Philosophy, Religion, Faiths, and Worldviews—Less Diversity,
Confusion, and Obscuration
Synonyms within Philosophy, Religion, Faiths, and Worldviews—Less
Diversity Than Is Apparent
These synonyms are not necessarily precise,
but they are important to show associations, relationships, and
interdependency of concepts and terms that otherwise might not
be recognized. Much
confusion in philosophy could be overcome if there were more
groupings of synonyms and similarities of concepts.
The vocabulary of past and modern philosophies has grown
to be beyond anyone’s ability to grasp, much less to understand.
Thus, these synonyms are
ongoing and will have additions from time to time.
Some groupings could be combined, but I wanted
to lead (in bold type)
with some words for their significance for philosophical
is much duplication, but then, that is the idea—to link and
associate words and terms.
I have made little attempt to be consistent
with nouns, verbs, or other forms of speech.
These are not
There may be a few duplicates in each section by oversight.
These are words that I have encountered in my studies and
writings—not by a thoroughgoing search.
You can help by sending me others.
This grouping is sort of a hodge-podge.
There is much overlap—which only shows the necessity to
know words (that convey concepts) that are related to each
other. I have added
a few comments in explanation.
Perhaps, there ought to be more.
There may be some duplicates within groups which are
unintended—duplicates among groups is intended.
Please let me know of group duplicates.
If you think of other synonyms for a group, please email
Philosophy is essentially a belief system of an individual or
group; as such, it has all the characteristics of a religion.
Thus, synonyms are:
faith, religion, way of life, chosen path, “ground motive” (Dooyeweerd),
meaning, purpose, explanation of ultimates, metaphysics,
metanarrative, cosmology, “what is,” reality, worldview, state
of affairs, systematic ethics, philosophy of religion, meta____
(add any term here), individualism, ultimate concern, belief or
belief system, ultimate reality, ideology, the whole list of
“-isms” (such as, idealism, materialism, naturalism, communism,
scientism, atheism, fascism, spiritualism, physicalism, and
capitalism to name only a
few!), purpose of life, meaning of life, the whole list of
“-ologies” and “-osophies” (such as, theology, philosophy,
cosmology, ideology, to
name only a few!), reason, Reason (Hegel’s
philosophical outlook, first causes, God or god, fundamental
reality (Durant), ontology (Titus), origins,
a priorism, truth
(correspondence, coherence, pragmatic), all formed religions
(Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism, etc.), pluralism, etc.
two religions and philosophies.
The Bible simplifies these philosophies and
worldviews. One side
is Biblical Christianity and on the other are all other belief
systems, best summarized as individual subjectivisms and
organized belief systems (philosophies and religions).
Religion is what one individual believes which may correspond to
some extent with an organized system of philosophy or religion.
All the terms listed above would be listed here.
Religion is philosophy is worldview is belief-system is
... all the above and more.
first principle, justified true belief, presupposition, starting
point, pou stou, place
to stand: axiom, foundational belief, first philosophy,
assumption, bias, prejudice, testimony, authority, beginning,
core beliefs, basic belief, properly basic belief, most basic
belief, foundation, foundational belief, any absolute, dogma and
dogmatism, doctrine, metaphysics (Aristotle), value, values,
value judgments, heart, aesthetics, meta-ethic or other
“meta____” (insert any term), assumption, presumption, bias,
prejudice, simple belief, predilection, subjectivism,
desire, a priori or any a priori
position, ultimates (value, truth, ethic, person, Person, Faith,
etc.), philosophical outlook, pre-theoretical suppositions,
basic commitment, basic idea, the ideal, “one’s most efficacious
argument” (Richard Weaver), “ultimate concern” (Tillich),
“ultimate reality” (Henry Stob), worldview, ground of being,
absolute or Absolute,
Begriff (Hegel), etc. See
"The redemptive work of Christ may be
described in many different ways: covenant, sacrifice,
atonement, resurrection, purification, new creation,
obedience-righteousness, kingdom-conquest, liberation,
reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, revelation, judgment,
courtship, adoption, giving faith, hope, love, joy, peace, and
so forth." (John Frame, Knowledge of God, 193)
Empiricism, objective realism, Scottish Realism, materialism,
scientism, Logical Positivism, etc.:
Common Sense realism, logical empiricism, Baconian
empiricism (anti-deduction), Baconian method, scientific method,
Baconian hermeneutics (applied to Scripture), philosophy of
Thomas Reid, Scottish enlightenment, official philosophy of 19th
century American (Pearcey,
Total Truth), Baconian induction, induction, The Way of
Ideas (Reid’s own term), “no creed but the Bible” (or “Christ”),
Scottish naturalism, natural law theory, naturalism, empiricism,
anti-historicalism, “objective” approach to truth, Free Inquiry,
methodical naturalism, scientific moralism, natural philosophy,
natural theology, natural law, scientism, the lower story of a
two-tiered worldview, materialism, scientism, theosophy, logical
positivism, modernism (no link to past), the domain of
philosophy (Aquinas), individualism, subjectivism, (plain)
realism, nominalism, phenomenalism, scientific worldview, legal
positivism, naïve realism,
the Socratic “unexamined life,”
Enlightenment Project (McGrath), direct realism, common sense
theory, representative realism, “what is thought to be the case”
vs. “what is the case,” the thing as it appears (not the
thing-in-itself), identity theory of mind, monism, epistemic
reductionism, positivistic foundationalism (Hume), amoralism (in
an impersonal universe), behaviorism, materialistic determinism,
dialecticism (Marx), Freudian (and all materialistic
For discussion of many of these terms, see
Pearcey, Total Truth,
Chapter 11, or George Marsden in
Faith and Rationality
(Plantinga and Wolterstorff, Eds.)
Classical realism: Platonic realism, universals (real universals),
conceptual realism, objective idealism (approximately),
Aristotelianism: realism of Aquinas, wholistic realism
(hylozoism—unity of form and matter), substance dualism,
See Facts below.
Reason (noun or verb), logic, inference, judgment, concept, universal,
conclude (conclusion), reason out, think through, feel (“I feel
that such and such is true.“) cogitate, cerebrate, think, argue,
present, represent, present a syllogism, ratio, “it follows,”
of necessity, coherence, correspondence, judgment,
deduction, induction, “therefore”, “thus,” understanding,
“knows,” “sees”, believes, is aware, necessarily, by necessity,
sane-sanity (moral connotation to wrong knowledge, “Iit is
insane not to believe in God’s Word.”), apply one’s conscience,
lack of fallacy, etc.
*The following groups are repetitious to the
above. I have
included them to identify reason, rational, and the other bolded
synonyms to be sure that they are indentified with each other.
logical, lucid, demythologized, intelligent, reasoned,
enlightened, thought, reasonable or reasoned, necessary, sane,
sober, intellectual, logical, reasonable, intellectual,
sensible, noetic, commonsensical, levelheaded, sound-minded,
tenable, well-founded, fair, fair-minded, non-superstitious,
sees clearly, understandable or understood, conclusion or
concluded, argument, valid, proof, sound argument, inference
(induction and deduction), planning, figuring (out), discerning,
sane-sanity (see above), well-grounded, common sensical, etc.
believe (faith), feel, ratiocination, cognition, make judgment:
hold, consider, see
judge, ponder, meditate, cogitate, ruminate, intellection,
judgment, intellect, sort out (groups of things), any activity
of the mind, mental, psychological (psyche-soul,
pneuma-spirit), heart, mind, imagination, speak-speech, communicate,
being wise (wisdom), inference (deduction, induction), argument,
discerning, apply wisdom, “plausibility structure” (Peter
Berger), “all thought concerns belief” (C. S. Peirce), etc.
Being, substance, essence: metaphysical reality, reality, ontology,
what is real, existence, metaphysics, attributes, accidents,
posit, assign, know, see, understand, category, predication,
“is” or “what is,” hypostasis, ousia, the real or reality or
realism, “what is the case,” truth, eternality, “I am,” God, The
Neoplatonic One, faith (Hebrews 11:1), truth, correspondence
theory of truth, nature of a thing,
ding-an-sich, “it is,”
that which does not change under any circumstance (Descartes’
wax), unity, simplicity, non-accidental and essence (Aristotle),
“what is the case” vs. “what is thought to be the case,”
abstract a universal, things as they were and are created by
God, Kant’s judgments, etc.
Emotions: feelings, agitations of the soul (and all its synonyms),
disturbance of body or mind, not at peace, not resting,
disturbed, troubled; sad-mad-glad-afraid;
sensuous, sensate, flighty, unstable, “double-minded”
passions, mutable (opposite of immutable), post-modern,
pluralism, skepticism, passionate, instability, uncertain, not
at peace, not at peace, the awakened state vs. the sleeping
Contrast with rest, peace, etc. The absence of emotion is
“no shadow of turning,” “thou will keep in perfect peace whose
mind is stayed on thee,” without threat of enemies (change),
achieving happiness (all that one could desire), etc.
Supernatural, metaphysical: transcendence (transcendent,
opposite—immanent), noumenal, speculative, religious, mental,
mystical, Gnostic, ethereal, spiritual, ghostly, non-material,
ground of being, speculative, substance (hypostasis), essence,
ousia, otherworldly, immaterial, not mystical, not mystery,
essence, necessary, Begriff,
Modernism, modernity, Enlightenment:
rationalism and all that that encompasses, physicalism,
secular humanism, anti-transcendentalism, empirical, scientism,
etc. See Materialism (naturalism-above), anti-God, anti-Special
Revelation, anti-Middle Ages, naturalism, evolution,
anti-Reformation, anti-history, skepticism, Postmodernism as the
inevitable result of the Enlightenment, anti-supernaturalism,
Facts, “Matters of Fact” (Hume): concepts (Kant), “universal
manifold” (Kant), appearance, appearance of reality, phenomena,
aboutness, testimony, instrument recording, empiric conclusions,
induction, correspondence, state of affairs, “what is”
empirically, correspondence; Thomas Reid’s “self-evident”,
Descartes “clear and distinct,” first principles (faith), “what
is thought to be the case” vs. “what is the case,” common sense,
common sense philosophy, etc.
Skepticism: eliminativism, agnostic, atheism, secular humanism,
operationalism, reductionism, critical analysis (parts, rather
than the whole),
post-modernism, pluralism, pantheism, Descartes’ that which
is not “clear and distinct,” philosophy
of Hume, irrationality, insane-insanity, modernism, infinite
regress, over-analysis, doubt, uncertainty, ambiguity,
apprehension, anxiety, worry, confusion, difficulty, disbelief,
distrust, fear, hesitation , misgiving, mistrust, suspicion,
uncertainty, agnosticism, diffidence, dilemma, disquiet,
dubious, faithlessness, hesitancy, incertitude, incredulity,
indecision, perplexed, vacillation, double-minded, wavering,
lack of confidence, etc.
Antonyms: holism, truth, certainty and
certitude, God of the Bible, Biblical Christianity, indubitable
knowledge, unity, belief, etc.
and adverbs, predication, some, parts, parts of wholes,
characteristics of objects, accidents, “is” is not necessarily
an equals sign, particulars of a particular, category, intuition
and concept (Kant), classes, genus’s, phyla, species, divisions,
partitions, facets, files, folders, separations, castes, limits,
limitations, segments, segmentation, halves-thirds-fourths-all
fractions, participation, atoms-molecules—all subatomic units,
opposite of emotions, conviction, great faith, little faith,
knowledge, truth, God is One, security, peace of mind, rest,
clear conscience, Descartes’ rational basis (“clear and
distinct”), Biblical “to know,” peace with God, absence of
skepticism, clear judgment, epistemology, metaphysics, Biblical
Christianity, examined doubt, examined life, absence of doubt,
indubitable knowledge, conviction,
without doubt, rest or Sabbath rest, etc.
Ethics, morality, value, judgment, heart, worth-worship, First
Commandment, Tne Commandments, any commandment, passion, ought,
imperative, critical theory, social action, sociology, action
theory: axiology, value-theory, subjectivity, desire,
emotion, priority, use of time, vocation or avocation, Mammon,
treasure, pleasure, pain, jealousy, lust, envy, good or The
Good, summum bonum,
comparison and contrast, evaluation, perception, righteousness,
justification, understanding, individualism, preference, bias,
presupposition, faith, belief, virtue, idol or icon, worship,
affection, love (as in loving another person), love (as in
keeping Christ’s commandments), affection, origin of value, know
(as in sexual intercourse: “Adam knew Eve and she conceived” or
God “fore-knew the elect), absolute, “ought”, all Biblical
instruction, commandment, “Thou shalt…”, “will to power”
(Nietzsche), categorical imperative (Kant), the ethical and
religious stages (Kierkegaard), “Love God will all your heart,
soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as yourself,”
deontology, teleology, purpose, reason for action,
there can be no “ought” from an “is”; “ought” is ethics
and “is” is epistemology.
“what” … “is” … “know” (epistemology).
I have to “know” what “is” right and wrong in order to
realize my “ought”, system, systematic theology… See
Whole, holism, organic,
Whole, holism, wholism, wholistic, holistic, organic—see my paper,
“Unity” in all: particulars (vs. universals), context
(smaller and larger), as in sentence, chapter, book, etc.), a
whole made up of parts, system (systematic), truth, synthesis
(thesis, antithesis), functionalism, operationalism, various
types of philosophic holism, relationality,
integrate-integration, philosophy of language, syntax,
definitions by context, philosophy of mind, monism (physicalism
and idealism), dualism (usually one substance is dominant in
that theory), chaos theory, object, subject to be studied (as an
object), thing, ding an
sich, substance (especially everything is one substance),
machine, composite, absolute,
idealism, god or God, theism, fact, sentence, proposition,
concept, state of affairs, Abraham Kuyper, etc.
Unity in God.
Monadology (Leibniz): pre-established harmony, each monads
perceives all the other monads in the universe, well-grounded
phenomena, plenum, composites, etc.
The substance or essence of all things is Creation and
the Providence of God—His hypostasis or essence of created
things and their function according to His designs.
Knowledge as love:
sexual experience: “Adam knew Eve, and she conceived,” “I love
apple pie”, “I love golf”; God “fore-knew” the elect (everything
about them… omniscience); epistemology, as intimacy of
acquaintance—“I know” for certain or varying degrees of
certainty; assurance; association with peace;
is there a sense in which all meaning and knowledge is united to a
whole? That whole is
God?; knowledge as
experience; knowledge as skill; all knowledge is pre-conditioned
by a priori’s and previous knowledge; no knowledge is “new,” but
always a synthesis of prior knowledge;
kinds of knowledge;
Progress (human, social, scientific, etc.), civilization, morality:
“war to end all wars,” MAD (mutual assured destruction),
Philosophy of religion:
Christianity in the West, natural religion, philosophical
theology, theistic philosophy, philosophical theism, theological
philosophy, natural theology, natural law, theology of science,
natural philosophy, atheism, secular humanism, liberal theology,
neo-orthodoxy, atheism, agnosticism, non-biblical religion,
non-biblical philosophy, secular philosophy, all non-Christian
religions, all “arguments” for God (cosmological, ontological,
metaphysical, etc.), evidentialism, brute facts, naturalism,
ultimate concern… thus, just a synonym for
philosophy or religion.
two philosophies, religions, and worldviews.
In simplification from a first principle of Biblical
Christianity, there are only two systems: Biblical Christianity
and any other system—light and darkness.
Absolute: “There are no absolutes” is an absolute that means
that there must be at least one absolute.
reality, The Absolute (God), The Gods of the Philosophers, Islam,
classical theism, classical foundationalism, system, coherence,
unchanging, eternally permanent, true in all possible worlds,
and sich,” substance, absolutes are inescapable,
inescapables, Scripture in its original autographs, God in
Trinity, Providence, Hegel’s
Begriff, Nature or
naturalism, idealism, realism, Kierkegaard’s Leap of Faith,
Logical Positivism, Descartes’s certainty, Kant’s concepts
(judgment, understanding), “what is the case” vs. “what is
thought to be the case,” authority, revelation, monism, state of
affairs, fact, proposition, etc., etc.
that begins these Synonyms—any force that dominates and
supersedes all other forces.
In reasoning, there are only
two dominant forces:
that of autonomy or that of Biblical Christianity.
In the latter, the Christian believes that God’s Word is
the ultimate authority over man’s reason.
In the former, man relies upon himself, choosing
autonomously whatever principles that he chooses—whether by
examination or just accumulations from his life experience.
Paradox, mystery, antinomy: irrational, dilemma, incoherence,
inconsistent, theological or logical difficulty, logical
contradiction, over-analysis, reductionism, apparent
mystical (see below), insane-insanity, skepticism, postmodernism,
paranormal, extraterrestrial, science fiction, speculative,
Gnostic, secret, heart knowledge, implanted, infused, innate
(and all its synonyms), “God told me,” “God led me” (any
statement that God spoke to a person about a specific
situation), quietism, insight, mediation, Gnostic, mystery,
emotional—“I feel that,”
Idealism: anti-realism (see Titus), monism, spiritualism,
See Absolute and holism
Innate: inborn, genetic, inherited, nativism, inbred, determined,
structured, intuitive, pre-determined, fatalistic, predestined,
fate, will of the gods, etc.
Reality, truth, “what is the case”: Biblical creation,
ding and sich, God
Himself, the Bible itself, the Trinity, the visible and
invisible universe, the visible universe and Heaven and Hell
(and all creatures therein), etc.
Authority: self-autonomy, testimony, social recognition, social
epistemology, opinion, majority vote, “power behind the
testimony,” arbitrary belief, thing believed in, revelation,
Revelation, “The Grand Sez Who” (Arthur Leff), civil magistrate,
power to enforce, power of reasoning, Absolute (Hegel and
others), Tao or universal morality, God’s “eternal power and
Godhead” (Romans 1:20), moral and religious conscience,
Begriff, “Thus says
the Lord,” “I AM,” etc.
Language: logos (Classical
Greek and New Testament
koine), speech, thought in words, communication, concept in
words, categories (Aristotle, Kant, etc.), reason, logic,
definition, laws of noncontradiction, symbolic representation,
syntax, grammar, unity, holism, context, hermeneutics,
interpretation, praise of God, worship, liturgy, “Thus saith the
Lord,” dictation, command, exclamation, interpretation,
translation, meaning, proposition, sentence, word, abstraction,
book, essay, writing, universal, nominal(ism), translating
observations to sentences (empirical process),
Symbol, icon, image, Form, sign, etc.
idol, representation, phenomenon, Idea, likeness, same
identity, category, genus (species, phyla, etc.), thing of awe,
item of worship, Mammon, temple, church (building), word or
words, letters of an alphabet, stand in the place of, Golden
Calf, Moloch, ultimate desire, lust, the “I” or self,
Onto-theology: “god of the philosophers,” idol, idolatry, being and
Being, Heidegger’s Dasein,
pagan Greek logos,
Plato’s Forms or Ideas or The Good, Hegel’s
Reason, Logic, etc.), Kant’s
noumena, the god who
gives ground to being and epistemology, the Deist’s God, the God
of orthodox Judaism, the god of the Open Theists,
Allah of Islam, Nature
or the universe (pantheism), Chance (naturalism and evolution),
the dialectic of Marx, the ultimate Other of postmoderns, the
Unmoved Mover of Aristotle and Aquinas, the gods of the Roman
pantheon, the various gods of the Greeks, human reason of the
Enlightenment (modernism and secular humanism), scientism,
communism, socialism, Nazism, etc.