Difference between polytheistic and monotheistic religions

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difference between polytheistic and monotheistic religions

God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism by Jonathan Kirsch

As conflicts over religious extremism dominate our front pages, the bestselling author of The Harlot by the Side of the Road presents a work of history that could not be more timely: a surprising look back at the origins of religious intolerance during the tumultuous fourth century.

This is the epic story of how classical paganism, with its tolerance for many deities and beliefs, lost a centuries-long struggle with monotheism and its chauvinistic insistence on belief in one God. With his trademark blend of wit and scholarship, Kirsch traces the war of God against the gods from its roots in Ancient Egypt to its climax during the last stand of paganism the tumultuous fourth century, when two passionate, charismatic, and revolutionary Roman emperors, the Christian Constantine and the pagan Julian, changed the course of history and shaped the world we live in today.

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Ten Differences between Polytheism and Monotheism. 1 Reply preaches equality and egalitarianism, but maintains a religious hierarchy.
Jonathan Kirsch

Monotheism Vs. Polytheism

I thought of this topic as an adequate introduction to many others to follow. Before polytheism is considered and discussed in itself, it ought to be first distinguished from monotheism. The truth is, the word polytheist as well as pagan and heathen was actually invented by the ambitious monotheists in the time of Rome to set themselves apart from usual people who follow the ways of their ancestors. But now since we have unfortunately been reduced to a small minority, after many centuries of persecution and cruelty, we are forced to continue to use a term that almost acknowledges the victory of monotheism. At least polytheist is far superior to pagan, the latter a name of contempt levelled at polytheists not much different from infidel ; it is derived from paganus , a Latin word which means country dweller. In my future writings, I will take up or allude this essential topic again. No single person claimed to be a sole mediator.

Polytheism , the belief in many gods. Polytheism characterizes virtually all religions other than Judaism , Christianity , and Islam , which share a common tradition of monotheism , the belief in one God. Sometimes above the many gods a polytheistic religion will have a supreme creator and focus of devotion, as in certain phases of Hinduism there is also the tendency to identify the many gods as so many aspects of the Supreme Being ; sometimes the gods are considered as less important than some higher goal, state, or saviour, as in Buddhism ; sometimes one god will prove more dominant than the others without attaining overall supremacy, as Zeus in Greek religion. Typically, polytheistic cultures include belief in many demonic and ghostly forces in addition to the gods, and some supernatural beings will be malevolent; even in monotheistic religions there can be belief in many demons, as in New Testament Christianity. Polytheism can bear various relationships to other beliefs.

The nature of polytheism

Narrate your spiritual experiences in the Stories format. Egyptian Origins While polytheism is older than monotheism, both originated in ancient Egypt by the diktat of the ruling Pharaohs of that time. Over the centuries, many philosophers have put forth their ideas regarding the existence of god. But none truly capture the scope of this debate the way Greek sophist Protagoras does. While he did believe in the presence of a higher power, he did not think that humans with their scarce knowledge and short lifespans were capable of declaring whether god existed or not. Based on this dichotomy, two schools of thought emerged, namely atheism and theism.


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