And yet theism - or monotheism - constitutes a special locus in the history of religion.
Though one may often be repelled by their lifelessness, their lack of spontaneity and the externalization of the ritual, it must be recognized that they placed a strict monotheism upon a legal basis.
Impressed with the perversions and corruptions of popular Hinduism, Ram Mohan Roy investigated the Hindu Shastras, the Koran and the Bible, repudiated the polytheistic worship of the Shastras as false, and inculcated the reformed principles of monotheism as found in the ancient Upanishads of the Vedas.
He was quite unconscious that his own monotheism was hardly to be distinguished from that of the pagan philosophers, and that his Christ was a demi-god.
Passing to later times, we can watch a theory of monotheism rising, and dying down again, during what our scholars distinguish as the Brahmanical period of Indian religion.
To him, as to the Deuteronomic legislation, the forms of legal observance are of value only as the fitting expression of Israel's peculiar sonshin and service, and he shows himself a true prophet when he contrasts the worthless ministry of unwilling priests with the pure offering of prayer and praise that rises from the implicit monotheism of even Gentile worship 2 (i.
To this school Christianity is the culmination of the ethical monotheism of the Old Testament, which finds its highest ideal in selfsacrificing love.
The supposition of a Solomonic authorship for Proverbs is excluded by the whole colouring of the book, in which monotheism and monogamy are assumed, without discussion, to be generally accepted, while in Solomon's time and by Solomon's self the worship of many gods and the taking of more than one wife were freely practised, without rebuke from priest or prophet.
According to this view the enervating luxury of Palestinian culture almost destroyed the lofty ideal monotheism inculcated in the desert, and after the fall of the northern tribes (latter part of the 8th cent.) Judah is naturally regarded as the sole heir.
Theology might draw subtle distinctions between different forms of devotion; but, tried by the comparisons of the anthropologist, the monotheism even of historical Christianity cannot be strictly maintained.