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Skeptic Friend

131 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2012 :  13:45:06  Show Profile Send Baxter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I recently came across the term "ignostic." From The Free Dictionary: "The view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of god can be meaningfully discussed."

I can jive with this position. I often ponder whether I believe in God. For some reason, I can never form an answer. There are aspects of "God" that make sense to me, but in the end it's just speculation and I give up trying to answer. At the same time, I don't equate God to an invisible unicorn as atheists sometimes do. So I try to evaluate a sophisticated version of God, but it's been futile so far.

Anyway, perhaps why I have such a hard time forming my opinion in the matter, is because I can't make sense of the question.

How well do you relate to the term ignostic?

"We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me." ~from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

"We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know." ~Robert G. Ingersoll

Snuggle Wolf

1457 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2012 :  15:42:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A group of friends, acquaintances and I got together and it was announced that we would discus "the god question". I went first and was berated when it asked which definition of god. Most of the folks were New Agey so their god required moveable goalposts. One of the folk's definition of god was so vague and all-encompassing that I quoted Hitchens: "something that explains everything explains nothing"

Another guy asked what held things together, like a tapestry that he pointed to. I bit my tongue. Washy washy claims flew by too fast to address, including the old "prove love" crap.
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SFN Regular

854 Posts

Posted - 10/17/2012 :  17:36:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't know that it's a meaningful classification of the position. I mean we would be ignostic with respect to every undefined thing, sure, but I don't see how it's any more specific or particularly different from weak atheism. Being a weak atheist is I think to assert no belief in deities, but not to claim it's true that they don't exist. This seems to me to cover non-well-defined conceptions of deities.

When you say you don't equate god to an invisible unicorn, Baxter, do you mean to say your position isn't necessarily empirical, or am I reading too much into it? (I may well be implicitly building some empiricism into my view of the two not being distinct positions.)

I think these positions (invisible unicorn, "Last Thursdayism", celestial teapots, etc) are sometimes taken as pejorative when they're not necessarily intended to be so, but rather a point that some arguments for gods build characteristics into them that make them such that they're not detectible, and essentially kicking out empiricism, but I don't know another way to acquire knowledge about the existence of things (outside of logical constructs -- e.g. math).

Just curious about on which front you're rejecting the invisible unicorn position.

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
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