Print

Print


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!