What is Polytheism and Examples of Polytheistic Religions

Polytheism is the belief in various gods. There is not just one type of relationship between the gods in polytheistic religions. Some examples of these relationships are:

  • the belief in a creator god symbol of devotion above all other gods and deities as a phase of the religion itself (Hinduism).
  • the belief in various gods, in which each god is an aspect of the supreme god, supreme deity, and/or supreme being.
  • the belief that some higher goals, states of consciousness, and/or sources of salvation are superior to gods.
  • the belief that some gods dominate over others but there is no total supremacy, like Zeus for the Greeks.
  • Generally, it is also believed in demonic, phantasmagoric forces and malevolent supernatural beings.

The polytheisminstead, is the belief in the existence of several gods and is represented by almost all religions past and present, except for the three monotheistic religions already mentioned. Some of the best known polytheistic religions with their most important gods are:

  • Egyptian with Ra and Nut
  • Greco-Roman with Zeus or Jupiter
  • Scandinavian with Odin, Thor and Freyr
  • Celtic with Cernunnos and water deities
  • Sumeria with Enki and Enlil
  • Assyria with Ashtur and Ishtar
  • Hindu with Shiva and Vishnu
  • China with Guanyin and the bodhisattvas
  • Japanese with Kannon and Amaterasu
  • Inca with Inti and Viracocha

Difference Between Monotheism and Polytheism

Both polytheism and monotheism derive from the religious doctrine of theism which believes in the existence of a god who created the universe.

Monotheism, on the other hand, is the belief in the existence of a single god and is represented by the current Judaic, Christian and Islamic religions.

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