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I've heard "racist" being used in a few cases to describe bigotry towards people of a certain religion. It's a bit annoying because it implies that all people of a religion are the same race, which is hardly the correct case. However I'm also bewildered that there doesn't seem to be an appropriate one-word substitute coined to describe prejudice/discrimination/sense of superiority in terms of religion. What (if any) word exists for it?

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@martin: while I share your view to a certain extent, it is probably fairer to say that many religious people simply reinforce their own innate bigotry by ignoring contrary teachings from their own dogma. –  horatio Sep 14 '11 at 20:21
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Race is to racism as religion is to religious intolerance. Why is considered important to have a one-word term for every concept? –  FumbleFingers Sep 14 '11 at 20:38
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@GEdgar: Persecution is usually the word that fits there, but it's still not the right one for this context. –  jprete Sep 15 '11 at 0:22
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Why not creedism? It's been proposed before as a stop for this particular linguistic gap, and as neologisms go, it's hardly so peculiar as to be unusable. –  Jon Purdy Sep 15 '11 at 14:29
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@iterationx: If we'd had the sought-for single word (call it Xism) for a few decades, by now it would probably be possible for me to accuse you of Xism for your suggestion! And at some point in the future, expressing such thoughts and opinions might be internationally recognised as crimes against humanity! –  FumbleFingers Sep 23 '11 at 19:06

9 Answers 9

The term I would use is "religious intolerance." To describe the basis for events like the Inquisition in Spain.

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+1 for "intolerance". This seems to be the best fit. –  Daniel Sep 15 '11 at 20:09

Sectarian is probably the right word for the job. (though it usually refers to opposing forces within a group).

Note that in some cases, people identify their ethnicity as the religion (jews for instance), in which case, "racism" and "religious bigotry" are nearly equivalent.

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Sectarianism, since the OP wants a noun (and also sectarianism has more negative connotations than sectarian). –  Peter Shor Sep 14 '11 at 20:25
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I agree it's related, but a person can be sectarian without being bigoted. In fact most deeply religious have sectarian views on politics (for example), but not all of them would claim that all other views were invalid. –  Codie CodeMonkey Sep 14 '11 at 20:26
    
Perhaps in this case "sectarianism" is the proper form for the OP's question? –  The Raven Sep 14 '11 at 20:26
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The problem is that for race, we have two different adjectives, racial, which has no negative connotations, and racist, which does. For religion, sectarian currently plays both roles. For nouns, sectarianism is the religious parallel for racism. We need a new adjective, and I nominate sectarianist for the religious parallel of racist. I think that, if you used it, you would generally be understood. –  Peter Shor Sep 14 '11 at 20:34
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Antipathy towards Islamic fundamentalism expressed by any particular Christian group would not normally be called "sectarian", even by the most strident atheist. And if that strident atheist were himself to show extreme hostility towards Islam, even fewer people would describe this as a sectarianist position. –  FumbleFingers Sep 14 '11 at 20:37

Zealotry is the best word to carry the extra negative connotation of "racism".

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For one-word answers, I like this is better than sectarian (or sectarianism for a noun), and have thus voted it up. But I think of zealotry more as enthusiasm for one's religion than negative feelings toward other religions. So it does a better job at conveying self-superiority than it does at discrimination of others. –  John Y Sep 14 '11 at 23:32
    
This is the best, so far. "Religious bigot" is good, but two words. Still, "zealotry" is often used metaphorically, so these days one might still need to qualify it with "religious" at the first usage. –  Kyle Pearson Sep 15 '11 at 4:31
  1. Antitheism - opposition to belief in a deity (or deities)
  2. Antireligion - opposition to organized religion
  3. Anti-Judaism/Anti-Judaic - opposition to Judaism
  4. Anti-Christian [sentiment (n.)] - opposition to Christianity
  5. Anti-Islamic/Anti-Islamist - opposition to Islam

Other words exist such as Islamophobia, but that could perhaps be considered different because it's a fear of something, which might be considered different than simply hating it.

These terms are also specifying a specific religion or all religion. Other terms that denote hatred for all religions other than one's own, such as "religious intolerance", "religious bigot", etc. have already been given.

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Triumphalism may be what you are looking for. It denotes the sense of religious superiority that you are looking for in your word, however it does not necessarily imply an attitude of bigotry towards people of other religions/denominations.

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Religious persecution would be my choice.

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"Religious fanatic" is the word to define that person who is sure that only his religous truth is actually true, and who dismisses all others as being false, and every person who does not follow his religion as being an infidel. So, instead of racism, it would be [religious] fanatism.

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The examples you give for "religious fanatism" might be true for many people who are not actually treating adherents of other denominations badly. I think that "fanatic" refers more to someone who approves of the destruction of other cultures on religious grounds rather than someone who truly believes that his faith is the truth. –  Felix Dombek Sep 15 '11 at 4:56

The answer is obvious.

The word you're looking for here is "Sectism"

;)

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Note - I posted this answered against a later question which I didn't realise was a duplicate. I don't know if it's considered "good form" to duplicate an answer, but I've copied it here because it seems extremely relevant, and at time of writing I don't see the word "Dawkins" anywhere on this page.


Religious intolerance/discrimination are well-established, but so far as I'm aware they are mainly used in contexts where people of one religion don't like people who believe in a different religion.

I'm not entirely sure whether the man himself would endorse the categorisation, but...

Dawkinism

...is certainly gaining considerable currency.

It's mainly used by people who are religious, and hence consider the word to be inherently derogatory. In which context, it's worth noting that the -ism suffix is often used in terms denoting a form of discrimination, or wild or visionary theory. By extension, the actual word "ism" is often used in a negative sense.

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