|The petition demanding Webster change the definition of the word Heathen.|
|First part of the Webster's definition.|
I just happen to know a worse definition of Heathen (from the 1982 edition of the Random House College Dictionary): "an unenlightened or barbaric idolater."
|Oh look, the defintion of Heathen goes back to the 12th century.|
|Definition by rejection of the Bible.|
|But look, it is a Christian definition of Heathen.|
|The definition of Heathen for kids.|
|Webster would like to know why you are looking up the word Heathen.|
|The two things that are to be included in the new definition of Heathen.|
(By the way, one of my favorite definitions of Cat is actually a definition by what it is not: Cat--not a dog.)
|Here is your laugh out loud moment of the day.|
I presume that Scott Mattis means ONLY Norse pagans are to be consulted.
And this is where I have to ask, "Can you even get a dozen Heathens to agree what type of light bulbs to buy?" And what about all the non-Norse Heathens? Why don't they also get a vote?
As a writer and a scholar, let me be the one to break the bad news to you. Dictionaries reflect how writers actually use words, not how you think the words should be defined by your own particular religion. If religions were allowed to pick the definitions of words, we would get stuck with the following definition of Heathen (buckle in):
Heathen: an ignorant uncivilized person who absolutely is going to Hell for refusing to accept the one true God of the Bible.
And why would we be stuck with that definition? Simply because there are far more Christians than pagans and heathens in English speaking counties, both in the present and in the past. The definitions that Webster and Random House are using are not nearly as bad as the ones that we would get if a committee got to define the word to their satisfaction.
So how do we get the definition changed? Well, a petition is useless. What changes the definition of the word are writers using it in a different manner than it was previously used. So instead of signing a petition, go to Webster Online Dictionary and tell them about instances that Heathen (and for that matter Pagan) are being used in a modern sense of "someone civilized who believes in gods other than the Jewish Christian Muslim god." If enough people do this, they will add a new section to the definition reflecting its new use. Why? Because that is how dictionaries actually define words--by how people are actually using them.
(Please note that the current definitions will remain simply because there is a few centuries of usage that says that all heathens need to be saved by the civilizing force of the one true God. Also note that I am a Heathen and Pagan...not that it will stop you from calling me bad names in the comment section.)