Magick: The use of blessings, spells, incantations
etc. to change outcomes of events. Wiccans
and other Neo-pagans are limited to what is popularly
called "White Magic" which is devoid
of control, domination, harm or manipulation.
are free to return harmful magic as vengeance
for any harm done to them by others.
or Mainstream: This is a term that is often
used to refer to Christian denominations which
are more liberal than Evangelicals.
It is not a well-defined word with a universally
accepted meaning. In a study comparing Evangelical
and mainline denominations, a Princeton University
study included the following as large mainline
groups: American Baptist Churches in the USA,
Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), United
Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church.
1 Some theologians and commentators
divide Christianity into three groups: Evangelical,
mainline and liberal.
beads: This is a string of beads - 108 is a common number - of uniform size. There
is one larger bead, called the guru mother or
focal bead. They are sometimes called "prayer
beads," "worry beads"
or "Buddhist rosaries". The beads
can be made from a variety of materials, such
as sandalwood, teak, glass, bone, gemstones, and
coconut. The beads are used as counters to help
Buddhists, Hindus, and yoga practitioners repeat
their mantra a certain number of times. They can
also help a person stay focused during meditation.
An object that one can focus on during meditation.
It is usually a painted diagram that shows the
unfolding of the cosmos.
A sacred wedding tent used by Hindus.
A religion which synthesized elements of Buddhism,
Christianity, Gnosticism, and Zoroastrianism.
It was founded by Mani (a.k.a. Manicheus) in Mesopotamia
during the third century CE.
He believed in two two equal deities. One is the
Judeo-Christian God who is good, and is responsible
for human souls and minds. The other is Satan
who is evil and is responsible for human bodies,
passions and emotions. It considered sexuality
to be evil. Its followers practiced asceticism.
The founder of the Christadelphians,
John Thomas, taught his belief about deity. Rejecting
the Trinity, he wrote that "...the Father
is God and Jesus is God; and we may add, so are
all the brethren of Jesus gods; and a multitude
which no man can number'."
A word or phrase which is repeated continually
in order to achieve relaxation or meditation.
The Buddhist devil.
A group of Christians in the 5th century CE who
believed that the Virgin Mary is the "queen
of heaven." They believed in a Trinity
composed of God, Mary and Jesus Christ.
This is a Muslim
term for a mosque - a house of worship.
order: See Freemasonry
The belief that only material, physical objects
exist. Such items as thoughts, soul, and spirit
are properties of the human mind.
"Meditation can be considered a technique,
or practice. It usually involves concentrating
on an object, such as a flower, a candle, a sound
or word, or the breath. Over time, the number
of random thoughts diminishes. More importantly,
your attachment to these thoughts, and your identification
with them, progressively become less. 5
An individual who claims to be able to make contact
with the spirits of dead people.
A faith group which originated within the Anabaptist
movement. They hold a variety of theological beliefs,
but are all opposed to infant baptism and warfare.
Derived from the Hebrew "meshiach"
which means "consecrated person"
or "anointed one." It is translated
as the Greek word "Christos,"
and the English "Christ."
the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), the
Messiah was an anticipated "anointed
one": a king of Israel and military
leader who would lead the Jewish people
to independence from foreign oppression
and occupation. The concept of a Messiah
who was executed and later resurrected does
not appear in the Hebrew Scriptures. According
to the Talmud: "The only difference
between the world today and the world after
the messiah comes is that when the messiah
comes we will be free of foreign subjugation."
Christianity, a title used to refer to Yeshua
of Nazareth: Jesus Christ - considered
the Son of God and second personality of
A conservative Christian religion which blends
Jewish tradition and ceremonies with Fundamentalist
theological beliefs about Jesus Christ.
A study of ethical systems to determine whether
they are based on objective foundations.
An individual, congregation, or denomination whose
spiritual heritage can be traced to the teachings
of John Wesley. He was an 18th century
English preacher, who was influenced by the Pietist
movement which started in the 17th
century. "Methodist" was first
used as a derisive title to refer to the very
strict daily schedules observed by members of
the Holy Club - a religious society which
Wesley organized in Oxford.
From a Hebrew word "darash,"
meaning "to seek out." According
to Rabbi Donna Berman, "Midrash uses
additional narrative to fill in the gaps left
by an often terse biblical text. Midrash is creative
and imaginative. It can take the form of artwork,
dance, music, as well as poetry and prose."
8 Midrash can also refer to
a book which contains a compilation of Midrashic
This is a niche in the wall of a mosque. It points
in the direction of Qibla - the direction of
the shorter great circle route to the Kaaba in
Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
A tower located beside a mosque. It is often used
when Muslims are called to prayer.
control cult: a religious
group which uses severe domination
and manipulation to rigidly control its followers.
Some in the anti-cult
movement believe that members of these
groups lose their will to think clearly and almost
become zombies. There is little or no evidence
of that actually happening.
meaning: an interval of 1000 years after
Armageddon when, according to Revelation,
Jesus Christ will rule on earth.
meanings: the beginning of a year ending
in "000" or "001" as
in "2000" or "2001."
The belief that current society will disintegrate
and be replaced with a perfect new world. Some
24% of American adults believe that Jesus Christ
will return to earth during their lifetime; most
believe that this event will usher in a new world
control: A spiritually abusive
environment in which followers of a faith group
are manipulated in order to reduce their ability
to think critically. The goal is to turn the membership
into near robots who are incapable of independent
reasoning and judgment. There is no consensus
on whether new religious movements utilize mind
control techniques. The existence of mind control
is a major part of the belief system of the anti-cult
movement (ACM). Those in the ACM teach
that new religious movements (which they call
"cults") widely practice mind control
and other psychologically abusive methods. Sociologists
and psychologists who have studied new religious
movements generally deny that it exists.
sciences: A religious movement which beliefs
that humans are divine beings who can change reality
through their mind and thoughts.
minimalists: A group of historians, archaeologists
and theologians who view the biblical account
of creation, the flood, the tower of Babel, the
patriarchs, the exodus as religious myth without
any historical reality. They believe that the
histories in the Hebrew Scriptures were of recent
A quorum of ten or more male Jewish adults - the number required to conduct a communal worship
An event in which God suspends one or more natural
laws and makes an impossible outcome happen. The
stopping of the apparent movement of the sun across
the sky, as mentioned in the Bible, is regarded
by some as a miracle.
A Roman Catholic book which contains all of the
mass prayers and readings for three years of Sundays
and two years of weekdays.
The belief that God is a single entity who has
appeared in different modes at different times.
He appeared as the Father in the Old Testament,
as Jesus during the first century
CE, and has since
taken the form of the Holy Spirit.
In a religious sense, the term refers to a movement
which started in the 19th century which was skeptical
of traditional Christian dogma, such as the inspiration
the Bible. Modernists applied rationalistic thinking
to studies of the Bible and of religious belief.
The Bible was studied as a historical document
rather than as the Word of God. The Fundamentalist
movement within Christianity was created largely
as a response to modernism.
the preferred spelling.
A Hindu term that means liberation and release
from samsara - the changing world and the cycle of birth and
rebirth. "...this liberation seemed to
involve some sort of absorption into the Universal
Spirit or the Absolute and the loss of one's individual
A Christian heresy which taught that God is a
single entity and that Jesus was a pure man, born
of a virgin,
who was adopted by God.
A building where an intentional religious
community lives according to a lifestyle which
often includes vows, religious exercises, contemplation,
meditation, and prayer.
The belief that what people perceive as deity,
humanity and the rest of the universe is in fact
all of one substance - that divisions among the
body, mind, flesh, spirit, material, physical
are not real. All are simply aspects of one being.
Belief that multiple deities exist, although only
one is to be worshiped.
A a person or religious group which believes in
Monophysitism. The Ethiopian Church holds
to this belief and is thus regarded by many Christian
denominations as heretics or schismatics. They
prefer the term "non-Chalcedonian"
rather than "monophysite."
A belief that Jesus Christ only had a single nature,
and that it was divine. This contrasts with
and the hypostatic
One who believes in the existence of only one
deity, usually male. See also henotheism.
A system which differentiates between right and
wrong conduct. In practice, it often refers to
Rearmament: An inter-religious group organized
by Frank Buchman to reform the world, one person
at a time. It was founded in 1929 as the Oxford
Group and renamed Moral Rearmament in 1938. It
promoted absolute prity, unselfishness, honesty
A group of denominations including The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the
Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints. Founded by Joseph Smith in New
York state in 1830, they teach that Jesus spent
time in Central and South America after his crucifixion,
spreading the gospel to Aboriginal peoples throughout
the Americas. Smith stated that as a result of
an angelic visitation, hw was shown the location
of golden plates containing the Book of Mormon,
one of the denominations' sacred texts.
He also found the Urim and Thummin which enabled
him to translate the plates into English. Both
latter dissapeared. They abandoned the practice
of polygyny during the 19th century
and racial discrimination within the priesthood
in 1978. They have about 11 million members worldwide
and are growing rapidly.
sin: A Roman Catholic classification of serious
offenses against God or the church. Unless cleared
by through confession and absolution, it would
cause an individual to end up in Hell after death.
Lighter offenses are called venial sins, and can
be expiated by various good works and activities.
"Masjid" is the name used by Muslims
to refer to their house of worship. Mosque is
the English version of that term. It literally
means "place of prostration." There
are about 1,209 masjids in the U.S. and on the
order of 100 in Canada.
Within Islam, he is considered the final and greatest
prophet. He is the founder of Islam.
(a.k.a. multifaith): An attempt to initiate
dialog, cooperation, and understanding among individuals
of many different faiths. It is occasionally
used as a synonym for "interfaith."
Unfortunately, the term "faith" is defined
differently by various religious groups. For example,
some conservative Christians regard a person who
is not of their denomination to be from a different
faith. Other conservative Christians would regard
liberal Christians as being of a different faith.
Still other Christians interpret "multifaith"
as involving other religions, as in a Christian-Jewish-Muslim
A concept accepted by some scientists that
our universe is only one of "multiple
universes bubbling, colliding and budding off
each other." 10
Literally: "one who turns the back."
this refers to an apostate - one who
rejects the religion.
Fitri: Literally: apostate - natural.
A person born of a Muslim parent who later rejects
Milli: Literally: apostate - from the community.
A person who converted to Islam and later rejected
a follower of Islam. It is sometimes misspelled
"Moslem" which is offensive to some
religion: This term is most often used to
refer to a group of religions in ancient Greece
and Rome which existed in competition with the
official state religions. They "...offered
personal salvation through initiation into an
enlightened group bound by some special secret,
often involving the promise of an afterlife, a
recompense for present miseries. Hence mystery
religions had great appeal to the powerless and
dispossessed." 9 Some
consider the primitive Christian movement to have
been a mystery religion. Contemporary faith groups,
such as Gnosticism,
groups, etc., are sometimes called mystery religions
The belief and practice of a third form of
knowledge - one which is beyond sense knowledge
and knowledge by inference. "The immediate
feeling of unity of the self with God; it is nothing,
therefore, but the fundamental feeling of religion,
the religious life at its very heart and centre."
Otto Pfleiderer, 19th-century scholar.
The third major way of knowing reality - the
other two being faith and science. Mysticism involves
"...inward perception of the mind, internal
illumination, or special revelation..."
A traditional story that is not literally true,
but which generally portrays fundamental spiritual
and religious truths. There are probably on the
order of 500 creation myths among the many faith
groups in the world. Most, or all, do not represent
reality. But many contain much wisdom.