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"There is no such way to gain admittance, or give defense to strange and absurd doctrines, as to guard them round about with legions of obscure, doubtful, and undefined words; which yet make these retreats more like the dens of robbers, or holes of foxes, than fortresses of fair warriors." - John Locke


There are at least three problems associated with definitions: 1) they can be shallow or irrelevant, 2) they can be blurry or indistinct, and 3) they can be misguided or wrong.

There are dozens of dictionaries that are published, and many online, so why bother to deal with definitions on this site? The answer is that too many times the definitions given are shallow and little more that lists of synonyms, and don't get down to the bedrock of the issue. For instance, the deep definition of "worship" is: To give credit for the sustenance or enhancement of life, or some combination thereof. But try and find that definition in ANY dictionary out there!

Dealing with spiritual issues without adequate word definitions is like fixing watches with blurry vision and shaky hands. The communication is incomplete, misguided, and misunderstood, and the confusion and frustration mount up until usually people are turned off to further discussion. What with word definitions in usage today having wandered significantly from their original meanings, and with these definitions now "obscure, doubtful" and vague, the definitions below are an attempt to go back to the original meaning of the words in their Sanskrit and the Indo-European roots. Most dictionaries are ignorant of Sanskrit often having the deepest roots. English has come to us primarily from Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin, the three ancient languages from which about 90+% of English originated.

BELIEVE v: This word does not just mean to retain the selected concept in one's belief system, but means to choose to incorporate a certain conception from an issue, which is not totally knowable from information, into your belief system because you like or love the concept; from "be" meaning be and "liev" meaning like or love.  Just holding onto a concept that one did not consciously choose is not actively believing, like locking yourself behind the door instead of opening it and looking through it to see if you want to GO through it. It is always either fear of evil or credit for goodness that compels belief.

Specifically, in a moral and religious reference, (believe) is used in the New Testament of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of his soul (Thayer's GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON of the New Testament, 4th edition). See belief system, knowledge, choice, conception, idealism, religion.

APPREHEND v. to grab hold with the mind.

BELIEF n: a conviction or mental acceptance by or through CHOICE of something or certain things as true and real. Distinguished from knowledge in that belief is not fully based on sensory input, experience, empirical evidence or logic dissociated from purpose and reason. It is compelled by either attraction to goodness or objection to evil.

BELIEF SYSTEM n: that intellectual structure of learned knowledge, indoctrinated concepts and chosen beliefs that determines our will, conscience and ultimate behavior. See paradigm, religion.

COMPREHEND v: literally to encircle or enclose, to fully engulf with the mind.

CONCEIVE v: The act or ability of becoming pregnant with ideas, of forming or developing ideas in the consciousness by intellect or insight; to think, imagine, understand or comprehend. See mind, intelligence, intellect, heart.

CONCEPT, CONCEPTION n: A mental formation or structure that coalesces from previously learned material that seemingly makes something more coherent, organized or more meaningful.

CONFUSION n: literally "with melting", a state where reality is blurred so as to not be clear or distinguishable, ultimately not knowable. See superstition, mysticism.

CREDO n: generally same as creed. Latin for I believe, and thus a personal statement of belief..

CREED n: a brief and specific statement of beliefs, generally held to be authoritative by some formal organization.

DEVIL n: the term actually means "divider" (Diabolos in Greek), and in false traditional Christian theology stands for the original empowered angel now turned completely evil when it should stand for the original lie.

DOCTRINE n: a theory presented to be carefully considered, a teaching or the set of teachings of a belief system that is advocated by being carefully worked out from bases and principles considered to be true. See belief, dogma, precept, tenet.

DOGMA n: a decreed belief or set of beliefs that is formally and authoritatively affirmed, and is considered to be unassailable or indisputable.

ECCLESIA n: an ancient Greek word which refers to a group of people who are called or selected because of their wisdom and insight, and come together to do something about the ultimate or extreme issues which they find themselves facing.

ETHICS n: the philosophical study of proper standards of conduct and value judgment, specifically as to how they affect other people; and/or any resultant system or code of behavior of a person or group.

EVIL n: That which diminishes, interferes with or threatens the sustenance and enhancement of life and THEREBY DECREASES MORALE. See Definition of Evil

FAITH n: the personal commitment of volition to choose, in the realm of belief, the best or personally most positive aspect of issues rather than the negative. To first trust God that he has given you an innate ability, and ultimately, to trust that ability to understand and appreciate him, and trust that he will actively lead you in that understanding and appreciation. A general stance that the prevailing ethic in the wider universe is goodness, not evil. See believe.

FEAR v: to give credit for the possibility or intent of decreasing, detracting from, or eliminating the sustenance and/or enhancement of life. The opposite of worship.


GOD n: traditionally defined as a transcendent supra-human being in terms of power and control, the term should instead be value-loaded with goodness and refer to a being or entity with an ideal character, purpose and values for us as individuals. The term should be decoupled from the term Creator.

GOODNESS n: That which supports and delivers the sustenance and enhancement of life, and thereby increases morale.

HELL n: wrung from a very strained doctrine based upon a very few New Testament texts, which are misinterpreted, it is supposed to be a place of eternal torment where the doomed participants are tortured with their flesh literally and endlessly burning. The foundation for this construct ultimately comes from the fire and brimstone raining down from the sky in some ancient planetary catastrophes.

HOSANNA, v. A form of a Hebrew verb, it is an ardent demand.. Hosanna means 'now' or 'with all speed', avenge us, defend us, deliver us, help us, succor us, preserve us, rescue us, save us, get victory for us.  Christendom confuses this as a term of praise,

HYPOCRISY n: this is a compound word from Greek "Hypo", meaning below or lacking in, and Greek "Krisis", meaning distinction, discrimination, judgment, decision, critical thinking, and literally means inauthentic behavior, thinking, or especially belief below or lacking in critical judgment.

IDEALISM n: that inner spiritual sense or conception from the heart or internal reference point which conceives of how things should be or as one would ultimately want them to be. See believe, heart.

INFORMATION n: facts or data that are incorporated into a person's mind that become useful or significant; different from knowledge or truth. See knowledge, logical.

INSTRUCTION n: something presented to be learned, and can be a teaching, lesson, precept or direction; but not an order to be obeyed. See commandment, direction.

KNOWLEDGE n: learned structures of information or logical conclusions that take on quality, value and meaning for a person; not the same as belief. See information, logical, truth. See Knowledge Categories

LOVE v: Loving involves improving the sustenance and enhancement of another person's life. When you love someone emotionally, you are highly motivated to deliver what they need and what they want but may be precluded from doing so by inability or circumstances. When you love someone literally, you actually deliver to some extent what they need and what they want. Genuine love cannot be decoupled from fulfilling legitimate needs and desires.

LUCIFER n: the term originally meant "light bearer" in Latin and is used in ancient mythology and the Old Testament to refer to either the planet Mars or Venus, both of which played the role of being the light bearer having fallen from heaven.

MATTER: n: something serious or of some import, a development or issue that has meaning, i.e., that affects the enhancement or sustenance of life, something that affects feeling and emotion.

MEANING n: that which potentially or literally succors and feeds the soul, and satisfies its needs and desires and increases morale. See spirit.

MORALITY n: The study or concern over behavior that affects our morale and the morale of others.

MYSTICISM n: That which cannot be understood, but only accepted. Contrasts with mystery in that a mystery is something which is not understood at the time but which CAN be understood. Associated with superstition.

ORTHODOXY adj: Original meaning is essentially 'right belief" but now has little meaning besides "majority" or mainstream, and the word no longer implies true belief..

PARADIGM n: from the Greek word "paradeigma", which means model or pattern; it is the under-girding conceptual framework of our conceived reality that describes boundaries, structures our perceptions and determines what conclusions we make out of information and what truths we come to from these conclusions.

PERCEPTION n: the act or ability of taking hold, or grasping mentally; recognizing, observing or becoming aware through the five senses or intuition. See mind, consciousness, intelligence, sentience.

PHILOSOPHY n: from the Greek, "friendly to wisdom" or "love of Wisdom", the systematic study and collection of wisdom and the pursuit of truth incorporating experience, science and theology. See religion, science, theology.

PRECEPT n: an instruction or directive intended to be a rule of action or conduct.

RELIGION n: this word comes from "re", meaning again or do again, and from Greek roots meaning to collect or bind with reason, giving 'bind together with logic'. It has come to mean the personal formal belief system and practices pertaining to all spiritual and experiential realities, one's overall logical and reasonable conception of all reality. A religion that does not bind God and man together with logic is a false religion. See logical, philosophy, science, theology.

RESPOND v: to deal with a situation in a considered, constructive, measured, effective way. In contrast to "react", which is a more emotional, unconstructed or automatic stimulus to act.

RESPONSIBILITY n: literally the ability to respond appropriately, should not be confused with assigning blame.

SALVATION n: deliverance or preservation from danger or death.

SATAN n: the term means blocker, obstructer or one who opposes; in the Old Testament an angel that worked for God and now is wrongly associated with the New Testament Devil.

SCIENCE n: although the word originally meant knowledge, it now signifies the systematic observation, study and verification of experiential information and possession of knowledge of the facts and consistent logical extensions or conclusions about an object, the material universe or its aspects and systems. Science deals in the realm of the tangible, physical, knowable or observable, and pertains to knowledge of how and what things happen. Science is essentially the study of causalit but is excluded from why in terms of ultimate purpose.
     A specific science definition would be according to D.E. Collingwood: "The word 'science', in its original sense, which is still its proper sense not in the English language alone but in the international language of European civilization, means a body of systematic or orderly thinking about a determinate subject-matter." See philosophy, religion, theology.

SPIRIT n: attitude, sum total of a persons purpose, values, innate desires, and will held to give life meaning to physical organisms, a temper or disposition of mind, the activating or essential principle influencing a person, a special attitude or frame of mind, a mental disposition characterized by firmness or assertiveness, the general intent or real meaning of a communication. Specifically in ontology, the director of human volition and will.

SPIRITUAL adj: on the opposite end of the spectrum from physical it primarily means non-material, related to producing morale, meaningful, pertaining to the realm of theological ideas and beliefs, relating to intellectual, philosophical and religious matters rather than material matters.

SUPERSTITION n: an idea or belief that is unscientific or of  unsound logic that sets up a false understanding preventing the truth or proper action, and often sets up a context of fear. See fear.

TENET n: a principle or belief that is maintained or defended rather than being presented as doctrinal teaching or theory.

THEOLOGY n: the systematic study of and reasonable interpretation of conceptual information, and possession of spiritual knowledge and consistent logical extensions or conclusions primarily about the Creator as subject. Theology deals with the intangible or initially unknowable, spiritual truths which one must choose to believe, and should always pertain to why as well as how the Creator relates to the universe and humanity. See philosophy, religion, science.

TRINITY n: in traditional Christian theology, the holy trinity stood for the godhead of three gods in one, a mysterious and confusing construction impossible to understand.

TRUTH n: the valid, correct and beautiful conception or construct of knowledge and belief as it relates to literal reality and ultimately to God and humanity; not the same as knowledge or belief. On a lesser level, it means the correct distillation from the pertinent knowledge. See knowledge, believe, choice, wisdom.

UNDERSTAND v: The word "understand" is a compound word composed of "stand" and "under" implying support. In terms of concepts and ideas it is to know, or intellectually grasp or see enough of the idea or concept to properly deal with it. In terms of relationships with other living beings it means to spiritually and/or psychologically see enough of the person's makeup, the character, purpose, values, mindset or attitude, and behavior, to lend at least some degree of legitimate agreement and support. In the case of a person worthy to be called God, presumably upon seeing enough, we would enthusiastically and wholeheartedly endorse and support.
     Greater or more expansive than conceive, the word "understand" is not as far-reaching or presumptuous as to comprehend. And so it is a mistake to confuse the meaning of the words "comprehend" and "understand". See "comprehend", which comes from a root meaning to encircle, to encompass, to totally surround or engulf. Seeing and encompassing are two distinctly different actions or endeavors, and the words based in their roots cannot legitimately mean the same thing.

VOLITION n: a three tiered structure of potential in the Homo Sapien, which like language and other abilities and facets can be awakened to nurture the spiritual growth of a Human Being. It can be simplified in this way: 1) We can choose what to believe, 2) We can will how to be, and 3) We can decide what to do. The operation of the latter two depend greatly upon the first.

WISDOM n: a combination of factual knowledge, true belief, humane values, proper purpose, valid experience and understanding of God and humanity resulting in a practical ability to sustain and enhance life and deal with complex or expansive situations. See believe, knowledge, purpose, understand.

WORSHIP v: to give credit for the origin, more especially the sustenance, and most especially the enhancement of life. The opposite of fear.

For those related to the mind see: Mind Definitions
For those related to the intellect see: Intellect Definitions

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