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Ignosticism The First

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BarbarousBill

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What is Ignosticism? Well as it turns out that's a mildly ironic question.

 

So there's Atheism, which is non-belief and/or positive reinforcement of the proposition that there is no deity/ies.

 

Then there's Agnosticism, which is certainty that there is no evidence for or against deity/ies, with two common variants being a strong and weak Agnosticism, where weak believes there may be evidence for one or the other at some point, and strong Agnosticism being certain in uncertainty of the deity question.

 

Theism is then the belief in deity/ies.

 

And so there seems to be a general understanding that the god question is itself valid and mutually understood and that therefore under these terms and conditions, a genuine debate on the merits of one view or another is possible.

 

Right?

 

Ignosticism says no, not quite. With the word/s "deity/ies" there is an accepted definition attached to such term. This term is then used in the questioning of the belief in the god/s proposition. But is this term truly understood in the capacity it must be understood in so as to allow the debate on the merit of belief in the existence of the being the term defines? Or is this term fraught with such failures and misunderstandings and the impossibility of even basic definition that a meaningful debate is therefore impossible, and therefore any proposition concerning deity/ies also equally fallacious?

 

Ignostics would answer, the term god is difficult. Let's begin by looking at how Merriam-Webster defines it...

 


  • God : the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe

  • : a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people : one of various spirits or beings worshipped in some religions

  • : a person and especially a man who is greatly loved or admired


Okay now let's look at the first definition of the term "God." It consists of perfection and being all-powerful, and as a creator of the material reality we by definition all agree to recognize as such.

 

Perfection is a tricky term altogether as well.

 

Full Definition of perfection
1
: the quality or state of being perfect: as
a : freedom from fault or defect : flawlessness
b : maturity
c : the quality or state of being saintly
2
a : an exemplification of supreme excellence
b : an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence
3
: the act or process of perfecting


Which perfection are we talking about? This gets even more tricky when you look at all-powerful...

 

Full Definition of almighty
1
often capitalized : having absolute power over all <Almighty God>
2
a : relatively unlimited in power <an almighty board of directors>
b : having or regarded as having great power or importance <the almighty dollar>
3
: mighty —used as an intensive <an almighty shock>


Once again, which definition will we be using, and why?

 

Full Definition of creator
: one that creates usually by bringing something new or original into being; especially capitalized : god 1


Okay. Now we're getting somewhere. But let's assume by the first (and not only) definition of "god." If perfection is inherent, then we need a more precise definition of perfection. What makes something perfect? (This is a debate you'd have to have with Aristotle and Plato)

 

And if this being (is it a being, or is it something else entirely?) is perfect, and all powerful, then what restrains it's almighty powers from creating or maintaining perfection or saintliness? And the material reality that is the core of the assumption also needs examination. There is a whole academic debate between Idealists and Materialists that have gone on for eons. But let's assume the more Materialist perspective and assume Natural Laws govern reality and that this reality is both material and immanent. Then how can a perfect being spawn something new, an aberration, if it is already perfect. Was it not a perfect being before reality came into being? And if it maintains almighty powers then would it not necessitate a perfect world? If not is the being perfect? If it restrains its powers then how can it be perfectly powerful?

 

See what Ignostics are saying? It is almost pointless to even have a debate on the deity/ies question because the terms used to frame it are problematic, and by their very nature and the philosophies surrounding it all, always will be. Even theologians have difficulty with the terms and definitions and usage.

 

Ignosticism isn't belief or nonbelief or uncertainty of belief. It is certainty in the inability of language to convey the proper terms necessary to even have the question and the debate resulting from said question.

 

sources:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/creator
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/almighty
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perfection
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/god

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From the blog post:

 

 

 

Ignosticism isn't belief or nonbelief or uncertainty of belief. It is certainty in the inability of language to convey the proper terms necessary to even have the question and the debate resulting from said question.

 

You hold to gnostic ignosticism, i.e., you know language can never define god.  How are you so sure?  Perhaps you are an agnostic ignostic, i.e., you believe language can never define god but you are not sure.

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You hold to gnostic ignosticism, i.e., you know language can never define god.  How are you so sure?  Perhaps you are an agnostic ignostic, i.e., you believe language can never define god but you are not sure.

I am sure primarily as a result of being acquainted with both history and linguistics. The linguistics department at university also taught linguistic philosophy. Of course Ignosticism in many respects also represents a certain strand of deconstructivist post-modernism to the debate surrounding metaphysical philosophy and theological speculations and gesticulations. However, with the term from the original quote being certainty, knowing or believing is irrelevant. What is intended by the term is definite incomprehensiveness of definitional language. So know vs. believe is largely irrelevant. It is an active versus passive definitional term, whereas other philosophical positions such as Atheism or Agnosticism or Theism or even Deism are more passive in definition of terms used to arrive at knowing vs believing. At least, that's what I think.

 

Great comment though, I appreciate the thought you put into it!

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Well, let me make it more simple:

 

Do you know that language can never define the term "god" or do you merely believe that language can never define the term "god"?  

 

Of course, a possible answer (besides "I know" or "I merely believe") is "I don't know."

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