If the opposite of “pro” is “con”, then the opposite of “progress” is ……
We all know the terms “con man” and “con artist”. They mean “someone who takes advantage of other people”. Dictionary.com has the definitions:
- person adept at lying, cajolery, or glib self-serving talk.
- a person adept at swindling by means of confidence games; swindler.
I don’t know why I had not considered that “con man” was a shortened form of “confidence man”. So much like many other words that include “con”, these terms are also a bad thing and anyone who falls prey to these people have been “conned”.
When people meet up in a church, they are called the “congregation”, yet the definition of “congregation” does not include any reference to anything bad and the word “congregate” simply says:
- to come together; assemble, especially in large numbers
I wonder if you remove the “con” portion of this word, what does the base part of the word mean? The word “gregate” does not exist, but other words that use this portion include:
“segregate” which means:
- to separate or set apart from others or from the main body or group; isolate
and it’s opposite “integrate”, which means:
- to bring together or incorporate (parts) into a whole
so we can assume that “gregate” can infer some group of people. Now if we break this word down further, the word “gate” usually means:
- a movable barrier, usually on hinges, closing an opening in a fence, wall, or other enclosure
but there is one older definition of the word from North England and Scotland that I find very interesting:
- habitual manner or way of acting.
So, to wrap all this up, a congregation is a group of people who habitually act by meeting on a regular basis to listen to a swindler.
That certainly explains why there are so many mega-churches in this country.