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Theism

Theism

Overview
Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 exists.
In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 and God's relationship to the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

.
Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of God as personal
Personal God
A personal god is a deity who can be related to as a person instead of as an "impersonal force", such as the Absolute, "the All", or the "Ground of Being"....

, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe. The use of the word theism as indicating a particular doctrine of monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 arose in the wake of the scientific revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

 of the seventeenth century to contrast with the then emerging deism
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

 that contended that God, though transcendent and supreme, did not intervene in the natural world
Natural World
Natural World is the longest-running nature documentary series on British television. 2008 marked the series' 25th anniversary under its present title, though its origins can be traced back to its predecessor The World About Us which began over 40 years ago...

 and could be known rationally but not via revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

.

The term theism derives from the Greek theos meaning "god".
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Encyclopedia
Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 exists.
In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 and God's relationship to the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

.
Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of God as personal
Personal God
A personal god is a deity who can be related to as a person instead of as an "impersonal force", such as the Absolute, "the All", or the "Ground of Being"....

, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe. The use of the word theism as indicating a particular doctrine of monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 arose in the wake of the scientific revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

 of the seventeenth century to contrast with the then emerging deism
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

 that contended that God, though transcendent and supreme, did not intervene in the natural world
Natural World
Natural World is the longest-running nature documentary series on British television. 2008 marked the series' 25th anniversary under its present title, though its origins can be traced back to its predecessor The World About Us which began over 40 years ago...

 and could be known rationally but not via revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

.

The term theism derives from the Greek theos meaning "god". The term theism was first used by Ralph Cudworth
Ralph Cudworth
Ralph Cudworth was an English philosopher, the leader of the Cambridge Platonists.-Life:Born at Aller, Somerset, he was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, gaining his MA and becoming a Fellow of Emmanuel in 1639. In 1645, he became master of Clare Hall and professor of Hebrew...

 (1617–88).
Atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 is rejection of theism in the broadest sense of theism; i.e. the rejection of belief that there is even one deity.
Rejection of the narrower sense of theism can take forms such as deism
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

, pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

, and polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

. The claim that the existence of any deity is unknown is agnosticism
Agnosticism
Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable....

, and can be compatible with theism and with atheism.
The positive assertion of knowledge, either of the existence of gods or the absence of gods, can also be attributed to some theists and some atheists.
Put simply theism and atheism deal with belief, and agnosticism deals with (absence of) knowledge; they are not mutually exclusive as they deal with different domains.

Monotheism



Monotheism (from Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 ) is the belief in theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 that only one deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 exists.
Some modern day monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 religions include Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, and some forms of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

.

Polytheism



While a specific definition of theism may exclude polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

, it is included by the most general definition.
Polytheism is the belief that there is more than one deity.
In practice, polytheism is not just the belief that there are multiple gods; it usually includes belief in the existence of a specific pantheon
Pantheon (gods)
A pantheon is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a...

 of distinct deities.

Within polytheism there are hard and soft varieties:
  • Hard polytheism views the gods as being distinct and separate beings; an example of this would be the Egyptian and Greek
    Greek mythology
    Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

     Religions
    Mythology
    The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

    ; along with certain schools of Hinduism
    Hinduism
    Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

    .
  • Soft polytheism views the gods as being subsumed into a greater whole. Some forms of Hinduism
    Hinduism
    Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

     such as Smartism
    Smartism
    Smarta Sampradaya is a liberal or nonsectarian denomination of the Vedic Hindu religion which accept all the major Hindu deities as forms of the one Brahman, in contrast to Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism, the other three major Hindu sects, which revere Vishnu, Shiva, and Shakti,...

    /Advaita Vedanta
    Advaita Vedanta
    Advaita Vedanta is considered to be the most influential and most dominant sub-school of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy. Other major sub-schools of Vedānta are Dvaita and ; while the minor ones include Suddhadvaita, Dvaitadvaita and Achintya Bhedabheda...

     serve as examples of soft polytheism.


Polytheism is also divided according to how the individual deities are regarded:
  • Henotheism
    Henotheism
    Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities...

    : The viewpoint/belief that there may be more than one deity, but only one of them is worshipped.
  • Kathenotheism
    Kathenotheism
    Kathenotheism is a term coined by the philologist Max Müller to mean the worship of one god at a time. It is closely related to henotheism. Müller coined the term in reference to the Vedas; where he explained each deity is treated as supreme in turn....

    : The viewpoint/belief that there is more than one deity, but only one deity is worshipped at a time or ever, and another may be worthy of worship at another time or place. If they are worshipped one at a time, then each is supreme in turn.
  • Monolatrism
    Monolatrism
    Monolatrism or monolatry is the recognition of the existence of many gods, but with the consistent worship of only one deity...

    : The belief that there may be more than one deity, but that only one is worthy of being worshipped. Most of the modern monotheistic religions may have begun as monolatric ones.

Pantheism and panentheism


While a specific definition of theism may exclude pantheism, it is included by the most general definition.
  • Pantheism
    Pantheism
    Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

    : The belief that the physical universe is equivalent to a god or gods, and that there is no division between a Creator and the substance of its creation. Examples include many forms of Saivism.
  • Panentheism
    Panentheism
    Panentheism is a belief system which posits that God exists, interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it...

    : Like Pantheism, the belief that the physical universe is joined to a god or gods. However, it also believes that a god or gods are greater than the material universe. Examples include most forms of Vaishnavism
    Vaishnavism
    Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu, or his associated Avatars such as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God....

    .


Some people find the distinction between these two beliefs as ambiguous and unhelpful, while others see it as a significant point of division.

Deism



While the specific definition of theism given above may exclude deism
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

, deism is included as a form of theism by the most general definition given above.
  • Deism is the belief that at least one deity exists and created the world, but that the creator(s) does/do not alter the original plan for the universe.

Deism typically rejects supernatural events (such as prophecies, miracles, and divine revelations) prominent in organized religion. Instead, Deism holds that religious beliefs must be founded on human reason and observed features of the natural world, and that these sources reveal the existence of a supreme being as creator.
  • Pandeism
    Pandeism
    Pandeism or Pan-Deism , is a term describing beliefs incorporating or mixing logically reconcilable elements of pantheism and deism Pandeism or Pan-Deism (from and meaning "God" in the sense of deism), is a term describing beliefs incorporating or mixing logically reconcilable elements of...

    : The belief that a god preceded the universe and created it, but is now equivalent with it.
  • Panendeism combines deism with panentheism, believing the universe is a part (but not the whole) of deity
  • Polydeism
    Polydeism
    Polydeism is a polytheistic form of Deism encompassing the belief that the universe was the collective creation of multiple Gods, each of whom created a piece of the universe and then ceased to interact with the universe...

    : The belief that multiple gods existed, but do not intervene with the universe.

Autotheism



While a specific definition of theism may exclude autotheism, it is included by the most general definition. Autotheism is the viewpoint that, whether divinity is also external or not, it is inherently within 'oneself' and that one has a duty to become perfect (or divine). This can either be in a selfish, wilful, egotistical way or a selfless way following the implications of statements attributed to ethical, philosophical, and religious leaders (such as Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

,
Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

, Mahavira
Mahavira
Mahāvīra is the name most commonly used to refer to the Indian sage Vardhamāna who established what are today considered to be the central tenets of Jainism. According to Jain tradition, he was the 24th and the last Tirthankara. In Tamil, he is referred to as Arukaṉ or Arukadevan...

 and Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

).

Autotheism can also refer to the belief that one's self is a deity (often the only one), within the context of subjectivism
Subjectivism
Subjectivism is a philosophical tenet that accords primacy to subjective experience as fundamental of all measure and law. In extreme forms like Solipsism, it may hold that the nature and existence of every object depends solely on someone's subjective awareness of it...

. This is a fairly extreme version of subjectivism, however.

Value-judgment theisms

  • Eutheism is the belief that a deity is wholly benevolent.
  • Dystheism is the belief that a deity is not wholly good, and is possibly evil.
  • Maltheism
    Maltheism
    Maltheism is the belief that God exists as a cruel, arrogant, abusive, and untruthful being who is either not worthy of worship or worthy of worshipping only from mere fear and intimidation...

     is the belief that a deity exists, but is wholly malicious.

See also


  • Animism
    Animism
    Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

  • Liberal theism
    Liberal theism
    Liberal theism is the philosophical and religious belief in the existence of a deity without adhering to an established religion.The exact definition is debatable. Liberal theists often believe that, "all religions lead to the truth." Liberal theists are often influenced by the beliefs in their...

  • Nontheistic religions
    Nontheistic religions
    Nontheistic religions are traditions of thought within religions, some otherwise aligned with theism, others not, in which nontheism informs religious beliefs or practices...

  • Open theism
    Open theism
    Open theism is a recent theological movement that has developed within evangelical and post-evangelical Protestant Christianity as a response to certain ideas that are related to the synthesis of Greek philosophy and Christian theology...

  • Theistic evolution
    Theistic evolution
    Theistic evolution or evolutionary creation is a concept that asserts that classical religious teachings about God are compatible with the modern scientific understanding about biological evolution...


External links