The title of this post is a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inaugural speech. He was the 32nd president of the USA from 1933 until his death in 1945, spanning the depths of the Great Depression to the end of the WWII.
Fear is the contagious disease we need to fight against. It is infecting people’s mind and bodies; not only our biological bodies but mostly our social bodies. We are at war with an invisible enemy of biological origins that has generated a global contagion of confinement and retreat, unprecedented in the history of the world.
This fear has propelled a fragmentation of social bodies and set in motion the destruction of world economies. This destruction will degenerate in civil unrest, violence and world conflicts. Fear alters the perception of reality and incapacitates the ability for individuals to reason normally: Only a minority of people will be infected and die due to diagnosed covid-19, whereas a great majority of people will be infected and affected by the destruction of the economy. To win the war we must not retreat but face the enemy heads on. Like any war we must move forward and expect casualties. The propagated remedy so far will be far more destructive to humanity than the biological virus itself.
In a cultural environment where anything goes, the use of the words religion/religious makes people uneasy. The reason is that a majority of people believe that we live in a predominantly secular culture without the need of any moral constraints or guidelines. This type of mindset promotes the perception that abiding to any ethic standard would infringe on an individual’s civil rights. This uneasiness with civility and religion is oblivious to the fact that our contemporary world is dominated by popular cults that are sectarian, regressive and divisive.
clarification is needed to explain the nature of civil religion, and
more specifically the meaning of religion.
It comes from the Roman religio. It relates to the proper rituals and ceremonies dedicated to the gods performed by the mortals in order to maintain the beneficial order and prosperity of the city-zens of Rome.
Religio is foremost civil and civic, and
political. It reflects
the power of
the gods being the eternal
of hierarchy embodied
rulers of Rome.
a side note, the word
religion is not used in the Old Testament. And
the few times
it relates to foreign
beliefs systems considered
heathen or pagan.
It does not show up
in the synoptic Gospels. The word is only used in later epistles
influenced by the
Roman culture. What
the Bible reveals
is faith in the presence of the
almighty who communicates with individuals whom
apart to instruct,
to lead, to
and govern God’s
Making sure they
the covenant he made with
them and the
the US Thanksgiving is
a national holiday. A similar
holiday is celebrated in many
other countries on various dates.
is a day set apart on
the Roman calendar
we still use today,
as feriae or
“holy days”. Citizens are off work and most institutions
and commercial activity is
kept to a minimum. Incidentally,
the act of “setting apart” is a specific attribute of what
is defined as
“sacred” and “holy”.
were mostly Puritans and Protestants. As
such they inaugurated a faith based holiday of
Thanksgiving giving thanks
harvest. In the course of time the celebration became more secular
Thanksgiving is the occasion
to share and give thanks for
harvest made with modern
means of production and
is a special
a day where a
of people travel to
congregate with family, friends and strangers, for
the purpose of sharing
or the fellowship at the
varied cultures throughout
history as a
ritual that binds a
group together. As
and every group
together in a civic union
is a civil religious
give thanks for the material
benefits and security shared
of the popular misconceptions of what is religion or religious,
Thanksgiving is a civil religious holiday. It is a ritual that has
been celebrated throughout history by the American people to give
thanks for a harvest that symbolizes an American political Union.
And it is a strange thing that most of the feeling we call religious, most of the mystical out-crying which is one of the most prized and used and desired reactions of our species, is really the understanding and the attempt to say that man is related to the whole thing, related inextricably to all reality, known and unknowable. This is the simple thing to say, but the profound feeling of it made a Jesus, a St. Augustine, a St. Francis, a Roger Bacon, a Charles Darwin, and an Einstein. Each of them in his own tempo and with his own voice discovered and reaffirmed with astonishment the knowledge that all things are one thing and that one thing is all things – plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and expanding universe, all bound together by elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.
John Steinbeck The Log from the Sea of Cortez
I couldn’t express myself better, except for the fact that Jesus, St. Augustine and St. Francis were not concerned with intellectual or scientific wonderment of Reality but were beings that embodied a spiritual love of the world. And Jesus is set apart from other saints, as a unique example of a divine calling that opens the door for any human being to realize we all share in the presence of One God, each individual connected to all other individuals as One Spiritual Reality. This revelation is open to anyone who is ready to listen to his or her calling of love.
What makes Jesus unique is the relationship he had with God. It was so intimate that he referred to God as his father. Jesus did not only reveal his humanity and divinity but his deep relation with history. A mysterious underlying power that is beyond the scope of human understanding. And although the only proof we have of Jesus’ existence is that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate. His Body of faithful Christians who without the help of a state and the service of an army took over Rome and its empire and spread his Word to known world.
According to quoteinvestigator.com there is no consensus on who wrote the above saying: Among many guesses include: Edmund Burke, Victor Hugo, George Bernard Shaw, Benjamin Disraeli, and Winston Churchill…
However, it seems likely that Edmund Burke is the author. This is evidenced by an original comment made by a jurist named Anselme Polycarpe Batbie in a book published in 1875 where he attributes the saying to Edmund Burke.
Varied versions of the saying include the following:
If you’re not a socialist before you’re twenty-five, you have no heart; if you are a socialist after twenty-five, you have no head.
If you aren’t a liberal when you’re young, you have no heart, but if you aren’t a middle-aged conservative, you have no head.
Religion is when I say church and what comes to mind is a physical building like a temple, synagogue, mosque or any other place of worship. Religion is what relates to the visible world like sacred shrines and the visible representatives of a belief system like the priesthood, the clergy, monks, etc… It also relates to visible sacred objects, consecrated things, holy ornaments. And it also consists of visible rituals, ceremonies and festivities as spectacle.
Whereas the original meaning of church is ecclesia that has a more spiritual sense; meaning congregation or an assembly of believers, a living organism brought together by faith in the word of God. In this sense it is a living presence assembled for a common good.
By the word of God is meant a personal and inspired communication between an individual and the almighty presence of the Spirit. It is invisible unlike what relates to religion, even though a congregation of people is visible. This sense stems from the Hebrew word ruah, meaning wind and breath, later translated into the Holy Spirit, which are all invisible principles. In other words the essence of spirituality is a communication dynamic between the believer and the almighty that enables togetherness: A whole-some relationship between the faithful, the Holy Spirit and the congregation as one body and spiritual force.