There are seven major world views…

Historically, there are seven major world views. Each one is different from the other. No one can consistently believe in more than one world view because the central premises of each are opposed by the others. That means that logically only one world view can be true; the others must be false. The seven major world views are theism, atheism, pantheism, panentheism, deism, finite godism, and polytheism.

Theism: An infinite God is beyond and in the universe. Theism is the world view that says that the physical universe is not all there is. An infinite, personal God beyond the universe created it, sustains it, and can act within it in a supernatural way. This is the view represented by traditional Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

Atheism: God does not exist beyond the universe or in it. Atheism says the universe is all there is. No god exists anywhere, either in the universe or beyond it. The universe or cosmos is all there is or ever will be. It is self-sustaining. Some of the more famous atheists were Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Pantheism: God is the universe. For a pantheist there is no creator beyond the universe. Creator and creation are two different ways of viewing one reality. God is the universe (or the All) and the universe is God. There is ultimately only one reality, not many different ones. Pantheism is represented by certain forms of Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, and the New Age movement.

Panentheism: God is in the universe. This view says God is in the universe as a mind is in a body. The universe is God’s “body.” But there is another “pole” to God other than the physical universe. It is his eternal and infinite potential beyond the actual physical universe. This view is represented by Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshome, and Schubert M. Ogden.

Deism: God is beyond the universe but not in it. Deism is like theism minus the miracles. It says God is transcendent over the universe but not supernaturally active in the world. It holds a naturalistic view of the world while insisting that there must be a creator or originator of the universe. It is represented by Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Martin Gardner.

Finite godism: A finite God is beyond and in the universe. Finite godism is like theism, only the god beyond the universe and active in it is not infinite but is limited in his nature and power. William James, Peter A. Bertocci, and Harold Kushner hold this view.

Polytheism: There is more than one god in the universe. Two or more finite gods exist in the world and influence events in it. In contrast to theists, polytheists deny that an infinite God exists beyond the world. And unlike deists, they believe that the gods are active in the world. The chief representatives of polytheism are the ancient Greeks and the modern Mormons.

Norman Geisler and William Watkins, from Worlds Apart: A Handbook on World Views

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