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100 Words Encountered in

Religion & Spirtuality

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theology
She studied theology at Yale Divinity School.
theology = the study of religion
DefinitionGenerally theology means:
the study of religion; or a particular system or school of religious beliefs
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evangelist
Rick Warren may be today's most admired evangelist.†
evangelist = a Christian who tries to convince others to become Christian — especially on television, radio, or in large gatherings

or when qualified (such as "an ecosystem evangelist"):  anyone who tires to convince others of something
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consecrate
The priest consecrated the chapel.
consecrated = made holy (typically by means of religious rites)
DefinitionGenerally consecrate means:
make holy by means of religious rites
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Judaism
Jerusalem is a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Judaism = the oldest of the three major monotheistic religions — whose believers are known as Jews
DefinitionGenerally Judaism means:
the oldest of the three major monotheistic religions —  having its spiritual and ethical principles embodied chiefly in the Torah and in the Talmud
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testament
His success raising numerous small contributions is testament to his popularity.
testament = evidence for something
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doctrine
She challenges accepted doctrine.
doctrine = generally accepted beliefs
DefinitionGenerally doctrine means:
a belief (or system of beliefs or principles) accepted as authoritative by some group
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denomination
as in:
the Baptist denomination
Downtown synagogues, mosques and churches of various denominations joined to assist the homeless.
denominations = a group of religious congregations (such as churches, temples, masques...) sharing distinctive beliefs and belonging to the same organization
DefinitionGenerally this sense of denomination means:
a group of religious congregations (such as churches, temples, masques...) sharing distinctive beliefs and belonging to the same organization

or more rarely (and less formally):  any categorization of people
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catholic
When the Apostles Creed uses the word "catholic", it does not reference the church headed by the Pope, but rather a universal church.
catholic = universal; or inclusive of a wide range of people or interests
DefinitionGenerally this sense of catholic means:
universal or inclusive of a wide range of people or interests
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serene
While I lie awake worrying, she sleeps serenely.
serenely = calmly and peacefully
DefinitionGenerally serene means:
calm and untroubled
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anguish
I felt unbearable anguish when my 4-year-old child died from brain cancer.
anguish = extreme distress
DefinitionGenerally anguish means:
extreme distress of body or mind
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parable
Many people have heard the parable of the prodigal son.
parable = a short story told to teach a moral lesson — especially those told by Jesus in the New Testament
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Islam
Islam is predominant in northern Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, and Indonesia.
Islam = the monotheistic religious system of Muslims founded in Arabia in the 7th century and based on the teachings of Muhammad as laid down in the Koran; the world's second most practiced religion
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atone
To atone for sins is a common religious theme.
atone = fix or make up (for a wrong)
DefinitionGenerally atone means:
to fix or make up for a wrong — especially a sin
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medieval
The story takes place during medieval times.
medieval = relating to or belonging to the Middle Ages
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Protestant
Protestant churches deny universal authority of the Pope.
Protestant = any of the Western churches that separated from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation
DefinitionGenerally Protestant means:
a member of or relating to any of the Western churches that separated from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation
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reign
as in:
She reigned over England
The arranged marriage solidified the alliance between two of Europe's most important reigning families.
reigning = ruling
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reign means:
rule (like that of a king or queen); or the time during which one ruled
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disciple
She was his favorite student and disciple.
disciple = someone who believes and helps to spread the teachings of another
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temporal
as in:
temporal world
She focuses more on the spiritual while his main concern is with temporal existence.
temporal = concerned with the material (in contrast to the spiritual) world
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Hinduism
Hindu/Muslim discord resulted in partitioning and violence in post-colonial India.
Hindu = the third most common religion; polytheistic (many gods) with most adherents in India
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canon
as in:
a canonical requirement
Their actions violate the canon of proportional response.
canon = an official or established rule or principle; or a collection of such rules or principles (often in reference to rules or principles of a church)
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monk
a Tibetan monk wearing an orange robe
monk = a male member of a religious order typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
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monastery
Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries was the largest legally enforced transfer of property in English history since the Norman Conquest.
monasteries = the residences of religious communities
DefinitionGenerally monastery means:
the residence of a religious community
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liturgy
She supports a more contemporary liturgy.†
liturgy = a specific form prescribed for public worship
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gospel
2 meanings
as in:
a gospel song
The earliest surviving complete copy of the gospels dates back to the 4th century.
gospels = the four books in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) that Christian's believe tell the story of Jesus Christ's life and teachings
DefinitionGenerally this sense of gospel means:
the religious teachings of Jesus

or:

one of the four books in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) that Christian's believe tell the story of Jesus Christ's life and teachings

or:

a type of vocal music that originated in African-American churches in the United States
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as in:
they consider it gospel
She takes it as gospel.
gospel = an unquestionable truth
DefinitionGenerally this sense of gospel means:
a set of beliefs firmly held by a group

or:

an unquestionable truth
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parish
Are we talking about a governmental or a religious parish?
parish = a local church community

or in Louisiana:  a jurisdiction of government like a county
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New Testament
The dominant message of the New Testament is to love.†
New Testament = the second half of the Christian Bible which describes the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, as well as other Christian teachings
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Old Testament
The Bible consists of the Old and New Testaments.†
Old and New Testaments = the collection of books comprising the sacred scripture of the Hebrews which is the first half of the Christian Bible
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Kabbalah
Many Kabbalist masters were killed in the Holocaust.†
Kabbalist = a discipline and school of thought discussing the mystical aspect of Judaism and hidden meanings in Hebrew scripture
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Koran
Many of the people and events recounted in Koran are also recorded in the Old Testament.
Koran = the sacred writings of Islam said to be revealed by God to the prophet Muhammad during his life at Mecca and Medina
DefinitionGenerally Koran means:
Islam:  the sacred writings of Islam said to be revealed by God to the prophet Muhammad during his life at Mecca and Medina
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apostle
2 meanings
as in:
an apostle for the cause
an apostle of revolution
apostle = an ardent early supporter of a cause or reform

or:

any important Christian missionary — especially the first to a country or region
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as in:
chosen by Jesus
Paul claimed the role of Apostle to the Gentiles.
Apostle = Christianity:  one of the original 12 disciples (followers) chosen by Jesus Christ to preach his gospel
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revelation
It was a revelation to me. Until they gave us those tests, I had no idea that I was better than most people at clerical accuracy.
revelation = something previously unknown and now learned (revealed)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of revelation means:
something that was previously unknown — especially something that is surprising; or making such a thing known
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Middle East
It is as likely as fair weather in southern California and unrest in the Middle East.†
Middle East = a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf (though there is no agreement on an exact to definition)
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Jerusalem
Palestinians demanded that Israel halt construction in East Jerusalem.
Jerusalem = capital and largest city of the modern state of Israel; a holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims
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Abraham
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each revere Abraham as a founding patriarch.†
Abraham = religion:  father of Isaac (Judaism and later Christianity) and of Ishmael (Islam); tested when God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac; pleaded for Sodom and Gomorrah
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baptism
She was baptized at the same church as her grandmother.
baptized = "spiritually renewed" in a Christian ceremony
DefinitionGenerally baptism means:
a Christian ceremony signifying spiritual cleansing and rebirth

or:

a challenging experience that initiates or purifies
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divine
2 meanings
as in:
to forgive is divine
Her pies are divine.
divine = wonderful
DefinitionGenerally this sense of divine means:
wonderful; or god-like or coming from God
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as in:
divined from tea leaves
She claims she can divine the future with a crystal ball.
divine = to predict or discover something supernaturally (as if by magic)
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ecclesiastical
Many consider The Bishop of Rome to be a first among equals in this ecclesiastical fraternity.
ecclesiastical = associated with a church
DefinitionGenerally ecclesiastical means:
of or associated with a church — especially a Christian Church
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righteousness
extremism fed by unquestioned belief in the righteousness of their cause
righteousness = moral correctness
DefinitionGenerally righteousness means:
morally correct
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tithe
Although she no longer attends services, she still tithes.†
tithes = to pay a portion of one's income — especially a tenth of income to a church
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The Trinity
In the popular novel, The Shack, three characters represent the Trinity.†
The Trinity = Christian description of three simultaneous forms of God:  the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit  (that provides strength and guidance to Christians)
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pious
The cartoon with a drawing of Muhammad outraged many pious Muslims.
pious = highly religious
DefinitionGenerally pious means:
behaving in a highly moral or religious manner

or less commonly:  behaving highly moral in a self-righteous or holier-than-thou manner
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providence
On the eve of battle, he prayed that providence was in our favor.
providence = luck; or God's plan
DefinitionGenerally this sense of providence means:
resulting from God's intervention or plan; or lucky — especially with regard to when something happened
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advent
as in:
it is Advent
Christians began celebrating Advent in the fourth century.
Advent = Christianity:  the period that includes the four Sundays preceding Christmas
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metaphysics
Ontology is a central branch of metaphysics.†
metaphysics = the philosophical study of being and knowing
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materialistic
She thinks Americans are too materialistic.†
materialistic = concerned with wealth and possessions at the expense of other interests
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ecumenical
It's an ecumenical organization that provides food and shelter to the homeless.†
ecumenical = pertaining to the working together in harmony of different religious groups
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Mecca
Non-Muslims are prohibited from entering Mecca.
Mecca = the birthplace of Muhammad and the holiest city of Islam (located in western Saudi Arabia)
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clergy
Under labor law, the clergy can be required to uphold the beliefs of the religion they have chosen.
clergy = formal religious leaders (typically in Christianity)
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Vishnu
He has more names than Vishnu.†
Vishnu = a Hindu divinity worshipped as the preserver of worlds
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monotheism
the three great monotheistic religions:  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
monotheistic = belief in a single God
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polytheism
Polytheism was the typical form of religion during the Bronze Age and Iron Age.†
polytheism = belief in multiple Gods
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deity
has made prosperity his deity
deity = any god or goddess — especially God
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deify
He deified science, then poetry, and then returned to belief in God.†
deified = exalt to the position of a God
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theist
An interesting combination — a theist married to an atheist.†
theist = a person who believes in the existence of a God or gods

or:

a person who believes God actively intervenes in daily life
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atheist
While many atheist decline any non-material reality, others have a spiritual outlook on life.
atheist = someone who does not believe in the existence of god
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agnostic
He's agnostic — about the existence of God and the proof of any non-physical belief.
agnostic = someone who is doubtful or noncommittal about something — especially belief in God
DefinitionGenerally agnostic means:
a person who believes they lack true knowledge about the existence of God (but believes that God might exist)

or more rarely:  someone who is doubtful or noncommittal about something
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karma
I wouldn't do that. It's bad karma.
karma = the good or bad luck some believe is earned through good or bad acts
DefinitionGenerally karma means:
the good or bad luck some believe is earned through good or bad acts

or in Hinduism and Buddhism:  the force that impacts a future life from actions of a prior life
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Jesuit
The University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy is an outstanding college-prep school.
Jesuit = a member of the Society of Jesus (known for their schools and missionary work)
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Martin Luther
Martin Luther was dismayed at atrocities committed in his name during the Peasants'  War.†
Martin Luther = German theologian who led the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines of Lutheran, Protestant and other Christian traditions with his belief that salvation comes from personal faith (not deeds) and does not require mediation from the church (1483-1546)
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Anglican
He has no authority, but he asked Anglican vicars to retire if they don't believe in God.†
Anglican = referencing churches (or their members) whose traditions trace back to the Church of England
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John the Baptist
I was moved by Rodin's sculpture of Saint John the Baptist.†
John the Baptist = New Testament:  a preacher and hermit and forerunner of Jesus (whom he baptized); beheaded by Herod at the request of Salome
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Ascension
Many of the books of the New Testament describe Jesus' Ascension to heaven.†
Ascension = Christianity:  celebration of the Ascension (rising) of Christ into heaven; observed on the 40th day after Easter
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Puritans
The Pilgrims who we remember on Thanksgiving were Puritans.
Puritans = English Protestants who in the 16th and 17th centuries thought there were too many rituals in worship and who stressed hard work above pleasure
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omnipotent
She believes God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
omnipotent = all powerful
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omniscient
She believes God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
omniscient = all-knowing; i.e., to know everything
DefinitionGenerally omniscient means:
all-knowing (to know everything)
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omnipresent
She believes God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.†
omnipresent = being present everywhere at once
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Taoism
Taoism emphasizes compassion, moderation, and humility.†
Taoism = popular Chinese philosophical system based in teachings of Lao-tzu (compassion, moderation, humility, and noninterference with the course of natural events)
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epistemology
Her faith and reason led her to study epistemology.†
epistemology = the study of how we know what we know
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Reformation
Most scholars date the reformation from Luther's 1517 publishing of The Ninety-Five Theses to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia.†
Reformation = a series of Christian efforts to reform the Catholic Church which led to major protestant denominations separate than the Catholic Church
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Brahma
It is a Hindu sect that worships Brahma.†
Brahma = a Hindu divinity worshipped as the creator
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Brahman
The nature of Brahman is described differently in various philosophical schools.
Brahman = the supreme spirit found in Hinduism
DefinitionGenerally Brahman means:
the supreme spirit found in Hinduism

or:

Brahmin (highest rank in the traditional Hindu caste system)
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Brahmin
Even today, discrimination against Brahmins and non-Brahmins are both widespread.†
Brahmins = the first caste of Hindu society — responsibility for maintaining and communicating cultural tradition; hence providing priests, scholars and teachers
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nirvana
I found nirvana when I went away to college.†
nirvana = any place of complete bliss, delight and peace

or in Hinduism and Buddhism:  the enlightenment that transcends the cycle of reincarnation; characterized by the extinction of desire, suffering, and individual consciousness
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pantheism
Hinduism is a pantheistic religion.†
pantheistic = the doctrine or belief that God is the universe and its phenomena (taken or conceived of as a whole) or the doctrine that regards the universe as a manifestation of God
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Council of Trent
The Council of Trent ended the sale of indulgences.†
Council of Trent = a council of the Roman Catholic Church convened between 1545 and 1563 to examine and condemn the teachings of Martin Luther and other Protestant reformers; redefined the Roman Catholic doctrine, abolished various ecclesiastical abuses, and strengthened the papacy
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dogma
he believed all the Marxist dogma
dogma = a doctrine or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative by some group
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dogmatic
The dogmatic coach is fond of saying, "My way's the right way. Your way's the wrong way!"
dogmatic = prone to stating opinions as absolute truth
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Rama
Rama is the main central character of the Ramayana.
Rama = Hindu Religion:  avatar of Vishnu whose name is synonymous with God
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Calvinism
The doctrine of predestination is probably the most controversial aspect of Calvinism.†
Calvinism = the theological system of John Calvin and his followers emphasizing omnipotence of God and salvation by grace alone
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Apocrypha
Since 1826, most protestant Bibles have excluded the Apocrypha.†
Apocrypha = books which were included in the Roman Catholic version of the Old Testament but not accepted in the Hebrew or Protestant Bibles

or more rarely:

early Christian writings never included in any version of the Bible
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invocation
Any invocations must be done so they do not advance any particular faith or belief.†
invocations = a prayer asking God's help as part of a religious service
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crusade
as in:
First Crusade to Jerusalem
Resentments date back to the Crusades.
Crusades = any of the more or less continuous military expeditions in the 11th to 13th centuries when Christian powers of Europe invaded Muslims in the Holy Land in the Middle East
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Zoroastrianism
There are small Zoroastrian communities all over the world.
Zoroastrian = related to a religion founded in Persia in the 6th century BC by Zoroaster; based on concept of struggle between light and dark (good and evil)
DefinitionGenerally Zoroastrianism means:
a religion founded in Persia in the 6th century BC by Zoroaster; based on concept of struggle between light and dark (good and evil)
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Quakers
Quakers are known for their pacifism.†
Quakers = a member of the Religious Society of Friends founded by George Fox (the Friends have never called themselves Quakers)
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Krishna
There are many stories of Krishna's mischievous youth.
Krishna = 8th and most important avatar of Vishnu; incarnated as a handsome young man playing a flute
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Holy Communion
There are those who would like to deny Holy Communion to pro-choice politicians, but most see such a policy as violating the separation of church and state.
Holy Communion = sharing of bread and wine to remember Jesus' death (also called Eucharist)
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Eucharist
Though to most Christians there is no distinction between the Catholic and Protestant view of the Eucharist, Protestants are not supposed to take communion at Catholic services.†
Eucharist = sharing of bread and wine to remember Jesus' death (also called Holy Communion)
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blaspheme
Did she blaspheme against the Prophet Muhammad?†
blaspheme = utter obscenities or profanities; or to speak disrespectfully of something considered sacred — especially of God or religion
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apostasy
Are there governments that still punish apostasy with death?†
apostasy = renouncing one's religion or (less precisely) political party or other cause
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apostate
When apostates are executed in the Muslim world, it is usually done by non-governmental groups operating with impunity from the government.†
apostates = someone who abandoned their religion

or:

someone not faithful to a cause or a friend
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imam
The Imam was trained in Saudi Arabia.
imam = the man who leads prayers in a mosque
DefinitionGenerally imam means:
Islam:  the man who leads prayers in a mosque

or for Shiites:  a recognized authority on Islamic theology and law, and is a spiritual guide
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bodhi
Bodhi-Dharma was Zen's legendary founder.†
bodhi = Sanskrit for "enlightenment"
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Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama has been exiled from Tibet since 1959.†
Dalai Lama = chief lama and considered by Tibetan Buddhists to be their spiritual leader
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Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas was posthumously excommunicated, but later pronounced a saint.†
Thomas Aquinas = exceedingly influential philosopher who greatly furthered Catholic reconciliation of faith and reason (1225-1274)
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mantra
My mantra helps me leave the cares of the world and open myself to meditation.†
mantra = a commonly repeated word or phrase

or in its original meaning:  an utterance repeated in meditation
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sacrament
Augustine defined a Christian sacrament as "a visible sign of an invisible reality."†
sacrament = an important Christian ceremony such as baptism or communion
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Zen
The study compares the mental benefits of Zen meditation to those of prayer.
Zen = school of Buddhism asserting that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition
DefinitionGenerally Zen means:
school of Buddhism asserting that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith
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† 
Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
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