Digest of terms

prejudice

a disposition, often deeply held and long-lasting, towards someone or something which is strongly in favour or against, with the implication that the judgement is in part, largely, or entirely based on irrational beliefs and feelings, and contravenes the values of justice and fairness.. Prejudice is commonly diagnosed as operating in matters relating to age, gender, race, religion and sexuality. The introduction of laws against unfair treatment of others - either by positively favouring or negatively undervaluing them - has become steadily universalised in recent decades. However, it is far from complete and in itself no guarantee that the disposition will not continue on the part of individual actors.

Significantly, religion can be both a source and an exposer of prejudice. For instance, not only can a boundary be drawn between 'insiders' and 'outsiders' to a particular religion, but those categorised as outsiders may be stigmatised as in some sense inferior beings. By contrast others of the same faith, while maintaining an awareness of difference, may affirm outsiders as sharing a common createdness or humanity, with a corresponding position of equality (as, say, children of God).

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