Quite often I say that words do matter. Language is for the purpose of communicating; and the clearer the communications are, the better. With this in mind, the following is a list of words which I no longer use. I no longer use them because they do not serve well the desire of clear communication.
I wrote an entire blog post on this topic some time ago. To read it, go here. In short, there is no evidence that we humans have a spirit or anything supernatural that survives death. Therefore, there is nothing that can be spiritual (spirit-ual), and there is no such thing as the subject of spirituality. It literally doesn’t exist. If you are awed by something – fine! But it’s not spiritual. I am not a spirit, there is nothing that is best described as spiritual, and there is no such thing as spirituality.
This is related to the above. When a person dies, the person is gone. The person no longer exists. The person has not passed away to anything else. The atoms in the body are recirculated back into the universe (with a lower case “u” please). But the person who once was no longer exists and has not transitioned into anything else. I’ve even heard atheists use the term passed away. No, the person has died. The person lives on only in the memories of those that knew him/her. It’s death, not any sort of passing.
What does natural mean? Something that is derived from nature (i.e. the Earth)? Where else would it come from? How can anything be un-natural? Even so-called synthetic substances are created with things from nature. Again, where else would they come from? Mars? Oh, so maybe natural is something that is only as it is found in nature. Ah, so that means unless you are strictly a forager, whatever you are having for dinner is not in its “natural” state. You have to change the way it was found by cooking it and adding spices and combining it with other things that were not on it in the first place. The bottom line is that everything is “natural” and therefore the word is useless.
Who knows absolutely 100% that there is a god or that there is not a god? The answer is no one. Therefore everyone on Earth is agnostic. Therefore the word is useless. I’m an atheist, which means that I have not seen sufficient evidence about the existence of a god; and because of that, I have come to the conclusion that it is overwhelmingly highly probable that a god does not exist. The term agnostic is useless. The term atheist comes with a clear explanation of my position.
The scientific principle states: the dose makes the poison. Everything in our world is a chemical. And every chemical has a level below which it is not toxic to humans, and above which, it is. There are chemicals which are beneficial – even essential – to the life of a human that, at a certain level, become harmful. The level at which a substance can be harmful to humans varies greatly from one chemical to another. But no matter what reputation a chemical has for toxicity, there is a level that famously “toxic” substances are not harmful, and there is a level that famously “good” substances become harmful. Therefore, there is no such thing as a toxic substance/chemical.
I don’t understand why we even need this word. Do we have “consciousness”? If by that we mean something beyond the functioning brain in our bodies, I would say no. That’s it. We have a body with a brain. Through evolution, the brain has developed into something that can think and reason to a higher degree than has been observed in the history of the earth. Fine. But that doesn’t mean that there is anything else to be said. The word consciousness seems to imply something beyond the body with a brain, for which there is no evidence. Even some atheists use the word consciousness. But it’s a misleading word at best. I think what is referred to as “consciousness” is merely the human brain, which for each of us stops at some point and we are no longer.
I may come up with other words to add to this list in the future. So, stay tuned!