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 Parouse.com




In monotheistic thought, God
God
is conceived of as the Supreme Being
Supreme Being
and the principal object of faith.[3] The concept of God, as described by theologians, commonly includes the attributes of omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), divine simplicity, and as having an eternal and necessary existence. In agnostic thought, the existence of God
God
is unknown and/or unknowable. In atheistic thought, there is absence of belief in the existence of any gods. God
God
is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial),[3] and to be without gender,[4][5] although many religions describe God
God
using masculine terminology, using such terms as "Him" or "Father" and some religions (such as Judaism) attribute only a purely grammatical "gender" to God.[6] Incorporeity and corporeity of God
God
are related to conceptions of transcendence (being outside nature) and immanence (being in nature, in the world) of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence". God
God
has been conceived as either personal or impersonal. In theism, God
God
is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. In pantheism, God
God
is the universe itself. In atheism, God
God
is not believed to exist, while God
God
is deemed unknown or unknowable within the context of agnosticism. God
God
has also been conceived as the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".[3] Many notable philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.[7] The many different conceptions of God, and competing claims as to God's characteristics, aims, and actions, have led to the development of ideas of omnitheism, pandeism,[8] or a perennial philosophy, which postulates that there is one underlying theological truth, of which all religions express a partial understanding, and as to which "the devout in the various great world religions are in fact worshipping that one God, but through different, overlapping concepts or mental images of Him."[9] Monotheists refer to their gods using names prescribed by their respective religions, with some of these names referring to certain cultural ideas about their god's identity and attributes. In the ancient Egyptian era of Atenism, possibly the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten,[10] premised on being the one "true" Supreme Being
Supreme Being
and creator of the universe.[11] In the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
and Judaism, "He Who Is", "I Am that I Am", and the tetragrammaton YHWH (Hebrew: יהוה‎, traditionally interpreted as "I am who I am"; "He Who Exists") are used as names of God, while Yahweh
Yahweh
and Jehovah
Jehovah
are sometimes used in Christianity
Christianity
as vocalizations of YHWH. In the Christian
Christian
doctrine of the Trinity, God, consubstantial in three persons, is called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Judaism, it is common to refer to God
God
by the titular names Elohim or Adonai. In Islam, the name Allah
Allah
is used, while Muslims
Muslims
also have a multitude of titular names for God. In Hinduism, Brahman
Brahman
is often considered a monistic concept of God.[12] In Chinese religion, God (Shangdi) is conceived as the progenitor (first ancestor) of the universe, intrinsic to it and constantly ordaining it. Other religions have names for God, for instance, Baha in the Bahá'í Faith,[13] Waheguru in Sikhism,[14] and Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda
in Zoroastrianism.[15]

Contents

1 Etymology and usage 2 General conceptions

2.1 Oneness 2.2 Theism, deism, and pantheism 2.3 Other concepts

3 Non-theistic views

3.1 Agnosticism
Agnosticism
and atheism 3.2 Anthropomorphism

4 Existence 5 Specific attributes

5.1 Names 5.2 Gender 5.3 Relationship with creation

6 Depiction

6.1 Zoroastrianism 6.2 Judaism 6.3 Christianity 6.4 Islam

7 Theological approaches 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links

Etymology and usage

The Mesha Stele
Mesha Stele
bears the earliest known reference (840 BCE) to the Israelite God
God
Yahweh.

Main article: God
God
(word) The earliest written form of the Germanic word God
God
(always, in this usage, capitalized[16]) comes from the 6th-century Christian
Christian
Codex Argenteus. The English word itself is derived from the Proto-Germanic * ǥuđan. The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European form * ǵhu-tó-m was likely based on the root * ǵhau(ə)-, which meant either "to call" or "to invoke".[17] The Germanic words for God
God
were originally neuter—applying to both genders—but during the process of the Christianization
Christianization
of the Germanic peoples from their indigenous Germanic paganism, the words became a masculine syntactic form.[18]

The word 'Allah' in Arabic
Arabic
calligraphy

In the English language, capitalization is used for names by which a god is known, including 'God'. Consequently, the capitalized form of god is not used for multiple gods (polytheism) or when used to refer to the generic idea of a deity.[19][20] The English word God
God
and its counterparts in other languages are normally used for any and all conceptions and, in spite of significant differences between religions, the term remains an English translation common to all. The same holds for Hebrew El, but in Judaism, God
God
is also given a proper name, the tetragrammaton YHWH, in origin possibly the name of an Edomite
Edomite
or Midianite
Midianite
deity, Yahweh. In many translations of the Bible, when the word LORD is in all capitals, it signifies that the word represents the tetragrammaton.[21] Allāh
Allāh
(Arabic: الله‎) is the Arabic
Arabic
term with no plural used by Muslims
Muslims
and Arabic
Arabic
speaking Christians
Christians
and Jews
Jews
meaning "The God" (with a capital G), while "ʾilāh" (Arabic: إله‎) is the term used for a deity or a god in general.[22][23][24] God
God
may also be given a proper name in monotheistic currents of Hinduism
Hinduism
which emphasize the personal nature of God, with early references to his name as Krishna- Vasudeva
Vasudeva
in Bhagavata
Bhagavata
or later Vishnu
Vishnu
and Hari.[25] Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda
is the name for God
God
used in Zoroastrianism. "Mazda", or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *Mazdāh (female). It is generally taken to be the proper name of the spirit, and like its Sanskrit
Sanskrit
cognate medhā, means "intelligence" or "wisdom". Both the Avestan and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European mn̩sdʰeh1, literally meaning "placing (dʰeh1) one's mind (*mn̩-s)", hence "wise".[26] Waheguru (Punjabi: vāhigurū) is a term most often used in Sikhism
Sikhism
to refer to God. It means "Wonderful Teacher" in the Punjabi language. Vāhi (a Middle Persian borrowing) means "wonderful" and guru (Sanskrit: guru) is a term denoting "teacher". Waheguru is also described by some as an experience of ecstasy which is beyond all descriptions. The most common usage of the word "Waheguru" is in the greeting Sikhs use with each other:

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh Wonderful Lord's Khalsa, Victory is to the Wonderful Lord.

Baha, the "greatest" name for God
God
in the Baha'i faith, is Arabic
Arabic
for "All-Glorious". General conceptions Main article: Conceptions of God There is no clear consensus on the nature or even the existence of God.[27] The Abrahamic conceptions of God
Abrahamic conceptions of God
include the monotheistic definition of God
God
in Judaism, the trinitarian view of Christians, and the Islamic concept of God. The dharmic religions differ in their view of the divine: views of God in Hinduism
God in Hinduism
vary by region, sect, and caste, ranging from monotheistic to polytheistic. Many polytheistic religions share the idea of a creator deity, though having a name other than "God" and without all of the other roles attributed to a singular God
God
by monotheistic religions. Jainism
Jainism
is polytheistic and non-creationist. Depending on one's interpretation and tradition, Buddhism
Buddhism
can be conceived as being either atheistic, non-theistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, or polytheistic. Oneness Main articles: Monotheism
Monotheism
and Henotheism

The Trinity
Trinity
is the belief that God
God
is composed of The Father, The Son (embodied metaphysically in the physical realm by Jesus), and The Holy Spirit.

Monotheists hold that there is only one god, and may claim that the one true god is worshiped in different religions under different names. The view that all theists actually worship the same god, whether they know it or not, is especially emphasized in Hinduism[28] and Sikhism.[29] In Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity describes God
God
as one God
God
in three persons. The Trinity
Trinity
comprises God the Father, God the Son
God the Son
(embodied metaphysically by Jesus), and The Holy Spirit.[30] Islam's most fundamental concept is tawhid (meaning "oneness" or "uniqueness"). God
God
is described in the Quran
Quran
as: "Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him."[31][32] Muslims
Muslims
repudiate the Christian
Christian
doctrine of the Trinity
Trinity
and the divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism. In Islam, God
God
is beyond all comprehension or equal and does not resemble any of his creations in any way. Thus, Muslims
Muslims
are not iconodules, and are not expected to visualize God.[33] Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities.[34] Theism, deism, and pantheism Main articles: Theism, Deism, and Pantheism Theism
Theism
generally holds that God
God
exists realistically, objectively, and independently of human thought; that God
God
created and sustains everything; that God
God
is omnipotent and eternal; and that God
God
is personal and interacting with the universe through, for example, religious experience and the prayers of humans.[35] Theism
Theism
holds that God
God
is both transcendent and immanent; thus, God
God
is simultaneously infinite and, in some way, present in the affairs of the world.[36] Not all theists subscribe to all of these propositions, but each usually subscribes to some of them (see, by way of comparison, family resemblance).[35] Catholic theology holds that God
God
is infinitely simple and is not involuntarily subject to time. Most theists hold that God
God
is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, although this belief raises questions about God's responsibility for evil and suffering in the world. Some theists ascribe to God
God
a self-conscious or purposeful limiting of omnipotence, omniscience, or benevolence. Open Theism, by contrast, contends that, due to the nature of time, God's omniscience does not mean the deity can predict the future. Theism
Theism
is sometimes used to refer in general to any belief in a god or gods, i.e., monotheism or polytheism.[37][38]

God
God
blessing the seventh day, a watercolor painting depicting God, by William Blake
William Blake
(1757–1827)

Deism
Deism
holds that God
God
is wholly transcendent: God
God
exists, but does not intervene in the world beyond what was necessary to create it.[36] In this view, God
God
is not anthropomorphic, and neither answers prayers nor produces miracles. Common in Deism
Deism
is a belief that God
God
has no interest in humanity and may not even be aware of humanity. Pandeism combines Deism
Deism
with Pantheistic
Pantheistic
beliefs.[39][40][41] Pandeism
Pandeism
is proposed to explain as to Deism
Deism
why God
God
would create a universe and then abandon it,[42] and as to Pantheism, the origin and purpose of the universe.[42][43] Pantheism
Pantheism
holds that God
God
is the universe and the universe is God, whereas Panentheism holds that God
God
contains, but is not identical to, the Universe.[44] It is also the view of the Liberal Catholic Church; Theosophy; some views of Hinduism
Hinduism
except Vaishnavism, which believes in panentheism; Sikhism; some divisions of Neopaganism
Neopaganism
and Taoism, along with many varying denominations and individuals within denominations. Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, paints a pantheistic/panentheistic view of God—which has wide acceptance in Hasidic Judaism, particularly from their founder The Baal Shem Tov—but only as an addition to the Jewish view of a personal god, not in the original pantheistic sense that denies or limits persona to God.[citation needed] Other concepts Dystheism, which is related to theodicy, is a form of theism which holds that God
God
is either not wholly good or is fully malevolent as a consequence of the problem of evil. One such example comes from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, in which Ivan Karamazov rejects God
God
on the grounds that he allows children to suffer.[45] In modern times, some more abstract concepts have been developed, such as process theology and open theism. The contemporaneous French philosopher Michel Henry has however proposed a phenomenological approach and definition of God
God
as phenomenological essence of Life.[46] God
God
has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".[3] These attributes were all supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian
Christian
and Muslim
Muslim
theologian philosophers, including Maimonides,[47] Augustine of Hippo,[47] and Al-Ghazali,[7] respectively. Non-theistic views See also: Evolutionary origin of religions
Evolutionary origin of religions
and Evolutionary psychology of religion Non-theist views about God
God
also vary. Some non-theists avoid the concept of God, whilst accepting that it is significant to many; other non-theists understand God
God
as a symbol of human values and aspirations. The nineteenth-century English atheist Charles Bradlaugh declared that he refused to say "There is no God", because "the word 'God' is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation";[48] he said more specifically that he disbelieved in the Christian
Christian
god. Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould
proposed an approach dividing the world of philosophy into what he called "non-overlapping magisteria" (NOMA). In this view, questions of the supernatural, such as those relating to the existence and nature of God, are non-empirical and are the proper domain of theology. The methods of science should then be used to answer any empirical question about the natural world, and theology should be used to answer questions about ultimate meaning and moral value. In this view, the perceived lack of any empirical footprint from the magisterium of the supernatural onto natural events makes science the sole player in the natural world.[49] Another view, advanced by Richard Dawkins, is that the existence of God
God
is an empirical question, on the grounds that "a universe with a god would be a completely different kind of universe from one without, and it would be a scientific difference."[50] Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
argued that the doctrine of a Creator of the Universe
Universe
was difficult to prove or disprove and that the only conceivable scientific discovery that could disprove the existence of a Creator (not necessarily a God) would be the discovery that the universe is infinitely old.[51] Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
and co-author Leonard Mlodinow
Leonard Mlodinow
state in their book, The Grand Design, that it is reasonable to ask who or what created the universe, but if the answer is God, then the question has merely been deflected to that of who created God. Both authors claim however, that it is possible to answer these questions purely within the realm of science, and without invoking any divine beings.[52] Agnosticism
Agnosticism
and atheism Agnosticism
Agnosticism
is the view that the truth values of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable.[53][54][55] Atheism
Atheism
is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[56][57] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[58] Anthropomorphism Main article: Anthropomorphism Pascal Boyer argues that while there is a wide array of supernatural concepts found around the world, in general, supernatural beings tend to behave much like people. The construction of gods and spirits like persons is one of the best known traits of religion. He cites examples from Greek mythology, which is, in his opinion, more like a modern soap opera than other religious systems.[59] Bertrand du Castel and Timothy Jurgensen demonstrate through formalization that Boyer's explanatory model matches physics' epistemology in positing not directly observable entities as intermediaries.[60] Anthropologist Stewart Guthrie contends that people project human features onto non-human aspects of the world because it makes those aspects more familiar. Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
also suggested that god concepts are projections of one's father.[61] Likewise, Émile Durkheim
Émile Durkheim
was one of the earliest to suggest that gods represent an extension of human social life to include supernatural beings. In line with this reasoning, psychologist Matt Rossano contends that when humans began living in larger groups, they may have created gods as a means of enforcing morality. In small groups, morality can be enforced by social forces such as gossip or reputation. However, it is much harder to enforce morality using social forces in much larger groups. Rossano indicates that by including ever-watchful gods and spirits, humans discovered an effective strategy for restraining selfishness and building more cooperative groups.[62] Existence Main article: Existence of God

St. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
summed up five main arguments as proofs for God's existence.

Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
saw the existence of a Creator necessary in the movement of astronomical objects.

Arguments about the existence of God
God
typically include empirical, deductive, and inductive types. Different views include that: "God does not exist" (strong atheism); " God
God
almost certainly does not exist" (de facto atheism); "no one knows whether God
God
exists" (agnosticism[63]);" God
God
exists, but this cannot be proven or disproven" (de facto theism); and that " God
God
exists and this can be proven" (strong theism).[49] Countless arguments have been proposed to prove the existence of God.[64] Some of the most notable arguments are the Five Ways of Aquinas, the Argument from desire proposed by C.S. Lewis, and the Ontological Argument
Ontological Argument
formulated both by St. Anselm
St. Anselm
and René Descartes.[65] St. Anselm's approach was to define God
God
as, "that than which nothing greater can be conceived". Famed pantheist philosopher Baruch Spinoza would later carry this idea to its extreme: "By God
God
I understand a being absolutely infinite, i.e., a substance consisting of infinite attributes, of which each one expresses an eternal and infinite essence." For Spinoza, the whole of the natural universe is made of one substance, God, or its equivalent, Nature.[66] His proof for the existence of God
God
was a variation of the Ontological argument.[67] Scientist
Scientist
Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
saw God
God
as the masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation.[68] Nevertheless, he rejected polymath Leibniz' thesis that God
God
would necessarily make a perfect world which requires no intervention from the creator. In Query 31 of the Opticks, Newton simultaneously made an argument from design and for the necessity of intervention:

For while comets move in very eccentric orbs in all manner of positions, blind fate could never make all the planets move one and the same way in orbs concentric, some inconsiderable irregularities excepted which may have arisen from the mutual actions of comets and planets on one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this system wants a reformation.[69]

St. Thomas believed that the existence of God
God
is self-evident in itself, but not to us. "Therefore I say that this proposition, "God exists", of itself is self-evident, for the predicate is the same as the subject.... Now because we do not know the essence of God, the proposition is not self-evident to us; but needs to be demonstrated by things that are more known to us, though less known in their nature—namely, by effects."[70] St. Thomas believed that the existence of God
God
can be demonstrated. Briefly in the Summa theologiae and more extensively in the Summa contra Gentiles, he considered in great detail five arguments for the existence of God, widely known as the quinque viae (Five Ways). For the original text of the five proofs, see quinque viae

Motion: Some things undoubtedly move, though cannot cause their own motion. Since there can be no infinite chain of causes of motion, there must be a First Mover not moved by anything else, and this is what everyone understands by God. Causation: As in the case of motion, nothing can cause itself, and an infinite chain of causation is impossible, so there must be a First Cause, called God. Existence of necessary and the unnecessary: Our experience includes things certainly existing but apparently unnecessary. Not everything can be unnecessary, for then once there was nothing and there would still be nothing. Therefore, we are compelled to suppose something that exists necessarily, having this necessity only from itself; in fact itself the cause for other things to exist. Gradation: If we can notice a gradation in things in the sense that some things are more hot, good, etc., there must be a superlative that is the truest and noblest thing, and so most fully existing. This then, we call God
God
(Note: Thomas does not ascribe actual qualities to God
God
Himself). Ordered tendencies of nature: A direction of actions to an end is noticed in all bodies following natural laws. Anything without awareness tends to a goal under the guidance of one who is aware. This we call God
God
(Note that even when we guide objects, in Thomas's view, the source of all our knowledge comes from God
God
as well).[71]

Alister McGrath, a formerly atheistic scientist and theologian who has been highly critical of Richard Dawkins' version of atheism

Some theologians, such as the scientist and theologian A.E. McGrath, argue that the existence of God
God
is not a question that can be answered using the scientific method.[72][73] Agnostic
Agnostic
Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould
argues that science and religion are not in conflict and do not overlap.[74] Some findings in the fields of cosmology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience are interpreted by some atheists (including Lawrence M. Krauss and Sam Harris) as evidence that God
God
is an imaginary entity only, with no basis in reality.[75][76][77] These atheists claim that a single, omniscient God
God
who is imagined to have created the universe and is particularly attentive to the lives of humans has been imagined, embellished and promulgated in a trans-generational manner.[78] Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
interprets such findings not only as a lack of evidence for the material existence of such a God, but as extensive evidence to the contrary.[49] However, his views are opposed by some theologians and scientists including Alister McGrath, who argues that existence of God
God
is compatible with science.[79] Specific attributes Different religious traditions assign differing (though often similar) attributes and characteristics to God, including expansive powers and abilities, psychological characteristics, gender characteristics, and preferred nomenclature. The assignment of these attributes often differs according to the conceptions of God
God
in the culture from which they arise. For example, attributes of God
God
in Christianity, attributes of God
God
in Islam, and the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in Judaism
Judaism
share certain similarities arising from their common roots. Names Main article: Names of God

99 names of Allah, in Chinese Sini (script)

The word God
God
is "one of the most complex and difficult in the English language." In the Judeo-Christian tradition, "the Bible
Bible
has been the principal source of the conceptions of God". That the Bible
Bible
"includes many different images, concepts, and ways of thinking about" God
God
has resulted in perpetual "disagreements about how God
God
is to be conceived and understood".[80] Throughout the Hebrew and Christian
Christian
Bibles there are many names for God. One of them is Elohim. Another one is El Shaddai, translated "God Almighty".[81] A third notable name is El Elyon, which means "The High God".[82] God
God
is described and referred in the Quran
Quran
and hadith by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahman, meaning "Most Compassionate" and Al-Rahim, meaning "Most Merciful" (See Names of God in Islam).[83]

Supreme soul

The Brahma Kumaris
Brahma Kumaris
use the term "Supreme Soul" to refer to God. They see God
God
as incorporeal and eternal, and regard him as a point of living light like human souls, but without a physical body, as he does not enter the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. God
God
is seen as the perfect and constant embodiment of all virtues, powers and values and that he is the unconditionally loving Father of all souls, irrespective of their religion, gender, or culture.[84] Vaishnavism, a tradition in Hinduism, has list of titles and names of Krishna. Gender Main article: Gender
Gender
of God The gender of God
God
may be viewed as either a literal or an allegorical aspect of a deity who, in classical western philosophy, transcends bodily form.[85][86] Polytheistic
Polytheistic
religions commonly attribute to each of the gods a gender, allowing each to interact with any of the others, and perhaps with humans, sexually. In most monotheistic religions, God
God
has no counterpart with which to relate sexually. Thus, in classical western philosophy the gender of this one-and-only deity is most likely to be an analogical statement of how humans and God address, and relate to, each other. Namely, God
God
is seen as begetter of the world and revelation which corresponds to the active (as opposed to the receptive) role in sexual intercourse.[87] Biblical sources usually refer to God
God
using male words, except Genesis 1:26–27,[88][89] Psalm 123:2–3, and Luke 15:8–10 (female); Hosea 11:3–4, Deuteronomy 32:18, Isaiah 66:13, Isaiah 49:15, Isaiah 42:14, Psalm 131:2 (a mother); Deuteronomy 32:11–12 (a mother eagle); and Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 (a mother hen). Relationship with creation See also: Creator deity, Prayer, and Worship

And Elohim
Elohim
Created Adam by William Blake, c.1795

Prayer
Prayer
plays a significant role among many believers. Muslims
Muslims
believe that the purpose of existence is to worship God.[90][91] He is viewed as a personal God
God
and there are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God. Prayer
Prayer
often also includes supplication and asking forgiveness. God
God
is often believed to be forgiving. For example, a hadith states God
God
would replace a sinless people with one who sinned but still asked repentance.[92] Christian
Christian
theologian Alister McGrath writes that there are good reasons to suggest that a "personal god" is integral to the Christian
Christian
outlook, but that one has to understand it is an analogy. "To say that God
God
is like a person is to affirm the divine ability and willingness to relate to others. This does not imply that God
God
is human, or located at a specific point in the universe."[93] Adherents of different religions generally disagree as to how to best worship God
God
and what is God's plan for mankind, if there is one. There are different approaches to reconciling the contradictory claims of monotheistic religions. One view is taken by exclusivists, who believe they are the chosen people or have exclusive access to absolute truth, generally through revelation or encounter with the Divine, which adherents of other religions do not. Another view is religious pluralism. A pluralist typically believes that his religion is the right one, but does not deny the partial truth of other religions. An example of a pluralist view in Christianity
Christianity
is supersessionism, i.e., the belief that one's religion is the fulfillment of previous religions. A third approach is relativistic inclusivism, where everybody is seen as equally right; an example being universalism: the doctrine that salvation is eventually available for everyone. A fourth approach is syncretism, mixing different elements from different religions. An example of syncretism is the New Age
New Age
movement. Jews
Jews
and Christians
Christians
believe that humans are created in the likeness of God, and are the center, crown and key to God's creation, stewards for God, supreme over everything else God
God
had made (Gen 1:26); for this reason, humans are in Christianity
Christianity
called the "Children of God".[94] Depiction Zoroastrianism

Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda
(depiction is on the right, with high crown) presents Ardashir I
Ardashir I
(left) with the ring of kingship. (Relief at Naqsh-e Rustam, 3rd century CE)

During the early Parthian Empire, Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda
was visually represented for worship. This practice ended during the beginning of the Sassanid empire. Zoroastrian iconoclasm, which can be traced to the end of the Parthian period and the beginning of the Sassanid, eventually put an end to the use of all images of Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda
in worship. However, Ahura Mazda continued to be symbolized by a dignified male figure, standing or on horseback which is found in Sassanian investiture.[95] Judaism At least some Jews
Jews
do not use any image for God, since God
God
is the unimaginable Being who cannot be represented in material forms.[96] In some samples of Jewish Art, however, sometimes God, or at least his intervention, is indicated by a Hand Of God
God
symbol, which represents the bath Kol (literally "daughter of a voice") or Voice of God.[97] The burning bush that was not consumed by the flames is described in Book of Exodus
Book of Exodus
as a symbolic representation of God
God
when he appeared to Moses.[98] Christianity See also: God the Father
God the Father
in Western art Early Christians
Christians
believed that the words of the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
1:18: "No man has seen God
God
at any time" and numerous other statements were meant to apply not only to God, but to all attempts at the depiction of God.[99]

Use of the symbolic Hand of God
God
in the Ascension from the Drogo Sacramentary, c. 850

However, later depictions of God
God
are found. Some, like the Hand of God, are depiction borrowed from Jewish art. The beginning of the 8th century witnessed the suppression and destruction of religious icons as the period of Byzantine iconoclasm (literally image-breaking) started. The Second Council of Nicaea
Second Council of Nicaea
in 787 effectively ended the first period of Byzantine iconoclasm
Byzantine iconoclasm
and restored the honouring of icons and holy images in general.[100] However, this did not immediately translate into large scale depictions of God
God
the Father. Even supporters of the use of icons in the 8th century, such as Saint
Saint
John of Damascus, drew a distinction between images of God the Father
God the Father
and those of Christ. Prior to the 10th century no attempt was made to use a human to symbolize God the Father
God the Father
in Western art.[99] Yet, Western art eventually required some way to illustrate the presence of the Father, so through successive representations a set of artistic styles for symbolizing the Father using a man gradually emerged around the 10th century AD. A rationale for the use of a human is the belief that God created the soul of Man in the image of his own (thus allowing Human to transcend the other animals). It appears that when early artists designed to represent God
God
the Father, fear and awe restrained them from a usage of the whole human figure. Typically only a small part would be used as the image, usually the hand, or sometimes the face, but rarely a whole human. In many images, the figure of the Son supplants the Father, so a smaller portion of the person of the Father is depicted.[101] By the 12th century depictions of God the Father
God the Father
had started to appear in French illuminated manuscripts, which as a less public form could often be more adventurous in their iconography, and in stained glass church windows in England. Initially the head or bust was usually shown in some form of frame of clouds in the top of the picture space, where the Hand of God
God
had formerly appeared; the Baptism of Christ on the famous baptismal font in Liège of Rainer of Huy
Rainer of Huy
is an example from 1118 (a Hand of God
God
is used in another scene). Gradually the amount of the human symbol shown can increase to a half-length figure, then a full-length, usually enthroned, as in Giotto's fresco of c. 1305 in Padua.[102] In the 14th century the Naples Bible
Bible
carried a depiction of God the Father
God the Father
in the Burning bush. By the early 15th century, the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
has a considerable number of symbols, including an elderly but tall and elegant full-length figure walking in the Garden of Eden, which show a considerable diversity of apparent ages and dress. The "Gates of Paradise" of the Florence Baptistry by Lorenzo Ghiberti, begun in 1425 use a similar tall full-length symbol for the Father. The Rohan Book of Hours of about 1430 also included depictions of God the Father
God the Father
in half-length human form, which were now becoming standard, and the Hand of God
God
becoming rarer. At the same period other works, like the large Genesis altarpiece by the Hamburg painter Meister Bertram, continued to use the old depiction of Christ as Logos
Logos
in Genesis scenes. In the 15th century there was a brief fashion for depicting all three persons of the Trinity
Trinity
as similar or identical figures with the usual appearance of Christ. In an early Venetian school Coronation of the Virgin
Coronation of the Virgin
by Giovanni d'Alemagna and Antonio Vivarini, (c. 1443) The Father is depicted using the symbol consistently used by other artists later, namely a patriarch, with benign, yet powerful countenance and with long white hair and a beard, a depiction largely derived from, and justified by, the near-physical, but still figurative, description of the Ancient of Days.[103] . ...the Ancient of Days
Ancient of Days
did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (Daniel 7:9)

Usage of two Hands of God
God
(relatively unusual) and the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
as a dove in Baptism of Christ by Verrocchio, 1472.

In the Annunciation by Benvenuto di Giovanni
Benvenuto di Giovanni
in 1470, God
God
the Father is portrayed in the red robe and a hat that resembles that of a Cardinal. However, even in the later part of the 15th century, the symbolic representation of the Father and the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
as "hands and dove" continued, e.g. in Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ in 1472.[104]

God the Father
God the Father
with His Right Hand Raised in Blessing, with a triangular halo representing the Trinity, Girolamo dai Libri
Girolamo dai Libri
c. 1555

In Renaissance paintings of the adoration of the Trinity, God
God
may be depicted in two ways, either with emphasis on The Father, or the three elements of the Trinity. The most usual depiction of the Trinity
Trinity
in Renaissance art depicts God the Father
God the Father
using an old man, usually with a long beard and patriarchal in appearance, sometimes with a triangular halo (as a reference to the Trinity), or with a papal crown, specially in Northern Renaissance painting. In these depictions The Father may hold a globe or book (to symbolize God's knowledge and as a reference to how knowledge is deemed divine). He is behind and above Christ on the Cross in the Throne of Mercy
Throne of Mercy
iconography. A dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
may hover above. Various people from different classes of society, e.g. kings, popes or martyrs may be present in the picture. In a Trinitarian Pietà, God the Father
God the Father
is often symbolized using a man wearing a papal dress and a papal crown, supporting the dead Christ in his arms. They are depicted as floating in heaven with angels who carry the instruments of the Passion.[105] Representations of God the Father
God the Father
and the Trinity
Trinity
were attacked both by Protestants
Protestants
and within Catholicism, by the Jansenist
Jansenist
and Baianist movements as well as more orthodox theologians. As with other attacks on Catholic imagery, this had the effect both of reducing Church support for the less central depictions, and strengthening it for the core ones. In the Western Church, the pressure to restrain religious imagery resulted in the highly influential decrees of the final session of the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
in 1563. The Council of Trent
Council of Trent
decrees confirmed the traditional Catholic doctrine that images only represented the person depicted, and that veneration to them was paid to the person, not the image.[106] Artistic depictions of God the Father
God the Father
were uncontroversial in Catholic art thereafter, but less common depictions of the Trinity
Trinity
were condemned. In 1745 Pope Benedict XIV
Pope Benedict XIV
explicitly supported the Throne of Mercy depiction, referring to the "Ancient of Days", but in 1786 it was still necessary for Pope Pius VI
Pope Pius VI
to issue a papal bull condemning the decision of an Italian church council to remove all images of the Trinity
Trinity
from churches.[107]

The famous The Creation of Adam
The Creation of Adam
by Michelangelo, c.1512

God the Father
God the Father
is symbolized in several Genesis scenes in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, most famously The Creation of Adam (whose image of near touching hands of God
God
and Adam is iconic of humanity, being a reminder that Man is created in the Image and Likeness of God
God
(Gen 1:26)). God the Father
God the Father
is depicted as a powerful figure, floating in the clouds in Titian's Assumption of the Virgin in the Frari of Venice, long admired as a masterpiece of High Renaissance art.[108] The Church of the Gesù
Church of the Gesù
in Rome includes a number of 16th century depictions of God
God
the Father. In some of these paintings the Trinity
Trinity
is still alluded to in terms of three angels, but Giovanni Battista Fiammeri also depicted God the Father
God the Father
as a man riding on a cloud, above the scenes.[109] In both the Last Judgment and the Coronation of the Virgin
Coronation of the Virgin
paintings by Rubens
Rubens
he depicted God the Father
God the Father
using the image that by then had become widely accepted, a bearded patriarchal figure above the fray. In the 17th century, the two Spanish artists Diego Velázquez
Diego Velázquez
(whose father-in-law Francisco Pacheco
Francisco Pacheco
was in charge of the approval of new images for the Inquisition) and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
both depicted God the Father
God the Father
using a patriarchal figure with a white beard in a purple robe.

The Ancient of Days
Ancient of Days
(1794) Watercolor etching by William Blake

While representations of God the Father
God the Father
were growing in Italy, Spain, Germany and the Low Countries, there was resistance elsewhere in Europe, even during the 17th century. In 1632 most members of the Star Chamber court in England (except the Archbishop of York) condemned the use of the images of the Trinity
Trinity
in church windows, and some considered them illegal.[110] Later in the 17th century Sir Thomas Browne wrote that he considered the representation of God
God
the Father using an old man "a dangerous act" that might lead to Egyptian symbolism.[111] In 1847, Charles Winston was still critical of such images as a " Romish
Romish
trend" (a term used to refer to Roman Catholics) that he considered best avoided in England.[112] In 1667 the 43rd chapter of the Great Moscow Council specifically included a ban on a number of symbolic depictions of God
God
the Father and the Holy Spirit, which then also resulted in a whole range of other icons being placed on the forbidden list,[113][114] mostly affecting Western-style depictions which had been gaining ground in Orthodox icons. The Council also declared that the person of the Trinity
Trinity
who was the "Ancient of Days" was Christ, as Logos, not God the Father. However some icons continued to be produced in Russia, as well as Greece, Romania, and other Orthodox countries. Islam Further information: God
God
in Islam Muslims
Muslims
believe that God
God
(Allah) is beyond all comprehension or equal and does not resemble any of his creations in any way. Thus, Muslims are not iconodules, are not expected to visualize God.[33] Theological approaches See also: Classical theism and Theistic Personalism Classical theists (such as Ancient Greco-Medieval philosophers, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, much of Jews
Jews
and Muslims, and some Protestants) speak of God
God
as a divinely simple “nothing” that is completely transcendent (totally independent of all else), and having such attributes as immutability, impassibility, and timelessness. [115] Theologians of theistic personalism (the view held by Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, William Lane Craig, and most modern evangelicals) argue that God
God
is most generally the ground of all being, immanent in and transcendent over the whole world of reality, with immanence and transcendence being the contrapletes of personality.[116] God
God
is also commonly defined as having a necessary existence, as necessity is deemed a good thing to have, and just as God
God
has omnipotence and omniscience, he has necessity to its maximized degree. The attributes of the God
God
of classical theism were all claimed to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian
Christian
and Muslim
Muslim
scholars, including Maimonides,[47] St Augustine,[47] and Al-Ghazali.[117] Many philosophers developed arguments for the existence of God,[7] while attempting to comprehend the precise implications of God's attributes. Reconciling some of those attributes-particularly the attributes of the God
God
of theistic personalism- generated important philosophical problems and debates. For example, God's omniscience may seem to imply that God
God
knows how free agents will choose to act. If God
God
does know this, their ostensible free will might be illusory, or foreknowledge does not imply predestination, and if God
God
does not know it, God
God
may not be omniscient.[118] The last centuries of philosophy have seen vigorous questions regarding the arguments for God's existence raised by such philosophers as Immanuel Kant, David Hume
David Hume
and Antony Flew, although Kant held that the argument from morality was valid. The theist response has been either to contend, as does Alvin Plantinga, that faith is "properly basic", or to take, as does Richard Swinburne, the evidentialist position.[119] Some theists agree that only some of the arguments for God's existence are compelling, but argue that faith is not a product of reason, but requires risk. There would be no risk, they say, if the arguments for God's existence were as solid as the laws of logic, a position summed up by Pascal as "the heart has reasons of which reason does not know."[120] Many religious believers allow for the existence of other, less powerful spiritual beings such as angels, saints, jinn, demons, and devas.[121][122][123][124][125] See also

Mythology portal Philosophy portal Religion
Religion
portal Spirituality
Spirituality
portal

Absolute (philosophy) Apeiron (cosmology) Goddess God
God
(male deity) Logos Logos
Logos
(Christianity) Monad (philosophy) Relationship between religion and science

References

^ Arthur Koestler, The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe
Universe
(1959) ^ Proclus, The Six Books of Proclus, the Platonic Successor, on the Theology
Theology
of Plato Tr. Thomas Taylor (1816) Vol. 2, Ch. 2, "Of Plato" ^ a b c d Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1995. ^ David Bordwell, 2002, Catechism of the Catholic Church,Continuum International Publishing ISBN 978-0-86012-324-8 page 84 ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
– IntraText". Archived from the original on 3 March 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2016.  ^ "G-d has no body, no genitalia, therefore the very idea that G-d is male or female is patently absurd. Although in the Talmudic part of the Torah and especially in Kabalah G-d is referred to under the name 'Sh'chinah' – which is feminine, this is only to accentuate the fact that all the creation and nature are actually in the receiving end in reference to the creator and as no part of the creation can perceive the creator outside of nature, it is adequate to refer to the divine presence in feminine form. We refer to G-d using masculine terms simply for convenience's sake, because Hebrew has no neutral gender; G-d is no more male than a table is." Judaism
Judaism
101. "The fact that we always refer to God
God
as 'He' is also not meant to imply that the concept of sex or gender applies to God." Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, The Aryeh Kaplan Reader, Mesorah Publications (1983), p. 144 ^ a b c Platinga, Alvin. "God, Arguments for the Existence of", Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge, 2000. ^ Alan H. Dawe (2011). The God
God
Franchise: A Theory of Everything. p. 48. ISBN 0473201143. Pandeism: This is the belief that God
God
created the universe, is now one with it, and so, is no longer a separate conscious entity. This is a combination of pantheism ( God
God
is identical to the universe) and deism ( God
God
created the universe and then withdrew Himself).  ^ Christianity
Christianity
and Other Religions, by John Hick and Brian Hebblethwaite. 1980. Page 178. ^ Jan Assmann, Religion
Religion
and Cultural Memory: Ten Studies, Stanford University Press 2005, p.59 ^ M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.2, 1980, p.96 ^ Pantheism: A Non-Theistic Concept of Deity
Deity
– Page 136, Michael P. Levine – 2002 ^ A Feast for the Soul: Meditations on the Attributes of God : ... – Page x, Baháʾuʾlláh, Joyce Watanabe – 2006 ^ Philosophy and Faith
Faith
of Sikhism
Sikhism
– Page ix, Kartar Singh Duggal – 1988 ^ The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam confidently with the cultured class, David S. Kidder, Noah D. Oppenheim, page 364 ^ "'God' in Merriam-Webster (online)". Merriam-Webster, Inc. Retrieved 2012-07-19.  ^ The ulterior etymology is disputed. Apart from the unlikely hypothesis of adoption from a foreign tongue, the OTeut. "ghuba" implies as its preTeut-type either "*ghodho-m" or "*ghodto-m". The former does not appear to admit of explanation; but the latter would represent the neut. pple. of a root "gheu-". There are two Aryan roots of the required form ("*g,heu-" with palatal aspirate) one with meaning 'to invoke' (Skr. "hu") the other 'to pour, to offer sacrifice' (Skr "hu", Gr. χεηi;ν, OE "geotàn" Yete v). OED Compact Edition, G, p. 267 ^ Barnhart, Robert K (1995). The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology: the Origins of American English Words, page 323. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-270084-7 ^ Webster's New World Dictionary; " God
God
n. ME < OE, akin to Ger gott, Goth guth, prob. < IE base * ĝhau-, to call out to, invoke > Sans havaté, (he) calls upon; 1. any of various beings conceived of as supernatural, immortal, and having special powers over the lives and affairs of people and the course of nature; deity, esp. a male deity: typically considered objects of worship; 2. an image that is worshiped; idol 3. a person or thing deified or excessively honored and admired; 4. [G-] in monotheistic religions, the creator and ruler of the universe, regarded as eternal, infinite, all-powerful, and all-knowing; Supreme Being; the Almighty" ^ Dictionary.com; " God
God
/gɒd/ noun: 1. the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe. 2. the Supreme Being
Supreme Being
considered with reference to a particular attribute. 3. (lowercase) one of several deities, esp. a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs. 4. (often lowercase) a supreme being according to some particular conception: the God
God
of mercy. 5. Christian
Christian
Science. the Supreme Being, understood as Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle. 6. (lowercase) an image of a deity; an idol. 7. (lowercase) any deified person or object. 8. (often lowercase) Gods, Theater. 8a. the upper balcony in a theater. 8b. the spectators in this part of the balcony." ^ Barton, G.A. (2006). A Sketch of Semitic Origins: Social and Religious. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1-4286-1575-X.  ^ "God". Islam: Empire of Faith. PBS. Retrieved 2010-12-18.  ^ " Islam
Islam
and Christianity", Encyclopedia of Christianity
Christianity
(2001): Arabic-speaking Christians
Christians
and Jews
Jews
also refer to God
God
as Allāh. ^ L. Gardet. "Allah". Encyclopaedia of Islam
Islam
Online.  ^ Hastings 2003, p. 540 ^ Boyce 1983, p. 685. ^ Froese, Paul; Christopher Bader (Fall–Winter 2004). "Does God Matter? A Social- Science
Science
Critique". Harvard Divinity
Divinity
Bulletin. 4. 32.  ^ See Swami Bhaskarananda, Essentials of Hinduism
Hinduism
(Viveka Press 2002) ISBN 1-884852-04-1 ^ "Sri Guru
Guru
Granth Sahib". Sri Granth. Retrieved 2011-06-30.  ^ "What Is the Trinity?". Archived from the original on 2014-02-19.  ^ Quran 112:1–4 ^ D. Gimaret. "Allah, Tawhid". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.  ^ a b Robyn Lebron (2012). Searching for Spiritual Unity...Can There Be Common Ground?. p. 117. ISBN 1-4627-1262-2.  ^ Müller, Max. (1878) Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion: As Illustrated by the Religions of India. London:Longmans, Green and Co. ^ a b Smart, Jack; John Haldane (2003). Atheism
Atheism
and Theism. Blackwell Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 0-631-23259-1.  ^ a b Lemos, Ramon M. (2001). A Neomedieval Essay in Philosophical Theology. Lexington Books. p. 34. ISBN 0-7391-0250-8.  ^ "Philosophy of Religion.info – Glossary – Theism, Atheism, and Agonisticism". Philosophy of Religion.info. Archived from the original on 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2008-07-16.  ^ " Theism
Theism
– definition of theism by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". TheFreeDictionary.com. Retrieved 2008-07-16.  ^ Alan H. Dawe (2011). The God
God
Franchise: A Theory of Everything. p. 48. ISBN 0473201143. Pandeism: This is the belief that God
God
created the universe, is now one with it, and so, is no longer a separate conscious entity. This is a combination of pantheism ( God
God
is identical to the universe) and deism ( God
God
created the universe and then withdrew Himself).  ^ Sean F. Johnston (2009). The History of Science: A Beginner's Guide. p. 90. ISBN 1-85168-681-9. In its most abstract form, deism may not attempt to describe the characteristics of such a non-interventionist creator, or even that the universe is identical with God
God
(a variant known as pandeism).  ^ Paul Bradley (2011). This Strange Eventful History: A Philosophy of Meaning. p. 156. ISBN 0875868762. Pandeism
Pandeism
combines the concepts of Deism
Deism
and Pantheism
Pantheism
with a god who creates the universe and then becomes it.  ^ a b Allan R. Fuller (2010). Thought: The Only Reality. p. 79. ISBN 1608445909. Pandeism
Pandeism
is another belief that states that God is identical to the universe, but God
God
no longer exists in a way where He can be contacted; therefore, this theory can only be proven to exist by reason. Pandeism
Pandeism
views the entire universe as being from God and now the universe is the entirety of God, but the universe at some point in time will fold back into one single being which is God Himself that created all. Pandeism
Pandeism
raises the question as to why would God
God
create a universe and then abandon it? As this relates to pantheism, it raises the question of how did the universe come about what is its aim and purpose?  ^ Peter C. Rogers (2009). Ultimate Truth, Book 1. p. 121. ISBN 1438979681. As with Panentheism, Pantheism
Pantheism
is derived from the Greek: 'pan'= all and 'theos' = God, it literally means " God
God
is All" and "All is God." Pantheist purports that everything is part of an all-inclusive, indwelling, intangible God; or that the Universe, or nature, and God
God
are the same. Further review helps to accentuate the idea that natural law, existence, and the Universe
Universe
which is the sum total of all that is, was, and shall be, is represented in the theological principle of an abstract 'god' rather than an individual, creative Divine Being or Beings of any kind. This is the key element which distinguishes them from Panentheists and Pandeists. As such, although many religions may claim to hold Pantheistic
Pantheistic
elements, they are more commonly Panentheistic or Pandeistic in nature.  ^ John Culp (2013). "Panentheism," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Spring. ^ The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky pp259-261 ^ Henry, Michel (2003). I am the Truth. Toward a philosophy of Christianity. Translated by Susan Emanuel. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-3780-0.  ^ a b c d Edwards, Paul. " God
God
and the philosophers" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1995. ISBN 978-1-61592-446-2. ^ "A Plea for Atheism. By 'Iconoclast'", London, Austin & Co., 1876, p. 2. ^ a b c Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God
God
Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. ISBN 0-618-68000-4.  ^ Dawkins, Richard (2006-10-23). "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2007-01-10.  ^ Sagan, Carl (1996). The Demon
Demon
Haunted World p.278. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-40946-9.  ^ Stephen Hawking; Leonard Mlodinow
Leonard Mlodinow
(2010). The Grand Design. Bantam Books. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-553-80537-6.  ^ Hepburn, Ronald W. (2005) [1967]. "Agnosticism". In Donald M. Borchert. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 1 (2nd ed.). MacMillan Reference USA (Gale). p. 92. ISBN 0-02-865780-2. In the most general use of the term, agnosticism is the view that we do not know whether there is a God
God
or not.  (page 56 in 1967 edition) ^ Rowe, William L. (1998). "Agnosticism". In Edward Craig. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-07310-3. In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in God, whereas an atheist disbelieves in God. In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God
God
exists or the belief that God
God
does not exist. In so far as one holds that our beliefs are rational only if they are sufficiently supported by human reason, the person who accepts the philosophical position of agnosticism will hold that neither the belief that God
God
exists nor the belief that God
God
does not exist is rational.  ^ "agnostic, agnosticism". OED Online, 3rd ed. Oxford University Press. September 2012. agnostic. : A. n[oun]. :# A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of immaterial things, especially of the existence or nature of God. :# In extended use: a person who is not persuaded by or committed to a particular point of view; a sceptic. Also: person of indeterminate ideology or conviction; an equivocator. : B. adj[ective]. :# Of or relating to the belief that the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena is unknown and (as far as can be judged) unknowable. Also: holding this belief. :# a. In extended use: not committed to or persuaded by a particular point of view; sceptical. Also: politically or ideologically unaligned; non-partisan, equivocal. agnosticism n. The doctrine or tenets of agnostics with regard to the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena or to knowledge of a First Cause or God.  ^ Nielsen 2013: "Instead of saying that an atheist is someone who believes that it is false or probably false that there is a God, a more adequate characterization of atheism consists in the more complex claim that to be an atheist is to be someone who rejects belief in God for the following reasons ... : for an anthropomorphic God, the atheist rejects belief in God
God
because it is false or probably false that there is a God; for a nonanthropomorphic God
God
... because the concept of such a God
God
is either meaningless, unintelligible, contradictory, incomprehensible, or incoherent; for the God
God
portrayed by some modern or contemporary theologians or philosophers ... because the concept of God
God
in question is such that it merely masks an atheistic substance—e.g., "God" is just another name for love, or ... a symbolic term for moral ideals." ^ Edwards 2005: "On our definition, an 'atheist' is a person who rejects belief in God, regardless of whether or not his reason for the rejection is the claim that ' God
God
exists' expresses a false proposition. People frequently adopt an attitude of rejection toward a position for reasons other than that it is a false proposition. It is common among contemporary philosophers, and indeed it was not uncommon in earlier centuries, to reject positions on the ground that they are meaningless. Sometimes, too, a theory is rejected on such grounds as that it is sterile or redundant or capricious, and there are many other considerations which in certain contexts are generally agreed to constitute good grounds for rejecting an assertion." ^ Rowe 1998: "As commonly understood, atheism is the position that affirms the nonexistence of God. So an atheist is someone who disbelieves in God, whereas a theist is someone who believes in God. Another meaning of 'atheism' is simply nonbelief in the existence of God, rather than positive belief in the nonexistence of God. ... an atheist, in the broader sense of the term, is someone who disbelieves in every form of deity, not just the God
God
of traditional Western theology." ^ Boyer, Pascal (2001). Religion
Religion
Explained,. New York: Basic Books. pp. 142–243. ISBN 0-465-00696-5.  ^ du Castel, Bertrand; Jurgensen, Timothy M. (2008). Computer Theology,. Austin, Texas: Midori Press. pp. 221–222. ISBN 0-9801821-1-5.  ^ Barrett, Justin (1996). "Conceptualizing a Nonnatural Entity: Anthropomorphism
Anthropomorphism
in God
God
Concepts" (PDF).  ^ Rossano, Matt (2007). "Supernaturalizing Social Life: Religion
Religion
and the Evolution of Human Cooperation" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-06-25.  ^ Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist, was the first to come up with the word agnostic in 1869 Dixon, Thomas (2008). Science
Science
and Religion: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-19-929551-7.  However, earlier authors and published works have promoted an agnostic points of view. They include Protagoras, a 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher. "The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Protagoras
Protagoras
(c. 490 – c. 420 BCE)". Archived from the original on 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-10-06. While the pious might wish to look to the gods to provide absolute moral guidance in the relativistic universe of the Sophistic Enlightenment, that certainty also was cast into doubt by philosophic and sophistic thinkers, who pointed out the absurdity and immorality of the conventional epic accounts of the gods. Protagoras' prose treatise about the gods began 'Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.'  ^ Aquinas, Thomas (1990). Kreeft, Peter, ed. Summa of the Summa. Ignatius Press. p. 63.  ^ Aquinas, Thomas (1990). Kreeft, Peter, ed. Summa of the Summa. Ignatius Press. pp. 65–69.  ^ Curley, Edwin M. (1985). The Collected Works of Spinoza. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-07222-7.  ^ "Baruch Spinoza".  ^ Webb, R.K. ed. Knud Haakonssen. "The emergence of Rational Dissent." Enlightenment and Religion: Rational Dissent in eighteenth-century Britain. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1996. p19. ^ Newton, 1706 Opticks (2nd Edition), quoted in H. G. Alexander 1956 (ed): The Leibniz-Clarke correspondence, University of Manchester Press. ^ "SUMMA THEOLOGIAE: The existence of God
God
(Prima Pars, Q. 2)". Retrieved 30 December 2016.  ^ Summa of Theology
Theology
I, q.2, The Five Ways Philosophers Have Proven God's Existence ^ Alister E. McGrath (2005). Dawkins' God: genes, memes, and the meaning of life. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-2539-0.  ^ Floyd H. Barackman (2001). Practical Christian
Christian
Theology: Examining the Great Doctrines of the Faith. Kregel Academic. ISBN 978-0-8254-2380-2.  ^ Gould, Stephen J. (1998). Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms. Jonathan Cape. p. 274. ISBN 0-224-05043-5.  ^ Krauss L. A Universe
Universe
from Nothing. Free Press, New York. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4516-2445-8 ^ Harris, S. The end of faith. W. W. Norton and Company, New York. 2005. ISBN 0-393-03515-8 ^ Mattson, MP (2014). "Superior pattern processing is the essence of the evolved human brain" (PDF). Front Neurosci. 8: 265. doi:10.3389/fnins.2014.00265. PMC 4141622 . PMID 25202234.  ^ Culotta, E (2009). "The origins of religion". Science. 326: 784–787. doi:10.1126/science.326_784.  ^ "Audio Visual Resources". Ravi Zacharias
Ravi Zacharias
International Ministries. Archived from the original on 2007-03-29. Retrieved 2007-04-07. , includes sound recording of the Dawkins-McGrath debate ^ Francis Schüssler Fiorenza and Gordon D. Kaufman, "God", Ch 6, in Mark C. Taylor, ed, Critical Terms for Religious Studies (University of Chicago, 1998/2008), 136–140. ^ Gen. 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; Ex. 6:31; Ps. 91:1, 2 ^ Gen. 14:19; Ps. 9:2; Dan. 7:18, 22, 25 ^ Bentley, David (September 1999). The 99 Beautiful Names for God
God
for All the People of the Book. William Carey Library. ISBN 0-87808-299-9.  ^ Ramsay, Tamasin (September 2010). "Custodians of Purity An Ethnography of the Brahma Kumaris". Monash University: 107–108.  ^ Aquinas, Thomas (1274). Summa Theologica. Part 1, Question 3, Article 1.  ^ Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
(397). Confessions. Book 7.  ^ Lang, David; Kreeft, Peter (2002). Why Matter Matters: Philosophical and Scriptural Reflections on the Sacraments. Chapter Five: Why Male Priests?: Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 978-1931709347.  ^ Elaine H. Pagels "What Became of God
God
the Mother? Conflicting Images of God
God
in Early Christianity" Signs, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Winter, 1976), pp. 293–303 ^ Coogan, Michael (October 2010). "6. Fire in Divine Loins: God's Wives in Myth and Metaphor". God
God
and Sex. What the Bible
Bible
Really Says (1st ed.). New York, Boston: Twelve. Hachette Book Group. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-446-54525-9. Retrieved 2011-05-05. humans are modeled on elohim, specifically in their sexual differences.  ^ "Human Nature
Nature
and the Purpose of Existence". Patheos.com. Retrieved 2011-01-29.  ^ Quran 51:56 ^ " Allah
Allah
would replace you with a people who sin". islamtoday.net. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.  ^ McGrath, Alister (2006). Christian
Christian
Theology: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. p. 205. ISBN 1-4051-5360-1.  ^ "International Standard Bible
Bible
Encyclopedia: Sons of God
God
(New Testament)". BibleStudyTools.com. Retrieved 7 October 2014.  ^ Boyce 1983, p. 686. ^ " Moses
Moses
– Hebrew prophet". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-03-19.  ^ A matter disputed by some scholars ^ Exodus 3:1-4:5 ^ a b James Cornwell, 2009 Saints, Signs, and Symbols: The Symbolic Language of Christian
Christian
Art ISBN 0-8192-2345-X page 2 ^ Edward Gibbon, 1995 The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ISBN 0-679-60148-1 page 1693 ^ Adolphe Napoléon Didron, 2003 Christian
Christian
iconography: or The history of Christian
Christian
art in the middle ages ISBN 0-7661-4075-X pages 169 ^ Arena Chapel, at the top of the triumphal arch, God
God
sending out the angel of the Annunciation. See Schiller, I, fig 15 ^ Bigham Chapter 7 ^ Arthur de Bles, 2004 How to Distinguish the Saints in Art by Their Costumes, Symbols and Attributes ISBN 1-4179-0870-X page 32 ^ Irene Earls, 1987 Renaissance art: a topical dictionary ISBN 0-313-24658-0 pages 8 and 283 ^ "CT25". Retrieved 30 December 2016.  ^ Bigham, 73–76 ^ Louis Lohr Martz, 1991 From Renaissance to baroque: essays on literature and art ISBN 0-8262-0796-0 page 222 ^ Gauvin A. Bailey, 2003 Between Renaissance and Baroque: Jesuit art in Rome ISBN 0-8020-3721-6 page 233 ^ Charles Winston, 1847 An Inquiry Into the Difference of Style Observable in Ancient Glass Paintings, Especially in England ISBN 1-103-66622-3, (2009) page 229 ^ Sir Thomas Browne's Works, 1852, ISBN 0559376871, 2006 page 156 ^ Charles Winston, 1847 An Inquiry Into the Difference of Style Observable in Ancient Glass Paintings, Especially in England ISBN 1-103-66622-3, (2009) page 230 ^ Oleg Tarasov, 2004 Icon and devotion: sacred spaces in Imperial Russia ISBN 1-86189-118-0 page 185 ^ "Council of Moscow – 1666–1667". Retrieved 30 December 2016.  ^ 1998, God, concepts of, Edward Craig, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor & Francis, [1] ^ www.ditext.com ^ Plantinga, Alvin. "God, Arguments for the Existence of", Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge, 2000. ^ Wierenga, Edward R. "Divine foreknowledge" in Audi, Robert. The Cambridge Companion to Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2001. ^ Beaty, Michael (1991). " God
God
Among the Philosophers". The Christian Century. Archived from the original on 2007-01-09. Retrieved 2007-02-20.  ^ Pascal, Blaise. Pensées, 1669. ^ Tuesday, December 8, 2009 (December 8, 2009). "More Americans Believe in Angels than Global Warming". Outsidethebeltway.com. Retrieved 2012-12-04. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Van, David (2008-09-18). "Guardian Angels Are Here, Say Most Americans". TIME. Retrieved 2012-12-04.  ^ "Poll: Nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe in angels". CBS News. December 23, 2011. Retrieved 2012-12-04.  ^ Salmon, Jacqueline L. "Most Americans Believe in Higher Power, Poll Finds". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2012-12-04.  ^ Qur'an 15:27

Further reading

Pickover, Cliff, The Paradox of God
God
and the Science
Science
of Omniscience, Palgrave/St Martin's Press, 2001. ISBN 1-4039-6457-2 Collins, Francis, The Language of God: A Scientist
Scientist
Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press, 2006. ISBN 0-7432-8639-1 Miles, Jack, God: A Biography, Vintage, 1996. ISBN 0-679-74368-5 Armstrong, Karen, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity
Christianity
and Islam, Ballantine Books, 1994. ISBN 0-434-02456-2 Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951). ISBN 0-226-80337-6 Hastings, James Rodney (1925–2003) [1908–26]. Encyclopedia of Religion
Religion
and Ethics. John A Selbie (Volume 4 of 24 (Behistun (continued) to Bunyan.) ed.). Edinburgh: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 476. ISBN 0-7661-3673-6. The encyclopedia will contain articles on all the religions of the world and on all the great systems of ethics. It will aim at containing articles on every religious belief or custom, and on every ethical movement, every philosophical idea, every moral practice. 

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Adonai Ahura Mazda The All Allah Brahman Cao Đài El

Elohim El Elyon El Shaddai

God Great Spirit Haneullim Hu Hyang I Am that I Am Ik Onkar Ishvara Jah Khuda Ngai Olodumare The One Parvardigar Shangdi Svayam Bhagavan Tenri-Ō-no-Mikoto Tian Tianzhu Waheguru YHWH

Jehovah Yahweh

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