Origins of Religious Concepts Definitions A-E

A.D.- Modern definition or use:  After Death, since the time of Jesus.  More properly, after Jesus' Birth

Origins:  In 525A.D. Pope John I had Dionysus Exiguus, abbot of a roman church come up with a calendar based on the birth of Jesus.  It would be called the "Anno Domini"  or AD system.   Using astrological charts and the Bible, he found what he thought was Jesus' birthdate.  The months that we know were already in existence, and new years was already assigned as January 1st.  He decided the date December 25th was Jesus' Birthday.  For convenience, new years remained January 1st. He named the first year one(1) not zero (0).  Further, according to facts now known but unknown then, he missed the date by at least 4, possibly as many as 120 years.  Further, Astrological signs were incorrectly interpreted, making the actual birthdate in mid-March, not in December.  These errors were never corrected.



Adultery- Modern Definition or use:  Sexual behavior outside the Marriage bed.

Origins:   According to Webster's unabridged dictionary, adultery is "all manner of lewdness or unchastity; also, idolatry or apostasy. " The religious definitions of "idolatry" and "apostasy" have been lost in modern times.  Since sex between a man and a prostitute or even a married man and a single woman were considered normal in biblical times, the commandment in the old testament most likely refers to the religious definitions rather than the more modern sexual innuendo.  Apostasy is literally to fall from your beliefs. The modern term would be to 'lose faith.'   Idolatry is either to worship idols, or to be excessively attached to a person or item.  The modern term for idolatry is more likely 'obsession.'  Adultery of the spirit would then seem to be "a fall from belief due to an adoration of a person or thing."


Apocalypse- Modern Definition or use:  The end of mankind and all creation.  

Origins:  When the New testament was translated from Greek to English, many of the proper names were left as Greek words.  The Greek word for "revelations" is "apocalypse." The final book of the new testament was named "Revelations" for its prophetic content.  The proper name of the book was left "Apocalypse" which has since become synonymous with the end of man.


Apocrypha- Modern Definition or use:  Hidden or lost

Origins:  The word "Apocrypha", meaning the "hidden", "lost", or "false" has really lost all meaning other than its proper term.  'The Apocrypha' is the part of the Bible (and torah) that were removed in the early 7th century.  They are considered not canonical and repetitive.   


Apple - Modern definition or use:  a healthy fruit, a symbol of temptation and the original biblical sin.

Origins:  When the Bible was translated, many things were changed to conform to the perceived understanding of the general public.  The apple was one of them.  In older Biblical text, Eve ate a seed from the tree of knowledge, and fed one to Adam.  At the time of the Bible's translation, fruits were eaten and the seed thrown away.  It was decided that the apple would become the symbol of the original sin.  The main reasons for deciding on the apple were based on the morality of the time.  The apple resembled the heart, which was supposed to guide passion and temptation.  If you cut into an apple and view the seeds, they are in pockets that look similar to a feminine sex organ.  If you cut an apple a different way, you can see a pentacle, the 5 sided star that devout Christians associated with the Devil.  The Bible's use of the apple so reduced apple sales and consumption, growers came up with slogans and cookbooks just to get people to eat them again.  One of the more common slogans was "an apple a day keeps the doctor away".  Not true, but it sure helped bring up apple sales.  In more exact translations, the fruit described in the Old Testament is more like a pomegranate than an apple.


Armaggeddon- Modern definition or use:   The ultimate and everlasting war between good and evil.  

Origins:  We must go to the history books for this one.  The Hebrew word for mountain is pronounced “Har.” On Mount (har) Miggiddon there were two (2) tribes that existed.  Each tribe lived on one side of the mountain.  They both claimed the mountain to be theirs, and were constantly fighting over it.  It was an almost eternal war.  The name of the mountain was later used in the prophecies of "Revelations" to describe the eternal war of Good and Evil.


Atonement- Modern definition or use:   To make up for an earlier act or sin.  To reconcile.

Origins:  Atonement literally is from the idea "at-one-ment".  It is as it implies, a joining with or unification of beings.  In Jewish custom there is a day of atonement.  This day 'Yom Kippur' is a day where Jewish people forget their Earthly aspect and join with G-d through prayer and meditation.  On Yom Kippur, it is forbidden to eat any food, drink any liquids, indulge in any physical pleasures or comforts, or do any physical work.  The Idea is to concentrate on only the spirit, ignoring the physicality completely.  In Modern times, prayer is different than it used to be.  There is less physical preparation than there used to be.  The idea of not eating, not drinking, and locking yourself in temple to pray is uncommon.  It became looked upon more as a penance that is owed than a joyous spiritual unification with G-d.  After a few centuries, the idea of 'the day of atonement' became 'the day of penance' and the meaning of atonement changed accordingly.


Baptism- Modern definition or use:  To cleanse the body and dedicate yourself to Jesus as your personal savior.

Origins:  You are not going to like this one...  This custom comes from the Hebrew "Mikvah."  It literally means "washed" the custom is used after a woman's period.  In Orthodox Judaism, a menstruating woman is considered unclean.  Before she can touch another person, she must be cleansed ritually.  Each week there was a Mikvah, where women who needed to would go and cleanse themselves in a group Mikvah.  When Paul was spreading Christianity, he based it on Judaism.  Since he knew he would get no converts to the new religion if he demanded circumcision, he used a form of the Mikvah cleansing ritual to remove the unclean parts of the soul and declare it Christian.  Later modifications include changing the water to beer (13th century Europe), Sprinkling water or oil over the body instead of cleansing, and dunking in water instead of washing.


Christ- Modern definition or use:  The last name of Jesus of Nazereth, the savior of the Christian religion

Origins:   Like the word messiah, christ is simply 'the anointed.'  All of the chosen leaders of ancient times must be anointed with oil in a ceremony before they were followed.  This coronation ceremony had many names, one was chriein.  The Greek title 'christos' was literally "the Anointed".  


Church-  Modern definition or use:   A house of worship or an organization of religious government.

  Origins:   The word Church comes from middle English 'cherch', the Scottish 'kirk', which is from the Greek 'kyriakon'.  The word originally meant 'supply house.' This house was owned by the master or lord of the estate.  It was this house the serfs and peasants would go to get supplies and articles they needed to work the land.  They would come to the supply house and ask (pray) that the master grant them the supplies, much as people come to the modern churches and pray that their deity grant them spiritual help now. 


Cloud Nine - Modern definition or use:  The cloud of paradise on which angels sit in total bliss.  The highest of clouds.

Origins:  Believe it or not, this is a very new concept.  In the beginning of the 20th century, the US Weather Bureau used numerical classifications to define the different types of clouds in the sky.  Of all the types of clouds, the highest and the wispyest were cloud nine.  Since Heaven is religiously thought of as above us, only the highest of clouds could ever attain heaven, so cloud nine became the hang out of angels and other heavenly dwellers.  The weather bureau changed the classifications.  Now the high wispy clouds are 'noctilucents'


Cremation - Modern definition or use:  Burning of a body after death to dispose of the remains.  

Origins:  In the northern climates, the ground was frozen almost constantly.  Disposal of the dead was a huge problem.  Some dead were sent out to sea adrift on boats.  The idea was that the boat ride took the soul from the bounds of Earth and sent the warrior on to Valhalla.  Many people could not waste their livelihood by sending off their only boat, so they formed boat shaped bonfires on land and burned the bodies.  It became fashionable to make a huge fire so the dead person could comfort their family one more time with its warmth.   It later became added that the burning releases the soul from the bounds of Earth and sends the warrior on to Valhalla.


Cross your fingers- Modern definition or use:  a charm to help you get your way.

Origins:  This was one of the first feminist symbols.  It was a symbol that a women will get their way or their husbands would not get theirs.  The crossed fingers represented crossed legs and no sex.  The manipulation of husbands by their wives was common in pre-suffrage times.  Since there was no vote or voice, their only tool was to make their husband want what they wanted.  The more powerful the husband, the more influential the wife.  The symbol was used as a non verbal warning, 'vote this way and you will be fine, but vote wrong, and I this is what you will find at home...'


Davey Jones' Locker - Modern definition or use:  Death in the depths of the oceans.

Origins:   Although this may not seem a religious term, it is actually of Judeo Christian origin.  Davey Jones was not an ancient mariner, his name is actually a mistranslation of a prophet's spirit.  The word "duffy" is a word from India that roughly translates to 'ghost' or 'spirit'.  During the early times of sailing ships and deaths on the high seas, missing people were thought to have joined the spirit of Jonah in the belly of a whale or some similar fate.  Eventually the duffy Jonah became Davey Jones.  His locker, or sea chest held the bodies of all of the dead of the sea.


"a Deal with the Devil"- Modern definition or use:  An unholy agreement between a practitioner of the black arts and the evil deity

Origins:  Deal is actually the Scottish word for the devil.  The Middle English word "dele or deel" means to share or distribute.  The mixture of clutters caused some understandable confusion, and a "deal with the devil" was invented using both the meanings, giving something to the devil so he would give you something.  It was generally assumed that he would give you power, and you would give him yourself, your loyalty, and later, your soul.  With so many different languages in Christianity, it is amazing that so few terms became so mixed up 


Devil- Modern definition or use:  The evil tempter, the dark angel of Christian mythology that causes all evil in the world.  

Origins:  The concept of the Devil as a greatly powerful spirit did not occur in Christianity until the 5th century AD.  The church began losing strength to Protestant and alternative religions at the time.  The elders felt that Christianity had lost its focus, and needed to restructure itself so the believers would stay they line.  As all political groups know, the best way to control mobs and masses is through fear and hatred.  They found references in the Bible that could imply a great evil that must be fought, and so they re-directed the religious focus from the quest for peace to the battle against evil. But why the name of "devil?"  The Greek word for slanderer is "diabolos",  that word, adapted into Latin "diabolus" was the chosen word.  Its pronunciation was similar to the Middle English word "deoful" which meant "godful or godlike" made the terms meaning shift.  The term do evil was also very similar, and the combination rounded out the definition of the devil being nicely. It soon became a slanderer against G-d, the holy or unholy being who goes against the will of the almighty.


"Dream World" - Modern definition or use:  Fantasies and falsehoods. 

Origins:  The Hebrew words for the world, ‘ha-olam’ and dream ‘halam’ are so similar it almost seems like a statement.  In some beliefs it is.  All prophets in the bible (except Moses) only spoke or heard from G-d in their sleep.  The waking world was always considered the dream while the sleeping world or the meditative world was a way to approach the truth and G-d.


Easter- Modern definition or use:  The holiday celebrating the resurrection and return of Jesus of Nazereth. 

  Origins:   Eostara is one of holidays that was adopted into Christianity from other religions.  This festival was originally in honor of the Celtic goddess "E'astre" or "Eostara."  The holiday celebrated the rebirth and fertility of the land after a hard winter.  The hare (or rabbit) and the eggs were symbols of fertility and the approach of spring.  Christianity took the rebirth meaning and applied it to the resurrection of Jesus, changing the meaning of the holiday in the eyes of the masses from that point on. It is interesting to note that the word 'easter' actually means in an eastern direction.  That meaning has lost its use in all except nautical and weather discussions.

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