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Most prevalent in Africa and the Americas, doctrine in which the world is seen as being infused with spiritual and even supernatural powers.


System of belief that seeks to explain ultimate realities for all people-- such as the nature of suffering and the path toward self-realization.

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.


The world's most widespread religion. Is a monotheist, universal religion that uses missionaries to expand its members worldwide. The three major categories of ______ are Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox.


A particular religious group, usually associated with differing Protestant belief systems.

Ethnic religion

Religion that is identified with a particular ethnic or tribal group and that does not seek new converts.

Evangelical religions

Religion in which an effort is made to spread a particular belief system.


The strict adherence to a particular doctrine.

Global religion

Religion in which members are numerous and widespread and their doctrines might appeal to different people from any region of the globe.


A cohesive and unique society, most prevalent in India, that integrates spiritual beliefs with daily practices and official institutions such as the caste system.


A monotheistic religion based on the belief that there is one God, Allah, and that Muhammad was Allah's prophet. Islam is based in the ancient city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Muhammad.


The first major monotheistic religion. It is based on a sense of ethnic identity, and its adherents tend to form tight-knit communities wherever they live.

Local religion

Religions that are spiritually bound to particular regions.


A person of a particular faith that travels in order to recruit new members into the faith represented.


The worship of only one god.


A journey to a place of religious importance.


The worship of more than one god.


The single person who takes on the roles of priest, counselor, and physician and acts as a conduit of the supernatural world in a shamanist culture.

Universalizing religion

Religion that seeks to unite people from all over the globe.

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