Theism is a general term used to acknowledge the belief in a Deity or deities. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, theism more narrowly means belief in a deity that is both immanent in the world, but also transcendent, and is also omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
The opposite of theism is atheism, which rejects belief in any God. There is also agnosticism, which admits the lack of spiritual proof, leaving belief open to either side. The most common form of theism today is monotheism, the belief in one God as the creator.
Variations of theism include:
- polytheism (many gods, contrasted to monotheism, one god)
- pantheism (all is God)
- panentheism (all is in God)
- deism (God made the Universe but then ceased to interact with it)
- polydeism (many Gods made the Universe but then abandoned it)
- pandeism (God made the Universe by becoming it)
- panendeism (God made the Universe by partially becoming it)
Some do not consider the deistic variations to relate to theism at all because they refer to an absent God (although the God of pandeism and panendeism is immanent, but non-interfering).
Variations of polytheism include:
- monolatry (belief in many Gods, but worship of only one)
- henotheism (belief in many Gods of which one is supreme)
- kathenotheism (belief in many Gods, but worship of only one at a time, because one is supreme at a time).