Monotheism is the belief in only one god.
The three largest monotheistic religions in the world are Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The word monotheism comes from the combination of two Greek words. Mono means single, one; while Theo means god.
Monotheism, for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, has the same source in common, the Bible. They also recognize Abraham as the common father of all of them. Therefore, these religions are also called as Abrahamic or Book religions.
Abraham was said to have been born in Ur, in the Chaldea, a region where worship of various deities predominated. However, he sensed that there was only one god and by Him was called to lead his people to the promised land.
For Islam, Abraham is called Ibrahim, and his son with the concubine Agar, Ishmael, descended from Muslims.
In this way, the Old Testament writings are fundamental to understand what are the characteristics of this unique god. Let’s see:
- God is the source of every being and is not subject to any kingdom;
- it is free, strong and sovereign;
- it is eternal, it has no history, it has always existed;
- God is creator, but he is not in nature;
- there is a clear boundary between humanity and God, which are not to be confused;
- to know Him, God sends prophets to reveal His will.
Monotheism in History
In addition to the religions mentioned above, there are examples of monotheism in some periods of history.
In Egypt, Pharaoh Akenaton, Tutankhamen’s father , tried to establish the worship of a single god during his reign.
The prophet Zarathustra, also known as Zoroaster, systematized monotheism in Persia (now Iran). It is a religion that defends the choices between Good and Evil, the existence of Paradise, of the resurrection, at the coming of a messiah. There are still remnants of Zoroastrian communities in India.
During the Roman Empire, Emperor Constantine tries to appease Christians and pagans by instituting the worship of the Sun God, which would be the Sunday of worship.
The Yazidis, who belong to the Kurdish ethnicity , are a pre-Islamic community living in Iraq. They also worship a single god, whose representative on earth would be Melek Taus.
According to statistics, monotheistic religions are the ones that concentrate the largest number of followers.
Judaism has about 10 to 18 million people, Islam has 1.6 billion believers and, finally, Christianity concentrates 2.2 billion believers.
Despite being the majority belief in the world, polytheistic religions are currently experiencing growth. Especially those that were in place before Christianity arrived.
So we have a series of organizations that promote neo-pagan cults reviving Norse mythology in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the United Kingdom that seek to reestablish these ancient gods.
Philosophers, scholars and atheist scientists have also been occupying space in the media, propagating what was conventionally dubbed “new atheism”. Some names of this movement are Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.