CNN Coverage: On The Importance of Precise Terms

CNN has picked up the story, and rewrote their own piece. This reporter/blogger (Eric Marrapodi) has clearly actually read the original study. Refreshing.

I realize just how much of an academic I have become as I read through the viral internet commentary. For instance, Marrapodi uses the term “faith” to describe Satanism. This is an inaccurate use of the term. I do not mean to accuse Marrapodi of negligence, as he obviously did his homework. I am simply stating how much my own perspective has changed regarding the precise use of terms; my training has cemented the fact that I must use exact, clear, and appropriate terms for my study. “Faith” is inaccurate because there are no base presuppositions that Satanists are required to believe; there is no extraordinary claim that requires faith. There is simply a statement that, in all likelihood, there is no god, no devil, and no spiritual dimensions to humankind. I could not apply the term theology either, as there is no theos.

Dogma, philosophy, and that wonderful polyvalent social scientific word, worldview, are more appropriate to apply to Satanism.

If I have had seven years of higher education (so far, many more to come) wherein professors push you to become better by being critical, explicit, meticulous, and make absolutely certain that your claims are unambiguous, well defined, and properly supported, I realize just how much of a nitpicking snob I can be when I read misuse of terms, even when I have no other issues with the text; the CNN piece is fair and balanced and well written. Bravo.

Considering that I am a person who has lived in places with no plumbing, that I dropped out of high school at 14, and worked full-time as a nanny for a decade, I am constantly surprised as how my person has changed and become something entirely unexpected; from welfare brat to this bizarre place wherein my cloistered study in an area few people even knew existed is now on CNN’s website. Life is funny like that.

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