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(mŏn`əthēĭzəm) [Gr.,=belief in one God], in religion, a belief in one personal god. In practice, monotheistic religion tends to stress the existence of one personal god that unifies the universe. The term is applied particularly to JudaismJudaism
, the religious beliefs and practices and the way of life of the Jews. The term itself was first used by Hellenized Jews to describe their religious practice, but it is of predominantly modern usage; it is not used in the Bible or in Rabbinic literature and only rarely
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, ChristianityChristianity,
religion founded in Palestine by the followers of Jesus. One of the world's major religions, it predominates in Europe and the Americas, where it has been a powerful historical force and cultural influence, but it also claims adherents in virtually every country of
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, and IslamIslam
, [Arab.,=submission to God], world religion founded by the Prophet Muhammad. Founded in the 7th cent., Islam is the youngest of the three monotheistic world religions (with Judaism and Christianity). An adherent to Islam is a Muslim [Arab.,=one who submits].
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, as well as ZoroastrianismZoroastrianism
, religion founded by Zoroaster, but with many later accretions. Scriptures

Zoroastrianism's scriptures are the Avesta or the Zend Avesta [Pahlavi avesta=law, zend=commentary].
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. Some eastern religions, notably Vaishava, Saiva, Sikhism, and some Hindu sects, tend to promote the omnipotence of one particular god within the pantheon, and thus display some monotheistic characteristics. Monotheism arose in opposition to polytheismpolytheism
, belief in a plurality of gods in which each deity is distinguished by special functions. The gods are particularly synonymous with function in the Vedic religion (see Vedas) of India: Indra is the storm god, Agni the fire god, Vayu the wind god, Yama the god of
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, the belief in many gods. Monismmonism
[Gr.,=belief in one], in metaphysics, term introduced in the 18th cent. by Christian von Wolff for any theory that explains all phenomena by one unifying principle or as manifestations of a single substance.
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, or nondualism between the physical and the spiritual, presupposes unity but deemphasizes personal monotheism. See also GodGod,
divinity of the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as many other world religions. See also religion and articles on individual religions. Names for God

In the Old Testament various names for God are used.
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the belief in the doctrine that there is only one God; religious belief systems based on this doctrine. Of the major world religions, only JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY and ISLAM, are monotheistic, and they share a common root. According to Lenski and Lenski (1970), although rare in hunter-gatherer and horticultural societies, conceptions of a ‘supreme being’ become widespread in agrarian societies. Monotheism and a belief in a personal ethical God, however, appear only in the Near East. PARSONS regards the appearance of monotheism as a decisive developmental step encouraging the development of ‘ethical universalism’. WEBER's account of the Jewish conception of the jealous God, Yahweh – ‘Thou shall have no other gods but me’ – and the notion of the ‘chosen people’, is that these conceptions were a response to the vulnerability of the tribes of Israel to foreign domination, problems ‘explained’ by the PROPHETS as a supreme God punishing his people for worshipping false gods.



a system of religious beliefs based on the idea of the existence of only one god, in contrast to polytheism, the belief in many gods. In theological literature monotheistic religions include Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. However, the concept of monotheism is relative, since no religion is consistently monotheistic.

Monotheism appears very late in the historical development of religion. During the period of the dissolution of tribal-clan social structure and the formation of the early states, the gods of different tribes became joined in a single “pantheon,” in which the god of the strongest tribe usually occupied the leading place. In some instances, the priests of this god strove to make him the only or supreme god (Babylonian Marduk, for example); in other cases, kings attempted to counterpose the cult of one god to the traditional priestly cults (the religious reform of Amenhotep IV in Egypt).

Relatively strict monotheism first arose and gained predominance among the Hebrews in the middle and second half of the first millennium B.C., when priests of the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem established their religious monopoly. The strict monotheism introduced in Arabia in the seventh century A.D. formed the basic dogma of the Muslim religion. Thus, the evidence of modern science refutes the assertion of theologians (including the school of Pater W. Schmidt) that monotheism is the original age-old religion of humanity (the theory of protomonotheism) and that other forms of belief are only divergences from the original “true” religion.


Tokarev, S. A. Religiia v istorii narodov mira. Moscow, 1964.


the belief or doctrine that there is only one God
References in periodicals archive ?
Donner is quite right that the first part of the Muslim confession of faith would have been acceptable to all monotheists. "It is not unreasonable to propose, then, that many Christians and Jews of Syria, Iraq, and other areas, as monotheists, could have found a place in the expanding community of Believers," he writes.
The regime has stated over and over again that Iran distinguishes between Jews and Zionists, that it respects Jews as "People of the Book" and fellow monotheists, while condemning Zionism for occupying the territory of another people.
This leads him to overlook other possibilities, such as the idea that monotheism might already have made sufficient inroads in western Arabia to provide the "sectarian milieu" or monotheist environment in which the [Qur.sup.[contains]]an, according to Hawting's first argument, seems to have emerged.
Hosseini made the remarks in a meeting with followers of monotheist religions in Tehran on Saturday night, stressing that the amicable and cordial relations among the followers of monotheistic religions in Islamic Iran is one of the honors of the sacred Islamic Republic.
Their cycling tour intended to commemorate Prophet Muhammad's grandeur and that of entire monotheist faiths.
One finding is that original letters from the imperial period (632-800) have a clear Muslim-only flavor, while those from the lingua franca period (800-1000) are generally monotheist but rarely specifically Muslim.
Over the years we have witnessed, opposition by clerics of three monotheist religions to adapting and accepting developments in science and technology; be it invention of printing press, the microphone, radio or even acceptance of the fact that earth is round, or that man has finally landed on moon.
Jerusalem is not only very holy to us - Muslims, but also is a very holy place for the monotheist religions of the world," Reema wrote on Instagram, adding that they were "fortunate to pray inside Al-Aqsa mosque and also very lucky to go inside the Dome and see the 'Rock'.
Christianity was born in the Middle East, and hence persecuting them in the region would mean destroying the unity of a land where monotheist religions once lived together in peace.
Summary: Water pollution in Iraq threatens religious rites of oldest monotheist religion in Middle East
Rooted in Zoroastrianism - the oldest of all monotheist religions - Novruz Bayram has been celebrated since ancient times.
Majlis Deputy Mareh Sedq (photo) also said, "The enemies of the Iranian people, including the child-killing Israeli prime minister, should have understood that although the revolutionary Iranian people are not warmongers and seek a sustainable and fair peace for all nations, they do not withdraw even one iota from their revolutionary and monotheist positions."