The following text is from Irving Hexham's Concise Dictionary of Religion, first published by InterVarsity Press, Carol Stream, USA, 1994, second edition, Regent College Press, Vancouver, 1999.
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Copyright © Irving Hexham 1994, 1998.
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For further information about the book and the sources used to compile this text see the PREFACE.
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Cross-references are indicated by the use of CAPITAL LETTERS.
RA: the Greek name of the Egyptian Sun GOD who was also the God of the State.
RABBI: an expert in JEWISH law during the first century. The term means "Master." Over the centuries it has evolved to a communal office concerned with education, pastoral, and religious matters.
RABINIC JUDAISM: see JUDAISM
RABI'AH al-ADAWYYA (717-801): female MUSLIM ascetic, MYSTIC and SAINT who taught a doctrine of love for GOD.
RAD, Gerhard von (1901-1971): German OLD TESTAMENT scholar who developed the method of FORM CRITICISM.
RADCLIFFE-BROWN, Alfred Reginald (1881-1955): British ANTHROPOLOGIST and first professor of SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY at the University of Oxford. He pioneered the techniques of FIELDWORK and PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION. His works include Structure and Function in Primitive Society (1952) and Method in Anthropology (1958).
RADHA SOAMI MOVEMENT: a HINDU REFORM MOVEMENT which emerged after the death of Shiv Dayal who incorporated SIKH BELIEFS and practices around a FORM of YOGA. The movement differentiates itself from the Sikhs in that the GURU replaces the SCRIPTURE as the source of religious knowledge and by rejecting Sikh initiation.
RADHAKRISHNAN, Sarvepalli (1888-1975): influential BRAHMIN interpreter of HINDUISM and Indian PHILOSOPHY who became the Vice-President of India. He expounded a universalistic version of VEDNTA which minimized the doctrine of MY. His many books include The Bhagavadgita (1948), The Hindu View of Life (1927), and the two volume Indian Philosophy (1923-1927) and Eastern Religions in Western Thought (1939).
RAHIT: the SIKH code of discipline accepted by all members of the Khls.
RAHNER, Karl (1904-1984): prominent ROMAN CATHOLIC theologian who sought to revive THOMISM and used EXISTENTIALISM to express his understanding of theological issues. His major work is the twenty volume Theological Investigations (1961-1981).
RAHULABHADRA [Rhula] (6th century B.C.): the legendary son of the BUDDHA.
RAIKES, Robert (1735-1811): English SOCIAL and religious REFORMER who developed the SUNDAY SCHOOL to educate children of the poor and impart CHRISTIAN knowledge.
RAJAGHA: the ancient INDIAN city which was the scene of the first BUDDHIST Council. It fell into ruins around the seventh century.
RAMA: next to KRISHNA the most important HINDU GOD and the Seventh AVATR of VISHNU. He is the supreme example of patience, faithfulness and justice. The saga the RMYAA describes his exploits.
RAMADAN: the ninth month of the lunar year in ISLAM. By TRADITION it is the month when MUHAMMAD first began to receive the REVELATION of the QUR'N and is a time of fasting for all MUSLIMS.
RAMAKRISHNA, (1836-1886): one of the principal figures in the nineteenth century HINDU Renaissance. He trained in the classical TRADITIONS of HINDU MYSTICISM but went beyond the boundaries of Hindu spiritual practice by experiencing ENLIGHTENMENT in a way which embraced both DUALISM and NON-DUALISM. He married but claimed to lead a completely "renounced life" without sexual contact. His wife, rad, was known as the "Holy Mother" and recognized as a SAINT. He abandoned traditional PRIESTLY FOOD, taboos, and spoke of his sense of identification with JESUS OF NAZARETH and ALLAH. His most prominent disciple was VIVEKANANDA.
RAMANANDA (13th century): a BRAHMIN who rejected the CASTE system to become a leading advocate of BHAKTI. He sought to synthesize HINDUISM and ISLAM and drew his closest disciples from all walks of life including an outcaste and two women. His ideas and the movement he founded influenced the development of the SIKHS and several other sectarian GROUPS which renounced caste and promoted Bhakti
RAMANUJA (1017-1130?): HINDU philosopher and leading opponent of AKARA whom he attacked for moral laxity and intellectual confusion. He taught a modified version of MONISM which acknowledged GOD and the separate SPIRITS of men as well as the material world or non-spirit. The spirits of men he regarded as essentially different from GOD who is both the CREATOR and material out of which the world is formed. He taught that periodically human spirits are reabsorbed into God and distinguished five ways or stages of WORSHIP each being higher than the other.
RAMANA, Maharshi (1879-1951) commonly regarded as one of the greatest HINDU SAINTS of the twentieth century. He settled on the "hill" of Arunacalam near Madras at the age of 20 and remained there until his death. He was an Advaita sage who claimed to have experienced the identity of the TMAN and BRAHMAN.
RAMYANA: with the MAHBHRATA this is one of the two great epics of INDIAN literature. It tells the story of RMA and his wife St who is kidnapped by the demon King of Ceylon. With the help of the Monkey King, Rma eventually slays the demon and rescues his wife whose loyalty Rma questions. St throws herself on a pyre but the fire GOD, AGNI, refuses to accept her SACRIFICE and Rma realizes her innocence. After returning to his kingdom and assuming the throne his people again question St's purity creating doubts which cause Rma to send her away. She gives birth to twins and asks the earth to swallow her, which it does, thus finally proving her innocence. Years later Rma recognizes the twins and give them his kingdom allowing him to return to HEAVEN as VISHNU. The epic, which is around 24,000 stanzas long, dates from approximately the first century although sections of it are definitely much later and is traditionally ascribed to Vlmki. A version which is far more overtly religious was produced by Tulasi Das in HINDI which emphasized BHAKTI in the sixteenth century.
RAMTHA: the SPIRIT entity which first appeared in 1977 by speaking through the former FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN and highly successful SPIRITUALIST MEDIUM, or Trans-channeller, J. C. KNIGHT. It claims to be a warrior from the "lost continent" of Lemuria and Atlantis making Knight an important figure in the NEW AGE MOVEMENT.
RAND, Ayn (1903-1981): Russian emigre and OBJECTIVIST philosopher who popularized her views through novels such as The Fountainhead (1943), We the Living (1935) and Atlas Shrugged (1975). Although neglected by most academic philosophers, her views have had an immense influence strongly promoting INDIVIDUALISM and LIBERTARIAN political ideas.
RAPTURE: the BELIEF that in the LAST DAYS believing CHRISTIANS will be removed from the earth before the final TRIBULATION. This is a modern notion associated with PREMILLENIALISM and DISPENSATINALISM with strongly CULTIC overtones.
RASTAFARIAN: JAMAICAN religious SECT which believes in the DIVINITY of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie and refuses to accept reports of his death. The movement has political overtones and makes the smoking of marijuana a SACRAMENT. Members of the GROUP are accused of involvement in drug trafficking. Their distinctive hair-style became popular as a result of their music known as Reggae.
RATIONAL: has the same primary sense as reasonable: meaning being endowed with reason or being characterized by REASON.
RATIONALISM: signifies any THEOLOGICAL or PHILOSOPHICAL position which values REASON as the ultimate arbiter and judge of all statements.
RATIONALIZATION: false reasoning and self-justification.
RAUSCHENBUSCH, Walter (1861-1918): American theologian and social REFORMER regarded as the "Father" of the SOCIAL GOSPEL movement. In 1886 he became PASTOR of a CHURCH located on the lower East Side of New York in an area called "Hell's Kitchen." The sordid living conditions, exploitation of labor, and governmental indifference to the poor led him to develop his religious and political theology which he promoted in Christianity and the Social Crisis (1907) and A Theology for the Social Gospel (1917). His conception of the KINGDOM OF GOD represented an effort to Christianize Darwinian EVOLUTION.
REACTIONARY: right wing attitudes and positions. It can mean being opposed to REFORMS, wishing to go back to some previous condition, or supporting a particular right-wing version of SOCIETY.
REALISM: the theory or knowledge that maintains that UNIVERSALS have their own EXISTENCE apart from individual objects. It stands in contrast to NOMINALISM which held that universals had no REALITY apart from their existence in the thought of an individual. Realism has greatly influenced the development of NATURAL THEOLOGY.
REALITY: what is real; what is.
REASON: the capacity to reflect, analyze and think in an orderly and logical manner as opposed to an IRRATIONAL and EMOTIONAL manner.
REBIRTH: a general term which can mean REINCARNATION, TRANSMIGRATION or some other FORM of METEMPSYCHOSIS.
REDEMPTION: the restoring, saving or getting back of something which is lost. The idea is at the heart of many RELIGIONS and characteristic of CHRISTIANITY with its idea of sin as rebellion against the will of the CREATOR.
REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM: a Latin phrase meaning "to reduce to absurdity." It is used as a technique in argument to show the logical consequences of an opponent"s thought.
REDUCTIONISM: to reduce a complex argument or state of affairs to a single or few simple CONCEPTS in such a way as to distort REALITY. An example of reductionism would be the argument that all religious BELIEFS are merely reflections of psychological needs.
REFORM: to strive for improvement and change without making a radical break with the past.
REFORMATION: a term which has come to mean any religious movement which REFORMS a pre-existing TRADITION to restore its primitive purity or ORTHODOXY. More specifically it is associated with the religious movement that began with the protest of Martin LUTHER against the SALE of INDULGENCES in Germany in 1517. It led to the creation of independent CHURCHES which renounced the claims of the PAPACY and sought to return to a thoroughly Biblical CHRISTIANITY. The REFORMERS taught that the BIBLE is the only source of FAITH and DOCTRINE, rejected TRANSUBSTANTIATION, INDULGENCES, the WORSHIP OF SAINTS and MARY, emphasized JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH and proclaimed the PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS. Known as PROTESTANTS, because of Luther's protest against widespread corruption in the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, the Reformation quickly spread throughout Northern Europe and made significant inroads into Southern European countries where it was eventually defeated by the COUNTER REFORMATION and the INQUISITION which ruthlessly persecuted Protestants as HERETICS who were burnt at the stake. The movement broke into several branches led by Martin LUTHER, and Ulrich ZWINGLI, Menno SIMONS and the ANGLICAN TRADITION originating in England.
REFORMED CHURCH: a member of a family of CHURCHES which trace their roots to that branch of the PROTESTANT REFORMATION associated with the work of John CALVIN. They include PRESBYTERIANS, the DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH, and to a limited extent the ANGLICANS.
REFORMED JUDAISM: See JUDAISM.
REFORMED: someone who belongs to a religious GROUP which has undergone a REFORMATION; someone within the CALVINIST TRADITION.
REFORMER: someone who seeks REFORM. In RELIGION a reformer is often the person who begins a NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT.
REGENERATION: CHRISTIAN term which refers to the BELIEF that believers are reborn spiritually either through BAPTISM or a spiritual experience such as CONVERSION.
REID, Thomas (1710-1796): Scottish philosopher whose works Enquiry into the Human
Mind on the Principles of Common Sense (1764) and Essays on the Intellectual
Powers of Man (1785) helped develop Scottish "common-sense" philosophy. He
opposed HUME for developing an all-destroying skepticism inherent in the EMPIRICIST notion
of ideas and offered an alternative EPISTEMOLOGY which seeks to defend common-sense.
REIFICATION: to REIFY something.
REIFY: to materialize an idea and give it concrete EXISTENCE as though it actually existed even though it is really no more then a CONCEPT in the mind.
REIMARUS, Herman Samuel (1694-1768): German Biblical scholar and "Father" of
HIGHER CRITICISM who rejected the miraculous elements of the BIBLE and charged
Biblical writers with outright fraud.
REINCARNATION: a technical term in HINDU and BUDDHIST thought associated with the doctrine of KARMA and implies the continuation of consciousness after physical death but not necessarily the REBIRTH of a SOUL. In the West, however, it is usually confused with ideas of TRANSMIGRATION of the soul or REBIRTH through many lifetimes and is promoted by claims that people "remember" their "past lives."
RELATIONAL: systems of PHILOSOPHY or THEOLOGY which emphasize the importance of relationships rather than ABSTRACT DOGMA.
RELATIVISM: recognizing the importance of the social environment in determining the content of BELIEFS. Relativism maintains that there are no universal standards of good or bad, right or wrong, truth or error. During the nineteenth century and until the 1960s relativism tended to be reserved for religious and moral issues. But after the publication of KUHN's work it has increasingly been applied to SCIENCE. In popular thought support for relativism is often falsely sought in the theory of RELATIVITY.
RELATIVITY: a theory in physics which refers to space-time curvature which was proposed by EINSTEIN to explain the NATURE of the UNIVERSE. It is often misused by religious writers to imply moral or religious RELATIVISM and the rejection of modern SCIENCE.
RELIGION AND MODERNITY: several religious reactions to modernity exist. The most important are the development of a dichotomous view of the world which separates the SACRED from the SECULAR; the veneration and support of what is supposed to be a HISTORIC or authentic TRADITION which is often identified with religious ORTHODOXY; a MILLENARIAN or APOCALYPTIC response which sees the modern age as doomed and looks for SALVATION to the direct intervention of GOD or GODS in the affairs of the world; the identification of the modern, or ideas taken to be modern, with religion and the claim that modern values represent the essence of religious values.
RELIGION, TYPOLOGIES OF REACTION TO MODERNITY: in practice religious reactions to MODERNITY often take the FORM of generating new TRADITIONS and/or new insights into old traditions; an accommodation to the new which maintains an organic connection to some older tradition; attempts to reject the new and preserve the old or what is seen as ancient traditions; a strident re-assertion of the old or traditional BELIEFS and practices in a new condensed, "purified" or REDUCTIONIST form; the creation of GROUPS which self-consciously celebrate the modern and denigrate tradition and old ways or beliefs; and, finally, the sponsorship and supervision by the State of CULTS celebrating the State's legitimacy.
RELIGION: hundreds of different definitions of religion exist each reflecting either a scholarly or a DOGMATIC bias depending in the last resort on the PRESUPPOSITIONS of the person making the definition. Religion clearly contains intellectual, RITUAL, SOCIAL and ETHICAL elements, bound together by an explicit or implicit BELIEF in the REALITY of an unseen world, whether this belief be expressed in SUPERNATURALISTIC or IDEALISTIC terms. A number of the more common definitions are:
BERGER, Peter - "the human enterprise by which a SACRED cosmos is established."
DURKHEIM Emile - "a unified system of BELIEFS and practices relative to SACRED things."
FRAZER, James - "a propitiation or conciliation of powers superior to man which are believed to direct or control the course of NATURE and human life."
HEGEL, George - "the knowledge possessed by the finite mind of its NATURE as ABSOLUTE mind."
JAMES, William - "the BELIEF that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme GOOD lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto."
KANT, Immanuel - "the recognition of all our duties as divine commands."
MARX, Karl - "the SELF-conscious and SELF-feeling of man who has either not found himself or has already lost himself again... the general theory of the world... its logic in a popular FORM... its moral sanction, its solemn completion, its universal ground for consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence..."
SCHLEIERMACHER, Friedrich - "a feeling for the infinite" and "a feeling of ABSOLUTE dependence."
SMART, Ninian - "a set of institutionalized RITUALS with a TRADITION and expressing and/or evoking sacral sentiments directed at a divine or trans-divine focus seen in the context of the human phenomenological environment and at least partially described by MYTHS or by myths and doctrines.
STARK, Rodney - "any socially organized pattern of BELIEFS and practices concerning ultimate meaning that assumes the EXISTENCE of the SUPERNATURAL."
WHITEHEAD, Alfred North - "what the individual does with his own solitariness."
WEBER, Max - "to say what it is, is not possible... the essence of religion is not even our concern, as we make it our task to study the conditions and effects of a particular type of SOCIAL BEHAVIOR."
RELIGIONSGESCHICHTED: a GERMAN term for the HISTORY OF RELIGIONS
RENAISSANCE: the REBIRTH of learning which occured in the late fourteenth and fifteenth century in Southern Eurpope. Although some modern historians question the use of the term, others argue that it faithfully reflects a major change in European values and is a watershed between the MEDIEVAL and MODERN world.
RENAN, Joseph Ernest (1823-1892): celebrated French intellectual who promoted a new RELIGION of learning and REASON. His Life of Jesus (1863) denied the SUPERNATURAL elements in the Gospels and promoted the notion of JESUS OF NAZARETH as a great moral teacher.
REQUIEM: PRAYERS for the dead often in a MASS.
RERUM NOVARUM: the famous PAPAL ENCYCLICAL of May 15th 1891 issued by Pope Leo XII dealing with social relationships and questions of labor relations.
RESURRECTION: the idea that after death there will be a time when humans are restored to life in such a way that they have a distinct IDENTITY and bodily FORM. This BELIEF is shared by the ABRAMIC RELIGIONS and finds unique expression in the CHRISTIAN claim that JESUS OF NAZARETH rose from the dead after his execution by the Romans.
RESURRECTION OF CHRIST: the cornerstone of CHRISTIANITY whereby JESUS OF NAZARETH is believed to have obtained SALVATION and FORGIVENESS OF SIN for mankind through His DEATH ON THE CROSS and subsequent resurrection and empty tomb.
RETALIATION: in QUR'N, Sura XVII.35, the right of vengeance is prescribed. This is similar to the HEBREW BIBLE teaching of "an eye for an eye," Exodus 21:24, and stands in sharp contrast to CHRISTIAN views about forgiveness expressed by JESUS OF NAZARETH as recorded in Matthew 5:38-48.
REVELATION: the act whereby GOD discloses Himself and/or His will to mankind. In JUDAISM, revelation comes through the HEBREW BIBLE, in CHRISTIANITY the HEBREW BIBLE and NEW TESTAMENT contain God's revelation while in ISLAM the QUR'N is the unique revelation of God. HINDUISM associates revelation with ruti or "what is heard" and has increasingly seen this in connection with the VEDAS, UPANISHADS and other religious literature. BUDDHISM treats the sayings of the BUDDHA as a FORM of revelation although it denies the involvement of God while JAINISM denies all SUPERNATURAL sources of revelation. In other TRADITIONS, revelation comes from ANCESTORS and GODS for specific purposes. Traditionally the ABRAMIC religions have claimed that revelation ended with the CANON of their SCRIPTURES. Claims about continuing revelation have led to REVITALIZATION MOVEMENTS and religious REVIVALISM which often provoked the wrath of the ORTHODOX who saw such claims as HERESY. Recently such ideas have become popular in the Christian CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT where PROPHETS and PROPHECY are an increasingly common phenomena.
REVITALIZATION MOVEMENTS: any movement which sets out to revive a religious TRADITION; attempts on the part of previously acculturated GROUPS to regain and reaffirm early religious traditions which are often SYNCRETISTIC in DOCTRINE and ceremonial.
REVIVALISM: outbreaks of intense, often mass religious excitement, which seek to revive and restore a religious TRADITION that is believed to be in decline. Revivalism can often take the FORM of a REVITALIZATION MOVEMENT.
REVOLUTION: revolutionary and revolutionize indicate fundamental changes, new developments, or a turning around of the SOCIAL order. In recent years the term revolution has been used to describe changes in SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY and in terms of PARADIGMS following the work of Thomas KUHN. This usage has been increasingly criticized by other scholars who see gradual development as the norm rather than sudden change.
RG VEDA: the most ancient book of HINDUISM which consists of Four collections of VEDIC HYMNS composed before 900 B.C. and preserved in ORAL TRADITION until they were written down in the sixteenth century and later by MUSLIMS in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The hymns were used in SACRIFICIAL RITUALS by BRAHMINS and are treated as eternally existent. There are 1028 hymns which refer to the GODS; the most important of which are INDRA, AGNI, VARUA, and SOMA. VISHNU and RUDRA are present but as minor deities. Many scholars see a tendency towards MONOTHEISM in the hymns. The g Veda was translated into English by Max MULLER and H. Oldenberg in the 1890s from a language which predated SANSKRIT.
RHETORIC: the art of speech and argument involving the correct understanding and use of such things as MEATPHOR and METONOMY.
RICCI, Matteo (1552-1610): highly successful JESUIT MISSIONARY to China who assumed the role of a CONFUCIAN scholar and adapted CHRISTIANITY to Chinese custom and CULTURE. His most famous work was The True Knowledge of God (1603).
RIG VEDA: See RG VEDA.
RIGHTEOUSNESS: an important CONCEPT in ABRAMIC RELIGIONS where it is seen as an ATTRIBUTE of GOD. In CHRISTIANITY it is a gift of God to the sinner who REPENTS and has FAITH in CHRIST. It is also important in Chinese and Japanese religions where it is one of the four cardinal virtues and the mark of a superior man.
RINZAI: one of the two most important SECTS in ZEN BUDDHISM founded in China in the ninth century and introduced to Japan during the twelfth century. It is distinguished by the practice of ST and unorthodox means to attain ENLIGHTENMENT.
RITSCHL, Albrecht (1822-1889): major LIBERAL or MODERNIST German PROTESTANT theologian who rejected all FORMS of NATURAL THEOLOGY, MYSTICISM and METAPHYSICS arguing that THEOLOGY must concentrate on moral and ethical issues. He interpreted JUSTIFICATION and FORGIVENESS OF SINS as something achieved through the CHURCH which is the COMMUNITY for which JESUS died and SIN as selfishness or deeds of men in opposition to the achievement of the KINGDOM OF GOD. CHRIST's death therefore was no longer to be viewed as a PROPITIATION for sin but rather the sharing of His consciousness of Sonship. In all of this Ritschl rejected traditional views of ORIGINAL SIN, INCARNATION, REVELATION, RESURRECTION and the CHURCH. He also created a chasm between the JESUS OF HISTORY and the CHRIST OF FAITH. His major works include The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation (18760-1874) and The History of Pietism (1880-1885, 3 vols.).
RITUAL: SACRED custom or any FORM of repetitive behavior which is fixed by TRADITION. In the study of RELIGION it means "traditional religious behavior or actions." The ritual element in religion cannot easily be separated from FAITH and BELIEF. Religious ritual presupposes the EXISTENCE of a supernatural or DIVINE order, revealed natural occurrences such as the alternation of life and death, day and night, the movements of heavenly bodies and the progression of the seasons. Rituals are of many types but common to them all is the conviction that what is being done on earth approximates the divine or supernaturally revealed order. Religious REFORMATIONS or REVITALIZATION MOVEMENTS often interpret their own reactions against the ritual expressions of another group as a total rejection of RITUAL but this is mistaken. The PLYMOUTH BRETHREN reject the ROMAN CATHOLIC High MASS on theological grounds as "dead ritual" yet, in fact, their own services have complex rituals even though the participants usually do not recongnize the fact. Each ritual corresponds to and must be understood in terms of a body of convictions concerning the DIVINE and mankind and the relationship between the two.
ROBINSON, John A. T. (1919-1983): controversial ANGLICAN theologian and the BISHOP of Woolwich whose book Honest to God (1963) created a theological sensation by its blunt denial of TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN BELIEFS and doctrines. Although radical in that work, Biblical scholarship was CONSERVATIVE in many respects and included Redating the New Testament (1976), a defence of the essential historicity and early date of the NEW TESTAMENT. His last book published posthumously was The Priority of John (1985).
ROMAN CATHOLICISM: in the past it was relatively easy to describe Catholicism. Twentieth century developments make this a much more complex task. The dogmatic formulation may be found in the decrees of the COUNCIL OF TRENT, the CREED OF POPE PIUS IV, the decrees of the VATICAN COUNCILS, Papal utterances claiming INFALLIBILITY, and the body of Roman Catholic CANON law. Alongside these there are the LITURGY, and the hierarchically organization of the CHURCH. Roman Catholicism claims that the SACRAMENTS which are ministered by the CHURCH are channels of GRACE that flow from GOD to the recipient. There are seven SACRAMENTS: Baptism, Confirmation, the Mass, Holy Orders, Penance, Matrimony, Extreme Unction. The focal point of traditional Roman Catholic WORSHIP is the Mass. It is interpreted as TRANSUBSTANTIATION, a DOGMA first promulgated in 1215 asserting that the substance of the bread and wine used in the RITUAL actually become the body, blood, SOUL and DIVINITY of CHRIST. Confession to PRIESTS has played a key role in Roman Catholicism which alongside the doctrine of PURGATORY led to the practice of the SALE of INDULGENCES in the sixteenth century. Another prominent feature is the CULT of MARY which stems from the mother GODDESS of the Mediterranean world who bore such titles as "Star of the Sea" and played the role of "Our Lady" of various cities.
ROMANTICISM: a movement in art, literature, PHILOSOPHY, and RELIGION, in the latter eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries which was sentimental, full of expression, and idealized melancholy. The movement arose as a reaction to the RATIONALISM of the ENLIGHTENMENT and stressed emotionalism, sensualism, fantasy, and imagination over rational order and control. REALITY is found through feeling, immediate experience, spiritual illumination, brooding, and listening to the inner voices. Romantics had a deep interest in the past, especially the Middle Ages and non-CLASSICAL, Nordic, mythology, folklore, and primitivism. They published medieval historical records and literature. The impact of romanticism on RELIGION and THEOLOGY is immense. In America it stimulated TRANSCENDENTALISM and an interest in Eastern religions; in Britain the ROMANTICS tended to view the CHURCH with indifference or join the OXFORD MOVEMENT; in Germany the majority moved towards a Germanic NATIONALISM.
ROSARIES: a device used in many RELIGIONS as an aid to PRAYER. Its use seems to have originated in HINDUISM from where it spread to BUDDHISM and ISLAM before finally entering CHRISTIANITY.
ROSICRUCIANS: the Order of the Rosy Cross which was publicized in two books by a LUTHERAN Pastor Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654) as an ancient SECRET SOCIETY possessing ESOTERIC knowledge. The idea was taken up by various thinkers including DESCARTES and COMENIUS but no organization was ever discovered. In the late nineteenth century various OCCULT GROUPS claiming to be Rosicrucians emerged promoting a hotch-potch of religious ideas including REINCARNATION. Scholars do not belive that any of these groups can be linked with an ancient SOCIETY.
ROUSSEAU, Jean-Jacques (1712-1778): radical French philosopher who advocated DEISM and a SOCIALIST vision of SOCIETY. Although he wrote at great length an influential book, Emile (1762), about the education of children, he abandoned his own children to almost certain death in the workhouse. His important political work The Social Contract 1762) contains a chapter entitled "CIVIL RELIGION" which has provoked renewed debate in recent years.
ROY, RAM MOHAN (1774-1833): a Bengali BRAHMIN educated in English who showed a rationalistic inclination and after studying at a MUSLIM institution in Patna accepted MONOTHEISM. He admired the NEW TESTAMENT and CHRISTIAN ETHICS but rejected CHRIST'S divinity. Convinced that the UPANISHADS taught monotheism and were free from social abuses, he founded the Brhmo Samj in 1828 for the propagation of his religious and social views. He died in Bristol, England.
RTA: the COSMIC moral order which sustains the UNIVERSE in the VEDAS.
RUSHDOONY, Rousas John (1916-): an American of Armenian descent he was a THEOLOGICAL LIBERAL who was converted to ORTHODOX CALVINISM through the writings of Cornelius Van Til. Ordained a PRESBYTERIAN Minister, he is the leader of an increasingly influential GROUP of CHRISTIAN RECONSTRUCTIONISTS who propose radical measures to restore BIBLICAL law as the basis of SOCIETY. His Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture Crisis and Education (1961) has been influential in promoting CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS while This Independent Republic (1964) was his first major work on political issues. More recently his views have been developed in The Institutes of Biblical Law (1973 & 1978, 2 Vols.) and through his newsletter The Chalcedon Report.
RUSKIN, John (1819-1900): English ROMANTIC essayist and critic of INDIVIDUALISM and INDUSTRIALIZATION whose work Unto This Last (1862) influenced TOLSTOY and GANDHI. He rejected CHRISTIANITY and espoused a MYSTICAL FORM of SOCIALISM which glorified the past as an alternative.
RUSSELL, Bertrand Arthur William Earl (1872-1970): British philosopher. Given a strict and puritanical upbringing by his paternal grandmother. He abandoned his early religious BELIEFS, and was gradually disillusioned by Cambridge. His many writings include: Principa Mathematica (1903) and Why I am not a Christian (1957).
RUSSELL, Charles Taze (1852-1916): known as "PASTOR Russell" he grew up in a pious CONGREGATIONALIST home but rejected his early BELIEFS after a SECULAR CONVERSION. He retained his love for the BIBLE eventually developing his own system which centered on the issue of PROPHECY and formed his own independent CONGREGATION in 1878. Preaching that the RETURN OF CHRIST had occurred invisibly in 1874, he predicted the end of the world would come in 1914. Eventually his followers became known as RUSSELLITES and formed the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS' ASSOCIATION which later split into a number of groups the best known being the JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES.
RUTHERFORD, Joseph Franklin, "Judge" (1869-1941): the successor to Charles Taze RUSSELL as leader of the WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY and true founder of the JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES. His numerous books and other publications plus radio broadcasts and able leadership made the organization the world community it is today.
RUTHERFORD, Samuel (1600-1661): Scottish COVENANTER and theologian whose Lex Rex (1644) has been taken by many CONSERVATIVES in America to be the INSPIRATION for the American Constitution even though few modern historians would accept such an interpretation pointing to his intolerance of religious diversity and ROMAN CATHOLICISM.
RYLE, Gilbert (1900-1976): English philosopher who regarded METAPHYSICS as an example of "CATEGORY MISTAKES." His book The Concept of Mind (1949) attacks CARTESIAN DUALISM and ideas that might promote a BELIEF in the SOUL.
RYLE, John Charles, "J. C." (1816-1900): English EVANGELICAL leader and BISHOP of Liverpool, England, whose Practical Religion (1878) and Holiness (1890) are viewed as SPIRITUAL classics by many EVANGELICALS.
RYOBU-SHINTO: a SYNCRETISTIC movement which sought to unify JAPANESE SHINT with BUDDHISM. It was suppressed during the Meiji period from 1868-1912 although certain FORMS still prosper today.