TheismGreek 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:
- 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
- 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)
- 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
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||theist||strong atheist||weak atheist||apatheist|
|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||Theist apatheist||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.