We explain what a monotheistic religion is and what its characteristics are. Also, why it is important and its distinctive features.

monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in one true god.

What is monotheism?

Monotheism is called religious belief in a single and indivisible god. In this it differs from polytheism, which is the belief that there are several gods or that god can exist as different entities. It is also distinguished from pantheism, which assigns a god or gods to each of the manifestations of nature.

For monotheism, their god is the only possible one, or the only true one. For this reason, many wars were justified through the great religions that were associated with power centers in Europe, Asia or the Middle East. The enemy identified with the culture that denied the God that the religion itself adored.

See also: Jewish culture

When did monotheism originate?

The records that exist of prehistoric religions seem to point to polytheistic beliefs.

That’s why, the first record of a clearly monotheistic religion comes from Judaism.

It is estimated that it began to develop as a religion in the 19th century BC, in the time of the patriarch Abraham.

Already in the 10th century BC, there is evidence of the organized Jewish people not only through religion but also through various traditions.

monotheistic perspective

monotheism
God is the moral and spiritual guide of humanity.

In monotheistic religions, God is the creator of all things and the one responsible for the maintenance of the universe. It is understood as a single entity, indivisible, kind (albeit strict) and above all singular, irreplaceable.

It is the moral and spiritual guide of humanity. In addition to being her creator, he considers her above the rest of his creatures, which is why he demands that she adhere to certain codes of conduct and certain forms of veneration. He is usually understood as a father god, with all that that implies in terms of authority and affection.

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The monotheistic god is a sacred, unattainable, total and eternal entity. Everything is in his hands and he watches everything. Generally, his decisions and mandates are understood as a divine mystery, an enigma indecipherable to the human mind but which carries a higher order.

Judaism

judaism monotheism
Judaism is also a cultural tradition, linked to an ethnic group.

Judaism was the first of the openly and clearly monotheistic religions. He maintains that there is a unique God, supreme, eternal and committed to the Jewish people, this being his favorite.

According to tanaj (equivalent to the Old Testament of the Bible), the pact between God and the Jews was sealed in ancient times. It is represented in the Jewish tradition by the circumcision of all males. This pact is sustained in the ten commandments that were revealed to the prophet Moses on Mount Sinai.

Unlike other monotheistic religions, Judaism it is also a cultural tradition and it is linked to the history of an ethnic group, the Hebrew. Unlike other monotheistic traditions, the Jewish people never demanded conversion from others, although they treat those who decide to join them with full acceptance.

Continue on: Judaism

Christianity

monotheism
The unique God of Christianity possesses skills such as love.

Christianity inherited the scriptures from Judaism. Based on them, holds that Jesus of Nazareth is the messiah, the son of God on earththat when he died he was taken to the kingdom of heaven by the Father God.

This new pact between god and humanity was sealed in the name of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice. The only God of Christianity has new skills such as lovegenerosity, forgiveness.

He has entrusted to humanity the great Christian virtues, which must be imparted through evangelization to the other peoples of the world. On this, according to Christianity, their salvation will depend on Judgment Day.

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In the opinion of its detractors, the Holy Trinity (father, son and holy spirit) is a form of covert polytheism. However, within the Christian creed, the multiplicity and at the same time unity of God is a sacred Mystery which in no way denies that God is one and only.

The Christianity has always condemned the worship of idols and false gods. However, the uses and customs of his faithful include worshiping and even dedicating prayers to one of the many members of the Catholic saints.

More in: Jesus

islamism

monotheism - islamism
For Islam, prayer to God must be direct, without intermediaries.

The Muslim religion, also called Islam or Islamism, is the third of the Abrahamic religions along with Judaism and Christianity. He holds that Allah, the One and Almighty God, should be revered by mankind internally and externally.

Worship can be done through acts internal to the parishionersuch as generosity, hope, sincerity and reverence. On the other hand, it can also be done through external acts of worship such as pilgrimage, fasting, almsgiving, and profession of faith.

for islam prayer to God must be direct, without intermediaries, and no one should be worshiped but him. That is why you cannot pray to the prophets, nor to the saints, nor to anyone other than Allah himself.

Zoroastrianism

monotheism - zotoastrianism
The faravahar is the main symbol of Zoroastrianism.

Zoroastrianism or Mazdeism is an Iranian religion that believes in a single God called Ahura Mazda. This deity is omnipotent and omniscient but formless, abstract and transcendent, so it cannot be represented by form or figure.

this god He is the creator of everything and the only destiny of what exists.. The great Persian prophet of him was Ferdowsi, who described him in the heal meholy book of religion.

Distinctive features

Monotheism, as a religious tendency, is characterized by being:

  • Exclusive of the other cults, since God himself is the only true one.
  • Mysterious in his explanations, since everything that exists, good or bad, is due to God.
  • Demanding in his codes of conduct and religiosity, since he venerates a God who punishes, controls or judges humans.
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social importance

monotheism
Monotheistic peoples rallied around their single faith.

The rise of monotheism in ancient communities probably served to unify the population around a common cult. In turn, this could translate into a common authority and a shared identity.

monotheistic peoples they rallied around their unique faith and used it to recognize themselves, to make war on their enemies and to mobilize collectively. On the other hand, polytheism allows the veneration of different gods and also the inclusion of gods from other cultures.

Differences with polytheism

The difference between monotheism and polytheism transcends the mere fact of how many gods there are. In fact, commonly monotheism is thought to be a later religious form or more elaborate than polytheism, but there is no real evidence to support such a claim.

In general, in the philosophical segments in which monotheism works, polytheism does not work and vice versa. For example, polytheism can better explain the presence of evil in the universe, as well as the opposing forces. On the other hand, monotheism can better explain the origin of all things, which is one and the same: God.

Differences with pantheism

monotheism
Pantheism grants divine character to nature.

Monotheism does represent a more modern version of religion than pantheism, since it undertakes worship in a more abstract way, without the need to link it with nature. Where pantheism grants nature a divine character, monotheism sees the will of the single and total god, so they may have many similarities in their way of understanding the universe.

References:

  • “Polytheism” on Wikipedia.
  • “Polytheism and monotheism” in the Philosophical Dictionary of filosofia.org.
  • “Monotheism: the great revolution” in El Mundo of Spain.
  • “Monotheism” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • “Monotheism” in The Encyclopaedia Britannica.

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