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Can someone please rewrite this paragraph under the main topic? As it is written, the paragraph is grammatically confusing. I would fix it myself, but it is so convoluted that I don't know what the author is trying to say. I think the author is saying that Polytheism is a type of theism that contrasts with monotheism, which is the belief in a singular god (not capitalized), which, in most cases is transcendent.

its the belief in many gods

"It is a type of theism. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism, the belief in a singular God, in most cases transcendent. Polytheists do not always worship all the gods equally, but can be henotheists, specializing in the worship of one particular deity. Other polytheists can be kathenotheists, worshiping different deities at different times." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jaaches (talkcontribs) 21:27, 6 January 2015 (UTC)


I've had to re write most of the section on Hard/Soft Polytheism and compltetely delete the innaccurate references to Neoplatonism as the section had been vandalised. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:55, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I note that the entry on hard-polytheism has been edited and the current discription is very inaccurate and misleading. Hard-Polytheism is essentially the belief that the Gods are distinct and seperate divine beings, this is usually taken to mean that the Gods are not aspects or manifestations of one God, or that Gods of different pantheons cannot be identified with each other. This can be taken in two ways exclusivistically; the Gods of other religions either don't exist, are daemons or are lessser divine beings, or Pluralistically; the Gods of other religions are just other Gods and there are many Pantheons. Ehumerism is a really bad example for Hard-Polytheism as also the equation with atheism, as most Hard-Polytheists believe the Gods are real divine beings.

I think the entry was deleted as there were no references this was possibly because Hard-Polytheism is something that has largley evolved on message boards. There are now articles in print.

If there are no objections, I'll try to find some references and edit the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:46, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Are there any reliable sources for hard and soft polytheism? I know the phrases are used, but that is simply anecdotal and there does not seem to be a reliable authoritative source for these identifiers. Since this is an old issue, I suggest deleting the commentary on hard and soft polytheism. -- (talk) 20:41, 18 February 2010 (UTC)


It is athe convention among polytheists to capitalise the noun 'God' in reference to a particular deity but use lower case when refering to divinty or godhood ie god. I've edited the article to reflect this.

In the editing of the current article (Oct. 16, 1:19) the author has reverted the capitalisation, despite of the last comment on capitalisation (which he had not read). Still, the same comment can be said about the reversion of capitalisation: in many cases, no specified particular deities were mentioned, and when this was the case, it would be confusing for the reader to see god capitalised in one sentence, and not capitalised in the next. Furthermore, in comparison to other articles (such as monotheism) it is aesthetically better, since most pages, which mention a plural of gods, do not use capitalisation; in general the author has no specific aversion to the capitalisation of the word god, but he has an aversion to the absence of consistency on the whole site. Besides the reversion of capitalisation, the author has made some minor spelling/grammar adjustments (replaced dieties in line 1 with deities, reconstructing of the sentences in the middle part, to make it easier to read), poor information (the dominion, represnted by the ocean is not exactly claimed by Poseidon, but by Okeanos; Poseidon holds the seas (water?) and the water under land (Greek tended to think that even fixed land, not just island, floated on the seas, therefore, Poseidon was also the one who could create earthquakes)) and added information (do not confuse Brahman with Brahma). The author would also want to call about a whole review of the article, perhaps the article uses too many examples, which could make it look unproffesional and messy, the author hopes to have explained his motivation to change the article sufficiently.


I disagree also; Henotheism is a term coined by Max Muller in specific reference to Hindu religion and the way in which Hindu deities are beleived by their devotee to be the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent 'God' in a Theistic sense, the existence of other lesser deities or demi-gods notwithstanding. Also a degree of thological and philophical input into the concept is usual. Henotheism may be a form of Polytheism but the two terms are not identical.

I've removed the reference and link to henotheism in the 1st para, which should read - The belief in many Gods does not necessarily preclude, but it sometimes includes, the belief in an all-powerful all-knowing supreme being, as the ruler and parent (often king and father) of Gods and mankind; in this I was thinking about Zeus who is called 'all-powerful' & 'all-knowing' by Homer. As this dos'nt imply any philosophical or theological componant, like the Demiurge of Neoplatonism, and rather is purely mythological we should consider it polytheism pure and simple.

In context; The Isrealites were Monolotrous and not Henotheistic. MC

I disagree with this article. Henotheism is generally recognized as different from polytheism, for example, the ancient Israelites probably believed that many gods existed, although they only worshipped one; yet few call them polytheists for this belief. -- SJK

I think you are conflating two different issues, the Torah (first five books of the Tanach) is vague on whether the earliest Israelites were strict monotheists in the modern day understanding of the term, or whether they were henotheists. Some passages imply the former, but others may imply otherwise; in any case, the later books of the Hebrew Bible (Tanach) make clear that no other gods were real, period. Only the God recognized by the Jewish people was held to be extantg. Maybe you could argue that before, and perhaps during, the time of Moses, some Israelites were henotheists, but this is an issue still under study, and one not likely to generate any conclusions any time soon - if ever; in any case, the Tanach teaches a strict and zealous monotheism; the only god that Jews even accepted as existing was the Jewish God (YHVH). However, at certain times some (not all) later adopted the polytheistic beliefs of the surrounding nations, that is precisely why their strict monotheist Israelite neighbors became so incensed at them, and why the Bible attacks them in the harshest of terms. RK

Someone wrote - "IMHO, polytheism implies worship, not just belief" Not so. Most polytheists did not even attempt to pray to all the gods that they believed in, this was especially true of the ancient Greeks and Romans, who acknowledged the existence of a huge pantheon of gods - they even admitted that other pantheons existed! But they usually only worshipped a handful, and sometimes just one.RK

The ReligiousTolerance.Org website defines henotheism in this way:

Henotheism. belief in many deities of which only one is the supreme deity. This may involve: One chief God and multiple gods and goddesses of lesser power and importance. Ancient Greek and Roman religions were of this type; One supreme God, and multiple gods and goddesses who are all simply manifestations or aspects of the supreme God. Hinduism is one example; they recognize Brahman as the single deity. Some Wiccans believe in a single deity about which they know little, they call the deity "The One" or "The All." They recognize the God and Goddess as the male and female aspects of that supreme deity; One supreme God who rules over a country, and many other gods and goddesses who have similar jurisdiction over other territories. Liberal theologians believe that the ancient Israelites were henotheists; they worshipped Jehovah as the supreme God over Israel, but recognized the existence of Baal and other deities who ruled over other tribes.

Isn't this clearly variations on polytheism, and not monotheism? (If we want to keep this quote it will need to be properly cited and rewritten to address fair-use issues. RK

RK: Henotheism can be a form of polytheism, but in at least some forms it is closer to monotheism. Imagine some new sect of Judaism or Christianity or Islam (take your pick; hereafter JCI) called X. X believes all the doctrines JCI, with one difference: it believes in the existence of other universes, each with its own God. However, X believes that we cannot know anything about these other universes or Gods, and that it would be wrong for us to try to worship them. Other than this one new belief, X is identical to JCI. Now to me at least X is much closer to monotheism than polytheism.

Sure. But it depends on whom you ask; many Jews already believe that there may well be some sort of multiverse; this is a big issue in physics nowadays. Scientific American and Discover magazine has done a few articles on this topic. I think this question would be worth posing on the Jewish discussion form I am in, and maybe other on other forums can ask this as well. I am guessing that the Jewish answer would be that this belief system is polytheism nonetheless. RK

Secondly, monotheism and polytheism are not incompatible. Polytheism is incompatible with exclusive monotheism, but is more than compatible with inclusive or pluriform monotheism. Henotheism then is both monotheistic and polytheistic. -- SJK

Wow. This really raises the question of whether The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be classified as henotheistic. It sure sounds like it. --Dmerrill
What is inclusive monotheism and pluriform monotheism? I have never come across these terms before. The explanations I have seen so far sound like oxymorons. If you believe in more than one god, that polytheism, that is what the prefix "poly" means. I get the idea that there are people who are very uncomfortable with polytheistic belief systems, and want others to think of them as if they were the same as monotheists, but they are not; if people don't want to believe in the existence of one deity, we don't need to make them out to be monotheists. This rubs me the wrong way, in the same way that radical theologians such as Alvin Reines make atheists out to have the same belief system as theists! (Reine's book on theology is called 'Polodoxy').

I have never heard a LDS member confirm or deny that there are polytheists, but they do say that they believe in three distinct deities, not a trinity. Some Catholics and Jews view the Church of LDS as outright polytheistic.

RK: Inclusive monotheism is a common term, I believe; our main competitor (i.e. the Encyclopaedia Britannica) discusses it in its article on monotheism. Pluriform monotheism is a less common term, though Britannica also discusses it; I believe it primarily relates to certain African tribal religions -- it is the belief in several gods, but these are just differing forms of one divine substance.

I think your problem is you are treating exclusive monotheism, traditionally the most common form of monotheism in the West, as the only form of monotheism. Many ancient polytheists were monotheists -- they believed in many gods, but they also believed in one God transcending and incorporating the many gods. -- SJK

Henotheism; Polytheism v. Monotheism; Monism[edit]

Henotheism is worship of many Gods with an understanding that they essentially form part of one whole Truth. Max Mueller used this in describing the ancient Rig Veda of Hinduism which said " Ekam Sat, Vipraha Bahudha Vadanti" (Truth is One though the Sages see it as Many). Thus, polytheistic henotheism is a weird conjunction of words that doesn't make sense and completely goes against the whole point of why Mueller originally coined the word 'henotheism.' It's like saying a 'biped quadruped.'

Polytheism versus Monotheism is a real debate, but you seem to think that monotheism is some sort of ultimate and the most logical conclusion of theological thought. Polytheism is belief in multiple gods. Monotheism is a belief in one God. That's it. Binding concepts of unity DO NOT form a part of polytheism. Henotheism was a term specifically COINED because polytheism was an inadequate terminology.

Monism is the predominant Hindu concept that arose within the early four Vedas and was much more deeply expounded in polished format in the Upanishads, which are 'commentaries' or derivations of the Vedas, they form the key texts of the Hindu Vedanta movement (it is threefold, one which advocates extreme monism, the other two which are forms of monotheism). Brahman IS NOT an ultimate deity. A deity is a divinity with form who can be worshipped, that is not the case. Indeed, Brahman is beyond the Abrahamic concept of monotheism, one ultimate Creator God, since Brahman is beyond form, beyond attributes, without personality or sex, simply and only pure being-consciousness-bliss. Brahman is divine ground, the monad of which the self-projected cosmos is but a part, a lesser reality viewed through the lense of maya.

Monotheism and Monism cannot be seen as equal, the former espouses a view of theism, where there is a God, a singular-super being who is most commonly thought of as the Judeo-Christian god. The monist 'monad,' like the Hindu 'Brahman' (don't confuse with Brahma) is bereft of attributes, not even part of time and space, just pure awareness.

So, I finish by saying that there is no such thing as 'polytheistic henotheism' or 'henotheistic polytheism', Hinduism was never polytheistic, and Brahman is a monist concept, not monotheistic. --LordSuryaofShropshire 16:01, Mar 31, 2004 (UTC)

I’ve added a section on Hard Polytheism

Hard polytheists beleive that the Gods are distinct and seperate beings and are happy to beleive in the existence of the Gods of other peoples.

As well as a section on how polytheists view monotheism


In their refusal to acknowledge the Gods, monotheists were historically charged with atheism.

I’ve removed the doctrinal polemic against polytheism as inappropriate to a page devoted to polytheism.

(Meic Crahart)

I've removed the part on polytheists calling monotheists atheists since I don't know of any sources that make this claim. In fact, I know of sources that say the opposite was true for many societies (mainly in reference to religious tolerance in the Vikings and the evolution of ancient middle eastern religions), from what I've read most sources (including this article) refer to ancient polytheistic societies as open to new gods and rituals which wouldn't seem to make them inclined to calling monotheists atheists. However, yes, they could be refered to as atheists because they didn't worship their particular gods but that would carry on to other polytheistic pantheons as well making it not local to monotheism. Also, if some cultures did in fact do this then it should be changed to say that only certain ones did and, by the large, most didn't since evidence points to this conclusion. -DNewhall

I have always understood the term "atheist" to mean one who denies the existence of a god/gods/deity ... thus if one did believe in multiple gods (for example the Greek pantheon) but denied the existence of a competing pantheon (example the Norse pantheon) would this be aethism? - Low Sea —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:11, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Evolution of Modern Day Polytheism[edit]

We should add something on this topic. If time permits, I'll start a short paragraph. Ariele 13:56, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

WHEN DID POLYTHEISM ORIGINATE? Who were the first polytheists? Were they the Sumerians, or did another group come before the Sumerians that also believed in Polytheism? It would be so much easier to understand this article with some kind of timeline to reference to. Any ideas?

Polytheism probably goes back to the paleolithic, if cave paintings in France are to be taken as an indicator, the Sumerians were the first culture with writing however, so they were the first one we know of with certainty.--Rob117 21:40, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Polytheism, I think firstly originated in Ancient Egypt. The League of Crazy Men 11:17, 2 May 2006 (UTC)[edit]

This article uses the website as either a reference or a link. Please see the discussion on Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/ and Wikipedia:Verifiability/ as to whether Wikipedia should cite the website, jguk 14:07, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

After going through that I got the impression the only issue was with the editor jguk and an appeal to argument from authority. Given the site has recommendations from Encyclopedia Britannica, American Library Association, Schoolzone, TagTeacherNet I can't see any rational reason for Wikipedia not allowing its use. If you can't use a site recommended by the Encyclopedia Britannica then what pray tell what sites CAN you reference?!-- (talk) 10:12, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Soft or Hard[edit]

Under the section "Ancient Polytheism" it says " henotheistic Greek and the Roman Classical Pantheon of gods".

But then in the section "Gods and divinity" it says "The ancient Greeks believed that their gods were independent deities who weren't aspects of a great deity and did stand on their own. "

Okay, so which is it? The first statement says the ancient Greeks were henotheist/soft polytheists and the second statement say they were hard polytheists. Make up your mind.


Restoring pre-vandalized text, references, etc[edit]

I have restored the full version as of 07:30, 11 November 2005. Added directly after the vandal User: blanked most of the article was the following, which might be edited back in, in some form: Jenny Blain's 2004 article, <a href=">An Understanding of Polytheism</a>, published here with the author's permission, gives us the following insight:

"Polytheism refers to the honouring of 'many deities', each of whom is experienced and acknowledged as an independent, individual personality, not as an aspect or archetype of something else. Polytheist belief systems have a number of deities or sacred beings, some may have jurisdiction or governance over a large area, others may be associated with (e.g.) a particular river or town, or a particular family. Sacred beings may include spirits, wights, ancestors, 'small gods'. Often individuals within polytheistic cultures will form relationships with a small number of specific goddesses, gods, or other beings while acknowledging their kinship to other discrete entities who are important within the culture, cosmology, and landscape.

In polytheistic cultures, deities are experienced as complex personages. Many have particular skills or abilities but are not restricted to these. A goddess is unlikely to be, for instance, simply a 'goddess of grain' or a 'goddess of weaving', although she may have particular interest in these areas, just as a human musician is also a member of a family and a community, visiting shops and participating in political debates.

Most pre-Christian cultures of Europe, and indeed many cultures around the world, have been and in some cases remain polytheistic. Today many people in the 'Western' world are returning to polytheism. Often they will attempt to reconstruct or re-establish a specific pre-Christian belief system, by studying its history and archaeology, ancient writings (which may or may not be viewed as 'sacred texts'), and the cultures which embraced it, to recreate a living spirituality that works within today's world.

Examples of ancient texts include the Odyssey, Sumerian poems, or the Eddas - writings which make reference to deities and other non-human beings, and give insight into the worldviews of those who composed them.

Individual deities may be known by more than one name, just as human people may be known by different names or titles (Doctor, Dad, etc.) to different individual people. For instance, Odhinn has over 100 names in mediæval texts, and is a master of disguises, he remains distinct from other gods such as Thor or Vidar, just as a cousin who is an actor (taking many parts) is distinct from other relatives or members of the wider community (including other actors)."

please research project[edit]

are there many people in the world who believe in this religion? i have heard that many people in japan believe in polytheinsm...what would make a person think this way? is polytheism the same religion where you believe in certain things that uphold powers such as rock? how would a person be able to know if the rock that they are worshipping is the right one with the special powers??? it is all so confusing please help as soon as possible, i am an 11th grade student and i am doing a research project on polytheism and what it is about, so some input would help tremendously. thanks

You might also want to check out the Humanities Reference Desk - they're pretty good about helping out with stuff like this. Basically, polytheism isn't itself a religion, just like monotheism isn't a religion - it's a belief that underlies a lot of different religions, like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Polytheism underlies religions like Shinto and many Neopagan religions. I think with the bit about worshipping a rock, you may be thinking of animism. Animism isn't the same thing as polytheism, though some people are both polytheists and animinists.
People who grow up in Shinto households generally believe in polytheism for the same reason that people who grow up here believe in monotheism - because it's what they've always known and what the people around them believe. People who convert to polytheistic religions have a lot of different reasons. If you want to hear people's personal stories and be able to ask them questions about their reasons for being polytheistic, you might want to try the discussion boards at Beliefnet, especially the Shinto discussion board and the Lean about Neo-Paganism board. You can also read one person's story of why he is a polytheist here. - AdelaMae (talk - contribs) 02:51, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Hinduism as Not A Polytheistic Religion[edit]

I have removed the assertion that "this view of the religion is rejected by most Hindus" because it strikes me as highly dubious and as such should be backed up by an external reference if it is to be included, it may well be true of most Hindu scholars, but that's not to say the same is true of most Hindus... Polytheism is defined here as "belief in, or worship of, multiple gods or divinities". I am willing to be corrected by survey evidence or other hard facts, but I have a distinct impression that the overwhelming majority of Hindus believe in (and often worship) multiple divinities, that these deities are considered to be emanations of one ultimate Divine Ground devoid of personal characteristics is not a convincing counter-argument against their believers fitting this definition of polytheism. The atman within individuals, too, is an emanation of Brahman; is Hinduism then a monoanthropic religion?

This is not a place for original research or opinion via surveys. There is more than enough scholarly dispute on the characterization of Hinduism as polytheistic, including, on this talk page that citing it as an "example" of polytheism in the introduction is clearly a stretch. Please do not revert this without discussion. Puck42 (talk) 03:04, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

--Oolong 11:07, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

I think this article could still use some heavy editing to make it less controversial and represent Hindu beliefs more accurately.

--Oolong 14:35, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

What problems do you have, Oolong? In Advaita vedanta philosophy, the atman = brahman, but the fact that you seem to feel "individual atmans" is because of illusion. In reality there is only one atman, and it is Brahman himself. Just like the reflection of the moon falling on many bubbles appears to be many moons, similarly one atman appears to be many atmas. You seem to be that kind of a person who is solely interested in the end result, no matter how it comes. And Hindus also believe in one personal God with infinite qualities, he is Ishvar, aka Bhagavan. Whenever a Hindu makes an interjection, he says Hey Bhagawan! or Hey Ishwar -- O God! (less commonly); he never says Hey Bhagawano~ (the plural) or Hey devatao~ (o gods!). The deities are illusions, they are forms of Ishwar that he takes (in the mind of the devotee) to please the devotees.Cygnus_hansa 20:55, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Hi Cygnus. I'm not sure where you get this idea that I am the 'kind of a person who is solely interested in the end result'; I wonder if you have misunderstood what I am saying? My point is that there is an analogy between the apparent, but (in Hindu thought) illusory division between the souls of people, and the apparent multiplicity of deities. The deities are illusions, perhaps; but is not all of this an illusion, by the same token? As your say, our atman may be one, but does that mean we are going to stop talking about individual people, and say that the population of Earth is really only one? Maybe Ganesha is Durga is Kali is Vishnu is Shiva is Brahman, but are they not prayed to separately, if at all? Are they not seen as individual divinites, just as I am seen as a separate person from you? If yes, then it is a kind of polytheism we are talking about. Respectfully yours - Oolong 22:13, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
All gods are held to be aspects or manifestations of the same being, which is why some of the functions and names overlap (eg Indra and Parjanya). One may choose to worship any form(s) of the supreme being. --Grammatical error 20:12, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Let me guess. Oolong, do you work for any christian missionary which pays you to deride other religions. Your understanding of Hinduism is an insult to the 5000 year old culture of the great country, it is because of people like you that when I travel abroad, people ask me questions like- does your god have four hands, etc. I repeat again- there is only one god in hinduism- The brahman. Others are just interpretations of the supreme being. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aryaparis (talkcontribs) 03:51, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Just to throw more light to help you understand better- praying is just one way to reach god in hinduism. You can reach god in many other ways for example through music, dancing, meditation, etc. Different branches and tributaries of rivers flow in different ways but rejoin together in the ocean. Our religion is like that- you dont have to follow one single way to reach god. Please stop misinterpretation of our religion and stop insulting our culture. Respectfully yours- Arya —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aryaparis (talkcontribs) 04:00, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

It seems very simplistic to call Hinduism "Monotheistic". To the contrary, the "Monotheism" in Hinduism is similar to the "Monotheism" of Voodoo, Paganism, and a host of other beliefs with polytheistic tendencies, it also completely ignores the philosophical substance! Shankara was no monotheist, he was a monist. From my understanding of Vedanta philosophy, the Gods are as different as you and I are, however because all is transcendentally, metaphysically united, there is a unity there which encompasses us and all other people. Note that in the Gita, Arjuna asks Krishna (the absolute God) to return to a state of differentiation because he, Arjuna, is unable to comprehend the ecstatic experience of unified divinity in the moment. To say Shankara was a monotheist because he sees God as one and unified is like saying he doesn't believe in dogs because he says the material world doesn't exist. It's a gross oversimplification of his argument. Shankara's metaphysics revolves around a number of levels of consciousness, all with varying epistemological implications.

On the other hand, whereas Vedanta describes its absolute as something internal, as something regarding our consciousness, Islam, Christianity and Judaism (the faiths which defined "monotheism") see God as something external, his metaphysical unity is different from our own.

I think Hindus who try to argue that their religion is "monotheistic" are ignoring philosophical nuance simply because polytheism has a negative connotation, and monotheism has a positive one. Hinduism isn't "monotheistic" or "polytheistic", Hinduism is a broad set of categories (hindu, of course, a word coined by non-Indians!) that includes many monotheistic interpretations (totally separate from Vedanta, like Shiva monotheism and Vishnu monotheism) and local, polytheistic nature worship in other parts of India. I don't think monotheistic Hindus should seek to impose their definitions of their own religion on everyone else within that faith. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:34, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

If Hinduism isn't "polytheistic" why call it so in this article? Puck42 (talk) 02:57, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Hinduism is best described as panentheism or monism. No Hindu is confused bout the underlying unity in the forms of divinity, these as an imposition of Western ignorance, mainly coming from Christian theological viewpoints to call Hinduism polytheistic. Lol, what exactly is Shiva monotheism or Vishnu monotheism? Where did you come up with this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Puck42 (talkcontribs) 08:01, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
I guess you've never heard of Ram Swarup or Sita Ram Goel, just off the top of my head?
"I had an occasion to read the typescript of a book {Ram Swarup} had finished writing in 1973. It was a profound study of Monotheism, the central dogma of both Islam and Christianity, as well as a powerful presentation of what the monotheists denounce as Hindu Polytheism. I had never read anything like it, it was a revelation to me that Monotheism was not a religious concept but an imperialist idea. I must confess that I myself had been inclined towards Monotheism till this time. I had never thought that a multiplicity of Gods was the natural and spontaneous expression of an evolved consciousness." -- Sita Ram Goel
Just because many modern Hindus have become so "conditioned" by the Christian and Muslim invaders to think that "Monotheism = Good/Polytheism = Bad," it doesn't make it so. -- Bryon Morrigan -- Talk 12:59, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Hinduism is certainly not monotheistic, not in the sense of the Abrahmic religions. But it is not polytheistic either, in the way polytheism is generally understood. Scholars have variously used the terms henotheisn, panentheism and most recently cosmo-theism to describe Hindu beliefs. To blanket-label it polytheistic in the introduction (and to delete any corrections to it) is neither acknowledging the nuances of scholarship and is NPOV. Puck42 (talk) 02:57, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
This article does not "blanket label" Hinduism as ANYTHING. And your consistent denial that SOME versions of Hinduism are Polytheistic is not at all NPOV or supported by RS. Polytheism is, as Sita Ram Goel stated in the above quote, the "natural and spontaneous expression of an evolved consciousness", and Hindu Polytheism, while not exactly the "mainstream" in modern Hinduism, cannot simply be swept under the rug because of some modern Hindus' self-loathing enforced by centuries of colonialism and oppression by Monotheists, it should be celebrated, not hidden. -- Bryon Morrigan -- Talk 20:12, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Note: The new edits referencing some website called "Hinduism Facts" fail the WP:RS standard. --Bryon Morrigan -- Talk 20:05, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

I would prefer what is technically a bettere source, but in its absence I prefer this to nothing. A general check makes me think that the site contains a legitimate understanding of Hinduism and it is mentioned in the way it is to draw attention to the fact that it but one site, it may come within the range of WP:SELFSOURCE and it does come with a proper in-texr attribution. Jpacobb (talk) 20:29, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
This is what a "Reliable Source" looks like:
"The term polytheism can be applied to Hinduism in so far as there is a multiplicity of divine forms, from pan-Hindu deities such as Siva, Visnu, and Ganesa to deities in regional temples, such as Lord Jagannath at Puri, and deities in local village shrines. These deities are distinct and particular to their location; the goddess in a shrine in one village is distinct from the goddess in a different shrine. While most Hindus will regard these deities as distinct, many Hindus will also say they are aspects or manifestations of a single, transcendent God, some Hindus will identify this transcendent focus with a specific God, say Krsna or Siva, and maintain that the other deities are lower manifestations of this supreme God. Other Hindus will say that all deities are aspects of an impersonal absolute and that deities of mythology and the icons in the temples are windows into this ultimate reality. What is important is that the deities as icons in temples mediate between the human world and a divine or sacred reality and that the icon as deity might be seen as a 'spiritualization' of matter." (Gavin Flood, "An Introduction to Hinduism," Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999, p.14)
The above was one of the textbooks in a graduate-level class in Hinduism I took while earning my M.A. -- Bryon Morrigan -- Talk 22:50, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

First Commandment and the Origins of Judaism[edit]

Semantics aside, the 1st Commandment clearly indicates that the ancient Israelites believed in the existence of other gods and left the door open to the worship of lesser deities. (Thou shalt have no other gods before me.)-- LKS 5/10/06

That is far from a non-controversial claim. One might hold that "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" in no way implies that those other gods exist... iggytalk 18:26, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

The text speaks for itself and the implications are clear. One other note: Elohim is plural and a better translation would be "the gods".--LKS 5/10/06

All I am suggesting is that your particular interpretation is not the only one that has been given — similarly with Elohim (there are ways that both Christian and Jewish commentators who were aware of the plurality have dealt with it). Anyways, this is kind of irrelevant to the article as you are not going to be able to demonstrate, on a Wikipedia talk page, that the ancient religion at the root of Judaism was polytheistic. There are some scholars who believe the evidence inclines that way, there are others who don't. iggytalk 19:04, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Maybe a better approach to this topic would be to place polytheism within an historical context that tracks the development of religion from polytheism, through henotheism, to monotheism. For example, other gods were acknowledged, tolerated, and even worshipped by the ancient Israelites until monotheism was strictly enforced. Judaism's polytheistic roots and its epic struggle to become a purely monotheistic religion are the stuff of the OT.--LKS 5/10/06

This is one approach, but it does a disservice to the article on a couple of counts: (1) the thesis that ancient Judaism evolved along those lines is controversial at the least (except, I suppose, insofar as such a record can be traced within the Tanakh itself, but even here, the evidence is conjectural); (2) it is entirely too centered on Judeo-Christian development for a general article on polytheism (which encompasses many unrelated traditions across the world) — it is far from evident that all religions were initially polytheistic. I would recommend looking at some reputable sources before suggesting these kinds of changes. You will find that the issues are not as clear-cut as you make them. iggytalk 23:49, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

The OT explicity acknowledges the existence of other gods. The text supports this, as does the overwhelming body of archaeological evidence. Judaism is one example of the development of a religion from its pre-literate, multi-cultural polytheistic roots to a strict, literate monotheism. Reputable sources abound.

By and large, this topic is about the history of religion, the varieties of religious belief, and the evolution of religion. Polytheism appears to be one stage in this development, and Judaism is a good example of this progression.

This topic should not be used as a forum for defending a particular belief system. -- LKS 5/10/06

To be accurate, that isn't the first of the 10 Commandments for Judaism. Ten Commandments quotes it [slightly altered] as "I am the LORD your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery..." while the second commandment is "Thou shall have no other gods besides Me... Do not make a sculpted image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above..."

Yours is the Christian interpretation, which I don't think would apply as much - MW

Views presented as Buddhism[edit]

"The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon." This was the first quote that I thought of when I read the indic section. The article states that Mahayana Buddhism is considered by some as polytheistic, the only support it was given was a reference to devas, inaccurate understanding and misleading.

From Buddhist views on Devas..

  • Buddhist devas are not immortal. They live for very long but finite periods of time, ranging from thousands to billions of years. When they pass away, they are reborn as some other sort of being, perhaps a different type of deva, perhaps a human or something else.
  • Buddhist devas do not create or shape the world. They come into existence based upon their past karmas and they are as much subject to the natural laws of cause and effect as any other being in the universe, they also have no role in the periodic dissolutions of worlds.
  • Buddhist devas are not incarnations of a few archetypal deities or manifestations of a all-embracing pantheistic One. Nor are they merely symbols, they are considered to be, like humans, distinct individuals with their own personalities and paths in life.
  • Buddhist devas are not omniscient. Their knowledge is inferior to that of a fully enlightened Buddha, and they especially lack awareness of beings in worlds higher than their own.
  • Buddhist devas are not all-powerful. Their powers tend to be limited to their own worlds, and they rarely intervene in human affairs. When they do, it is generally by way of quiet advice than by physical intervention.
  • Buddhist devas are not morally perfect. The devas of the worlds of the Rūpadhātu do lack human passions and desires, but some of them are capable of ignorance, arrogance and pride, the devas of the lower worlds of the Kāmadhātu experience the same kind of passions that humans do, including (in the lowest of these worlds), lust, jealousy, and anger. It is, indeed, their imperfections in the mental and moral realms that cause them to be reborn in these worlds.

Buddhism is an east asian religion- Really?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aryaparis (talkcontribs) 11:32, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Buddhist devas are not to be worshipped. While some individuals among the devas may be beings of great moral authority and prestige and thus deserving of a high degree of respect, no deva can be a refuge or show the way of escape from saṃsāra or control one's rebirth, the highest honors are reserved to the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Saṅgha.

According to Buddhism, devas are just beings like you and me, but because they have accumilated more positive karma, they are reborn as devas, but they will die, and then they will be reborn again into a lower/higher state depending on one's karma. Devas != Gods. Buddhist do not accept/recognize gods/god. No gods/god = Not polytheistic.

Therefore, I'll change the Indic Religions views.. Make a different section, Hinduism and Buddhism. Anyone who have knowledge in hinduism should edit it and anyone with knowledge in buddhism can add to it. Monkey Brain 05:57, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Buddhism has a wide range of interpretations about this issue. Just see the articlr God in buddhism to you get an iddea. Pali buddhism was more psicological and philosophical in nature, but mahayana buddhism posits more importance on the idea of divinity and have a sphere of devotion. There is even the acceptance of a universal Buddha,that is preexistent and continuous originator of the karmic phenomena. Not to say that some Devas ARE worshiped as protectors of buddhism.

And note that differently from what the article posits,buddhism is not synonimous with atheism. Sometimes the content of sources is weak. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:26, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Is "Soft Polytheism" really Polytheism?[edit]

I'm not sure I like this trend of increasingly differentiating between "soft" and "hard" variants of polytheism. Firstly (and most importantly), I'm not convinced there is a reliable source which indicates that "soft polytheism" is a distinct approach to the concept of divinity, as opposed to merely being pantheism, atheism, or some other approach by another name. Secondly, even if "soft polytheism" exists, I seriously doubt it's of such importance to the article as to effectively refute more traditional (i.e. "hard") variants of polytheism. (For example, "Polytheism refers to the honouring of 'many deities', experienced and acknowledged sometimes as independent, individual personalities, and sometimes as archetypes or as aspects of some greater being. (italics added for emphasis)) Finally, if "soft polytheism" really is an important, documented phenomenon, it should probably have its own article... but again, that's only if these criteria are met. In any case, we really need some sources on this before we can proceed. -- SwissCelt 18:43, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

I concur. If deities are honored as part of a greater über-deity, then that's really monotheism. If deities are individuals, then that's polytheism.
*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 19:31, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
i agree. in any case, the structure described is clearly shown in the articles Monism and Panentheism. therefore, it isn't polytheism. Whateley23 02:29, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I also agree. You just can't make up a term "soft polytheism" to not offend those who want to use a monotheistic label for a polytheistic religion. If (Gods > 1) then you have polytheism. In Christianity the father and the son have independent minds, they converse with each other as separate individuals. One asks the other for help, they all may be members of the "Trinity Club" but the word trinity itself means 3 and 3 > 1. Christianity is Polytheistic. --Marcperkel (talk) 19:04, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

"polytheism" is a category applied by external observers anyway, so that it is really a matter of definition whether you want to include or exclude "soft polytheism". The problem is that polytheistic religions are not based on belief in the monotheist sense, but on ritual. You are a monotheist if you believe in God. But you are a polytheist if you perform certain rituals in honour of the gods. Theology or belief from the perspective of the polytheist doesn't usually enter the equation, or at least not figure prominently, so that the the "hard" vs. "soft" distinction, while possibly valid, is artificial in that it imposes a distinction not made by practitioners. You might find that if you apply a strict definition of polytheism as proposed by Septegram, you will end up finding that there isn't in fact such a thing as polytheism. Historical polytheists recognize the malleable nature of deities, as is evident in e.g. the interpretatio graeca of barbarian gods. The important part is that gods are actors in a mythology, it is not important that this mythology should be free of self-contradiction as a whole. It is, rather, no problem at all if a myth associated with one ritual is directly in contraditiction with a myth associated with another ritual, as long as you are not trying to perform both rituals at the same time (and perhaps not even then). dab (𒁳) 12:30, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

"But you are a polytheist if you perform certain rituals in honour of the gods." I would argue that belief in multiple gods is sufficient for one to be a polytheist. But more to the point, I agree that this "soft polytheism" is not even about polytheism. I think we're dealing with neologisms here, and the section on "hard and soft polytheism" should be rewritten to ditch the terms and instead expound a bit on the range of beliefs included in polytheism. We don't need neologisms for that. - Kathryn NicDhàna 20:10, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree. :bloodofox: (talk) 21:03, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
it is sufficient, of course, but not necessary. My point is that "belief" doesn't enter into it: "religious belief" is a monotheist concept, applied inappropriately to polytheism from a modern perspective, the concept corresponding to monotheist belief is polytheist practice. "Soft polytheism" may be a neologism, but it certainly applies to historical reality: it is certainly found in Hinduism and in Hellenistic polytheism, if not in all historical polytheism. I suspect that "soft polytheism" is in fact a retronym for "polytheism" pure and simple, and that "hard polytheism" is really a modern fallacy born of application of monothesist theology to polytheism. dab (𒁳) 09:56, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm afraid I must disagree. Strenuously, in fact. Someone who performs rituals in honor of deities in Whom s/he does not believe is not a polytheist; s/he is playacting. I think it's true that among polytheists belief isn't the big deal that it seems to be among monotheistic religions (although my knowledge of those is primarily of the Big Three Abrahamic faiths), but without some level of belief——anything from the Abrahamic "faith in things unseen" to Starhawk's "do you believe in rocks?"——then it's not a religious practice, it's pretending.
I do agree with earlier posters that if one sees different deities as aspects of a single über-deity, then one is a monotheist (I believe I said the same thing a while back).
I do not agree with a still-earlier poster that Christianity is polytheistic: I am a single individual, but sometimes find myself torn between two or more decisions. If I had multiple aspects, as some deities do, then those aspects might well argue amongst themselves as the poster apparently believes the Christian Trinity does, without actually making me multiple individuals. When "I" the employee want to work late to get a project done on time, while "I" the husband want to get home to have a night out with my wife, that doesn't render me two different people; it simply means I'm conflicted. Christianity is not a polytheistic religion.
*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 03:51, 27 February 2010 (UTC) (who was raised Christian, although it didn't stick)

Vandalism in Hinduism section[edit] edited this section adding the word "burrito" after the word "supreme" in reference to Shiva's divinity. I corrected it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jesucristo301 (talkcontribs) 18:30, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Abrahamic Religions: Christianity[edit]

Changed the description of Trinity to correspond to the definition given in the Trinity article, the older definition was more Sabellian than orthodox (i.e., Athanasian) Christian. Edtheist (talk) 08:34, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Mormon (LDS) as Polytheism??[edit]

No, they are not, whatever you herd about them, it was a lie. Mormon's believe the same thing as Christians, that God, is the only god, and that he has a son, named Jesus Christ, and that there is a holy ghost. Mormons are not polytheistic at all! (talk) 19:55, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Amendments to section on Christianity[edit]

 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:22, 4 October 2012 (UTC) 

For the sake of clarity, I've reworded the section on Christianity as a non-polytheistic religion. I felt the section came across as rather sermon-ish, and went into detail that I don't believe was entirely necessary. I've removed:

"This is not considered a form of polytheism because the Gospels repeatedly record Jesus as doing things that are reserved only for God—accepting worship, forgiving sins, working miracles under his own power—, referring to himself and his Father as being one and referring to himself as I AM—that is to say, I Am that I Am, Yahweh."

And replaced it with:

"This is not considered a form of polytheism in Christian theology since the Trinity consists of three different aspects of the same single God."

I've taken out the paragraph mentioning angels, since it seemed more concerned with which angels had names and which didn't, and didn't really address the question I assume arises from any mention of angels, which is "why are these powerful heavenly entities not treated as gods by Christians?" Unfortunately I don't feel qualified to answer that myself, but it could probably do with some attention from someone with a little more knowledge.

Finally, I've stripped down the third paragraph dealing with the intercession of saints. While the example of the Mormons being criticised for polytheism is a perfectly good one (if you know what I mean), I felt that the paragraph was becoming a little bogged down and I wanted to make it more general. - Laterensis (talk) 08:41, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Removed trinitarianism from opening section[edit]

Someone had included 'trinitarianism' in the opening list of polytheistic belief systems, it had been marked as 'dubious', but I've gone ahead and removed it. Assume Good Faith means I can't accuse whoever it was of a deliberate attempt to provoke dispute; but the nature of trinitarianism is a source of contention amongst Christian traditions. Many Pentecostal and conservative Christian groups do indeed consider a trinitarian view of God to be polytheism; however the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion and numerous other established Christian groups make a very clear distinction between recognising three gods (polytheism) and recognising God manifest in three different aspects (trinitarian monotheism).

Besides, the list only says that polytheism 'includes' the viewpoints mentioned, so it doesn't need to list all: even if editors strongly believe that trinitarianism is polytheism, the list is already long enough and we can afford to miss one out, the position with regard to the Trinity is also outlined further down the article anyway, with reasons why it does not constitute polytheism - so a statement at the top of the article saying that it is would be inconsistent. - Laterensis (talk) 14:01, 29 July 2009 (UTC)


This entire article lacks references. Faro0485 (talk) 16:30, 2 October 2009 (UTC)


Approximately how many of the world's inhabitants are polytheists now? – Alensha talk 23:37, 26 February 2010 (UTC)


I'm not convinced that the following

Wiccans specifically worship the Lord and Lady of the Isles (their names are oathbound). It is an orthopraxic mystery religion that requires initiation to the priesthood in order to consider oneself Wiccan. Wicca is a fertility witchcult that requires certain acts that are sexual in nature making it illegal for those who are underage to be initiated into the religion, they can, however, be seekers of the religion and search out a coven to guide them in a period of learning. Wicca emphasizes duality and the cycle of nature.

has any bearing on polytheism. The initial sentence (about which I have some quibbles, but not worth going into now) directly relates to polytheism, but the section quoted above doesn't seem to. Whoever added it may want to try to put it into the article on Wicca. Frankly, some of the comments above I find questionable, but my copy of Gardner is the Mercury Publishing edition, so the page numbers may not match. I don't have a copy of Hutton handy, and I haven't read Lamond at all. However, twenty-plus years of experience in the Pagan and Wiccan community do not jibe with this material. I wonder if the poster is perhaps expressing the point of view held by a subset of Wiccans as though it were universal.

Frankly, I'm strongly tempted to just delete the material quoted above, but I'm open to being talked out of it.

*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 05:10, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly agree. There is nowhere near a consensus on what constitutes Wicca, and I've had lengthy debates on the topic and while there are strong opinions and literature on the topic, the one clear fact about the 'initiatory' component of Wicca is that it is by far not a settled issue, despite having cited references. There are numerous respected authors such as Buckland and Valiente as well as a constellation of respected authors of less prominance that disagree with the suggestion that the one and only way to take the name "Wiccan" is through lineaged BTW initiatory tradition.
That said I also fully agree that the definition of Wicca as initiatory is irrelevant to the subject of polytheism and so I feel the controversy noted above has no bearing on this being an irrelevant comment. As such, and in the interest of 'being bold' I'm removing said comment. aremisasling (talk) 17:13, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Revisions 2012.07.09[edit]

  • Reinserted quotation marks around the "all gods are one god" comment associated with Dion Fortune. Since it is a quotation, and appears as such later in the article, they are appropriate. Also changed the "one God" to "one god," as the term "God" with an uppercase "G" is commonly associated with the Abrahamic deity, which is not necessarily what this expression means. Fortune capitalizes neither "god," "goddess," nor (to my surprise: my memory said otherwise) "initiator" in my edition of The Sea Priestess (Weiser, p226, trade paperback edition 1995, ISBN 0-87728-424-5).
  • Changed formatting of "Hard," "Soft," etc. to a more appropriate appearance.
  • Edited "misconception" remark to remove dogmatic statement that is not universally accurate; some hard polytheists may indeed recognize all deities as equally real. In fact, I would argue that this is the default position, but since I can't back that up with references I won't do so on the article's page.
  • Changed capitalization in the "Reconstructionism" section for consistency and encyclopedic format.
  • Moved reference to Serer religion from the lede to the section on Serer religion. However relevant it may be, I don't believe any particular religion should be referenced in the lede.

*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 06:17, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Rewrite or eliminate Christianity Section?[edit]

Much of this section has little to do with the subject of this article which is "polytheism" being an inadequate and badly sourced attempt to describe monotheistic trinitarianism. I am tempted to delete the whole section as "off-topic" but there are two possible fragments which might be salvaged: (i) the Jewish and Islamic reactions to trinitarian monotheism: (ii) the tritheistic theology of the LDS, this last is questionable in that the early documentation is very confusing and more recent material seems to be pushing doctrine in general into the background. If the section is not simply deleted, I would reduce it to a very brief statement of the central core of monotheistic trinitarianism which is linked to main articles and serves simply as a background for the Jewish and Islamic reactions and put the LDS as a separate section. Jpacobb (talk) 15:17, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Section on Neo-paganism doesn't make much sense[edit]

The section doesn't really talk about neo-paganism but goes off into "soft" and "hard" polytheism, these terms have very little acceptance in mainstream scholarship.

The section has already various objection tags inserted by others. Unless there is strong reason otherwise I will delete this section since it is not adding any value to the topic.Puck42 (talk) 04:07, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Source: Hinduism Facts[edit]

I have restored the information removed without explanation by Lklusener. I would prefer what is technically a better source, but in its absence I prefer this to nothing. A general check makes me think that the site contains a legitimate understanding of Hinduism and it is mentioned in the way it is to draw attention to the fact that it but one site, it may come within the range of WP:SELFSOURCE and it does come with a proper in-text attribution to indicate that its status. If the information is incorrect, correct information should be supplied and referenced. If it is correct but the source considered inadequate, then a better source should be given rather than information deleted. Jpacobb(talk) 20:29, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

The page in question is not RS, and looks like it was created by an elementary school child. Wikipedia requires scholarship by reputable sources, not some random website picked because it agrees with the editor's viewpoint. There are Monotheist Hindus, Monist Hindus, Polytheist Hindus, Pantheist Hindus, et. cetera, and no editor gets to "speak" for all Hindus. Furthermore, your language "affirms that there is One Supreme Being" is highly unbecoming of an editor on Wikipedia. Your Christian pro-Monotheist weltanschauung is not the "One Truth" and you cannot use Wikipedia to perform such "Missionary Work". -- Bryon Morrigan -- Talk 00:19, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
I tend to agree that the source is not suitable for use on Wikipeida, and what I read there seemed questionable or at best, oversimplified. ~Adjwilley (talk) 04:04, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Less sections?[edit]

The sections "Soft polytheism vs. Hard polytheism" and "Types of deity" could well be made subsections of the preceding sections "Terminology" and "Gods and divinity" which probably should be called "Gods and deities" anyway. Jpacobb (talk) 16:50, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Christianity and Mormonism?[edit]

What is this section doing in an article about Polytheism? Christianity and LDS at least claim to be monotheistic, so they seem a bit out of place here. Could somebody justify that to me, please? Luthien22 (talk) 15:42, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

The "off topic tag" is justified so far as Christianity is concerned. The one relevant passage would seem to be the sentence: "Some critics, especially among Jews and Muslims,[citation needed] contend that because of the adoption of a Triune conception of deity, Christianity is actually a form of Tritheism or Polytheism, for example see Shituf." I suggest a short introductory statement to the effect that
"Belief in one God, inherited from Israelite religion, was prominent in the thought of the earliest christian thinkers. The problem was how to integrate with it the additional information of the specifically Christian revelation including that conviction that God had revealed himself in the person of Jesus and through the sending of the Holy Spirit, the final solution of one God existing in three co-equal persons* was only formulated in 381 at the Council of Constantinople((ref = Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines A&C Black pp.97,98)) ((*note: "person" is used as a technical term and does not convey the modern idea of self-consciousness which the word now carries. (ref = Kelly p.115) ))
This could be followed by the sentence indicated above and the rest of the sub-section scrapped. If kept, it will need a good deal of editorial work to bring it up to standard.
So far as Mormonism is concerned, while the Book of Mormon affirms that God is one, the early leaders (Joseph Smith and Brigham Young) preached that there were many Gods and even that human beings could become G/gods. (Detailed quotations from originals in ´´The Four Major Cults´´ by Anthony Hoekema pp 34-39 Eerdmans 1963) and the early teaching is seems to be extremely inconsistent. I don't know enough about present day Mormonism to be able to say anything that is useful. Jpacobb (talk) 23:17, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Mormonism is a nontrinitarian Christian denomination, and because of this, the meaning and place of God in Mormonism is often unintentionally misunderstood, and/or intentionally misrepresented. There is one and only one God in Mormonism. Christ and the Holy Ghost are considered separate distinct entities, and with God they form a "godhead", but they are subordinate God, and derive their power and authority from their relationship with him; in Mormon cosmology, exaltation is a part of the plan of salvation, where mankind can return to live in God's presence in the Celestial Kingdom, continue there as families, and become "like God". This is where some polemic sources like to claim that Mormons believe they can become "Gods" (or "gods") and there has also been speculation and Mormon folklore about that in the LDS Church for well over 100 years, but it is not a settled point of doctrine exactly what becoming "like God" means. Asterisk*Splat 01:03, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Recent lede edits[edit]

Recent edits by have significantly changed the lede to introduce the idea that all polytheistic deities are either representatives of natural forces, ancestral pricniples, or emanations of one god. Clearly, this is not generally accepted by reliable sources, or universally true with regard to polytheistic religions, these lede edits significantly change the article's stance and require discussion before they are implemented. How do other editors feel?Rwenonah (talk) 14:30, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

The current version, that before my edits, is just confusing and not based on authoritative sources. The definition of Hinduism as "pantheism with polytheistic elements" is a confusing misuse of words. First of all, all -ism labels for belief in divinity are classifications created in the 17th century. Prior to that century there was no such a division, that has been enforced through a misuse of these words by common people in the latest century. All historical and modern religions that can be defined as "polytheistic" view the multiplicity of gods to be aspects or emanations of Divinity as it is manifest in various degrees in nature, the only theoretical distinction is between the Abrahamic religions which generally consider God to be transcendent and not manifest in nature, and all the other religions that consider God to be transcendent but also immanent (just immanent only in "pantheism"), producing the natural world in which he manifests. This is the truth taught by all natural religions.-- (talk) 19:09, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Consider that the Rigvedic texts, some of the most ancient texts of Indo-European religion, explain this monistic view. Other ancient written records are texts of early Greek philosophy, such as the fragments of Heraclitus. -- (talk) 19:15, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Yeah ... I don't know about religious truth. Nor am I especially concerned about the edits with regard to Hinduism - if you wanted to re-add those, I would have no objection, on the contrary, I entirely disagree that "All historical and modern religions that can be defined as "polytheistic" view the multiplicity of gods to be aspects or emanations of Divinity as it is manifest in various degrees in nature." That, to me, smacks of Judeo-Abrahamic attempts to make other religions seem like perversions of monotheism. Many polytheistic religions viewed gods as manifestations of natural forces or ancestral principles, but not all. Again, that sounds to me distorted by Abrahamic bias (i.e. seeking to differentiate monotheistic concepts of god from polytheistic concepts of gods). To say unequivocally that all did so is a narrowing of the article's focus I don't feel the lede needs. Also, how would, for example, Norse paganism fit that mold? Rwenonah (talk) 19:33, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
The Hindu conception of God/s varies from Hindu to Hindu, as do the interpretations of the Vedic scriptures describing what is often referred to as "Monism" in the West, usually by non-Hindus, or by Hindus deeply trying to impress Westerners. Wikipedia needs more Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel, and less reliance upon Western historians' perspectives on this matter, for example, when Hindus say that all Gods are one God...most Westerners also ignore the fact that, in that particular philosophical thread, all people are part of "God" as well. To compare this to Monism would be to say that all humans share some kind of "hive mind".
"I had an occasion to read the typescript of a book (Ram Swarup) had finished writing in 1973. It was a profound study of Monotheism, the central dogma of both Islam and Christianity, as well as a powerful presentation of what the monotheists denounce as Hindu Polytheism. I had never read anything like it, it was a revelation to me that Monotheism was not a religious concept but an imperialist idea. I must confess that I myself had been inclined towards Monotheism till this time. I had never thought that a multiplicity of Gods was the natural and spontaneous expression of an evolved consciousness." -- Sita Ram Goel
Monotheism and Monism have as much "relevance" to Hinduism as does the English language. There is no need to import non-Hindu elements into Hinduism, it is fine without them. --Bryon Morrigan -- Talk 02:21, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
In Norse religion the ordered universe of gods emerges out of Ginnungagap, void, as the world tree. Odin, who is the father (in Indo-European languages "father" means "master", "creator") of the gods is the principle of identification with the world tree. Norse religion is a pantheism. Basically, all Indo-European religions shared the same theology that is preserved nowadays in Hinduism.-- (talk) 17:10, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Byronmorrigan, I agree with your explanation, and with the need to overcome all these constructed "theisms".-- (talk) 17:25, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
You've rather convinced me. I support your edits, if you wish to re-add them to the article, with the caveat that the use of "most" rather than "all" might be less exclusive phrasing. "Creator deity" is also preferable to "One god", in my opinion. Rwenonah (talk) 01:09, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I have implemented the informations with the suggested modifications.-- (talk) 12:01, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Historical polytheism?[edit]

Why is polytheism considered historical? All the listed religions still exist today. It is terrible offensive that a US website that is supposed to be academic calls paganism "historic" and speaks in the past tense about it, and calls other religions "contemporary", this needs to be updated. (talk) 22:15, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Contemporary religions include those that have followers in the present day. Historical pagan religions do not qualify, since there are no surviving followers. Contemporary paganism, while "inspired by" historical paganism, is generally considered a distinct religious movement. (talk) 19:01, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Citing the Bible[edit]

The Bible and Book of Mormon are used as references for theological arguments in the Mormonism section, this is explicitly discouraged by Wikipedia policy, as these are primary sources. To quote from WP:PSTS: "All interpretive claims, analyses, or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary source, rather than to an original analysis of the primary-source material by Wikipedia editors". (talk) 19:51, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

I went ahead and deleted most of the unreferenced content from the section. (talk) 20:01, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Criticism section[edit]

Should there be a section or article that discusses criticism of polytheism? Love to help Wikipedia (talk) 16:35, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure what such a section would contain. Maybe you could post some sources that you think warrant inclusion? As far as I know nobody disputes that polytheistic religions exist. As for theological arguments, I think it is implicit that believers of the one true faith generally consider other belief systems to be incorrect, that doesn't really warrant mention in this article. Specific religious positions are covered in articles about that particular religion, for example Christianity and other religions discusses Christian positions on other religions. (talk) 18:55, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

This article needs a thorough cleansing[edit]

I propose to delete all the sections from "soft and hard polytheism" to "Wicca", since they are a mass of confused words, in most cases without a single source, the concept is well explained in the lede and all the rest is superfluous.-- (talk) 18:15, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

Move the article to Multitheism[edit]

According to the term Polytheism is regarded as dated. If this is true the article should be moved to Multitheism. --Gereon K. (talk) 08:36, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

No, you misread the Wikitionary entry. It is not saying that the word "polytheism" is dated; it is saying that the definition of "multitheism" to mean "polytheism" is dated. "Polytheism" is the current term that is always used, in both academic and popular writing. I have never heard anyone use the word "multitheism" to refer to belief in multiple gods and the Wikitionary entry says that its primary definition is as the existence of multiple different types of theisms within a society, which is complete different from a belief in multiple deities. --Katolophyromai (talk) 10:10, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
So it's rather that we're lacking an article about "multitheism" instead of implementing a redirect. --Gereon K. (talk) 10:39, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Katolophyromai, I have not encountered multitheism anywhere in the literature that suggests polytheism is no longer used. Without evidence to suggest this change, I think leaving polytheism as is would be accurate and prudent FULBERT (talk) 11:31, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
Agree with Katolophyromai. Paul August 11:39, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Katolophyromai I have not heard the term "multitheism," but "polytheism" is quite popular, particularly among polytheists (of which I am one, for full disclosure). *Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 23:31, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

I am asking because of this video: , uploaded by the Wikimedia Foundation. --Gereon K. (talk) 12:16, 10 January 2018 (UTC)