Definition is one of the fundamental obstacles to understanding and discussing religion. Even how to define the very term "religion" is hotly debated among scholars (see Timothy Fitzgerald's discussion of the fundamental problems of widespread applicability of this term). Yet, language is necessary for any type of dialog to take place. While there may be problems or disagreements of how to define a particular group, practice, ritual, belief system, phenomenon or concept within the sphere of what we call religion, without the attempt to use some common terminology discussion of any sort would be impossible. The Charting Pluralism project endeavors to facilitate discussion about religion using visual representation. However, the charts are all based upon a sum of research that relies often on definitional assertions. Oftentimes, these definitions are colored by the educated opinions of the people who formulate them. Different understandings of the terms within our dialog here on Charting Pluralism can result in different interpretations and different chart configurations. The devil's advocate chart is just one example of how differing opinions can lead to a different understanding of religion, and thus a different chart constructed from out of the Core. Thus the visual and the textual must go hand in hand.

To complement the chart-making and discussion here on this site, we include the following glossary in an effort to lead all participants toward a better understand of the terminology we use, both where it is helpful and where it is problematic. Instead of settling on one definition or interpretation, we hope to provide a number of sources for each term in effort to show the range of how various sources understand it. This glossary is by no means exhaustive. If you're familiar with an alternate interpretation or definition for any of these terms, please contact us, and we'll be happy to add it to the list.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



A

ADVAITA VEDANTA

AFRICAN RELIGIONS

AGNOSTIC THEISM

AGNOSTICISM

AKHBARI

ALAVI BOHRAS

ALAWI (ALAWITES)

ALEVI

ANIMISM

ANGLICANISM

ARIANISM

ASATRU

ASH'ARI

ASHKENAZI

ATHEISM

AUGUSTINIANS

B

BAHA'I FAITH

BARELWI

BENEDICTINES

BHAKTI

BOHRAS

BRAHMANISM

BRIDGETTINES

BUDDHISM

C

CAMALDOLESE

CAO DAI

CARMELITES

CARTHUSIANS

CATHOLICISM

CELESTINES

CHINESE TRADITIONAL RELIGIONS

CHRISTIANITY

CISTERCIANS

CLUNIACS

CONFUCIANISM

CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM

COSMOTHEISM

CULTS

D

DAWOODI BOHRAS

DEISM

DEOBANDI

DITHEISM

DISCALCED CARMELITES

DOMINICANS

DRUIDISM

DRUZE

E

ECKANKAR

EPISCOPALS

ESSENES

EVANGELICALISM

F

FIQH

FRANCISCANS

G

GREEK CATHOLICS (aka BYZANTINE or EASTERN CATHOLICS)

GNOSTICISM

H

HANAFI

HANBALI

HASIDIC

HOA HAO

HENOTHEISM

HINDUISM

HUMANISM

I

IMMANENT THEISM

IMPERSONAL IDEALISM

ISLAM

ISMAILI (ISMAILITES)

J

JAINISM

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

JESUITS

JUDAISM

JUCHE

K

KALAM

KARAITE

KATHENOTHEISM

KHARIJITE

L

LAMAISM see TIBETAN BUDDHISM

M

MAHAYANA

MALIKI

MALTHEISM (or Misotheism)

MATURIDI

MAYANISM

MESSIANIC JUDAISM

MIZRAHI

MONOLATRY

MONOPHYSITES

MONOTHEISM

MORAVIAN CHURCH

MORMONISM

MURJITE

MUSTAALI

MU'TAZILI

N

NATION OF ISLAM

NATIVE AMERICAN RELIGIONS

NEO-PAGANISM

NESTORIANS

NICHIREN

NIZARI

O

OCCULTISM

OLIVETANS

ORIENTAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS (see also MONOPHYSITES)

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

ORTHODOX JUDAISM

P

PAGANISM

PANDEISM

PARSI

The materials on these pages including images, charts, descriptions, dicussions, etc. are protected by copyright. They may not be reproduced in other publications, including posting on other websites, without the permission of their respective authors; linking is fine, republication is not. Except where noted, these materials were authored by the staff at Charting Pluralism, so please write to our webmasters for permission before republishing any of our materials. In most cases we'll be happy to grant permission for using our charts, concepts, etc. as long as they are properly cited.