The Invisible Things

Articles in Apologetics

Words Mean More Than Words

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I have been challenged multiple times by the assertation that to live my life based upon the notion of a philosophy maintained and intact in the written word is absurd. This position requires the denial of objective meaning, or in the literary sense, a “transcendental signified.” The denial of this objective meaning suggests that nothing communicated through language can be trusted because its inherent meaning is contingent upon the agenda of the interpreter. In other words, a word only means what one who hears it interprets it to mean, therefore it ultimately means nothing. Extruded a bit more, this idea confirms that there cannot be ultimate meaning in words without the existence of a transcendent signifyer to assign meaning to them. Thus, with the assumption that God does not exist, words have no meaning and no message is relevant- especially one that conveys a divine revelation. Yet here is the ultimate problem: Is this idea not a message? Does it not rely upon the written and spoken word to be communicated and understood? Whereby did the contemporary spokesman of such a philosophy come upon it? It could not have been divinely inspired, due to the absence of the divine, nor could it have been taught by speech or writing, due to the meaninglessless and irrelevance of the word! Inherent in the philosophy itself is its own demise, for if I were to affirm its claims, could I not interpret them to say that the written word is ultimately meaningful, drawing its relevance from divine and objective assignment? Words mean more than words because they are communicative symbols of reality, though they are often used to describe the unreal.


Written by Christopher Butler

April 19, 2005 at 4:30 am

Posted in Language

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