"When you pray,
you are not to be like the hypocrites;
for they love to
stand and pray
in the synagogues and on the street corners
so that they
may be seen by men.
Truly I say to you,
they have their reward in full.
USA - Pope Benedict XVI Visit - April 16, 2008
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi kisses the hand of Pope Benedict XVI as U.S. President George W. Bush (C) First Lady Laura Bush (L) and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2R) look on during a welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC. The Pope, who is celebrating his 81st birthday today, is on a six day visit to the U.S. The man on the far right is unidentified.*
Back in the days when I thought I could prevent the Anglican Communion from heading off the cliff it has since headed off, it was not uncommon to find me publicly debating a heretics, be they priests, man, or womon, on the merits of their heresy. As heretics, at least the really good ones, are as intellectually nimble as they are intellectually dishonest, it was equally enjoyable and frustrating to engage with them. Frustrating, because they never admit defeat. Even when their theology and logic has been exposed to be as flawed as General Noriega's complexion.
I did learn a very important lesson from the heretics. Whenever they would try to twist scripture to fit their heresy, I would ask, "Where in the bible does it say that? They would rattle off the bible passage numbers. I'd open my bible and read the passage aloud. Looking up, I'd say, "It doesn't say that."
"You're right. It doesn't say it in your bible. You have to go back to the original Greek to find it."
Amusingly, none of them ever happened to have the original Greek on hand to show us exactly where in the original Greek it said what they said it said. They just said to trust them, it's in there. So the sum of their argument boiled down to we were to overturn 2000 years of Christan teachings because the bible had been improperly translated all this time and we just had to trust them it was in the original Greek because they couldn't be bothered to bring the original Greek along with them to prove it was in there. If you buy that one, you probably also think America's only problem with Obamacare is Obama isn't white.
What's even more amusing is that I actually started going back to the original Greek to see whatever they said was really was in there, like they insisted it was. Unfortunately Greek is Greek to me. Often I ended up more confused than when I started. But one time, I did not get confused. At. All. It was so easy to understand the original Greek even I could get it. And then laugh heartily at the heretics.
"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." -Matt 6:5
The English definition of hypocrite:
Main Entry: hyp·o·crite
Etymology: Middle English ypocrite, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin hypocrita, from Greek hypokritēs actor, hypocrite, from hypokrinesthai
Date: 13th century
1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
Here's hypocrite from the original Greek:
The word hypocrisy comes from the Greek ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis), which means "play-acting", "acting out", "coward" or "dissembling". The word hypocrite is from the Greek word ὑποκρίτης (hypokrites), the agentive noun associated with υποκρίνομαι (hypokrinomai), i.e. "I play a part". Both derive from the verb κρίνω, "judge" (»κρίση, "judgement" »κριτική (kritiki), "critics") presumably because the performance of a dramatic text by an actor was to involve a degree of interpretation, or assessment, of that text.
So let us reread Matthew 6:5 with the original Greek inserted in -no longer in red as this is me illustrating a point, not Jesus speaking, ok?:
"When you pray, you are not to be like the play-actors, cowards, or dissemblers; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full."
Not bad, eh? But guess what? We can do something the heretics never suggested doing, we can go back to the old Hebrew to make it even better. Voila!
The Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon
Transliterated Word Phonetic Spelling
chaneph khaw-nafe'Parts of Speech :Adjective
hypocritical, godless, profane, hypocrite, irreligious
KJV (13) - hypocrite, 13;
NAS (13) - godless, 11; godless man, 2;
So now let us reread of the 6:5 account of the nice Jewish tax collector Matthew keeping in mind that this translation is now an adjective. Not a noun and again not in red,
"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocritical, godless, profane, and irreligious men and women; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men."
Stand and pray?
Well, maybe in the days of Jesus.
These days they've progressed to
the kissing of rings*.
"Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full."
* The unidentified man on the far right is Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul. If Paul Pelosi is so little known as to be listed as "unidentified", one can conclude religion is not the only thing Nancy is play- acting with.
* If this were a novel, the chapter bearing that scene would be titled The Kiss of Death.