Tag Archives: Theism

Sunday Terminology: Polytheism


Polytheism: The English equivalent of the Greek word meaning πολυς and θεος is, many god(s).  This is the belief system that teaches there are more than one God. A plurality of distinct and separate deities or a pantheon of gods and goddesses exists. However, polytheists do not necessarily worship all deities equally, but they tend to particularize one god as a main god over many other gods and goddesses. In this sense, they can be more Henotheists, differentiating one deity as the main one for worshiping. “Polytheism is distinguished from theism, also called monotheism, on the basis of polytheism’s claim that divinity, while personal and distinguished from the universe, is many rather than one.”[1] It is also contrasted with pantheism, though these two doctrines are embraced side by side in the same religious traditions in the East. All other religious beliefs in the world are overwhelmingly polytheistic with the exception of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism in the East are characterized as polytheism.

_______________________________

Footnotes:

[1] Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical dictionary of theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1984), 861. Print.

Public Debate: William L Craig and Daniel Dennett on the Existence of God


William Craig, renowned Christian Apologist, author, speaker, and Research professor of Talbot School of Theology presents his paper as a one of the respondents on the the Evidences for the Existence of God in the Greer-Heard debate in 2007, between  theistic evolutionist Alister McGrath and prominent atheist and professor Daniel Dennett. In this audio record, Craig’s lecture (45 mins) on defense of theistic arguments is the response to Dennett’s criticism on theism.

Craig presents three theistic arguments for a Creator and Designer of the universe:

  • The Contingency Argument
  • The Kalam Cosmological Argument
  • The Teleological Argument

Full mp3 Audio (59.56 min)

Sunday Terminology: Determinism


Determinism: The belief that man’s actions are the result of antecedent causes has been formulated naturalistically and theistically. The naturalistic view sees human beings as part of the machinery of the universe. In such a world every event is caused by preceding events, which in turn were caused by still earlier events, ad infinitum. Since man is part of this causal chain, his actions are also determined by antecedent causes. Some of these causes are the environment and man’s genetic make-up. These are so determinative of what man does that no one could rightly say that a given human action could have been performed otherwise than it in fact was performed. Thus, according to determinism, Bob’s sitting on the brown chair rather than the blue sofa is not a free choice but is fully determined by previous factors. [1]


[1] Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical dictionary of theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1984), 428. Print.

Sunday Terminology: Theism


Theism: The term theism comes from Greek theos (Θεος) meaning God. The term refers to the belief that there is a God, or there are (many) gods who have direct or personal relationship to the universe or with human beings. Theism, in general, relates to the theory of the nature of God that is more agreeing to the most religious traditions. So, “the theistic conception of divinity can be polytheistic, that is, that there are many gods, or it can be monotheistic, that is, it can limit the conception of divinity to one God, as is the case in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions”.[1] However, the term used, in particular, sense refers to the monotheistic nature of God as a person who is infinite in his power, knowledge and actively governing the universe.


[1] Popkin, Richard H., and Avrum Stroll. “Philosophy of Religion.” Philosophy Made Simple,. New York: Made Simple ; Distributed to the Book Trade by Garden City , Garden City, N.Y., 1993. 176. Print.