The problem of polytheisms: a serious challenge to theism

Article

Abstract

Theistic and analytic philosophers of religion typically privilege classical theism and monotheism by ignoring or underestimating the great threat of polytheism (We take ‘theism’ to mean ‘classical theism’, which is but one of many possible monotheisms. Avoiding much of the discussion around classical theism, we wish to focus on the challenges in arguing for monotheism over polytheism. We take monotheisms and polytheisms to be versions of supernaturalism, and not of ‘theism’. We consider monotheisms and polytheisms to entail the notion of divine transcendence). We develop an argument from infinitely many alternatives, which decisively demonstrates that if a monotheistic or polytheistic god-model obtains, it will almost certainly be polytheistic. Probabilistic calculations are performed in order to illustrate the difficulties faced by the monotheistic proponent. After considering possible objections, such as whether there should be limits placed on how many possible god-models could obtain, we conclude that our argument from infinitely many alternatives is sound, and highly unlikely to be overcome.

Keywords

Polytheism Monotheism Theism Argument from infinitely many alternatives 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of UtrechtUtrechtNetherlands

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