English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

There are people who believe that there is someone or something in the universe that controls everything but it is not a god or gods. What is the term for these people? I know it's not atheism. So, what is it?

share|improve this question

closed as not a real question by Matt E. Эллен, Hugo, Barrie England, simchona, Jasper Loy Nov 19 '11 at 21:31

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What research have you done so far? What do mean "not god", i.e. what makes this higher being not god? – Matt E. Эллен Nov 19 '11 at 19:10
Voted to close as I don't think the question is answerable in its current form. – Matt E. Эллен Nov 19 '11 at 19:10
I heard about the word in an english movie. But, as I am not a native speaker of english, I forgot that word. – user278092 Nov 19 '11 at 19:14
What was the title of the movie? The more context you give, the better the answers will be. – Matt E. Эллен Nov 19 '11 at 21:21
Conspiracy theorists? – onomatomaniak Nov 20 '11 at 4:39
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I believe "Deist" is the word you're looking for.


in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the natural laws of the universe. Deists typically reject supernatural events such as prophecy and miracles, tending instead to assert that a god (or "the Supreme Architect") does not alter the universe by intervening in it. This idea is also known as the Clockwork universe theory, in which a god designs and builds the universe, but steps aside to let it run on its own.

share|improve this answer
Typically speaking, deism believes in a non-active god but it still gets classified as a theism. It is a fitting answer to the question; I just felt like point that out. – MrHen Nov 23 '11 at 4:20

There are a handful of alternatives to "god" that may strike closer to what you want:

  • deity
  • supernatural being or the supernatural
  • creator

However, most of these terms are included in the English definition of "god". The only reason to not use "god" is to avoid the connotations of the words.

As for the concept that this controller-being is not actually god but something else entirely (such as a super-being we cannot understand), you could venture into terms such as:

  • nontheism — "a term that covers a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of — or the rejection of — theism or any belief in a personal god or gods." But most of the examples of nontheistic religions are religions that don't have a concept of "god".
  • posthuman and transhuman — the idea that humans can become something "more than human" in the sense that classification becomes troublesome. Transhuman refers more to the general concepts of a super-intelligence.

Your comparison to the term atheism makes me think that these later concepts are closer to what you were looking for. If I had to guess at a term for your use it would be "nontheistic god" or "posthuman god".

Unfortunately, these are terms that have varying definitions depending on how technical you want to get and which group of people you are talking to.

share|improve this answer
That would be deity, I think. – user11550 Nov 19 '11 at 20:33

"Spiritual" would be a more generic term for people that are believers but not necessarily religious in nature. It may even be too generalized for what you're looking for though.

But something that confuses me in your question: "God" pretty much sums up the definition of "someone in the universe who is controlling everything". God is a generic terms, not a single being tied to a specific religious affiliation.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.