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Glossary of religious and spiritual terms

Words & phrases starting with letters "HI" to "HY"

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Words and phrases starting with "HA" to "HE" are listed separately

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bullet Higher criticism: The study of a section of the Bible to determine who wrote it, when it was written, its literary structure and its meaning.

bullet High Holy Days: A Jewish term that refers to the yearly observances of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

bullet Hijab: A scarf that many Muslim women use to cover their hair.

bullet Hijrah: The flight of Muhammad and fellow believers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. The Islamic calendar dates from this time.

bullet Hinayana: Sanskrit for "lesser vehicle." A Buddhist tradition that concentrates on personal enlightenment. There is no consensus on the exact meaning of the term.

bullet Hinduism: The third largest religion in the world, after Christianity and Islam. It is a henotheistic faith which exists in many hundreds of variations. It has about 750 million followers and is largely concentrated in India and Sri Lanka. Hinduism does not have a single founder, a specific theological system, a single system of morality, or a central religious organization. It consists of "thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BCE."
bullet Hok Hashvut: The Israeli Law of Return which guarantees every Jew the right to migrate to Israel.

bullet Holistic health, holistic medicine: Medical care involving the treatment of the whole person -- body, spirit and mind. Many holistic techniques have never had their efficacy or safety evaluated.
bullet Holocaust: From the Greek: "holos" (completely) and "kaustos" (burned sacrificial offering). When capitalized, the term usually refers to the Shoah, (a.k.a. Shoa and Sho'ah) the killing of five to seven million of European Jews by the Nazi government during World War II. Sometimes used to refer to the total Nazi extermination program, which included Jews, Roma (a.k.a Gypsies), Russians, Poles, other Slavs, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. totaling ten to fourteen million humans. The Roma refer to the event as the Porajmos (devouring).

bullet Holocaust denial: The belief that either the Nazi Holocaust did not happen, or that the number of Jews killed by the Nazis was relatively small.

bullet Holy: A person, place, time, or ritual set apart -- either by humans or by deity -- for the worship of God, Goddess, gods or goddesses.

bullet Holy communion: A synonym for Holy Eucharist, Divine Liturgy, Mass, or Lord's Supper. A ritual in which the congregation consumes solid and liquid food, typically bread, a wafer, wine or grape juice in remembrance of the death of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ). Roman Catholics believe that the wafer and wine actually become the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus. Most Protestants regard them as symbolic of Jesus' body and blood.

bullet Holy rollers: A derogatory term used to ridicule members of fundamentalist Christian faith groups who engage in ecstatic worship -- sometimes by dropping to the floor and rolling around while under the "spirit of the Lord." The term is most commonly applied to Pentecostals.

bullet Holy Spirit (a.k.a. Holy Ghost): The third person in the Christian Trinity. Some faith groups consider him to be an active force. Historically, Christianity has taught that the Holy Spirit is a  person, along with God the Father, and Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ).

bullet Homeopathy: An alternative treatment of disease involving the consumption of natural materials that simulate the symptoms of the disease. These materials are first diluted in pure water to such an extent that there are few if any molecules of the original material left. The efficacy of this treatment is rejected by most medical experts and skeptical scientists. It has the indirect potential of causing harm, because individuals may unsuccessfully seek a cure through homeopathy, and ignore the potential for a cure from a physician. The latter generally involve medication and/or treatments whose efficacy and safety have been proven.

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bullet Homophobia: Any attitude, action or institutional structure which systematically treats an individual or group of individuals differently because of their sexual orientation or their perceived sexual orientation. See also colorism, racism, religism, sexism, shadeism, and transphobia. The most common forms of homophobia in North America is discrimination against homosexuals and bisexuals in employment, accommodation, ordination, church membership, and freedom to marry. A secondary meaning is the belief that persons of one sexual orientation -- normally heterosexuality -- is inherently superior to persons who have other orientations. A tertiary meaning is fear or loathing of persons with a specific sexual orientation.

bullet Homosexual: This term has at least two conflicting meanings:
bullet It is sometimes used to refer to sexual feelings - what a person is: Gays, lesbians, sociologists, psychologists, researchers into human sexuality, members of liberal and some mainline faith groups normally define this as: One of three normal and natural sexual orientations experienced by adults, involving an exclusive, permanent, and unchosen attraction to members of the same gender. It is probably set up by a person's genetic coding, and enabled by some unknown event in the environment in early childhood.

bullet Usage by Evangelical/Fundamentalist and some mainline faith groups: A form of sexual behavior - what a person does: It is caused by a perverted, abnormal and unnatural attraction to members of the same gender. It is hated by God, but can be changed with some effort through prayer and counseling. It is caused by bad parenting or sexual molestation during childhood. It is chosen during teenage years, and is extremely addictive. Homosexuals can be be sexually active with members of the same gender only, or to persons of both genders.

bullet Homosexualist: A term used by some religious conservatives to refer to anyone -- whether they are heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual -- who supports equal rights for persons of minority sexual expression, including: gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals.

bullet Houris: A Muslim belief that beautiful, virgin women are available to men in Paradise (Heaven)

bullet Hudud: Punishments within Islam for spiritual or religious crimes.

bullet Humanism: A term with a variety of meanings, ranging from a study of the humanities (languages, literature, philosophy, history, etc.) to secular humanism (see below).

bullet Humanism, Secular: a non-theistic philosophy which promotes man as the measure of all things. It had its roots in the rationalism of the 18th Century and the free thought movement of the 19th Century.

bullet Huppah: Jewish term for a canopy where a marriage is performed.

bullet Hymn: From the Greek "to sing praise." Songs sung -- generally in praise to a God -- by a congregation or choir.

bullet Hymnals: A book of hymns.

bullet Hyper-Calvinism: The belief by some followers of Calvinism that a person has no responsibility for their own salvation; it is all up to God to choose who will be saved and be destined to live eternity in Heaven, and who will not be saved and will spend eternity being tortured in Hell.

bullet Hypnotism, hypnosis: A therapeutic technique in which the patient is placed in a trance. This places the patient in an extremely suggestive state. One of the dangers of hypnosis is the ease with which false memories can be created.

bullet Hypostatic union: The concept that Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) has two natures: one fully divine and one fully human. This is the belief system -- one of many -- about the nature of Jesus that was adopted by the early Christian church. It became the majority belief and has remained so.

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Words and phrases starting with "HA" to "HE" are listed separately

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Copyright 1996 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written on: 1996-MAR-11
Last update: 2016-DEC-26
Author: B.A. Robinson
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