ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Monotheism?

Updated on December 27, 2016

Monotheism, in religion, is the belief in one God. The equivalent term in philosophy is theism. Monotheism is opposed to atheism, belief in no God, and to polytheism, belief in many gods. It differs from pantheism, the belief that God is inseparable from the world, in holding that God is transcendent, outside the world.

At the same time it differs from deism, the belief that God has withdrawn from the world, in maintaining that he is immanent, or active in it.

The God of monotheism is, moreover, a personal being who can be imagined, although not understood, in human terms of power, wisdom, and love and who can be approached in prayer.

Thus he differs from an impersonal abstract principle, or Absolute, as in Greek (Aristotle), German (Hegel), and Hindu (Shankara) philosophy.

According to the three great monotheistic religions of the West-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-monotheism is the highest form of religion.

Some thinkers, however, consider the concept of a personal God a step toward the more sophisticated concept of an Absolute. Either way, monotheism has provided an intellectually and emotionally satisfying answer to many of man's eternal questions about the meaning of existence.

It has not, however, definitely explained the presence of evil in a universe created and ruled by a benevolent, omnipotent God.

Sources of Monotheism

Jews, Christians and Muslims traditionally have believed that monotheism was revealed by God to Adam, but that after the Fall mankind declined into polytheism, The biblical prophets and Mohammed labored mightily to remove these polluting influences and restore man's original faith.

This traditional view was challenged in the 19th century as a result of historical and anthropological research. Some scholars concluded that man's religious ideas have progressed from the animism of primitive societies through the polytheism of ancient and Eastern civilizations to culminate in the monotheism of the West. This historical view has been modified in the late 20th century. Some scholars have posited the existence of an original monotheism among primitive peoples.

Others maintain that some individuals in all religions tend toward monotheism, often by way of henotheism, the worship of one great God without excluding lesser divinities.

Types of Monotheism

The major Western religions are rigidly monotheistic. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, God as the Creator is the all-powerful ruler of the universe, who jealously permits no rival or subordinate deities. Also just and loving, he requires trust and ethical conduct from his followers, whom he will save from sin and death. Although non-Christians have found it difficult to reconcile the doctrine of the Trinity with monotheism, Christian theologians insist that there is no contradiction.

Zoroastrianism is initially dualistic, but since the good God, Ahura Mazda, defeats the evil God, Ahriman, it is ultimately monotheistic.

The major religions of the East have more or less monotheistic aspects but these shade into other views. Hindu monotheism requires loving devotion to a supreme God-Vishnu or Shiva who will save his followers from the cycle of endless rebirths, but it permits lesser divinities.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)