Definitions

This is the first part of a three-part post. In this first part I will define some terms used when discussing religion, particularly Christianity. In the second part, I will provide historical context using many of these terms. In the third part, I will finally get around to saying that which I want to say.

  • Agnostic: uncertain whether or not God exists. Many agnostics are quiet about their lack of certainty, but some agnostics insist that certainty about God is impossible. The latter group regards theists and atheists as equally insincere about their convictions.
  • Apologetics: the effort to communicate religious beliefs to others, often in an attempt to convert the others to the same beliefs. Not to be confused with the usual meaning of apology, in which one admits that one was wrong—in this sense, an apology is a defense of what one believes to be correct.
  • Atheist: certainty that no god exists. Many atheists are quiet about their lack of faith in any god, but some atheists overtly insist that there is no god and that all religions are based on lies and delusions.
  • Catholic: (when used of Christianity) united and present throughout the world. All Christians on earth who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, and all those with him in Paradise awaiting the resurrection, are members of the catholic Church.
  • Conservative: 1. In any context, wanting things to stay the way they are, resisting change; 2. In Christian thought, holding to the historic teachings of the Church, demanding that doctrines not be changed. (compare liberal)
  • Contemporary: in the context of Christian worship, using recently-written songs and an informal structure of worship that consists largely of songs, prayers, readings from the Bible, and preaching. (compare traditional and liturgical)
  • Cult: 1. in an academic context, a New Religious Movement not based on any older religion, or one that contains enough syncretism to be treated as a new religion; Among many conservative and fundamentalist Christians, a religion based upon false teachings, often centered around a powerful personality
  • Deist: belief in a God who created the world and established the rules of morality, but who is inaccessible. Deists do not believe in miracles or prayer or a personal relationship with any god.
  • Ecumenical: An effort among Christian groups to unite the Church into a single organization rather than many competing organizations. Conservative and fundamentalist Christians sometimes accuse ecumenical efforts of watering down doctrine for the sake of shallow unity.
  • Eisegesis: warping or twisting a passage from the Bible to make it seem to support a certain thought or belief (compare exegesis)
  • Evangelical: based upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Exegesis: studying the Bible to discover what it says (compare eisegesis)
  • Fundamentalist: defining membership in Christianity based on acceptance of a list of beliefs. Fundamentalism began in the United States early in the twentieth century, but the word is now used for movements within Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism as well. The list of beliefs created by Christian fundamentalists usually includes the doctrine of the Trinity, the identity of Jesus as both truly God and truly man, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus as the only source of salvation, inerrancy of the Bible, acceptance of miracles (especially the virgin birth of Jesus and his resurrection), and the future bodily return of Jesus.
  • Gnostic: claiming to have secret knowledge about religion (especially Christianity) that goes beyond the teachings found in the Bible. Gnosticism was common during the growth of early Christianity, and is often thought to have been revived in the New Age movement within Christianity.
  • Heretic: one who denies a key doctrine of Christianity, such as the Trinity, the deity of Jesus, or the humanity of Jesus. Heretics are generally regarded by Christians as outside the true Church.
  • Hermeneutics: the set of principles that guide a reader of the Bible—a way of practicing exegesis and avoiding eisegesis. Differences among Christians often result from different hermeneutical approaches.
  • Heterodox: one who is mistaken about certain important doctrines but correct about the key doctrines. Heterodox people are generally regarded as fellow Christians with the same Savior and the same hope of heaven in spite of their differences. (compare heretic and orthodox)
  • Indigenous Religion: a religion long practiced among a small group of people with the same culture, usually a minority surrounded by a more powerful culture which follows a different religion. Indigenous religions are still practiced among some Native Americans, Africans, Pacific Islanders, Siberians, and the like.
  • Irenics: the effort to communicate among groups with differing beliefs, generally in a non-confrontational manner. The term irenics is derived from the Greek word meaning “peace.” Accordingly, irenics can be described as peaceful coexistence of people whose beliefs differ, although irenics includes communication about their differing beliefs. (compare pluralism)
  • Liberal: 1. In any context, wanting things to change, believing that a situation can be improved. 2. In Christian thought, accepting changes in doctrine, whether as a response to scientific discoveries, a response to changing social conditions and perceptions, or the ecumenical movement.
  • Liturgical: in the context of Christian worship, following the order of worship that was developed in the early Church, generally including the Kyrie, the Gloria in Excelsis, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei, all of which are songs derived from passages in the Bible. (compare contemporary and traditional)
  • New Religious Movement: in an academic context, a group of religious beliefs and practices that has come into being within the past several centuries (see cult and sect)
  • Orthodox: one who is correct about all Christian doctrines. Naturally, every Christian considers himself or herself orthodox and judges others to be heretic or heterodox.
  • Pluralism: a society in which several religions coexist without violent confrontation. The United States is often described as a pluralist society.
  • Sect: 1. In an academic context, a new religious movement that arises within an established religion. 2. Among many conservatives and fundamentalists, any Christian group that is heterodox rather than orthodox.
  • Syncretism: blending two or more religions. The Old Testament prophets preached against syncretism involving Canaanite religion and the religion of Israel. In more recent times, Santeria and Voodoo have appeared as New Religious Movements derived from Christianity blended with indigenous religions of Africa.
  • Theist: certain that God exists, that he has thoughts and feelings and personality, and that one can have a personal relationship with God.
  • Traditional: in the context of Christian worship, maintaining the same form of worship rather than developing new forms of worship. Often a synonym for liturgical. (compare contemporary)
  • Unionism: groups of different beliefs and practices worshiping together. Sometimes used of different religions worshiping together, sometimes used of different forms of Christianity worshiping together.
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10 thoughts on “Definitions

  1. PRAYING TO ANYONE OR ANYTHING IS WORSHIP BY STEVE FINNELL

    Praying to anyone is worship. Praying to dead people is worship. Praying to the Virgin Mary or dead Popes is worship. God is a jealous God.

    Prayer to St. Gregory Vii Pope and Confessor
    Catholic Online Prayers

    O invincible defender of Holy Church’s freedom, Saint Gregory of great renown, by that firmness thou didst show in maintaining the Church’s rights against all her enemies, stretch forth from Heaven thy mighty arm, we beseech thee, to comfort her and defend her in the fearful battle she must ever wage with the powers of darkness. Do thou, in an especial manner, give strengthin this dread conflict to the venerable Pontiff who has fallen heir not only to thy throne, but likewise to the fearlessness of thy mighty heart; obtain for him the joy of beholding his holy endeavors crowned by the triumph of the Church and the return of the lost sheep into the right path. Grant, finally, that all may understand how vain it is to strive against that faith which has always conquered and is destined always to conquer: “this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith.” This is the prayer that we raise to thee with one accord; and we are confident, that, after thou hast heard our prayers on earth, thou wilt one day call us to stand with thee in Heaven, before the eternal High Priest, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth world without end.
    Amen

    Ancient Prayer to the Virgin Mary
    Catholic Online Prayers

    We turn to you for protection,
    holy Mother of God.

    Listen to our prayers
    and help us in our needs.

    Save us from every danger,
    glorious and blessed Virgin.

    SATAN WANTED JESUS TO WORSHIP HIM

    Matthew 4:9-10 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan!For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'” (NKJV)

    Revelation 22:8-9 Now I John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am a fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God. (NKJV)

    Acts 10:25-26 As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, Stand up; I myself am also a man.” (NKJV)

    Christians are only to worship God. Jesus is God, so He would be included in that worship. John 1:1-18 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God………..(NKJV)

    Jesus was worshiped from birth. Matthew 2:1-2…..For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”(NKJV)

    Matthew 2:7-11……11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him…(NKJV)

    The wise men fell down to worship Jesus, they did not fall down and worship the Virgin Mary.

    To pray to the Virgin Mary, dead Popes, or other people, dead or alive, is worship. To worship anyone or anything other than God is sin.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO READ MY BLOG>>> steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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  2. Thanks for this list. I sometimes wonder whether another person’s understanding of a term is the same as mine. Particular one that I am “quibble” about. There were some new ones for me -Eisegensis, for one. heterodox for another. I’m sure I will need to refer back as I read your next two posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You sound like my wife, J. She always says she is going to build a clock, then tell what time it is. Good stuff. Definitions really do matter don’t they? I think in some cases not that we get the meaning right, but that we actually understand how different people are even defining things. Often we argue over things where we actually mean the same as another, but are using different definitions to say what we are saying. Words, and their usage are very important, and often folks go round and round about definitions rather than actual content. Heck for all I know I have defined what I just said in a way some might be bothered by!

    Liked by 1 person

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