Theism: Definition, History, and Further Reading

Theism is a religious belief system that holds that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving God that created the universe and is actively involved in it. This belief is distinct from atheism, which denies the existence of any deity, and from polytheism, which posits the existence of multiple gods. Theism is a pervasive feature of many of the world’s major religions, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and has been a cornerstone of religious belief since ancient times.

The origin of theism is ancient and complex. Ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations, for example, believed in multiple gods, while ancient Greek and Roman religions posited a single, all-powerful god. Early Christianity, a monotheistic religion, developed from a combination of Jewish monotheism and Greek philosophy. During the Enlightenment, theism was challenged by the rise of skepticism and rationalism, which argued that human reason was sufficient to explain the universe. However, theism continued to be a major force in religious thought, and is still in widespread practice today.

Theism is an important area of research within the fields of religious studies, philosophy, and history. Further reading on theism includes:

Cox, J. (2019). Theism: A Critical Analysis. In S. W. Davies (Ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy of Religion (pp. 47–66). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

McGrath, A. (2013). Theism: A Guide for the Perplexed. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic.

Merricks, T. (2005). Theism and Universals. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Miller, E. L. (2015). Theism: An Overview. In E. L. Miller (Ed.), Theism and the Philosophy of Religion (pp. 1-25). New York, NY: Routledge.

Moody, J. (2015). Theism, Atheism, and the Nature of God. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Swinburne, R. (2004). The Existence of God. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

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