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92 definitions by World_Religions

 
15.
A religion native to Japan, characterized by veneration of nature spirits and ancestors and by a lack of formal dogma. Shinto is actually from the Chinese word for Japanese religion, shen-dao, the Way of the Higher Gods. The Japanese term for traditional religion is kami-no-michi, the Way of the Kami. Kami are spirits, gods, sacred powers and so on. It is very animistic. All things derive from the power of the kami. Once, Japan was only inhabited by kami. As all things derive from the kami, so do human beings derive from the kami and may become kami upon death. This belief forms the traditional history of the origins of Japan and its people. In the beginning the kami were generated on the Plain of High Heaven. The most important were Izanagi and Izanami. Their creative power brought about the land of Japan and the people. Izanagi and Izanami descended to the Floating Bridge of Heaven and stirred the salt water to create an island to which they descended to give birth to the kami of the world. The universe is interpreted in terms of the power of the kami. The myths discuss 800 myriads of kami on the Plain of High Heaven, much less the kami of Earth, the Central Land of Reed Plains. The myths set the pattern for Japanese concerns for purity, the veneration of the sun kami, the festivals and rituals, and the traditions that provide the distinctive Japanese identity.
Izanami died after giving birth to Kaga-Tsuchi, the kami of fire and went to Yomi, the underworld. Izanagi tried to break in and bring her back. He was horrified at her appearance in death and repelled. Even more, she was angry that he had broken in to see her polluted by death and she pursued him to destroy him. Izanagi escaped and blocked the hole to the Underworld with a huge rock to prevent Izanami from being unleashed on the world. She threatened to bring death to all things. He responded that he would make sure that things were born faster than she could destroy them. He escaped but was now polluted by the experience and so washed in the ocean to purify himself and exorcise the evil. This set the pattern for purification rituals. Ritually unclean, Izanagi bathed in the ocean. When Izanagi washed his left eye, Amaterasu (the Heavenly Illuminating Kami, or Sun Kami) was born. In washing his right eye, Tsukiyomi (the Moon Kami) was born and in washing his nose Susanoo (Valiant Raging Male Kami, or Storm Kami) was born. Izanagi was pleased by these kami of sun, moon and storm. He placed Amaterasu to rule the Plain of High Heaven and gave her his sacred necklace. So she came to rule all the kami. Tsukiyomi was to rule the night and Susanoo the sea. Purification inside and out becomes important in Shinto and the model is Izanagi’s bath. Pollution comes from the darkness and the kami help take it back to the darkness.
by World_Religions July 15, 2010
 
16.
A teacher & prayer leader of a mosque.

The word imam is an Arabic work that means “leader.” Depending on the usage of the word and whether or not it is written with a capital “I”, the word can hold many different meanings and connotations.
An imam could also be a Muslim leader of the line of Ali held by Shiites to be the divinely appointed, sinless, infallible successors of Muhammad or any of various rulers that claim descent from Muhammad and exercise spiritual and temporal leadership over a Muslim region.
by World_Religions May 23, 2010
 
17.
A member of the branch of Islam that regards Ali and his descendants as the legitimate successors to Muhammad and rejects the first three caliphs.
Anyone who is a Shi'ite wants the leadership of the caliph to stay within Muhammad's family lines. However, anyone who says there is no God, but Allah, and that Muhammad is the prophet of Allah, is a Muslim.
by World_Religions May 24, 2010
 
18.
"The cube," a gray stone structure at Mecca; re-shrouded annually in black brocade. It marks the geographical center of the Islamic world and is the focal point of prayer, orientation, and pilgrimage. It is viewed in Muslim tradition as the first "house of God" built by Abraham and his son Ishmael at God's command.
The first main ritual is Circling (tawaf) the Ka'ba seven time counterclockwise, putting the house of God, center of the universe, at center of one’s life.
by World_Religions May 23, 2010
 
19.
Isis, the Egyptian goddess of rebirth remains one of the most familiar images of empowered and utter femininity. The goddess Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, the goddess of the Overarching Sky. Isis was born on the first day between the first years of creation, and was adored by her human followers.
Unlike the other Egyptian goddesses, the goddess Isis spent time among her people, teaching women how to grind corn and make bread, spin flax and weave cloth, and how to tame men enough to live with them.
by World_Religions August 04, 2010
 
20.
Satanism is not one single religion. Satanism is a broad category of religions, worldviews, and literature all featuring a favorable interpretation of Satan. Christians (and Muslims) regard their God as all-good and Satan as evil. But what is good? What is evil? Many of the moral values espoused in the Bible seem very strange from a modern Western point of view. In the Garden of Eden story, Adam and Eve are punished for eating from the "tree of knowledge of good and evil." In other words, blind obedience to the Biblical God is considered "good," whereas independent moral judgment, based on one's own knowledge, is considered "evil." But, like many other educated people in the West today, Satanists do not agree with this idea at all. In the Book of Genesis, "God" seems to be outright threatened by human knowledge and achievement, both in the Garden of Eden story ("And the LORD God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.'" - Genesis 3:22) and then later in the Tower of Babel story ("But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, 'If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.'" - Genesis 11:5-7).
According to traditional Christian doctrine, the main “evil” thing Satan is believed to do is simply to lead people away from Christ. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how you feel about Christianity. From a more down-to-Earth point of view, the worst thing Satan is said to do in the New Testament is to drive people insane. (Insanity is blamed on alleged “demon possession.”) Indeed, if one is careless, one can drive oneself insane through exploring the unknown and seeking to “become as gods,” as Satan invites people to do. On the other hand, if one takes reasonable precautions in pursuing one's explorations and ambitions, one can reap great benefits. Thus, most Satanists do NOT see themselves as "worshiping evil." Rather, most Satanists associate Satan with such values as pride, independence, individuality, knowledge, achievement, thinking for oneself, and exploring unknown and forbidden realms. Furthermore, contrary to the portrayal of Satanism in horror movies and sensationalistic tabloids, the vast majority of Satanists do NOT see any need to sacrifice animals or commit violent crimes in the name of Satan. There are many kinds of Satanists. For most of the past forty years, the most public Satanist spokespeople have been atheistic symbolic Satanists, who do not believe in or worship Satan as a literal entity, but who regard Satan as a symbol of independence, pride, individual ambition, etc.
by World_Religions July 23, 2010
 
21.
The ethical system of Confucius, the Chinese philosopher and teacher of ethics (551-479 BCE), emphasizing moral order, the humanity and virtue of China's ancient rulers, and gentlemanly education. Confucius was born Kong Zhong-ni, in the shih (knight) class in the state of Lu about 551 BCE. Most biographical information derives from the Analects, which are the collected sayings of the Master. Confucius aspired to governmental office and there is a tradition he was a minister in the government of Lu for a time. Confucius special goal in life was to restore the culture and tradition of China to the ideal set forth in the time of the Duke of Zhou. He saw himself as transmitting ancient tradition, not innovating new ideas. His efforts were not appreciated and he was consistently rebuffed in attempts to gain more important offices he felt were his due. So Confucius turned to education to achieve his goals setting up a school to train disciples in his ideals. Perhaps because of the trials of his youth, Confucius never turned his back on the common man and no pupil, no matter how poor was turned away from the school. Though he had a full life teaching in Lu and seeing his students gain high public office, by his 50s Confucius became irritated at the lack of progress in moral reform and disillusioned by the lack of public moral leadership in the ruling class. He decided to travel to other states and try and educate other rulers and find a way to put his principles into practice.
While he was well received and offered responsible positions in other states, he never found anyone with the moral commitment to restore the Zhou society. After a decade of wandering, Confucius, now nearly 70, returned to Lu. Outwardly, he felt that he had failed, for no ruler adopted his practices and he had not attained a significant office from which to effect change. Nevertheless, his wanderings as the gathered and trained pupils sowed the seeds of future change, as these disciples would fan out across China to carry his message and transform society. The heart of Confucian scripture has always been the Five Classics. As they finally took shape in a later era, these included: The Classic of History (Shujing), recording the words and actions of the sage-rulers from the ancient, prehistoric Yao period to the early Zhou period; The Classic of Poetry (Shijing), some 300 poems mostly from early Zhou times exemplifying moral virtue and poetic beauty; The Classic of Changes (Yinjing), a book of divination with explanations and commentary explaining the patterns of the universe; The Classic of Rites (Lijing) the detailed account of the rituals and ceremonies of the sage-kings and their meaning and significance, plus philosophical teaching; and The Spring and Autumn Annals (Chunqiu) recording events in Lu 722-481 BCE with commentaries. Apparently a sixth classic, the Classic of Music was lost. The Confucianism path of transformation is based on these texts.
by World_Religions July 15, 2010