What is Religion?
When I first came to Christian Identity, I gave much thought to the meaning of the word religion. Perhaps this sermon by Bertrand Comparet, titled What is Religion?, had helped to stimulate that process. The primary definition of the word religion in the Oxford Dictionary is “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” But although that is what it has come to mean, I believe the original sense of the Latin word from which it was derived has a much deeper meaning, and that this deeper meaning is relevant to our Christian Identity profession. The Latin word religio was used in a manner much like we use the word religion today. But the related word religo is a verb meaning to tie back or tie up, and religatio is a tying back or up. So, according to The New College Latin & English Dictionary, the word religiosus, which is probably the closest antecedent to our word religious, was used to refer to something which was “subject to religious claims, under religious liability.” Liability is “the state of being responsible for something”, so there is the connection to the meaning of the root word religo, in the sense of being tied or bound to a thing.
This in turn brings several Scriptures to mind. First, in Matthew chapter 18, we read in the words of Christ: “15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church [assembly]: but if he neglect to hear the church [assembly], let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Then, after admonishing His disciples about sin and guilt and the need to reject men who do not accept correction along those lines, Yahshua Christ had also said “18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” So binding and loosing are related to Christian fellowship and community, or communion, and that in turn is based on an abstention from sin and a keeping of the commandments of God. Paul’s example of such loosing is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, where he encouraged the assembly at Corinth to ostracize a fornicator from their community.