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Belief that objects, such as plants and stones, or natural events, like thunderstorms and earthquakes, have a discrete spirit and conscious life.

autonomous religion

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


A large and fundamental division within a religion


The class or distinct hereditary order into which a Hindu is assigned according to religious law.


A set of religious beliefs concerning the origin of the universe.


A division of a branch that unites a number of local congregations in a single legal and administrative body.


The basic unit of geographic organization in the Roman Catholic Church.

Ethnic religion

A religion with a relatively concentrated spatial distribution whose principles are likely to be based on the physical characteristics of the particular location in which its adherents are concentrated.


Literal interpretation and strict adherence to basic principles of a religion (or religious branch, denomination, or sect).


During the Middle Ages, a neighborhood in a city set up by law to be inhabited only by Jews; now used to denote a section of a city in which members of any minority group live because of social, legal, or economic pressure.

Hierarchical religion

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


An individual who helps to diffuse a universalizing religion.


The doctrine or belief of the existence of only one God.


A follower of a polytheistic religion in ancient times.


A journey to a place considered sacred for religious purposes.


Belief in or worship of more than one God.


A relatively small group that has broken away from an established denomination.


Time when the Sun is farthest from the equator.

Universalizing religion

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

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