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a tendency to stay firm in espousal or be devoted in approval (of a person, cause, creed)


a supporter or follower (such as of a cause or person)


mental acceptance or describable confidence that certain things are true but without absolute certainty of such

belief of conscience

inner thought or moral sense or conviction derived from ethical principle(s) of which one is cognizant

belief system

set of beliefs so related or connected as to form (or be considered) a unity or organic whole

civic perspective

habit of mind that is attentive to the civil rights and responsibilities of citizens or of the citizenry (all citizens as a group)


a knowledge or sense of right and wrong, with a compulsion to do the former and a feeling of guilt if one acts in violation of that moral judgment


study or philosophical understanding of the nature of the universe as a whole


a specific statement of religious belief/confession of faith; statement of this kind accepted as authoritative by a religious body; statement of belief, principles or opinions on a subject


statistics of distribution and density


Statistical science dealing with the distribution, density, etc. of populations


A particular religious sect or body, with a specific name, organization, etc.


characterized by empathy (the projection of oneís own personality the better to understand him/her better or share in anotherís emotions or feelings); exhibiting sympathy and understanding


government recognition and support of religion in society

Establishment clause

portion of First Amendment that sets up a line of demarcation between the functions and operations of the institutions of religion and government; see (no) Establishment clause


of or conforming to moral standards; having to do with ethics or morality


the study of standards of conduct and moral judgment; the system or code of morals of a particular person, religion, group, profession

faith position

place or stance in relation to others regarding religion


a religion, or any of the recognized communities of religious belief

faith system

collective of religious beliefs that form (or are considered) a unity

freedom of conscience

the inalienable right of each individual to exercise convictions as conscience dictates, with no one excluded (protection applies inclusively to everyone and not just those of recognized faith communities)

free exercise

freedom of every citizen to reach, hold, practice, and change beliefs according to the dictates of conscience (The Supreme Court has interpreted it to mean that any individual may believe anything, but that there may be times when practices that flow from beliefs may be limited or interfered with if there is compelling state interest)

Free Exercise clause

portion of the First Amendment that proscribes governmental prohibition of or penalty for religious belief and conduct (courts have had to place some limits; e.g., even if a religion required human sacrifice, it would not be permitted)


composition with respect to unlike components


composed of unrelated or unlike elements or parts; varied; miscellaneous  (constituents dissimilar, incongruous)


composition with uniformity throughout


composed of identical or similar elements or parts; uniform


existing, growing naturally in a region or country; belonging (to) as a native

liberty of conscience

see freedom of conscience

life stance

attitude adopted toward whatever is consequential to one's worldview 


relating to, dealing with, or capable of making the distinction between, right and wrong in conduct; relating to, serving to teach, or in accordance with, the principles of right and wrong; good or right in conduct or character


moral quality or character; rightness or wrongness, as of an action; the character of being in accord with the principles or standards of right conduct


(Philos.)the belief that the natural world as known and experienced scientifically is all that exists; (Theol.)the tenet that ultimate truth does not depend on supernatural experience, divine revelation, etc.; that it may be derived from the natural world alone)


characterized by naturalism in any form (e.g., philosophical, theological, biological, psychological); see naturalism 


not taking sides; taking part in or belonging to neither/none of the extremes of kind, type

no faith (none)

worldview or ultimate belief that abstains from recognized religious belief or faith


government cannot establish a particular religion or religion in general and is prohibited from advancing or supporting religion,

(no) Establishment clause

portion of the First Amendment that serves to prevent both religious control over government and political control over religion


characterized by attachment to nonreligion; see nonreligion


naturalistic worldviews and convictions in the realm of human thought associated with ultimate beliefs and principles of conscience by which individuals live their lives; see antonym religion


not affiliated with or confined to any specific religion


absence of reserve and unhampered by conventional reticence; directness exemplifying sincerity


a particular system of principles for the conduct of life; theory or analysis of the principles underlying conduct, thought, knowledge, and the nature of the universe (including ethics, aesthetics, logic, epistemology, metaphysics) 

public school

(in the U.S.) any elementary or secondary school that is part of a system of free schools maintained by public taxes and supervised by local authorities


belief in supernatural or divine power that invites expression in conduct and often involving ethics and a philosophy (or a specific system of such belief and conduct)

realm of ultimate beliefs

sphere of human thought inclusive of the full range of beliefs and worldviews that are potent and treasured by individuals and shape their lives


characterized by attachment to religion; see religion

religious freedom

see religious liberty

religious liberty

individual freedom of the mind is to remain beyond the power of the state to confer or remove, an inalienable right (the safeguarding of each citizen's ultimate beliefs and worldviews has been called America's "first liberty")

religious liberty clauses

that segment of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which ensures freedom of conscience (that religious belief or nonbelief remains voluntary, free from governmental coercion

religious diversity

variety and dissimilarity in the spectrum of worldviews and practices that derive from human sense of conscience

religious neutrality

circumstance of neither advancing nor inhibiting religion or any religion

religiously neutral

exhibiting a state of religious neutrality

secular of or marked by secularism (see secularism); relating to earthly things as distinguished from things relating to religion


belief that religion and ecclesiastical affairs should not enter into the functions of the state,; esp., into public education

secular philosophy

a particular system of principles for conduct of life unrelated to or in disregard of faith systems and positions


existing or occurring outside of normal human experience and knowledge not explainable by known forces or laws of nature (may be attributed to a divine force or spirit source)


belief that some supernatural or divine force controls nature and the universe

ultimate belief acceptance of or confidence in certain truths that resolve personal angst regarding an intrinsic matter of utmost human concern (e.g., human mortality)


overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world; a collection of beliefs about life and the universe

worldview kaleidoscope inclusive metaphor for the full spectrum of diverse human worldviews, with the notion "colors and shapes" used as a summary term to represent the many varied attributes (e.g., belief content, values, rites, traditions) 


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Last updated 8/18/2006

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