National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series: Theology

Polytheism is a belief system that recognizes and worships multiple deities or gods, often with specific roles and domains of influence. Polytheistic religions have been found throughout human history, with many ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Aztecs practicing forms of polytheism.

Polytheistic belief systems can vary widely in their beliefs and practices, as each culture may have their own unique pantheon of gods and goddesses, and specific rituals and ceremonies associated with them. In some polytheistic religions, such as Hinduism, the gods are believed to represent different aspects of a single divine reality or cosmic order, while in others each god is seen as a distinct entity with their own personality and attributes.

Polytheism is often contrasted with monotheism, which is the belief in a single god or deity. Monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have historically criticized polytheistic religions as being primitive or misguided, while polytheists may view monotheism as overly simplistic or narrow-minded.

Overall, polytheism remains a subject of scholarly study and philosophical debate, with some arguing that polytheistic religions offer a more nuanced and diverse understanding of the divine and the human experience, while others may criticize polytheism as being fragmented or contradictory.