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.
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
Researchers consider Zoroastrianism to be the first successful monotheistic religion with a rejection of monasticism, or devoting one's life purely to the pursuit of spiritual works. It is one of the earliest examples of radical Dualism, where two equal forces are opposed to one another in a constant struggle.Full Answer >
Religions that adopt reincarnation as part of their mainstream teachings include Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. However, there are sects of other religions that incorporate reincarnation on a smaller level, such as Kabbalah and Druze.Full Answer >
As of 2014, there are an estimated 4,200 different religions in the world, and these can be categorized into several main religions. These include Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism, although Roman Catholicism is often categorized under Christianity. There are many smaller yet still prevalent religions, such as the Baha'i faith.Full Answer >
The New England colonies were settled by Puritans and Pilgrims who left England to escape government interference with their desire to worship as they pleased. They were soon joined by evangelical Christians such as Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists, who followed the principles of the Great Awakening. According to the Library of Congress, this movement was centered around a belief in "new birth" as inspired by preaching the Word.Full Answer >