Does Pope Francis Believe Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God. J.F. To cook in water that begins cold and then reaches a boil. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Zeus hurling a thunderbolt, bronze statuette from Dodona, Greece, early 5th century. This process often consisted in loading other gods’ attributes on the selected focus of worship. Premium Membership is now 50% off! It can be incompatible with some forms of theism, as in the Semitic religions; it can coexist with theism, as in Vaishnavism; it can exist at a lower level of understanding, ultimately to be transcended, as in Mahayana Buddhism; and it can exist as a tolerated adjunct to belief in transcendental liberation, as in Theravada Buddhism. 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. Likewise, the word ‘monotheism ... (which lasted for the greater part of the 3rd century AD). We Asked, You Answered. Besides the drift toward some unification, there have been other tendencies in human culture that entail a rather sophisticated approach to mythological material—e.g., giving the gods psychological significance, as in the works of the Greek dramatists Aeschylus and Euripides and, similarly but from a diverse angle, in Buddhism. Describe 2020 In Just One Word? By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The ancient Greeks, for example, were polytheists; their gods included Apollo, Athena, Dionysus, and Zeus. Another word for polytheist. (From left to right) Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma, the three Hindu gods of the Trimurti. Rowny Professor of Comparative Religions, University of California, Santa Barbara. Save 50% off a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). At the popular level there has been, for instance, the reinterpretation of the gods as Christian saints, as in Mexican Catholicism. 7 Tips For Compiling And Creating Writing Samples That Stand Out. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins “Affect” vs. “Effect”: Use The Correct Word Every Time. Within the framework of another part of the same ritual tradition, another god may be selected as supreme focus. To cook in water, just below boiling temperature. In evolutionary hypotheses about the development of religion that were particularly fashionable among Western scholars in the latter half of the 19th century, animism was regarded as a stage in which the forces around human beings were less personalized than in the polytheistic stage. To many outside Christianity, this looks a bit like polytheism! Another word expressing the same idea is monolatry, which is based on the Greek roots monos (one), and latreia (service or religious worship). Why Do “Left” And “Right” Mean Liberal And Conservative? Polytheism, the belief in many gods. the worship of or belief in more than one god. Polytheism definition is - belief in or worship of more than one god. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Etymologically speaking, the word ‘polytheism’ is a combination of the Greek words ‘polys’ and ‘theos,’ meaning ‘many’ and ‘god,’ respectively. 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