Vocab to Avoid

Vocab to Avoid - Vocabulary Words to Avoid In religious...

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Vocabulary Words to Avoid In religious studies, there are certain words that have been used polemically or deprecatorily against groups. Most of the words in the first section are evaluative rather than descriptive definitions. Some of these words are obvious, others are more subtle. The following is a list of words to be avoided, the rationale behind avoiding them, and accurate substitutions. ritualistic – this term was used by anti-ritualists to negatively describe highly ritualized faiths. It is best to avoid this term, since the tone of the author using it will usually be read as critical (even though there is no linguistic reason why this should be so; it is simply a question of usage). Consider instead “high ritual” or “highly ritual” or some variant of this to describe religious ceremonies that rely on ornate and complex ritual elements primitive – while this was once used to describe indigenous cultures, it naturally calls up its opposite – “sophisticated” – and therefore makes an assumption of cultural level, preference, integrity, and intellectual legitimacy. There are a wide variety of proper substitutions, depending on context, such as “indigenous,” “pre-literate culture,” “nature-based tradition,” and the term I use, “local religion(s).” simplistic – whether used to describe an indigenous religion or the setting of a Calvinist church, “simplistic” is not a synonym for “simple” or “plain.” It has insulting connotations, such as “oversimplified,” and implies being intentionally stupid or naïve. If you mean “simple” or “plain,” use those words instead. “Over- simplified” is less ambiguous in tone. cult – better than any other word, “cult” defines the difference between
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course HUM 191 at San Jose State.

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Vocab to Avoid - Vocabulary Words to Avoid In religious...

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