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Religion and Tradition. Religion, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is, among other things, “any specific system of belief, worship, conduct, etc., often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy; an institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices”; and also “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held with ardor and faith”. It is derived from the Latin “religio”, meaning “reverence”, which in turn is derived from “religare”, to bind back. It is, in fact, a bond. Tradition is defined to be “the delivery of opinions, doctrines, practices, rites, and customs from generation to generation by oral communication. It is an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)”. It is in theology, an unwritten saying, action or a code of laws attributed to the founder and the earlier promoters of a religion. It is derived from the Latin “traditio”, meaning “action of handing over”, from “tradere”, to deliver. The difference between a religious practice and a social custom is rather a new concept. In ancient times – times, during which most of the existing religions were founded — every social custom was, sooner or later, accepted as a religious practice. Therefore, Religion and Tradition are almost taken to belong to each other, so much so that some would take the two as synonyms. That explains why the zealous are so zealous to maintain traditions as a religious obligation. To them, every tradition is but a religious tenet. So, when is tradition or religion bad? When it gets in the way of the Word of God! How can you tell the difference between good and bad tradition? Let the Word of God be your guide. The lesson on February 8, 2004 discusses how religion and tradition can dilute the Word of God. Click here to listen now. Be sure and download the handout as well.



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