This page explains some words used in the site that may be unfamiliar, or have unfamiliar nuances.
Entries are in constructive, not alphabetical, order, so the page can be read through as a summary of some of the site's concepts.
"Constructive order" means that explanations use words from earlier entries but not from later ones.
In each entry, the first reference to each earlier entry is shown like this.
To find a word, use your Web Browser's search facility (usually Control-F) and type an asterisk followed by the start of the word you seek.
For instance, "Choose" is not defined here but "Choice" is, so search for "*Cho".
An occasion is an occurrence that does not consist of smaller occurrences.
Choices are occasions that are neither caused nor random.
Each choice is made by a self.
For the plural I use "selves", "folk" or "people".
Nowadays a self is often called a "person", and I sometimes use "personal" for matters pertaining to individual selves.
The natural standards are the standards of conduct that apply to choices. As such they are the basis of all judgments of right and wrong.
God is the source of all that is, including the natural standards, which can be called God's law in the broadest sense.
I call God he, rather than it or she, because in some ways he resembles a man. But to say that God is a being, or exists, would exaggerate that resemblance.
Towards man in the world, God acts as provider, mediator and indweller, and is best thought of as a union of three selves.
Spirit is the usual English rendering of the New Testament's pneuma. It refers to invisible agency, such as wind, but especially to God in his preserving and renewing activity in the world. These days "spirit" suggests a separate world, distant from everyday concerns, but I see no good alternative; ghost suggests something in a white sheet (originally scary, now often comical, always bizarre; hagia pneuma -- "God indwelling" -- used to be translated Holy Ghost), while wind and force fail to convey God's resemblance to a self.
Man is also said to have "spirit" in view of his destined union with God, in which he will be spirit.
Godliness is obedience to God. It leads to complying with natural standards. It may entail violating prevailing standards, so complying in this sense is not the same as conforming.
The task of selves is to develop the world to the full. This involves enriching all aspects of our lives. To achieve this we need to act unitedly in compliance with natural standards.
Wickedness is defiance against God. It is the same as sin.
God has revealed our place in the world to us.
Through our nature, in his original plan, he shows, to every self, our task and our subjection to natural standards.
Through our conscience, in his response to our Defection, he shows, to every wicked self, that we need to be realigned.
Through his spirit he shows, to those who sense it, that he is inducing realignments.
Through his prophets he shows, to those who hear, that he will provide a saviour.
Through the gospel he shows, to those who hear, that he has provided that saviour.
At the deepest level the only possible responses to revelation are godliness and wickedness. These are the two alignments. There is no neutral position.
Wrongdoers are selves whose alignment is wickedness. They flout revelation.
*Foes of God
I sometimes call wrongdoers God's foes to remind us that wickedness is personal defiance of God, not just a neglect of abstract standards.
The Defection is humanity's rejection of revelation. It was traditionally called original sin. It has been a reality since the beginning of man's career, and is the source of all wickedness. As a result of the Defection, every self begins life as a wrongdoer.
All selves make choices, and in that sense have free will. But choices are made within the limits set by alignment, and the alignmental predisposition called the Defection is not a choice but a basic fact of the human condition that we experience but cannot explain. Of course, one of the choices that have sprung from the Defection must have been the earliest, and if we descend from a single pair of progenitors one of them must have made it, and this is what the book of Genesis indicates.
Welldoers are selves to whom God has given an alignment of godliness. The New Testament words traditionally translated righteous, holy, saint all refer to welldoers, but to modern ears these words seem quaint or sanctimonious. A welldoer makes only proper choices.
A new welldoer at once begins to heed whatever revelation they have encountered, and then heeds any further revelation encountered. In describing this heeding, the New Testament uses the noun pistis ("faith") and the verb pisteuo ("believe"). This heeding is a choice, but the godliness from which it springs is not.
*Friends of God
I sometimes call welldoers God's Friends to remind us that godliness involves warmth of fellowship with God, not just zeal to adhere to his standards. The New Testatement calls them God's children (but these days, when the idea of filial piety has lost its force, that phrase may suggest warmth without zeal).
Weal or wellbeing is the experience of the fulfillment (as process and as result ) of our task, attained only through godliness, though fragments of it can be attained through wickedness since the latter can never be complete.
An attitude is a basic approach to the human condition, functioning at the deepest level of the self at which alignment takes form. Each such attitude consists of an inarticulate view of man's nature and of his relationship with the transcendent source of what is and of what should be.
I sometimes give such attitudes a big "A" to distinguish them from the more familiar kind of "attitude", which is any general principle that can be applied to a certain type of case.
A welldoer's attitude is determined by which revelations they have encountered, but the variety of wrongdoers' possible attitudes is as endless as the range of possible pseudo-gods (idols). Man's task ensures that every mature self aspires to a single coherent attitude (integrity); godliness is inherently coherent, so a welldoer may come indefinitely close to such integrity, but wickedness is inherently incoherent, so a wrongdoer is always affected by at least two attitudes; one of them may predominate, but it breaks down from time to time. There is no neutral position.
The evolution of a wrongdoer's attitudes is affected by instinct (nature), circumstances (conditioning, nurture) and previous choices, and an attitude feeds back to affect subsequent choices and hence future circumstances.
The next few entries explain how the effect of a self's attitude works its way through the various cognitive phases. The diagram represents this. The entities shown along the top are inarticulate, that is, involve no expression; those shown lower down are articulate. The effects of the environment are too ubiquitous to be shown.
A self's basic attitude manifests itself in the form of implicit principles. These are not always expressed or even considered, but they affect the self's choices.
A belief is an explicit expression of a principle.
An opinion in an explicit ramification of a principle in relation to some specific question. In forming opinions, instinct, circumstance and beliefs all play a part.
A worldview (German Weltanschaung) is a (more or less) coherent set of principles.
A cogniframe (cognitive frame) is an stable, articulate summary of a set of principles. Where godliness is the only salient alignment, these derive from a single attitude, but where wickedness is salient any resulting attitude is instable so that a stable cogniframe can only arise by a combination of diverse attitudes.
A creed may be an expression of a self's worldview or a coherent statement of their beliefs. It should be both. It should also reflect a cogniframe.
Selves tend to reflect on and express their beliefs, thereby reflecting the attitude that underlies them; if those expressions crystalise into a stable form, that form is a creed. But while some selves have clear creeds, others are confused about their beliefs, and others have never thought much about them.
The clearest creeds are written documents, but consistently repeated verbal statements may also function as a creed, and may be a better guide to someone's real beliefs than a document they call their creed.
Creeds need to evolve for two reasons.
(1) Nobody can fully understand themself, or fully articulate that understanding, so creed is perfect, but it is important that creeds be as accurate as possible, because they always say (or imply) something about what is good as well as about what is true, and words influence actions. An accurate creed encourages actions consistent with the underlying attitude. An inaccurate one fails to do so.
(2) The same words, to hearers of different periods or backgrounds, may convey different meanings, so a creed needs to keep pace with changes in language.
An ontology is a maximally general theory of what is possible, that is, of possible worlds. If the theoriser is being consistent, it is an elaboration of the relevant parts of their creed.
A cosmology is a maximally general theory of what is, that is, of the actual world. If the theoriser is being consistent, it is both an abstraction from their opinions and a specification of their ontology (that is, a theory of a possible world in terms of that ontology).
This word is useless. Among intellectuals it often denotes ontology, though sometimes including cosmology and the most general regions of semiotics, epistemics or physics. It is also used even more flexibly, to denote any mental construct that is more general in relation to some more specific construct, so that 4-2-4 is a "footballing philosophy".
This word is useless. It sometimes refers to an attitude, sometimes to ceremony or superstition, and its use tends to confuse discussion and hinder understanding.
A discourse is a more or less coherent social movement.
Humanism is the prevailing attitude of the modern Global West. It is also called left-liberalism or cultural Marxism. It rejects natural standards, and proclaims the will of selves as the supreme standard of what is good (moral relativism), and sometimes (as in postmodernism) even of what is true. Democracy is one expression of it. It is also called abstract humanism to contrast it with discourses that emphasise human creativity without denying natural standards.
A Christian is a welldoer who has encountered (and therefore heeded) God's revelation in Christ.
Christianity is the attitude of Christians.
A Christian practice, belief etc is one that expresses Christianity. (Christianity itself is "the Christian attitude".)
A Christianoid is someone who seems (at least superficially or in certain aspects) to be a Christian. The use of this word implies nothing either way about whether they really are one.
Christianoidity is the discourse of Christianoids. It arose from early expressions of Christianity, and persists, worldwide, to this day. Some of it still expresses Christianity, but most of it now expresses other attitudes.
A Christianoid practice, belief etc is one that is part of Christianiodity.
False Christians are Christianoids who are not Christians. In expressing their attitudes (which vary) they often use statements that originally expressed Christianity but are now being interpreted in a different sense.
A real Christian is simply a Christian, distinguished from false Christians.
False Christianity is Christianoidity insofar as it flows from attitudes other than Christianity.
Real Christianity is simply Christianity, distinguished from false Christianity.
In the context of Christianoidity a heresy is a belief incompatible with Christianity.
A heretic is someone who firmly holds a heresy.
In one sense there is only one humanity, but in another sense Christians constitute a new humanity which is the original humanity renewed. The New Testament calls the new humanity, in all its activities, ekklesia (traditionally translated church, which misleadingly suggests something more limited).
Christian Relaunch is a (the?) discourse expressing real Christianity in our time. This site is a vehicle to promote that discourse and to help coordinate real Christians.
In the context of Christianoid history, a reformation (small "r") is a reformulation of Christian belief adapted to exclude a particular heresy.
"The Reformation" (big "R") is the traditional term for the historical origins of Protestantism. The Reformation was partly reformational but not entirely.
Androcracy is the belief that:
Every woman should be ruled by a man, whom she should obey in all matters.
Her original ruler is her father, who may convey her, by gift or trade, to any willing man.
Anarchism is the belief that the State can never be anything but varnished gangsterism, even if the gang consists of a majority of inhabitants who call their gangsterism "democracy".
All Anarchists agree that taxation is theft, but there are "Right-Anarchists" (Anarcho-Capitalists) and "Left-Anarchists" (Anarcho-Socialists), who respectively regard individuals or society in general as the rightful proprietors.
Kataskeuanism (from Greek kataskeuazo, which means make, build etc) is the belief that no man is entitled to interfere with another's produce.
It may also be called opifectalism, from the Latin motto opifex dominus ("the maker is the owner").(Opifectodominalism would be more correct but too long. If you can express this belief in one manageable word, please suggest it.)
Male and female, often called "genders", should be called the sexes, and the whole range of phenomena pertaining to the difference between them should be called sex. Interaction involving genital arousal is often misleadingly called "sex", but such activity is only one element of sex, and should be called venery.
Gender is a broader concept of which sex is only one example. Masculine and feminine ("yang" and "yin" in Chinese tradition), and perhaps neuter, are the genders. The male always has at least potentially masculine tendencies, but the masculine need not be male (though it cannot be female), just as the female is always at least potentially feminine, but the feminine need not be female (though it cannot be male).