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Religion, What Is It? And Who Has It?

Index

Defining What Religion Means

What the Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary gives as the meaning for religion

  1. What the agnostic or atheist believe and practice
  2. What the present day evangelical church thinks religion means
  3. What the evolutionists thinks religion means
  4. What the courts have ruled it means
  5. What religion means to the secular humanist
  6. What James and the Apostles of Jesus taught it means
  7. What religion means to the devil
  8. Assorting the facts
  9. What Jesus Christ practiced and taught all men; concerning where true religion is found and true value of life is found for man on the earth.

Preface

In this day possibly like no other, there is great confusion as to what the meaning of the word religion means. In this booklet the subject will be looked at from several different view points. All would agree that there is no agreement on its meaning. This has led to court cases, which only furthered the misunderstanding and disagreements. Generally religion can be put into the classification of; believing theory as fact, believing hypothesis as fact, occult, cult, I hope so, I choose to believe this, unsubstantiated opinion, lies, mass followings, sleight of the hand to sway the masses, following personalities, making man the final end of all things (the god-man) etc. Another way is to believe in things not seen, but can be believed by substantiated and provable truth, “prove all things.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

This booklet will attempt to clarify some of the misconceptions. I do not however, believe it will resolve the issue. For someone said long ago “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Nothing could be truer than this statement when dealing with the will, the spiritual, and the religious nature in man. Men rarely give up their religion, their own will, or their chosen direction of life, to follow ‘truth.’

D. Neely

3-12-05 reprinted 1-12-07

For a standard and rule of meanings for the word religion, we will use ‘Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary. Webster has recorded nine different yet similar expressions in human belief, actions, and directions of life. A comparison of each of the groups listed will be put into the category according to Webster’s defined meaning of the word; Religion.

Here is the first of the nine:

  1. Concern over what exists beyond the visible world. ...It operates through faith or intuition rather than reason, and generally including the idea of the existence or a transcendent spiritual entity that has created the world, that governs it, that controls its destinies, or that intervenes occasionally in the natural course of its history, as well as the idea that ritual, prayer, spiritual exercises, certain principles of every day conduct, etc, are expedient, due or spiritually rewarding or arise naturally out of an inner need as a human response to the belief in such a being principle, etc.
  2. A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: The Christian religion.
  3. The body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions
  4. A deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practices: to get religion
  5. The life or state of a monk, nun, etc: to enter religion
  6. The practice of a religious belief: ritual observance of faith
  7. A point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice
  8. Religions; archaic, religious rites
  9. Archaic, strict faithfulness: devotion: a religion to one’s own,
  10. conscientiousness, piety

To the general population the word religion has a lot of different meanings. So only a few of the well known basic and commonly accepted meanings will be put forth for each one of these groups;

1. Religion and what the agnostic or atheist believe and practice

  1. Those people who believe the Bible
  2. Those people who go to church
  3. Those people who wear clothes different than the people of the world
  4. Those people who put their faith in the television preachers
  5. Those people who do not work on Saturday
  6. Those people who pray
  7. Those who acknowledge a god to follow
  8. To be preachers, reverends, mullahs, priest, nuns
  9. Those who conform to what they think are God’s laws
  10. Do good to others
  11. Do what is right and obey the law

2. What the present day Evangelical Church thinks religion means

  1. The person who is totally involved in their church
  2. The person who pays his 10% tithe
  3. The person who lives under the authority of the church
  4. The person who lives under the authority of the clergy and supports clerical control over the people
  5. The person who shows up for every meeting
  6. The person who’s doctrine only agrees with the doctrine of the church
  7. The person who will believe and follow only the founder of the denomination
  8. The person who serves the church
  9. Negative: Religion is the God of the Bible directing me to do something I don’t want to do

3. What the evolutionist thinks religion means

  1. To be religious is to be out of scientific reality
  2. Religion has nothing to do with science
  3. Religion and the Bible has been disproved by science
  4. Religion is as un-provable theory
  5. Religion is for those who want to be good
  6. Religion is an attack upon the scientific theoretical fact of evolution
  7. Religion undermines science
  8. Evolution is truth, religion is a fantasy where it disagrees with evolution
  9. Evolution is a theory but a good evolutionist will put his eternal faith in it
  10. Only evolution can explain the world and everything in it, every other explanation is religion
  11. Religion has nothing to do with the physical world of evolutionary process
  12. Most scientists believe in evolution, so that makes evolution true

4. What the courts of law think religion means

  1. Scott, Supreme Court case 1848. The black man needs to remain a slave, it is just religion that is trying to free him. Effectual result: the civil war
  2. Galileo, the court has found that the Sun revolves around the earth. Copernicus and Galileo’s theory of the Earth revolving around the Sun is heretical science and religion
  3. Recent Supreme Court ruling, No religion (praying) at public meetings (football games, Texas ruling)
  4. Recent Supreme court ruling, Sodomy done in one’s own home is legal. Effectual result: religion cannot be brought into law. Implication: any deed legal or illegal done in the home is illegal to stop
  5. Moore, Supreme Court case ruling, The Ten Commandments cannot be posted on public property. Effectual result: Religion is a private matter and cannot be brought into public life
  6. Roe v Wade, Supreme Court ruling, Babies can be killed, thou shall not murder, is just religion. Effectual result: 40 million babies killed since 1972

5. What religion means to the secular humanist

  1. We humanists “establish such a religion is major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility of this generation.” Human Manifesto 1933
  2. “Religious humanists regard the universe as self existing and not created.” Human Manifesto 1933
  3. “Religious humanism considers the complete realization of human personality to the end of man’s life.” Human Manifesto 1933
  4. “Religious humanist finds his religious emotions expressed in a heightened sense of personal life...” Human Manifesto 1933
  5. “Religious humanists aim to foster the creative in man and to encourage achievements that add to the satisfaction of life.” Human Manifesto 1933
  6. “Basic beliefs or creed of humanism: Truth is relative to experience, man came from evolution, moral codes are made by humans, problems for man only solved by natural process.” Chapter three; some basic beliefs American Humanist Association
  7. “No deity will save us; we (man) must save ourselves.” Human Manifesto II
  8. “We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience.” Humanist Manifesto II
  9. “Humanism sees the world and all men in it as one under humanist doctrine.” Human Manifesto II
  10. “Humanism confers humanist ministerial credentials.” A.H.A.
  11. “The function of a human celebrant is analogous to that of a ministry, clergyman, pastor, priest, or rabbi.” A.H.A.

6. What James and the apostles of Jesus taught religion means

  1. “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.” James 1:27
  2. “A religious man is one who brideth his tongue to show his religion is real.” James 1:26
  3. Those who have the Spirit of Christ within themselves. Romans 8:9
  4. The characteristics of good behavior displayed before all men, by believers so that the word of God is not blasphemed. Titus 2:1-5; I Timothy 6:1
  5. Men, who consent to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrine, according to godliness. I Timothy 6:3
  6. Those who hear and respond to the words of the prophecy of the Spirit of God. Revelation 1:3
  7. Those that are zealous toward God. Acts 22:3-5; 26:5
  8. Those who possess the unsearchable riches of Christ. Ephesians 3:8

7. What religion means to the devil

  1. To instigate human ways rather than divine truth into God’s people. Matthew 16:23
  2. To use men to bring down and make the Son of God and the kingdom of God of no value in the eyes of men. John 13:27
  3. To directly contradict what the Creator has commanded. Genesis 2:4
  4. To offer men the kingdoms and wealth of this world, so they will not believe God. Matthew 4:8
  5. To deceive men into believing they can become gods. Genesis 3:4-5
  6. Satan to transform himself into an angel of light, for the purpose of deceiving all men who will listen to him. 2 Corinthians 11:14
  7. To attempt to destroy the Christ and His Church. Revelation 12:4; Acts 8:3
  8. In deception transform false apostles into apostles of Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3
  9. To preach and teach another Jesus other than God the Son. 2 Corinthians 11:4
  10. To keep men under the sway of Satan’s power of darkness by keeping them following the world and its ways. 1 John 5:19; Revelation 13:14
  11. To get religious leaders to follow him through other deceived men and spirits, so the Word of God will have no effect in the life of a Christian.

8. Assorting the facts

The major thoughts of religion as seen and expressed by these groups are set before men in our day. This is not a complete list by any means. To analyze these thoughts we will use Webster’s Dictionary to classify what religion is. What Jesus Christ, the apostles, and the devil’s stated purposes are there is no dispute, they are spiritual. In the devils case it is spiritual deception and darkness. We will go down the list of each of Webster’s nine meanings and put the other categories or groups in where they fit.

We will start with the first explanation from Webster:

1. Operates through faith or intuition rather than reason:

  1. Agnostic or atheist: K. L.
  2. Evangelical Church: F. H. I.
  3. Evolutionist: F. I. J. K. L. M.
  4. The Courts: A. B. D. G.
  5. The humanist: A. B. C. D. J. K.

2. A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects

  1. Agnostic or atheist: K. L.
  2. Evangelical Church: C. D. F. G. H. I.
  3. Evolutionist: B. D. I. J. K. L.
  4. The courts: A. B. G.
  5. The humanist: A. B. C. D. F. I. J. K.

3. The body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices

  1. Agnostic or atheist: K. L.
  2. Evangelical Church: C. D. E. F. H. I.
  3. Evolutionist: C. E. F. I. J. L. M.
  4. The courts: A. B. D. G.
  5. The humanist: A. B. C. E. F. I. J. K.

4. A deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practices

  1. Agnostic or atheist: A. I. J. L.
  2. Evangelical Church: B. C. D. F. I.
  3. Evolutionist: A. B. D. I. J. L.
  4. The courts: A. B. D. G.
  5. The humanist: A. B. C. E. F. I. J. K.

5. The life or state of a monk, nun, etc

  1. Agnostic or atheist:
  2. Evangelical Church: A. C. D. F. G.
  3. Evolutionist: I. J. L.
  4. The court:
  5. The humanist: D. E. H. I. K.

6. The practices of religious beliefs

  1. Agnostic or atheist: K. L.
  2. Evangelical Church: A. B. C. D. G.
  3. Evolutionist: F. J. L. M.
  4. The court: A. B. D. G.
  5. The humanist: D. E. H. I. K.

7. A point or matter of ethics or conscience

  1. Agnostic or atheist: K. L.
  2. Evangelical Church: B
  3. Evolutionist: E. M.
  4. The court: A. D. G.
  5. The humanist: A. H. I. K.

8. Archaic, religious rites

  1. Agnostic or atheist
  2. Evangelical Church: B. E.
  3. Evolutionist: K.
  4. The courts:
  5. The humanist: I. J. K.

9. Archaic, strict faithfulness; devotion a religion to one’s own conscience, piety

  1. Agnostic or atheist: K. L.
  2. Evangelical Church: A. B. C. D. F. G.
  3. Evolutionist: I. J. K. M.
  4. The court: A. B. G.
  5. The humanist: A. C. D. E. I. J. K.

The result of which group is the most religious is found in adding up the amount of letters (points) scored for each group. It is admitted that there are imperfections in this way of getting to the facts, however, these groups are known for the statements attributed to them.

  1. Agnostic or atheist = 16 points
  2. Evangelical Church= 39 points
  3. Evolutionist= 39 points
  4. The courts= 24 points
  5. The humanist= 54 points

The agnostic or atheist scored the lowest; the humanist (naturalist) scored the highest. All of these groups claim to be non-religious, with the exception being the Evangelical Church which was in second place with the evolutionist.

9. What Jesus Christ practiced and taught all men; concerning where true religion is found and true value of life for man on the earth is found.

  1. Those who acknowledge their sin, and their need of a Savior to be their substitute for the judgment of God upon their sin. John 8:24
  2. Those who are clean through receiving His word. John 10:27
  3. Those who are born of the Spirit of God. John 3:1-13
  4. Those who continue in His word. John 8:31
  5. Those who are set free from sin by Truth (Jesus). John 8:32
  6. Those who will never enter into eternal judgment. John 5:24
  7. Those who become His sheep and follow Him. John 10:27
  8. Those who are chosen of God before the foundation of the world. John 15:16; Revelation 17:8
  9. Those who’s heart is set on the treasure of Jesus. Matthew 6:21
  10. Those who were dead. (spiritually) and have heard the voice of the Son of God, and now live. John 5:25
  11. Those who have been given an ear to hear. Matthew 13:9; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17; 3:6, 13, 17
  12. Those who in this life lay up treasure in heaven, for where your treasure is there your heart is also. Matthew 6:19-21
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