Website owner: James Miller
ON RELIGIOUS JARGON 11/03 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.