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Religious & spiritual terms
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bullet Cabala (also spelled Cabalah, Caballa, Caballah, Cabbala, Cabbalah, Cabballa, Cabballah, and various spellings starting with the letters K or Q): A Jewish mystical tradition with roots in Palestine during the 1st century CE and which developed during the 12th century. It uses occultic (hidden) knowledge to interpret the Torah. It is currently enjoying a surge in popularity.
bullet Caliph: Muslim term for community leader.
bullet Calvinism: A system of Christian belief laid down by John Calvin. It emphasizes predestination -- that certain people are fated to be saved and others are selected by God to be not saved and spend eternity in Hell. The selection is not done on the basis of any action that they have performed during their life on earth.
bullet CAN: An acronym for the Cult Awareness Network.
bullet Canon: The Canon of Scripture in Christianity refers to the set of books selected from among the books of the Hebrew Scriptures, the dozens of gospels, and many dozens of epistles, to form the Bible. Some canons contain just the 39 books of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and 27 books in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). Other canons include the Apocrypha. Some liberal theologians have recommended that the canon be opened for additional writings, like the Gospel of Thomas -- often regarded as the fifth gospel.
bullet Canon law: A term used primarily within the Roman Catholic church to refer to a collection of church laws.
bullet Canonization:
bullet The process by which a Christian becomes a saint.
bullet The process by which writings are accepted into a holy book, like the Christian Scriptures (New Testament)
bullet Cantor (Latin term for a singer): A person who recites and sings liturgical materials in Jewish religious services. 
bullet Cantheism (a.k.a. Kantheism) refers to religions based, at least in part, on the use of the cannabis plant from which marijuana is derived. Some Animist and Shamanist faiths use cannabis, as do some traditions within Hinduism, Rastafarianism, Satanism, and Zoroastrianism.
bullet Cardinal: Bishops in the Roman Catholic church who advise the pope. They meet as a group to elect a new pope as needed.
bullet Cardinal Doctrines of Christianity: Lists of beliefs of the foundational beliefs that all modern-day Christians should believe in. Although lists differ, they often include some of the following: biblical inerrancy, the deity of Jesus, the virgin birth, Jesus' bodily resurrection, the Trinity, the Atonement, criteria for salvation. Many of these beliefs were not shared by the primitive Christian movement.
bullet Castrato: (Plural castrati): An adult male singer with a soprano, mezzo-soprano or alto voice. They retained their prepubescent vocal range because they were castrated before puberty. This was a practice within the Roman Catholic Church from about 1500 CE. Castrati were banned by the pope in 1902.
bullet Catechism: From the Greek "katecheo" -- to sound aloud. A training program to educate a person in the fundamentals of Christianity. It is often organized in a question and answer format.
bullet Catholic: This came from the Greek word Katholikos which means "throughout the whole" or "universal." This implies a world-wide faith, rather than a local one. The Nicene Creed, recited in the churches of many Christian denominations, speaks of "one holy catholic and apostolic church."  Many faith groups refer to themselves as Catholic: the Roman Catholic Church, centered in the Vatican; Anglo-Catholics (within the Anglican Communion); and Evangelical Catholics (among Lutherans).
bullet Catholic Charismatic Renewal: The acceptance of certain Pentecostal beliefs and practices within the Roman Catholic church. This has also happened within Protestant denominations, where it is generally referred to as Charismatic Movement.
bullet CE (a.k.a. C.E.): An acronym for "common era." A religiously-neutral calendar notation that is numerically equivalent to the "AD" notation without the connotation that the user recognizes Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) to be God. Some non-Christians find the use of "AD" to be offensive.
bullet Celibate, Celibacy: This is a word in transition. In the past, it has simply meant to be unmarried. More recently, it has evolved to mean the act of sexual abstinence. We recommend that the word never be used, unless it is carefully pre-defined. We recommend "unmarried" and "sexually inactive" or "a virgin" as preferred, unambiguous terms.
bullet Celebrant: A minister or priest -- or in some denominations, a member of the laity -- who leads a worship service which includes communion.
bullet Ceremony: A ritual observance and procedure performed at grand and formal occasions. A marriage is one example of a ceremony.
bullet Cessationism: The belief that tongues, and other special gifts enjoyed by believers in the early Christian movement faded early in the history of the church, and are thus not present today. The time of cessation is variously defined as the date of the completion of the last book of the Christian Scriptures or the death of the last Apostle. Antonym: Continuationism.
bullet Chakra: This is a term used in some traditions in Buddhism and the New Age to refer to seven points of energy concentration throughout a person's central nervous system -- in their brain and along their spine.
bullet Chalice:
bullet A special drinking cup used in some Christian communion services to hold wine.
bullet It was adopted as the official symbol of the Unitarian Service Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Association, and is used by hundreds of UU congregations. 3
bullet Among Wiccans and other Neopagans, it is a goblet used to hold either a beverage or water for ritual use.
bullet Channeling: A practice common among New Agers in which the spirit of a deceased master teacher is contacted in order to receive guidance and knowledge.
bullet Chanukah: (a.k.a. Hanukka): The Jewish festival of lights which recalls a miracle at the time of the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem circa 164 BCE. A small quantity of oil burned for many days. With the heavy commercialization of Christmas, this minor Jewish holiday has taken on greater importantce.
bullet Charismatic movement: The adoption of certain Pentecostal beliefs and practices within Protestant denominations. The same phenomenon has occurred within the Roman Catholic Church where it is called the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
bullet Chiliasm: From the Greek term for 1000: The belief that Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) will reign on Earth for 1,000 years. Synonym for millennium.
bullet Chiromancy: The prediction of a person's past and future through palm reading.
bullet Chosen people: A belief from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that the Jewish people were chosen by God to receive the Torah and spread the word of God throughout the Earth. Many conservative Protestants teach the principle of Supercessionism (a.k.a. Replacement Theology): that God unilaterally terminated his covenants with the Jewish people and transferred them to the followers of Christianity. 
bullet Christ: From a Greek word meaning to rub down an athlete with lineament. It refers to a Hebrew word (Messiah in English) that means "an anointed one," e.g. a king of Israel or a prophet. Jesus' real name was Yeshua of Nazareth.
bullet Christadelphianism: A small Christian religious group with non-traditional beliefs. They teach that Jesus was a created being,  that the Holy Spirit is a power or energy rather than the third personality in the Trinity. They deny the traditional concepts of heaven and hell
bullet Christian: This term was derived indirectly from the Greek word for Messiah. It has many meanings:
bullet Census offices consider any person or group to be Christian if they devoutly, seriously regards themselves to be Christian. Thus, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Roman Catholic, and members of the Unification Church are Christians.  Many groups, particularly conservative Christians, regard many of these denominations as heretical "cults" and not part of Christianity.
bullet Webster's New World Dictionary: "A person believing in Jesus as the Christ, or in the religion based upon the teachings of Jesus."
bullet Concise Oxford Dictionary: "Person believing in, professing or belonging to the religion of Christ." (They don't define exactly what the religion of Christ is, or which of the thousands of denominations and sects represent this religion.)
bullet Evangelical/Fundamentalist usage: often used to refer only to fellow conservative Christian faith groups or to "saved" individuals.
bullet Christian Atheism: A person who has no belief in a deity, who believes that Jesus was a prophet, and follows his behavioral teachings. See: Death of God Theology
bullet Christian evidences: A branch of Apologetics that deals with attempts to prove that Christianity and/or the Bible is true. Much effort is expended by conservative Christians to prove that creation, the great flood, the tower of Babel, virgin birth, resurrection, Exodus, attack on Canaan etc. happened exactly as explained in the Bible. Their expectation is that no evidence from archaeology, geology, cosmology, astronomy or any other science will disprove the inerrancy of the Bible.
bullet Christian Identity: A small, racist, radical group within Christianity which has adopted a belief similar to that of British Israelism. They teach that the ten lost tribes of Israel became the Anglo-Saxon race. Many Identity groups teach that Eve engaged in sexual relations with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and that the Jews were the product of that union.

bullet Christianist: This is a term whose meaning has changed over the past four centuries. Recently it has been used to refer to fundamentalist Christians, mostly in the United States, for the ideology of the Christian right. This latest meaning of the term is credited to conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan who wrote critically in the New York Times during the mid-2003: "Christianists ... are as anathema to true Christians as the Islamists are to true Islam." 4

bullet Christian Science: A Christian denomination founded in 1879 in Boston, MA, by Mary Baker Eddy. It promotes spiritual healing, that sickness and matter is not real, and that one should avoid medical help. The life expectancy of Christian Scientists appears to be significantly shorter than for the general population.
bullet Christological Monotheism: A belief system that attempts to preserve the Jewish concept of Yahweh as the only existing deity while including Jesus within the identity of Yahweh without making Jesus a separate demi-god.
bullet Christology: The study of the personality, attributes and/or life of Yeshua of Nazareth, a.k.a. Jesus Christ. The term is derived from two Greek words, for "messiah" and "formal study."
bullet Christmas: This is held on DEC-25, the nominal date of the birth of Yeshua of Nazareth, after whose life the Christian religion is patterned. The western church uses the Gregorian calendar and the eastern church uses the Julian calendar. So Christmas is celebrated on two different days.
bullet Chupah: A Jewish wedding canopy which represents the home that the groom is expected to maintain.
bullet Church: The Greek word ekklesia (to call out) in the Bible is generally translated as "church." In modern usage, it may refer to:
bullet All people, living or dead, who are Christians.
bullet A specific wing of Christianity, as in the Roman Catholic Church
bullet A specific Christian denomination or sect, like the Presbyterian Church (USA), or
bullet A specific congregation, like the First Baptist Church.
bullet A non-Christian religion, like the Wiccan Church of Canada
bullet Circumcision: From a Latin word to "cut around:" The removal of the skin that covers the tip of a penis. In Judaism, it is performed during the brit milah ceremony, usually at the age of eight days. In some African countries it is conducted at various times between birth and puberty, depending on local culture. In North America it is often done for appearance purposes. The term is sometimes use to refer to female genital mutilation.
bullet Circumcision of Jesus: A Christian holy day held in remembrance of Jesus' circumcision. Since the month and date of Jesus' birth is unknown, this holy day was arbitrarily selected.
bullet Civil religion: Rowland Sherrill describes it as: "... a form of devotion, outlook and commitment that deeply and widely binds the citizens of the nation together with ideas they possess and express about the sacred nature, the sacred ideals, the sacred character, and sacred meanings of their country. Civil religion is the mysterious way that religion, politics, ideas of nationhood, patriotism, etc. energized by faith outlooks represent a national force. 1 The term was created by Rousseau in his writing "On the Social Contract" 1762.
bullet Civil union: A voluntary union of two adult persons of the same sex. The couple typically receives all of the state benefits, obligations, and protections as married opposite-sex couples are given, but none of the 1,050 or so federal benefits. In the U.S., they were first made available in Vermont. See also domestic partnership.
bullet Clergy: An ordained Christian priest, pastor or minister. In Judaism, a rabbi. Some conservative faith groups restrict the clergy to males. It is sometimes use generically to refer to any religious leader.
bullet Collective Responsibility: The concept that an entire group of people (e.g. all of a certain sex, religion, skin color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc) are all equally responsible for the act of one person in the group. This is a logical outgrowth of the biblical principle of transferability of sin. Until recent decades most Christian faith groups extended the concept of collective responsibility to extend over millennia by holding all modern-day Jews responsible for the execution of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) by the Roman occupying army in Judea almost 2,000 years previously.

Colorism: (a.k.a.colourism in Canada, or shadism): A form of racism within the African American community that gives preferential treatment to light skinned persons. See also: homophobia, racism, religism, sexism, shadeism, and transphobia

bullet Coming, second: (a.k.a. Parousia): The belief that Jesus will descend to earth as described in the biblical book Revelation, leading a massive army. As the 21st century approached, approximately one in four American adults believed that this would happen during their lifetime.
bullet Commandments: In Jewish tradition, there are 613 commandments in the Torah: 248 positive and 365 negative. Of these, about two dozen are described in Exodus 20:2-17 which are grouped together to total ten commandments. These are held in high regard by both Jews and Christians, although few can list their topics.
bullet Communion:
bullet A Christian ritual, sometimes called the Eucharist, or Mass, or Lord's supper involving the sharing of bread and wine (or a wine substitute) during a service. At the time of the early church, only baptized Christians were allowed to be present during communion. When Pagans started to spread the rumor that cannibalism was involved, this part of the service was opened to the public. Alternative names for communion are: Eucharist, Divine Liturgy, Last Supper, etc.
bullet A group of believers or a group of denominations. The Anglican Communion, for example, is a group of national churches who share many beliefs and practices in common.
bullet Comparative religion: The study of world religions to determine their points of similarity and difference. In practice, this is difficult to do on an impartial basis. Authors often consider their own branch of their own religion to be "true," and all other branches of their religion, and all other religions to be "false." Many fundamentalist Christians regard non-Christian religions as forms of Satanism.

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bullet Complementarianism: A belief by mostly conservative Jews, Christians and Muslims that God intends women to hold very different but complementiary roles from men within marriage, employment, and faith groups. In practice, the principle often relegates women to positions of little power.
bullet Completed Jews: A term used by conservative Christians to refer to Jews who have embraced Messianic Judaism -- a blend of Jewish tradition and ceremonies with Fundamentalist theological beliefs about Jesus Christ and the Trinity. It is considered a highly derogatory term by most Jews.
bullet Concestor: An animal species, typically long extinct, which is the ancestor to two later-evolved species. For example, according to the theory of evolution, the concestor shared by humans and chimpanzees lived about six million years ago. There are 40 concestors between humans and the first life forms which lived about 3.8 billion years ago. 
bullet Concreated holiness: This is the belief that when God created Adam, that Adam's will was created holy. His natural inclination was thus to behave in a holy manner.
bullet Concupiscence: From the Latin word "concupiscentia:" the natural inclination or innate tendency of humans to perform evil deeds.
bullet Conditionalism  (a.k.a.Conditional immortality): Synonyms for annihilationism -- the concept that the inhabitants of Hell will not be tortured forever, but will be exterminated.
bullet Confessing Church: The Roman Catholic Church and most Evangelical (i.e. Protestant) denominations cooperated extensively with Hitler and the German Nazis during the 1930s and early 1940s. However the "Pastors' Emergency League" founded by Detrich Bonhoeffer, Pastor Niemoller, and other ministers opposed the Nazi's aryanization of German Christianity. The League grew into the Confessing Church. Many of its leaders were executed by the Nazis.
bullet Confessionalism: As a religious term, it means that each member of a faith group is expected to adhere fully to the group's entire belief system. No dissent is allowed. The Amish might be regarded as a good example of confessionalism. Those congregations affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association might be regarded as an opposite extreme; they respect, encourage, and expect diversity of belief.
bullet Confucianism: An indigenous system of thought which originated in China about 500 BCE. It is considered by some to be a religion, by others a humanistic philosophy. Founded by Confucius (551-479 BCE)
bullet Congregation: This word is another of those religious terms with multiple meanings. It can refer to:
bullet The members belonging to a specific place of worship.
bullet A religious organization, as in the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto.
bullet An administrative body within the Curia of the Roman Catholic Church, as in the  Congregation of for the Doctrine of the Faith -- formerly called the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition.
bullet A group of professed members of a Roman Catholic religious congregation. Congregations are similar to religious orders, except that the members only take simple vows.

The term can also refer to an assembly of senior members at a university.

bullet Conservative: Within Christianity, this is one wing of the religion, composed of Fundamentalists, other Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Charismatics, and members of most independent churches. Other wings of Christianity include mainline Christianity, liberal Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Anglican Communion(s), and Eastern Orthodoxy. Conservative Judaism was organized as a reaction to Reform Judaism, the largest of the three main wings of the religion.
bullet Consubstantiality: The belief that Jesus is of the same substance (homoousion in Greek) as God the Father. This belief was promoted by those who taught that God, Son and Holy Spirit formed a Trinity. Opposing them was Arius who regarded this as a Pagan polytheistic concept. He taught that Jesus was of similar substance (homoiousion in Greek) to God the Father. The difference of one letter (o,i) caused a great deal of angry debate in the church; the two sides were evenly matched. Constantine applied political pressure to have homoousion accepted at the Council of Nicea. This has been the teachings of almost all Christian faith groups ever since.
bullet Consubstantiation: The belief that the bread and body of Jesus during communion form one substance, and that the wine and blood of Jesus similarly form one substance. This is often falsely attributed to Martin Luther.
bullet Contemplation: In a religious sense, the practice of meditation on spiritual matters.
bullet Contemplative prayer: This is an ancient Christian practice that was suppressed by the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages and is rejected by many conservative Protestants today. It consists of wordless form of prayer in which one simply exists in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Some Christians believe that the Holy Spirit lives in each baptized Christian; others believe that he exists indwells every saved person.
bullet Contextualization: A method of analyzing the Bible which attempts to differentiate between the meaning of the text and "the cultural and historical context in which it is given." 2 The result is that when one tries to interpret the meaning of a biblical passage in terms of today's culture, the meaning of the text may have to change. For example, in Genesis 9:1. humans are urged to be fruitful and multiply. That made sense in days when there were so many childhood diseases, and warfare. The opposite command -- to limit one's fertility -- might make more sense today.
bullet Continuationism: The belief that tongues, prophecy, healing, and other special gifts enjoyed by believers in the early Christian movement have continued to the present time. Antonym: cessationism.
bullet Conversion: the act of changing one's beliefs from one religion to another or from one faith group to another within the same religion. It is be a capital offense in some predominately Muslim lands to convert from Islam to another religion.
bullet Conversionism: the belief that lives of all humans need to be changed by way of a "born again" decision in which they repent of their sins and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
bullet Conversos (a.k.a. New Christians): A group of Jews in Spain who converted to Roman Catholicism in order to escape brutal violence and oppression during the 14th and 15th century.
bullet Corpus Christi:
bullet A Roman Catholic holy day which commemorates the Eucharist - a ritual in which they believe that a wafer and wine become the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ.
bullet A city in Texas
bullet A nuclear attack submarine whose full name is "USS City of Corpus Christi" It has four 21" torpedo tubes and can launch Harpoon and Tomahawk missiles and MK-48 torpedoes.
bullet Cosmogeny: beliefs about the origin of the universe. While over 95% of scientists and many other North American adults believe that the world and the rest of the universe is billions of years old, many conservative Christians believe in a universe less than 10,000 years of age.
bullet Cosmogony: (From the Greek: "cosmo" meaning universe; "gony" meaning origin): A religious or scientific model of the origin of the universe. The most common models in North America involve the "big bang" and creation of the universe by God.
bullet Cosmology: (From the Greek: "cosmo" meaning universe; "logos" meaning study). Beliefs about the structure of the universe. Many religious texts have a pre-scientific view of the makeup of the earth, the solar system and the rest of the universe.
bullet Cosmophobia: (From the Greek: "cosmo" meaning universe; "phobia" meaning fear). David Morrison at the NASA Lunar Science Institute coined the term in 2009. He defined it as: "an unreasoning fear of the cosmos."
bullet Council, ecumenical: A series of meetings of the bishops of the Christian Church to settle doctrinal and organizational matters, in which the decisions were accepted by the entire Church. During the first centuries of the Christian movement, there was no single leader in charge, so disputes had to be settled by councils.
bullet Counter cult movement (CCM): A group made up mainly of Fundamentalist and other Evangelical Protestant organizations which opposes and criticizes new religious movements (NRMs) because of the latter's unorthodox and/or novel theological beliefs. More details.
bullet Counter reformation: A reform movement within the Roman Catholic church taken shortly after -- an in response to -- the Protestant Reformation.
bullet Coven: a local group of Wiccans or other Neo-pagans. During the "burning times" when Christian groups were tracking down and exterminating heretics, it was believed that each coven held 13 members. This was and is not true; covens can be of any size, but are most often perhaps about a half-dozen.
bullet Covenant: "Berith" in Hebrew and "diatheke" in Greek: An agreement between two persons which are obligatory on both parties. Most commonly used to refer to various covenants between God and the Hebrews. Jews believe that these covenants are permanent; some Christians believe that God unilaterally abrogated them and selected Christians to be the new chosen people.
bullet Covenant Theology: A Christian concept which teaches the unity of the Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Scriptures (Old and New Testament). The covenants of the Hebrew Scriptures are not done away with the arrival of Christ on Earth; they are still binding on humans today. Ancient Jews were not saved by animal sacrifice. Such rituals were only symbolic of Jesus' self-sacrifice. See also New Covenant Theology.
bullet Creed: Fropm the Latin word "credere" -- to believe. A short statement of religious belief, usually motivated by a desire to emphasize church teaching as opposed to a heresy. There are a number of creeds within the Christian religion: the Apostles creed, Nicene creed are the most popular. However, the former is little used in Eastern Orthodox churches.
bullet Criticism: When referring to the Bible, this refers to a method of analyzing its text:
bullet Lower criticism is the analysis of the text in order to understand its meaning and detect any forgeries, mistranslations, etc.
bullet Higher criticism is an attempt to determine when the passage was written, who wrote it, where it was written, what their purpose was, whether it was imported into the Bible from another source, etc. One example of the results of higher criticism is the documentary hypothesis concerning the authorship of the first five books in the Hebrew Scripture, which most mainline and liberal theologians accept.
bullet Cross, sign of: A movement, commonly used among Roman Catholics, in which the right hand touches the forehead, chest, left shoulder, and right shoulder in sequence. Orthodox believers cross themselves from right to left. 
bullet Crucicentrism: Making the substitutionary atonement by Christ on the cross central to a Christian belief system.
bullet Crucifix: A religious symbol representing Jesus nailed to the cross. Most crucifixes lack accuracy because they portray a partly clothed man nailed through his palms. The Romans crucified people naked, with their wrists nailed (or their arms tied) to the crossbar. Another possible inaccuracy relates to the shape of the cross. It is not clear whether Jesus was executed on a Roman cross -- as essentially all crucifixes show -- or on a cross in the form of a capital "T," or on a vertical stake. Also, for reasons of efficiency, the distance from the victim's feet to ground level was small.
bullet Cruciform: an object in the form of a cross. The term is often used to describe buildings and jewelry.
bullet Crucifixion: A method of carrying out the death penalty which involved physical abuse of the victim, stripping him/her of all clothing, tying or nailing the arms and legs to a cross or stake, and abandoning the victim to die. The corpse was often partly eaten by scavengers. The body was generally denied a proper burial; it was tossed on a garbage heap. Crucifixion was widely used within the Roman Empire to execute either slaves or rebels.
bullet Crypto-jew: A person who adheres to Judaism while publicly professing to be of another faith. This was most often seen in countries where Judaism was under oppression, like Nazi Germany during the mid 20th century, or in Spain during the 14th & 15th century.
bullet Crystals: These are materials which have their molecules arranged in a specific, highly ordered internal pattern. This pattern is reflected in the crystal's external structure which typically has symmetrical surfaces. Many common substances, from salt to sugar, and from diamonds to quartz, form crystals. They can be shaped so that they will vibrate at a specific frequency and are widely used in radio communications and computing devices. Many New Agers, Wiccans, and other Neopagans and others believe that crystals possess healing energy.
bullet Cult: From the Latin word "cultus" -- meaning worship. Cult is a word with many religious meanings (and some secular as well) which should be used with great care to avoid misunderstanding. We recommend the neutral term "new religious movement" be used in its place. An even better practice is to refer to a religious group by its name:
  1. Traditional theological usage: a style of worship and its associated rituals. It can be applied to any faith group.
  2. Sociological usage: a small religious group that exists in a state of tension with the predominant religion; e.g. Christianity in Pakistan.
  3. General religious usage: a small, recently created religious group; not a variant of an established religion. Often headed by a single charismatic leader.
  4. Evangelical usage: a religious group that considers themselves to be Christian but which denies one or more historical beliefs of Protestant Christianity.
  5. Counter-cult movement usage: Same as Evangelical usage.
  6. Anti-cult movement usage: a small, evil religious group, often with a single charismatic leader, who engage in deceptive recruiting, brainwashing and other mind control techniques to reduce the membership to near-zombie state. 
  7. Popular belief: A doomsday, dangerous, destructive religious movement whose members risk their life to belong.
bullet Cult apologist: Derogatory term used to refer to:
bullet Academics who investigate new religious movements and often report that they are harmless.
bullet Members of new religious movements who defend their groups against criticism from the anti-cult movement and/or counter-cult movement
bullet Cult Awareness Network (CAN): Originally, an anti-cult group which targeted new religious movements. CAN was forced into bankruptcy because of their criminal activities linking the parents of members of new religious movements with kidnappers and re-programmers. In an ironic twist, their name and other assets were purchased by the Foundation for Religious Freedom, which teaches tolerance of other faith groups.
bullet Curate: In the Anglican communion, an assistant pastor.
bullet Cybersuicide: Suicides or suicide attempts triggered or otherwise influenced by websites on the Internet.

References used:

  1. Rowland Sherrill is chair of Religious Studies at Indiana University, Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN. The quote appears in Web Sage Publishing, at:

  2. Alan Cairns, "Dictionary of Theological Terms," Ambassador-Emerald Int, (1998), Page 101.

  3. Daniel D. Hotchkiss, "The History of the Flaming Chalice," Pamphlet by the Unitarian Universalism Association. A modified text is at:

  4. "Christianism," Wikipedia, as on 2011-NOV-21, at:

Copyright 1996 to 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written on: 1996-MAR-11
Last update and review: 2019-JUL-06
Author: B.A. Robinson
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