Shadism: (a.k.a. colorism): A form of racism within the African American community that gives preferential treatment to light skinned persons. See: colorism, homophobia, racism, religism, sexism, and transphobia for other common terms related to discrimination.
Shalom: A Hebrew word for peace; often used as a greeting and
Shamanism: This is a "system of religious and medical
beliefs and practices that centers on the shaman, a specific type of
magico-religious practitioner...who specializes in contacting and
controlling the supernatural." 1 Shamans may be either male or female. Their main task
is healing. Shamanism was originally centered in central
Asia and Siberia, but is now found throughout the world.
Shari'ah: Four codes of Islamic law. In some cases, Shari'ah provides
for very severe punishment -- including limb amputation or execution by very painful means. Some transgressions
are viewed as serious crimes within Shari'ah laws, although they are seen as minor and/or
victimless crimes in the West.
Shakti: (a. k.a. Chiti, Chit Shakti, Kundalini) The Creative
Principle in Hinduism. She is viewed as a female Goddess because she gives
birth to all things. Sometimes viewed as Devi in her benevolent aspect.
Shaytan: The Muslim name of the evil entity called Satan by others. Shaytan is similar to the
Devil in Christianity.
Shechitah: A Hebrew term for the ritual sacrifice of animals.
Sheep psychology: A derogatory term used to refer to a control over the membership found within some faith groups.
Sheep stealing: The practice of some Christian faith groups who
attempt to attract other Christians to membership in their denomination.
Shema: A Jewish prayer, customarily repeated morning, evening
and just before going to sleep. It begins: "Hear, Israel, the Lord is
our God, the Lord is One." See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
Shepherding: An relationship in which an experienced Christian, a shepherd, is selected
to supervise a new convert. In some denominations, the senior person
closely controls almost every aspect of the convert's life. This has major
potential to generate spiritual abuse.
Shi'a (a.k.a. Shi'ite and Shiism): The smaller of the two main traditions within
Islam. Islam split into two main traditions after the death of the prophet Muhammad: Sunni and Shi'a. The main dispute was over the mechanism to be used to select his successor. The religion has remained divided, with much mutual hatred, violence, terrorism, and mass murder.
Shinto: This is the indigenous
religion of Japan. Starting about 500 BCE (or
perhaps earlier), it was originally "an amorphous mix of nature
worship, fertility cults, divination techniques, hero worship, and
shamanism." 2 It later became the state religion
of the country. Church and state were separated just after World War
Sheol: A Jewish underworld. A place of the dead in which good and
the evil persons alike share an energyless existence separated from God.
Mistranslated as "Hell" in the King James Version of the Bible.
Shiva: An mourning interval of seven days following the burial of a
Shoa: (a.k.a. Shoa and Sho'ah) the systematic killing of five to seven million
European Jews by the Nazi government during World War II. Sometimes
referred to as the Holocaust, although the latter term is sometimes used
to refer to all of the ten to fourteen groups of victims, which included Jews, Roma (a.k.a.
Gypsies), Russians, Poles, other Slavs, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, political prisoners, etc.
Shofar: A ram's horn used in some Jewish services.
Shrine: Derived from the Old French word "escrim" which referred to a box or case. A sacred place that holds a collection of objects representing a deity, saint, hero, ancestor, martyr, or similar figure of great religious significance.
Shul: A Yiddish word for a Jewish synagogue.
Shunning: (a.k.a. Disfellowshipping): This is a method of
disciplining or punishing a member who strays from the group's expected
behavior or belief. Other members --often including friends and family --
are expected to have no contact with the shunned individual. In a high
intensity faith group where a believer's entire support network is
composed of fellow members, this can have disastrous consequences; some
have been moved to commit suicide. Various forms of shunning are practiced
by Amish, Jehovah's
Witnesses, and other conservative religious groups as a means of forcing
conformity of belief and behavior.
Sikhism: Although religious scholars
generally view Sikhism as a blend of Hinduism and Islam, most Sikhs believe
that their religion is unique without precursors, originating from a series of
ten gurus, starting with Guru Nanak. Sikhs believe in a single deity, and
reject class differences. There are about 18 million Sikhs in the world; most
are concentrated in the Punjab region in northwest India.
Simply Green: A South African secular term referring to
a local response to save money, avoid wasting energy and water, minimize
damage to the environment and protect endangered habitats and species.
Sin: In the Bible, the Hebrew and Greek words which are
translated as sin mean failing to hit the target or missing the mark. Most
conservative Christians believe that, since God is pure and just, that a
person who sins just once cannot come into God's presence unless they
first attain salvation.
Sindonology: The scientific analysis of historical fabric objects. It is often used to refer to tests performed on the Shroud of Turin.
Sins, The Seven Deadly: The seven deadly sins are: sloth,
covetousness, anger, lust, gluttony, envy, and pride.
Six directions: A Buddhist collection of paths: north, south,
east, west, up, and down. Wiccan, other Neopagan traditions, Native
American spirituality and other Aboriginal religions recognize variations
of this -- sometimes including center, and the four points on the compass
that lie between the cardinal directions, like northeast and southwest.
SJW: A pegorative acronym used by conservatives to indicate contempt or disapproval of "Social Justice Workers." SJWs are people who support equality as expressed within feminism, non-theistic faith groups, liberal theistic religions, the LGBT community, democratic socialism, etc.
Skandas: In Buddhism, the five principal components of the
personality: form, sensation, perception, impulse, and consciousness.
Slain in the spirit: (a.k.a. "falling under the Spirit's power,"
"falling before the Lord," resting in the spirit."A religious
phenomenon, generally in Pentecostal or
Charismatic meetings in which a person loses motor control over their body,
and falls to the floor. It has variously been attributed to religious
hysteria by mental health professionals and to a personal encounter with God
by fellow believers. Its origins can be traced back to Methodist churches in
the late 18th century and to the Azusa Street Revival in the early 20th century.
Snowflake: The main use of the term is still to describe flakes and crystals of snow. However, during the early 1860's, it was used in Missouri, which was a slave state prior to the civil war. It referred to a person who wanted to preserve human slavery because they valued white people over black people. In the U.S., during the 1970, the term was resurrected and used more broadly to refer to white individuals, or blacks who were acting as if they were white. During the 2016 election campaign for President of the U.S., it became a disparaging term used -- particlularly by conservatives -- towards political or religious liberals. The implication is that they are overly fragile and delicate.
SOGI: This acronym most often refers to "Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity." It is an inclusive term that refers to laws, a set of beliefs, multiple organizations, laws, etc. which include persons with a homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual orientation as well as transsexual individuals and transsexuals. It also has multiple, unrelated, meanings unrelated to human sexuality. It is used in Astrology, and sometimes refers to the Social Origins of Good Ideas or Supra Owners Group International, etc.
In the Bible, the word refers to an inhabitant of the city of Sodom.
In modern usage by religious conservatives: a homosexual. Sodomite is
regarded as a derogatory term by most homosexuals, religious
A new meaning is gradually emerging: a person who is insensitive to
the needs of the poor, sick, stranger, marginalized, imprisoned, widowed, etc. This is
derived from the growing belief that the sin described in Genesis 19 in the Bible refers to
this lack of concern, and not to homosexual behavior or same-sex rape.
Sola Scriptura: (Latin for "by scripture alone"). This was a
slogan of the Protestant Reformation that is still active among Protestant
faith groups. It is the belief that the Holy Bible is:
"... God's written word [and] is self-authenticating, clear
(perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter ("Scripture
interprets Scripture"), and sufficient of itself to be the final
authority of Christian doctrine. 3
Solstice: The two dates and times each year when the sun reaches its
northernmost or southernmost extreme. On the summer solstice, the
interval of daylight is at its maximum and the nighttime interval
is at its minimum for the year. The reverse occurs at the winter solstice. The
solstices happen about June 21 and December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere. Many religious holy
days are synchronized to the solstices. Wiccans, other Neopagans, Native Americans, followers of many aboriginal religions worldwide,
and some Atheists celebrate the solstices.
Sorcery: There are two quite different meanings to this term:
the use of black magic to kill, injure, harm, dominate, manipulate or control other
people. This is the primary meaning.
the (usually) benign use of magical powers to influence events without controlling other people.
Soteriology: From the Greek words "soteria" -- salvation, and
"logos" -- word or reason . The theological study of salvation.
Soul: Equivalent to the Greek word "psuche" -- breath
and the Hebrew word "nephesh." This word has a
variety of meanings, including: the seat of personality, the individual or
person themselves, the immaterial component of a human that survives death, etc. Among
believe that a person is composed of a body and soul; trichotomists
believe that a person consists of a body, soul, and spirit. Both derive their beliefs from biblical passages with contrasting meanings. Many scientific investiators believe that the soul does not exist as a separate entity; its functions are performed by the brain, and therefore do not survive death.
Soul Freedom: Freedom of conscience (a.k.a. freedom of thought)
as applied to Bible interpretation. This is the concept that an individual has the right and privilege to
interpret Scripture for themselves in the context of their religious community, using the best
available scholarship. Robert Bellah wrote, in 1997:
"What was so
important about the Baptists, and other sectarians such as the Quakers, was the absolute centrality of religious
freedom, of the sacredness of individual conscience in matters of religious
Soul sleep: The belief that, after death, one's soul sleeps -- and thus the person is unconscious --
until the day of resurrection arrives when the person will awaken, be judged, and spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell. The criteria used to judge people's salvation differs among biblical passages and denominations. Soul sleep is regarded as truth by some denomination, and as heresy by others.