world religion

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world religion (plural world religions)

  1. A religious belief system which has become generally recognized as having independent status from any other religion, but which nonetheless may have many, sometimes mutually antagonistic, sects or denominations.
    Christianity is a world religion consisting of Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestants.

Usage notes[edit]

The term is criticized by the Christian right as allowing religions other than Christianity an unwarranted dignity. It is similarly criticized from elements of the academic left as a 19th-century term that "colonialized" other religions in terms of Christianity and European thought. It is nonetheless a convenient, easily understood term for classifying the religions of the world.