I have been looking at the way various different worshipers view Shiva as God. This is only one aspect of the differences, worshipers may have different practices, traditions and emphasise worship, medditation or jnana (learning and understanding). In trying to prepare this post I have discovered one thing, wordpress does not do tables well. I have therefore put the table into this post as an image, and made it available as a pdf file. The table looks at various groups worshiping Shiva and how Shiva relates to various Hindu views of God. These views are explained as follows:
Ishwara is God as the great lord. This is God the supreme controller, but is a personal God.
Brahman is God in the absolute, omnipresent form of God, often described as the Cosmic Spirit, or Paramatman (Supreme Soul). Brahman can not be related to by bhakti or devotion but reached and experienced through meditation.
Can be seen as the female principle of God. This is viewed differently by different groups, but can be seen as either a personal Goddess or as an impersonal transcenant power.
This is the form of God chosen for worhsip and devotion by a devotee. Hindus may acknowlege other Gods (or views of God) and worship them at certain places and times, but the ishtadeva is the main channel for bhakti. This is often, though not always, the same as the Ishwara or Great Lord.
This is an individual person or creatures soul, the true self. Not all Hindus identify the jivatman as God but most (all?) see it as of substance like that of God or of the same nature, as a drop of water is to the ocean.
Worshipers Listed below include two groups of worshipers that are not traditionally seen as Shaivite Hindus. These are Veera Shaiva (also known as Lingayatas) and Smarta. I included specifically smarta who chose shiva as their ishtadeva – as they certainly are worshipers of Lord Shiva. This does not apply to all smarta. Lingayatas are sometimes not counted as Hindus as they reject the teachings of the vedas.
Well here is the table as an image. If you are unable to view images or would like this in text form then follow the pdf file link.
The information in this table was compiled mainly from information on the Wikipedia Shaivism page and sub-pages, and from the online copy of Hinduism Today March 1994. If you see any errors please leave a comment.