Theosophical Society, Cardiff Lodge

206 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 1DL


Additional Glossaries

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Glossary of Religious Terms


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  • Agnosticism- The Greek prefix agnost means not knowing. There are two main strands of agnosticism: weak and strong. Weak agnostics are not sure whether God exists; strong agnostics believe it is impossible to know whether God exists.
  • Ascetic- Hindu holy men who believed the way to truth was through body starvation.
  • Atheism- The belief that God does not exist.
  • B.C.E- Abbreviation for Before Christian Era. This term is used instead of the traditional B.C. to avoid centering around a Christian historical reference.
  • Bodhisattva- One who delays entering into Nirvana in order to help others to the path of enlightenment.
  • Buddha- The word buddha literally means "the enlightened one". There are many buddhas in Buddhism.
  • C.E.- Abbreviation for Christian era. C.E. is used instead of A.D. to avoid centering around a Christian historical reference.
  • Caliph- Successor to Muhammad in leading the Islamic faith as political leader and defender of the faith. The title of Caliph was abolished in 1924.
  • Covenant- A binding agreement. God not only formed a covenant with Abraham, but also Noah and Moses.
  • Enlightenment- A sudden divine understanding of the true nature of things.
  • Ka'aba- The Ka`aba is an ancient shrine containing the Holy Black Stone. During Muhammad's lifetime, it was worshiped by peoples of many different faiths throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Today it is an important part of the Ha jj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.
  • Karma- The law of Karma ensures accountability for every thought, action and word. Each has an effect on this and future lives.
  • Last Supper- The final gathering of Jesus and his disciples before the crucifixion. During the Last Supper, Christ broke the bread and passed a chalice of wine, asking his disciples to eat the bread as his body to be broken and the wine as his blood to be spilled for them. He also said, "do this in remembrance of me." Thus, the sacrament symbolizing the sacrifice of Christ is practiced by all the Christian traditions.
  • The Law- In the Jewish faith the Law is a detailed code of conduct depicting the correct way of life.
  • Medina- Also called Madinah, the city where Muhammad was buried. Muslims on the Hajj (pilgrmage) visit this city in Saudi Arabia.
  • Mecca- Every year 2 million pilgrims visit the city in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj.
  • Moshka- Similar to Buddhist Nirvana, during Moshka the soul is released from the cycles of reincarnation to join Brahman.
  • Muslim calendar- The Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon.
  • Nirvana- The final release from wandering the cycles of death and rebirth. Nirvana is a state of extreme happiness.
  • Original Sin- The spirit of disobedience inherited by all of mankind from Adam and Eve who disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.
  • Prophet- A person who speaks or acts on behalf of God by divine inspiration.
  • Ramadan- The ninth month of the Muslim calender in which Muslims do not smoke, eat, drink, or have sex from sunrise to sunset.
  • Reincarnation- Belief shared by both Hindu and Buddhist traditions in which one is reborn after death. Hindus hold that the Atman (soul) is transferred from life to life through reincarnation.
  • Sacraments- A religious act that is a symbol of a spiritual reality.
  • Saint- A person of great holiness and virtue, revered by the Christian Church as having attained an honored place in heaven.
  • Sangha- A community of Buddhist monks and nuns who devote their entire lives to the religion.
  • Trinity- The trinity represents the three aspects of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.



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Theosophical Society, Cardiff Lodge

206 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 1DL