Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Theism (from Greek θεoς theos god) is used in two meanings: Generally it is the belief in gods or goddesses, or the belief in a creator of the universe who is actively involved in maintaining and ruling it.

The word originated in Ancient Greece and signified belief in the traditional Gods, the Olympians.

The first meaning sees four major views of the role of deity in the world in this context:

Within theism proper, it can be differentiated between Finally, we can make the distinction between belief in deities' existences and assertions about their benevolence: Typical theistic religions are Zoroastrianism, Saivism, Vaishnavism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Bahá'í, and Sikhism.

Compare: Deism, Atheism, Agnosticism, Pantheism, Panentheism, Maltheism.

The following table is an attempt to categorize some of these positions systematically relative to each other:

Believes at least one god exists Believes no gods exist Does not have any beliefs regarding the existence of gods Believes gods are irrelevant
Believes proof/disproof is possible and is known theist strong atheist weak atheist apatheist
Believes proof/disproof may be possible but is not currently known weak agnostic theist weak agnostic strong atheist weak agnostic weak atheist weak agnostic apatheist
Believes proof/disproof is not possible strong agnostic theist strong agnostic strong atheist strong agnostic weak atheist strong agnostic apatheist
Believes proof/disproof is irrelevant Theist apatheist Strong atheist apatheist Weak atheist apatheist Apatheist (possible weak atheist)

Some of the positions on this table may seem contradictory, or at least unfounded, but where theism is concerned a great many people rely on faith and thus can believe strongly in things which they do not believe have been or can be rigorously proven.