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Monotheism · Panentheism · Pantheism


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Sustainer · Lord · Father · Monad
Oneness · Supreme Being · The All
Personal · Unitarianism · Ditheism · Trinity
in Abrahamic religions
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in Ayyavazhi · in Buddhism · in Hinduism
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Eternalness · Existence · Gender
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Omnipotence · Omnipresence · Omniscience


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Fideism · Gnosis · Metaphysics
Mysticism · Hermeticism · Esotericism


Related topics

Philosophy · Religion · Ontology
God complex · Neurotheology
Euthyphro dilemma · Problem of evil
Portrayal in popular media
List of religious texts


In theology, monotheism (from Greek μόνος "only" and θεός "God") is the belief that only one God exists.[1] The concept of "monotheism" tends to be dominated by the concept of God in the Abrahamic religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Druze, the Platonic concept of God as put forward by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, as well as the Advaita, Dvaita and Vishishtadvaita philosophies of Hinduism, although the latter philosophies admit the existence of a plethora of divine beings. These Hindu philosophies also believe in less powerful entities, such as devas.[2]

Due to its Abrahamic association, the concept of monotheism has often been defined in contrast to polytheistic and pantheistic religions, and monotheism tends to overlap with other unitary concepts, such as monism. However, there are several examples of pantheistic religions that only adhere to one divinity, and therefore, in its strict sense, could be regarded as monotheist, for example Zoroastrianism.

Ostensibly monotheistic religions may still include concepts of a plurality of the divine. For example, the Trinity in which God is one being in three personal dimensions (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). Additionally, most Christian churches teach Jesus to be two natures (divine and human), each possessing the full attributes of that nature, without mixture or intermingling of those attributes. This view is not shared by all Christians, notably the Oriental Orthodox (miaphysite) churches.

Although Christian theology reserves worship for the Divine, the distinction between worshipping the divine nature of Jesus but not the human nature of Jesus can be difficult for non-Christians (and even Christian laity) to follow. Christians of the Catholic tradition venerate the Saints, (among them Mary), as human beings who had remarkable qualities, lived their faith in God to the extreme and are believed to continue to assist in the process of salvation for others.[3] The concept of Monotheism in Islam and Judaism however, is far more direct where God's oneness is unquestionable and there is no room for the plurality of God.

Contents

Origin and development

The word monotheism is derived from the Greek μόνος[4] meaning "single" and θεός[5] meaning "God".[6] The English term was first used by Henry More (1614–1687).

The concept sees a gradual development out of notions of henotheism (worshiping a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities) and monolatrism (the recognition of the existence of many gods, but with the consistent worship of only one deity). In the Ancient Near East, each city had a local patron deity, such as Shamash at Larsa or Sin at Ur. The first claims of global supremacy of a specific god date to the Late Bronze Age, with Akhenaten's Great Hymn to the Aten (speculatively connected to Judaism by Sigmund Freud in his Moses and Monotheism). Currents of monism or monotheism emerge in Vedic India in the same period, with e.g. the Nasadiya Sukta. Philosophical monotheism and the associated concept of absolute good and evil emerges in Classical Antiquity, notably with Plato (c.f. Euthyphro dilemma), elaborated into the idea of The One in Neoplatonism, later culminating in the doctrines of Christology in Early Christianity and finally (by the 7th century) in the tawhid in Islam.

In Islamic theology, all prophets and messengers had been sent with monotheism starting with Adam the first human and ending with Muhammad,and the person who spontaneously "discovers" monotheism is called a ḥanīf, the original ḥanīf being Abraham.

Austrian anthropologist Wilhelm Schmidt in the 1910s postulated an Urmonotheismus, "original" or "primitive monotheism."

Historically, some Ancient Near Eastern religions from the Late Bronze Age begin to exhibit aspects of monotheism or monolatrism. This is notably the case with theAten cult in the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, but also with the rise of Marduk from the tutelary of Babylon to the claim of universal supremacy.

In Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda appears as a supreme and transcendental deity. Depending on the date of Zoroaster (usually placed in the Early Iron Age), this may be one of the earliest documented instances of the emergence of monism in an Indo-European religion. Ahura Mazda is not the creator; the creator deity in Zoroastrianism is rather the subordinate Demiurge. Also in Indo-Iranian tradition, the Rigveda exhibits notions of monism, in particular in the comparatively late tenth book, also dated to the Early Iron Age, e.g. in the Nasadiya sukta.

Varieties

Some argue that there are various forms of monotheism, including:

  • Henotheism involves devotion to a single god while accepting the existence of other gods. Similarly, monolatrism is the worship of a single deity independent of the ontological claims regarding that deity.
  • Deism posits the existence of a single god, or the Designer of the designs in Nature. Some Deists believe in an impersonal god that does not intervene in the world while other Deists believe in intervention through Providence.
  • Monistic Theism is the type of monotheism found in Hinduism, encompassing pantheistic and panentheistic monism, and at the same time the concept of a personal god.
  • Pantheism holds that the universe itself is God. The existence of a transcendent supreme extraneous to nature is denied.
  • Panentheism, is a form of monistic monotheism which holds that God is all of existence, containing, but not identical to, the Universe. The 'one God' is omnipotent and all-pervading, the universe is part of God, and God is both immanent and transcendent.
  • Substance monotheism, found in some indigenous African religions, holds that the many gods are different forms of a single underlying substance.
  • Trinitarian monotheism is the belief in one God who is three distinct persons; God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit.

On the surface, monotheism is in contrast with polytheism, which is the belief in several deities. Polytheism is however reconcilable with Inclusive monotheism, which claims that all deities are just different names or forms of a single god. This approach is common in Hinduism, e.g. in Smartism. Exclusive monotheism, on the other hand, actively opposes polytheism. Monotheism is often contrasted with theistic dualism (ditheism). However, in dualistic theologies as that of Gnosticism, the two deities are not of equal rank, and the role of the Gnostic demiurge is closer to that of Satan in Christian theology than that of a diarch on equal terms with God (who is represented in pantheistic fashion, as Pleroma).

Abrahamic religions

The major source of monotheism in the modern Western World is the narrative of the Hebrew Bible, the source of Judaism. Judaism may have received influences from various non-biblical religions present in Egypt and Syria. This can be seen by the Torah's reference to Egyptian culture in Genesis and the story of Moses, as well as the mention of Hittite and Hurrian cultures of Syria in the Genesis story of Abraham. Although, orthodox Jews would dispute this based on the Jewish fundamental that the Torah was received from God on Mount Sinai in 1313 BCE (Hebrew year 2448). References to other cultures are included to understand the specific references of the topic discussed or to give context to the narrative.

In traditional Jewish thought, which provided the basis of the Christian and Islamic religions, monotheism was regarded as its most basic belief. Judaism and Islam have traditionally attempted to interpret scripture as exclusively monotheistic whilst Christianity adopts Trinitarianism, a more complex form of monotheism, as a result of considering the Holy Spirit to be God, and attributing divinity to Jesus, a Judean Jew, in the first century AD, defining him as the Son of God. Thus, "Father, Son and Holy Spirit".

Monotheism in the Hebrew Bible

The concept of monotheism develops gradually throughout the various books of the Hebrew Bible.

In the oldest sections - some of the Psalms, for example - Yahweh, the God of Israel, is shown as a member of a larger divine council of which El is the head; by the time of the Torah, written most probably around 700-450 BC, Yahweh reveals himself as the national deity to be worshipped alone, but without excluding the existence of other gods.[7] Besides the unambiguous presence of monolatrism by the early 6th century (the late monarchic period, there are some passages in the Hebrew Bible which have also been taken to express monotheism proper, such as Isaiah 44:6,

"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god"

or Deuteronomy 4:39 ,

"Know this day, and take it to heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is none else."

In the classical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, as taught in Rabbinical Judaism as well as in Christianity, it was Abraham who discovered God (Genesis 12:1-9;[8] 13:14-18;[9] 15[10] 18;[11] and 22[12]), and thus became "the world's first monotheist". This is in agreement with the teaching of Islam, holding Abraham to be the original hanif.

Rabbinical Judaism

The best-known Jewish statements of monotheism occur in the Shema prayer, the Ten Commandments and Maimonides' 13 Principles of faith, Second Principle:

God, the Cause of all, is one. This does not mean one as in one of a pair, nor one like a species (which encompasses many individuals), nor one as in an object that is made up of many elements, nor as a single simple object that is infinitely divisible. Rather, God is a unity unlike any other possible unity. This is referred to in the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4): "Hear Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one."

There has historically been disagreement between the Hasidic Jews and the Mitnagdim Jews on various Jewish philosophical issues surrounding certain concepts of monotheism. A similar situation of differing views is seen in modern times among Dor Daim, students of the Rambam, segments of Lithuanian Jewry, and portions of the Modern Orthodox world toward Jewish communities that are more thoroughly influenced by Lurianic Kabbalistic teachings such as Hasidism and large segments of the Sepharadi and Mizrahi communities. This dispute is likely rooted in the differences between what are popularly referred to as the "philosophically inclined" sources and the "kabbalistic sources;" the "philosophic sources" include such Rabbis as Saadia Gaon, Rabenu Bahya ibn Paquda, Abraham ibn Ezra, and Maimonides. The "kabbalistic sources" include Rabbis such as Nahmanides, Bahya ben Asher, Rabbi Yitzhak Saggi Nehor, and Azriel. The Vilna Gaon is usually granted great respect in modern times by those who side with both views; by the more kabbalistic segments of Judaism he is regarded as a great kabbalist; those who take the other side of the issue regard him as a strict advocate of the people of Israel's historical monotheism.

The Shema

Judaism's earliest history, beliefs, laws, and practices are preserved and taught in the Torah (the Hebrew Bible) which provides a clear textual source for the rise and development of what is named Judaism's Ethical Monotheism which means that:

(1) There is one God from whom emanates one morality for all humanity. (2) God's primary demand of people is that they act decently toward one another...The God of ethical monotheism is the God first revealed to the world in the Hebrew Bible. Through it, we can establish God's four primary characteristics:
  1. God is supernatural.
  2. God is personal.
  3. God is good.
  4. God is holy.
...in the study of Hebrew history: Israel's monotheism was an ethical monotheism. Dennis Prager

When Moses returned with the Ten Commandments, the second of those stated that "you shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3), right after the first, which affirmed the existence of God. Furthermore, Israelites recite the Shema Yisrael ("Hear O' Israel") which partly says, "Hear, O' Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." Monotheism was and is the central tenet of the Israelite and the Jewish religion.

The Shema
Hebrew שמע ישראל יי אלהנו יי אחד
Common transliteration Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad
English Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God! The LORD is One!

The literal word meanings are roughly as follows:

  • Shema — 'listen' or 'hear.' The word also implies comprehension.
  • Yisrael — 'Israel', in the sense of the people or congregation of Israel
  • Adonai — often translated as 'Lord', it is used in place of the Tetragrammaton
  • Eloheinu — 'our God', a plural noun (said to imply majesty rather than plural number) with a pronominal suffix ('our')
  • Echad — 'one'

In this case, Elohim is used in the plural as a form of respect and not polytheism.

Gen.1:26 And Elohim said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Elohim is morphologically plural in form in Hebrew, but generally takes singular agreement when it refers to the God of Israel (so the verb meaning "said" in this verse is vayyomer ויאמר with singular inflection, and not vayyomru ויאמרו with plural inflection), and yet in this case the "our" and "us" seems to create a presumption of plurality, though it may just be God talking to angels and not another god.

Judaism, however, insists that the "LORD is One," as in the Shema, and at least two interpretations exist to explain the Torah's use of the plural form. The first is that the plural form "Elohim" is analogous to the royal plural as used in English. The second is that, in order to set an example for human kings, Elohim consulted with his court (the angels, just created) before making a major decision (creating man).

Christian view

Most Christians believe in the Trinity, an idea which does not conform to unitarian monotheistic beliefs. Historically, most Christian churches have taught that the nature of God is a mystery, in the original, technical meaning; something that must be revealed by special revelation rather than deduced through general revelation. Among Early Christians there was considerable debate over the nature of Godhead, with some factions arguing for the deity of Jesus and others calling for a unitarian conception of God. These issues of Christology were to form one of the main subjects of contention at the First Council of Nicea.

The First Council of Nicaea, held in Nicaea in Bithynia (in present-day Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325, was the first ecumenical[13] conference of bishops of the Christian Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent 'general (ecumenical) councils of Bishops' (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy— the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.

The purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements in the Church of Alexandria over the nature of Jesus in relationship to the Father; in particular, whether Jesus was of the same substance as God the Father or merely of similar substance. St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position; the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arian controversy comes, took the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250-318 attendees, all but 2 voted against Arius).

Christian orthodox traditions (Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical) follow this decision, which was codified in 381 and reached its full development through the work of the Cappadocian Fathers. They consider God to be a triune entity, called the Trinity, comprising the three "Persons" God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the three of this unity are described as being "of the same substance" (ὁμοούσιος). The true nature of an infinite God, however, is beyond definition, and "the word 'person' is but an imperfect expression of the idea and is not Biblical. In common parlance it denotes a separate rational and moral individual, possessed of self-consciousness, and conscious of his identity amid all changes. Experience teaches that where you have a person, you also have a distinct individual essence. Every person is a distinct and separate individual, in whom human nature is individualized. But in God there are no three individuals alongside of, and separate from, one another, but only personal self distinctions within the Divine essence, which is not only generically, but also numerically, one."[14]

Some critics contend that because of the adoption of a tripartite conception of deity, Christianity is actually a form of Tritheism or Polytheism. This concept dates from the teachings of the Alexandrian Church, which claimed that Jesus, having appeared later in the Bible than his "Father," had to be a secondary, lesser, and therefore "distinct" God. This controversy led to the convention of the Nicean council in 325 CE. For Jews and Muslims, the idea of God as a trinity is heretical - it is considered akin to polytheism. Christians overwhelmingly assert that monotheism is central to the Christian faith, as the very Nicene Creed (among others) which gives the orthodox Christian definition of the Trinity does begin with: "I believe in one God".

Some Christians eschew mainstream trinitarian theology; such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, the Unitarians, Christadelphians, Church of God General Conference (Abrahamic Faith), Socinian and some of the Radical Reformers (Anabaptists), do not teach the doctrine of the Trinity at all. The Oneness Pentecostals believe the doctrine of the Trinity is not orthodox theology, and they adhere to the teachings of the Apostles from the times of the New Testament writings before the Council of Nicaea, which taught that God is a Spirit and is one, and Jesus was the visible manifestation of that Spirit. [15]

Islamic view

The holy book of Islam, the Qur'an, asserts the existence of a single and absolute truth that transcends the world; a unique and indivisible being who is independent of the creation.[16] The indivisibility of God implies the indivisibility of God's (called Allah in Arabic) sovereignty which in turn leads to the conception of the universe as just, coherent and moral rather than as an existential and moral chaos(as in polytheism). Similarly the Qur'an rejects the binary modes of thinking such as the idea of a duality of God by arguing that both good and evil generate from God's creative act and that evil forces have no power to create anything. God in Islam is a universal god rather than a local, tribal or parochial one; an absolute who integrates all affirmative values and brooks no evil.[17]

Tawhid constitutes the foremost article of the Muslim profession.[18] To attribute divinity to a created entity is the only unpardonable sin mentioned in the Qur'an.[17] Muslims believe that the entirety of the Islamic teaching rests on the principle of Tawhid (Oneness of God).[19]

Bahá'í view

The Oneness of God is one of the core teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá'ís believe that there is one supernatural being, God, who has created all existence. God is described as "a personal God, unknowable, inaccessible, the source of all Revelation, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent and almighty."[20]

Bahá'ís believe that although people have different concepts of God and his nature, and call him by different names, everyone is speaking of the same entity. God is taught to be a personal god in that God is conscious of his creation and has a mind, will and purpose. At the same time the Bahá'í teachings state that God is too great for humans to fully understand him or to create a complete and accurate image of him. Bahá'u'lláh teaches that human knowledge of God is limited to those attributes and qualities which are understandable to us, and thus direct knowledge about the essence of God is not possible. Bahá'ís believe, thus, that through daily prayer, meditation, and study of revealed text they can grow closer to God. The obligatory prayers in the Bahá'í Faith involve explicit monotheistic testimony.[21][22]

Chinese view

Shang Dynasty bronze script character for tian (天), which translates to Heaven and sky.

The orthodox faith system held by most dynasties of China since at least the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC) until the modern period centered on the worship of Shangdi (literally "Above Sovereign", generally translated as "God") or Heaven as an omnipotent force.[23] This faith system pre-dated the development of Confucianism and Taoism and the introduction of Buddhism and Christianity. It has features of monotheism in that Heaven is seen as an omnipotent entity, endowed with personality but no corporeal form. From the writings of Confucius in the Analects, we find that Confucius himself believed that Heaven cannot be deceived, Heaven guides people's lives and maintains a personal relationship with them, and that Heaven gives tasks for people to fulfill in order to teach them of virtues and morality.[23] However, this faith system was not truly monotheistic since other lesser gods and spirits, which varied with locality, were also worshiped along with Shangdi. Still, variants such as Mohism approached high monotheism, teaching that the function of lesser gods and ancestral spirits is merely to carry out the will of Shangdi, akin to angels in Western civilization. In Mozi's Will of Heaven (天志), he writes:

"I know Heaven loves men dearly not without reason. Heaven ordered the sun, the moon, and the stars to enlighten and guide them. Heaven ordained the four seasons, Spring, Autumn, Winter, and Summer, to regulate them. Heaven sent down snow, frost, rain, and dew to grow the five grains and flax and silk that so the people could use and enjoy them. Heaven established the hills and rivers, ravines and valleys, and arranged many things to minister to man's good or bring him evil. 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 has been so from antiquity to the present."

且吾所以知天之愛民之厚者有矣,曰以磨為日月星辰,以昭道之;制為四時春秋冬夏,以紀綱之;雷降雪霜雨露,以長遂五穀麻絲,使民得而財利之;列為山川谿谷,播賦百事,以臨司民之善否;為王公侯伯,使之賞賢而罰暴;賊金木鳥獸,從事乎五穀麻絲,以為民衣食之財。自古及今,未嘗不有此也。

Will of Heaven, Chapter 27, Paragraph 6, ca. 5th Century BC

Worship of Shangdi and Heaven in ancient China includes the erection of shrines, the last and greatest being the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, and the offering of prayers. The ruler of China in every Chinese dynasty would perform annual sacrificial rituals to Shangdi, usually by slaughtering a completely healthy bull as sacrifice. Although its popularity gradually diminished after the advent of Taoism and Buddhism, among other religions, its concepts remained in use throughout the pre-modern period and have been incorporated in later religions in China, including terminology used by early Christians in China.

Indian religions

Hinduism

In Hinduism, views are broad and range from monism, pantheism to panentheism – alternatively called monistic theism by some scholars – to monotheism (also see Hindu denominations). Hinduism is often misrepresented as polytheistic.

Rig Veda 1.164.46,

Indraṃ mitraṃ varuṇamaghnimāhuratho divyaḥ sa suparṇo gharutmān,
ekaṃ sad viprā bahudhā vadantyaghniṃ yamaṃ mātariśvānamāhuḥ
"They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutmān.
To what is One, sages give many a title they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan."(trans. Griffith)

Vaishnavism is one of the earliest implicit manifestations of monotheism in the traditions of Vedas. Svayam Bhagavan is a Sanskrit term for the original deity of the Supreme God worshiped across many traditions of the Vaishnavism, the monotheistic absolute deity. This term is often applied to Krishna in some branches of Vaishnavism.[24][25][26] Traditions of Gaudiya Vaishnavas, the Nimbarka Sampradaya and followers of Swaminarayan and Vallabha considers him to be the source of all avataras,[27] and the source of Vishnu himself, or to be the same as Narayana. As such, he is therefore regarded as Svayam Bhagavan.[24][25][28]

When Krishna is recognized to be Svayam Bhagavan, it can be understood that this is the belief of Gaudiya Vaishnavism,[29] the Vallabha Sampradaya,[30] and the Nimbarka Sampradaya, where Krishna is accepted to be the source of all other avatars, and the source of Vishnu himself. This belief is drawn primarily "from the famous statement of the Bhagavatam"[31](1.3.28).[32] A different viewpoint differing from this theological concept is the concept of Krishna as an avatara of Narayana or Vishnu. It should be however noted that although it is usual to speak of Vishnu as the source of the avataras, this is only one of the names of the God of Vaishnavism, who is also known as Narayana, Vasudeva and Krishna and behind each of those names there is a divine figure with attributed supremacy in Vaishnavism.[33]

The Rig Veda, the very first book, discusses monotheistic thought. So does Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda.[citation needed]

"The One Truth, sages know by many names" (Rig Veda 1.164.46)[34]

"When at first the unborn sprung into being, He won His own dominion beyond which nothing higher has been in existence" (Atharva Veda 10.7.31)[35]

"There is none to compare with Him. There is no parallel to Him, whose glory, verily, is great." (Yajur Veda 32.3)[36]

The number of auspicious qualities of God are countless, with the following six qualities being the most important:

  • Jñāna (Omniscience), defined as the power to know about all beings simultaneously
  • Aishvarya (Sovereignty, derived from the word Ishvara), which consists in unchallenged rule over all
  • Shakti (Energy), or power, which is the capacity to make the impossible possible
  • Bala (Strength), which is the capacity to support everything by will and without any fatigue
  • Vīrya (Vigor), which indicates the power to retain immateriality as the supreme being in spite of being the material cause of mutable creations
  • Tejas (Splendor), which expresses His self-sufficiency and the capacity to overpower everything by His spiritual effulgence[37]

In the Shaivite tradition, the Shri Rudram (Sanskrit श्रि रुद्रम्), to which the Chamakam (चमकम्) is added by scriptural tradition, is a Hindu stotra dedicated to Rudra (an epithet of Shiva), taken from the Yajurveda (TS 4.5, 4.7).[38][39]. Shri Rudram is also known as Sri Rudraprasna, Śatarudrīya, and Rudradhyaya. The text is important in Vedanta where Shiva is equated to the Universal supreme God. The hymn is an early example of enumerating the names of a deity,[40] a tradition developed extensively in the sahasranama literature of Hinduism.

The Nyaya school of Hinduism has made several arguments regarding a monotheistic view. The Naiyanikas have given an argument that such a god can only be one. In the Nyaya Kusumanjali, this is discussed against the proposition of the Mimamsa school that let us assume there were many demigods (devas) and sages (rishis) in the beginning, who wrote the Vedas and created the world. Nyaya says that:

[If they assume such] omniscient beings, those endowed with the various superhuman faculties of assuming infinitesimal size, and so on, and capable of creating everything, then we reply that the law of parsimony bids us assume only one such, namely Him, the adorable Lord. There can be no confidence in a non-eternal and non-omniscient being, and hence it follows that according to the system which rejects God, the tradition of the Veda is simultaneously overthrown; there is no other way open.

[citation needed]

In other words, Nyaya says that the polytheist would have to give elaborate proofs for the existence and origin of his several celestial spirits, none of which would be logical, and that it is more logical to assume one eternal, omniscient god.[citation needed]

Sikhism

Sikhism is a strict monotheistic faith (with some panentheistic features) that arose in northern India during the 16th and 17th centuries. Sikhs believe in one, timeless, omnipresent, supreme creator. The opening verse of the Guru Granth Sahib, known as the Mool Mantra signifies this:

Punjabi: ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
Transliteration: Ik ōaṅkār(or ikoo) sat nām karatā purakh nirabha'u niravair akāl mūrat ajūnī saibhaṁ gur prasād.
English: One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Timeless One, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace ~

The word "ੴ" is pronounced "Ik ōaṅkār" and is comprised to two parts. The first part is simply: "੧" - This is simply the digit "1" in Gurmukhi signifying the singularity of the creator. Together the word means: "There is only one creator god"

It is often said that the 1430 pages of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib are all expansions on the Mool Mantra. Although the Sikhs have many names for God some of which have derived from Hinduism and Islam, they all refer to the same supreme being. The Islamic holy saints and Hindu saints are revered in high esteem and there teachings are mostly followed and recited during the Sikh prayers.

The Sikh holy scriptures refer to the One God who pervades the whole of space and is the creator of all beings in the universe. The following quotation from the Guru Granth Sahib highlights this point:

"Chant, and meditate on the One God, who permeates and pervades the many beings of the whole Universe. God created it, and God spreads through it everywhere. Everywhere I look, I see God. The Perfect Lord is perfectly pervading and permeating the water, the land and the sky; there is no place without Him."
Guru Granth Sahib, Page 782

Sikhs believe that God has been given many names, but they all refer to the One God VāhiGurū. The word Guru means teacher in Sanskrit. Sikhs believe that members of other religions such as Islam, Hinduism and Christianity all worship the same god, and the names Allah, Hari, Raam, Paarbrahm and Krishna are frequently mentioned in the Sikh holy scriptures. The Sikh god is known as the Akal Purakh (which means "the true immortal") or Waheguru, the primal being.

Notes

  1. ^ “Monotheism”, in Britannica, 15th ed. (1986), 8:266.
  2. ^ Edward Washburn Hopkins (1896). THE RELIGIONS OF INDIA. Jr. Ginn & Co. pp. 204. http://books.google.ie/books?id=Dj33XvXqJO8C. 
  3. ^ The Orthodox Church. Ware, Timothy. Penguin Books, 1997. ISBN 0-14-014656-3
  4. ^ Monos, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
  5. ^ Theos, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
  6. ^ The compound μονοθεισμός is current only in Modern Greek. There is a single attestation of μονόθεον in a Byzantine hymn (Canones Junii 20.6.43; A. Acconcia Longo and G. Schirò, Analecta hymnica graeca, vol. 11 e codicibus eruta Italiae inferioris. Rome: Istituto di Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici. Università di Roma, 1978)
  7. ^ R.G.Vincent, "Monotheism (in the Bible)" in New Catholic Encyclopedia, (1967), 9:1066.
  8. ^ http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=1&CHAPTER=12
  9. ^ http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=1&CHAPTER=13
  10. ^ http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=1&CHAPTER=15
  11. ^ http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=1&CHAPTER=18
  12. ^ http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=1&CHAPTER=22
  13. ^ Ecumenical, from Koine Greek oikoumenikos, literally meaning worldwide but generally assumed to be limited to the Roman Empire as in Augustus' claim to be ruler of the oikoumene/world; the earliest extant uses of the term for a council are Eusebius' Life of Constantine 3.6 [1] around 338 "σύνοδον οἰκουμενικὴν συνεκρότει" (he convoked an Ecumenical council), Athanasius' Ad Afros Epistola Synodica in 369 [2], and the Letter in 382 to Pope Damasus I and the Latin bishops from the First Council of Constantinople[3]
  14. ^ Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, page 87
  15. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oneness_Pentecostalism#Father.2C_Son_and_Holy_Spirit
  16. ^ Vincent J. Cornell, Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol 5, pp.3561-3562
  17. ^ a b Asma Barlas, Believing Women in Islam, p.96
  18. ^ D. Gimaret, Tawhid, Encyclopedia of Islam
  19. ^ Ramadan (2005), p.230
  20. ^ Effendi, Shoghi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 139. ISBN 0877430209. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/GPB/gpb-9.html#gr26. 
  21. ^ Smith, P. (1999). A Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1851681841. 
  22. ^ Momen, M. (1997). A Short Introduction to the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: One World Publications. ISBN 1851682090. http://bahai-library.com/?file=momen_short_introduction_bahais. 
  23. ^ a b Homer H. Dubs, "Theism and Naturalism in Ancient Chinese Philosophy," Philosophy of East and West, Vol. 9, No. 3/4, 1959
  24. ^ a b Delmonico, N. (2004). "The History Of Indic Monotheism And Modern Chaitanya Vaishnavism". The Hare Krishna Movement: the Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&id=mBMxPdgrBhoC&oi=fnd&pg=PA31&dq=Vaisnava+monotheism&ots=r4RVWf2w7X&sig=ml4nbiFNep6SCtqVbOZsCv5s6g0. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  25. ^ a b Elkman, S.M.; Gosvami, J. (1986). Jiva Gosvamin's Tattvasandarbha: A Study on the Philosophical and Sectarian Development of the Gaudiya Vaisnava Movement. Motilal Banarsidass Pub. 
  26. ^ Klostermaier, K. (1974). "The Bhaktirasamrtasindhubindu of Visvanatha Cakravartin". Journal of the American Oriental Society 94 (1): 96–107. doi:10.2307/599733. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0279(197401%2F03)94%3A1%3C96%3ATBOVC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-E. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  27. ^ Bhagawan Swaminarayan bicentenary commemoration volume, 1781-1981. p. 154: ...Shri Vallabhacharya [and] Shri Swaminarayan... Both of them designate the highest reality as Krishna, who is both the highest avatara and also the source of other avataras. To quote R. Kaladhar Bhatt in this context. "In this transcendental devotieon (Nirguna Bhakti), the sole Deity and only" is Krishna. New Dimensions in Vedanta Philosophy - Page 154, Sahajānanda, Vedanta. 1981
  28. ^ Dimock Jr, E.C.; Dimock, E.C. (1989). The Place of the Hidden Moon: Erotic Mysticism in the Vaisnava-Sahajiya Cult of Bengal. University Of Chicago Press.  page 132
  29. ^ Kennedy, M.T. (1925). The Chaitanya Movement: A Study of the Vaishnavism of Bengal. H. Milford, Oxford university press. 
  30. ^ Flood, Gavin D. (1996). An introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 341. ISBN 0-521-43878-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=KpIWhKnYmF0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=gavin+flood&sig=q_waAYpO_WokCivKS2OtlwsG2dw#PPA118,M1. Retrieved 2008-04-21. "Early Vaishnava worship focuses on three deities who become fused together, namely Vasudeva-Krishna, Krishna-Gopala, and Narayana, who in turn all become identified with Vishnu. Put simply, Vasudeva-Krishna and Krishna-Gopala were worshiped by groups generally referred to as Bhagavatas, while Narayana was worshipped by the Pancaratra sect."
  31. ^ Gupta, Ravi M. (2007). Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami. Routledge. ISBN 0415405483. 
  32. ^ Essential Hinduism S. Rosen, 2006, Greenwood Publishing Group p.124 ISBN 0275990060
  33. ^ Matchett, Freda (2000). Krsna, Lord or Avatara? the relationship between Krsna and Visnu: in the context of the Avatara myth as presented by the Harivamsa, the Visnupurana and the Bhagavatapurana. Surrey: Routledge. p. 4. ISBN 0-7007-1281-X. 
  34. ^ Rig Veda: A Metrically Restored Text with an Introduction and Notes, HOS, 1994
  35. ^ Atharva Veda: Spiritual & Philosophical Hymns
  36. ^ Shukla Yajur Veda: The transcendental "That"
  37. ^ Tapasyananda (1991). Bhakti Schools of Vedānta. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math. ISBN 8171202268. http://books.google.com/books?id=Q_VtAAAACAAJ. 
  38. ^ For an overview of the Śatarudriya see: Kramrisch, pp. 71-74.
  39. ^ For a full translation of the complete hymn see: Sivaramamurti (1976)
  40. ^ For the Śatarudrīya as an early example of enumeration of divine names, see: Flood (1996), p. 152.

Further reading

  • Dever, William G.; (2003). Who Were the Early Israelites?, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Silberman, Neil A.; and colleagues, Simon and Schuster; (2001) The Bible Unearthed New York.
  • Whitelam, Keith; (1997). The Invention of Ancient Israel, Routledge, New York.
  • Hans Köchler, The Concept of Monotheism in Islam and Christianity. Vienna: Braumüller, 1982. ISBN 3-7003-0339-4 (Google Print)
  • Ilya Leibowitz,Monotheism in Judaism as a Harbinger of Science,Eretz Acheret Magazine

See also

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Monotheism is the worship of one god.

Sourced

  • Monotheism occupies so large a space in the view of modern minds, that it is scarcely possible to form a just estimate of the preceding phases of the theological philosophy.
  • Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

See also

External links

Wikipedia
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Look up Monotheism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Simple English

Monotheism is the belief in only one god, rather than two or more, which would be polytheism. Some religions are monotheistic, for instance the three major Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Other websites

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