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Chapters 11, 12, 13, 32

ethnic religions

sometimes called "cultural religions"; do not seek converts outside group; tend to be spatially concentrated; main exception is Judaism.


A philosophy that adheres to the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. It shows the way to ensure a stable government and an orderly society in the present world and stresses a moral code of conduct.


A Chinese philosophy in which people live a simple life in harmony with nature.


Form of a tribal religion that involved community acceptance of a shaman, a religious leader, healer, and worker of magic who, through special powers, can intercede with and interpret the spirit world.

traditional religion

religion that is an intimate part of a local culture and society


Religion founded by Nanak that blended Islamic and Hindu Beliefs

syncretic religion

separate religions that combine into a new religion; often borrow from the past and the present.


the force generated by a person's actions that determines how the person will be reborn in the next life


the highest of the four varnas: the priestly or sacerdotal category


the Hindu or Buddhist doctrine that person may be reborn successively into one of five classes of living beings (god or human or animal or hungry ghost or denizen of hell) depending on the person's own actions

caste system

System in India that gives every Indian a particular place in the social hierarchy from birth. Individuals may improve the position they inherit in the caste system in their next life through their actions, or karma. After many lives of good karma, they may be relieved from cycle of life and win their place in heaven.


LOWEST LEVEL OF INDIAN SOCIETY; not considered a real part of the caste system; often given degrading jobs; their life was extremely difficult


the spread of social institutions (and myths and skills) from one society to another

minority religion

may have minority denominations within a major religion -- in some countries Christianity is considered a minority religion

monotheistic religions

belief in one god

polytheistic religions

religion in which there is a belief in many gods.

animistic religions

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

cultural landscape

the visible imprint of human activity and culture on the landscape

universalizing religions

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


a religion that branched off from Hinduism and was founded by Mahavira; its belief is that everything has a soul, and its purpose was to cleanse the soul. Some were extreme aesthetics.

feng shui

an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics grounded in astronomy that strives to pair human-built environments with locations that have perfect qi, or energy - literally "wind and water".


the dispersion or spreading of something that was originally localized (as a people or language or culture)


One of the two main ethnic groups within Jewish Culture.


One of the main ethnic groups within Jewish culture. They settled in Northern Africa and later in the Iberian Peninsula after having been driven away from Jerusalem early in the first millennium AD


A policy for establishing and developing a national homeland for Jews in Palestine.


the era of Islam's ascendaancy from the death of Mohammed until the 13th century

interfaith boundaries

boundaries between the world's major faiths

sharia religious laws

system of islamic law based on varying degrees of interpretation of the Qu'ran


a part of a country that is seperated from the rest of the country and surrounded by foreign territory.


an enclosed territory that is culturally distinct from the foreign territory that surrounds it

ethnic cleansing

the mass expulsion and killing of one ethic or religious group in an area by another ethnic or religious group in that area

intrafaith boundaries

boundaries within a single major faith

religious fundamentalism

religious movement whose objectives are to return to the foundations of the faith and to influence state policy


a high-ranking Shiite religious leader who is regarded as an authority on religious law and its interpretation and who has political power as well


a holy struggle or striving by a Muslim for a moral or spiritual or political goal

islamic republic

Government run by Muslim religious leaders


the personal traits and social positions that members of a society attach to being female or male

longevity gap

the gap between the life expectancy of men and women

maternal mortality rate

annual number of deaths of women during childbirth per 1,000 women

female infanticide

the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females

dowry deaths

In the context of arranged marriages in India, disputes over the price to be paid by the family of the bride to the father of the groom have, in some extreme cases, led to the death of a bride.


the right to vote

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