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On religious jargon



   I don't like religious jargon, stock religious phrases, 
   religious cant.  Let the language of the Christian be plain, 
   honest and simple.  I don't trust jargon. I think it leads to 
   deception, not just deception of others but also deep self-
   deception.

   You often hear evangelicals, especially missionaries and 
   ministers, say they were called by God to do this or that, God 
   directed them to do this or that, or they were led of the Lord 
   to do one thing or another.  When I hear statements like this I 
   am immediately skeptical.  I think, "On what basis do they say 
   God called them to do something or told them to do this or 
   that?  How did he communicate his wish?  Did they actually hear 
   his voice?  If so, how do they know it was his voice and not 
   the voice of the devil?  Or do they just make the assumption 
   that if an idea played on their mind to do a thing it was God 
   who put the idea there and therefore the idea represents His 
   will?  And if this is the case, what kind of self-deception is 
   this?"  It is easy to make such statements and if you are doing 
   something because God told you to do it, who can question the 
   action?  You have God behind you.  There is at least the 
   possibility here of dishonesty and an attempt to manipulate.  
   And I suspect that that is very often the case.  Now if a 
   person were to say that he felt that God wanted him to do this 
   thing or that, that is an honest statement of how he felt and I 
   would have no problem with that.  There are different ways of 
   saying things, some honest and some not.

   There are a lot of phrases that you sometimes hear religious 
   people use.  Called by God, directed by God, led of the Lord, 
   are just some.  Examples of others:  the center of God's will, 
   God laid it on my heart to do one thing or another, submission 
   to God's will, led of the Spirit, sanctification by the Holy 
   Spirit.  They often have their origin in some system of 
   theological dogma and carry with them implicit assumptions.  
   People pick them up from Christian literature, or from hearing 
   them frequently, and start using them.  I think that is a very 
   unwise practice.  I distrust dogmatic systems.  I read only the 
   Bible and distrust Christian literature.  Trusting doctrinal 
   systems and the ideas and teachings of man leads to 
   intellectual dishonesty, hypocrisy, deception --- and most of 
   all, self-deception.  And these things lead to deep emotional 
   problems. 


   Nov 2003


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