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Theism 101: What is Theism? Who are Theists? Believing in God and Gods

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What is Theism?

To put it simply, theism is a belief in the existence of at least one god - nothing more, nothing less. Theism does not depend upon how many gods one believes in. Theism does not depend upon how the term ‘god’ is defined. Theism does not depend upon how one arrives at their belief. Theism does not depend upon how one defends their belief. That theism only means “belief in a god” and nothing more can be difficult to understand because we don’t normally encounter theism in isolation. Read More...


What is a Theist?

If theism is the belief in the existence of at least one god, then a theist is anyone who believes in the existence of at least one god. They may believe in a single god or in multiple gods. They may believe in a god which is transcendent to our universe or in gods which dwell all around us. They may believe in gods which aid us actively or in a god which is disinterested in humanity. If you know that a person is a theist, you can’t make any automatic assumptions about what their god is like.


Varieties of Theism:

Theism doesn’t come in just one flavor - there are monotheists, polytheists, pantheists, and several others you may not have even heard of. Understanding the differences between these types of theism is necessary not only for understanding the religious systems in which they appear, but also for understanding the variety and diversity which exists for theism itself. Read more...


Theism vs. Religion:

Are religion and theism effectively the same thing, such that every religion is theistic and every theist is also religious? Because of some common misconceptions, many people are inclined answer that question positively. It isn’t uncommon even among atheists to simply assume that religion and theism are equivalent — but they aren’t. Theism can exist independently of religion and religion can exist without theism. Read More...


Theism vs. Atheism: Burden of Proof:

The concept of a “burden of proof” is important in debates - whoever has a burden of proof is obligated to “prove” their claims in some fashion. Some burden of proof (or just support, in most cases) always lies with the person making a claim, not the person hearing the claim and who may not initially believe it. In practice, this means that the initial burden of proof lies with the theist, not with the atheist. Read More...


Is Theism Irrational?

Theism doesn’t inherently mean very much. Basically, theism isn’t anything more than believing in the existence of at least one god. Why or how one has such a belief is no more relevant to the definition of theism than why or how one lacks belief in gods is relevant to the definition of atheism.This has important implications for the question of whether theism is rational or irrational. Read More...


What is God?

When a theist claims that a god exists, one of the first questions atheists should ask is "what do you mean by 'god'?" Without understanding what the theist means, the atheist simply cannot evaluate the claim. By the same token, unless the theist is very clear about what he means, he cannot adequately explain and defend his beliefs. Read More...

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