Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects Acts 17:22
Very Religious – If we only knew the Greek roots, we would immediately see just how close we really are to the Athenians’ religion. It’s all there, buried in the word construction. Deisidaimonesteros. Yes, it’s long. But let’s break it down and see just how it reflects our own world point of view.
The first word in this combination comes from deilos. It implies a dread or fear of something. The second word comes from daimon. You can see our English “demon” in this root. Now the meaning of the combination starts to peek its head above the tombstone. Fear of demons. That’s right. What lies behind the “very religious in all respects” Greek word is fear; fear that some supernatural being or spirit will be offended and wreak havoc on my life. This is religion, all right. It is the religion of superstition.
Before you cast this off as just another ancient mistaken practice, take a very close look at our contemporary very religious attitudes.
Why do professional athletes wear the same socks every game or go through the same ritual motions before a free throw or insist on wearing a certain number?
Why do we “dress for success” or read the horoscope or go to psychics?
Why do we pray certain memorized prayers or carry medallions or carefully count our tithes?
We do we think that pleasing God will insure prosperity or good health?
Across the board, inside and outside of Christian circles, we are a culture that believes the world is a fearful place. If God isn’t out to get us, then the terrorists are. If not the terrorists, then the IRS. We carry along our little superstitions because we are convinced that protection is a matter of appeasement. From politics to religion, we are fixated on security at any price. The world is out to get you so you better watch out.
Paul would puke. The fundamental tenet of belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is that God is absolutely in control and He absolutely loves His children. Self-protection in any form is superstition. It is religion from another source. And it is blasphemy.
So take a very hard look at your life. What are you doing to appease the gods of this world to insure your success and well-being? Where are you acting just like the men of Athens? Then ask yourself, “Who’s in charge of this world anyway?”