Browse the Stylebook by letter


A person who evaluates religious belief systems solely on the basis of reason, rather than on dogma, tradition, faith or authority. The term freethought movement is often used to describe the full spectrum of nontheism.

Posted in Atheism/Agnosticism

Great Commission

Jesus’ instruction to his disciples (as told in Matthew 28:16-20) to “go and make disciples of all nations.” This exhortation has provided the motivation and justification for Christianity’s missionary activities around the world from the time of the early church.

Posted in Adventism, Anglican/Episcopalian, Baptist/Southern Baptist, Catholicism, Christianity, Pentecostalism, Protestantism


Someone who, deep down, doesn’t believe in God, though that person might not even consciously realize it.

Posted in Atheism/Agnosticism

New Atheist

A person who not only is an atheist but believes that religion is, on the whole, harmful and should be opposed whenever it conflicts with science or threatens societal interests. Capitalize both words.

Posted in Atheism/Agnosticism


An individual who relies on logic and reason for knowledge and a system of ethics, rather than on faith or religion.

Posted in Atheism/Agnosticism

sinner’s prayer

A term used by some evangelicals to describe a conversion-moment prayer, in which a person acknowledges sinfulness and seeks a relationship with Christ.

Posted in Christianity, Protestantism


Someone who questions claims about the supernatural and insists on evidence as a condition for belief.

Posted in Atheism/Agnosticism


Ordained monks and nuns in Theravada Buddhism are given the honorific Venerable before their names. In Roman Catholicism, the term is applied posthumously when a pope has approved the first stage in a person’s official cause for canonization, as in Venerable Fulton Sheen.  Also, in the Episcopal Church, archdeacons are addressed with the honorific the Venerable, as in the Venerable Jill Smith. See religious titles.

Posted in Anglican/Episcopalian, Buddhism, Catholicism