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Glossary of religious & spiritual terms

Terms starting with the letter "GI" to "GY"

(Terms starting GA to GH are elsewhere)

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bulletGilgamesh epic: A flood story from ancient Pagan Babylon with many points of similarity to the Genesis flood. Religious liberals conclude that the Genesis account of the flood of Noah was derived from this Pagan source. Religious conservatives conclude that the Genesis flood story is precisely true, and that the Gilgamesh epic is a distorted record of the actual flood.

bullet GLBT: An acronym for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual. It is more frequently written as LGBT.

bullet

Glory: There are at least four religious meanings:

  • An aura: an indication of radiant light drawn around the head of a saint.

  • "Gloria Patri" is a doxology -- a short hymn of praise to God.

  • God's glory relates to how God's presence is experienced; it is often associated with thunderbolts, fire, bright lights, and other illuminations.

  • Glory is sometimes used to described Heaven, as in "Bound for Glory"

bullet Glossolalia or "speaking in tongues". In the first Centuries CE, it meant the ability of a person to communicate in a foreign language that they had never learned. e.g. a person raised speaking Greek and unable to speak any other language would suddenly be conversing in Aramaic. At the present time, it refers to a person who suddenly, in a state of religious ecstasy, starts speaking sounds that sound like language but do not represent any known tongue. The manifestation of glossolilia is an expected development in all Pentecostal believers and is a sign of the grace of God. It is also a common practice among charismatic Christians. More details are available.

bulletGnosis: A Greek word which literally means "knowledge." Insight or enlightenment capture the meaning of Gnosis better.

bulletGnosticism: This is pronounced with a silent "g"; it is derived from the Greek word gnosis (knowledge). It originated in the Middle East and Greece during pre-Christian times. The movement has been composed of many groups with differing beliefs. One common concept is that there are two Gods: one Supreme Father who is from the "good" spirit world, and one Demiurge (the Yahweh/Jehovah in the Bible) who created the evil material world. Salvation comes through knowledge and liberation from the material, earthly world to attain a higher level of spirituality. Christian Gnosticism was one of the three main movements in early Christianity; the other two being Jewish and Pauline Christianity. Many Gnostic sects were the victims of genocide by the early Christian Church. The movement has survived to the present day and is rapidly growing in numbers.

bulletGod: A supernatural being, generally male. Various religions assign different attributes and qualities to God, such as a body, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, love, hate, tolerance, intolerance, etc.

bulletGod, false: The deity worshiped by another religion. One faith groups' God is another faith group's false God.

bulletGoddess: a female supernatural being.

bulletGodwink: An event that a person regards as an answered prayer. A skeptic would regard it as a coincidence.

bulletGood works: Activities that are legal, pure of motive, and helpful to other persons. Romans 3:12 and other passages state that no unsaved person can perform good works. Many passages in Paul's epistles imply that salvation cannot be obtained by good works. Many passages in the synoptic gospels appear to teach the opposite.

bulletGospel: This has three main meanings:
bulletOne of the four books at the start of the Christian Scriptures which give an account of Jesus' life and which were accepted into the official canon of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament); e.g. the Gospel of Mark.

bulletOne of the many dozens of books about the life of Jesus, of which only four made it into the official canon; e.g. the Gospel of Thomas.

bulletThe message, found mainly in the writings of Paul, that the a person's belief that Jesus was resurrected will cause God to forgive their sins.

bulletGoy: Hebrew for nation or people. A Yiddish word for non-Jew.

bulletGrace: an Christian expression meaning "the free and unmerited assistance or favor or energy or saving presence of God in his dealings with humanity..."). 1 Grace is a gift of God and is not considered to be deserved by the individual. According to the Bible, those to whom God does not give grace are incapable of understanding the gospel message.

bulletGrace, Irresistible: One of the five points of Calvinism: the doctrine that every individual who God has elected (chosen) will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. None can resist.

bulletGreat rite: An act of ritual sex performed by many Neopagan traditions. It may involve actual sexual intercourse by a committed couple in private; alternatively, it may be symbolic in nature.

bulletGreat tribulation: See tribulation.

bulletGuided imagery: A therapeutic technique in which a facilitator tells a story which describes a scene or a passage through a group of scenes. It has been used by athletes in training, by physicians to help their patient's body cure itself, or simply to produce relaxation. It is a suggestive, quasi-hypnotic process that can, under certain circumstances, generate false memories without either the facilitator or client being aware of the process.

bulletGurdwara: Literally "the gateway of the Guru." This is a Sikh religious meeting place.

bulletGuru: Literally "one who dispels darkness" or one who is "heavy" with the weight of vast knowledge. A revered spiritual teacher who guides students towards enlightenment. It is a term commonly used in Eastern religions. It is also used in a secular sense to refer to an expert in some field, like an "economic guru."

bullet Gypsies: A synonym for Roma, sometimes derogatory. The Roma originated in northwest India who migrate across Europe by the 16th century. About a half million were murdered during the Nazi Holocaust, referred to by the Roma as "the devouring." They remain the most discriminated against group in Europe.

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Reference used:

  1. Quotation from T. Edward Damer, "Attacking Faulty Reasoning," Third Edition, Page 36.

Copyright © 1996 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written on: 1996-MAR-11
Last update: 2017-JUL-15
Author: B.A. Robinson
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