What is Theism (Theism) and What Does It Mean?July 2, 2021
Theism is a philosophical system that believes in the existence of a god who created and rules the universe and gives commands to people through revelation. The term theism or theism is opposed to the idioms of theism or deity (deism), atheism (atheism) and pantheism or nature-theism (pantheism) by asserting the existence of a personal god who has reason and will.
Derived from the Greek word theos meaning “god” in the dictionary, theism (Eng. theism, Fr. théisme) generally refers to the philosophical thought that advocates the belief in an absolute God, the creative cause of the universe. Those who adopt this idea are also called theists. The term is met as godism in Turkish.
Although the origin of theism as an idea goes back to ancient times, its use as a philosophical term coincides with the second half of the 17th century. In terms of its definition and history, it is possible to consider theism in two aspects, broad and narrow.
WHAT IS THEISM?
Broadly speaking, theism is primarily believing that God exists and defending this belief in some way. Behind this attitude lies the idea of accepting the existence of a transcendent being and its divinity beyond the material world. This approach, which is the first step of theistic belief in God, is common among people who have not encountered any religious or philosophical knowledge and can also be called “absolute theism”. Theism in this sense is mostly seen in Antiquity thought.
In the narrow sense, theism is to consciously believe in the existence of God, as well as to accept his transcendence, creativity, personality and personality, that is, that he is a real, conscious and willed being. These qualities are the most decisive features in terms of comparing theism and other understandings that include the concept of God. The next dimension of this attitude called “philosophical theism” is to believe that God has infinite power and might, that He knows, sees, hears and appreciates everything, that He has justice, mercy and benevolence. The understanding of theism in this sense is called traditional, classical or historical theism.
The final stage of theism is believing that God sends revelation and works miracles. This understanding, which can also be seen as the religious dimension of theism, is parallel to monotheism. Continuing the belief of oneness symbolized by Abraham, Judaism constitutes the essence of Christianity and Islam.
Classical theism. It is based on the effort of Philo, who lived at the time of Jesus, to reconcile Judaism with the ancient thought, and especially Plato’s thoughts. This approach continued with Plotinus and has survived until today when Christian and Muslim thinkers interpreted the ancient heritage in terms of their own beliefs and cultures. In this sense, classical theism is the creator and protector of the universe, its existence is real, omnipresent, omniscient, has life, can do whatever it wants, changeless, single, free, eternal and source of moral obligations, worthy of worship, beautiful, It involves believing in the supreme being who is just and supremely good.
Different Interpretations of Theism
There are different forms and methods of theistic thought. Theistic thought, which developed from the multitude in the world to the only one, from the material to the immaterial, from the changing to the unchanging, and from the mortal to the immortal in the First Age, was based on the distinction between the necessary and the non-existent in the Middle Ages. As a matter of fact, in the New Age, where rationality comes to the fore, and in modern thought, where scientificity is considered valid, different forms of belief are seen, different from tradition.
Although they are essentially monotheistic, the understanding of God in the three major religions is different from each other. Theism, which has become a national religion in Judaism, has lost its universality, while Christianity, in which the concept of trinity is placed in the center, has moved away from monotheism. Islam, with its emphasis on oneness and universality, is separate and unique from both Judaism and Christianity.
While theism rejects atheism and agnosticism, it also differs from other forms of belief, such as deism, dualism, polytheism, and pantheism, which neglect one or more of God’s attributes such as creativity, uniqueness, selflessness, transcendence, and freedom.
THEISM-DEISM DISTINCTION AND DIFFERENCES
The most obvious characteristic of the theism’s understanding of God is that it is monotheistic. The uniqueness of God includes not only unity in number, but also qualities such as competence, creativity, unmatched and unparalleled. In deism, which means “theism” or “believing in the existence of God”, it is thought that God does not interfere with the operation of the universe, leaving the world of beings with his own laws. In addition, not accepting revelation, not recognizing any religious authority, rule or principle are important issues that distinguish deism from theism.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım
Source: Encyclopedia of Islam