A comparison of monotheism and polytheism the problems with one deity

In the Smarta denomination of Hinduism, the philosophy of Advaita expounded by Shankara allows veneration of numerous deities[ citation needed ] with the understanding that all of them are but manifestations of one impersonal divine power, Brahman.

polytheism examples

The purpose of creation is for the created to have the capacity to know and love its creator. Belief in goblins may survive under monotheism; but it is only polytheism that could admit the goblin as a god.

In the sense that Mormons worship only God the Father, they consider themselves monotheists.

A comparison of monotheism and polytheism the problems with one deity

This sketch of the facts bearing on the great religious phenomenon that is occupying us, brief as it is, does not—I venture to think—omit any that is of value or significance. Also the pre-Christian Hellene was wholly free from that strange obsession which fell upon early Christendom and has not yet passed away; the belief, namely, that the acceptance of a certain religious metaphysic was necessary to salvation and that disbelief was a heinous sin to be punished cruelly in this world and the next. We cannot indeed discern a prophet of monotheism in prehistoric China. This is fanaticism pure and simple. We must also be exact in our definition of monotheism; and must mark its gradations from a lower to a higher, from a narrower to a universal sense. But as any particular polytheism always contains in it the deposits of many different periods, scarcely any is moralized all through, especially as many nature-deities are hard to moralize and discipline. But the personification of such an abstract idea as the Logos need in itself have caused no further perplexity for monotheistic faith; for as the Logos could be identified with Christ, and as Christology inevitably came to insist on his divine personality, the problem of plurality within the unity of Godhead was already pressing. We find the evil spirit again in Islam; and if we impute the phenomenon to the natural ferocity of the Semitic temper, then when we find it darkening the history of Christendom we may discern here the influence of the Judaic tradition.

Yet some tentative conclusions may be drawn from them. Ram Swarupfor example, points to the Vedas as being specifically polytheistic, [37] and states that, "only some form of polytheism alone can do justice to this variety and richness.

Polytheistic religions

He appointed the dukes and lords to reward the virtuous and punish the wicked, and to gather metal and wood, birds and beasts, and to engage in cultivating the five grains and flax and silk to provide for the people's food and clothing. This is a difficult problem for metaphysics and science. It happened that in Greece polytheism was the religion of a people dowered with singular poetic creativeness. Another centre in which we have strong reason for believing that a true monotheism arose was Iran, in the days of Zarathustra, a prophet whose authenticity has been proved beyond doubt, and whose date modern scholars are inclined to place at least as far back as the ninth century. But the student of the history of monotheism must raise and answer the question whether the popular religion of Christendom either in the earlier or later ages can be properly so described, and he will not be assisted or overmuch influenced by orthodox treatises and orthodox confessions, but by his knowledge of the popular psychology and his power of imagining the inward working of the popular religious mind. The Athenians murdered the men of Melos, but they were not proud of it, and they did not dedicate their victims' lives as an acceptable sacrifice to their goddess. I had never thought that a multiplicity of Gods was the natural and spontaneous expression of an evolved consciousness. Epicureans regarded traditional religion and idolatry as harmless enough as long as the gods were not feared or expected to do or say anything. When he reached the theistic stage, so many strands had gone to the making of a god that it is unlikely that his imagination would project and maintain a solitary divine power.

In much reading of the Gnostics we weary of the facile multiplication of abstractions personified as divine agents, and we dislike the sexual licence of imagination that explains their births and combinations. Finally we may observe certain reforms that tended to monotheism in later Hinduism, such as the Sikh religion of which the founder was Guru Nanak in the fifteenth century.

monotheism and polytheism differences

Therefore the subject is as relevant here as it is certainly interesting in itself. The fervent votary of the Virgin is touched unconsciously—it maybe—by race-memories of Isis, Artemis, Cybele, or the Cretan goddess.

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III: Polytheism and Monotheism