2010-06-08 00:48, Sai Emrys skrev: > On Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:08 AM, Bruno Barcelos > <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >> > In my opinion we should try to use a percentage scale to define those terms. > I really don't think that it's scalar. Within any one belief-type, > there is scalar certainty, and potentially even combinations; that's > another matter though. > The problem in discussing (a)theism and agnosticism is that one first needs an agreed-upon definition of [g|G]od(s). It is not so simple that theism means "belief in the existence of beings with powers superior to Man". Rather there are different beliefs and conceptions regarding the nature and conditions of [g|G]od(s) relative the universe, man, sentient beings, other gods, afterlife etc. Not only are there different beliefs about what is possible or actual but also about what is the proper religious values (beliefs, attitudes, practices and relations of Men towards the (concept of) [g|G]od(s)) and towards other Men's values. Clearly there are and have at least since the pagans of Antiquity those who define (a)theism as "(not) sharing my religious values", as well as those who define it as "(not) believing in (a) certain concept(s) of [g|G]od(s)", "(not) believing in the (possibility and/or actuality of) [g|G]od(s). The term agnosticism has an analogous range of definition problems and varieties, but I would contend that if you define it as "belief in the unknowability of the existence/nature of [g|G]od(s)" then many if not most of not only atheists but in particular theists are in fact agnostics since they believe that the point of religion is faith, defined as believing in spite of unknowing. Thus defined agnosticism is not a middle range on the atheism--theism scale but a separate concept which overlaps.[^1] Additionally "belief" is a difficult concept, certainly not binary to lack of belief, since there is also the possibility of inability to belive irrespective if one is an atheist, agnostic or an adiagnostic. I thus distinguish unbelief, disbelief and belief. I guess that faith, to the extent that it entails more or other things than belief has a similar threefold distinction.[^2] With (lack of) faith still another combination enters: you may be a theist but incapable of faith! In short the point of NCNC is not only to avoid defending each other, but also the fact that with controversy comes usually terminological indeterminacy. [^1]: There is unfortunately no good term for the opposite of agnosticism qua belief in the unknowability of [g|G]od(s), since gnosticism is since antiquity defined as belief in the salvific quality of knowledge. I use "anagnosticism", which in turn makes the proper naming of the "'[g|G]od(s)' is hard or impossible to define" position hard to label if you can't stomach the macaronic "ignosticism" -- used moreover of a position .which apparently encompasses more than pointing out the problem with defining god. Perhaps "adiagnosticism" would be 'good Greek'. [^2]: Here not only Greek lets me down, but most European languages lack the belief/faith distinction English makes. Latin indeed differentiates _credo_ and _fido_, but lets me down in lacking a noun from _cred-_ except _creditus_, and the threefold distinction is hard to make not only in Latin (_diffidens_ meaning somethng else), but also in English: surely "disfaithing" or whatever isn't well-formed!