Theism

Last updated
Gods in Jacques Reattu's The Triumph of Civilization (1793) Gods.jpg
Gods in Jacques Réattu's The Triumph of Civilization (1793)

Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of the Supreme Being or deities. [1] [2] In common parlance, or when contrasted with deism , the term often describes the classical conception of God that is found in monotheism (also referred to as classical theism) – or gods found in polytheistic religions—a belief in God or in gods without the rejection of revelation as is characteristic of deism. [3] [4]

Deism is the philosophical position that rejects revelation as a source of religious knowledge and asserts that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to establish the existence of a Supreme Being or creator of the universe.

In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. God is usually conceived as being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present) and as having an eternal and necessary existence. These attributes are used either in way of analogy or are taken literally. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial). Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence and immanence of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence".

Monotheism is the belief in one god. A narrower definition of monotheism is the belief in the existence of only one god that created the world, is all-powerful and intervenes in the world.

Contents

Atheism is commonly understood as rejection of theism in the broadest sense of theism, i.e. the rejection of belief in God or gods. [5] The claim that the existence of any deity is unknown or unknowable is agnosticism. [6] [7]

Atheism is, in the broadest sense, 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.

Agnosticism is the view 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."

Etymology

The term theism derives from the Greek theos or theoi meaning "god" or "gods". The term theism was first used by Ralph Cudworth (1617–1688). [8] In Cudworth's definition, they are "strictly and properly called Theists, who affirm, that a perfectly conscious understanding being, or mind, existing of itself from eternity, was the cause of all other things". [9]

Ralph Cudworth English philosopher

The Rev. Prof. Ralph Cudworth was an English Anglican clergyman, Christian Hebraist, classicist, theologian and philosopher, and a leading figure among the Cambridge Platonists. From a family background embedded in the early nonconformist environment of Emmanuel College where he studied (1630–45), he became 11th Regius Professor of Hebrew (1645–88), 26th Master of Clare Hall (1645–54), and 14th Master of Christ's College (1654–88). He was a leading opponent of Thomas Hobbes's political and philosophical views, and his magnum opus was his The True Intellectual System of the Universe (1678).

Types of theism

Monotheism

Monotheism (from Greek μόνος ) is the belief in theology that only one deity exists. [10] Some modern day monotheistic religions include Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Baha'i Faith, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Eckankar.

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD

The ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by Medieval Greek.

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also deals with religious epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

Deity natural or supernatural god or goddess, divine being

A deity is a supernatural being considered divine or sacred. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines deity as "a god or goddess ", or anything revered as divine. C. Scott Littleton defines a deity as "a being with powers greater than those of ordinary humans, but who interacts with humans, positively or negatively, in ways that carry humans to new levels of consciousness, beyond the grounded preoccupations of ordinary life". In the English language, a male deity is referred to as a god, while a female deity is referred to as a goddess.

Polytheism

Polytheism is the belief that there is more than one god. [11] In practice, polytheism is not just the belief that there are multiple gods; it usually includes belief in the existence of a specific pantheon of distinct deities.

Within polytheism there are hard and soft varieties[ citation needed ]:

Polytheism is also divided according to how the individual deities are regarded:

Pantheism and panentheism

The distinction between these two beliefs may be ambiguous and unhelpful, or a significant point of division. [13] Pantheism may be understood a type of Nontheism, where the physical universe takes on some of the roles of a theistic God, and other roles of God viewed as unnecessary. [14]

Deism

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. [16]

  • Pandeism: The belief that God preceded the universe and created it, but is now equivalent with it.
  • Polydeism: The belief that multiple gods exist, but do not intervene in the universe.

Autotheism

Autotheism is the viewpoint that divinity, whether also external or not, is inherently within 'oneself' and that one has the ability to become godlike. This can be in a selfless way, a way following the implications of statements attributed to ethical, philosophical, and religious leaders (such as Mahavira[ citation needed ]).

Autotheism can also refer to the belief that one's self is a deity, within the context of subjectivism. Hindus use the term, " aham Brahmāsmi " which means, "I am Brahman". [17]

Value-judgment theisms

See also

Notes

  1. "theism," Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  2. "theism," Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
  3. "Dictionary.com Online Dictionary" . Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  4. "Dictionary.com Online Dictionary" . Retrieved 2016-11-23.
    • Nielsen, Kai (2010). "Atheism". Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved 2011-01-26. Atheism, in general, the critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or spiritual beings.... Instead of saying that an atheist is someone who believes that it is false or probably false that there is a God, a more adequate characterization of atheism consists in the more complex claim that to be an atheist is to be someone who rejects belief in God for the following reasons (which reason is stressed depends on how God is being conceived)...
    • Edwards, Paul (2005) [1967]. "Atheism". In Donald M. Borchert (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Philosophy . Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). MacMillan Reference USA (Gale). p. 359. ISBN   9780028657806. On our definition, an 'atheist' is a person who rejects belief in God, regardless of whether or not his reason for the rejection is the claim that 'God exists' expresses a false proposition. People frequently adopt an attitude of rejection toward a position for reasons other than that it is a false proposition. It is common among contemporary philosophers, and indeed it was not uncommon in earlier centuries, to reject positions on the ground that they are meaningless. Sometimes, too, a theory is rejected on such grounds as that it is sterile or redundant or capricious, and there are many other considerations which in certain contexts are generally agreed to constitute good grounds for rejecting an assertion.(page 175 in 1967 edition)
  5. Hepburn, Ronald W. (2005) [1967]. "Agnosticism". In Donald M. Borchert (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Philosophy . Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). MacMillan Reference USA (Gale). p. 92. ISBN   9780028657806. In the most general use of the term, agnosticism is the view that we do not know whether there is a God or not. (page 56 in 1967 edition)
  6. Rowe, William L. (1998). "Agnosticism". In Edward Craig (ed.). Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy . Taylor & Francis. ISBN   978-0-415-07310-3. 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.
  7. Halsey, William; Robert H. Blackburn; Sir Frank Francis (1969). Louis Shores (ed.). Collier's Encyclopedia. 22 (20 ed.). Crowell-Collier Educational Corporation. pp. 266–7.
  8. Cudworth, Ralph (1678). The True Intellectual System of the Universe, Vol. I. New York: Gould & Newman, 1837, p. 267.
  9. “Monotheism”, in Britannica, 15th ed. (1986), 8:266.
  10. AskOxford: polytheism
  11. "Philosophical Dictionary: Pacifism-Particular".
  12. "What is Panentheism?". About.Com: Agnosticism/Atheism. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
  13. Levine, Michael P. (1994). Pantheism : a non-theistic concept of deity (1. publ. ed.). London u.a.: Routledge. ISBN   0415070643.
  14. AskOxford: deism
  15. Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language (G. & C. Merriam, 1924) defines deism as "belief in the existence of a personal god, with disbelief in Christian teaching, or with a purely rationalistic interpretation of Scripture". Although listed as a type of theism, deism is completely different from theism. If anything, theism would be an off-shoot of deism since it takes beliefs a step further to include miracles and divine revelation, with deism being the "base" belief in God.
  16. Gurumayum Ranjit Sharma (1987). The Idealistic Philosophy of Swami Vivekananda. Atlantic. p. 180. GGKEY:PSWXE5NTFF4.

Related Research Articles

Irreligion is the absence, indifference to, or rejection of religion. According to the Pew Research Center's 2012 global study of 230 countries and territories, 16% of the world's population is not affiliated with a religion, while 84% are affiliated.

Negative and positive atheism lack of belief in any deities, without belief that there are none

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 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 a God or gods. Nontheism has generally been used to describe apathy or silence towards the subject of God and differs from an antithetical, explicit 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 the philosophy of religion and popular culture.

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.

Agnostic theism, agnostotheism or agnostitheism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of a god or 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.

Nature worship is any of a variety of religious, spiritual and devotional practices that focus on the worship of the nature spirits considered to be behind the natural phenomena visible throughout nature. A nature deity can be in charge of nature, a place, a biotope, the biosphere, the cosmos, or the universe. Nature worship is often considered the primitive source of modern religious beliefs and can be found in theism, panentheism, pantheism, deism, polytheism, animism, totemism, shamanism, paganism. Common to most forms of nature worship is a spiritual focus on the individual's connection and influence on some aspects of the natural world and reverence towards it.

Transtheism refers to a system of thought or religious philosophy which is neither theistic nor atheistic, but is beyond them. The word was coined by either philosopher Paul Tillich or Indologist Heinrich Zimmer.

Antitheism is the opposition to theism. The term has had a range of applications. In secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to the belief in any deity.

Glossary of philosophy Wikimedia glossary list article

A glossary of terms used in philosophy.

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, findings in the natural sciences, theistic apologetic arguments, arguments pertaining to ethics and morality, the effects of atheism on the individual, or the assumptions that underpin atheism.

Implicit and explicit atheism

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:

Various theistic positions can involve belief in a God or "gods". They include:

Polytheism worship of or belief in multiple deities

Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. In most religions which accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, and can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator deity or transcendental absolute principle, which manifests immanently in nature. Most of the polytheistic deities of ancient religions, with the notable exceptions of the Ancient Egyptian and Hindu deities, were conceived as having physical bodies.

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 agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.