“22So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’…” Acts 17:22-23 The American Heritage Dictionary provides for us two worthy definitions for the wordreligion: 1). an organized system of beliefs and rituals centering on a supernatural being or beings, 2). a belief upheld or pursued with zeal and devotion. The second definition is of immense value to us as we observe these two verses. The Athenians were religious (the Greek word for religion here is “deisidaimonesterous” which literally means “to fear deity”) in as many ways as our own society. Just think of how many people have erected altars of their own! The Athenians had a panoply of altars and gods to choose from. People today continue on the same path: they have money, fame, power, position, prestige, notoriety, career, relationships, music, independence, and more. Their pursuits give away their religion—humanism! They uphold and pursue with zeal and devotion their humanistic, famished hearts. The next very important part of these two verses is the inscription found by Paul, “To an unknown God.” This describes the characteristic humanistic flavor found in our world today. People set up their own altars “to an unknown God.” It is noteworthy that “to an unknown God” in Greek is “AGNOSTO THEO” which “agnosto” is where we get our English word “agnosticism.” The irony is this very altar becomes their philosophy of life. What were the Athenians stating very clearly with this altar? They were announcing very clearly their syncretistic religion: an amalgamation of polytheistic and agnostic beliefs. This is exactly what our world today encourages. People today sacrifice their very souls on the altar of agnosticism! Pray for the unsaved. They no longer have the levity of describing their plight as ignorance (Acts 17:30) but now God declares that they should repent because He will judge them “through a Man whom He has appointed” (Acts 17:31).
“For there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).