Religiocentrism or religio-centrism is defined (Corsini 1999:827) as the "conviction that a person's own religion is more important or superior to other religions." In analogy to ethnocentrism, religiocentrism is a value-neutral term for psychological attitude.
Although the precise origins of religiocentrism and religiocentric remain unclear, the words have been used since the early 20th century. The American economist Adrian Augustus Holtz (1917:15) described how early German school reforms were "carried on in a way that allowed for a religio-centric educational system." Sinclair Lewis's Main Street (1920:307) said, "Maud Dyer was neurotic, religiocentric, faded; her emotions were moist, and her figure was unsystematic."
The related term Christocentric theologically means "forms of Christianity that concentrate on the teaching of Jesus Christ", but is sometimes used as a near synonym of religiocentric. For instance (Hamilton 2002), "No matter where it appears, government-sponsored Christocentrism, or even religiocentrism, undermines this nation's ideals."
The Australian social psychologists John J. Ray and Dianne Doratis defined religiocentrism.
"Ethnocentrism" is the social scientist's value-neutral term for ethnic or racial prejudice. It refers to ethnically-based sentiments of exclusiveness without any implication of their moral worth or justifiability... By analogy, the term religiocentrism is derived here to mean religiously based sentiments of exclusiveness—beliefs that one should marry within one's own religion, work with members of one's own religion, and in general prefer members of one's own religion above others. This will also entail ipso facto devaluative judgments of other religions. (1971:170)
Ray and Doratis designed a groundbreaking attitude scale to measure religiocentrism and ethnocentrism. Their religiocentrism scale comprises 33 items (for instance, "I think my religion is nearer to the truth than any other" and "Most Moslems, Buddhists and Hindus are very stupid and ignorant"), with five-point Likert scale psychometric response options from "Strongly agree" (Scored 5) to "Strongly disagree" (1). To verify internal consistency among respondents, 11 items were reverse scored ("It makes no difference to me what religion my friends are" is the converse of "I think that it's better if you stick to friends of the same religion as your own"), resulting in a reliability coefficient of .88 among 154 first-year university students. The authors tested attitudes among Australian fifth-form students in two Catholic and two public schools, and discovered that neither ethnocentrism nor religiocentrism showed any correlation with religious background. Ray and Doratis concluded (1971:178), "Ethnocentrism, religiocentrism and religious conservatism were all shown to be separate and distinct factors of attitudes in their own right. They are not just three aspects of the one thing. Religiocentric people do however tend to be both religiously conservative and ethnocentric."
The Hungarian-Jewish historian and anthropologist Raphael Patai mentions religiocentrism as a variable in relationships between religion and culture,
Each religion also has a definite outlook on its own value in relation to that of other religions. Its relationship to other religions may range from complete toleration to the complete lack of it, with a corresponding range of self-evaluation. This variable, best called religio-centrism (on the analogy of ethnocentrism), can serve as an additional avenue of approach to the study of our subject. (1954:234)
Comparing Middle Eastern, Far Eastern, and Western cultures, Patai finds,
Religion in the Far East is characterized by the absence of religio-centrism: there is a marked toleration of other religions and a mutual borrowing and influencing; in the Middle East and in the West there is a high degree of religio-centrism, with intolerance and scorn of other religions: each religion is exclusive and regards itself as the "one and only" true faith. (1954:252)
In a later survey of the potentials for world peace, Patai differentiated the major modern religions between "theistic" and "nontheistic".
The three great monotheistic religions of the Middle East and the West, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are the foremost theistic religions and the dominant faiths of about one half of mankind. Common to all theistic religions is a pronounced religiocentrism, expressed most poignantly in the conviction that one's own religion is the one and only true one, and that all the other faiths are erroneous and hence depreciable. In this conviction were rooted the great religious wars which pitted, not only Muslims against Christians, but also various Muslim sects against one another, and likewise made various Christian denominations bitter enemies... The situation is more hopeful in the great nontheistic religions of South, Southeast, and East Asia. These religions, notably Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, lack the element of self-assurance and certainty that each is the exclusive possessor of the only truth. (1987:24-25)
In response, Andrew Wilson, Professor of Scriptural Studies of the Unification Theological Seminary, criticized Patai's opinion as theologically plausible but historically erroneous, citing examples (1987:28) of "rampant communal violence between Hindus and Buddhists in Sri Lanka and between Sikhs and Hindus in India."
Religiocentrism has a specialized meaning for sociologists (Chalfant, Beckley, and Palmer 1994:51). "This term is related to a common word used in sociological literature, ethnocentrism. Similarly, we might refer to feelings of rightness and superiority resulting from religious affiliation as religiocentrism. Religiocentrism inhibits the ability of a society to achieve adaptation, integration and goal-attainment."
A religiorelative person is firm in his/her belief that other religions have the right to exist and be practiced, even if such norms and beliefs are contradictory to one's own set of religious beliefs. Such a person is prone not to engage in violence or discriminatory actions against the others. In contrast, a religiocentric person is a believer who denies other religions' "truth" and who holds an absolute truth that leaves no room for different religious practices. Such a person becomes more prone to dehumanize, exclude, and discriminate against other religious groups and individuals. Often, as a result of negative and destructive exposure and experience with conflict and war, religiocentric beliefs not only are exacerbated and easily translated into violence against the enemy (that is, the different other), but also actually grow and prohibit human and peaceful contact with the other. However, there are conflict resolution and peace-building activities and forums that can assist peace workers in such settings to transform a religiocentric into a religiorelative believer. (2004:497)
Abu-Nimer (2004:479-501) analyzes three typical reactions of a religiocentric person to another religion: denial (e.g., Israel not allowing Arabs to purchase or use state land), defense mechanisms ("There is no salvation outside the Church"), and minimization ("We are all the children of God").
Ali Illahism (Persian: علیاللّهی) is a syncretic religion which has been practiced in parts of Iranian Luristan which combines elements of Shia Islam with older religions. It centers on the belief that there have been successive incarnations of the Deity throughout history, and Ali Ilahees reserve particular reverence for Ali, the son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who is considered one such incarnation. Various rites have been attributed as Ali Ilahian, similarly to the Yezidis, Ansaris, and all sects whose doctrine is unknown to the surrounding Muslim and Christian population. Observers have described it as an agglomeration of the customs and rites of several earlier religions, including Zoroastrianism, historically because travelogues were "evident that there is no definite code which can be described as Ali Illahism".Sometimes Ali-Illahism is used as a general term for the several denominations that venerate or deify Ali, like the Kaysanites, the Alawis or the Ahl-e Haqq/Yarsanis, others to mean the Ahl-e Haqq.Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.Adherents of Anglicanism are called "Anglicans". The majority of Anglicans are members of national or regional ecclesiastical provinces of the international Anglican Communion, which forms the third-largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. They are in full communion with the See of Canterbury, and thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom the communion refers to as its primus inter pares (Latin, "first among equals"). He calls the decennial Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates, and is the president of the Anglican Consultative Council. Some churches that are not part of the Anglican Communion or recognised by the Anglican Communion also call themselves Anglican, including those that are part of the Continuing Anglican movement and Anglican realignment.Anglicans base their Christian faith on the Bible, traditions of the apostolic Church, apostolic succession ("historic episcopate"), and the writings of the Church Fathers. Anglicanism forms one of the branches of Western Christianity, having definitively declared its independence from the Holy See at the time of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. Many of the new Anglican formularies of the mid-16th century corresponded closely to those of contemporary Protestantism. These reforms in the Church of England were understood by one of those most responsible for them, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others as navigating a middle way between two of the emerging Protestant traditions, namely Lutheranism and Calvinism.In the first half of the 17th century, the Church of England and its associated Church of Ireland were presented by some Anglican divines as comprising a distinct Christian tradition, with theologies, structures, and forms of worship representing a different kind of middle way, or via media, between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism – a perspective that came to be highly influential in later theories of Anglican identity and expressed in the description of Anglicanism as "Catholic and Reformed". The degree of distinction between Protestant and Catholic tendencies within the Anglican tradition is routinely a matter of debate both within specific Anglican churches and throughout the Anglican Communion. Unique to Anglicanism is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of services in one Book used for centuries. The Book is acknowledged as a principal tie that binds the Anglican Communion together as a liturgical rather than a confessional tradition or one possessing a magisterium as in the Roman Catholic Church.
After the American Revolution, Anglican congregations in the United States and British North America (which would later form the basis for the modern country of Canada) were each reconstituted into autonomous churches with their own bishops and self-governing structures; these were known as the American Episcopal Church and the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada. Through the expansion of the British Empire and the activity of Christian missions, this model was adopted as the model for many newly formed churches, especially in Africa, Australasia, and Asia-Pacific. In the 19th century, the term Anglicanism was coined to describe the common religious tradition of these churches; as also that of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which, though originating earlier within the Church of Scotland, had come to be recognised as sharing this common identity.Antireligion
Antireligion is opposition to religion of any kind. The term has been used to describe opposition to organized religion, religious practices or religious institutions. This term has also been used to describe opposition to specific forms of supernatural worship or practice, whether organized or not. Opposition to religion also goes beyond the misotheistic spectrum. As such, antireligion is distinct from deity-specific positions such as atheism (the lack of belief in deities) and antitheism (an opposition to belief in deities); although "antireligionists" may also be atheists or antitheists.Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith (; Persian: بهائی Bahā'i) is a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people. Established by Bahá'u'lláh in 1863, it initially grew in Persia and parts of the Middle East, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception. It is estimated to have between 5 and 8 million adherents, known as Bahá'ís, spread out into most of the world's countries and territories.It grew from the mid-19th-century Bábí religion, whose founder (the Báb) taught that God would soon send a prophet in the same way of Jesus or Muhammad. In 1863, after being banished from his native Iran, Bahá'u'lláh (1817–1892) announced that he was this prophet. He was further exiled, spending over a decade in the prison city of Acre in Ottoman Palestine. Following Bahá'u'lláh's death in 1892, leadership of the religion fell to his son `Abdu'l-Bahá (1844–1921), and later his great-grandson Shoghi Effendi (1897–1957). Bahá'ís around the world annually elect local, regional, and national Spiritual Assemblies that govern the affairs of the religion, and every five years the members of all National Spiritual Assemblies elect the Universal House of Justice, the nine-member supreme governing institution of the worldwide Bahá'í community, which sits in Haifa, Israel, near the Shrine of the Báb.
Bahá'í teachings are in some ways similar to other monotheistic faiths: God is considered single and all-powerful. However, Bahá'u'lláh taught that religion is orderly and progressively revealed by one God through Manifestations of God who are the founders of major world religions throughout history; Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad being the most recent in the period before the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'ís regard the major religions as fundamentally unified in purpose, though varied in social practices and interpretations. There is a similar emphasis on the unity of all people, openly rejecting notions of racism and nationalism. At the heart of Bahá'í teachings is the goal of a unified world order that ensures the prosperity of all nations, races, creeds, and classes.Letters written by Bahá'u'lláh to various individuals, including some heads of state, have been collected and assembled into a canon of Bahá'í scripture that includes works by his son `Abdu'l-Bahá, and also the Báb, who is regarded as Bahá'u'lláh's forerunner. Prominent among Bahá'í literature are the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Kitáb-i-Íqán, Some Answered Questions, and The Dawn-Breakers.Chosen people
Throughout history, various groups of people have considered themselves to be chosen people by a deity for a purpose, such as to act as the deity's agent on earth. In monotheistic faiths references to God are used in constructs such as "God's Chosen People". The phenomenon of a "chosen people" is particularly common in the
Israelite tradition, where it originally referred to the Israelites—in fact Jews refer to this as a burden to spread the message of one God. Some claims of chosenness are based on parallel claims of Israelite ancestry, as is the case for the Christian Identity and Black Hebrew sects—both which claim themselves (and not Jews) to be the "true Israel". Others claim a "spiritual" chosenness, including most Christian denominations, who traditionally believe the church has replaced Israel as the People of God.
Anthropologists commonly regard claims of chosenness as a form of ethnocentrism.Comparative religion
Comparative religion is the branch of the study of religions concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices of the world's religions. In general the comparative study of religion yields a deeper understanding of the fundamental philosophical concerns of religion such as ethics, metaphysics, and the nature and forms of salvation. Studying such material is meant to give one a broadened and more sophisticated understanding of human beliefs and practices regarding the sacred, numinous, spiritual, and divine.In the field of comparative religion, a common geographical classification of the main world religions includes Middle Eastern religions (including Iranian religions), Indian religions, East Asian religions, African religions, American religions, Oceanic religions, and
classical Hellenistic religions.Egocentrism
Egocentrism is the inability to differentiate between self and other. More specifically, it is the inability to untangle subjective schemas from objective reality and an inability to accurately assume or understand any perspective other than one's own.Although egocentrism and narcissism appear similar, they are not the same. A person who is egocentric believes they are the center of attention, like a narcissist, but does not receive gratification by one's own admiration. Both egotists and narcissists are people whose egos are greatly influenced by the approval of others, while for egocentrists this may or may not be true.
Although egocentric behaviors are less prominent in adulthood, the existence of some forms of egocentrism in adulthood indicates that overcoming egocentrism may be a lifelong development that never achieves completion. Adults appear to be less egocentric than children because they are faster to correct from an initially egocentric perspective than children, not because they are less likely to initially adopt an egocentric perspective.Therefore, egocentrism is found across the life span: in infancy, early childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. It contributes to the human cognitive development by helping children develop theory of mind and self-identity formation.Ethnocentrism
Ethnocentrism is the act of judging another culture based on preconceptions that are found in the values and standards of one's own culture – especially regarding language, behavior, customs, and religion. These aspects or categories are distinctions that define each ethnicity's unique cultural identity.Ishikism
Ishik or Ishik Alevism (Işık Aleviliği), also known as Chinarism (Çınarcılık), is a new syncretic religious movement among Alevis who have developed an alternative understanding of Alevism and its history. These alternative interpretations and beliefs were inspired by Turkish writer Erdoğan Çınar with the publication of his book Aleviliğin Gizli Tarihi (The Secret History of Alevism) in 2004.Organized religion
Organized religion (or organised religion—see spelling differences), also known as institutional religion, is religion in which belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and formally established. Organized religion is typically characterized by an official doctrine (or dogma), a hierarchical or bureaucratic leadership structure, and a codification of rules and practices.Patriotism
Patriotism or national pride is the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to a homeland and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment. This attachment can be a combination of many different feelings relating to one's own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. It encompasses a set of concepts closely related to nationalism.Some manifestations of patriotism emphasise the "land" element in love for one's native land and use the symbolism of agriculture and the soil – compare Blut und Boden.Rastafari
Rastafari, also known as Rastafarianism, is an Abrahamic religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. Scholars of religion and related fields have classified it as both a new religious movement and a social movement. There is no central authority in control of the movement and much diversity exists among practitioners, who are known as Rastafari, Rastafarians, or Rastas.
Rastas refer to their beliefs, which are based on a specific interpretation of the Bible, as "Rastalogy". Central is a monotheistic belief in a single God—referred to as Jah—who partially resides within each individual. Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia between 1930 and 1974, is given central importance. Many Rastas regard him as an incarnation of Jah on Earth and as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, another figure whom practitioners revere. Other Rastas regard Haile Selassie not as Jah incarnate but as a human prophet who fully recognized the inner divinity in every individual. Rastafari is Afrocentric and focuses its attention on the African diaspora, which it believes is oppressed within Western society, or "Babylon". Many Rastas call for the resettlement of the African diaspora in either Ethiopia or Africa more widely, referring to this continent as the Promised Land of "Zion". Rastas refer to their practices as "livity". Communal meetings are known as "groundations", and are typified by music, chanting, discussions, and the smoking of cannabis, the latter being regarded as a sacrament with beneficial properties. Rastas place emphasis on what they regard as living "naturally", adhering to ital dietary requirements, twisting their hair into dreadlocks, and following patriarchal gender roles.
Rastafari originated among impoverished and socially disenfranchised Afro-Jamaican communities in 1930s Jamaica. Its Afrocentric ideology was largely a reaction against Jamaica's then-dominant British colonial culture. It was influenced by both Ethiopianism and the Back-to-Africa movement promoted by black nationalist figures like Marcus Garvey. The movement developed after several Christian clergymen, most notably Leonard Howell, proclaimed that Haile Selassie's crowning as emperor in 1930 fulfilled a Biblical prophecy. By the 1950s, Rastafari's counter-cultural stance had brought the movement into conflict with wider Jamaican society, including violent clashes with law enforcement. In the 1960s and 1970s it gained increased respectability within Jamaica and greater visibility abroad through the popularity of Rasta-inspired reggae musicians like Bob Marley. Enthusiasm for Rastafari declined in the 1980s, following the deaths of Haile Selassie and Marley, but the movement survived and has a presence in many parts of the world.
The Rasta movement is decentralised and organised on a largely cellular basis. There are several denominations, or "Mansions of Rastafari", the most prominent of which are the Nyahbinghi, Bobo Ashanti, and the Twelve Tribes of Israel, each offering a different interpretation of Rasta belief. There are an estimated 700,000 to 1 million Rastas across the world; the largest population is in Jamaica, although communities can be found in most of the world's major population centres. The majority of practitioners are of black African descent, although a minority come from other ethnic groups.Relativism
Relativism is the idea that views are relative to differences in perception and consideration. There is no universal, objective truth according to relativism; rather each point of view has its own truth.The major categories of relativism vary in their degree of scope and controversy. Moral relativism encompasses the differences in moral judgments among people and cultures. Truth relativism is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture (cultural relativism). Descriptive relativism seeks to describe the differences among cultures and people without evaluation, while normative relativism evaluates the morality or truthfulness of views within a given framework.Religion
Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life". Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, and other things. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion. The religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion, atheists, and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs.The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief.Royal Canadian Chaplain Service
The Royal Canadian Chaplain Service (French: Service de l'aumônerie royal canadien) is a personnel branch of the Canadian Armed Forces that has approximately 192 Regular Force chaplains and 145 Reserve Force chaplains representing the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths. From 1969 to 2014 it was named the Chaplain Branch. It was renamed on October 16, 2014.Women as theological figures
Women as theological figures have played a significant role in the development of various religions and religious hierarchies. The study of women and religion typically examines the role of women within particular religious faiths, and religious doctrines relating to gender, gender roles, and particular women in religious history. It is worth noting from a gender scientific approach, women occupy the second room in all of the following religions in the examples below, with the exception of Nakayama Miki, the founder of Tenrikyo.
George H. Gallup Jr. wrote in an analysis for the Gallup Organization in 2002 that, a mountain of evidence shows that women have more religiosity than men. Gallup goes on to say that women hold on to their faith more heartily, work harder for the church, and in general practice with more consistency than men.Yarsanism
The Yarsan, Ahle Haqq or Kaka'i (Kurdish: یارسان, Yarsan, Persian: اهل حق; "People of Truth"), is a syncretic religion founded by Sultan Sahak in the late 14th century in western Iran. The total number of Yarsanis is estimated at around 2,000,000 or 3,000,000. They are primarily found in western Iran and eastern Iraq and are mostly ethnic Goran Kurds, though there are also smaller groups of Turk, Persian, Lori, Azerbaijani and Arab adherents. Some Yarsanis in Iraq are called Kaka'i. Yarsanis are also found in some rural communities in southeastern Turkey. Yarsanis say that some people call them disparagingly as "Ali-o-allahi" or "worshipers of Ali" which labels Yarsanis deny. Many Yarsanis hide their religion due to pressure of Iran's Islamic system, and there are no exact statistics of their population.The Yarsanis have a distinct religious literature primarily written in the Gorani language. However, few modern Yarsani can read or write Gorani (a Northwestern Iranian language belonging to the branch Zaza-Gorani) as their mother tongues are Southern Kurdish and Sorani, which belong to the other two branches of the Kurdish languages. The speakers of Sarli living near Eski Kalak are adherents, as Edmonds (1957: 195) and Moosa (1988: 168) observed. Their central religious book is called the Kalâm-e Saranjâm, written in the 15th century based on the teachings of Sultan Sahak.
The goal of Yarsanism is to teach humans to achieve ultimate truth. The Yarsani believe sun and fire are holy things and follow the principles of equalization, purity, righteousness, and oneness, which leads some researchers to find Mithraic roots in this religion.Yarsanism is barely mentioned in historical religious books as its doctrine and rituals are largely secret. The followers of Yarsanism perform their rituals and ceremonies in secret, but this has not relieved the harassment of many of the Yarsani by Islamic or other governments over the centuries. The followers of this religion say that after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, pressure on the Yarsani community has increased and they have been deprived and discriminated against for over 30 years.One of the signs of Yarsanic males is an intact mustache, as the Yarsanic holy book Kalâm-e Saranjâm says that every man must have a mustache to take part in Yarsanic religious rites.Yazdânism
Yazdânism, or the Cult of Angels, is a proposed pre-Islamic, native religion of the Kurds. The term was introduced by Kurdish scholar Mehrdad Izady to represent what he considers the "original" religion of the Kurds.According to Izady, Yazdânism is now continued in the denominations of Yazidism, Yarsanism, and Ishik Alevism. The three traditions subsumed under the term Yazdânism are primarily practiced in relatively isolated communities; from Khurasan to Anatolia, and parts of western Iran.
The concept of Yazdânism has found a wide perception both within and beyond Kurdish nationalist discourses, but has been disputed by other recognized scholars of Iranian religions. Well established, however, are the "striking" and "unmistakable" similarities between the Yazidis and the Yaresan or Ahl-e Haqq, some of which can be traced back to elements of an ancient faith that was probably dominant among Western Iranians and likened to practices of pre-Zoroastrian Mithraic religion. Mehrdad Izady defines the Yazdanism as an ancient Hurrian religion and states that Mitanni could have introduced some of the Vedic tradition that appears to be manifest in Yazdanism.