[ Browse by Service Category : Target Populations : Sub-Topics of Religious Groups/Communities (309) ]

Baha'i Community

Individuals who follow the doctrines and practices of the sect founded in Iran that emphasizes the spiritual unity of mankind, affirms the equality of men and women, urges the abandonment of all forms of prejudice, supports the elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth, recognizes the unity and relativity of religious truth, asserts that true religion is in a harmony with reason and the pursuit of scientific knowledge, emphasizes the responsibility of all persons to independently search for the truth, and advocates peace and universal education.

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Buddhist Community

Followers of the religion of eastern and central Asia that is based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha which stress that suffering is inherent in life and that one can achieve nirvana (release from suffering) through mental and moral self-purification.

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Christian Community

Any of a group of religious faiths that are based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as described in the New Testament of the Bible.

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Hindu Community

Followers of the religious philosophy that originated on the Indian subcontinent which is marked by an outlook that views all forms and theories as aspects of one eternal being and truth; a belief in ahimsa, karma, dharma, samsara and moksha; and the practice of the way of works, the way of knowledge and the way of devotion as the means of release from the rounds of rebirths.

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Indigenous/Native Spiritual Traditions

Individuals whose spiritual beliefs, moral code, ceremonies and traditions have been passed down through generations relying heavily on a central figure who serves as priest/priestess, healer, magician, diviner, the mediator between the living and the ancestors, and the repository of ancestral memories and knowledge. Central to many indigenous/native traditions is a belief that the Great Spirit created the Earth and its people. Others believe that humans came from a sky-world, that the Earth is the Mother of all life, and that plants and animals have spirits that must be respected, honoured and cared for. It is a holistic concept of not only human life but also the life of the world and all things in it, both animate and inanimate, wherein all things are related and interconnected. Native spiritual and cultural traditions include a wide variety of rituals, ceremonies and celebrations including thanksgiving rituals, pipe ceremonies, potlaches (organized meeting for special ceremonies such as name-giving, birth, rites of passage, treaties and weddings), healing circles, sweat lodge ceremonies (unique events or ceremonies that take place in specially constructed lodges whose purpose is purification, healing, and thanksgiving to the Great Spirit or Creator), and pow-wow’s (gatherings for the purpose of socializing and celebrating which may feature feasts and gift-giving).

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Jewish Community

Followers of the Jewish faith (Judaism), or people who identify themselves as Jewish either through descent or personal decision. Judaism reflects a belief in a single God who created the universe and continues to be involved in its governance. According to traditional Jewish belief, God established a covenant with the Jewish people, and revealed his laws and commandments to them in the form of the Torah. The practice of Judaism is devoted to the study and observance of the laws and commandments, as written in the Torah.

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Muslim Community

Followers of Islam, the religious faith and cultural system that is based on the belief in Allah as the sole deity, in Muhammad as the prophet of Allah and in the Koran as the revelation of Allah to Muhammad and the divinely authorized basis for the religious, social, civil, commercial and legal regulations of the Islamic world.

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Nonreligious/Secular Groups

Individuals who are essentially neutral with regard to organized religion, generally affirming neither belief nor disbelief and uninvolved in a religious, faith or philosophical community; or have their own personal philosophy and no affiliation with an organized religion. Also included are individuals who are adherents of more proactive or well-defined philosophies such as secular humanism, atheism or agnosticism, most of which can be classified as religions in the sociological sense, albeit secular religions. Secularism asserts the freedom from the government imposition of religion upon people within a state that is neutral on matters of belief and gives no state privileges to religions. It may also refer to the belief that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be based on evidence and fact rather than religious influence.

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Sikh Community

Followers of the monotheistic religion founded in the Punjabi region of India by a Hindu under Islamic influence which is characterized by its worship of one deity, its rejection of caste and idolatry, its allegiance to sacred scriptures and its witness to a line of 10 personal gurus who served as personal exemplars and temporal as well as spiritual leaders in the Sikh community between 1500 and 1708.

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Unitarian Universalist Community

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Association which denies the doctrine of the Trinity and affirms the principles of individual freedom of belief, the free use of reason in religion, commitment to advancing truth, religious tolerance, universal brotherhood of man, a creedless church, a united world community and support of a vigourous program of liberal social action.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.


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