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Texts

Ahadith

The ahadith are texts containing reported stories about Muhammad, and are frequently used to fill in …

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Concepts

Akashic records

The Akashic records are a non-physical storehouse of information, proposed by Theosophists to …

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Perspectives

Alternative Perspectives

Alternative perspectives, due to their absence in mainstream texts and dismissal by historical …

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Concepts

Animism

Animism is a term based on the Latin word for 'soul', which frames all religious belief in terms of …

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Practices

Austerities

A category of difficult, often painful, practices which may include restricting intake of food or …

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Entheogens

Ayahuasca

A drink prepared by indigenous groups in the Amazon, containing a number of psychoactive chemicals. …

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Concepts

Belief

Religious systems often include beliefs about the world (both seen and unseen), which describe (or …

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Texts

Bhagavad Gita

A popular Hindu text, part of the larger Mahabharata, which contains a conversation between Krishna …

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Places

Blaauboschkraal stone ruins

A series of stone circles in South Africa.

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Figures

Bodhisattva

A figure in Buddhist traditions who is on the path to enlightenment.

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Figures

Concepts

Brahman

A Hindu deity and philosophical principle, viewed by some as the supreme reality, or by others as …

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Figures

Brahmin

A Hindu holy person, often officiates ceremonies.

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Traditions

Buddhism

Buddhism is a family of traditions which trace their lineage back to a figure known as Siddartha …

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Entheogens

Cannabis

Cannabis is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used primarily for medical or recreational …

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Traditions

Caodaism

Caodaism emerged in Vietnam during the 1920s and based its structure on that of the Roman Catholic …

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Perspectives

Capitalist Spirituality

A term used to describe the use of religious ideas, practices, and materials in the support of …

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Scholars

Carl Jung

A Swiss psychologist who helped introduce and develop ideas about the human unconscious.

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Scholars

Catherine Bell

An American religious studies scholar who specialised in the study of Chinese religions and ritual …

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Practices

Sounds

Chanting

A vocal practice in which words or sounds are repeated, either alone or in a group.

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Traditions

Christianity

Christians follow the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, a man born around the beginning of …

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Places

Church

The term 'church' can refer to subtraditions within Christianity, or a place of worship for …

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Objects

Crucifix

A physical representation of Jesus dying on the cross, used by Christians as a reminder of Jesus's …

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Concepts

Cults

One of the key aspects of religion – particularly in public discourse – is the relationship between …

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Concepts

Dharma

The Hindu concept of law, righteousness, or way of life.

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Scholars

Dimitris Xygalatas

An anthropologist and cognitive scientist studying ritual and cooperation.

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Entheogens

DMT

A chemical substance that occurs in many plants and animals and which has historically been prepared …

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Scholars

Douglas Marshall

A scholar of religion and ritual.

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Occasions

Eid-e-Shuja’

Eid-e-Shuja’, also known as Eid-e-Zahra, is a ritual festival observed by most Twelver Shi‘a …

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Figures

El

The name for any god or deity in the ancient Near East, is also the name of specific deities in that …

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Texts

Gathas

A collection of 17 hymns, believed to have been composed by Zarathustra – the Gathas represent the …

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Figures

Hassan al-Banna

Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, is alternately praised as a leading …

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islam  egypt 

Concepts

Henotheism

Henotheism means the worship and veneration of one god, in a world where many gods exist – for …

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Traditions

Himalayan Institute Of Yoga Science And Philosophy

The Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy was founded by Swami Rama, and is dedicated …

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Traditions

Hinduism

A diverse range of Indian religious systems, which regard the Vedas as authoritative scripture.

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Traditions

Islam

A monotheistic tradition that developed during 7th century Arabia, and which traces its roots back …

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Traditions

Jainism

The Jain religious tradition focuses on liberation from the suffering of rebirth, and in this sense …

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india 

Figures

Jesus

The founding figure of Christianity, Jesus was a Jewish mircle-worker and teacher who proclaimed a …

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Places

Kanniyakumari

A town in southern India, named after Kanya Kumari, a Hindu goddess. Also the site of a memorial to …

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Practices

Concepts

Food

Kosher

Food which is appropriate to eat in Jewish traditions.

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Perspectives

Literary Bias

Texts (of all kinds) are controlled and mediated by people, and therefore restrictions can sometimes …

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Occasions

Mabon

Mabon is a pagan festival that takes place on the autumnal equinox, during which foods are harvested …

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Occasions

Maghi

This is an annual festival commemorating the forty Sikh martyrs who originally deserted Guru Gobind …

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Traditions

Mahayana Buddhism

A form of Buddhism which is focused on attaining liberation for all beings out of compassion for the …

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Scholars

Marion Bowman

Marion Bowman is a scholar of religion at the Open University

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Scholars

Mary Douglas

A British anthropologist, known for her writings on human culture and symbolism, whose area of …

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Figures

Mohandas Gandhi

A figure of Indian independence against British rule, Gandhi was a revered Hindu activist.

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Figures

Muhammad

Muhammad is the revered prophet of Islam, who was active during the 6th Century in Arabia.

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Objects

Murti

Used by Hindus, a murti is a physical representation of a deity, which that deity can inhabit, and …

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Scholars

Ninian Smart

Smart was a Scottish writer and educator who developed the field of academic religious studies, and …

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Occasions

Obon

A Japanese celebration of people's ancestors, which developed out of Buddhist and Confucian …

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Concepts

Panpsychism

The belief that the universe is one, collective intelligence or consciousness.

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Concepts

Pantheism

The belief that everything is god.

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Practices

Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage is a practice of journeying to a significant location, but the location, method of …

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Concepts

Polytheism

Polytheism is any system of belief involving multiple deities.

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Practices

Practice

Religious practices are those behaviours and actions that have religious meaning for those who …

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Texts

Principia Discordia

The Principia Discordia is a semi-satirical work on the nature of divine chaos.

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Occasions

Ramadan

Ramadan is the period of fasting and contemplation undertaken by Muslims in the ninth lunar month of …

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Texts

Ramayana

The Ramayana (literally Rama's travels) is about the character Rama, prince of a kingdom called …

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Traditions

Ravidassia religion

A tradition with roots in Sikhi, which reveres Ravidass as Guru.

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sikhi 

Scholars

Richard King

Co-author of 'Selling Spirituality'

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Practices

Concepts

Ritual

Some religious practices have specific rules about how they are performed, these practices are …

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Scholars

Robin Horton

An English social anthropologist and philosopher, he carried out specialised study in comparative …

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Perspectives

Self-Religion

Self-religion is a term used by scholars to describe the modern phenomenon of highly individualised …

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Concepts

Seva

Within the Sikh religion, one of the important practical aspects is seva or selfless service, which …

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Perspectives

Seven Dimensions of Religion

The seven dimensions of religion are a framework for exploring and understanding religion, developed …

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Practices

Shechita

A form of ritual slaughter in Jewish traditions.

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Traditions

Sikhi (Sikhism)

Sikhi is the name of a religious tradition which emerged in the Punjab, initiated by Guru Nanak, and …

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Concepts

Six Articles of Faith

Within Islam, there are three aspects which are generally agreed upon - these are islam …

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islam 

Texts

Sri Guru Granth Sahib

The Sikh holy text, revered as a guru.

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Texts

Concepts

Texts

Although the word 'texts' might imply a written document, the term has a wider scope in the field of …

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Texts

The Bible

The Christian holy text, which includes accounts of the creation of the world and God's dealings …

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Traditions

The International Church of Cannabis

The International Church of Cannabis is a religious group based in Denver, Colorado, USA, which uses …

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Texts

The Pañcadaśī

The Pañcadaśī is a Hindu philosophical text, in the tradition of advaita vedanta, also known as …

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Perspectives

The World Religions Paradigm

When the category of religion is used to describe 'world religions', it is often in a way that turns …

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Traditions

Theravada Buddhism

Theravada is a form of Buddhism that venerates the Buddha but does not deify him, follows the …

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Practices

Trimarga

The trimarga are three methods of liberation found within Hindu traditions.

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Concepts

Trinity

The so-called 'holy trinity' is a Christian formulation of the order or structure of god, comprised …

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Occasions

Tu BiShvat

A Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, the 'new year of the …

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Questions

What is religion?

Although at first glance, you might think that religion is an easy to understand concept - it …

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Questions

What is religious literacy?

Religious literacy is a term that has become more popular in recent years, but what exactly do we …

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Questions

What is religious studies?

Religious studies is the academic study of religion - but what does that really mean?

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Questions

What makes a place sacred?

To claim that a location, structure, or geographical feature is sacred is to assert that it is set …

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Questions

Who creates religion?

The modern study of religion, beginning in the 19th Century, has been traditionally driven by male …

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Traditions

Yazidism

Yazidism is a monotheistic tradition, which believes that the universe was created by a single …

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