The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas - uncertainty, progress, change - into crimes.
In the beginning was the word of the day
Hey, it's religion week on the popular A.Word.A.Day mailing list!
A.Word.A.Day broadcasts a new word every day for the vocabulary nuts out there, and it's always a welcome ping in the mailbox. It's not a place where you'd expect to see a religion-related message of any kind, but as the list kicks off a week of sacerdotal offerings, I was surprised to see this short paean to free thought leading off today's installment:
The word religion derives from Latin ligare (to tie or to bind, as in 'ligament'), but it best serves as a tool to divide people. My religion is better than yours. My god true, yours false. What, we have the same religion? No problem, my sect is better than yours.
I recently read a thought-provoking book 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God by Guy Harrison. I found the author's patient and thoughtful discussion worthwhile reading and I highly recommend it to all, believers and non-believers.
Yep, it sure is a tool to divide people. I'll add, though, that the "tie or bind" root still holds as well: There's nothing quite like religion to tie people to dogma and superstition, and bind them to the commandments of bejeweled priests.
Speaking of priests, did I casually pop the word "sacerdotal" up there? Why, that'd be today's word: Sacerdotal (the "c" is like an "s"), meaning "Of or relating to priests: priestly."
(Oh, Latin, is there anything you can't make sound good?)
By the way, you also gotta love the Internet Anagram Server found at the same domain. Let's ask it to make anagrams of "defaithed". Here goes... Ye gods, "Dead Thief"? "Fetid Head"? Never mind.
(You've probably heard somewhere the awesome anagram that exists for "Internet Anagram Server" itself: "I, Rearrangement Server". Show me something that nifty in the so-called "Bible codes", and I'll take an interest in those too.)