Glossary of religious and spiritual terms
Religious and spiritual words and
phrases starting with the letters "BL" to "BU"
|Black magic: The use of religious rites and rituals to harm
another person. One example from the Bible was when Elisha issued a
curse against 42 children who were poking fun at his baldness. Because of the
curse, the children were torn
to shreds by she-bears. See 2 Kings
||Black Mass: An imaginary inverted form of the Roman Catholic
mass involving black candles, desecrated materials stolen from a church,
prayers recited backwards in Latin, etc. Such rituals have been performed
by members of the Church of Satan as a publicity stunt|
|Black Muslims: A group of Muslim organizations for African-Americans, including the Nation of Islam.|
|Black theology: The belief that Israel, as described in the Hebrew
Scriptures (Old Testament), was a nation of blacks. Jesus was black; his
purpose was to liberate fellow blacks from oppression by white Gentiles.
|Blasphemy: Swearing in the name of God, denying the existence
of God, saying evil things about God, asserting incorrect beliefs
about God, etc. One religion's affirmation
of their God is often another religion's blasphemy about their God. A statement
by a person from the liberal wing of a religion is often considered a blasphemy
by someone from the conservative wing -- and vice-versa.
|Blessed be: A frequently used greeting-blessing by Wiccans and
|Blessed hope: The expectation that Jesus Christ will return to
Earth in the second coming.
|A group of theories that attempt to explain how Jesus'
torture-death resulted in a mechanism by which people's sins can be
forgiven. Other explanations, sometimes called "bloodless atonement"
theories, account for the forgiveness of sins on the bases of Jesus'
teachings and life.|
|A belief in the early Mormon church introduced by Brigham Young. It has since been abandoned by some Mormon denominations. Some crimes were considered so serious that the perpetrator's salvation required that he be killed and his blood mixed with the earth.|
||Blood libel: A false belief
which has endured since the
1st century BCE.
It states that members of a religious group
kidnap, abuse, ritually murder and sometimes eat the body of a member of
another religion. Groups creating this groundless fable include
ancient Greek and Roman Pagans, Christians, Nazis, and Muslims. Innocent
religious groups victimized by the fable include Jews, Christians,
Wiccans, Druids and other Neopagans, and Roma (Gypsies). The hoax exists
today mostly among some Muslims (against Jews) and some Fundamentalist
Christians (against Wiccans, Satanists and other religious minorities). In the U.S. recently, it has taken on a different meaning: a false accusation of being responsible for causing someone's death.|
|Blót: Service of the Gods;
kinship between the Gods of Norse Heathenism and the people.
|Bodhi: A Buddhist term which means to have achieved
enlightenment; to understand the ultimate reality.
|Bodhisattva: A Buddhist Sanskrit term that literally means "an
enlightenment being." A person who is
embarked on the path to enlightenment and has reached the final stage before
nirvana. However, the individual chooses to remain on Earth being reborn in
successive lives, in order to help all other sentient beings attain
|Bodhi Day: The day when Buddha
decided to sit under the bodhi tree, and remain there until he reached
|Body of Christ: This often refers to the physical body of
Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ.) Other times, it refers to the "invisible
church" which is made up of true Christians, past and present.
Unfortunately, there is no consensus concerning who
is a "true" Christian, so that there is no agreement over the exact
makeup or size of this group.|
|Boline: A knife used by a Wiccan or other Neopagan to collect herbs
for ritual use.
|Bon Festival: This is a day when the followers of Shinto
honor the souls of their ancestors. People visit graveyards.|
||Book of Life: In Christianity, a list,
maintained by God, of the names of saved individuals. According to Revelation, if anyone's name is not written in the Book of Life, they will be relegated to the torture chambers of Hell.|
|Book of Mormon: One of four texts considered to be divinely
inspired and authoritative scripture by the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and other Mormon denominations.
Mormons believe that Joseph Smith, their founder, translated the Book of
Mormon from golden plates left by an early American society. Some
researchers believe the Book to have been written by Smith, and partly
based on an earlier book "View of the Hebrews" by Ethan Smith (no
|Book of Shadows: A personal diary of a Wiccan or other Neopagan
in which she/he records their ritual activities. |
|Born again: The process by which a
person repents of their sins and trusts Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and
Savior. Conservative Protestants believe that this is the only way
that one can get to heaven. Some of these denominations do not require that a
person repent first.
|Brahma: The creator God and member of the Hindu trinity of
deities, which also includes Shiva and Vishnu.
||Brahmin: A member of the priestly class in Hinduism -- the
highest caste in India. The caste system still exists in India, and causes
unbelievable levels of sufferning, even though the practice has been banned by the government.
|Brainwashing: (a.k.a. thought control, mind control, coercive
persuasion). A non-violent method that uses mind control
techniques to convince a person to abandon some of their basic beliefs and
adopt the beliefs of the indoctrinator. The anti-cult
movement teaches that many small religious groups, which they call
cults, engage in brainwashing. Sociologists and mental health researchers
who are not involved in the anti-cult movement generally reject the
|Branch Davidians: Popular name for a
doomsday, destructive cult, the Students of
the Seven Seals, which was led by David Koresh. Dozens of their
members died when their compound burned to the ground in Waco, TX.|
|Brit Ha-Hayim: In reform Judaism, a ceremony celebrating the
birth of a girl.
||British Israel movement: A belief that some within the ten lost tribes of
Israel -- those conquered and assimilated by the Assyrians circa 722 BCE
-- became the British people, and subsequently the inhabitants of the former
British Empire, including the U.S. and Canada.
||Buchmanism: An organization founded by Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman (1878 - 1961) which evolved into "A First Century Christian Fellowship" at the time of World War I, and, later, "The Oxford Group" in 1929. The Oxford Group was the source of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs, and later became "Moral Re-Armament (MRA) in 1938. The goal of all of the groups
was to change society one person at a time, by promoting absolute purity,
unselfishness, honesty and love. 4|
|Buddha: A Buddhist term used to refer to Prince Siddhartha,
(560 - 480 BCE) after his enlightenment.|
|Buddha Day: A celebration of the birthday of the
|Buddhism: A world religion,
founded in the 6th century BCE by a Hindu: Siddhartha Gautama,
His followers called him "the Buddha" or "the enlightened one." It has
about 300 million followers, almost all located in Asia. Buddhism is
currently experiencing a rapid growth in North America. It is perhaps the least
violent of the world's major religions.|
|Bull: From the Latin word "bulla" a seal. A papal
statement in which he speaks ex cathedra on a matter of belief or
morality. Such a statement is regarded by Roman Catholics as infallible.|
|Burning Man Festival: An annual gathering in Black Rock Desert,
NV. Creative individuals celebrate artistic works, dance, chant, sing,
etc. At the end of the festival, a wooden image in the form of a man is
burned. This is apparently derived from the burning of a wicker statue of
the spirit of vegetation by the ancient Celts. That statue also was in the
form of a man.|
- "Most adults feel accepted by God, but
lack a biblical worldview," The Barna Group, 2005-AUG-09. at:
- Millard J. Erickson, "Christian Theology," Baker, (1985), Page 241.
- Steven Ibbotson, "Biblical Authority," Prairie bible
Institute, (2000), at:
- "Religion: Less Buchmanism," Time Magazine, 1941-NOV-24, at: http://www.time.com/
Copyright © 1996 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written on: 1996-MAR-11
Last update and review: 2011-JAN-23
Author: B.A. Robinson