Criticism of monotheism

Criticism of monotheism

Philosophical criticisms of monotheism have emerged mainly since the Enlightenment.



Through the means of defining, it is traditionally agreed among the major monotheistic religions that the one God is, inter alia, omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent. However, one scholar argues that "this definition of God [is] contradictory to what has been perceived by us in the empirical world."[1]

Forcing one belief and rejections of other gods

David Hume has argued that monotheism is less pluralistic and thus less tolerant than polytheism because the former stipulates that people pigeonhole their beliefs into one.[2] In the same vein, Auguste Comte argues, "Monotheism is irreconcilable with the existence in our nature of the instincts of benevolence" because it compels followers to devote themselves to a single Creator.[3]

Violence in monotheism

In the ancient times, monotheism is blamed as the instigator of violence in its early days as it inspired the Israelites to wage war upon the Canaanites[4] who believed in multiple gods.

Success of monotheistic religions

Bertrand Russell has stated that in recent history William James popularized the idea that the belief in one god causes people not be behave improperly. Furthermore, Russell expostulates through examples that whether "politicians and educators ought to try to make people think there is one [god]" is "a political one" since one cannot prove the moralistic argument of William James.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Worship as a Hindrance to Self
  2. ^ "David Hume argued that unlike monotheism, polytheism is pluralistic in nature, unbound by doctrine, and therefore far more tolerant than monotheism, which tends to force people to believe in one faith." [1]
  3. ^ The Catechism of Positive Religion, page 251, [2]
  4. ^ The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism ISBN 978-0226741994
  5. ^ Is There a God?,(Commissioned by Bertrand Russell, but never published in, Illustrated Magazine, in 1952) [3]

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