From its first meaning, to how it is being used by many nowadays, to how the Bible uses the word. Dr. Lisa Rowe Fraustino, an editor and a professor at State University of New York, said that the meaning of words changes over time. If one wants to find out what is the exact meaning of a term or an expression in a culture, the person needs to observe carefully how do the speakers/writers use it (Fraustino, 1998). Generally, the word religious is taken to mean of a person who is observant of a religion; a person who devoutly follows certain spiritual teachings of a considered sacred society (http://www.
brainyquote. com/words/re/religious211796. html). This kind of definition is what people commonly apply to monks, priests, an ordained minister, and to those who are simply observants of certain religions. In recent years though, the word is acquiring an extended meaning. It can now be applied to just anything that characterizes rigidity. A doctor may advice a patient, who is borderline diabetic to avoid foods high in sugar content, and may tell the patient finally, to follow the advice religiously.
This means, because of the urgency of the patients need to cut on sugar, to follow the order rigidly. If the person in this case, before being diagnosed as having too much high blood sugar, was naturally a type who has a liking for sweets, this time as the doctor had given his professional advice sweet foods must be reduced to tolerable measure, if not totally avoided. This is what the doctor means when he told his patient to keep his advice in a religious manner. Thus, today, the uses of the word religious have extended beyond its original meaning.
Although it retains certain aspects of it, like the scrupulous observance of a devout person to his/her religion, the connotations now include anything that suggests strictness, and not necessarily commitment to a spiritual order. The general understanding that is retained by many about religious is most likely taken from the Bibles portrayal of it in several passages found therein. For example, in the book of Acts 17:22 in the New Testament, Apostle Paul observed the Athenians to be very religious.
The Apostle has used the word in its broad meaning, which includes allegiance to certain beliefs which are not necessarily of the same order as that of the apostles and the Jews. As long as there is a belief in the Supreme Being or beings, spiritual realities, and rituals, religion is present and its adherents can be described as religious. And so, the Bible, when speaking of being religious, it does not immediately mean being right in practice of piety before God. The reason for this is not difficult to see in other portions of the Holy Writ.
The author of the book of James, which is also found in the New Testament, implied in his statement that there are two kinds of religion in the eyes of God: one is useless, and the other is pure and undefiled (Jas. 1:26-27). Even though the general meaning embraces any religion and religious order, every belief and practice, and it is true that the Bible itself attests to the fact that there many religions as well as different practices that humans observed even in the early times of the history of humankind, the Bible nevertheless distinguishes between true and false religion.
There is true, as well as, there is false religion. Given the fact, however, that the word religious has already taken new forms of meaning nowadays, those who use the word loosely must note the differences of usage. Let us observe what the speaker means when he/she uses the word, because now, it can mean many other things.
1. Fraustino, Lisa Rowe. 1998. Word Usage (Study Unit), by Thompson Education Direct, 925 Oak Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18515. 2. Date Accessed: October 6, 2008. http://www. brainyquote. com/words/re/religious211796. html 3. The Holy Bible, New King James Version. 1982. Thomas Nelson, Inc