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174 Cards in this Set

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Analogy
The direct comparison of the sacred with something that is familiar.
Apocrypha
Books that are not part of the official canon of scripture, but which are still considered sacred.
Canon
An official list of sacred scriptures.
Deity
God or object of worship
Exegesis
The interpretation of a specific passage of scripture.
Fundamentalism
Describes a group of people who try to live by a strict and literal interpretation of scripture. Used in the 20th century to describe some conservative forms of Christianity.
Heretic
A person (or idea) that publically asserts a controversial postion or disagreement with orthodox forms of worship, practice or belief.
Hermeneutics
The bias or method of interpretation that we bring to the interpretation of scriptures.
Liberal
Take a flexible approach to religion. Liberals do not feel that people oday are required to act like people in the past, but instead believe that scripture is only a guide.
Metaphor
A figure of speech, a symbolic expression. Frequently based on comparison, metaphor is the use of something familiar to help people understand something that is unfamiliar.
Mystic/Mysticism
People who use their own spiritual experiences to interpret scripture. They seek a personal encounter with the supernational to guide them.
Oral Scripture
Sacred stories of of primal religions.
Orthodox
People who try to follow an established religious tradition through reading scripture literally.
Religion
A system of belief that includes sacred stories, doctrines, rituals, ethics and a moral code and that attempts to connect people with the sacred
Religious Studies
The study of of a relgion including it's basic concepts and terms.
Scripture
The sacred writings of a religion that are considered authoritative, because people read scripture to learn what is right and wrong.
Story
Stories that are considered sacred. They are the staries that are the basis of the beliefs and the practices of each religion.
Apologetics
The use of theology to defend a religion.
Cosmogony
The story about the creation of the world. Aquinas thought that the universe must have a cause and that everything in the universe could be traced back to this origin.
Cosmological proof
Thomas Aquinas - God's existance deals with cosmogony.
Creed
A short simple statement of faith that people can recite as a way to profess their faith. Most commonly recited the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed
Doctrine
A statement or teaching about the beliefs of a religion. It is based on sacred scripture and cannont be proven.
Dogma
An authoritative opinion based on sacred scriptures or the teachings of a relgious group that is considered authoratative.
Ethics
The moral codes that help people to to distinguish between what is right and wrong.
Faith
Religious doctrines that must be accepted without scientific proof.
First Cause
The first cause - the power that created the universe is God. (Thomas Aquinas)
Moral Argument
Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) Kant is a philosopher - he wanted to know why people wanted to be good. Kant ultimately decided that people want to be good bause they wanted to be rewarded. They believe in the presense of a divine being who will reward them for living a moral life.
Norms
The standards of behavior for a religion.
Ontological proof
Christian theologian, Anselm (1033-1109). Anselm questioned what God is like and he decided that God is a "being than which nothing greater can be conceived"
Philosophy
The study of wisdom and knowledge to defend the truths of a religion
Teleological proof
The argument from design. English philosopher William Paley (1743 - 1805) - Universe is like a watch - so complicated that it had to be designed by an intelligent mind.
Theodicy
The theological speculation about the problem of evil.
Theology
The study of the divine
Theologian
A person who studies the divine.
Agnosticism
The belief that we do not have sufficient proof either to doubt or affirm God's existence
Angel
The belief in the existance of lesser beings. They were created by God, but they are not gods.
Animism
The belief that the entire world is alive with spirits.
Atheism
Skeptics who do not believe in the existance of any supernatual power.
Belief
The acceptance of factual statements. Religion is based upon faith, not belief
Dualism
Concept to explain evil - the existence of lesser beings wh are responsible in part for evil
Goddess
A female god
Henotheism
The belief that some gods are more important that others, therefore they are more worthy of worship.
Humanism
The belief that people are basically good and can save themselves.
Immanence
The doctrine of immanence holds that the diety is in everything and is everything.
Materialism
The belief that nothing exists apart from matter.
Monism
There is one unified sacred reality beyond the many forms of gods & goddesses. All reality is the same.
Monotheism
Is the belief in the existance of a single God
Nontheistic or Nontheism
Religions that believe in a spiritual reality byt not in the existence of a personal god or gods. Buddhism & Confucianism are examples of such religions.
Omnipotent
God has total power over the universe.
Pantheism
The view that everything is God. Nothing exists apart from the deity.
Pantheon
An arranged hierachy of the deities.
Polytheism
The worship of multiple Gods
Satan
A fallen angel who is responsible for evil
Skepticism / Skeptics
Those who do not choose to practice or believe in a religion.
Theism
The belief that God is a personal , loving deity who responds to prayer.
Transcendent
The belief that God exists outside of the material world.
Deism
The belief that God is distant and is not actively involved in the world.
Myth
Are the sacred stories that religions tell about their past.
Profane
The opposite of sacred. It represents the ordinary. A religious building is a sacred space, where an office building is a profane space.
Rites of Passage
A ceremony designed to indicate a change in the status of an individual, the family or the community.
Ritual
Ritual is the way in which people act out their beliefs.
Clergy
Are the leaders - specialists in the traditions, beliefs and rituals of the religion.
Divination
The use of ritual to predict the future
Laity
Are the ordinary people who practice a religion
Magic
Magic is used to manipulate the spirits.
Ordination
A formal ceremony to mark the end of instruction and the recognition of that indivual by a religious body as a member of the leadership of that body.
Priest
A professional religious leader who performs religious rituals.
Prophet
A messenger of a deity. Prophets claim to hve a direct connection with the sacred.
Psychic
A person who can predict the future and may have contact with the dead
Shaman
Similar to a priest. Intermediary between the community and the sacred and are common in the primal religions.
Moral Codes
a code of conduct that govern behavior and which are often found in scripture
Morals
Principles about what is right and what is wrong.
Morality
A set of codes or laws that are intended to guide behavior in accordance with the sacred.
Secular
Non-religious
Tradition
History. What was done in the past. What does the past sacred stories and beliefs and practices of a religion teach us today?
advaita
non dual or "not two"
Brahman is the ultimate reality - the soul and the world are the same... according to the Upanishads, the self (Atman) is Brahman. Only Brahman exists
Agni
fire god - carries the sacrifices to the deities
Aranyakas
one of early scriptures, but not part of the Vedas
Aryan
A Sanksrit word meaning "the noble ones"
ashramas
the 4 stages of life.
Members of the twice born castes become full people only after they have passed through four stages called ashramas. Only males can perform these stages.
Atharva-Veda
Final Vedic book.
A collection of rituals for the Brahmin priests. Deeply rooted in magic, and includes spells to ward off evil. Also includes rituals to be conducted at home as well as prayers to the gods.
What is Atman?
the indivual's self or soul
What is avidya?
Ignorance.

The problem with the human condition is due to our ignorance.
Define Brahmacharin
Student stage. First stage of the ashramas. Young males study & learn the Vedas and other religious texts. Required to be celibate during this period of instruction.
Brahmins
Special group of priests who supervised the sacrifices
What is the caste system?
Societal structure. Everyone is born to fulfill a specific role in society based upon their past karma.
dalit
The untouchables.
The lowest caste of people who do the "dirtiest of jobs" for everyone else.
dharma
Social duty and proper behavior
What is Grihastha?
The second stage of the ashramas. This is called the "Householder period." The male marries and raises a family.
Harappan
Early civilization of India
Indra
diety of storms & war - focus of worship because of his strength
What is the jati?
The further division of the caste into families or clans. Each jati has different sets of rules about acceptable careers. Members of a jati are usually required to marry within their own jati.
Explain the doctrine of karma.
Our good and bad actions result in rewards and punishments that we experience in this life or in a future life.
Who are the Kshatriyas?
This is the caste of nobles and warriors. According to the Rig-Veda, this caste arose from Purusha's arms.
Describe the Law of Manu.
Book of the Vedas that disusses the specific, unique duties and responsibilties for each caste.
It is better to do one's own dharma badly than to perform correctly thedharma of another caste. A person who fails to live according to the law of his or her caste, moreover, is excluded from that caste.
Lingam
A model of the male sex organs which represent the Hidnu diety Shiva.
lotus position
special sitting position for meditation
mantras
scriptures or prayers
maya
A concept that is used to explain our ignorance about the material world. The word "maya" means: ignorance, illusion and false knowledge.
moksha
The release or liberation from the cycle of samsara.
It is something that we should all seek.
Purusha
Creation myth - universe emerged from the division and sacrifice of a cosmic person named Purusha. Gods sacrified Purusha and divided his body. The different parts of his body then became the elements of the universe. This means that everything in the universe is part of Purusha.
What is the Rig-Veda?
The first and oldest book of the Vedas; it is actually worlds oldest scipture. It is a polytheistic book. Book also contains the story of how the castes developed.
rishis
holy men who possess divine insight
rita
The power that preserves the unity of the cosmos and maintains the cosmic social order.
Sama-Veda
Third book of the Vedas. Contains mantras to be chanted by the priests at the sacrifices.
samhitas
the Vedas - divided into 4 hymns to the Aryan gods.
samsara
Wheel of time - the cycle of birth, death and rebirth "we all experience" until we achieve release.
What is Sannyasin? How is Sannyasin accomplished?
This is the final stage of the ashramas. Also known as the "wandering begger stage." The male is required to give up all his early possessions and renouce his family ties. He wanders alone and begs for food. The focus of his life is to concentrate on obtaining release from samsara. During this final stage of life, he performs no rituals. He becomes a pilgrim and visits holy sites.
Sanskrit
An Indo-European language that is related to the family of languages that includes Hindi, Greek, French, Spanish, German & English
Santana Dharma
Indigenous term for the religions of India.
shruti
word meaning "to hear" - as in something being divinely inspired
soma
A liquid that is made from the soma plant that is used in the ancient Aryan rituals.
Who are the Sudra?
Lowest caste which includes the peasants, manual laborers. According to the Rig-Veda, this caste came from Purusha's feet.
twice-born castes
The three upper castes, Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaisya. Members of these castes are symbolically born again through a Vedic initation ceremony.
untouchables
Dalit - beneath the four castes. Members of this caste traditionally perform the dirtiest work in Indian Society.
Upanishads
one early scriptures, but not part of the Vedas
Define the Vaishyas.
Third level of the twice born caste system. Includes the merchants and artisans. Their purpose is economic specialists.
Define the Vanaprastha.
The third stage of ashramas. Called the "Forest dweller or hermit period." The man leaves his family & home, and retires to the forest to focus on spiritual matters. Lives on wild food and renouces pleasure and sex.
What is Varna?
Social class or castes. The caste system divides the world in to four varna. Concept goes back to the creation hymns of the Rig-Veda.
What are the Vedas?
Divinely Inspired Scritpures that are the basis for most of Hindu religon. Can not be added to or changed.
---------------------------
Early collection of Aryan / Hindu Scripture writen some- time between 1500 B.C.E. and 800 B.C.E.
What is the Vedanta?
The final collection of shruti literature is known as the Upsanishads -also called the Vendanta, meaning "end of the Vedas"; because they are the final books to be added to the shruti.
Vishnu
diety responsible for the cosmic order.
What is in the Yajur-Veda?
The Yajur-Veda is the second book of the Vedas. It contains ritual instructions for the priests about how to conduct the sacrifices. It was sued by the priests who recited the Vedic hymns during the sacrifices.
Why is the pursuit of Artha important in completing one's dharma?
The second of the Dharma Shastras - one of the duties, responsibilties and capablilties that are determined to them by birth.
Artha includes both material wealth and power. Power is a legitimate goal because it is important to rule.
What is an Avatar?
An Avatar is a diety who has taken on a human form.
What does Bhakti mean?
Devotion
What is bhakti-marga?
It is the way of devotion. One of the "Three Ways" paths taught in the Bhagavad Gita.
What is the Bhagavad Gita?
One of the more popular books of the smriti. It is a conversation between the warrior Arjuna andthe god Krishna who has disguised himself as a charioteer. The ultimate lesson being taught is the goal in life is to perform actions without attachment and desire.
Who is Brahma?
One of the three major dieties that came to be the focus of worship.
What is Brahminism?
The early period of Hinduism is referred to by some scholars as Brahminism. The time after the development of the Three Ways is referred to as Hinduism.
What is a darshana?
The 6 way division of the Jnana-Marga (the Way of Knowledge into six different darshana or systems of philosophy.
What is the Dharma Shastra?
The Dharma Shastras are the law manuals the describe religious duty, and are the best known descriptions of the way of action. (Karma-Marga)
Describe the jnana-marga
The way of knowledge. It is divided into 6 different darshana or systems of philosophy. All six accept the authority of the Vedas, seek moksha and believe in reincarnation.
What are the 6 darshana of the Jnana-Marga (Way of Knowledge)?
Sankhya System; Yoga System; Mimansa System; Vaisheshika System; Nyaya System; and the Vendanta System.
What is the Kali Yuga?
The Kali Yuga (end of time) a period of darkness. Began in 3102 B.C.E. and will culminate w/ many natural disasters and the end of the earth by a great fire.
What is Kama?
Kama is (pleasure) it is one of the four legimate life goals appropriate to the present world. Kama is considered the lowest pursuit. In Hinduism, kama also includes poetry, sports, and the enjoyment of life.
What is the importance of the Karma-Marga?
The Karma-Marga (the way of action) is based on ancient teachings of Hinduism. Path emphasizes correct dharma. Each individual must perform certian duties, rites and social responibilties. The Law of Manu is important here.
Describe the Mahabharata.
Written ca. 400B.C.E and 400 C.E. It is a story about the struggle between two families, the Pandavas and the Kauravas. It teaches that trying to help other people is the basis of dharma. Also includes traditional doctrines: ashramas, the 4 life goals, and the caste system.
What does marga mean?
It means "the way".
Describe the Mimansa System.
The Mimansa system is based on a literal interpretation of the Vedas. It teaches that the Vedas have power over the dieties. The main goal of this system is to avoid rebirth.
What is the Nyaya system?
Adopted mayny docgtrines of the Viasheshika system. It is atheist and teaches that the world is real. This system stresses insight,reason, and logic to learn the truth about the world.
what is prakriti?
Matter
define purusha
The soul or self
What is the Sankhya system?
dualistic and atheistic. Teaches that matter (prakriti) and the self (purusha) are real. Only matter and spirit exist. It's goal is to bring about liberation of the spirit from matter.
Who is Shiva?
Shiva is one of the three dieties of the Vedas that became the focus of worship along with Vraahma and Vishnu
what is smriti?
A new type of religious literature developed afer the Shruti literature. Smriti means "tradition" or "what is remembered." it is written by people who have studied the Shurti literature, but unlike the Shurti, the Smiriti is not considered divinely inspired.
Describe the Vaisheshika system.
Similar to Greek philosophy. This system holds tat the universe is composed of eternal elements.
There are no deities since those elements are both eternal and uncreated.
Describe the Vendanta system.
The end of the Vedas. Based on the Upanishads. It is monistic and teaches that there is only one true essence in the universe: Brahman. Nothing exists apart from Brahman.
What is yoga?
The word yoga means discipline. It teaches the suppression of the mental statesis accomplished through spiritual or physical exercises that elp the individual to overcome desire.
What is yuga?
Periods of time or eras. There are four different eras called yugas.
bhakti yoga
Devotion Yoga - the spiritual discipline fo devotion. The goal is to live a life of devotion to a deity, devotion to include prayers, chants and offerings to statues of deities.
chakra
the seven energy centers that are located along the spinal column. Each chakra is an energy source whos powers can be released through meditation
devi
Female deity who is frequently portrayed as a great goddess who is the destroyer of evil.
Durga
The name of the female deity and is sometimes the Skkti of the god Shiva.
hatha yoga
Power Yoga - a spiritual discipline of physical exercise. Goal is t6o release the power of the kundalini.
jnana yoga
Knowledge yoga - teaches that the ignorance is the root of all problems. Based on teachings of the Upanishads & the Bhagavad Gita. Goal is spiritual insight rather than intellectual knowledge.
karma yoga
Action yoga - the spiritual disciple of selfless action. Teaches that unselfish acts can lead to perfection
kundalini
The life force at the base of the spine
kundalina yoga
the discipline of releasing the powers of the seven chakras through meditation . When the energy of the seventh chakra at the head is released, a person experiences a state of profound bliss.
raja yoga
Royal Yoga - Stresses the discipline of meditation. Most popular in the West. Uses body postures & breathing exercises to focus the mind & induse states of meditation.
Shakti
The female consort who represented the energy of the male deities of the Vedas.
tantric shaktism
The Hindu form of Tantrism.
Tantrism
a system of thought based on the ancient yoga traditions. it focuses on the goddesses. It seeks to arouse the spiritual force in the chakras.
yoga sutras
.
darshan
The act of standing before the statue of a deity is called darshan - a sacred encounter wtih the presence of the deity.
Lakshmi
Vishnu's wife. She is responsible for the fertility and the protection of the world. Frequently serves as a mediator between humans and Vishnu.
pinda
Food balls usuall made of rice cakes that are offered to the spirit of the deceased. Feeds the dead during their journey to rebirth. Also provides the deceased with a new spiritual body.
prasad
food that is offered to the deity and eaten by the worshipers. This meal is believed to impart blessings to the devotees of the deity.
sadhu
People who have become ascetics. They have renounced everything in order to obtain release. They are no longer bound by regulations of their family or caste. Many sandus are the focus of devotion. (The same as worshipping God.)
sanskaras
Rituals to celebrate important events or points in a person's life cycle: birthdays, beginning of school, marriage and death... etc...
Shivaites
Shiva is the god of destruction. Also responsible for death & disease. Destruction is seen as part of the cosmic cycle of time, therefore Shiva is also the god of reproduction. People who are devotees of Shiva are known as Shivaites.
shraddha
Ceremony to mark death. used to help the ancestor to move along his or her appropriate karmic path. Following the cremation/funeral the family must conduct a purification ceremony.
Trimuriti
The gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - viewed as manifestations of Brahman-Atman and were velieved to maintain the cosmos
Vaishnavites
People who are devotes of Vishnu.