Definitions

question0001.jpgThis page is for Reference.  Following are basic definitions of assorted terms I may use in other places on this site, or to help you with terms you may come into contact with on other sites.  Leavened liberally with quotes (GoodReads!!) relating to religion.

Abrahamic [religion] – Judaism, Islam and Christianity the three major religions based on the religion followed by Abraham. Religious writing is known as the Old Testament in Christianity, Torah in Judaism and Qu’ran in Islam. Also known as ‘People of the Book.’

Agnostic:  I don’t know and neither do you.  It’s not possible to know; from gnostic (knowing) + a-(not). Oxford Dictionary says “a person who believes that nothing is known, or can be known, of the existence or nature of God, or of anything beyond material phenomena.”

American civil religion:  the theory that the Protestant ethos is so pervasive in American life that it is part of all facets of life, regardless of actual religious belief structure.  A tendency to follow the Protestant work ethic and a sense that if you work hard you should be rewarded.  Proof? President Obama worshiping at the same chapel as President George W. Bush.

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”
Abraham Lincoln

Atheism: There is no god; big G, little g, none. from the– (god) and a– (not) literally ‘no god’. Per Oxford: “the theory or belief that God does not exist.”

Belief: a) a person’s religion; religious conviction, b) a firm opinion, c) acceptance of fact or d) trust or confidence in.

            “You need to believe in things that aren’t true. How else can they become?”
Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Calvinist: follower of John Calvin, who believed that only certain people (the Elect) would be allowed into Heaven.

catholic: (little ‘c’) general, basic. Oxford: of interest to all, universal.  Not to be confused with:

Catholic: (Big ‘C’) of the Roman Catholic religion, everyone worshiping at a church which recognizes the authority of the Pope in Rome (hence Roman Catholic).

Faith: a) complete trust or confidence, b) firm belief, especially without logical proof, c) religious belief.

“All I have seen teaches me to trust to the Creator for all that I have not seen.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Humanist: someone who believes in the inherent goodness of humans and the ability of humans to deal with their issues without the interaction of supernatural being(s) (gods, angels, etc.).  Rational belief in line with scientific study, a product of Renaissance.

orthodox: a) holding currently accepted opinions, b) (religious doctrine) generally accepted as right/true

Orthodox: strictly keeping to traditional doctrine and ritual.  Typically a more conservative branch, whether Orthodox Jews or Greek/Armenian/Russian Orthodox (Catholics).

God is a metaphor for that which transcends

all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that.
Joseph Campbell

Pagan: (from Oxford) One who does not follow the mainstream religions. Worshiper of the old gods, neo-pagan.  Can be focused on Greek, Norse, Egyptian, African, Asian, Native American gods. From paganus, (Latin) country dweller; paganus was also a Roman citizen, Christian Latin gave us ‘heathen‘ not a member of the army of Christ.

People of the Book: Refers to Catholics, Jews and Muslims, all of whom believe in the first few books of what is the Christian Old Testament, Jewish Torah or Qu’ran.

Qu’ran: The main holy book of the Islamic religion.

Reformed: more conservative sects than the Orthodox typically.  Reform Jews, as well as Reformed Latter Day Saints; they tend to see modern expressions of their religion as having fallen away from the original truth(s), to which they are returning.

Religion: a belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods; a particular system of faith and belief; a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes a supreme importance.

  “God has no religion.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Roman Catholic: Catholic, theoretically following the rules set down by the Popes. Does not mean that you are of Italian (Roman) descent.

Spiritual: in modern usage, a sense that one must do the right thing because it is right, not specifically religious (following the dictates of an established religion). Oxford Dictionary says: a) concerning the spirit as opposed to matter, b) concerned with sacred or religious things, c) refined, sensitive, d) concerned with the spirit, not external reality.

Spiritual seeker: one who is [actively] searching for answers regarding religion. Uncertain of what they truly desire from religion, may skim through different religions.  One with unanswered questions regarding matters spiritual or religious.

  “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple
in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
Alice Walker, The Color Purple (from GoodReads)

Torah: sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Hebrew ‘Bible.’  The first five books of the Hebrew scriptures.  Also refers to the actual scroll on which the Torah is written.

Trinity: The belief in a triune (three-part) God; as in God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God as the Holy Spirit.

Universal Salvation: The [Christian] belief that all people will be saved and allowed to enter into Heaven, without regard to which religion (or lack thereof) they follow.

Wiccan: one who follows a religious path, typically neo-pagan. May or may not identify with term ‘witch.’  All wiccans are pagans, not all pagans are wiccans.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us

with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
Galileo Galilei

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