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animism

the doctrine that all natural objects and the universe itself have souls

autonomous religion

A religion that does not have a central authority but shares ideas and cooperates informally.

branch

an administrative division of some larger or more complex organization

caste

a social class separated from others by distinctions of hereditary rank or profession or wealth

cosmogony

the branch of astrophysics that studies the origin and evolution and structure of the universe

denomination

a group of religious congregations having its own organization and a distinctive faith

diocese

The basic unit of geographic organization in the Roman Catholic Church

ethnic religion

a religion identified with a particular ethnic group and largely exclusive to it

fundamentalism

Literal interpretation and strict adherence to basic principles of a religion

ghetto

a poor densely populated city district occupied by a minority ethnic group linked together by economic hardship and social restrictions

hierarchial religion

A religion in which a central authority exercises a high degree of control

missionary

someone who attempts to convert others to a particular doctrine or program

monotheism

belief in a single God

pagan

not acknowledging the God of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

pilgrimage

A journey to a place considered sacred for religious purposes

polytheism

belief in multiple Gods

sect

a subdivision of a larger religious group

solstice

either of the two times of the year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator

universalizing religion

A religion that attempts to appeal to all people, not just those living in a particular location

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