In sociological terms, denominationalism is the tendency for groups to split into distinctive sects or denominations, most prominently expressed in the many post-Reformation Christian denominations (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist, etc.). Although such distinct groups may be characterized by certain doctrines and practices (e.g., papal primacy, justifi cation by faith, biblical inerrancy), as Rodney Stark and Charles Y. Glock have shown, even within well-established American Christian denominations, 1 there can be signifi cant divergences of belief on signifi cant theological issues, such as belief in God, the divinity of Christ, the signifi cance of miracles, life after death, and the existence of the devil. 2 Although Stark and Glock do not raise the issue, one central issue where North American Christians belonging to these and other mainstream denominations diverge is on the gender of God, as many of the CGS interviewees regarded themselves as belonging to Christian churches (including those classifi ed as “Liberal,” “Moderate” or “Conservative” by Stark and Glock), 3 and a signifi cant proportion were ordained Christian ministers, or seminarians studying for ordination. 4
Barbara Jane Davy notes that there are currently many denominations of Neo-Paganism with distinctive traditions and practices, for example, Eclectic, Church of All Worlds, Solitary Practitioners, Feminist (Goddess) Spirituality, 5 Fellowship of Isis (a multifaith denomination), 6 Witchcraft (Dianic, Reclaiming), Wicca (Gardnerian, Alexandrian), Druidry, Heathenry, Shamanism, New Age, Feri (Faery), New Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn, Reconstructionist Paganism (Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Celtic). 7 To complicate matters even further for CGS, Judith Laura coins names for what she sees as a variety of denominations within Goddess Spirituality:
Matrist (Great Mother or other Mother imagery), Dianic (Maiden), Kalian (Crone), Tripletarian (triple goddess), Kwantarist (Asian goddesses), Gudalupista or Guadalupera (Central and South American goddesses), Asherastartite (ancient near east goddesses), Willendorfi an (European Neolithic goddesses), and Gaians (spirituality and environment).