Theism

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Theism is the religious belief that at least one god exists. Polytheism is the belief in several gods, while monotheism is the belief in just one god. For example, a theistic religion is Christianity. The opposite to a theist is an atheist. An atheist is a person that lacks a belief in a god or gods (this is an important distinction from not believing in a god or gods, as former is simply a response to a theistic claim whilst the latter would require the disproving of a negative.

Different Theisms[change | change source]

All of these are rough definitions of the theisms; they are almost always different. We can split them all into different groups:

  • atheism — the opposite of theism; not believing in any gods or deities
  • deism — believing that god(s) exist, but that they do not take part in our lives.
  • agnosticism — believing we cannot know whether god(s) exist
  • gnosticism — believing that we can know for certain whether a god(s) exist.

Gnosticism and agnosticism can be combined with other forms of theism. For example, it is possible to be an agnostic atheist, or a gnostic theist. In common usage, some people group atheism and agnosticism together under the group of nontheism — absence of clear belief in any deity.

The main types of theism are:

  • polytheism — believing that many gods or goddesses exist (sometimes known as paganism)
  • monotheism — belief that only one god exists (Christians, Muslims and Jews believe in monotheism.)
  • ditheism — belief that two gods exist and they are both equal.

This is another way to group different theisms, based on the nature of the gods.

There are also these types:

  • Animism: believing that everything is alive and spirits are in all things, and that all things have souls.
  • Monolatry: there is (or may be) more than one god, but they are all expressions of the supreme god.
  • Henotheism: there is (or may be) more than one god, but only one is the supreme.
  • Kathenotheism: there is more than one god, but only one at a time should be worshipped. Each is supreme in turn.

References[change | change source]