For quite a few centuries now, a particular set of ideas has dominated talk about gods in the Western world. In that branch of philosophy known as philosophy of religion, these ideas have been gathered up under the label of “classical theism,” which may be defined as a belief in one and only one god, the unique, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent creator of the universe. On a less academic level, this same idea of the divine underlies Judaism and the major branches of Christianity, as well as Islam and an assortment of minority religions such as the Baha’i faith. This term “classical theism” misleads, since other theisms – beliefs in the existence of one or more gods – have at least as good a claim to classical status. A better term might be classical monotheism, and this latter phrase will be used here. Still, the habit of using the word “theism” as though it inevitably implies monotheism points up a very widely held and rarely questioned frame of mind. A broader and more complete understandin