Monday, April 16, 2018

I Don't Get It

One aspect of Christianity as it is often practiced (or its texts are written) that I don't understand is the use of adulatory language toward god. This is an omnipotent, omnipresent being, and yet "He" needs humans to exalt him and praise him.

I am a relatively normal human being and I hate being praised. I don't like being recognized for my efforts, and I don't like being thanked publicly. Why does anyone think an all-powerful god needs puny-old-us to praise him? I know I'm extending my attitude to someone who is supposed to be beyond human understanding, but what seems more likely, that an all-powerful entity who created everything wants to be praised constantly, or would rather stop hearing about it all the time? He knows he made it, right? Does he need us to keep jabbering on about it?

I was thinking about this a few days ago while attending a Lutheran memorial service. As church services go, it was fairly inoffensive and the hymns were actually highly appropriate to the day and the person being memorialized (references to snow storms and higher learning and a kick-ass attitude toward life). But the part of the responsorial that had the congregation saying, "We glorify you," "We praise you," and "We worship you" made me wonder.

Worship: From Old English, originally the word meant the "condition of being worthy, dignity, glory, distinction, honor, renown." The verb we use today dates from the 14th century.

Praise: "to laud, commend, flatter," c. 1300, from Old French preisier, from Latin pretium "reward, prize, value, worth," from PIE *pret-yo-, suffixed form of *pret-, extended form of root *per- (5) "to traffic in, to sell." [Related to "price." Huh.]

Glorify: from Late Latin glorificare "to glorify," from Latin gloria "fame, renown, praise, honor." Use with God as an object dates from late 14th century.

It also occurred to me during the service that the Lord's Prayer, which (according to the Bible) was  uttered by Jesus Christ in the Sermon the Mount, contains none of that stuff. The closest is saying god's name is "hallowed," which just means his name is holy (from Old English. Note that, according to the two Bible books that include the Lord's Prayer, Jesus did not say "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.").

These thoughts are similar to my ruminations on the word "proud" a few years ago. I was already this way before Mulligan came to power, and now I want even less to do with recognition and praise. Knowing that "praise" and "price" are related makes enormous sense in this day and age.


All etymologies are from the excellent website,

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