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Religious Tolerance logo

Glossary of religious & spiritual terms

Terms starting with the letters "GA" to "GH"

(Terms starting GI to GY are elsewhere)

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bulletGreek goddess of the Earth.
bulletA belief that the earth is a living entity who adapts the environment to promote life.

bullet Gap theory: The belief that there is a large interval of time between the first and second verses in the book of Genesis. By insertion of a gap at this point, Genesis is brought more closely into harmony with the conclusions of the vast majority of biological and earth scientists who believe that Evolution of the species of life is a fact and that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old.


Gay: This term has multiple meanings which may not be immediately obvious. It can refer to:

  • Any individual, female or male, who is emotionally and physically attracted only to members of the same sex.
  • Any male who is attracted only to members of the same sex. (We recommend this definition)
  • Any individual, female or male, who has engaged in sexual behavior with a person of the same gender.
  • Any male who has engaged in sexual behavior with a person of the same gender.
  • Any person who has been sexually active with a person of the same gender in the past, but not recently.
  • Any person as defined above who is politically active in promoting equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations.
bulletGehena: A Greek word which refers to the Hebrew word gehinnom, the valley of Hinnon. This was the garbage dump for Jerusalem, a place of continuous fire, where the bodies of crucified criminals were tossed. According to Luke 12:4 and other passages, this is Hell. God casts the body and souls of the unsaved here after their death, to be tortured forever without any hope of mercy.

bulletGender expression: How a person dresses, speaks and acts to show their gender identity.

bulletGender expression: How a person dresses, speaks and acts to show their gender identity.

bullet Gender identity: An individual's feeling of gender. In the vast majority of people, this is the same as their gender as assigned at birth. However, among transgender persons, their perceived gender is opposite from their birth-assigned gender, or they feel that they have no gender.

bulletGeneral Revelation: A Christian term partly derived from Romans 1:19-20. Paul taught that the existence of the world is proof of the existence of God and of some of his attributes. Further, it teaches that these beliefs are obvious to everyone -- whether they be Christian or not. With advances in science, the existence of the world and its life forms can be explained in naturalistic terms. Thus, the Romans passage does not necessarily apply to contemporary individuals who have become convinced of the reality of evolution.

bullet Genetic fallacy The assumption that because something started with a certain belief or quality that it must continue to have those qualities even as the culture changes. An example is: "You're not going to wear a wedding ring, are you? Don't you know that the wedding ring originally symbolized ankle chains worn by women to prevent them from running away from their husbands? I would not have thought you would be a party to such a sexist practice." 1

bulletGenizah: A place in a synagogue set aside to store both worn-out and heretical or disgraced Hebrew books or papers.

bullet Genocide: Systematic murder of an entire group of people on the basis of their religion, race or nationality. Derived from genos (race) and cide (to kill). A term created by Raphael Lemkin in the mid-1940s. It refers to the planned, systematic extermination of an entire ethnic, national, racial, or religious group. Most genocides in the 20th and 21st century have had a strong religious component. The murder of about 200,000 Muslims by Serbian Orthodox Christians during the 1990s is the most serious religiously-motivated genocide in recent years.

bulletGenocide, cultural: Attempts to eliminate an entire culture. The Canadian government's program of destroying Native Canadian culture between 1879 and 1986 through the use of boarding schools is one example.

bulletGentile: This term originated in the Latin word "gent" which meant "of the same clan."  It became "gentil" in Middle English. Today, it has a variety of definitions:
bulletIn Judaism: a non-Jew.

bulletIn the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) the Greek word "Hellenes" -- which means "Greek" -- has been translated as "Gentile." It refers to any non-Jewish nation or group. See: Acts 16:1, 3; 18:17; Romans 1:14).

bulletIn Mormonism: a person who is not a Mormon.

bulletIn Hinduism: a person who is not a Hindu.

bullet In some other applications, it refers to a person who does not acknowledge the existence of one's God. 1,2

bulletThe belief that the sun revolves around the earth. This was all the rage in Galileo's day. Religious News Service reported in 2006-MAR that the belief is having a comeback among conservative Christians because of its support in the Bible. Commentators are having difficulty deciding whether this news report is a satire, or is serious.
bulletWithin the environmental movement, a concern over the state and future of the Earth.

bulletGeomancy: The procedure of selecting a site for a building, grave, etc. based upon unseen forces in nature. The goal is to achieve harmony with the natural surroundings.

bullet Get: A Jewish divorce paper issued by the husband.

bulletGhetto: The term originally referred to a type of inner-city concentration camp for Jews. First developed by the Roman Catholic Church, the concept was later adopted by Hitler during the German Nazi regime. The term now refers to any concentration of a specific group in a city, as in "student ghetto."

bulletGhost: A form of spirit being. Many faiths, from Aboriginal religion to some groups within Christianity believe that they are the spirits of dead people. Hard evidence of their existence is scant or non-existent.

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Terms starting with the letters "GI" to "GY" are in the next list.

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References used:

  1. "Gentile," HyperDictionary, at:
  2. "Gentile," TheFreeDictionary, at:

Copyright © 1996 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written on: 1996-MAR-11
Last update: 2017-JUL-15
Author: B.A. Robinson
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