stains, cheese sandwiches, etc.

Dr. Petey

My nickname for Peter S. Ruckman (see Ruckmandroid, below).

Excuse, The

The Excuse is frequently trotted out by militant KJV-onlyists, and can be summed up thus: "You quoted a Bible translation other than the King James, and so I am going to ignore everything you said, neener neener neener." Responding to The Excuse is difficult; I prefer to say something along the lines of, "OK, die in ignorance."

Free-willy

An evangelical Arminian; a typical Evangelical churchgoer who believes that the final say as to whether a person gets saved or not depends on an autonomous act of human free will: raising his hand during an altar call and "accepting Christ" as his "personal lord and Saviour," rather than on the free choice of a sovereign God. Many people of this persuasion do not like the label "Arminian," feeling it is inaccurate since historically Arminians do not believe in "eternal security."

Fair enough, responded a number of Calvinists on the now-defunct Fundamentalist Forums one day, we'll call you "free-willies" instead.

Gail the Ripper

Nickname for G. A. Riplinger, KJV-onlyist author of New Age Bible Versions. That ripping sound you hear is the rending of words from their context as she attempts to prove that all English Bibles other than the King James Version are part of a vast New Age conspiracy to immanetize the Eschaton and bring Christianity into the One World Religion of the Antichrist.

God And

Another common nickname I've used for Riplinger, based on her infamous claim that when she wrote New Age Bible Versions, she wrote under the name G. A. Riplinger, "which signifies to me, God and Riplinger - God as author and Riplinger as secretary." This way, God gets all the credit for the bad logic.

"Here doggy! *ring ring*"

Psycho-fundies seem to have a whole bunch of stock responses to those horrible, dangerous positions that go against the "standards" that they have been taught. More often than not, these responses contain multiple straw man arguments and extremist rhetoric. For example, if you suggest that God permits the moderate use of beverage alcohol, you might be accused of endorsing drunkenness, recreational drug use, and pornography.

The sameness of these responses leads me to believe that it might be some sort of conditioned response, like Pavlov's dogs drooling at the sound of a bell. Hence, "Here doggy! *ring ring*" is my "conditioned response" and means, roughly, "Your post is nothing but a knee-jerk reaction."

Leftards

There are many people whose opinions veer to the left of mine, whom I am proud to count as friends. The world might be a lot more convenient if we just all agreed, but it'd be nowhere near as interesting. I welcome an honest exchange of opinion.

But there are a handful of public personae on the Left that seem addicted to saying some of the most inane things that ever were uttered in the public square. They appear to be motivated less by reason than an overwhelming desire to prove their progressive credentials by uttering outrageous opinions or pushing for the most bizarre policies. There are also rightards, of course, but they don't tend to be the ones who get to publish op-eds in the media. See also stupidsia, below.

Monkey-boys

KJV-onlyists. I started calling them this around 1998-99 when I began to notice that many KJV-only "arguments" were simply poorly thought-out imitations of arguments against KJV-onlyism. Monkey see, monkey do, I thought.

Mushy-headed

My personal adjective to refer to people who have an emotional attachment to strongly held beliefs, but when the chips are down, are unable to clearly articulate why they believe them.

Psycho-Fundy

Some Fundamentalists apparently believe that the mark of true holiness is to "separate" from anything and everything that they can. Psycho-fundies are the ones who circle heaven and earth trying to outdo each other in multiplying and inventing unclean things: wire-rimmed glasses, PowerPoint, pants on women, pink shirts on men, you name it.

Ransom (or RansomOttawa or sometimes mosnaR)

My alter-ego. Ransom is the nickname by which I am known on most Web forums, including The Fundamentalist Forums, BaptistBoard, and Free Republic. (Since Ransoms have proliferated in recent years, "RansomOttawa" sometimes distinguishes me from all the others out there.)

Elwin Ransom is the protagonist of C. S. Lewis' fantasy novel Out of the Silent Planet, which I had read shortly before venturing out onto the Net for the first time in 1992.

Ruckmandroid (or droid for short)

A follower of the theology of Peter S. Ruckman. Ruckman is a bombastic, foul-mouthed Baptist pastor in Pensacola, Florida, best known for his radical view of the King James Version of the Bible - that it is completely without error of any kind, any discrepancy between it and its Greek source documents constitutes new revelation superseding the old, and any other English version of the Bible is corrupt and perverted.

Droids are often called "Ruckmanites" by Ruckman's critics; however, they have adopted the name for themselves, calling themselves "Ruckman Knights" and wielding the sword of truth against the invasion of apostasy. (Tilting at windmills is more like it.) So "Ruckmandroid" is a word I invented about two years ago out of "Ruckman" and "android." Fruit falls close to the tree, as a former pastor of mine used to say, and "Dr. Petey's" disciples tend to slavishly mimic his theories and mannerisms. It's almost as if they were programmed that way . . .

You can tell a Ruckmandroid by the battery of loaded questions and claims they often use on Internet chat forums. "Do you have a final authority you can handle?" is one; "You either believe in a single final authority [i.e. the KJV] or you don't believe in any Bible at all" is another. They call themselves "Bible believers" (as though they have a monopoly on it) and their church signs often say "King James 1611" on them to reassure other droids that they can safely worship there without having their ears polluted, God forbid, by someone reading from the NIV.

Secular brownshirts

Drama queens such as those from the American Atheists or Freedom from Religion Foundation, who object to, and desire to eradicate, any public display of religion or religous imagery, on the shaky Constitutional grounds that swearing on a Bible or having a Christmas card on a bulletin board in a public office violates the separation of church and state. (I believe I borrowed this turn of phrase from Mark Shea.) See also vampires, below.

Spooftexting

"Prooftexting" is a favourite means of establishing a point of doctrine or practice, especially used by Fundamentalists. Various Bible verses are trotted out to prove some point or other. More often than not, the verse in question is decontextualized, whereas in its proper context it would have little or nothing to do with the subject at hand.

For example, Exodus 28:42 is often cited as "proof" that women should not wear pants because "breeches" are described as men's garments, and/or that the biblical definition of "nakedness" extends to covering the thighs. This interpretation ignores the fact that the "breeches" in question are specifically part of the priest's costume (and hence would be forbidden to laymen as well if the proof-texter were consistent), and the specific reason for their length was to protect the dignity of the priest's office in case someone caught a peek inside his robes and saw his privates.

"Spooftexting" goes one step further: posting nothing but bare Bible references, without explanation, and the more the better. Their relevance to the question at hand is simply assumed, never given. After all, who would dare question the Bible?

Stupidsia

The opposite of intelligentsia: self-appointed, self-important pundits whose opinions are poorly written, ill-informed and less than enlightening. See also leftards, above.

"Those horrible, dangerous ....."

Any otherwise innocuous object or idea that Someone, Somewhere has deemed unfit for human exposure because they might get the wrong ideas. Examples: Religious symbols on public display, ultrasounds of the unborn, or books not found in the libraries of Fundamentalist Bible colleges.

Vampires

Ever see the way secular brownshirts (see above) recoil in horror at the sight of a cross on public display, or a public Bible reading? I used to think they were just obnoxious. Now, I'm convinced that they are actually undead and in mortal fear of being vanquished from a world where every Christian is a potential Van Helsing.

"You gotta laugh"

Standard response to the more ridiculous assertions made by KJV-onlysts, particularly those that have been repeated over and over and over and over and . . . Apparently, KJV-onlyists never get their heads together and compare notes to find out which lies have already been refuted.