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Monotheism is necessarily understood in opposition to polytheism. Do we believe in one god or several gods (or one god more powerful than other gods)? The struggle between monotheism and polytheism can be seen as a metaphorical representation of an essential struggle in the human psyche.

We almost always associate monotheism with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The assumption in these religious traditions is that there is one deity, conceived of as a personality with mind, a deity who acts through history and ultimately rules and controls the universe. Because of the dominance of the three “monotheistic religions,” there has been a general assumption in the western world that monotheism is an important part of a general path toward enlightenment. Polytheism is a belief system postulating many gods representing the many facets of creation and is often dismissed by the western mind as a “primitive” phenomenon.

Freud, in his Moses and Monotheism, suggested that monotheism originated...


  • Religious Tradition
  • Human Psyche
  • Potential Wholeness
  • Creative Mind
  • Metaphorical Representation

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Correspondence to David A. Leeming .

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Leeming, D.A. (2016). Monotheism. In: Leeming, D. (eds) Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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