Polytheistic religions include Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, tribal religions in the Americas and Africa and modern neopaganism. With the exception of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, most world religions are characterized by polytheism.Continue Reading
Polytheism is the belief in and worship of multiple deities. These gods and goddesses usually exist as part of a larger group of gods called a pantheon. The gods often serve specific functions and have control over some aspect of reality, and can represent certain facets of natural forces or of humanity. Believers do not have to worship all gods equally. Polytheistic religions are dominant today, and have been so historically as well. Most religions during the Bronze and Iron Age were polytheistic.
There is a distinction between hard and soft polytheism. Hard polytheism is the idea that gods are distinct and real divine beings. They are not personifications of nature nor separate aspects of one supreme god. Soft polytheism follows the belief of Universalism, which holds that all gods are aspects of a supreme god or a greater force. It also allows for the gods to be viewed as representations of natural forces or of the human psyche.
Polytheism is contrasted with monotheism, the belief is a single deity.Learn more about Religion
Different religions believe in different concepts of heaven, ranging from no heaven in atheism and some forms of Judaism to innumerable heavens in Hinduism. In some belief systems, heaven is a permanent home for the spirit after life, while others view it as a temporary resting place between reincarnations.Full Answer >
The online Ancient History Encyclopedia includes an article about religion in the ancient world, which begins by discussing Hinduism and the ancient Egyptian religions. Other European religions, including Christianity, are mentioned. About.com includes chronologies for Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.Full Answer >
Some large world religions are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Christianity is the largest with approximately 2.4 billion followers. There is also Sikhism, Judaism and Confucianism.Full Answer >
The primary scripture of Taoism is the "Tao Te Ching," which is also sometimes called the "Laozi" after its purported author, Lao Tzu. However, Taoists also venerate many other works, including the "Zhuangzi" and the "Liezi," authored by Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu respectively. The term "tzu," or "zi," roughly translates to "master."Full Answer >