TOC \o "1-3" \h \z \u 1.     Unitarianism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707392 \h 1

3.     Henotheism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707393 \h 3

4.     Henotheism in various religions. PAGEREF _Toc178707394 \h 4

4.2.      Hinduism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707395 \h 4

4.3.      Christianity. PAGEREF _Toc178707396 \h 5

4.4.      Israelite beliefs and Judaism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707397 \h 6

5.     Henotheism and monolatry. PAGEREF _Toc178707398 \h 8

6.     Polytheism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707399 \h 8

7.     Pandeism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707400 \h 9

8.     Natural theology. PAGEREF _Toc178707401 \h 9

9.     Deism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707402 \h 9

10.       Theism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707403 \h 10

Contents. PAGEREF _Toc178707404 \h 10

A taxonomy of beliefs about deities. PAGEREF _Toc178707405 \h 11

Relationship to religion. PAGEREF _Toc178707406 \h 11

Theism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707407 \h 12

11.       Polytheism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707408 \h 12

12.       Monotheism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707409 \h 12

13.       Deism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707410 \h 12

14.       Atheism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707411 \h 13

15.       Agnosticism.. PAGEREF _Toc178707412 \h 13

16.       References. PAGEREF _Toc178707413 \h 13



1.   Unitarianism

is the belief in the single personality of God, in contrast to the doctrine of the Trinity (three persons in one God). It is the philosophy upon which the modern Unitarian movement was based, and, according to its proponents, is the original form of Christianity. Unitarian Christians believe in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as found in the New Testament and other early Christian writings, and hold him up as an exemplar. Adhering to strict monotheism, they maintain that Jesus was a great man and a prophet of God, perhaps even a supernatural being, but not God himself. Unitarians believe in the moral authority, but not necessarily the divinity, of Jesus. They do not "pray to Jesus", but to God directly. Their theology is thus distinguishable from the theology of Catholic, Orthodox, mainline Protestant, and other Christian denominations, who hold the Trinity doctrine as a core belief.

Some Evangelicals hold a "unitarian" theology in that they see God as a single person, and are thus antitrinitarian, but because they perceive Jesus to be God himself do not fall into the general theology discussed here, which sees Jesus as subordinate to God and a finite being. Instead see: Sabellianism, Oneness theology, Oneness Pentecostalism, Monarchianism, Binitarianism.

While there are both religiously liberal and religiously conservative unitarians, the name "Unitarian" is most commonly associated with the liberal branch of this theology.

Conservative (Biblical or Evangelical) unitarians strictly adhere to the principle of sola scriptura and their belief that the Bible is both inspired and inerrant and uphold "fundamentals" of belief. This version of unitarianism is more commonly called Nontrinitarianism, rather than Unitarianism.

Unitarians sum up their faith as "the religion of Jesus, not a religion about Jesus." Historically, they have encouraged non-dogmatic views of God, Jesus, the world and purpose of life as revealed through reason, scholarship, science, philosophy, scripture and other prophets and religions. They believe that reason and belief are complementary and that religion and science can co-exist and guide them in their understanding of nature and God. They also do not enforce belief in creeds or dogmatic formulas. Although there is flexibility in the nuances of belief or basic truths for the individual Unitarian Christian, general principles of faith have been recognized as a way to bind the group in some commonality. Adherents generally accept religious pluralism and find value in all teachings, but remain committed to their core belief in Christ's teachings. Liberal Unitarians value a secular society in which government stays out of religious affairs.

Unitarians are not to be confused with members of the Unity Church


2.     Monotheism

In theology, monotheism (from Greek μόνος "one" and θεός "god") is the belief in the existence of one deity or God, or in the oneness of God.[1] In a Western context, the concept of "monotheism" tends to be dominated by the concept of the God of the Abrahamic religions and the Platonic concept of God as put forward by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.

The concept of monotheism has largely been defined in contrast with polytheistic religions, and monotheism tends to overlap with other Unitary concepts, such as monism.

Whereas monotheism is a self-description of religions subsumed under this term, there is no equivalent self-description for polytheist religions: monotheism asserts itself by opposing polytheism, while polytheism does not use the same argumentative device, as it includes a concept of divine unity despite worshiping a plethora of gods. . [2] By the same token, monotheistic religions may still include concepts of a plurality of the divine, for example the Christian Trinity, in which God is only one but has three different persons (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). Also, for Christians, God has two natures (a divine one and Human-Jesus Christ) and only God can be adored as such. Catholics "venerate" Saints (the virgin Mary as the most perfect human being ever and born without original sin and, thus, the tendency to sin) as human beings that have had remarkable qualities and have lived their faith in God to the extreme

The word monotheism is derived from the Greek, μόνος meaning "one" and θεός meaning "god".[3] The English term was first used by Henry More.

The concept sees a gradual development out of notions of henotheism and monolatrism. In the Ancient Near East, each city had a local patron deity, such as Shamash at Larsa or Sin at Ur. The first claims of global supremacy of a specific god date to the Late Bronze Age, with Akhenaten's Great Hymn to the Aten (connected to Judaism by Sigmund Freud in his Moses and Monotheism), and, depending on dating issues, Zoroaster's Gathas to Ahura Mazda. Currents of monism or monotheism emerge in Vedic India in the same period, with e.g. the Nasadiya Sukta. Philosophical monotheism and the associated concept of absolute good and evil emerges in Classical Antiquity, notably with Plato (c.f. Euthyphro dilemma), elaborated into the idea of The One in Neoplatonism.

In Islamic theology, a person who spontaneously "discovers" monotheism is called a anīf, the original anīf being Abraham.

Austrian anthropologist Wilhelm Schmidt in the 1910s postulated an Urmonotheismus, "original" or "primitive monotheism", a thesis now widely rejected in comparative religion but still occasionally defended in creationist circles.


3.   Henotheism

 (Greek ες θεός heis theos "one god") is a term coined by Max Müller, to mean devotion to a single "God" while accepting the existence of other gods. Müller stated that henotheism means "monotheism in principle and a polytheism in fact." He made the term a center of his criticism of Western theological and religious exceptionalism (relative to Eastern religions), focusing on a cultural dogma which held "monotheism" to be both fundamentally well-defined and inherently superior to differing conceptions of God.

Variations on the term have been inclusive monotheism and monarchial polytheism, designed to differentiate differing forms of the phenomenon. Related terms are monolatrism and kathenotheism, which are typically understood as sub-types of henotheism. The latter term is an extension of "henotheism", from καθ’ να θεόν (kath' hena theon)—"one god at a time". Henotheism is similar but less exclusive than monolatry because a monolator worships only one god, while the henotheist may worship any within the pantheon, depending on circumstances. In some belief systems, the choice of the supreme deity within a henotheistic framework may be determined by cultural, geographical, or political reasons.


4.   Henotheism in various religions

4.1.   Classical Greco-Roman

While Greek and Roman religion began as polytheism, during the Classical period, under the influence of philosophy, differing conceptions emerged. Often Zeus (or Jupiter) was considered the supreme, all-powerful and all-knowing, king and father of the Olympian gods. To illustrate, Maximus Tyrius (2nd century A.D.), stated:

"In such a mighty contest, sedition and discord, you will see one according law and assertion in all the earth, that there is one god, the king and father of all things, and many gods, sons of god, ruling together with him."

The Philosophers Plato and Plotinus taught that above the gods of traditional belief was "The One".

4.2. Hinduism

It is difficult clearly to characterise Hinduism, which can take the form of polytheism, as in the Rig Veda, or monotheism, as in Smarta Hinduism. In popular form it appears sometimes as polytheism, or as inclusive monotheism admitting multiple deities as manifestations of a single being. However, the Rig Veda (undeveloped early Hinduism), was the basis for Max Müller's beliefs about henotheism. In the four Vedas, Müller has a striving towards One was being aimed at by the worship of different cosmic principles, such as Agni (fire), Vayu (wind), Indra (rain, thunder, the sky), etc. each of which was variously, by clearly different writers, hailed as supreme in different sections of the books. Indeed, however, what was confusing was an early idea of Rita, or supreme order, that bound all the gods. Other phrases such as Ekam Sat, Vipraha Bahudha Vadanti (Truth is One, though the sages know it as many) led to understandings that the Vedic people admitted to fundamental oneness. From this mix of monism, monotheism and naturalist polytheism Max Müller decided to name the early Vedic religion henotheistic.

However, unprecedented and hitherto unduplicated ideas of pure monism are to be found even in the early Rig Veda Samhita, notwithstanding clearly monist and monotheist movements of Hinduism that developed with the advent of the Upanishads. One such example of early Vedic monism is the Nasadiya hymn of the Rig Veda: "That One breathed by itself without breath, other than it there has been nothing." To collectively term the Vedas henotheistic, and thus further leaning towards polytheism, rather than monotheism, may play down the clearly monist bent of the Vedas that were thoroughly developed as early as 1000 BC in the first Aranyakas and Upanishads. However, to deny that a form of polytheism is also present may equally be to ignore aspects of the early Vedic texts. Whether the concept of "henotheism" adequately addresses these complexities or simply fudges them is a matter of debate.

As for classical Hinduism, it evolved within the Vedic line but truly came into being with the ascendancy of aspects of God like Shiva and Vishnu in the Puranic and post-Puranic developments. Many sects of monotheistic bhakti (loving devotion) worshippers came into vogue who, while admitting other deities, saw them as clearly emanating from one principal source. Extreme monists within the Advaita Vedanta movement, Yoga philosophy and certain non-dual Tantra schools of Hinduism preclude a broad categorization of Hinduism as henotheistic, what with the conception of Brahman, a formless non-being-being that is posited to be pure consciousness, beyond attributes, the Divine Ground from which all else that is limited and temporal sprang. The fundamental Hindu trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are seen as many as being creation, preservation and destruction subsumed in one cycle of being that is ultimately transcended with the attainment of moksha. Nevertheless, different devotional traditions have disputed the primacy of Shiva over Vishnu and vice versa. Again "henotheism" is a loose term covering complex traditions and disputes. The period of Hinduism that most closely corresponded to henotheism as Müller understood it was the early Vedic period (before 1000 BC within the four preliminary Vedas) and even that is disputed by some scholars, most notably the great Hindu mystic Aurobindo Ghosh.

4.3. Christianity

Many Christians believe in a pantheon of angels, demons, and/or Saints that are inferior to the Trinity. Christians don't label these beings as gods per se, although they are sometimes the object of prayer and some signs of honour. Mainline Christian churches which permit prayer to saints, however, insist that such prayer is only proper when limited to asking for the angel or saint's intercession to God.[citation needed] They are adamant that saints possess no powers of their own, and any miracle able to be attributed to their intercession is the product of the power of God and not any supernatural power of the saint him or herself.

When Christianity was adopted by Greco-Roman pagans or African slaves, the new converts often attributed to these saints features of their previous polytheistic figures. In


some cases, these beliefs have developed out of the Catholic Church and form syncretisms like Santeria. These beliefs are somewhat similar to Hinduism which distinguishes between God in the form of Vishnu or Shiva, and devas which are subordinate to God and who supervise forces of nature such as Agni (i.e., fire) or Vayu (i.e., wind).

Some non-trinitarian Christian denominations have also been labeled henotheistic:

  • Christian Gnosticism is generally henotheistic.
  • Although most Mormons adamantly label themselves as monotheists, some claim that Mormons are henotheistic. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism, or the LDS Church) considers the members of the Christian Godhead as three distinct beings, where God the Father is supreme, yet all three beings are defined collectively as "God". Though not mentioned in canonical LDS scripture, some Latter Day Saints infer the possible existence of other gods and goddesses. However, they aren't known, acknowledged, and have no relevance to this Earth or humanity.See Godhead (Mormonism).Another supposition not discussed in canonical scripture is the concept of a Heavenly Mother. Mormons worship one God; this belief is most easily described as worshiping God the Father through the conduit of the Son, Jesus Christ. Whereas other Christians speak of "One God in Three Persons," LDS scripture speaks instead of three persons in one God. See the Book of Mormon's Mosiah 15:4 ("they are one God"), and LDS interpretation of John 17:11[1] (Jesus asks the Father in prayer that his disciples "may be one, as we are").
  • Jehovah's Witnesses are viewed as henotheistic, because they believe in the one true God, Jehovah, but see Jesus, Satan and Angels as lesser "gods." This is primarily in the linguistic sense of "mighty ones" in contrast with Jehovah's status as "Almighty." Satan in particular is referred to as "god of this system of things," that is, the invisible spirit having control over governments and other institutions of the secular and religious world, a position he has held since Adam and Eve's defection in Eden, with its implicit change of allegiance from God (Jehovah) to Satan. Jesus is referenced as sitting at the right hand of God, assisting in all acts of Creation aside from his own, thus his status as "only begotten" (cf. John 1:14, 18). It should be noted that no "god" aside from Jehovah is an appropriate object of worship for Jehovah's Witnesses. Jesus alone is accepted as an intercessor between God and man, but even he is not worshiped as such. Thus, the belief system may more appropriately be described as monolatristic rather than henotheistic, though both appellations would likely be disputed by adherents.

4.4. Israelite beliefs and Judaism

It is generally uncontroversial that many of the Iron Age religions found in the land of Israel were henotheistic in practice. For example, the Moabites worshipped the god Chemosh, the Edomites, Qaus, both of whom were part of the greater Canaanite pantheon, headed by the chief god, El. The Canaanite pantheon consisted of El and Asherat as the chief deities, with 70 sons who were said to rule over each of the nations of the earth. These sons were the national "Sons of God" or "Nephilim" each worshipped within a specific region.

More recently, M.S. Smith's synthesis of the Hebrew religion in the Iron Age has put forward the case that it, like those around it, was also henotheistic. The discovery of artifacts at Kuntillet 'Ajrud and Khirbet El-Qom have arguably shown that in at least some sections of Israelite society, Yahweh and Asherah were believed to coexist as a divine couple. Further evidence of an understanding of Yahweh existing within the Canaanite pantheon derives from syncretistic myths found within the Hebrew Bible itself. Various battles between Yahweh and Leviathan, Mot, the tanninim, and Yamm are already attested in the 14th century B.C. texts found at Ugarit (ancient Ras-Shamra). In some cases, Biblical Yahweh had replaced Baal, and in others, he had taken El's roles, or even the roles of the Elohim, the entire Canaanite pantheon.[citation needed]

Several Biblical stories allude to the belief that the Canaanite gods all existed and possessed the most power in the lands that worshipped them or in their sacred objects; their power was real and could be invoked by the people who patronised them. The Israelites may have considered the other gods demonic or evil, but they probably were not fully monotheistic before the Babylonian Captivity. For instance, in 1 Samuel 4, the Philistines fret before the second battle of Aphek when they learn that the Israelites are bearing the Ark of the Covenant, and therefore Yahweh, into battle. 2 Kings 3:27 has been interpreted as describing a human sacrifice in Moab that led the invading Israelite army to fear the power of Chemosh. In 2 Kings 5, the Aramean general Naaman insists on transporting Israelite soil back with him to Syria in the belief that only then will Yahweh have the power to heal him. Also, in the Book of Jonah, Jonah attempts to set sail to Tarshish in the belief that Yahweh will not reach him there. Jonah was written long after the Babylonian Exile; hence, its author believes in Yahweh as a universal deity and Jonah is thwarted.

According to the Five Books of Moses, Abraham is revered as the one who overcame the idol worship of his family and surrounding people by recognizing the Hebrew God and establishing a covenant with him and creating the foundation of what has been called by scholars "Ethical Monotheism". The first of the Ten Commandments can be interpreted to forbid the Children of Israel from worshiping any other god but the one true God who had revealed himself at Mount Sinai and given them the Torah, however it can also be read as henotheistic, since it states that they should have "no other gods before me", not that there are no other gods. Nevertheless, as recorded in the Tanakh ("Old Testament" Bible), in defiance of the Torah's teachings, the patron god YHWH was frequently worshipped in conjunction with other gods such as Baal, Asherah, and El. Over time, this tribal god may have assumed all the appellations of the other gods in the eyes of the people. The destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and the exile to Babylon was considered a divine reprimand and punishment for the mistaken worship of other deities. By the end of the Babylonian captivity of Judah in the Tanakh, Judaism is strictly monotheistic. There are nonetheless seeming elements of "polytheism" in certain biblical books, such as God's reference to himself as "us" in Genesis 1:26 and 3:22, in Daniel's frequent use of the honorific "God of gods" and especially in the Psalms. Jewish scholars were aware of this, and expessed the opinion that although the verse can be understood wrongly, God was not afraid to write it in the Torah. However, the word God, in Hebrew, "Elohim," is also a general term for "powerful one" or "ruler." This is true in Hebrew as well as other related Canaanite languages. So "Elohim" could refer to any number of "rulers," such as angels, false gods (as defined by Torah), or even human rulers within Israel, as described in Exodus 21:6; 22:8-8, without violating the parameters of monotheism. Some scholars believe that Exodus 3:13-15 describes the moment when YHWH first tells Moses that he is the same god as El, the supreme being. This could be the recounting, in mythical form, of Israel's conversion to monotheism.

5.   Henotheism and monolatry

Henotheism is closely related to the theistic concept of Monolatry, which is also the worship of one God among many. The primary difference between the two is that Henotheism is the worship of one god, not precluding the existence of others who may also be worthy of praise, while Monolatry is the worship of one god who alone is worthy of worship, though other gods are known to exist. Henotheism thus supposes to know less about divine matters, and Monolatry more.[1]

6.   Polytheism

is belief in or worship of multiple gods or deities. The word comes from the Greek words poly theoi, literally "many gods." Ancient Greek and Roman religions were polytheistic, holding to a pantheon of traditional deities. Polytheism is in most cases the origin of later monotheism, where one of the divinities becomes the only worshipped one.

In polytheistic belief, gods are perceived as complex personages of greater or lesser status, with individual skills, needs, desires and histories. These gods are not always portrayed in mythology as being omnipotent or omniscient; rather, they are often portrayed as similar to humans (anthropomorphic) in their personality traits, but with additional individual powers, abilities, knowledge or perceptions.

Philosophical perceptions of gods are different to the way they are portrayed in mythology. In philosophical traditions gods are seen as eternal, perfect at one with each other and omnipotent. Neoplatonism taught the existence of 'The One', the transcendent ineffable God and unifying principle of polytheism. "The One is God": Plotinus 204-270 BCE

For polytheists, gods may have multiple epithets, each with its own significance in specific roles, and have dominion or authority over specified areas of life and the cosmos. The Greek gods are an example of one system that assigns each god one or more clearly defined roles: Apollo is the god of music, but also medicine, Demeter the goddess of agriculture and the spring season, and Aphrodite the goddess of love and beauty. A god can also have a particular role in the god-hierarchy, such as Zeus, the father of the Greek pantheon, or designated to a certain geographical phenomenon, a cosmological phenomenon, a region, town, stream or family, but also to abstract ideas such as liberation Dionysos. In mythology, gods can have complex social arrangements. For example, they have friends and foes, spouses (Zeus and Hera) and (illegitimate) lovers (Zeus and his consorts and children), they experience human emotions such as jealousy, whimsy or uncontrolled rage (The fight between Tiamat and Marduk) and they may practise infidelity or be punished. They can be born or they can die (especially in Norse mythology), only to be reborn. However, such representations of gods are seen by the philosophers as hiding deeper spiritual and psychological truths such as archetypes in mythology

Whereas monotheism is a self-description of religions subsumed under this term, there is no equivalent self-description for polytheist religions: monotheism asserts itself by opposing polytheism, while polytheism does not use the same argumentative device, as it includes a concept of divine unity despite worshiping a plethora of gods. . [1]

7.   Pandeism

(Greek πάν, 'pan' = 'all' and Latin deus = God, in the sense of deism), is a term used at various times to describe religious beliefs. Since at least as early as 1859, it has delineated syncretist concepts incorporating or mixing elements of pantheism (that God is identical to the universe) and deism (that the creator-god who designed the universe no longer exists in a status where he can be reached, and can instead be confirmed only by reason). It is therefore most particularly "the belief that God precedes the universe and is the universe's creator, [and] that the universe is currently the entirety of God",[1] with some adding the contention that "the universe will one day coalesce back into a single being, God".[2]


8.   Natural theology

is the attempt to find evidence of a God or intelligent designer without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. The expression 'natural theology' (theologia naturalis) seems to have been first used by Augustine of Hippo with reference to the deepest theological insights of the classical philosophers. Natural theology (or natural religion) is theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology (or revealed religion) which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning (see Immanuel Kant et alia).

Natural theology was originally part of philosophy and theology, and theologians still study it; but most of its content also forms part of the philosophy of religion.

9.   Deism

is a religious philosophy and movement that derives the existence and nature of God from reason and personal experience, in contrast to theism (with religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam) which relies on revelation in sacred scriptures or the testimony of other people. Deism became prominent in Great Britain, France, and the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries and continues to this day in the form of Classical Deism and Modern Deism.

Deists typically reject supernatural events (prophecy, miracles) and tend to assert that God does not interfere with human life and the laws of the universe. Deists commonly respect divine revelation prominent in organized religion, along with holy books as conveying the reasoning and personal experience of others.

The concept of Deism covers a wide variety of positions on a wide variety of religious issues. See the section Features of Deism, below. Deism can also refer to a personal set of beliefs having to do with the role of nature in spirituality.

The words Deism and theism are both derived from the word god:

  • The root of the word Deism is the Latin word deus, which means "god".
  • The root of the word theism is the Greek word theos (θεóς), which also means "god".


10.         Theism

 is the belief in the existence of one or more divinities or deities.

There is also a narrower sense in which theism refers to the belief that one or more divinities are immanent in the world, yet transcend it, along with the idea that divinity(s) is/are omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.[1]

The term is attested in English from 1678, and was probably coined to contrast with atheism, a term that is attested from ca. 1587 (see the etymology section of atheism for details).


A taxonomy of beliefs about deities

It is possible to categorize views about deities in a variety of ways. One common procedure is to classify views about the existence of deities. This classification system categorizes view about deities as:

  • Theism — The belief that gods or deities exist and interact with the universe. [2]
  • Atheism — An absence of belief in a single god, all gods, or a belief that gods do not exist at all. [3]
  • Deism — The belief that a god or gods exists, but does not interact with the universe. [4]
  • Agnosticism — The belief that there is no way to know about gods or deities. [5]
  • Some classifications group atheism and agnosticism together under the classification of nontheism — absence of clearly identified belief in any deity.

The main subcategories of theism are:

This taxonomy is based on beliefs about the existence of god or gods. Other taxonomies are possible. For example, a different taxonomy is based on beliefs about the nature or characteristics (rather than the existence) of God or the gods. Examples include:

  • pantheism — The belief that God and the universe are equivalent[8], or belief that acknowledges other gods. [9]
  • panentheism — The belief that the universe is part of God
  • dystheism or maltheism — the belief that God is not, as is often assumed, good, but is actually evil

Other categories of belief include:

  • Animism: The belief that everything has a soul. [10]
  • Monolatry: The belief that there may be more than one deity, but only one should be worshipped.
  • Henotheism: The belief that there may be more than one deity, but one is supreme.
  • Kathenotheism: The belief that there is more than one deity, but only one deity at a time should be worshipped. Each is supreme in turn.

Relationship to religion


11.         Polytheism

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 of distinct deities.

Within polytheism there are hard and soft varieties.

12.         Monotheism

Monotheism is the belief that there is only one deity. There are many forms of monotheism.

  • Inclusive monotheism: The belief that there is only one deity, and that all other claimed deities are just different names for it. The Hindu denomination of Smartism is an example of inclusive monotheism.
  • Exclusive monotheism: The belief that there is only one deity, and that all other claimed deities are distinct from it and false — either invented, demonic, or simply incorrect. Most Abrahamic religions, and the Hindu denomination of Vaishnavism (which regards the worship of anyone other than Vishnu as incorrect) are examples of exclusive monotheism.
  • Pantheism: The view that the universe is identical to a deity.
  • Panentheism: The belief that the universe is entirely contained within a deity that is greater than just the universe and beyond.

13.         Deism



Deism is the belief in god or deity based on reason. It typically rejects supernatural events (prophecy, miracles) and divine revelation prominent in organized religion, along with holy books and revealed religions that assert the existence of such things. 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. [11]

14.         Atheism

See Atheism.

Atheism, as a philosophical view, is the position that either affirms the nonexistence of gods[12] or rejects theism.[13] When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities, alternatively called nontheism.[14]

15.         Agnosticism

The word "agnostic" was coined by T. H. Huxley, "Darwin's Bulldog," around 1869. Since then, the word has been used in a variety of ways, as follows.

In one sense of the word, agnosticism is the position that it is not possible to know whether gods exist. Agnosticism in this sense is an epistemological position about the limits of possible knowledge. It holds that it is not possible to determine whether gods exist. Specifically, it holds that the question of the existence of gods is beyond the scope of science — that it is a question that cannot be answered by science. This position is epistemological agnosticism or strong agnosticism.[15]

In another, more popular sense, of the word, agnosticism is a personal position. When a person describes himself as an agnostic he usually means one of the following:

  • he takes no position, pro or con, on the existence of gods.
  • he has considered the question of the existence of gods, and has not yet been able to decide whether he believes in the existence of gods or not.

This position is personal agnosticism or weak agnosticism.[15]

16.         References

  1. ^ "Deism", in The Catholic Encyclopedia)
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ 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...
  12. ^ Rowe, William L. (1998). "Atheism". Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. Edward Craig. “Atheism is the position that affirms the nonexistence of God. It proposes positive disbelief rather than mere suspension of belief.” 
  13. ^ Nielsen, Kai "Atheism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on 2007-04-28.  "…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 [reasons that depend] on how God is being conceived."
  14. ^'s short article on Definitions of the term "Atheism" suggests that there is no consensus on the definition of the term. Simon Blackburn summarizes the situation in The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy: "Atheism. Either the lack of belief in a god, or the belief that there is none." Most dictionaries (see the OneLook query for "atheism") first list one of the more narrow definitions.
  15. ^ a b "Agnosticism". A Companion to Epistemology. (1992). Blackwell Publishing. p. 10.

Panentheism (from Greek πν (pân) "all"; ν (en) "in"; and θεός (Theós) "god"; "all-in-God") is the theological position that God is immanent within the Universe, but also transcends it. It is distinguished from pantheism, which holds that God is synonymous with the material universe. In panentheism, God is viewed as creator and/or animating force behind the universe, and the source of universal truth. The term is closely associated with the God of Greek philosophy and the Logos in the works of Herakleitos, which pervades the cosmos and whereby all things were made.

Atheism, as a philosophical view, is the position that either affirms the nonexistence of gods[1] or rejects theism.[2] When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities,[3] alternatively called nontheism.[4] Although atheism is often equated with irreligion, some religious philosophies, such as secular theology, or some varieties of Theravada Buddhism, lack belief in a personal god.

Many self-described atheists are skeptical of all supernatural beings and cite a lack of empirical evidence for the existence of deities. Others argue for atheism on philosophical, social or historical grounds. Although many self-described atheists tend toward secular philosophies such as humanism[5] and naturalism,[6] there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere.[7]

The term atheism originated as a pejorative epithet applied to any person or belief in conflict with established religion.[8] With the spread of freethought, scientific skepticism, and criticism of religion, the term began to gather a more specific meaning and was sometimes used as a self-description by atheists.