Religion – How Catholics Define It and a Definition that Matches how the Secular World Treats it

         This marks the first new thread of the second year I have been producing this blog. The first year concentrated on the goodness of God and why being Catholic is important. It also looked at how somethings going on in the Catholic Church may imply that it should change the direction Jesus Christ, who is the “same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) first set it in, and was clarified by around 300 years of the early church fathers during at least a couple of persecutions before the Rdict of Milan and a few after. It also suggested things modern day Catholics might do to start it headed back in that direction. 

        From the time around the issuing of the Edict of Milan until around the 14th century, the innovations of the Divine Charity (a word sometimes translated as “love,” but which needs to be modified, though seldom is, to be called “altruistic love” as opposed to either fraternal/brotherly love or erotic love) that Jesus Christ introduced into the world, which was mostly lost through original sin, were introduced and proliferated through the known world. Catholicism brought the world hospitals for the poor and people in general (not only for slaves – basically “work machines” one set of hospitals basically being repair shops since slaves were the ancient worlds work machines and soldiers – basically “war machines” another set of hospitals that usually followed army’s again being repair shops for the ancient equivalent of a “war machine), orphanages, old peoples homes, schools for average and poor children and a university system to bring the technology and the civilization of the world to the place it is today.

       Though in the first year I concentrated on some theory and theology I will concentrate even more on that, this year, now that implementation of returning to the same Christ centered timeless church (Hebrews 13:8) of the past has been discussed. The first thing we want to discuss to anchor all future discussion and frame all past blogs is the concept of religion. The following from the new advent website ( is the crux of the classical/Catholic definition of religion. I say crux because the following excerpt is only about 5% of the entire article and I would encourage the reader to go to the website and read the whole article to get an inside look at the nuances that the following definition does not cover.

Religion, broadly speaking, means the voluntary subjection of oneself to God. It exists in its highest perfection in heaven, where the angels and saints love, praise, and adore God, and live in absolute conformity to His holy will. It does not exist at all in hell, where the subordination of rational creatures to their Creator is one not of free will, but of physical necessity. On earth it is practically coextensive with the human race, though, where it has not been elevated to the supernatural plane through Divine revelation, it labours under serious defects.

. . . The analysis of the idea of religion shows that it is very complex, and rests on several fundamental conceptions. It implies first of all the recognition of a Divine personality in and behind the forces of nature, the Lord and Ruler of the world, God. In the highest religions, this supernatural Being is conceived as a spirit, one and indivisible, everywhere present in nature, but distinct from it. In the lower religions, the various phenomena of nature are associated with a number of distinct personalities, though it is rare that among these numerous nature-deities one is not honoured as supreme. Ethical qualities corresponding to the prevailing ethical standards, are attributed by the different peoples to their respective deities.

. . . From what has been said it is plain that the concept of deity required for religion is that of a free personality. The error of mistaking many nature-deities for the one true God vitiates, but does not destroy, religion. But religion ceases to exist where, as in Pantheism, the deity is pronounced to be devoid of all consciousness. A deity without personality is no more capable of awakening the sense of religion in the heart of man than is the all-pervading ether or the universal force of gravitation. Religion is essentially a personal relation, the relation of the subject and creature, man, to his Lord and Creator, God. Religion may thus be defined as the voluntary subjection of oneself to God, that is to the free, supernatural Being (or beings) on whom man is conscious of being dependent, of whose powerful help he feels the need, and in whom he recognizes the source of his perfection and happiness. It is a voluntary turning to God. In the last analysis it is an act of the will. In other words it is a virtue, since it is an act of the will inclining man to observe the right order, springing from his dependence on God. Hence St. Thomas (II-II, Q. lxxxi, a. 1) defines religion as “virtus per quam homines Deo debitum cultum et reverentiam exhibent” (the virtue which prompts man to render to God the worship and reverence that is His by right). The end of religion is filial communion with God, in which we honour and revere Him as our supreme Lord, love Him as our Father, and find in that reverent service of filial love our true perfection and happiness. Bliss-giving communion with the sovereign Deity is, as has been pointed out, the end of all religions.

Now religion as it is classically thought of and is how the first Catholics, those living with Christ in his time on earth and in the approximately 300 years immediately following His death, conceived it from the perspective of the traditionalist priest (this reference being used as a text in traditional Roman Catholic seminaries), is related in some depth the following quote from the book “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Dogmatically, Liturgically and Ascetically Explained” by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Gihr, Translated from the German and published by the B. Herder Book Co. 15 & 17 South Broadway, St. Louis Mo. In 1941, which I have picked out key points of a 10 page description, which comprise the first pages of the main text (i.e minus the prefaces, the bibliography and the table of contents) and highlighting the central starting point of sacrifice

Sacrifice is an act and, in fact, the supreme act of religion, for by the offering of sacrifice the Divine Majesty is honored in the worthiest and most perfect manner. The virtue of religion is, so to speak, the very root whence sacrifice springs and develops as a most beautiful blossom and most precious fruit.  Therefore we at once perceive that the way for a better understanding of sacrifice can be opened only by previously considering the Christian or supernatural virtue of religion in its principal characteristics. . .

*Footnote: [This treatment will not cover] religion as a natural virtue (virtus acquisita), which can be acquired by, at least in an imperfect degree, by frequent acts, but of religion as a supernatural virtue (virtus per se infusa) infused by means of grace into the soul. Religion as such , is, in the first place, and abiding, persevering disposition inclining us to render unto God the worship due Him. Ease and readiness in the performance of supernatural acts of religion is the fruit of faithful exercise and is obtainable by our own exertions assisted by divine grace. Charity and all the infused moral virtues are inseparably united with sanctifying grace, whilst the two theological virtues of faith and hope (habitus fidei et spei) can still exist even after sanctifying grace has been lost.

  1. Religion (religio) is a special moral virtue, which enables and inclines the will to give to God the supernatural honor and adoration due to Him as the Creator and Supreme Ruler, as well as the last end of all things, and particularly of man.  The Holy Ghost plants this virtue in the gardens of the soul: it is our duty, with the help of grace, so to nourish this noble and precious gift of haven that it may bear abundant fruit for the honor and glory of God and our own blessing and ultimate salvation. *footnote: The Word religio comes principally from religare (to bind – namely to God).

      The virtue of religion makes us courageous and willing to offer to the Divine Majesty due veneration. By means of this virtue we honor the Lord our Bod inasmuch as we acknowledge and proclaim His greatness, majesty and dominion over us, and at the same time confess our own littleness, lowliness and dependence upon Him. Religion, consequently includes in itself two requisites: first lively acknowledgment of His infinite perfection and dignity; and then, an humble subjection to His unlimited power and dominion. This cheerful submission, this humbling of self under the power of God (1Peter, 5-6) is required and commanded by the fundamental relations that exist between us as creatures and God as our Creator. And this relation is one of the most absolute and entire dependence upon God, for He is our first beginning and last end, our Redeemer and Sanctifier.  We belong entirely to God and it behooves us to consecrate our being wholly to Bod; “in God we live and move and are” (Acts 17:28).

      . . . (Apoc. 4:10-11) In this jubilation of eternal praise and adoration man also should unite, according to his ability, in glorifying God, who is justly exalted above all.

2. The virtue of religion, moreover, Quickens our zeal and spurs us on to the performance of acts calculate to render to the Divine Majesty due honor and glory; and these acts may be divided into two classes.

a) In the first class are comprised all acts which in themselves refer to the honor of God and promote it, that is, those which by their nature are intended and calculated to render to the greatness of God due acknowledgement and worship.

 *Footnote: These are according to their distinctive characteristic acts of religion in the strictest sense. . . We perform such acts when, for instance, we pray and offer sacrifice, make and fulfil vows, adorn churches and decorate altars.

b) The second class includes the acts of all the other virtues – figuratively speaking, in so far as they are performed by command of God, that is, by an inspiration from Him and from a motive of honoring Him, consequently made with a view and intention of giving glory to God.

 *Footnote: These are acts imperati religionis, that is, acts of other virtues, the practice of which is commanded by religion, whereby, without losing their particular character, they become likewise acts of religion. The virtue of religion can and must direct to the glory of God all the works and exercises of a Christian life, that it may become a perpetual divine service. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do do all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). [also 1 Thess. 5:16-18] 

     To this effect St. Augustine says: “God is to be honored by faith, hope and charity” (Manuale 1:3).  The acts of faith, hope and charity ar in themselves acts, not of the moral virtue of religion, but of the three essentially different theological virtues; yet they may be elicited with the intention of acknowledging the divine truth, fidelity and goodness, and God is thereby greatly honored and glorified. In believing, hoping and loving we give ourselves to God with all the powers of our soul, we lean upon God and rest in God as our last end; in other words we render to the divine perfections and majesty due homage and submission. – The three divine virtues also condition the development and completion of the Christian life, which is founded on faith, nourished by hope and animated by charity.  Faith enlightens the understanding with celestial light, hope endows the soul with supernatural strength, and love inflames the heart with divine fire; thus these three virtues enable us by a new and holy life to announce to men the glorious prerogatives and perfections of God, that they may see our works and glorify our father who is in heaven (1 Peter 2:9; Matt. 5:16).  They give rise to the virtue of religion, and excite us to glorify God through works of piety, mercy and penance.

      We read in the epistle of St. James (1:27) these words: “Religion (religio) clean and undefiled before God and the Father is this; to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation and to keep one’s self unspotted from the world.”  The meaning of the above is – that if we would honor God the Father in a sincere and proper manner, we must be assiduously intent upon assisting the poor, the abandoned and the distressed, upon consoling, and comforting them, and , at the same time, endeavor, amid the universal corruption of the world, to serve God alone and to please Him by purity of heart and the righteousness of our ways.  Thus the virtue of religion will produce abundant fruits “that in all things and above all things God may be glorified” (ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus).

3. Religion holds the first place among the moral virtues. Although, lime all other moral virtures, the virtue of religion is inferior in merit and dignity to the divine virtues of faith, hope and charity, it is, nevertheless, most intimately connected with them, for it regulates the conduct of man toward God.  It holds the first rank among the moral virtues, because it approaches nearer to God than the others, in so far as it produces and has for its primary object those acts which refer directly and immediately to the honor of God – that is, whatever acts pertain to the divine service.  The sublime virtue of religion ennobles man precisely in this, that it completely subjects him to the will and dominion of God and brings him into the closet communication with the primal Source of all holiness.  “For in offering honor and homage to God we submit our mind to Him, and it is in this submission that its perfection consists.  An object is perfected by its submitting to its superior.  Thus the perfection of the body consists in its being vivified by the soul; and the perfection of the atmosphere in its being thoroughly illumined by the light of the sun.,”  honoring God fervently renders man truly great and exalted, and imparts to him abundant gain and blessing for his spiritual life.

4. The worship due to the Divine Majesty consists principally in acts of adoration, thanksgiving, petition and propitiation.

       As we have seen, God immeasurably excels all creatures, even the highest and the sublimest of the heavenly spirits; He excels them not merely by His infinite dignity and perfection, but also by reason of His boundless power and dominion.  Hence at all times and in all places, every creature is dependent upn God.  It behooves man as a rational creature consciously and freely and actively to acknowledge his absolute dependence upon God – in a word, to adore God.  By adoration (. . . , adoratio latreutica, cultus latreuticus), we understand that supreme and most perfect homage due, not to any mere creature, but only and solely to God on account of His infinite perfection, majesty and sovereign authority. GOD ALONE IS ADORABLE [emphasis mine]; He alone [the Triune God] is the Most High, the Almighty Creator and Ruler of creation. Those rights and perfections which belong exclusively to God, are also to be acknowledged and honored by a special worship, – the worship of adoration.  Hence to adore God is at the same time to acknowledge, admire and to praise His majesty and sovereign power; it is profoundly to humble and, in a manner, to annihilate ourselves in the presence of His infinite grandeur and dignity; it is to submit, to consecrate and to resign ourselves unreservedly to Him as our first beginning and our last end.  Consequently, adoration is the most excellent and the most precious homage that God can receive from creatures endowed with reason, man included.

     *Footnote: To the whole humanity of Christ, as well as to its single parts, for example the Sacred Heart, the Precious Blood, the Five Wounds, – and also to the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Jesus Christ supreme adoration is due. But, at the same time, it is to be observed that the human nature of Christ in itself (in se), but not on account of itself (propter se) is adorable: the foundation of this absolute adoration of the humanity of Christ lies in the hypostatic union, that is in this that the Son of God has made this human nature His own and is thereby truly man.  Consequently, the one and entire Christ, that is, Christ also as man, or in His human nature, must be adored. . . 

     Two other religious duties and acts are inseparably connected with adoration – namely, thanksgiving and petition. Because God is adorable, that is, because He possesses infinite perfections, unlimited power and boundless goodness, He is the inexhaustible fountain whence proceeds every good and perfect gift, in heaven and upon the earth.  All that we are, that we have and can do, both in the order of nature and in the order of grace, is the outpouring of the overflowing love of God. – Now, with respect to the numberless gifts and graces which we have already received and daily yet receive, we owe heartfelt thanks for them, one and all, to God, our greatest Benefactor; moreover, all the good that we may expect, hope for and implore, can likewise come to us only by the infinitely bounteous hand of God; hence it behooves us to turn to Him in humble supplication.

     To adore God, to thank Him and to implore of Him His gifts is therefore a threefold duty incumbent upon man, for the simple reason that man is altogether dependent on God. But in consequence of his having fallen away from God and become corrupt by sin, there devolves upon him, now laden with iniquity and deserving of punishment, still another obligation, namely, that of appeasing an offended and irritated God, by appropriate propitiation or satisfaction.

5. The acts of religion must above all be interior, that is, be performed with mind and heart; furthermore, they must also reveal themselves externally, appear visibly and in a manner become corporeal; – the virtue of religion, as it must be exercised by man, comprises therefore interior and exterior acts. At the same time it must not be forgotten, that exterior acts of divine worship, to be pleasing to God and conducive to His honor, should always be animated and enlivened by the interior. The exterior acts of religions should proceed from the heart, should express the interior life of the soul, and practically show for the mind’s religious reverence and submission, according to the words of the Royal Prophet: “My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God” (Ps. 83:3). Why is man commanded to honor God by outward acts?

a) Man is not, as the angels, purely spiritual, but a creature composed of spirit and body.  As such he must honor and glorify God in a manner appropriate to his corporeal and rational nature. But man renders the homage of his whole nature only when his body also takes part in the acts of divine worship, so that the interior worship is manifested by outward acts. – Man in his entire being, created by God and dependent upon Him, belongs in body and soul to God; therefore is man bound to serve and to worship God, his Creator, Preserver and Lord, with the powers of his soul and body, by spiritual and corporal acts.  Moreover, the body of a Christian is the temple of the Holy Ghost, for it becomes sanctified by grace, and is to be transfigured by glory. Hence the Church implores God to grant “that we may serve and please Him not only with the soul, but also with the body.

b) The most intimate reciprocity exists between man’s interior and exterior acts; they proceed from one another, they mutually assist and complete each other.  Those things which stir man’s inmost soul – such as joy and sorrow, love and anger, hope and fear -, involuntarily betray their impression in his exterior; and this is especially the case with regard to the interior acts of religion. And why should not the fervent interior life, the ardent devotion and divine love of a pious soul, be spontaneously manifested in the outward man, and so take possession of his entire being, as to impel him not only “to sing in grace in his heart to God,” but furthermore to pour himself out “in psalms and hymns and spiritual canticles” (Coloss. 43:16), – to join his hands, bend his knees and prostrate his form upon the earth before the face of the Most High? “My heart hath been glad and my tongue hath rejoiced” (Ps 15:9), exclaims the Royal Prophet. “let my soul be filled with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise they with joyful lips” (Ps. 62:6). – Reversely, the exterior also affects the interior man: outward signs and acts arouse the affections of the spirit, inflame and nourish the fervor of devotion, refresh and invigorate the life of the soul.  The interior acts of religion grow in perfection, become durable and constant, when they thus live and exercise their activity in the body, that is, when they, so to speak, assume flesh and blood.  When, however, exterior divine worship is neglected, the interior soon languishes and dies.

c) Man is lord and master of irrational creatures, which also must be led to glorify the Creator. But principally by exterior worship that man can and must lead the visible creation to serve and praise the Creator.  The use in religious service of creatures imparts to external nature a higher consecration and activity.  “For the building up and the adornment of the temple, the earth presents its treasure and precious metals; the ocean, its pears; spring, the magnificence of its flowers.”

d) Not the individual man alone, but society also as a religious body, must render to God due homage and submission. Now a common public service (cultus socialis) requires external acts. Hence visible, outward worship is necessary as the bond of the religious community, namely the Church.

     It behooves us, then, in accordance with our own nature and the express divine commandment, to honor God with our mental and corporal powers, that is, we must not merely by interior but also by outward acts adore Him, thank Him, beseech and propitiate Him.

     This fourfold duty is fulfilled principally by prayer and sacrifice, which are intimately connected with each other, which permeate and complete one another.  The interior acts for divine worship manifest themselves outwardly, in the first play, by vocal that is, by corporal, prayer – then in the offering of sacrifice. Which, as the most sublime act of religion, is far more excellent and meritorious than prayer.

6.   The virtue of religion is exceedingly precious and rich in blessings. It teaches us humbly to acknowledge our own littleness and misery, and to render to God, of whose goodness there is no end (Ps. 144:3), due honor in all things, thereby winning for us the richest blessings. A spirit of reverential homage should, as a heavenly spice and consecration, pervade our whole life, in order so render it daily more and more pleasing and meritorious in the eyes of God.  To worship God should be our joy and happiness! “come praise the Lord with joy, let us joyfully sing to God our Saviour.  Let us come before His presence with thanks giving and make a joyful noise to Him with Psalms.  For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods.  For in his hands are all the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are His. For the sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.  Come let us adore and fall down; and weep before the Lord that made us.  For He is the Lord our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His Hands” (Ps. 94:1-7).  A true knowledge of God and a correct understanding of ourselves furnish the solid basis upon which rest the virtue of religion and the spirit of the most submissive adoration.  Ever seeking to know God and ourselves more perfectly is the higher wisdom and the science of the Saints, and after this we should incessantly strive.  Noverim te – Noverim me! Prayed St. Augustine.  O God, grant that I may know Thee – Noverim te!  Give me an intimate knowledge of Thy adorable perfections, which are without measure or number – of Thy infinite grandeur and glory, Thy inconceivable power, wisdom and goodness, Thy unspeakable beauty, sweetness and amiableness; penetrate me with the deep knowledge of “the profound things of Thy divinity, which only the Holy Spirit searcheth” (1 Cor. 2:10), that is, the works and riches of Thy grace and glory , Thy infinitly just and merciful decrees, the wonderful and inscrutable dispensations of Thy providence! – Noverim me!  Grant me, moreover, a wholesome knowledge of myself! “O my God, illumine my darkness” (Ps. 17:29), that Thy light may permit me to look down deeply into the abyss of my nothingness, my misery, my helplessness, my frailty and my sinfulness!

In summary religion is a moral virtue required by those who know God and His perfections as the Supreme Being and Creator of absolutely all things from divine revelation. If communal worship is conducted properly, it reinforces our confidence in the wisdom and goodness of God and the credentialling of scripture as having a divine origin – wisdom and guidance coming directly from God. Through it, as well as knowing ourselves in relations to God we learn community acts of adoration, thanksgiving, petition and propitiation. We also learn individual obligations and necessity of these things.  Through it we learn the qualities, the fruits of the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity/love as well as how we can receive sanctifying grace – the life of God, in practice of the theological virtues as well as the outward signs he uses in the sacraments to make us children of God (baptism), to strengthen our character to allow us to more strongly manifest the theological virtues through the additional gifts of the Holy Ghost (confirmation), to bring more eternal beings into existence (marriage), to strengthen us spiritually (Holy Communion/Eucharist), to select and train worthy men to teach the children of God about him and to perform these outward signs as priests in the Old Testament (holy orders to create new priests as opposed to them being selected by heredity, as decedents of Aaron in the Old Testament)  to forgive any sins the children of God commit after baptism (confession/reconciliation) and finally to prepare us for the journey of death to help ensure a good final out come to our life on earth (anointing of the sick/last rites/extreme unction).

         In the mass heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away. As part of the triune God those “words of God” are our Lord since he is the eternal logos word of God. Word will not go out from God without accomplishing its purpose (Isaiah 55:11). His words are repeated in the Gospel of the mass as well as the Old Testament and other letters and acts of the apostles along with revelation during the epistle of the mass.  As repeated in the above excerpt on religion from Fr. Gihr’s book parts of the mass also recite sections of the psalms as well as the daily prayers which Catholic priests are required to say.  

        God is eternal and changeless (Hebrews 13;8) and just as with Abraham sacrificing animals and Jesus Christ sacrificing himself, our worship of God also requires sacrifice.  In a sacrifice there is a victim and that victim is consumed, completely destroyed, in the offering to God.  That is what happens to the Eucharist in the mass.  It is an unbloodied revivified Calvary sacrifice where Christ is “consumed” on the cross, is “offered” on the altar of his tomb and the tomb being empty (His resurrection) showing definitively that God accepted Jesus Christ’s sins for those who come to him for forgiveness through his representatives – spiritual decedents of the apostles which include priests and bishops.  An even more vivid demonstration of almighty God’s acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice is found in the ascension where Christ was actually seen going in the direction every one of those days thought heaven resided – heaven being the abode of God. Calvary happened only once, but infinite efficacy was produced by it, since Jesus Christ is the infinite, almighty God, the efficacy of which is basically renewed in every mass.  The sacrifice at every mass is actually the selfsame act of calvary unbloodied and not repeated but remembering and also drawing efficacy from it and in some way made possible by the all-powerful God the same happening with Calvary in a timeless way bring Christ really and truly at the mass body blood soul and divinity.  This is the great mystery associated with the Catholic mass.

         In the above excerpt from Fr. Gihr I emphasized the text that GOD ALONE IS ADORABLE.  This is from a Catholic priest in a book that was copyrighted in 1902!  Many protestants accuse Catholics of worshiping the Blessed Virgin Mary, angels or even saints.  This is simply not the case. In the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed has a statement “I believe in the Holy Ghost, THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS [MY EMPASIS], and the forgiveness of sins.” The communion of saints means that we on earth can communicate with saints (which means anyone that has direct knowledge of God, i.e. in heaven which includes both people recognized as saints and angels) and in some cases, as with angels in both the old and new testament and notably the very well known apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they can communicate with us. This ability, of at least people earth being able to communicate with us, if we get to heaven, is something everyone can look forward to, once again, if we make it to heaven. Some say we “pray” to saints but that is a careless use of the word “pray.” What is meant is we talk to saints in heaven to ask them to pray for us.  This is all saints can do, appeal to God for help for us, they have no real direct power of their own.  Things like the Fatama miracle were performed by God possibly at the Virgin Mary’s request or possibly by the direct will of God, the Virgin Mary transmitting the information to world to add credence to her urging that we repent and reform our lies to prevent the world wars.  Communication the other way, from heaven to earth is apparently very rare. This of course is not really a problem or at least will not appear to be for those who make it to heaven because of the unspeakable happiness we will enjoy if we succeed in getting there (1 Corithians 2:9).

         Finally, with regard to the Christian philosophy, I think, if you think about it, only one “church” has been around since Jesus Christ and that is the catholic church.  The catholic church has had THE Only Christian Religion practiced by dozens if not hundreds of martyrs as well as recognized saints across about 1500 years, a millennium and a half.  The catholic church successfully fought against heretics (basically people who wanted to start another religion whose dogmas were different from the catholic churches – which, think about it, if dogmas are different the religions are different, since the selected inclusive agreed upon dogmas and rites of worship and surrounding artifacts are what differentiates one religion from another) until the 15 hundreds until men like Martin Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and others with them started heretical denominations such as Lutheranism, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists etc.  Heretics are people who differ in opinion from established religious dogma, especially: a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church who refuses to acknowledge or accept a revealed truth (see,church%20regards%20them%20as%20heretics).  Remember, Martin Luther was a Roman Catholic Priest before he started preaching his own dogma, dogma which was at odds with about 1500 years of accepted Roman Catholic Dogma up to that time and convinced a catholic nun to break her sacred vows of celibacy and married her thereby also breaking his vows of celibacy as a priest.  Leaders at the time sided with him and allowed him secular power, not because he had more convincing dogmatic beliefs but to go against the pope of his time and who he said basically should not have his power because 1500 years of Christians, who were responsible for turning a barbaric, savage world having little in the way of reasoned civilization into one (through the love Jesus Christ brought to the world, as God) with a system universities, hospitals, orphanages, beautiful cathedrals and homes for widowed old people which stretched throughout Europe and wherever the church went interpreted scripture wrong when they said it should have a monarchical structure headed by the pope with deacons, priests, bishops and finally the laity below him with the supernatural head being in heaven, to wit Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:16-19).

         During the reformation governments rebelling against the pope, who just happened to be the head of the catholic religion, violation of the religion not being the main reason for essentially creating a new religion, taking the churches, hospitals, colleges, orphanages, old folks homes and organizations (such as the Red Cross) from the catholic church and only recently has it been able to reclaim some of these systems in reformation ravaged countries.  This discord, caused by wanting normalize things counter to the Catholic religion like divorce and remarriage (prohibited by New Testament scripture Luke 16:18), more than two genders (Gen. 1:27, 1 cor. 11:1-16 clearly indicate there are only 2 in the  Christian belief system) and the systematic elimination of the next generation first by contraception (shown to be prohibited in the Old Testament Gen 38:8-10) and after acceptance of that restriction, abortion (the fifth commandment, thou shalt not kill, Exodus 20:13)  has caused havoc in the religion/church Jesus Christ started and a confusing panoply of 10s of thousands of Christian sects.  This destroying the unity  God – Jesus Christ wanted in this religion/church (John 17:20-22).

         The secular world in the early 21st century, in essence, recognizes a new definition for religion base on how they legislate, at least in the United States of America. Since even atheists push for the elimination of any trace of God with religious fervor, a better definition of religion fitting todays circumstances is:

         Religion  –  An individual human’s attempt to grasp the essence of the underlying metaphysical/supernatural reality of the world and, through his or her will power, fashion his or her life to take advantage of that underlying reality to help them live a satisfying, though not necessarily easy, life.  He or she attempts to grasp this reality with the goal of finding purpose in his or her life and in fulfilling that purpose find satisfaction.  He or she may accept one of the existing philosophies or religions as a valid description of the world’s underlying metaphysical reality, may attempt to create his or her own or may attempt to live life without the benefit of a preconceived notion of a purpose to his or her existence or the idea that a Supreme Being/Creator of any sort exists.

         Mankind in general’s move away from the concept that he or she owes anyone or anything something at all, acknowledging that they are totally responsible for their own destiny, is part of why the world is, in my opinion, reaching another crisis point where people like Vladamir Putin and Xi Jing Ping think they can do whatever they want with impunity. Based purely on probabilities, if man is evolving and changing, and the ones that survived believed in gods or a supreme being of some sort then they prayed to him or her, then mostly the ones who prayed survived, so evolutionarily, eliminating non-survivors, logically there must have been some sort of efficacy to praying since those who did, survived. If there was some efficacy to acknowledging and praying to a God or gods then logic would dictate that there is a better than even chance that there might be a God. Those to whom science is a god should contemplate this fact.

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