The religious doctrine that while there may exist many deities, only one of them is worthy of the believer's worship.

For instance, some ancient tribes which worshipped only one deity, but whose neighbors worshipped other ones, believed that these other deities did in fact exist, but were inferior to their own god.

Henotheism is a belief in religions (like Hinduism) which recognizes a single deity, but recognizes he/she within other gods and goddesses as facets or manifestations or aspects of that supreme God, in the example of Hinduism, Brahman.

This also can mean, like Frater_219 said, that
some people worshipped only one deity, but whose neighbors worshipped other ones

For instance, in modern Hinduism, there are two main branches-

However, ancient Hindus, or rural ones of today usually also worship their village god or goddess and/or their earth goddess.

The term Ha-Satan is a Hebrew word used to describe a definite adversary (as in Zecharia 3:1-2,).

The word Satan is a derivative of Ha-Satan.

Judaism has no devil, there is no embodiment of evil who tempts them. This is in contrast to the Christian idea of Satan. In Christianity, Satan is often viewed as a type of demi-god who plays an active part in man's salvation (usually by attempting to destroy it). Satan is often pinpointed as being the source of evil in the world. Both Satan and God are often displayed as being anthropomorphic (usually a couple of guys).

If, however, one were to claim that there are other beings that have powers greater than mankind's (such as Satan, demons, angels) that act on behalf of their own volition or an all-powerful god, we must ask ourselves, is this truly monotheistic?

Certainly the Jewish faith ascertains that there is only one god and no entity that can compare, but what of Christianity then? Surely this faith concludes that there is only one god, however, any preternatural beings illustrated in the New Testament would indeed by god-like.

Although not polytheistic, arguments can be supported that the Christian religion is actually henotheistic rather than monotheistic in nature. According to Webster's online dictionary, henotheisim is the worship of one god without denying the existance of other gods. If one were to view these beings in a context outside of the Christian mythos, they would indeed be gods of a lesser nature. No doubt Zeus was more powerful than Athena, yet Athena more powerful than mankind.

Henotheism (n) is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as the “belief in one god without denying the existence of others.” Or as Max Müller wrote in “Semitic Monotheism” (1881), “The latter form of faith, the belief in One God, is properly called monotheism, where as the term henotheism would best express the faith in a single god.”

The word itself is derived from the Greek heno- (from hen which in the neuter of heis, or one) + the(o)-+-ism and is commonly considered to be the stage of religious belief between polytheism and monotheism. To quote Tiele from Encyclopedia Britannica XX (1886) “From this primitive naturism sprang… henotheism, not the henotheism of Max Müller, or of Hartmann, or of Asmus, but a practical henotheism i.e. the adoration of one God above others as the specific tribal god or as the lord over a particular people, a national or relative monotheism.”

Hen"o*the*ism (?), n. [Gr. , , one + E. theism.]

Primitive religion in which each of several divinities is regarded as independent, and is worshiped in reference to the rest.



© Webster 1913.

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