Religious terms starting
with the letters "PR to PY"
See elsewhere for terms starting with
the letters PA or PB to PQ
Prayer: The act of attempting to verbally communicate with the
supernatural. It is found in almost all the religions of the world.
Communal prayer, as during a church service, is
forbidden in Matthew 6:5-8 in favor of private prayer in isolation. Its
purpose within Christianity is to assess the will of
God for one's life, to commune with God, to praise God, to give thanks to
God, to repent of sinful behavior, to ask forgiveness, to seek a favor from
God, and (occasionally) to ask God to curse an opponent.
Predestination: This is a controversial doctrine promoted by John
Calvin and other theologians. God has divided humanity into two groups: a
small percentage of people who God will save and who will attain heaven. God
has decided to not save a much larger group; they will spend eternity being tortured
without mercy in Hell. Only after God chooses an individual can they
understand and accept salvation.
Pregnancy, start of:
General medical definition: Pregnancy begins when the
pre-embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus, about 12 days after
Common pro-life definitions: Pregnancy begins at conception,
or shortly afterwards when a unique DNA is formed.
Prelate: From the Latin praelatus which means to be set above. A prelate is a high ranking Christian ecclesiastic, typically a cardinal, bishop, or abbot.
Premillennialism: a belief that the moral condition of the world is degenerating,
that a period of great suffering will occur in the near future, that "born
again" believers will rise from the earth to be with Jesus,
and that Jesus Christ will establish himself as king and start a 1,000 year
of peace. Originally a Christian heresy in the early church, this belief is
now promoted by most
The name of a Christian denomination, like the Presbyterian Church,
USA, who trace their spiritual roots back to Calvin.
A method of church government by the ministers and representative
elders from each congregation in a given district.
Presuppositionalism: a conservative Christian
method of apologetics that accepts on faith that
God exists and that the Bible
is true. No attempt is made to prove these beliefs logically or
from evidence. Leading proponents of presuppositional apologetics include
Greg Bahsen, John Frame, Abraham Kuyper, and Cornelius Van Til. An alternate
approach is evidentialism.
Preterism: A Christian belief system in which some or all of
the end-time events specified in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament)
are believed to have already been fulfilled. They were accomplished in the
past, particularly during the Roman-Jewish war of 66 to 73
Preterist: A Christian who believes in Preterism.
Prevenient grace: (a.k.a. prevenial grace) An Armenian belief found in Methodism and the Wesleyan
movement. It teaches that the natural person is so hopelessly fallen due to
the sin of Adam and Eve that they are totally unable to sense the need for
salvation. However, God extends to humans sufficient grace so that, through
the use of free will, they may accept salvation.
Pre-wrath Rapture (a.k.a. prewrath rapture): The belief among
some evangelical Christians that born-again Christians will have to endure
much of the tribulation on Earth.
A religious leader found in ancient Judaism, ancient and modern
Paganism, and modern-day Roman Catholicism, the Anglican Communion, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Hinduism, etc.
A male Wiccan or other Neopagan.
Female religious leaders are sometimes called priestesses -- as in
the case of Neopagans -- and sometimes called priests -- as in the case
of Anglicans, and are sometimes prohibited from becoming leaders, -- as
in the case of many religiously conservative faith groups.
Priesthood of all believers: The belief that saved individuals
can have access to God directly, without the need for a professional
priesthood to act as intermediaries.
Pro-aborts: A derogatory term used mainly by U.S. religious and social
conservatives to refer both to the majority of American adults who
favor abortion access (pro-choicers), and to the small number of Americans
who actively promote abortion as a solution to unwanted pregnancy.
Pro-choice: A belief that pregnant women should have free, or
relatively free, access to abortion. There is a range of beliefs among
people who consider themselves pro-choice: some would allow the woman to
have an abortion for any reason up to the moment of birth. Others would
restrict access to abortion under various conditions. Common reasons held by
some pro-choice advocates include a pregnancy in its later stages when the
fetus is sentient, abortions for the purpose of sex selection, and/or cases where the fetus
is minimally genetically defective There is no consensus on the meaning of
the term, although many people hold firmly to their own definition as the
only correct one.
Pro-life: A belief that pregnant women should have limited or no
access to abortion. There is a range of beliefs among people who consider
themselves pro-life: some would allow the woman and the fetus to die rather
than terminate the life of the fetus; others would allow abortion for
specific reasons but criminalize it under all other situations. Common
reasons held by some pro-life advocates to allow abortion are: pregnancies
resulting from rape, pregnancies arising from incest, pregnancies in which
the fetus is very seriously genetically malformed and would quickly die,
and/or pregnancies that would seriously harm the health and perhaps cause
permanent disability to the woman if they are not terminated. There is no
consensus on the meaning of the term "pro-life", although many people hold
firmly to their own definition as the only correct one. In recent years, the
meaning of the term has expanded to include matters related to
assisted suicide, in-vitro
fertilization, the death penalty,
pre-implantation diagnosis, stem-cell research, etc.
Process Theology: A view of God which is based on the writings
of Alfred North Whitehead. The traditional view of a immutable,
omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent deity is replaced by a God is who
is in process. He is constantly changing, learning, and evolving along
with humanity. God affects history indirectly through gentle persuasion
and not directly by coercion. He does not intrude directly in human
activities; he does not violate the laws of nature by creating a miracle.
Rather, "God gently persuades all entities towards this perfection by
providing each of them with a glimpse of the divine vision of a better
future. And yet all entities retain the freedom to depart from that
Procreation: Reproduction: conceiving and bearing babies. Among
most opposite-sex couples, this is normally done through sexual intercourse.
Among same-sex couples and infertile opposite-sex couples, this typically
involves in-vitro fertilization or artificial insemination.
When used to refer to language, "Profane" generally describes
cursing, irreverent speech, or action.
When used In a religious sense, "profane" means something that is
not sacred and not associated with religion.
Progressive Christianity: A loosely organized very liberal wing
of Christianity whose believers look upon Christianity as one of many
valid spiritual paths and who stress seeking truth, social justice,
concern for the environment, and peace. Their groups are open to persons
of all genders, races, sexual orientations, classes, abilities and such
religious minorities as agnostics and skeptics. 2
Progressive sanctification: A Christian term which refers to the process by which
the Holy Spirit helps a born-again Christian to grow spiritually,
Christ-like, and abandon sinful behaviors.
Proof-text: A part of a verse, or a complete verse, or a passage in the Bible, which
appears to clearly and directly support an answer to a specific question.
Promise Keepers: A conservative Christian men's movement founded in
1990 by Bill McCartney. It encourages men to accept more responsibilities
for their personal behavior and for their family roles. It is strongly opposed to racism. They promote a
family structure in which men take a leadership role in families. They oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians.
Prooftexting: The use of a quotation from the Bible or other book, usually taken out of context, to support a belief or action. "Choose life" is a phrase taken from the Bible that is often used to support the abolition of abortion. Read in its biblical context, the phrase has nothing to do with abortion.
Prophet: In the times of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)
a person, almost always male, who was a religious reformer. They claimed
to speak for God mainly on matters of ethics and morality. In more recent times, a person who predicts future events.
Prophecy: The foretelling of the future through a direct
revelation from God.
Proselytize: To attempt to convert another person to your
Protection of marriage, : The terms "protection of marriage"
"protection of traditional marriage" are used by religious and social
conservatives to refer to activity designed to give special privileges to
opposite-sex couples and to prevent loving committed
same-sex couples from marrying and thereby protecting themselves and their
children with approximately 1,500 state and federal government benefits,
rights and obligations.
Protestantism: This word has many overlapping definitions. A few
A grouping of thousands of Christian denominations that trace their
history back to the Protestant Reformation, and the split with the Roman
Catholic church over the authority of the pope, the grounds for
salvation, the status of the Bible, and the priesthood of all believers.
A Christian denomination that is not Roman Catholic, Eastern
Orthodox, or the Anglican Communion. This is the definition that we
generally use on our website.
A Christian denomination that is neither Roman Catholic nor Eastern
Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion: A document forged by the
Russian Secret Police in the early 20th century. It was based
on an earlier French novel, and was promoted as evidence of an
international Jewish conspiracy to rule the world. It is still circulated
by some rabidly antisemitic groups, and has been featured in the media in
some Muslim countries. It was sold in Wal-Mart online book
store until removed shelves on 2004-SEP. It is available online at
Amazon.com. However, they have the decency to note that it is a forgery. 3
Protoevangelium: Greek for "first
message." This is found in Genesis 3:15. It relates to the
relationship between Eve and the snake in the
Garden of Eden. Historical Christianity interprets the serpent as
Satan, and has taught that this verse predicts how the impact of Adam's
and Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden would be undone millennia later by the
Messiah, who will bring the possibility of salvation to all. Thus, the verse anticipates the
Pseudobaptist: A term used to refer to Baptist denominations,
congregations and ministers who baptize infants.
Pseudepigrapha: The name given to a collection of over 50
anonymous Jewish writings from the 5th century BCE to second century CE that
are not part of the Hebrew Scriptures but are often attributed to biblical
Public square: In a religious and moral sense, this is the
figurative "place" where opinions are shared in the expectation of
influencing government policies. Some faith groups complain that their
religious beliefs are not given adequate access to the public square.
Pulpit Theft: A term used to refer to clergy who buy canned
sermons from the Internet or elsewhere and pass them on as their own
http://www.desperatepreachers.com as one example.
Punya (a.k.a. Puñña): A term in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism
that refers to merit that a person accumulates as a result of good deeds,
acts or thoughts. After death, this merit carries over into the person's next life.
Pure: A term used by conservative Christians to refer to the
approximately five percentage of
teens or young adults who have not become sexually active before
marriage. Many who are not conservative Christians regard
sexual activity within a committed relationship prior to marriage to be a
moral decision, which makes neither partner less pure; they consider the term
Pure Land: A Buddhist term for a Land of Ultimate Bliss
into which a person can be reborn after death and in which they can seek
enlightenment without being subject to retrogression (rebirth on earth or
in a lower realm).
Purgatory: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that almost
everyone who is not sent to hell at death will go to this place and/or
state. They will be purified through punishment for
an interval of time before going to heaven. Belief in Purgatory was never accepted by the
Orthodox Churches; it has been rejected by the Protestant Churches.
Pyramid power: The concept that objects in the shape of the
Egyptian pyramids can concentrate power, preserve materials or heal. We
have never seen any scientific studies which have supported this belief.
See elsewhere for terms starting with
the letters PA or PB to PQ