• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!
  • Welcome to our archives. No new posts are allowed here.

Agnostic Atheism vs. Gnostic Atheism: That last .01%

shagg

Wading Through Bull****
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Messages
1,681
Reaction score
1,219
Location
Rhode Island
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Are you certain? Are you 100% sure? This is of course after answering no to the question "Do you think 1 or more gods exist?"

I've brought this tangent up in a few threads, I'm giving it a home here.

I am 99.99% sure that god(s) do not exist. I'm being hyperbolic, and keep in mind 97% of all statistics are made up on the spot. At any given time I'm in the 90+%, but for the sake of making a point, I will sit at 99.99% and ponder how to achieve the goal of 100%, how to get past that last .01%.

You can take the position that it doesn't matter, because practically speaking, it doesn't. Every day I assume that gods do not exist, as I go through my work day, come home and play with my kids, or surf internet forums. Being 99.99% sure, I'm comfortable making that assumption and basing decisions on it.

But when it comes down to being gnostic or agnostic, I find that being 100% certain is a lofty goal indeed when dealing with something that so little is known about. That last .01% is in fact impossible without resorting to definition twisting, defining god in a way that he can not exist. But even this will result in the same problem theists run into when they do the opposite: the gap problem (Connecting the thing you proved/disproved to some meaningful definition of god). But there is no way to assert anything about what exists in the universe when we haven't even managed to get an unmanned space exploration probe into .... something close to ..... 99.99% of it. Nevermind the existence of a being who could deceive us so thoroughly that we would be completely unaware of them standing next to us. Given 5 minutes I could come up with a handful of theories and hypothetical entities that would be impossible to disprove with certainty.

So unlikely the possibility can be ignored? Sure, in the practical sense. Impossible? 100% certainty? It turns out 99.99% is light years away from 100%.

Are there any 100%ers out there that can explain how they got past the last .01%?
 
Last edited:

Skeptic Bob

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
16,626
Reaction score
19,488
Location
Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
I don't think it has to be 100% to be considered gnostic. If that is our criteria then you can't know anything. I am a gnostic atheist in regard to the Abrahamic God and the gods of the religions I have heard of. I am as certain they don't exist as I am of anything.

I am an agnostic atheist in regard to the deistic God or any other God concepts I have never heard of.
 

RabidAlpaca

Engineer
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 4, 2012
Messages
23,016
Reaction score
30,289
Location
American Refugee in Europe
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Totally agree. Once you lock down that .01% of uncertainty, what about the .001%? The .00001%? The .00000001%? For many people on this forum (Frank Apisa) if there's even a 1 in 1 trillion chance, you can't take one side or the other and you are totally agnostic.

Personally I think the agnostic/gnostic question is rather meaningless. We all think we're right and what we think has no bearing on what reality actually is.
 

shagg

Wading Through Bull****
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Messages
1,681
Reaction score
1,219
Location
Rhode Island
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I don't think it has to be 100% to be considered gnostic. If that is our criteria then you can't know anything. I am a gnostic atheist in regard to the Abrahamic God and the gods of the religions I have heard of. I am as certain they don't exist as I am of anything.

I am an agnostic atheist in regard to the deistic God or any other God concepts I have never heard of.

Where is the line drawn then between gnosic and agnostic?
 

Skeptic Bob

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
16,626
Reaction score
19,488
Location
Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
Where is the line drawn then between gnosic and agnostic?

Now that definitely falls under the category of things I don't claim to know. :)
 

joG

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 27, 2013
Messages
43,839
Reaction score
9,638
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
Are you certain? Are you 100% sure? This is of course after answering no to the question "Do you think 1 or more gods exist?"

I've brought this tangent up in a few threads, I'm giving it a home here.

I am 99.99% sure that god(s) do not exist. I'm being hyperbolic, and keep in mind 97% of all statistics are made up on the spot. At any given time I'm in the 90+%, but for the sake of making a point, I will sit at 99.99% and ponder how to achieve the goal of 100%, how to get past that last .01%.

You can take the position that it doesn't matter, because practically speaking, it doesn't. Every day I assume that gods do not exist, as I go through my work day, come home and play with my kids, or surf internet forums. Being 99.99% sure, I'm comfortable making that assumption and basing decisions on it.

But when it comes down to being gnostic or agnostic, I find that being 100% certain is a lofty goal indeed when dealing with something that so little is known about. That last .01% is in fact impossible without resorting to definition twisting, defining god in a way that he can not exist. But even this will result in the same problem theists run into when they do the opposite: the gap problem (Connecting the thing you proved/disproved to some meaningful definition of god). But there is no way to assert anything about what exists in the universe when we haven't even managed to get an unmanned space exploration probe into .... something close to ..... 99.99% of it. Nevermind the existence of a being who could deceive us so thoroughly that we would be completely unaware of them standing next to us. Given 5 minutes I could come up with a handful of theories and hypothetical entities that would be impossible to disprove with certainty.

So unlikely the possibility can be ignored? Sure, in the practical sense. Impossible? 100% certainty? It turns out 99.99% is light years away from 100%.

Are there any 100%ers out there that can explain how they got past the last .01%?

99.99 percent? Wellingtons that a that waterproof will leave you with wet feet in no time.
 

RAMOSS

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
57,742
Reaction score
23,212
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Are you certain? Are you 100% sure? This is of course after answering no to the question "Do you think 1 or more gods exist?"

I've brought this tangent up in a few threads, I'm giving it a home here.

I am 99.99% sure that god(s) do not exist. I'm being hyperbolic, and keep in mind 97% of all statistics are made up on the spot. At any given time I'm in the 90+%, but for the sake of making a point, I will sit at 99.99% and ponder how to achieve the goal of 100%, how to get past that last .01%.

You can take the position that it doesn't matter, because practically speaking, it doesn't. Every day I assume that gods do not exist, as I go through my work day, come home and play with my kids, or surf internet forums. Being 99.99% sure, I'm comfortable making that assumption and basing decisions on it.

But when it comes down to being gnostic or agnostic, I find that being 100% certain is a lofty goal indeed when dealing with something that so little is known about. That last .01% is in fact impossible without resorting to definition twisting, defining god in a way that he can not exist. But even this will result in the same problem theists run into when they do the opposite: the gap problem (Connecting the thing you proved/disproved to some meaningful definition of god). But there is no way to assert anything about what exists in the universe when we haven't even managed to get an unmanned space exploration probe into .... something close to ..... 99.99% of it. Nevermind the existence of a being who could deceive us so thoroughly that we would be completely unaware of them standing next to us. Given 5 minutes I could come up with a handful of theories and hypothetical entities that would be impossible to disprove with certainty.

So unlikely the possibility can be ignored? Sure, in the practical sense. Impossible? 100% certainty? It turns out 99.99% is light years away from 100%.

Are there any 100%ers out there that can explain how they got past the last .01%?


When it comes to gnosticism verses agnosticsm, it seems to me that quite often it comes down to the difference between intellectual reasoning and emotional feeling.
 

SmokeAndMirrors

DP Veteran
Joined
May 20, 2011
Messages
18,282
Reaction score
16,153
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Other
Are you certain? Are you 100% sure? This is of course after answering no to the question "Do you think 1 or more gods exist?"

I've brought this tangent up in a few threads, I'm giving it a home here.

I am 99.99% sure that god(s) do not exist. I'm being hyperbolic, and keep in mind 97% of all statistics are made up on the spot. At any given time I'm in the 90+%, but for the sake of making a point, I will sit at 99.99% and ponder how to achieve the goal of 100%, how to get past that last .01%.

You can take the position that it doesn't matter, because practically speaking, it doesn't. Every day I assume that gods do not exist, as I go through my work day, come home and play with my kids, or surf internet forums. Being 99.99% sure, I'm comfortable making that assumption and basing decisions on it.

But when it comes down to being gnostic or agnostic, I find that being 100% certain is a lofty goal indeed when dealing with something that so little is known about. That last .01% is in fact impossible without resorting to definition twisting, defining god in a way that he can not exist. But even this will result in the same problem theists run into when they do the opposite: the gap problem (Connecting the thing you proved/disproved to some meaningful definition of god). But there is no way to assert anything about what exists in the universe when we haven't even managed to get an unmanned space exploration probe into .... something close to ..... 99.99% of it. Nevermind the existence of a being who could deceive us so thoroughly that we would be completely unaware of them standing next to us. Given 5 minutes I could come up with a handful of theories and hypothetical entities that would be impossible to disprove with certainty.

So unlikely the possibility can be ignored? Sure, in the practical sense. Impossible? 100% certainty? It turns out 99.99% is light years away from 100%.

Are there any 100%ers out there that can explain how they got past the last .01%?

Pfft. I'm much less than 99.99% sure there are no gods. The possible definitions of "god" are endless and includes almost anything, and include billions of things humans have never thought of. I have no idea if there's a god.

But I do know that in my day-to-day life, there does not appear to be any extra factor outside of my demonstrable reality that I have a reason to take into account. To me, that's all atheism is. It's a practical philosophy, not really a theoretical one. A/gnosis is the theoretical side of the debate. And whether I think a god is knowable... well, that depends on which god we're talking about. If animism is true, then yes, god is knowable. If we live in a simulation, then it probably isn't.

I also know -- yes, with 100% certainty -- that there are some human-described gods that do not exist. I know this because the supposed vehicle of their being has been proven false, or because the descriptions of them are inherently contradictory or mutually exclusive. But there are as many different variations of human-described gods as there are people who believe in them.

I don't think certainty about all possible variations of gods that could conceivably exist really has anything to do with atheism as a state of being, nor do I think it's terribly important to think about. At the end of the day, does there seem to be any reason to you to factor something besides your demonstrable reality into your life? If the answer is no, then it's as good as true to you for all practical purposes.

Gnosis in this case would be exactly the same as it is in the case of religious people. It's an emotional belief of "knowing." Which, I have to say, is sort of a weird thing for a sceptic to claim.
 

William Rea

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 23, 2010
Messages
8,949
Reaction score
2,231
Location
UK
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Socialist
Are you certain? Are you 100% sure? This is of course after answering no to the question "Do you think 1 or more gods exist?"

I've brought this tangent up in a few threads, I'm giving it a home here.

I am 99.99% sure that god(s) do not exist. I'm being hyperbolic, and keep in mind 97% of all statistics are made up on the spot. At any given time I'm in the 90+%, but for the sake of making a point, I will sit at 99.99% and ponder how to achieve the goal of 100%, how to get past that last .01%.

You can take the position that it doesn't matter, because practically speaking, it doesn't. Every day I assume that gods do not exist, as I go through my work day, come home and play with my kids, or surf internet forums. Being 99.99% sure, I'm comfortable making that assumption and basing decisions on it.

But when it comes down to being gnostic or agnostic, I find that being 100% certain is a lofty goal indeed when dealing with something that so little is known about. That last .01% is in fact impossible without resorting to definition twisting, defining god in a way that he can not exist. But even this will result in the same problem theists run into when they do the opposite: the gap problem (Connecting the thing you proved/disproved to some meaningful definition of god). But there is no way to assert anything about what exists in the universe when we haven't even managed to get an unmanned space exploration probe into .... something close to ..... 99.99% of it. Nevermind the existence of a being who could deceive us so thoroughly that we would be completely unaware of them standing next to us. Given 5 minutes I could come up with a handful of theories and hypothetical entities that would be impossible to disprove with certainty.

So unlikely the possibility can be ignored? Sure, in the practical sense. Impossible? 100% certainty? It turns out 99.99% is light years away from 100%.

Are there any 100%ers out there that can explain how they got past the last .01%?

Define, 'god(s)'.
 

Deuce

Outer space potato man
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
84,701
Reaction score
38,587
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
What if I'm just 100% certain that the deity described in modern, Abrahamic religions doesn't exist? There might very well be some greater being, but those books most definitely do not describe it accurately.
 

the_recruit

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 30, 2011
Messages
4,207
Reaction score
2,615
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
You're mistaking knowledge for a level of certainty that isn't achievable. For example, I'd say we know that Zeus and friends do not inhabit Mount Olympus. But that doesn't mean there is a 0% chance we could be mistaken about that. That level of certainty isn't a requirement for knowing.
 

CrabCake

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 6, 2014
Messages
1,925
Reaction score
694
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Progressive
Are you certain? Are you 100% sure? This is of course after answering no to the question "Do you think 1 or more gods exist?"

I've brought this tangent up in a few threads, I'm giving it a home here.

I am 99.99% sure that god(s) do not exist. I'm being hyperbolic, and keep in mind 97% of all statistics are made up on the spot. At any given time I'm in the 90+%, but for the sake of making a point, I will sit at 99.99% and ponder how to achieve the goal of 100%, how to get past that last .01%.

You can take the position that it doesn't matter, because practically speaking, it doesn't. Every day I assume that gods do not exist, as I go through my work day, come home and play with my kids, or surf internet forums. Being 99.99% sure, I'm comfortable making that assumption and basing decisions on it.

But when it comes down to being gnostic or agnostic, I find that being 100% certain is a lofty goal indeed when dealing with something that so little is known about. That last .01% is in fact impossible without resorting to definition twisting, defining god in a way that he can not exist. But even this will result in the same problem theists run into when they do the opposite: the gap problem (Connecting the thing you proved/disproved to some meaningful definition of god). But there is no way to assert anything about what exists in the universe when we haven't even managed to get an unmanned space exploration probe into .... something close to ..... 99.99% of it. Nevermind the existence of a being who could deceive us so thoroughly that we would be completely unaware of them standing next to us. Given 5 minutes I could come up with a handful of theories and hypothetical entities that would be impossible to disprove with certainty.

So unlikely the possibility can be ignored? Sure, in the practical sense. Impossible? 100% certainty? It turns out 99.99% is light years away from 100%.

Are there any 100%ers out there that can explain how they got past the last .01%?

I understand what you're saying. But just a heads up that gnostic does not mean what you seem to think it means. Gnosticism refers to a very specific set of beliefs. You seem to use that term as a way of referring to a general belief in some gods. Theism is the term you're looking for.
 

RAMOSS

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
57,742
Reaction score
23,212
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I understand what you're saying. But just a heads up that gnostic does not mean what you seem to think it means. Gnosticism refers to a very specific set of beliefs. You seem to use that term as a way of referring to a general belief in some gods. Theism is the term you're looking for.

The term Gnosticism refers to a set of specific religious beliefs, however, the term gnostic refers to knowledge verses belief. Gnostic does not neccesarily refer to the set of religious beliefs known as Gnosticism.
 

CrabCake

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 6, 2014
Messages
1,925
Reaction score
694
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Progressive
The term Gnosticism refers to a set of specific religious beliefs, however, the term gnostic refers to knowledge verses belief. Gnostic does not neccesarily refer to the set of religious beliefs known as Gnosticism.

That doesn't seem to be the way it has been used in this thread either. To make matters worse it seems some people are using it in one way and others in another. You, for example did use the term gnosticism as the opposite of agnosticism. Thus it's a problematic term.
 
Last edited:

RAMOSS

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
57,742
Reaction score
23,212
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
That doesn't seem to be the way it has been used in this thread either. To make matters worse it seems some people are using it in one way and others in another. You, for example did use the term gnosticism as the opposite of agnosticism. Thus it's a problematic term.


Yes.. indeed i did. However, I am not using in the way of the the various gnosticism religions (of which there were more than one)
 

Nilly

stb
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 12, 2014
Messages
6,873
Reaction score
3,809
Location
DC
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Progressive
Whether I'm gnostic or agnostic depends on the god.

Zeus? Gnostic. Yahweh? Gnostic. Deistic God? Agnostic (albeit unconvinced).
 

shagg

Wading Through Bull****
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Messages
1,681
Reaction score
1,219
Location
Rhode Island
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Define, 'god(s)'.

I'm willing to be pretty loose with the definition, as long as it isn't something that does not or can not exist by definition. Even then I'd play devils advocate to see how you handled the gap problem. Should we just see what Miriam-Webster says?
 

Quag

DP Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2012
Messages
30,665
Reaction score
13,687
Location
Earth
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Whether I'm gnostic or agnostic depends on the god.

Zeus? Gnostic. Yahweh? Gnostic. Deistic God? Agnostic (albeit unconvinced).

Be careful Zeus doesn't like being insulted, the Greek gods are very touchy

One estimate is that 24,000 people are killed by lightning strikes around the world each year and about 240,000 are injured.[5]
 

shagg

Wading Through Bull****
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Messages
1,681
Reaction score
1,219
Location
Rhode Island
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
You're mistaking knowledge for a level of certainty that isn't achievable. For example, I'd say we know that Zeus and friends do not inhabit Mount Olympus. But that doesn't mean there is a 0% chance we could be mistaken about that. That level of certainty isn't a requirement for knowing.

I understand what you're saying. But just a heads up that gnostic does not mean what you seem to think it means. Gnosticism refers to a very specific set of beliefs. You seem to use that term as a way of referring to a general belief in some gods. Theism is the term you're looking for.

That doesn't seem to be the way it has been used in this thread either. To make matters worse it seems some people are using it in one way and others in another. You, for example did use the term gnosticism as the opposite of agnosticism. Thus it's a problematic term.

The way I've used the term, and apologies if I've gone against conventional usage, is in the gnostic vs agnostic sense as the thread title suggests, gnostic meaning "I know with certainty gods do not exist", agnostic meaning "I believe gods do not exist, but I am not 100% sure". I tried to make it clear that I was referring to atheists who are 100% certain gods do not exist.

If I've set the bar too high on "Gnostic" or "Knowing", my bad. Most who follow this philosophy seem to debate and argue as if they were 100% certain, that's for sure.

Remember it can be laid out like an X - Y axis, Theism vs Atheism on one axis, and gnostic vs agnostic on the other.
 

Nilly

stb
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 12, 2014
Messages
6,873
Reaction score
3,809
Location
DC
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Progressive
The way I've used the term, and apologies if I've gone against conventional usage, is in the gnostic vs agnostic sense as the thread title suggests, gnostic meaning "I know with certainty gods do not exist", agnostic meaning "I believe gods do not exist, but I am not 100% sure". I tried to make it clear that I was referring to atheists who are 100% certain gods do not exist.

If I've set the bar too high on "Gnostic" or "Knowing", my bad. Most who follow this philosophy seem to debate and argue as if they were 100% certain, that's for sure.

Remember it can be laid out like an X - Y axis, Theism vs Atheism on one axis, and gnostic vs agnostic on the other.

The issue here being that if the bar for gnostic or knowing is 100%, then it's impossible to be gnostic about pretty much anything. You can't be gnostic that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow because you can't know for sure (problem of induction). You can't be gnostic that the sun even exists at all because you could be living in a simulation. It makes the term gnostic irrelevant.

I consider gnostic to be 'beyond all reasonable doubt'. In science, we use 3-sigma (99.7% certainty) to denote something as 'basically certain', which has proved to be a useful rule of thumb to go by.
 

Mach

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
21,699
Reaction score
13,488
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
Sure Shagg.

Let's assume the term Y9S$ is undefined.
Question: Do you believe Y9S$ exists?

You can answer that, but you'd be a fool to do so. The statement has no meaning, because a term is undefined.

And yet here you are, claiming you can answer it with : Shagg:"I am 99.99% sure that [god(s)] do not exist."
Where [god(s)] is left undefined.

So, you're left, as you should be, to either:
1. be silent on the issue
2. define it, and let us critique THAT definition and subsequent claim.
3. don't define it, and keep just claiming nonsense ****.

If you take door #2, you may get to the part where someone can claim with 100% certainty [X] does not exist, but until you have a defined statement, you're not communicating anything other than your mistake.
 

the_recruit

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 30, 2011
Messages
4,207
Reaction score
2,615
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
The statement has no meaning, because a term is undefined.

This is a common misunderstanding. But this isn't how meaning works. A word doesn't need to have a definition to have a meaning. A definition is not what gives a word its meaning. A definition is just an attempt to convey the same meaning (or a very similar meaning) as a word using a collection of different words. Consider the fact that definitions aren't even possible until we already understand the meanings of a great many words. How could these words have meaning if they don't yet have definitions?

The point you want to be making is not that 'god' is undefined but that 'god' has different meanings (or may be used in a way that is incoherent, literally has no meaning). In order for us to have a discussion about 'god' we need to be in agreement about what we mean when we speak 'god'. When a person says they are an atheist they do not mean they are an atheist in regard to whatever meaning someone assigns to the syntax 'g-o-d'. Instead the atheist means that he is an atheist in regard to some meaning of 'g-o-d' that he has in mind, such as the Christian God, or Zeus, some broader notion along the line of 'conscious being that created the universe'.
 
Last edited:

FreedomFromAll

Post Political parties
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 16, 2011
Messages
16,959
Reaction score
4,805
Location
New Mexico USA
Gender
Male
Are you certain? Are you 100% sure? This is of course after answering no to the question "Do you think 1 or more gods exist?"

I've brought this tangent up in a few threads, I'm giving it a home here.

I am 99.99% sure that god(s) do not exist. I'm being hyperbolic, and keep in mind 97% of all statistics are made up on the spot. At any given time I'm in the 90+%, but for the sake of making a point, I will sit at 99.99% and ponder how to achieve the goal of 100%, how to get past that last .01%.

You can take the position that it doesn't matter, because practically speaking, it doesn't. Every day I assume that gods do not exist, as I go through my work day, come home and play with my kids, or surf internet forums. Being 99.99% sure, I'm comfortable making that assumption and basing decisions on it.

But when it comes down to being gnostic or agnostic, I find that being 100% certain is a lofty goal indeed when dealing with something that so little is known about. That last .01% is in fact impossible without resorting to definition twisting, defining god in a way that he can not exist. But even this will result in the same problem theists run into when they do the opposite: the gap problem (Connecting the thing you proved/disproved to some meaningful definition of god). But there is no way to assert anything about what exists in the universe when we haven't even managed to get an unmanned space exploration probe into .... something close to ..... 99.99% of it. Nevermind the existence of a being who could deceive us so thoroughly that we would be completely unaware of them standing next to us. Given 5 minutes I could come up with a handful of theories and hypothetical entities that would be impossible to disprove with certainty.

So unlikely the possibility can be ignored? Sure, in the practical sense. Impossible? 100% certainty? It turns out 99.99% is light years away from 100%.

Are there any 100%ers out there that can explain how they got past the last .01%?

You can achieve that last percentage by not believing in imaginary things.
 

FreedomFromAll

Post Political parties
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 16, 2011
Messages
16,959
Reaction score
4,805
Location
New Mexico USA
Gender
Male
This is a common misunderstanding. But this isn't how meaning works. A word doesn't need to have a definition to have a meaning. A definition is not what gives a word its meaning. A definition is just an attempt to convey the same meaning (or a very similar meaning) as a word using a collection of different words. Consider the fact that definitions aren't even possible until we already understand the meanings of a great many words. How could these words have meaning if they don't yet have definitions?

The point you want to be making is not that 'god' is undefined but that 'god' has different meanings (or may be used in a way that is incoherent, literally has no meaning). In order for us to have a discussion about 'god' we need to be in agreement about what we mean when we speak 'god'. When a person says they are an atheist they do not mean they are an atheist in regard to whatever meaning someone assigns to the syntax 'g-o-d'. Instead the atheist means that he is an atheist in regard to some meaning of 'g-o-d' that he has in mind, such as the Christian God, or Zeus, some broader notion along the line of 'conscious being that created the universe'.

Well unless you are a ignostic atheist.
 

the_recruit

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 30, 2011
Messages
4,207
Reaction score
2,615
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Well unless you are a ignostic atheist.

It's no different. An ignostic atheist is so in regard to some use of 'god' he has in mind. But there are notions of god which are not meaningless. A bearded being that lives on Mt. Olympus and shoots firebolts out of his ass is not meaningless. That is a meaningful notion. A person who claims to be ignostic in regard to it is simply confused or misunderstands what I meant.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom