Several people approached me last week about their personal efforts to fight the erosion of liberty in the world today. They were soliciting our help in spreading their plan to return to the freedoms they believed the Constitution afforded America at one time in our history. They wanted the aid of our existing network, radio broadcasts and articles to promote their efforts to return to liberty and even wanted copies of some of our books to spread amongst their people because they believe the information contained in them is vital to the success of their own quest for freedom.
While they believed that understanding the contents of my books, like The Covenants of the gods, is essential to groups like the Tea Party and other patriot organizations for educational purposes they expressed concerns that most of them did not want to hear anything about –religion.
I thought that was funny and immediately thought of the line from the movie The Princess Bride where Inigo Montoya comments to Vizzini, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
I understand why people seeking liberty do not want to hear about “religion” and I would not want to spar with them concerning the stuff posing as religion today. The real reason for their mental taboo of the term is that today the word religion does not mean what they think it means.
The definition of the word religion has changed in the minds of modern society since the Constitution ((Amendment I “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”)) was written and even more so since James defined pure religion ((James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.”)) in the Bible. It is important to understand the meaning of words at the time they are used. There is power in words because “the generality of mankind is wholly and absolutely governed by words and names”. ((Second sermon of Robert South chaplain to King Charles the II. a.k.a. Good Time Charley. A nickname given to him either because Charles and the Cavaliers [sounds like a band] reopened the theaters in London which had been closed by the Puritan Cromwell in his attempt to establish a republic reducing the ready supply of ale and entertainment or because he had at least a dozen illegitimate children by seven mistresses, but no legitimate children.))
If you are going to study the words of older documents like the Constitution of the United States you need to use the dictionary used at the time men wrote that document. Modern dictionaries often cite much different definitions. The most common dictionary used for the Constitution is John Bouvier’s Law Dictionary but that is not where most of you get the definitions you have in your mind for the words you use every day.
When someone uses the word religion today they might think the word means:
“a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs or a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects…” ((Dictionary.com says it means based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.))
But if you look up the same word in a dictionary published just a hundred years before, when many words we commonly used today were being changed, you will see that the word “religion” according to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) meant:
“The outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a god or of gods having power over their destiny, to whom obedience, service, and honor are due; the feeling or expression of human love, fear, or awe of some superhuman and over ruling power, whether by profession of belief, by observance of rites and ceremonies…”
In these two definitions we see that “religion” in a hundred years went from meaning, “The outward act or form ” to meaning “a set of beliefs.”
Changing the meaning of the word religion from an “act” to a “belief” was no small step to say nothing of the rest of the definition. But the change did not begin there. If we go back just a little over fifty years before that to John Bouvier’s 1856 Law Dictionary adapted to the Constitution of the United States we find that religion was first defined:
“Real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men.”
Do not be confused or put off by the word piety. While the word “piety” has come to mean “making a hypocritical display of virtue” ((Definition of pious in the British & World English dictionary)) it used to mean duty especially to your parents and specifically to your father. Duty to your natural father was the origin of the original patriotism before the state became your father. ((Call no man Father, What was Christ trying to tell us about fathers on the earth?))
The critical point of this definition is that religion was the acts by which you tended to your duty to your fellow men not just what you believed about God or gods. So there are many words and their meanings that have changed over time and when dealing with history or your future it is essential to know what words meant in the past as well as what we think they mean today if we are to learn from history because:
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Knowing the original meaning of words at the time of the writing of old or ancient documents can increase our understanding of what the authors were trying to say and even trying to get us to do. By changing the meaning of words – without altering the original documents – you can deceive people about the author’s intent. This is certainly true in relationship to constitutions but probably most obvious in the research of sacred scripts used by modern religions where people are often bound to a way of thinking by their faith, not in the original author or teacher or in God, but in their priest, pastor, rabbi, monk, swami or imam that is telling you what the original blessed, wise, holy or enlightened teacher or prophet was trying to impart to us in their writings or those who wrote about them.
You may begin to see that the changing of the meaning of words, which often goes unnoticed by the procession of new generations, can shape and mold the mind and alter the thinking of whole societies. Through the use of lexicographers a great power and influence can be exerted over the minds of the people. ((Lexicographers, the process or profession of writing or compiling dictionaries.)) Once people accept ideas as true they will often defend their newly established beliefs in the face of clear and even overwhelming evidence that they are in error and what they have come to believe to be true is completely false. This is even more true when it comes to religions and politics.
If you want a lively discussion at your next party invite an informed iconoclast to get things going. I am one of those iconoclasts because I am not afraid to talk about religion or the politics of religion. I do not get invited to a lot of parties because most people can’t handle the truth.
The next question to be answered is can you handle the truth?
Around 1913 the relationships of the people and their governments and their churches were changing. The governments of the world were getting into the social welfare business just as the churches were getting out of providing for their members in time of need and into the just-believe business.
Governments were starting to take care of the needy of the world through tax contributions during the birth of their New Deal and Great Society’s search for the Utopian welfare state while churches were moving farther from being the providers of daily ministration of the needy of their congregations. ((Acts 6:1 “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.”)) Churches became more interested in helping people feel good about what they thought or the doctrines they believed, while striving to fill their pews with contributing members. Denominations grew in number as world domination of the democratic socialist states became a reality.
A synonym of totalitarian is undemocratic but when everyone become a little dictator ruling over their neighbor through their desire for more benefits social democracies became the throne of totalitarian beasts that go about devouring who they will.
People pick the denomination that makes them feel the best. No one wants to get out of the comfortable mindset offered by what their religion has told them to believe. But what they often think is the comfortable blessings of the proverbial hot-tub of faith is actually a boiling cauldron of superstition that eventually cooks the mind one degree at a time. The only way to protect your mind from being cooked as society constantly changes the meaning of words is to learn the original meaning. This will require a willingness to accept the possibility that what you think know for sure just ain’t so. ((“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain)) That willingness to accept the fact that you may be deceived already is called humility.
Edwin Howard Armstrong once said “They substitute words for reality and then talk about the words.”
So what is the significance of the word religion being the practice and performance of our duty to God and our fellow man and not merely our belief in a superhuman agency?
Since religion at the time of the writing of the Constitution meant in part how you provided or performed all known duties to your fellow men then your real religion is how you accomplish that obligation. There seems to have been two ways throughout history by which we can fulfill our duty to our fellowman in societies. One way was by force ((Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.”
Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. The words suffereth violence and presseth are from the same word in the Greek biazw biazo meaning “to use force, to apply force”)) and the other was by the perfect law of liberty. The way you choose to fulfill that obligation to society will determine if you are to be free or not.
When you talk about forms of government and economy like socialism and capitalism or any type of welfare or entitlement obligations that provides for the needs of the people you are talking about religion, at least as it was defined at the time of the writing of the Constitution of the United States.
If the word religion has changed so much in the last 200 years how much more has it changed in the 2000 years since documents like the Bible were written? Well it has changed a great deal and we go through those changes step by step in radio broadcasts and articles. I am sure much of what we have to say will upset the religious establishments of today who still think religion is what one believe or says and not what onedoes. ((Matthew 23:3 “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”))
Part of that confusion is from what we are taught words mean but part of that is from what we want to believe. Most people do not want to know that religion is how you take care of, help and aid your fellow man when he is in real need. We should know that pure religion is when you provide that care and benefit of society without the forced contributions of governments that exercise authority one over the other.
The amazing thing is that early Christians did take care of each other through charity alone and refused to take the benefits of rulers who forced the contributions of the people ((“And those who have among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost.” Chapter LXVII.—Weekly worship of the Christians. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr)) They provided these benefits through free will offerings which was according to the perfect law of liberty ((James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.)) spoken of by James in reference to that pure religion ((Pure Religion. What is it and who does it?)) and all that was central to the activities of early Christians. ((Justin Martyr (ca. 100-ca. 165) wrote, “They do well to give what each thinks fit, and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succors the orphans and widows and those who through sickness or any other cause are in want…” Weekly Worship of the Christian, Ante-Nicene Christian Library, vol. 2, p. 65 (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1867).))
Modern Christians readily apply for those benefits from these men who call themselves benefactors,which is contrary to the Christ ((Luke 22:25-27 “And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” Matthew 20:25, Mark 10:42.)) who they say they believe in. They simply take from your neighbor through the superhuman agency or agencies of their governments. These benefits of modern Rome, ((Rome vs US. Does history repeat itself because man does not repent?)) once refused by early Christians, are pervasive in modern religions. Modern Christians remain oblivious to the fact they have more in common with the religion of ancient pagans, the Pharisees and the temples of Rome than they have with the early Christian Church where people gathered. ((“… all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, …. and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.” Justin Martyr, Apology, Chapter LXVII))
The point of all this is that there are two ways to take care of the needy of your society. There are two ways to practice and perform our duty to our fellow man. There are two religions in the world today. One is dependent upon free-will offerings of the people, for the people, and by the people, and the other is established by people electing men who call themselves benefactors but force the contributions of society by exercising authority one over the other. Both are forms of religion. One sets you free while the other may promises you liberty ((2 Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”)) yet leads many people away from truth and freedom. ((2 Peter 2:2 “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”)) Such covetous systems makes the people merchandise, ((2 Peter 2:3 “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”)) collateral for debt ((Not so Secure Socialism. Same old promise, Same old lie! Appeared first on NewsWithViews 8-1-10)) and human resources. ((Employ vs Enslave, SS Video Series 7-10 7:28))
If you want to be free you need to talk about real religion.
In the next parts of this series we will take a look at why real Christians were persecuted back in the Roman Empire and what Christ was really saying and doing that restored liberty and why you have lost that liberty because you thought liberty had nothing to do with religion. See Part 2