Absolute - free from exception, qualification, or conditional limitation; operating or existing in full under all circumstances without variation or exception.
Absolutism - an ethical system according to which ethical norms are established by a transcendent source.
Act Utilitarianism - an ethical system which holds that ethical decisions are determined by the parameters of each individual act.
Animism - the worship of spirit beings, rather than the worship of God; the belief that inanimate objects possess a soul or spirit.
Anthropology - the science that deals with the origins, development, characteristics, and customs of mankind; the branch of theology that deals with the true substance and nature of man.
Anti-Utopian - a type of literature that warns its readers about a future that is non-ideal, usually a terribly regimented existence without true freedom, hope, dignity, or choice.
Anti-Romance - the type of literature that represents an non-ideal existence, a flawed and broken world of all that we hate, fear, and dread.
Antinomianism - a belief that there are no norms, that individual persons determine their own ethical stance; freedom from moral law.
Apologetics - a system of rational defense; in Christianity that branch of theology having to do with a defense of and rationale for the faith.
Atheism - system of thought based on the non-existence of God. The belief that God does not exist, or that the evidence for His existence is inadequate.
Atonement - satisfaction given for wrongdoing, injury, etc; in Christianity the removal of guilt through the substitutionary death of Jesus.
Authority - the power or right to give commands, enforce obedience, take action, or make final decisions.
Behaviorism - the contemporary American philosophy which abandons the concepts of mind and consciousness and restricts both animal and human psychology to the study of behavior; an ethical system by which ethical behavior is predetermined by either genetic or conditional factors.
Brahman - the name given by Hindu teachers to the infinite (impersonal) divine reality from which all has emerged, and to which all will ultimately return.
Canon - a ruler or measuring rod; a list of books accepted as genuinely inspired and authoritative.
Canonicity - acceptability as genuinely inspired and authoritative.
Channeling - the New Age name for the act of spiritism or mediumship.
Communism - an economic theory or system based on the ownership of all property by the community as a whole; the final stage of socialism as formulated by Marx, Engels, Lenin and others characterized by a classless and stateless society and the equal distribution of economic goods; achieved by revolutionary and dictatorial means.
Comedy - a type of literature that represents the restoration to bliss; the literature of youth and the season of spring.
Consequentialism - an ethical system according to which ethical behavior is determined by the end results of that behavior.
Contextualization - the process whereby the Christian message is made relevant and meaningful in a given culture or context.
Cosmic Christ - Christ is considered to be a cosmic force or universal spirit whose task it is to direct the ongoing spiritual evolution of man.
Culture - according to Brunner, "that which man does beyond biological necessity."
Deconstruction - taking apart or examining any literature or institution (like a government) and uncovering its inconsistencies and hidden meanings.
Deism - a world view advocating natural religion based on human reason rather than special revelation, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe.
Discernment - the act of separating or distinguishing between things.
Deontological - an ethical system based on a sense of duty or moral obligation.
Ecclesiology - the branch of theology dealing with the church; taken from the Greek word "ekklesia," meaning "those called out" or "an assembly of citizens regularly summoned."
Emotivism - an ethical system by which proper behavior is determined by how one feels about the situation at hand.
Empiricism - the practice of relying on observation and experiment especially in the natural sciences; all knowledge is gained through sensory experience.
Enlightenment - a period of European intellectual history that covers roughly the 18th century and is characterized by great optimism in the triumph of reason over tradition and religious authority. Reason and rationality became the "religion" of many, particularly in France, England, and Germany.
Epic - a long, narrative poem in elevated style.
Epistemology - the study or theory of the origin, nature, methods, and limits of knowledge.
Eschatology - the branch of theology dealing with death, resurrection, judgment, and immortality; the study of last things or end times.
Ethics - the study of standards of conduct and moral judgement; the system or code of morals of a particular person, religion, group, profession, etc.
Existentialism - A worldview that maintains that all we can really know about life is that one exists, and that one's value and meaning is created by one's own will rather than by any innate human nature or transcendent purpose.
Falsifiable - anything that is open or submissible to one or more objective attempts to invalidate it.
Free Market - an economic system which allows the supply, price, and quality of products to be determined by the desires of individual consumers rather than by centralized planning.
Globalism - a view that holds to the need for a one-world government rather than the present multi-nation planet.
Gnosticism - the belief that salvation is based on one's knowledge of his or her divinity.
Hedonism - an ethical system based on the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.
Holism - the view that everything in the universe is both interrelated and interdependent.
Human Potential Movement - a belief system, rooted in humanistic psychology, which stresses the essential goodness and unlimited potential of mankind.
Humanism - a system of thought based on the nature, dignity, interests, and ideals of man; specifically, a modern, nontheistic, rationalistic movement that holds man supreme and capable of self-fulfillment, ethical conduct, etc., without recourse to supernaturalism.
Humanistic Psychology - that branch of psychology that starts with the potentiality of individual human beings.
Incarnation - the term used for Christ in His earthly state; literally a description of God having assumed a human body and soul.
Inerrancy - without error; refers also to the complete accuracy of the Bible as having no error in the original manuscripts including areas of history and science.
Inspiration - literally means "God-breathed" (II Timothy 3:16) and refers to the process in which God moved Biblical writers to produce a flawless record of His word without eliminating the personality or style of the individual writers.
Jihad - the obligation which is incumbent on Muslims to engage in "struggle" or "exertion" in behalf of Islam, to bring the entire world into the "Household of Islam."
Karma - though the word literally means "action," it refers primarily to the consequences of actions which most Hindus and Buddhists (as well as New Agers) believe may be experienced in the present or future (reincarnated) lives.
Koran - literally "recitation" or "writing," the Koran is the book which contains the revelations which Mohammed claimed to have received from Allah through the angel Gabriel, during the years 610 to 633 AD.
Marxism - the philosophy of Karl Marx, best defined as "dialectical materialism."
Masoretes - Jewish scribes of the fifth through ninth century AD who standardized the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and added vowels.
Materialism - the idea that only matter is real.
Mediating Structures - relationships or organizations that act as a buffer between a central government and individuals within a society.
Medieval - the historical period from roughly the 5th to 14th century, a time when the church was in control of society. Once labeled the "Dark Ages," it is now recognized that much innovation occurred during this period without stifling Europe in the way many older writers had pictured.
Miracle - an event which defies the laws of nature, generally thought of as caused by God for the purpose of furthering His causes.
Modernism - the optimistic view that human reason and science are sufficient to understand the world and solve its problems.
Monism - the world view that all of reality is a single essence with no independent parts.
Mysticism - generally refers to a personal and non-rational path to God, whereby the soul seeks to join itself to God and become one with Him. Mysticism is much like Zen in terms of being incommunicable and yet written about at great length.
Natural Revelation - the self-disclosure of God through the created universe.
Naturalism - a world view that denies the supernatural; scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena.
Nihilism - a world view that nothing exists or is knowable or valuable; particularly a denial of any ground for objective or moral truth.
Nirvana - literally means "extinction", refers to the Buddhist conception of the place or mode of existence toward which Buddhists aspire, in which all suffering (and probably individual existence) will be extinguished.
Overman (or "superman") - Nietzsche's term for a person who has decided to live according to one's "will to power."
Pantheism - the worldview stating that all of reality is comprised of a single being, i.e., God.
Paradise - literally, the earth before the fall or heaven after the judgment; metaphorically, an ideal state of existence.
Pneumatology - that branch of theology concerning the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
Postmodernism - a belief that individuals are merely constructs of social forces, that there is no transcendent truth that can be known; a rejection of any one world view or explanation of reality as well as a rejection of the reality of objective truth.
Pragmatism - an ethical system based on the expedient way to accomplish a desired result, regardless of the means.
Presupposition - the foundational element of a world view; a belief which is not inferred from other beliefs either inductively or deductively.
Rationalism - a world view that holds reason itself to be the ultimate source of knowledge and superior to sense perception alone.
Reincarnation - a belief found in pantheism that the soul goes through a continuing and perhaps eternal cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
Relativism - the system of thought based upon the interrelatedness of all things; a philosophy that holds to no transcendent or objective truth for all people, places, and times.
Religious Pluralism - the idea that "all religions lead to God"; that there are many valid approaches to God or salvation, thus discounting the significance of differences in belief among the religions.
Renaissance - lit. "rebirth"; the great revival of art, literature, and learning in Europe from the 14th to the 17th centuries, based in large measure on the resurgence of the study of Greek and Roman culture.
Romance - a term used to describe stories of an idealized existence; a tale of bliss or happiness.
Romanticism - a movement of the 19th century that sought to replace the great emphasis on reason with a new focus on feelings, emotions, and nature. Nature often came to replace God, and reason was seen as a restraint on true feeling.
Rule Utilitarianism - ethical rules are established based on historical results.
Self-Actualization - according to Maslow, the point or process of psychological development where an individual has reached his full potential as a human being.
Septuagint - literally means "Seventy," this Greek version of the Old Testament is believed to have been translated by seventy scribes in Alexandria, Egypt, between 250 and 150 BC; the text of the O.T. used by N.T. writers.
Situationalism - an ethical system which states that our ethical behavior should be determined by the given situation.
Special Revelation - God self-disclosure in history through the Scriptures and through the life of Jesus Christ.
Textual Criticism - the process by which scholars seek to determine the original words of the Biblical text through the comparison of ancient manuscripts.
Theism - the belief in an infinite and personal God who created the physical universe and continues to act upon it as He chooses.
Theodicy - a reasoned argument in support of belief in the justice of God in the face of the existence of evil within His creation.
Theology Proper - that branch of theology concerning the nature and character of God.
Tragedy - a story about the loss of happiness, bliss, or idealized existence.
Utilitarianism - an ethical system by which one acts according to that which will result in the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
Utopian - an idealistic view of the future in which a perfect political or social environment exists; utopia literally means "no place."
Vedas - collections of religious writings composed in India between 1800 BC and 500 BC which contain the basic teachings of philosophical Hinduism.
Wisdom - the proper understanding and application of knowledge to life.