Have you ever heard someone end a prayer with Amen? Unless you are not from this planet or been under a rock, then the answer would be Yes.
You don’t need to be religious to know this word is typically used in a certain context.
I for one never grew up in a religious home. My parents were of the Atheist and Agnostic point of view, my maternal mother’s father, whom I was closest to, was a Catholic as a youth but a devout Atheist as an adult.
I went to a public school and we never said prayers in school.
Yet, I understood the word Amen is used in one context.
Amen, for most of us, is a word we hear on occasion but it barely registers in our mind, because it’s so commonplace.
In today’s world we find the word is used to end a prayer. But why do people use this word to end a prayer?
Amen, in fact, has been around for Millenia. It’s one word we have adopted across cultures, into different languages, and never altered its meaning.
The word basically means “let it be so”, “surely, indeed, truly” and we are basically saying, “Hey man, I’m down with that, let this word ring true.” It derives from a Hebrew root form, aman, which signifies “to be firm, steady, trustworthy, faithful”.
Who exactly uses Amen? Well, let’s see, the Jews use it as do the Christians. Oh, and Muslims use it after their prayers and at the end of their letters. Over on the Eastern front the Hindus and Buddhists use it in the same context like everyone else.
Who we leave out? The pagans perhaps? Oh yeah, they used it too. But Amen was their God.
The Egyptians, the early Egyptians (3000 B.C.), had a minor league god they called Amen. They had other various spellings to Amen like Amon or Ahmun. In their culture, Amen was God the Creator but not to be confused with The God.
By 1500 B.C., the God the Creator, Amen, was a big deal among the Gods. The Egyptians had established an educational shrine called the Amen-Ra College. Jewish people settled in Egypt around this time were well exposed to this word and integrated it to their language. When Moses lead the exodus the Jews left Egypt, but they took the word Amen with them.
Some scholars believe the Egyptian’s God, Amen, evolved over time and became part of the religious vernacular in Jewish culture. The Jewish culture eventually passed this word on to Christians and Muslims.
Amen is perhaps one of the most singular powerful words that ties together vast cultures around the globe.
The next time you utter Amen, or your ears pick up such an utterance from a stranger, ask yourself, “Why are we saying Amen?”
In my book series, AMEN to ROT, there is main character who is named Amen.
I chose his name on purpose and with deliberateness. His name has contextual meaning in the story certainly, but as an author I strive to write to a wide audience that connects to multiple cultures.
Amen reflects the wide spectrum of cultures we have in our world that include Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus – and many other facets of our humanity.
Amen to that.
Bryce B. Summers is a psychologist who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Houston. He’s presently employed at the Dallas Veteran Affairs Medical Center. Bryce is the author of the Young Adult Dark Fantasy (Sci-Fi) series AMEN to ROT, a story that pits young people against a sinister force, but also takes a look at learning what your capable of accomplishing when facing impossible challenges. The novel Nyte God will conclude this series and will be available in 2015.
Be on the look out for a ROTVILLE, a Sci-Fi Thriller (Horror) that will be published by DAMNATION BOOKS and be available in 2015. A story about an experiment gone awry, they wanted to create the perfect soldier, but instead, a hero was born…
Also be on the look for FRESH MEAT, a Paranormal (Horror with Multicultural & Gay Themes) and is about a sociopathic’s inner journey from evil to salvation.
Bryce is also a blog writer for the Human Rights Campaign.