In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith.God is usually conceived of as being omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent, as well as having an eternal and necessary existence. God is most often held to be incorporeal, with said characteristic being related to conceptions of transcendence or immanence.
Some religions describe God without reference to gender, while others use terminology that is gender-specific and gender-biased. God has been conceived as either personal or impersonal. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. In pantheism, God is the universe itself, while in panentheism, the universe is part (but not the whole) of God. Atheism is an absence of belief in any God or deity, while agnosticism is the belief that the existence of God unknown or unknowable. God has also been conceived as the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".
Many notable theologians and philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.God is referred to by different names depending on the language and cultural tradition with titles sometimes used referring to God's attributes.
The earliest written form of the Germanic word God comes from the 6th-century Christian Codex Argenteus . The English word itself is derived from the Proto-Germanic * ǥuđan. The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European form * ǵhu-tó-m was likely based on the root * ǵhau(ə)-, which meant either "to call" or "to invoke". The Germanic words for God were originally neuter—applying to both genders—but during the process of the Christianization of the Germanic peoples from their indigenous Germanic paganism, the words became a masculine syntactic form. In the English language, capitalization is used when the word is used as a proper noun, as well as for other names by which a god is known. Consequently, the capitalized form of god is not used for multiple gods or when used to refer to the generic idea of a deity. The English word God and its counterparts in other languages are normally used for any and all conceptions and, in spite of significant differences between religions, the term remains an English translation common to all.
El is God in Hebrew, but in Judaism, God is also given a proper name, the tetragrammaton YHWH, in origin possibly the name of an Edomite or Midianite deity, Yahweh. In many English translations of the Bible, when the word LORD is in all capitals, it signifies that the word represents the tetragrammaton.In Judaism some of the Hebrew titles of God are considered holy names.
Allāh (Arabic : الله) is the Arabic term with no plural used by Muslims and Arabic speaking Christians and Jews meaning "The God", while ʾilāh (Arabic : إِلَٰه plural `āliha آلِهَة) is the term used for a deity or a god in general. Muslims also use a multitude of other titles for God.
In Hinduism, Brahman is often considered a monistic concept of God.God may also be given a proper name in monotheistic currents of Hinduism which emphasize the personal nature of God, with early references to his name as Krishna-Vasudeva in Bhagavata or later Vishnu and Hari. Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa is the term used in Balinese Hinduism.
In Chinese religion, Shangdi is conceived as the progenitor (first ancestor) of the universe, intrinsic to it and constantly bringing order to it.
Ahura Mazda is the name for God used in Zoroastrianism. "Mazda", or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *Mazdāh (female). It is generally taken to be the proper name of the spirit, and like its Sanskrit cognate medhā, means "intelligence" or "wisdom". Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European mn̩sdʰeh1, literally meaning "placing (dʰeh1) one's mind (*mn̩-s)", hence "wise".Meanwhile 101 other names are also in use.
Waheguru ( Punjabi : vāhigurū) is a term most often used in Sikhism to refer to God. It means "Wonderful Teacher" in the Punjabi language. Vāhi (a Middle Persian borrowing) means "wonderful" and guru ( Sanskrit : guru) is a term denoting "teacher". Waheguru is also described by some as an experience of ecstasy which is beyond all descriptions. The most common usage of the word "Waheguru" is in the greeting Sikhs use with each other - Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh "Wonderful Lord's Khalsa, Victory is to the Wonderful Lord."
Baha, the "greatest" name for God in the Baháʼí Faith, is Arabic for "All-Glorious".
Other names for God include Atenin ancient Egyptian Atenism where Aten was proclaimed to be the one "true" Supreme Being and creator of the universe, Chukwu in Igbo, and Hayyi Rabbi in Mandaeism.
The philosophy of religion recognizes the following as essential attributes of God:
There is no clear consensus on the nature or the existence of God.
There were also various conceptions of God in the ancient Greco-Roman world, such as Aristotle's view of an unmoved mover, the Neoplatonic concept of the One and the pantheistic God of Stoic Physics.
Theism generally holds that God exists objectively and independently of human thought; that God created and sustains everything; that God is omnipotent and eternal; and that God is personal and interacting with the universe through, for example, religious experience and the prayers of humans.Theism holds that God is both transcendent and immanent; thus, God is simultaneously infinite and, in some way, present in the affairs of the world. Not all theists subscribe to all of these propositions, but each usually subscribes to some of them (see, by way of comparison, family resemblance). Catholic theology holds that God is infinitely simple and is not involuntarily subject to time. Some theists ascribe to God a self-conscious or purposeful limiting of omnipotence, omniscience, or benevolence. Open Theism, by contrast, contends that, due to the nature of time, God's omniscience does not mean the deity can predict the future. Theism is sometimes used to refer in general to any belief in a god or gods, i.e., monotheism or polytheism.
Monotheists believe that there is only one god, and may also believe this god is worshipped in different religions under different names. The view that all theists actually worship the same god, whether they know it or not, is especially emphasized in the Baháʼí Faith, Hinduismand Sikhism. Idolatry, equating others to God in some way, is often strongly condemned in monotheistic traditions.
Judaism includes some of the oldest monotheistic traditions in the world.Islam's most fundamental concept is tawhid meaning "oneness" or "uniqueness". The first pillar of Islam is an oath that forms the basis of the religion and which non-Muslims wishing to convert must recite, declares that "I testify that there is no deity except God and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God."
In Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity describes God as one God in three divine Persons (each of the three Persons is God himself). The Most Holy Trinity comprisesGod the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. In the past centuries, this fundamental mystery of the Christian faith was also summarized by the Latin formula Sancta Trinitas, Unus Deus (Holy Trinity, Unique God), reported in the Litanias Lauretanas .
God in Hinduism is viewed differently by diverse strands of the religion with most Hindus having faith in a Supreme being who can be manifested in numerous chosen deities. Thus, the religion is sometimes characterized as Polymorphic Monotheism.
Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities.
Transcendence is the aspect of God's nature that is completely independent of the material universe and its physical laws. Pantheism holds that God is the universe and the universe is God and denies that God transcends the Universe. [ citation needed ]Panentheism holds that God contains, but is not identical to, the Universe. It is also the view of the Liberal Catholic Church; Theosophy; some views of Hinduism except Vaishnavism, which believes in panentheism; Sikhism; some divisions of Neopaganism and Taoism, along with many varying denominations and individuals within denominations. Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, paints a pantheistic/panentheistic view of God—which has wide acceptance in Hasidic Judaism, particularly from their founder The Baal Shem Tov—but only as an addition to the Jewish view of a personal god, not in the original pantheistic sense that denies or limits persona to God.
Deism holds that God is wholly transcendent: God exists, but does not intervene in the world beyond what was necessary to create it.In this view, God is not anthropomorphic, and neither answers prayers nor produces miracles. Common in Deism is a belief that God has no interest in humanity and may not even be aware of humanity. Pandeism combines Deism with Pantheistic beliefs. Pandeism is proposed to explain as to Deism why God would create a universe and then abandon it, and as to Pantheism, the origin and purpose of the universe.
Most theists hold that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, although this belief raises questions about God's responsibility for evil and suffering in the world. Dystheism, which is related to theodicy, is a form of theism which holds that God is either not wholly good or is fully malevolent as a consequence of the problem of evil.
Śramaṇa religions are generally non-creationist, while also holding that there are divine beings (called Devas in Buddhism and Jainism) of limited power and lifespan. Jainism has generally rejected creationism, holding that soul substances (Jīva) are uncreated and that time is beginningless.Depending on one's interpretation and tradition, Buddhism can be conceived as being either non-theistic, trans-theistic, pantheistic, or polytheistic. However, Buddhism has generally rejected the specific monotheistic view of a Creator God. The Buddha criticizes the theory of creationism in the early Buddhist texts. Also, major Indian Buddhist philosophers, such as Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Dharmakirti and Buddhaghosa, consistently critiqued Creator God views put forth by Hindu thinkers.
In modern times, some more abstract concepts have been developed, such as process theology and open theism. The contemporaneous French philosopher Michel Henry has however proposed a phenomenological approach and definition of God as phenomenological essence of Life.
God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".These attributes were all supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologian philosophers, including Maimonides, Augustine of Hippo, and Al-Ghazali, respectively.
Non-theist views about God also vary. Some non-theists avoid the concept of God, whilst accepting that it is significant to many; other non-theists understand God as a symbol of human values and aspirations. The nineteenth-century English atheist Charles Bradlaugh declared that he refused to say "There is no God", because "the word 'God' is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation";he said more specifically that he disbelieved in the Christian god. Stephen Jay Gould proposed an approach dividing the world of philosophy into what he called "non-overlapping magisteria" (NOMA). In this view, questions of the supernatural, such as those relating to the existence and nature of God, are non-empirical and are the proper domain of theology. The methods of science should then be used to answer any empirical question about the natural world, and theology should be used to answer questions about ultimate meaning and moral value. In this view, the perceived lack of any empirical footprint from the magisterium of the supernatural onto natural events makes science the sole player in the natural world.
Another view, advanced by Richard Dawkins, is that the existence of God is an empirical question, on the grounds that "a universe with a god would be a completely different kind of universe from one without, and it would be a scientific difference."Carl Sagan argued that the doctrine of a Creator of the Universe was difficult to prove or disprove and that the only conceivable scientific discovery that could disprove the existence of a Creator (not necessarily a God) would be the discovery that the universe is infinitely old.
Stephen Hawking and co-author Leonard Mlodinow state in their 2010 book, The Grand Design , that it is reasonable to ask who or what created the universe, but if the answer is God, then the question has merely been deflected to that of who created God. Both authors claim however, that it is possible to answer these questions purely within the realm of science, and without invoking any divine beings.
Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether God, the divine or the supernatural exist—are unknown and perhaps unknowable.
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, although it can be defined as a lack of belief in the existence of any deities, rather than a positive belief in the nonexistence of any deities.
Pascal Boyer argues that while there is a wide array of supernatural concepts found around the world, in general, supernatural beings tend to behave much like people. The construction of gods and spirits like persons is one of the best known traits of religion. He cites examples from Greek mythology, which is, in his opinion, more like a modern soap opera than other religious systems.Bertrand du Castel and Timothy Jurgensen demonstrate through formalization that Boyer's explanatory model matches physics' epistemology in positing not directly observable entities as intermediaries. Anthropologist Stewart Guthrie contends that people project human features onto non-human aspects of the world because it makes those aspects more familiar. Sigmund Freud also suggested that god concepts are projections of one's father.
Likewise, Émile Durkheim was one of the earliest to suggest that gods represent an extension of human social life to include supernatural beings. In line with this reasoning, psychologist Matt Rossano contends that when humans began living in larger groups, they may have created gods as a means of enforcing morality. In small groups, morality can be enforced by social forces such as gossip or reputation. However, it is much harder to enforce morality using social forces in much larger groups. Rossano indicates that by including ever-watchful gods and spirits, humans discovered an effective strategy for restraining selfishness and building more cooperative groups.
Arguments about the existence of God typically include empirical, deductive, and inductive types. Different views include that: "God does not exist" (strong atheism); "God almost certainly does not exist" (de facto atheism); "no one knows whether God exists" (agnosticism);"God exists, but this cannot be proven or disproven" (de facto theism); and that "God exists and this can be proven" (strong theism).
Countless arguments have been proposed to prove the existence of God.Some of the most notable arguments are the Five Ways of Aquinas, the argument from desire proposed by C.S. Lewis, and the Ontological Argument formulated both by Anselm and René Descartes.
Anselm's approach was to define God as, "that than which nothing greater can be conceived". Famed pantheist philosopher Baruch Spinoza would later carry this idea to its extreme: "By God I understand a being absolutely infinite, i.e., a substance consisting of infinite attributes, of which each one expresses an eternal and infinite essence." For Spinoza, the whole of the natural universe is made of one substance, God, or its equivalent, Nature.His proof for the existence of God was a variation of the Ontological argument.
Scientist Isaac Newton saw the nontrinitarian Godas the masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation. Nevertheless, he rejected polymath Leibniz' thesis that God would necessarily make a perfect world which requires no intervention from the creator. In Query 31 of the Opticks, Newton simultaneously made an argument from design and for the necessity of intervention:
For while comets move in very eccentric orbs in all manner of positions, blind fate could never make all the planets move one and the same way in orbs concentric, some inconsiderable irregularities excepted which may have arisen from the mutual actions of comets and planets on one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this system wants a reformation.
Thomas Aquinas asserted that the existence of God is self-evident in itself, but not to us: "Therefore I say that this proposition, "God exists", of itself is self-evident, for the predicate is the same as the subject.... Now because we do not know the essence of God, the proposition is not self-evident to us; but needs to be demonstrated by things that are more known to us, though less known in their nature—namely, by effects."Thomas believed that the existence of God can be demonstrated. Briefly in the Summa theologiae and more extensively in the Summa contra Gentiles , he considered in great detail five arguments for the existence of God, widely known as the quinque viae (Five Ways).
Some theologians, such as the scientist and theologian Alister McGrath, argue that the existence of God is not a question that can be answered using the scientific method.Agnostic Stephen Jay Gould argues that science and religion are not in conflict and do not overlap.
Some findings in the fields of cosmology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience are interpreted by some atheists (including Lawrence M. Krauss and Sam Harris) as evidence that God is an imaginary entity only, with no basis in reality.These atheists argue that a single, omniscient God who is imagined to have created the universe and is particularly attentive to the lives of humans has been imagined, embellished and promulgated in a trans-generational manner. Richard Dawkins interprets such findings not only as a lack of evidence for the material existence of such a God, but as extensive evidence to the contrary.
Immanuel Kant held that the argument from morality is valid.
Theistic religious traditions often require worship of God. Muslims believe that the purpose of existence is to worship God.To address the issue of an all-powerful being demanding to be worshipped, it is held that God does not need or benefit from worship but that worship is for the benefit of the worshipper. Gandhi expressed the view that God does not need his supplication and that "Prayer is not an asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is a daily admission of one's weakness". Invoking God in prayer plays a significant role among many believers. Depending on the tradition, God can be viewed as a personal God who is only to be invoked directly while other traditions allow praying to intermediaries, such as saints, to intercede on their behalf. Prayer often also includes supplication such as asking forgiveness. God is often believed to be forgiving. For example, a hadith states God would replace a sinless people with one who sinned but still asked repentance. Sacrifice for the sake of God is another act of devotion that includes fasting and almsgiving. Remembrance of God in daily life include mentioning interjections thanking God when feeling gratitude or phrases of adoration such as repeating chants while performing other activities.
Adherents of different religions generally disagree as to how to best worship God and what is God's plan for mankind, if there is one. There are different approaches to reconciling the contradictory claims of monotheistic religions. One view is taken by exclusivists, who believe they are the chosen people or have exclusive access to absolute truth, generally through revelation or encounter with the Divine, which adherents of other religions do not. Another view is religious pluralism. A pluralist typically believes that his religion is the right one, but does not deny the partial truth of other religions. The Baháʼí Faith preaches that divine manifestations include great prophets and teachers of many of the major religious traditions such as Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Zoroaster, Muhammad, Bahá'ú'lláh and also preaches the unity of all religions and focuses on these multiple epiphanies as necessary for meeting the needs of humanity at different points in history and for different cultures, and as part of a scheme of progressive revelation and education of humanity. An example of a pluralist view in Christianity is supersessionism, i.e., the belief that one's religion is the fulfillment of previous religions. A third approach is relativistic inclusivism, where everybody is seen as equally right; an example being universalism: the doctrine that salvation is eventually available for everyone. A fourth approach is syncretism, mixing different elements from different religions. An example of syncretism is the New Age movement.
As opposed to the evidentialist position taken by those such as Richard Swinburne, faith in God is also sometimes held to be "properly basic".Some theists agree that only some of the arguments for God's existence are compelling, but argue that faith is not a product of reason, but requires risk. There would be no risk, they say, if the arguments for God's existence were as solid as the laws of logic, a position summed up by Pascal as "the heart has reasons of which reason does not know." Inherent intuition about God is referred to in Islam as "Fitra", or “innate nature”.
Revelation refers to some form of message communicated by God. This is usually proposed to occur through the use of prophets or angels. Al-Maturidi argued for the need for revelation because even though humans are intellectually capable of realizing God, human desire can divert the intellect and because certain knowledge cannot be known except for been specially given to prophets.
Traditionalist theology holds that one should not opinionate beyond revelation to understand God's nature and frown upon rationalizations such as speculative theology.Notably, for anthropomorphic descriptions such as the “Hand of God” and attributes of God, they neither nullify such texts nor accept a literal hand but leave any ambiguity to God, called tafwid, without asking how.
The characteristics attributed often differ according to the conceptions of God in the tradition from which they arise. Many traditions see God as eternal and incorporeal and is seen as the perfect and constant embodiment of all virtues, powers and values.Many characteristics are described in human terms and Christian theologian Alister McGrath writes that one has to understand a "personal god" as an analogy. "To say that God is like a person is to affirm the divine ability and willingness to relate to others. This does not imply that God is human, or located at a specific point in the universe."
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, "the Bible has been the principal source of the conceptions of God". That the Bible "includes many different images, concepts, and ways of thinking about" God has resulted in perpetual "disagreements about how God is to be conceived and understood".Throughout the Hebrew and Christian Bibles there are many names for God. One of them is Elohim . Another one is El Shaddai , translated "God Almighty". A third notable name is El Elyon , which means "The High God". Also noted in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles is the name "I Am that I Am".
God is described and referred in the Quran and hadith by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahman , meaning "Most Compassionate" and Al-Rahim, meaning "Most Merciful".Many of these names are also used in the scriptures of the Baháʼí Faith.
Vaishnavism, a tradition in Hinduism, has a list of titles and names of Krishna.
The gender of God may be viewed as either a literal or an allegorical aspect of a deity who, in classical western philosophy, transcends bodily form.Polytheistic religions commonly attribute to each of the gods a gender, allowing each to interact with any of the others, and perhaps with humans, sexually. In most monotheistic religions, God has no counterpart with which to relate sexually. Thus, in classical western philosophy the gender of this one-and-only deity is most likely to be an analogical statement of how humans and God address, and relate to, each other. Namely, God is seen as begetter of the world and revelation which corresponds to the active (as opposed to the receptive) role in sexual intercourse.
Biblical sources usually refer to God using male or paternal words and symbolism, except Genesis 1:26–27,Psalm 123:2–3, and Luke 15:8–10 (female); Hosea 11:3–4, Deuteronomy 32:18, Isaiah 66:13, Isaiah 49:15, Isaiah 42:14, Psalm 131:2 (a mother); Deuteronomy 32:11–12 (a mother eagle); and Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 (a mother hen).
In Zoroastrianism, during the early Parthian Empire, Ahura Mazda was visually represented for worship. This practice ended during the beginning of the Sasanian Empire. Zoroastrian iconoclasm, which can be traced to the end of the Parthian period and the beginning of the Sassanid, eventually put an end to the use of all images of Ahura Mazda in worship. However, Ahura Mazda continued to be symbolized by a dignified male figure, standing or on horseback, which is found in Sassanian investiture.
In Judaism, the Torah often ascribes human features to God, however, many other passages describe God as formless and otherworldly. Judaism is aniconic, meaning it overly lacks material, physical representations of both the natural and supernatural worlds. Furthermore, the worship of idols is strictly forbidden. The traditional view, elaborated by figures such as Maimonides, reckons that God is wholly incomprehensible and therefore impossible to envision, resulting in a historical tradition of "divine incorporeality". As such, attempting to describe God's "appearance" in practical terms is considered disrespectful to the deity and thus is deeply taboo, and arguably heretical.[ citation needed ]
Gnostic cosmogony often depicts the creator god of the Old Testament as an evil lesser deity or Demiurge, while the higher benevolent god or Monad is thought of as something beyond comprehension having immeasurable light and not in time or among things that exist, but rather is greater than them in a sense. All people are said to have a piece of God or divine spark within them which has fallen from the immaterial world into the corrupt material world and is trapped unless gnosis is attained.
Early Christians believed that the words of the Gospel of John 1:18: "No man has seen God at any time" and numerous other statements were meant to apply not only to God, but to all attempts at the depiction of God.However, later depictions of God are found. Some, like the Hand of God, are depiction borrowed from Jewish art. Prior to the 10th century no attempt was made to use a human to symbolize God the Father in Western art. Yet, Western art eventually required some way to illustrate the presence of the Father, so through successive representations a set of artistic styles for symbolizing the Father using a man gradually emerged around the 10th century AD. A rationale for the use of a human is the belief that God created the soul of man in the image of his own (thus allowing human to transcend the other animals). It appears that when early artists designed to represent God the Father, fear and awe restrained them from a usage of the whole human figure. Typically only a small part would be used as the image, usually the hand, or sometimes the face, but rarely a whole human. In many images, the figure of the Son supplants the Father, so a smaller portion of the person of the Father is depicted. By the 12th century depictions of God the Father had started to appear in French illuminated manuscripts, which as a less public form could often be more adventurous in their iconography, and in stained glass church windows in England. Initially the head or bust was usually shown in some form of frame of clouds in the top of the picture space, where the Hand of God had formerly appeared; the Baptism of Christ on the famous baptismal font in Liège of Rainer of Huy is an example from 1118 (a Hand of God is used in another scene). Gradually the amount of the human symbol shown can increase to a half-length figure, then a full-length, usually enthroned, as in Giotto's fresco of c. 1305 in Padua. In the 14th century the Naples Bible carried a depiction of God the Father in the Burning bush. By the early 15th century, the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry has a considerable number of symbols, including an elderly but tall and elegant full-length figure walking in the Garden of Eden, which show a considerable diversity of apparent ages and dress. The "Gates of Paradise" of the Florence Baptistry by Lorenzo Ghiberti, begun in 1425 use a similar tall full-length symbol for the Father. The Rohan Book of Hours of about 1430 also included depictions of God the Father in half-length human form, which were now becoming standard, and the Hand of God becoming rarer. At the same period other works, like the large Genesis altarpiece by the Hamburg painter Meister Bertram, continued to use the old depiction of Christ as Logos in Genesis scenes. In the 15th century there was a brief fashion for depicting all three persons of the Trinity as similar or identical figures with the usual appearance of Christ. In a Trinitarian Pietà, God the Father is often symbolized using a man wearing a papal dress and a papal crown, supporting the dead Christ in his arms. In 1667 the 43rd chapter of the Great Moscow Council specifically included a ban on a number of symbolic depictions of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, which then also resulted in a whole range of other icons being placed on the forbidden list, mostly affecting Western-style depictions which had been gaining ground in Orthodox icons. The Council also declared that the person of the Trinity who was the "Ancient of Days" was Christ, as Logos, not God the Father. However some icons continued to be produced in Russia, as well as Greece, Romania, and other Orthodox countries.
In Islam, Muslims believe that God (Allah) is beyond all comprehension and equal, and does not resemble any of his creations in any way. Thus, Muslims are not iconodules, are not expected to visualize God, and instead of having pictures of Allah in their mosques, typically have religious calligraphy written on the wall.
Classical theists (such as ancient Greco-Medieval philosophers, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, many Jews and Muslims, and some Protestants)speak of God as a divinely simple 'nothing' that is completely transcendent (totally independent of all else), and having attributes such as immutability, impassibility, and timelessness. Theologians of theistic personalism (the view held by Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, William Lane Craig, and most modern evangelicals) argue that God is most generally the ground of all being, immanent in and transcendent over the whole world of reality, with immanence and transcendence being the contrapletes of personality. Carl Jung equated religious ideas of God with transcendental metaphors of higher consciousness, in which God can be just as easily be imagined "as an eternally flowing current of vital energy that endlessly changes shape ... as an eternally unmoved, unchangeable essence."
Reconciling some of the attributes of God, particularly the attributes of the God of theistic personalism, generated important philosophical problems and debates. For example, God's omniscience may seem to imply that God knows how free agents will choose to act. If God does know this, their ostensible free will might be illusory, or foreknowledge does not imply predestination, and if God does not know it, God may not be omniscient.
Agnosticism is the view or belief that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable. Another definition provided is the view that "human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist."
Pantheism is the belief that reality, the universe and the cosmos is identical with divinity and a supreme supernatural being or entity, pointing to the universe as being an immanent creator deity still expanding and creating, which has existed since the beginning of time, or that all things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god or goddess and regards the universe as a manifestation of a deity. This includes all astronomical objects being viewed as part of a sole deity.
Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of a supreme being or deities. In common parlance, or when contrasted with deism, the term often describes the classical conception of God that is found in monotheism – or gods found in polytheistic religions—a belief in God or in gods without the rejection of revelation as is characteristic of deism.
Irreligion or nonreligion is the absence or rejection of religion, or indifference to it. Irreligion takes many forms, ranging from the casual and unaware to full-fledged philosophies such as atheism and agnosticism, secular humanism and antitheism. Social scientists tend to define irreligion as a purely naturalist worldview that excludes a belief in anything supernatural. The broadest and loosest definition, serving as an upper limit, is the lack of religious identification, though many non-identifiers express metaphysical and even religious beliefs. The narrowest and strictest is subscribing to positive atheism.
Negative atheism, also called weak atheism and soft atheism, is any type of atheism where a person does not believe in the existence of any deities but does not necessarily explicitly assert that there are none. Positive atheism, also called strong atheism and hard atheism, is the form of atheism that additionally asserts that no deities exist.
Nontheism or non-theism is a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of espoused belief in the existence of god or gods. Nontheism has generally been used to describe apathy or silence towards the subject of God and differs from atheism. Nontheism does not necessarily describe atheism or disbelief in God; it has been used as an umbrella term for summarizing various distinct and even mutually exclusive positions, such as agnosticism, ignosticism, ietsism, skepticism, pantheism, atheism, strong or positive atheism, implicit atheism, and apatheism. It is in use in the fields of Christian apologetics and general liberal theology.
The existence of God is a subject of debate in theology, philosophy of religion and popular culture. A wide variety of arguments for and against the existence of God or deities can be categorized as logical, empirical, metaphysical, subjective or scientific. In philosophical terms, the question of the existence of God or deities involves the disciplines of epistemology and ontology and the theory of value.
Apatheism is the attitude of apathy towards the existence or non-existence of God(s). It is more of an attitude rather than a belief, claim, or belief system. The term was coined by Robert Nash, theology professor at Mercer University, in 2001.
Agnostic theism, agnostotheism, or agnostitheism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of one or more gods, but regards the basis of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable. The agnostic theist may also or alternatively be agnostic regarding the properties of the god or gods that they believe in.
Antitheism, or anti-theism, is the philosophical position that theism should be opposed. The term has had a range of applications. In secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to the belief in any deity.
This glossary of philosophy is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to philosophy and related disciplines, including logic, ethics, and theology.
Criticism of atheism is criticism of the concepts, validity, or impact of atheism, including associated political and social implications. Criticisms include positions based on the history of science, philosophical and logical criticisms, findings in both the natural and social sciences, theistic apologetic arguments, arguments pertaining to ethics and morality, the effects of atheism on the individual, or the assumptions that underpin atheism.
Some movements or sects within traditionally monotheistic or polytheistic religions recognize that it is possible to practice religious faith, spirituality and adherence to tenets without a belief in deities. People with what would be considered religious or spiritual belief in a supernatural controlling power are defined by some as adherents to a religion; the argument that atheism is a religion has been described as a contradiction in terms.
Implicit atheism and explicit atheism are types of atheism. In George H. Smith's Atheism: The Case Against God, "implicit atheism" is defined as "the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it", while "explicit atheism" is "the absence of theistic belief due to a conscious rejection of it". Explicit atheists have considered the idea of deities and have rejected belief that any exist. Implicit atheists, though they do not themselves maintain a belief in a god or gods, have not rejected the notion or have not considered it further.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to atheism:
Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is a rejection of the belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.
Agnostic atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity, and are agnostic because they claim that the existence of a demiurgic entity or entities is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.
Philosophical theism is the belief that the Supreme Being exists independent of the teaching or revelation of any particular religion. It represents belief in God entirely without doctrine, except for that which can be discerned by reason and the contemplation of natural laws. Some philosophical theists are persuaded of God's existence by philosophical arguments, while others consider themselves to have a religious faith that need not be, or could not be, supported by rational argument.
Skeptical theism is the view that people should remain skeptical of their ability to discern whether their perceptions about evil can be considered good evidence against the existence of the orthodox Christian God. The central thesis of skeptical theism is that it would not be surprising for an infinitely intelligent and knowledgeable being's reasons for permitting evils to be beyond human comprehension. That is, what may seem like pointless evils may be necessary for a greater good or to prevent equal or even greater evils. This central thesis may be argued from a theistic perspective, but is also argued to defend positions of agnosticism.
Pandeism, a theological doctrine first delineated in the 18th century, combines aspects of pantheism with aspects of deism. It holds that a creator deity became the universe and ceased to exist as a separate entity. Pandeism is proposed to explain why God would create a universe and then appear to abandon it, and an origin and purpose of the universe.
Pandeism: This is the belief that God created the universe, is now one with it, and so, is no longer a separate conscious entity. This is a combination of pantheism (God is identical to the universe) and deism (God created the universe and then withdrew Himself).
In its most abstract form, deism may not attempt to describe the characteristics of such a non-interventionist creator, or even that the universe is identical with God (a variant known as pandeism).
Pandeism combines the concepts of Deism and Pantheism with a god who creates the universe and then becomes it.
Pandeism is another belief that states that God is identical to the universe, but God no longer exists in a way where He can be contacted; therefore, this theory can only be proven to exist by reason. Pandeism views the entire universe as being from God and now the universe is the entirety of God, but the universe at some point in time will fold back into one single being which is God Himself that created all. Pandeism raises the question as to why would God create a universe and then abandon it? As this relates to pantheism, it raises the question of how did the universe come about what is its aim and purpose?
As with Panentheism, Pantheism is derived from the Greek: 'pan'= all and 'theos' = God, it literally means "God is All" and "All is God." Pantheist purports that everything is part of an all-inclusive, indwelling, intangible God; or that the Universe, or nature, and God are the same. Further review helps to accentuate the idea that natural law, existence, and the Universe which is the sum total of all that is, was, and shall be, is represented in the theological principle of an abstract 'god' rather than an individual, creative Divine Being or Beings of any kind. This is the key element that distinguishes them from Panentheists and Pandeists. As such, although many religions may claim to hold Pantheistic elements, they are more commonly Panentheistic or Pandeistic in nature.
In the most general use of the term, agnosticism is the view that we do not know whether there is a God or not.(p. 56 in 1967 edition)
In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in God, whereas an atheist disbelieves in God. In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist. In so far as one holds that our beliefs are rational only if they are sufficiently supported by human reason, the person who accepts the philosophical position of agnosticism will hold that neither the belief that God exists nor the belief that God does not exist is rational.
agnostic. : A. n[oun]. :# A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of immaterial things, especially of the existence or nature of God. :# In extended use: a person who is not persuaded by or committed to a particular point of view; a sceptic. Also: person of indeterminate ideology or conviction; an equivocator. : B. adj[ective]. :# Of or relating to the belief that the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena is unknown and (as far as can be judged) unknowable. Also: holding this belief. :# a. In extended use: not committed to or persuaded by a particular point of view; sceptical. Also: politically or ideologically unaligned; non-partisan, equivocal. agnosticism n. The doctrine or tenets of agnostics with regard to the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena or to knowledge of a First Cause or God.
boyer modern soap opera.
While the pious might wish to look to the gods to provide absolute moral guidance in the relativistic universe of the Sophistic Enlightenment, that certainty also was cast into doubt by philosophic and sophistic thinkers, who pointed out the absurdity and immorality of the conventional epic accounts of the gods. Protagoras' prose treatise about the gods began 'Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.'
humans are modeled on elohim, specifically in their sexual differences.
| Library resources about |
The encyclopedia will contain articles on all the religions of the world and on all the great systems of ethics. It will aim at containing articles on every religious belief or custom, and on every ethical movement, every philosophical idea, every moral practice.