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Glossary of religious and spiritual terms

Religious and spiritual words and
phrases starting with the letters "BL" to "BU"

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bullet Black magic: The use of religious rites and rituals to harm another person. One example from the Bible was when Elisha issued a curse against 42 children who were poking fun at his baldness. Because of the curse, the children were torn to shreds by she-bears. See 2 Kings 2:23-24.

bullet Black Mass: An imaginary inverted form of the Roman Catholic mass involving black candles, desecrated materials stolen from a church, prayers recited backwards in Latin, etc. Such rituals have been performed by members of the Church of Satan as a publicity stunt

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bullet Black Muslims: A group of Muslim organizations for African-Americans, including the Nation of Islam.

bullet Black theology: The belief that Israel, as described in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), was a nation of blacks. Jesus was black; his purpose was to liberate fellow blacks from oppression by white Gentiles.

bullet Blasphemy: Swearing in the name of God, denying the existence of God, saying evil things about God, asserting incorrect beliefs about God, etc. One religion's affirmation of their God is often another religion's blasphemy about their God. A statement by a person from the liberal wing of a religion is often considered a blasphemy by someone from the conservative wing -- and vice-versa.

bullet Blessed be: A frequently used greeting-blessing by Wiccans and other Neopagans.

bullet Blessed hope: The expectation that Jesus Christ will return to Earth in the second coming.

bullet Blood Atonement:

bullet A group of theories that attempt to explain how Jesus' torture-death resulted in a mechanism by which people's sins can be forgiven. Other explanations, sometimes called "bloodless atonement" theories, account for the forgiveness of sins on the bases of Jesus' teachings and life.

bullet A belief in the early Mormon church introduced by Brigham Young. It has since been abandoned by some Mormon denominations. Some crimes were considered so serious that the perpetrator's salvation required that he be killed and his blood mixed with the earth.

bullet Blood libel: A false belief which has endured since the 1st century BCE. It states that members of a religious group kidnap, abuse, ritually murder and sometimes eat the body of a member of another religion. Groups creating this groundless fable include ancient Greek and Roman Pagans, Christians, Nazis, and Muslims. Innocent religious groups victimized by the fable include Jews, Christians, Wiccans, Druids and other Neopagans, and Roma (Gypsies). The hoax exists today mostly among some Muslims (against Jews) and some Fundamentalist Christians (against Wiccans, Satanists and other religious minorities). In the U.S. recently, it has taken on a different meaning: a false accusation of being responsible for causing someone's death.

bullet Blót: Service of the Gods; kinship between the Gods of Norse Heathenism and the people.

bullet Bodhi: A Buddhist term which means to have achieved enlightenment; to understand the ultimate reality.

bullet Bodhisattva: A Buddhist Sanskrit term that literally means "an enlightenment being." A person who is embarked on the path to enlightenment and has reached the final stage before nirvana. However, the individual chooses to remain on Earth being reborn in successive lives, in order to help all other sentient beings attain enlightenment.

bullet Bodhi Day: The day when Buddha decided to sit under the bodhi tree, and remain there until he reached enlightenment.

bullet Body of Christ: This often refers to the physical body of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ.) Other times, it refers to the "invisible church" which is made up of true Christians, past and present. Unfortunately, there is no consensus concerning who is a "true" Christian, so that there is no agreement over the exact makeup or size of this group.

bullet Boline: A knife used by a Wiccan or other Neopagan to collect herbs for ritual use.

bullet Bon Festival: This is a day when the followers of Shinto honor the souls of their ancestors. People visit graveyards.

bullet Book of Life: In Christianity, a list, maintained by God, of the names of saved individuals. According to Revelation, if anyone's name is not written in the Book of Life, they will be relegated to the torture chambers of Hell.

bullet Book of Mormon: One of four texts considered to be divinely inspired and authoritative scripture by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and other Mormon denominations. Mormons believe that Joseph Smith, their founder, translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates left by an early American society. Some researchers believe the Book to have been written by Smith, and partly based on an earlier book "View of the Hebrews" by Ethan Smith (no relation).

bullet Book of Shadows: A personal diary of a Wiccan or other Neopagan in which she/he records their ritual activities.

bullet Born again: The process by which a person repents of their sins and trusts Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and Savior. Conservative Protestants believe that this is the only way that one can get to heaven. Some of these denominations do not require that a person repent first.

bullet Brahma: The creator God and member of the Hindu trinity of deities, which also includes Shiva and Vishnu.

bullet Brahmin: A member of the priestly class in Hinduism -- the highest caste in India. The caste system still exists in India, and causes unbelievable levels of sufferning, even though the practice has been banned by the government.

bullet Brainwashing: (a.k.a. thought control, mind control, coercive persuasion). A non-violent method that uses mind control techniques to convince a person to abandon some of their basic beliefs and adopt the beliefs of the indoctrinator. The anti-cult movement teaches that many small religious groups, which they call cults, engage in brainwashing. Sociologists and mental health researchers who are not involved in the anti-cult movement generally reject the concept.

bullet Branch Davidians: Popular name for a doomsday, destructive cult, the Students of the Seven Seals, which was led by David Koresh. Dozens of their members died when their compound burned to the ground in Waco, TX.

bullet Brit Ha-Hayim: In reform Judaism, a ceremony celebrating the birth of a girl.

bullet British Israel movement: A belief that some within the ten lost tribes of Israel -- those conquered and assimilated by the Assyrians circa 722 BCE -- became the British people, and subsequently the inhabitants of the former British Empire, including the U.S. and Canada.

bullet Buchmanism: An organization founded by Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman (1878 - 1961) which evolved into "A First Century Christian Fellowship" at the time of World War I, and, later, "The Oxford Group" in 1929. The Oxford Group was the source of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs, and later became "Moral Re-Armament (MRA) in 1938. The goal of all of the groups was to change society one person at a time, by promoting absolute purity, unselfishness, honesty and love. 4

bullet Buddha: A Buddhist term used to refer to Prince Siddhartha, (560 - 480 BCE) after his enlightenment.

bullet Buddha Day: A celebration of the birthday of the Buddha.

bullet Buddhism: A world religion, founded in the 6th century BCE by a Hindu: Siddhartha Gautama, His followers called him "the Buddha" or "the enlightened one." It has about 300 million followers, almost all located in Asia. Buddhism is currently experiencing a rapid growth in North America. It is perhaps the least violent of the world's major religions.

bullet Bull: From the Latin word "bulla" a seal. A papal statement in which he speaks ex cathedra on a matter of belief or morality. Such a statement is regarded by Roman Catholics as infallible.

bullet Burning Man Festival: An annual gathering in Black Rock Desert, NV. Creative individuals celebrate artistic works, dance, chant, sing, etc. At the end of the festival, a wooden image in the form of a man is burned. This is apparently derived from the burning of a wicker statue of the spirit of vegetation by the ancient Celts. That statue also was in the form of a man.

References used:

  1. "Most adults feel accepted by God, but lack a biblical worldview," The Barna Group, 2005-AUG-09. at:
  2. Millard J. Erickson, "Christian Theology," Baker, (1985), Page 241.
  3. Steven Ibbotson, "Biblical Authority," Prairie bible Institute, (2000), at:
  4. "Religion: Less Buchmanism," Time Magazine, 1941-NOV-24, at:

Copyright © 1996 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written on: 1996-MAR-11
Last update and review: 2011-JAN-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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