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Beliefs versus Knowledge

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  • 1. Visual representations of epistemology, theism, atheism and agnosticism… BELIEF & KNOWLEDGE Think! ?
  • 2. Belief The following graphic is not representative of the adherent percentages within the US or the relative correctness of claims, but simply illustrates the boundaries between beliefs. Theism refers to anyone that holds a belief in the supernatural. Atheism , in contrast, is anyone that lacks or does not hold a belief in the supernatural. Theism Atheism
  • 3. Examples of Belief Atheism Within theism, there are numerous belief systems. Below are a small number of examples. In Christianity alone there are no less than 30,000 denominations (Shermer). Theism Examples of Belief Think! Taoism Judaism Buddhism Christianity Islam Hinduism
  • 4. Belief Theism Atheism Absolutism - belief that one’s claim is 100% true at all times. Theism that is absolute is referred to as “ Dogmatic.” Almost no atheist claims absolute non-existence of any supernatural or theistic element. Dogma Absolutism Absolutism
  • 5. Belief Theism Atheism Absolutism Absolutism Deism - belief that deities do not interfere with the affairs of humans or laws of nature. Thomas Jefferson is an example of a deist. Dogma Deism
  • 6. Belief Theism Atheism Absolutism Absolutism Atheism can further be divided into two groups:
    • Explicit Atheists - refute belief
    Explicit - Refute Belief Dogma
    • Implicit Atheists - lack belief, ignorant of the claim
    Implicit - Lack beliefs Deism
  • 7. Belief Theism Atheism Absolutism Absolutism Explicit Atheism , those who refute theistic claims, includes a portion of individuals who believe theistic claims would be horrible if they were actually true called Anti-theists . Deism Dogma Anti-theism Explicit - Refute Belief Implicit - Lack beliefs
  • 8. Adherents in the US Theism Atheism Absolutism Absolutism Dogma Below is a graphic representation of the % of adherents in the US. 85% Are Theist 13% 2% Implicit - Lack beliefs Explicit - Refute Belief
  • 9. Example: Criminal Cases In criminal cases, verdicts are either “guilty” or “not guilty.” A jury that is unsure of a suspect’s claimed guilt must rule “not guilty,” because they lack sufficient evidence, creating reasonable doubt. Theism Atheism Absolutism Absolutism Unsure Believe “Innocence” / Refute “Guilty” Believe “Guilty” “ Guilty” “ Not Guilty” Anti-theism Believe Claim Implicit - Lack beliefs Explicit - Refute Belief
  • 10. Street Version Theism Absolutism Absolutism These definitions are different from what is used most frequently on the street today: Dogma
    • Lacking belief is separate from what is considered “atheism”, and represents the middle-ground for people who aren’t sure what they believe.
    Implicit - Lack beliefs Explicit - Refute Belief X (wrong) Deism
  • 11. Street Version Theism Absolutism Absolutism These definitions are different from what is used most frequently on the street today: Dogma “ Agnostic”
    • Lacking belief is separate from what is considered “atheism”, and represents the middle-ground for people who aren’t sure what they believe. The label given to this supposed middle ground is “ agnosticism .” Agnosticism has nothing to do with “belief,” but what you claim we can “know.” There is no middle-ground for belief.
    Implicit - Lack beliefs Explicit - Refute Belief Deism
  • 12. Street Version Theism Absolutism Absolutism These definitions are different from what is used most frequently on the street today: Deism Dogma “ Agnostic”
    • Deism isn’t used often as a label and, instead, is absorbed into the theistic label.
    Implicit - Lack beliefs Explicit - Refute Belief
  • 13. Street Version Theism Absolutism Absolutism These definitions are different from what is used most frequently on the street today: Dogma “ Agnostic”
    • Meanwhile, “ atheism ” is used to label anyone who outright refutes theistic claims. It’s assumed that all atheists have an inherent negative view of theism, so the term anti-theist seems redundant and isn’t widely used. By definition, there is no middle ground between theism and atheism.
    Atheism Anti-theism Implicit - Lack beliefs Explicit - Refute Belief
  • 14.
    • The following are distinct areas of spiritual knowledge:
    Knowledge Gnostics - believe that one can know of the existence of deities through direct experience. Agnostics - believe that particular theistic claims are either unknowable as of now or are inherently unknowable. Agnostics Gnostics
  • 15.
    • A third group of thought on spiritual knowledge is called “ Ignosticism .” Members of this group state that a coherent definition of God must be put forward before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed.
    Knowledge Gnostics Agnostics Ignostics
  • 16.
    • Among agnostics there is a subset that is apathetic to the question of theism. They believe the existence or non-existence of deities cannot be known, but since any God or gods that may exist appear unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is left to academics. The term for members of this group is “ Apathetic Agnostics .”
    Knowledge Gnostics Agnostics Ignostics Apathetic Agnostics
  • 17. Knowledge & Belief Gnostics Agnostics Ignostics Within each subset of belief (above) are specific subsets of spiritual knowledge (below). Theism Atheism Absolutism Absolutism Dogma Lack beliefs Anti-theism Apathetic Agnostics Deism
  • 18. Beliefs + Knowledge Define it first, I refute belief Define it first, I lack belief Define it first, I believe Define it first, I believe Ignostics I don’t care about knowing, I refute belief I don’t care about knowing, I lack belief I don’t care about knowing, I believe I don’t care about knowing, I believe Apathetic Agnostics We can’t know, I refute belief We can’t know, I lack belief We can’t know, I believe We can’t know, I believe Agnostics ---- I refute belief ---- I lack belief We can know, I believe We can know, I believe Gnostics Strong Atheists Weak Atheists Deists Theists ?

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