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Theism Theism (from Greek θεoς theos god) is used in two meanings: Generally it is the belief in gods or goddesses, or the belief in a creator of the universe who is actively involved in maintaining and ruling it.
The word originated in
Ancient Greece and signified belief in the traditional Gods, the Olympians.
The first meaning sees four major views of the role of deity in the world in this context:
Within theism proper, it can be differentiated between
deism, the view that deity created the world but does not interact with it; emphasis on deities' transcendence
theism, proper (second definition), the view that deity is immanent in the world, yet transcends it;
panentheism, the view that the world is entirely contained within deity, while at the same time deity is something greater than just the world.
pantheism, the view that the world is identical to deity; emphasis on deities' immanence
Finally, we can make the distinction between belief in deities' existences and assertions about their benevolence:
monotheism (there is only one god)
henotheism (there are several gods, but only one of them is adored)
kathenotheism (worship of one god at a time, seeing each as supreme in turn)
polytheism (there are several gods)
Typical theistic religions are theophilia says that deities are good and worthy of our worship and devotion
maltheism says that the evidence contradicts the notion that deities are good, and thus not worthy of our worship and devotion
Zoroastrianism, Saivism, Vaishnavism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Bahá'í, and Sikhism.
Deism, Atheism, Agnosticism, Aldeism, Pantheism, Panentheism, Maltheism.
The following table is an attempt to categorize some of these positions systematically relative to each other:
Believes at least one god exists
Believes no gods exist
Does not have any beliefs regarding the existence of gods
Believes gods are irrelevant
Believes proof/disproof is possible and is known
Believes proof/disproof may be possible but is not currently known
weak agnostic theist
weak agnostic strong atheist
weak agnostic weak atheist
weak agnostic apatheist
Believes proof/disproof is not possible
strong agnostic theist
strong agnostic strong atheist
strong agnostic weak atheist
strong agnostic apatheist
Believes proof/disproof is irrelevant
Strong atheist apatheist
Weak atheist apatheist
Apatheist (possible weak atheist)
Some of the positions on this table may seem contradictory, or at least unfounded, but where theism is concerned a great many people rely on
faith and thus can believe strongly in things which they do not believe have been or can be rigorously proven.
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