|WikiProject Religion||(Rated Start-class)|
I emailed the professor William O. Stephens who is referenced in the article to ask about his source for using the term, and he was gracious enough to reply as follows:
- If deism is the view that the universe was created by divine agency, but that the divine agent or agents who caused the universe to come into existence do not intervene in the history of the universe after its creation, then polydeism (a term I have used in teaching the Philosophy of Religion) is simply a special case of deism. Polydeism is the view that a plurality of gods created the world, but then left it to "unwind" all by itself without intervening in its history (by performing miracles, or by incarnating as a savior, or by interacting with any human beings).
- David Hume's criticisms of the Argument from Design include the argument that, for all we know, a committee of very powerful, but not omnipotent, divine beings could have collaborated in creating the world, but then afterwards left it alone or even ceased to exist. This would be polydeism.
- Try C. D. Broad for the use of the word "polydeism."
- Polytheism, in contrast, would, I suppose, be the view that there are many immortal (deathless) gods. Polytheists need not hold polydeism, since the many gods may not have created the universe.
Germans did it first, oh 'bout 200 years ago
Translations of the following would be appreciated--
Mufste nicht einem Volke, das mitten unter Polydeisten lebte und durch Polydeismus zerfalle wäre, indem es den einzigen Ring, der es zusammenheilt den Jehovahdienst verlohr, nicht beständig Mifstrauen gegn diese polydeistichen Nationen und Stolz auf seine eigenen religiosen Institute von seinen Fuhrern eingeflost werden, wenn es sich behaupten sollte?
- Alexander Lips, Ueber die künstige Stellung der Juden in den deutschen Bundesstaaten, 1819 page 143
Inmitten der altaischen Stämme finden wir die Spuren eines reinen Deismus und Polydeismus; sie haben eine «vergöttlichte Natur» «körperlose Geister» und «göttergleiche Helden».
- Carl Rottger, Russische Revue Monatsschrift Fur Die Kunde Russlands, 1882, page 514
Babelfish gives me: Mufste not a people, who lived in the middle under Polydeists and disintegrates by Polydeism would be, by it the only ring, which together-heals it the Jehovahdienst verlohr, not Mifstrauen gegn these polydeistic nations and pride on its own religiosen institutes by its Fuhrern is steadily eingeflost, if it should maintain ground?
- Over the kuenstige position of the Jews in the German Federal States
In the midst of the altaischen trunks we find the traces of a pure Deism and Polydeism; they have a "vergoettlichte nature" "bodyless spirit" and "God-same heroes"
- Russian revue monthly review Fur the customer of Russia