Monotheism and Polytheism

The position I support is a panentheistic monotheism, simply because it provides a logical underpinning for the notion of the oneness of all things. Let us look first at monotheism. Monotheism is the belief in one God, and only one God. God can be defined in various ways, however. The usual monotheistic view of God is as transcendent, the creator Who is above all, leaving the world in a less sacred, dependent state. Panentheism, however, sees God as both transcendent and immanent, both vast and omnipotent as well as within all things. This imbues creation with some holiness, rendering it worthy of care and respect. This is the idea of God that I believe is best for the future wellbeing of the world and our society, as it helps us to see ourselves and the world as part of the larger whole, as part of the family of creation.

If God is divided into various smaller gods, how can we achieve unity? Polytheism has a fragmented view of the world, without an overarching unity to bring people together. Monotheism can be feared as an excuse for authoritarianism and intolerance, and it has been used as such. If a new sort of monotheism can be embraced that is without divisive dogmas but with much tolerance and open mindedness, there would be much less of the “us-and-them” kind of thinking that leads to conflict. If we can see God as the God of all that is, and that we, along with all of creation, are simply one family, then the benefits of monotheism far outweigh any drawbacks.

Many pagans view God as having both a male and a female aspect. This makes sense as people also need God to be accessible, understandable. If God is so completely other, then it is hard to imagine what It is at all, much less pray to It. It is much easier for people to anthropomorphize and refer to God as He or She at least to some extent, especially in ritual or group prayer situations. The important thing to remember is that this is merely a measure of expediency, and does not limit the single Godhead. When reflecting theologically, it is important to realize that God is One.

Copyright © 2015 Teresa Chupp.  All rights reserved.

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