Neil deGrasse Tyson rejects labels too

Neil deGrasse Tyson rejects labels too July 17, 2012

You might remember that about a week ago I wrote a post entitled labels are the problem. I received quite a bit of flak for that.

I was pleased today when someone forwarded me the link to this video of the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson pretty much saying the same thing.

Again I claim: labels are the problem. I do not wish to subscribe to and perpetuate it.

And I think Christians can be the first to reject labels in the interest of compassion and grace.

My books elaborate on this.

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  • I dunno.
    I’m a man. I’m a husband. I’m a father. I’m an atheist. I realize some labels (the fourth one in particular) carry baggage or negative connotations for many people. But I do need SOME way of describing myself to the people I come across, no?

  • Gary

    I don’t think you took flak for rejecting labels. Most of us who love your work reject them in principle. It was more the denying that our conclusions can be different and be ok that got you into trouble by my way of thinking. In a real sense…it was contrary to everything you have fought for by my way of thinking. Some believe in God…others don’t. Those views are not the same…nor do they need to be.

  • Gary

    Boy I wish we could edit our comments. The redundancy in my post is embarrassing. LOL

  • I agree with you David. Even my “atheist” is a false label much like Tyson rightly complains.

    I’d wager that, like me, you treasure this quote:

    “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
    –Walt Whitman (poet) “Song of Myself”

    I am poor at drawing, but attempted to capture our multitudes and how different folks view us with my drawing here.

    Some folks just need things black and white — I think it is a temperament thing often.

  • i do like that quote. always have.

  • For the privileged, labels are a restriction – for the persecuted, they can be, when self-adopted, protection.

    I agree that in an ideal world, we would eliminate all labels – we would also elimiate all prisons. It doesn’t mean it would be good for everyone in the here and now.

  • I think a willingness to discard, forego, or look beyond labels is a sign of maturity. Here’s a post about some of the labels used by my teenage self:
    Kind of cringe-inducing, isn’t it?

  • actually i like it. i remember those days.