This is the most important holy day of the Christian
calendar. Easter Sunday commemorates the day in
the springtime when the resurrection of Jesus
is believed to have occurred. The date is calculated
by one formula by most Eastern Orthodox churches,
and by another formula elsewhere in Christianity.
Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday after
the first full moon after MAR-20, the nominal
date of the Spring Equinox. It can be on any Sunday
from March 22 to April 25th. Eastern Orthodox
churches sometimes celebrate Easter on the same
day as the rest of Christianity. However if that
date does not follow Passover, then the Orthodox
churches delay their Easter - sometimes by over
(From the Hebrew root "Ebion"
which means poor, oppressed or humble.) A group
of Jewish Christians. Some theologians believe
that before Paul came on the scene, the Ebionites
formed the original Christian movement, including
the people who knew Jesus best: his disciples
and family. They were led by Peter and James.
They rejected Paul's writings, believing him to
be an apostate from the Mosaic Law. They denied
the deity of Jesus, viewing him as a the final
and greatest prophet. Most rejected the virgin
birth, and believed that Joseph and Mary were
Jesus' parents. The members were scattered during
uprisings circa 70 and 134 CE,
and died out by the 5th century.
A field of study related to a faith group or groups
own function, organization, structure, practices,
tradition: A set of beliefs and/or practices
which has been selected as the best from the full
diversity of those available. Eclectic Wicca,
for example, involves selecting portions from
a number of established Wiccan traditions in order
to create a faith tradition that an individual
Wiccan feels most comfortable with.
From a Greek word meaning worldwide.
Any movement which attempts to bring together
various denominations or traditions within a single
religion. The term is used most commonly to refer
celebrate this Feast of Sacrifice at the conclusion
of the Hajj. It recalls Abraham's willingness
to ritually murder his son in response to a command
adversities: A term used in Buddhism to refer
to rebirth: in Hell, as a hungry ghost, as an
animal, in Uttarakuru (a very pleasant place where
there is little motivation to practice the Dharma),
in a long-life heaven, also where one is not motivated),
with a disability, as an intelligent but skeptical
person, or in the period - like today - between
a Buddha and his successor.
Path: A Buddhist list of the path which one
must follow to escape suffering. They include:
(Wisdom): Right view and right thought.
(Morality): Right speech, action and livelihood.
(Meditation): Right effort, mindfulness
The process of taking a preconceived belief and
interpreting a biblical passage in a way that
supports that belief. This is a very common phenomenon,
although the interpreter is not generally conscious
of the process.
unconditional: The second of Calvin's five
points of theology. The doctrine states that God
has decided, totally on the basis of his own,
unknown criteria, to select a small minority of
humans and lead them to a saving knowledge of
the gospel. The majority of humans are not elected.
Without God's help, the gospel is incomprehensible
to them; they will never be saved; they will spend
eternity in Hell without hope of mercy or an end
to their torture. Some Christians believe that
God elects that minority of humans for salvation
that he knew would eventually choose Him.
church: This is another of those predominately
Christian religious phrases which mean different
things to different people. In general, it refers
to a response by devout individuals to engage
a rapidly changing culture in positive ways. Some
are searchers who feel that they have outgrown
the denomination and the religious beliefs of
their youth. Others are searchers who are not
affiliated with any denomination, and who are
seeking for themselves a more spiritual, meaningful,
and purposeful life.
punishment: The belief that the unsaved will
be punished by severe tortures (worms, unbearable
heat, horrendous thirst, whips, etc) for all eternity
without any hope of mercy of cessation. The book
describes Jesus as being present in Hell; whether
he is there to supervise or merely observe the
torture is unclear.
Buddhist term which means to have grasped
the ultimate reality and escaped the endless
repetition of birth, life, death and rebirth.
name given to the Age of Reason in
the Americas and Europe during the 17th
and 18th centuries. It was marked by great
advances in science, democracy, industry,
human rights and religious tolerance.
a geographical area under the jurisdiction of
a bishop in an Orthodox church.
(aka Epiklesis): A Greek word for invocation,
in the sense of calling upon, or making an appeal
to, or addressing someone. In Christian worship,
epiclesis refers to the invocation of the Holy
Christians recall the visit of the Magi to the
baby Jesus on JAN-6. (aka: 12th
day of Christmas, Twelfth
Night & Three
KingsвЂ™ Day). Eastern orthodox churches
on this day in commemoration of Jesus' baptism.
"Epiphany" means "to
make known" or "to reveal."
Christians believe that the Magi made the divinity
of Jesus known to the world.
of the name of the Espicopal Church, USA - the national church in the U.S. which
is affiliated with the Anglican Communion.
religious denomination governed by bishops.
The study of the nature of knowledge.
The date and time when the sun crosses the equator.
On that day, the daytime and nightime are both
very close to 12 hours. This happens about March
21 and September 21. Many religious holy days
are synchronized to the equinoxes, including the
Jewish Passover, and Christian Easter. Wiccans,
other Neopagans, Native Americans and followers
of many aboriginal religions worldwide celebrate
eschatological: The study of the eventual
outcome of the world, from a religious perspective.
In the case of conservative Christians, this typically
involves discussion of the rapture,
the Anti-Christ, Jesus' second coming, the war
of Armageddon, etc. Eschatology plays a minor
role in liberal Christianity.
A type of hidden knowledge that is generally known
only by a few individuals and not by the general
An acronym for Extrasensory
Defining a group of people by one - or a small
set of - fixed properties. Gender, religion, race
or sexual orientation are the most common properties.
It assumes that there is no possibility of variation
within the targeted group, or potential for change.
generation, Eternal Sonship: A belief that
Jesus Christ has been the Son of God continuously,
from before the creation of the world to the present
time. Some Christians have alternative beliefs,
stating that Jesus became the Son of God at the
time of his ascension, or resurrection, or baptism,
Culture: A movement founded in the U.S. by
Felix Adler (1851 - 1933). He advocated replacing
religious beliefs and codes with a secular ethic.
The study of human values and moral conduct. See
also Normative Ethics and Metaethics.
Programs by which humans are carefully selected
for breeding in order to maximize certain qualities.
The German Nazi government instituted a Mutterkreuz
(mother's cross) program which encouraged women
to have many "Aryan" children, for which
they could receive crosses.
(Greek for "good death.") An
ambiguous term with meanings ranging from "physician
assisted suicide" for terminally elderly
persons in intractible pain, to the German Nazi
programs of murdering old and handicapped persons.
We recommend that the term never be used, and
that a specific term be used in its place.
"Evangelical" is not a well-defined
term with a universally accepted meaning. It normally
refers to a major portion of the conservative
"wing" of Protestant Christianity. In
a study comparing Evangelical and mainline denominations,
a Princeton University study included the following
as Evangelical denominations: Assemblies of God,
Southern Baptists, Independent Baptists, black
Protestants, African Methodist Episcopal, African
Methodist Episcopal Zion; Church of Christ, Churches
of God in Christ, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod,
National Baptist Church, National Progressive
Baptist Church, Nondenominational, Pentecostal
denominations, and the Presbyterian Church in
comprise the most conservative wing of Evangelicalism.
Most Evangelicals tend to be less anti-scientific
and less literal in their interpretation of
Biblical passages than are Fundamentalists.
generally believe in the historical doctrines
of the Christian church:
original writings of the Bible, were inerrant
Christ was born of a
that through Jesus' death, the relationship
between God and Man (which had been damaged
by Adam and Eve's sin) has been restored.
that after Jesus' death and burial, he arose
coming: that Jesus return to earth is imminent.
that God appeared on earth in human form,
an act of God in which any person who accepts
that they have sinned and who believes in
the atonement of Christ is forgiven of their
sins and brought into a close relationship
of the spirit: that a new believer undergoes
a spiritual rebirth.
that the authors of the Bible were inspired
by the Holy Spirit.
exists as a Trinity, consisting of the Father,
Son and Holy Spirit.
is a created being, was once an angel but
is now an all-evil tormentor of humanity.
is attained by repentance of one's sins and
trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior.
and Hell exist; the former is a
place of eternal reward; the latter is a place
of never-ending torture without mercy or any
hope of cessation.
are many additional beliefs regarded as important
by various Evangelical organizations. For example,
the Southern Baptist Convention requires
its employees to sign a loyalty oath which includes
the belief that the authors of the Gospels were
in fact named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Some Evangelical institutions refuse to hire
faculty who believe that women should be eligible
name "evangelical" was originally
used to refer to those faith groups which followed
traditional Christian beliefs, in contrast with
two other movements: philosophical rationalism
and legalistic Christianity. The Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America, and Wisconsin
Evangelical Lutheran Synod total about
6 million members and are not part of the present-day
Evangelical movement. More
information on the definition of Evangelical
To explain ones beliefs to another in the hope
that they might wish to adopt them. The word is
sometimes used as a synonym for "Proselytize" - to actively attempt to convert another person
to your beliefs.
one: A Christian synonym for Satan: a fallen
Naturalistic: (From the Greek "evolutio"
meaning unrolling or turning out). The term has
multiple meanings. It is often necessary to examine
an essay, speech or article carefully in order
to determine which meaning is being used.
speaking, it is deals only with life forms
on earth; the term refers to gradual change
over long periods of time of plant and animal
species due to natural processes and forces,
including the appearance and extinction
of many species.
a popular sense, it is one of many cosmogonies (models
of origins) commonly accepted in North America. It
states that the earth, including its life
forms, and the rest of the universe formed
over the past approximately 14 billion years
due to natural processes and forces. People
often discuss the evolution of: the universe,
of individual stars, solar systems, earth
formation, species of life on earth, etc.
in a popular sense, the term is used to
refer to anything that changes over time,
such as the evolution of religious beliefs,
political concepts, economic models, child
discipline methods, etc.
Theistic: One of three main cosmogonies (models
of origins) commonly accepted in North America. It
accepts the observations of naturalistic evolution
but states that God guided and used evolution
as a method of forming the multiplicity of species
of life, the rest of the Earth and the rest of
A term used by Evangelical Christians to refer
to over 99% of earth and biological scientists
who use and support the theory of evolution
in their professional work. The term is
not used by scientists themselves.
The belief that one's truth (or faith group or
religion) is the only truly valid
truth (or faith group or religion).
This is a very common belief among monotheistic
faiths, and among other religions as well. It
has historically been a foundation of religiously
motivated oppression, mass murder, mass
crimes against humanity and genocide.
Alternative beliefs towards other religions are
The enforced separation of a Christian from
her or his denomination, done for the good of
the individual and the faith group, with the intent
of changing the individual's behavior so that
they can be welcomed back. Unfortunately, in many
high-intensity/high commitment religious groups,
where a member's entire support network consists
of fellow members, excommunication can lead to
depression and occasional suicide.
Analyzing passages from a document - often the
Bible - to understand what it meant to its author
and others in the author's culture.
of Christ: This consists of Christ's resurrection,
ascension to heaven, sitting at the right hand
of God, and second coming.
This is both a philosophical and literary movement
which teaches that:
existence takes precedence over abstract
are totally free and responsible for their
absolute values exist that are not grounded
in human experience.
A mass movement of people from an area or country.
It often refers to the alleged departure of Hebrews
from slavery in Egypt, variously dated as 1440
to 1290 BCE. "Exodus" is the
name of the second book in the Pentateuch - the
first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The act of driving one or more evil spirits from
the body of a person.
A Buddhist term for an individual who follows
a non-Buddhist religion.
evangelism: A technique of drawing non-Christians
individuals out of their culture of origin and
converting them to conservative Protestantism.
This has been criticized for its destructive effect
on those families in which only some members convert
Perception: (acronym ESP) The ability of a
person to sense the world using powers beyond
the five senses. This often takes the form of
reading cards being dealt in another room, viewing
events in a remote location, sensing auras, predicting
the future, etc. A prize of over one million dollars
awaits anyone who can prove that they have some
form of ESP.
Unction: A sacrament of the Roman Catholic
church in which a dying person is anointed with
oil that has been consecrated by a bishop. It's
purpose is to obtain the remission of sins and
to restore the person to health. To our knowledge,
the efficacy of extreme unction to make a person
healthy has never been scientifically evaluated.