Glossary of Religion

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Learn the definitions of religious terms and concepts with our extensive Glossary of Religion. Choose a letter above or explore the random terms below.

Responsa
a vast collection (thousands of volumes) of answers to specific questions on Jewish law
Tara
Buddhist savior-goddess especially popular in Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia
Birth of the Bab
Bahá'í holiday commemorating the birth of the Báb on October 20, 1819; one of the "Twin Holy Festivals".
swastika
(Sanskrit svastika, "all is well") Ancient symbol of good fortune and well-being, with a variety of uses and meanings in Hinduism, Buddhism and many other faiths.
Chi Rho
Forms appearing like the letter "P" crossed by the letter "X," actually the first two letters of the Greek word for "Christ," chi and rho, used to symbolize the name in Christian iconography.
Gospel of John
The fourth gospel of the New Testament, written the latest and having the most unique material and developed theology.
hsien
(Chinese, "fluttering") The Immortals, who are described in the Chuang-tzu. Perhaps originally intended to be allegorical, the nature and abilities of these beings became a practical goal for later Taoists.
Baptists
A Protestant denomination centered around the belief that the sacrament of baptism should only be administered to adult members after a personal profession of belief in Jesus Christ. Baptism in this faith is usually done by full immersion. Emphasis is placed on biblical scripture and preaching. The Baptist denomination is primarily derived from early 17th-century England and Wales where it quickly spread although there are some links with the Anabaptists of the 16th century.
baptism
Christian rituals or sacraments that vary by denomination, but always involve the immersion of a person in water, or the application of water by pouring or sprinkling; baptisms betoken the initiation of the baptized into the church. Baptism is symbolic of moral or spiritual purification or regeneration. When the baptized is a baby, it includes the naming of the infant.
bodhisattva
In Mahayana Buddhism, one who attains the enlightenment of a Buddha but chooses to postpone entering nirvana and instead stays in the world for the compassionate purpose of helping lesser beings attain enlightenment. In Theravada Buddhism, the term is exclusively used to identify historical Buddhas in their previous lives.
Allah
(Arabic, "God"). The name of God in Islam. Allah is the same God revealed (imperfectly) in the Jewish and Christian Bibles.
baptismal cross
Cross with eight points, symbolizing regeneration.
caliphs
(khalif, "deputy, successor"). A political leader of the Muslim community. The most important of these were the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs who ruled after the death of Muhammad.
dharma wheel
(Sanskrit dharmachakra). Buddhist symbol representing the Buddha's teachings. Often used as a symbol of Buddhism.
Word of Wisdom
The Mormon health code revealed to Joseph Smith in 1833 (recorded in Doctrine & Covenants 89), which prohibits alcohol, tobacco and hot drinks, encourages plant foods, and use of meat sparingly.
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Article Info

Title Glossary of Religion
Published
Last UpdatedFebruary 13, 2021
URL religionfacts.com/glossary
Short URLrlft.co/3494
MLA Citation “Glossary of Religion.” ReligionFacts.com. 13 Feb. 2021. Web. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021. <religionfacts.com/glossary>