Theism is the belief that a deity or deities exist.

A deity is regarded as some sort of supernatural entity (aka "god"). Most deities are considered creators, controllers and curators of the material world and its inhabitants. Depending upon the religion, a deity may represent a wide array of abilties, roles and responsibilities.

There are various types of theism:

  • Monotheism - belief in a singular god. Islam and Christianity are examples of monotheistic religions. (though it should be noted that there is debate over whether the Christian notion of a trinity (father, son and holy spirit) is technical monotheistic.)
  • Polytheism - belief in more than one god. Hinduism is an example. The early Greeks and Romans also believed in a wide array of supernatural creatures.
  • Deism - belief in a singular god, that for all intents and purposes, is somewhat undefined and ambiguous in nature, and is not concerned with the object of his creation. Most of the founding fathers of the United States were considered Deists.
  • Pantheism - roughly, the belief that God and the universe are equivalent
  • Pandeism - belief in a singular god that not concerned with the object of his creation because God became equivalent to the universe through the creation
  • Panentheism - roughly, the belief that the universe is part of God
  • Dystheism or Maltheism - the belief that God is not, as is often assumed, wholly good and is possibly evil

Other categories of belief include:

  • Animism - The belief that everything is alive; that spirits are in all things, or that all things have souls.
  • 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.

See Also

Last updated by Nelson Feb 9, 2009.


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