Positions on Belief and Knowledge

In my first post on this blog, I briefly discussed two different “kinds” of atheism: strong and weak (also known as positive and negative, respectively). It has recently come to my attention that there is more confusion than just between the types of atheism, but also how they relate to agnosticism and theism. So I have decided to create a post that details concise defintions and descriptions of each of the common positions regarding the various orientations toward the existence of God and what we can know about it.

First, I would like to explain the most common position we should expect to find in America: theism. Theism is defined by philosophypages.com as “[b]elief in the existence of god as a perfect being deserving of worship.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy also says that “[t]heism is the belief in a “personal” God which in some sense is separate from (transcends) the world.” Together, we can condense these definitions into one: theism is the belief in the existence of a personal god who is perfect and transcendent. Now, to further clarify on this defintion, I would like to explain what we mean by “personal” and “perfect”. A personal god is one who can be considered a person who has thoughts, feelings, intentions, and all of the normal capabilities that one would attribute to a normally-functioning human being. A perfect god is one who, for every attribute it has, it is perfect in that attribute. So if God is moral, then he is perfectly moral. If he is knowledgeable, then he is perfectly knowledgeable, and so on. (What it means to be perfect in attributes like these, however, is a subject of much debate itself.)

Theism is the standard mode of belief for the three Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). So if you are not a theist, then you definitely do not belong to any of the mainstream lines of thought in these traditions. Most theists interpret “perfect” as including the attributes of omnipotence (all-powerful), omniscience (all-knowing), and omnibenevolence (all-good). So from the theistic perspective, not only is God transcendent, but also he(/she/it) is a person who is able to do any possible thing, knows all truths, is morally perfect, and he interacts with the world and persons in it according to his(/her/its) divine will. It also standard belief that the theistic God is responsible, in one way or another, for the existence of the universe (whether it be creation ex nihilo (out of nothing) or some other process).

Now that the majority perspective is laid out fairly clearly, it is time to move on to its antithesis: atheism. Atheism is simply defined as the negation of theism. Be sure not to only interpret the “negation” as meaning a positive denial of the truth of theism,  for although it can be interpreted that way, there is also another way to understand it. The negation of theism, in its most humble form, is known as weak or negative atheism. It is simply the lack of belief in theism. Anyone who does not hold theistic beliefs is technically a weak/negative atheist (I personally prefer the term “negative” as opposed to “weak”). Under this definition, babies and the severely mentally retarded are technically negative atheists. Cultures that are completely unaware of this kind of conception of God are also technically negative atheists as well. The other side of atheism is strong or positive atheism. Positive atheism is the bold claim that a theistic God absolutely does not exist. Be sure to notice the distinction here: negative atheists are simply without belief in god and do not commit themselves to deny the possibility of god’s existence, while positive atheists are without belief in god and do commit themselves to the denial of the possibility of god’s existence. Some very bold philosophers, such as Michael Martin and Victor J Stenger, have attempted to justify positive atheism in light of philosophical and scientific arguments. Most philosophers and scientists, however, generally believe that no kind of argument could ever absolutely prove or disprove the existence of God. As such, negative atheism is the most common form of atheism that one is likely to run into, and it is the position that I support as well.

Finally, we have agnosticism. In my experience, there is no philosophical position concerning God’s existence that has been more misrepresented and misunderstood by the very people who claim to hold the position. So please allow me to clear up the inconsistencies here. Theism and atheism are ontological positions. This means that they are claims about belief in the objective existence of something. Gnosticism and agnosticism are epistemological positions (I won’t be discussing gnosticism here, since it is fairly straightforward and is the standard epistemological position of most people). This means that they are claims about what we as human beings can come to know, subjectively, about something. So when someone claims to be an agnostic, this is only a claim about what knowledge he or she thinks we can possibly attain. It says nothing of whether or not they believe that a god exists. And again, there are two types of agnostics: strong and weak. Weak agnostics believe that the evidence and arguments concerning the existence of God that we currently have are not sufficient to make a decision one way or the other on God’s existence. Strong agnostics, alternatively, believe that there is no possible evidence or arguments concerning the existence of God that could possibly allow us to give a definite answer to the question. So weak agnostics are basically just waiting for the right argument to come along, and strong agnostics are convinced that no argument could sway them, since it cannot be proven either way.

The major misuse of the term that I want to point out is when people are asked about their beliefs on God’s existence, people often reply with “agnostic”. This, however, is not answering the question. The question is: “Do you believe that God exists?” Agnostics cannot answer yes to this question, and ‘agnostic’ is not a possible answer. When somebody asks you about what beliefs you hold, you perform a mental check of the beliefs in your “belief inventory”. If one is truly an agnostic, then there is no belief in that inventory that reads “God exists”. Therefore, agnostics must answer “no” to the question “does God exist?”. Using this understanding of agnosticism, all agnostics are essentially negative atheists. Agnosticism is not a halfway, fence-sitting position between theism and atheism. It is in a completely different area of inquiry. So the next time someone announces that they are agnostic, politely point out that this reply does not answer the question of what they believe about God’s ontological status, and request that they clarify their position.

So, I hope that this was helpful in clearing up some confusion about these terms. If you are still confused after reading this, please leave a comment to let me know what your questions are so that I may attempt to answer them or refer you to a source that can. And, as with any survey of philosophical positions, there are many more out there that I did not cover. If you would like to know more about those, I can try to help you with that, too.

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10 Responses to “Positions on Belief and Knowledge”

  1. Andrew Says:

    I came across this post because I got some traffic from it, and I agree with most of it…but I do have a major point of disagreement. Your second to last paragraph (where you assert that agnostics cannot answer yes to the question, “Do you believe that God exists?” and actually must answer no to the question, “does God exist?”) does not follow from what you have already written.

    As you yourself wrote, agnosticism is an epistemological position, noting either a claim of the absence of knowledge regarding the existence of God (weak agnosticism) or a claim of the impossibility of knowledge regarding the existence of God (strong agnosticism). This “knowledge” part is important, and you yourself admit why:

    So when someone claims to be an agnostic, this is only a claim about what knowledge he or she thinks we can possibly attain. It says nothing of whether or not they believe that a god exists.

    (Emphasis added).

    So, when we take a question like, “Does God exist?”…this question is a question about knowledge. So, if someone lacks knowledge, everyone understands if he or she says, “I don’t know.” One who doesn’t know (or at least doesn’t claim to know) the answer to this question should not answer yes or no to the question. And indeed, agnostics do answer “I don’t know” to this question.

    But, as you point out (and I agree), this isn’t the important question. What really matters is the question, “Do you believe God exists?” This cannot be answered, “I don’t know,” because, as you pointed out (and I liked the way you said it), the only thing one is checking is an internal “belief inventory.” If one knows him/herself, s/he knows what s/he believes.

    But it does not follow that they cannot have this belief in their belief inventory. Rather, all they cannot have in their inventory is knowledge of God’s existence or nonexistence. So, someone could *very easily* lack knowledge of God’s existence but still believe God exists…how? Because he or she has faith. He or she hopes. He or she believes. This is, in fact, the category I think most theists fit (which is why faith *is* valued so highly). The agnostic theist says, “I don’t know if God exists or not, but I believe he does.” Or the agnostic atheist says, “I don’t know if God exists or not, but I don’t believe he does.” (or, if a positive atheist, “I don’t know if God exists or not, but I believe he does not.”)

    Or let’s say someone has some kind of emotional experience that they interpret as being from God. They can still be humble enough to admit that they do not know that the emotional experience is spiritual, but it may be most persuasive to them to believe the experience is spiritual and believe in God as a result. So here again, we have a case when someone doesn’t know (and acknowledges that), but they believe.

    So, it does not necessarily follow that all agnostics are negative atheists. This would simply fail to account for (or distort) the many theists who are *not* gnostic about their position. But I agree on the other accounts.

    Overall, good article.

    • Heath Says:

      Andrew,

      Thank you for visiting my blog. Some of that traffic was me, because immediately after publishing this post, I clicked the link at the bottom that took me to one of your posts. I plan to come back and read some posts in detail, since my initial glossing-over of your blog sparked my interest.

      As far as your criticism goes, that very same one came to my mind when writing this post. But as I thought about it more, I realized that the logical possibility of “agnostic theism” vanishes as long as we accept the definitions of strong and weak agnosticism that I provided. (For our purposes here, however, weak agnosticism is all we shall need to address.)

      “Weak agnostics believe that the evidence and arguments concerning the existence of God that we currently have are not sufficient to make a decision one way or the other on God’s existence.”

      This “decision” includes the decision of whether or not to believe that God exists. So my point would be that anyone who believes (on faith) that God exists is not an agnostic, because they’ve made a decision, whether or not it is based on evidence and arguments.

      And it could also be argued that even if one decides to believe in God based on faith, one accepted that faith on the basis of evidence and arguments for whatever particular religion they chose. (The population under discussion here is one composed of those who rationally contemplated their decision to accept a faith, and so cases of indoctrination would not apply here.)

      Basically, I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t make any sense to claim to believe something while also holding that you don’t know whether or not it is true, which is what an agnostic theist would be claiming. If “x believes p” doesn’t also mean “x believes that p is true”, then what in the hell do we mean by belief, exactly? It seems to lose its meaning as far as I can see.

      So as long as my definitions are correct, I still think that my conclusion follows. However, I could be wrong on my definitions, so I will have to check my philosophical dictionaries when I get home.

      Okay, so after writing all of the above, I’ve come to suspect that my logic misfired somewhere along the way and I am not sure where. So what is up there now is only my tentative answer until I have time to think about it more when I don’t have a midterm to study for.

      • Andrew Says:

        But as I thought about it more, I realized that the logical possibility of “agnostic theism” vanishes as long as we accept the definitions of strong and weak agnosticism that I provided.

        Then I’d argue that your definition of agnosticism (strong or weak) is unintuitive, nonstandard, and confused.

        Let me explain the confused part first.

        At first, you say:

        So when someone claims to be an agnostic, this is only a claim about what knowledge he or she thinks we can possibly attain. It says nothing of whether or not they believe that a god exists.

        I agree with this one. Agnosticism relates to knowledge (or more specifically, the lack of knowledge).

        Yet now, you are trying to change the goalposts:

        “Weak agnostics believe that the evidence and arguments concerning the existence of God that we currently have are not sufficient to make a decision one way or the other on God’s existence.”

        You are trying to say the decision is “whether or not to believe that God exists.” But this DIRECTLY contradicts your previously stated definition: [agnosticism] says nothing of whether or not they believe that a god exists. Agnosticism only makes a position on knowledge. So, really, your latter definition should be, “Weak agnostics believe the evidence and arguments concerning the existence of God we currently have are not sufficient to make a knowledgeable decision one way or the other on God’s exist.” This should be consistent. When someone asks the question, “Does God exist?” (which is a question that implies knowledge, not belief), the agnostic, who has insufficient evidence to make a knowledgeable decision, either way, admits that he doesn’t have knowledge. He says, “I don’t know.”

        So, I think your definition is shown to be substandard and confused here. You confuse knowledge and belief (and you actually do this further on in your response comment.)

        Let’s look at agnosticism intuitively, because I think we can also show your use to be unintuitive. Intuitively, we recognize that agnosticsm has to do with a lack of knowledge. Even you concede this. So, intuitively, we recognize that someone who says, “I don’t know if God exists” fits the definition of an agnostic. But it is completely possible (and plausible) for someone to say, “I don’t know if God exists, but I believe he does.” Unlike what you say, this does not negate agnosticism. After all, the individual *still* does not know if God exists — his lack of knowledge still fulfills the criteria for agnosticism. But what about his belief? Well, that’s simple. Belief answers a completely different question than lack of knowledge does. So, the person’s *belief* in God cannot negate his agnosticism because it is an answer to a completely different question. The two issues are on completely different tracks. If our individual believes God exists (but does not know if God exists), then the most intuitive answer is to say this person is an agnostic theist. If we were to go by your definition, however, we’d have no way to distinguish between these theists (who do not “know” if God exists), and theists who claim to know that God exists.

        Please note that I am not claiming that faith is not a kind of argument based on evidence. However, what I point out is faith is an argument based on evidences that are viewed to be insufficient for knowledge. Faith is what someone has when they don’t know, yet they trust that something is true. In other words, they don’t know (agnostic), but they believe (theist, in the case of god).

        Additionally, my claim is not that “x believes p” does not equal “x believes p is true.” Obviously, this is equivalent. However, I’m stating that gnosticism is not to state: “x believes p is true.” Gnosticism is the position: “x KNOWS p is true.” (or x perceives he knows p is true.) The real issue is not whether “x believes p” is equivalent to “x believes p is true,” but whether “p is true” (which implies “x knows p is true” when stated by an individual x) is the equivalent to “x believes p is true.” I do not agree that belief is the same as knowledge.

        Someone can easily not know p is true, yet still believe p is true. So, they are agnostic, because they don’t know, and a believer, because they believe.

        …I probably should be studying for midterms too, though, haha.

  2. Heath Says:

    Okay, I’ve finally figured out the problem. I failed to specify the breed of agnostics that I had in mind when I was writing. What I meant to say, and should have said, is that when I was referring to the agnostics who are confused about what agnosticism is, I was referring to people who label themselves as Agnostics. Not agnostic theists, not agnostic atheists, just straight up agnosticism. These are the people that I mentioned in the original post who thought that agnosticism was a “halfway point” between atheism and theism. So when I said

    “all agnostics are essentially negative atheists”

    what I meant to say was that people who are “purely” agnostic, but not theists (therefore not agnostic theists), are all essentially negative atheists. The category of “pure agnosticism” logically entails negative atheism. But again, this “pure agosticism” is a confused position, and it was basically the reason for the entire post. I just wanted to point out that this position was not a viable answer to the question “do you believe God exists?”. Although I rushed through the post because I constructed it while I was at work. So yeah, I screwed up, but now that you can see where I was coming from, hopefully you understand what I was saying in my response post. I was right about what I wanted to say, I just got distracted and ended up saying something different because I wasn’t paying enough attention. Normally, I don’t make such stupid mistakes, but these things always happen eventually.

  3. Andrew S Says:

    “Pure agnosticism” doesn’t logically entail anything other than, “I don’t know whether god exists or not.”

    The problem with “pure agnosticism” is that it doesn’t answer the question, “Do you believe?” It is a suitable answer for, “Do you know?” but utterly unsuitable for the belief question. That means it is also utterly unsuitable to determine if one is atheist or not.

    Your saying “what I meant to say was that people who are “purely agnostic, but not theists….are all essentially negative atheists” is trivially true. It is akin to saying: “What I meant to say was that people who are purely agnostic atheists are essentially atheists.”

    The problem is that from “pure agnosticism” we don’t know if they are or if they aren’t a theist. We only know that they are agnostic.

    • Heath Says:

      Okay, allow me to rephrase once again.

      There exist a set of people who claim to be neither atheists nor theists, they claim to be agnostics only. The public misconception (the one I had intended to clear up with the original post, and I clearly failed at that) is that one can logically make a claim like this. I labeled these people “pure agnostics”, to emphasize their unwillingness to be as atheists or theists (the usual reasons for this are public stigma against atheism and personal dissatisfaction with theism, usually Christianity). These people view agnosticism as a halfway-point between atheism and theism. They think that one can not know whether or not one believes in God, and they label this position as just plain old agnosticism. Given that you agree with my “belief inventory” metaphor, we should also agree that this claim that one can not know the status of one’s belief in God is an incorrect one. The belief is either there or it is not. In the case of “pure agnostics,” the belief in God is absent.

      I intended the post to be addressed to those “pure agnostics.” I wanted it to be known that anyone who tries to take that position to avoid atheism actually ends up being an atheist after all. So sure, from a perspective that neglects to acknowledge the fact that there are people who are not aware of the proper distinctions between and among categories of belief and knowledge, my statement might seem trivially true. That’s why my post was not directed at people coming from this perspective. But you clearly do understand the proper distinctions, and yet you continue to misinterpret what I am saying, so this entire post and dialogue may just be totally worthless. I’m not really sure what you are still arguing with me for, since I agreed with your distinctions fully in my replies, only adding that I was addressing a fundamentally confused position.

      [“Pure agnosticism” doesn’t logically entail anything other than, “I don’t know whether god exists or not.”]

      You’ve misinterpreted what I said what “pure agnosticism” was. “Pure agnosticism” is not the same thing as agnosticism as it is correctly understood. I’ve explained this in the previous reply, and above in this one.

      [The problem is that from “pure agnosticism” we don’t know if they are or if they aren’t a theist.]

      Yes, we do. Again, see above. Please try not to equivocate agnosticism as correctly understood with the confused position of “pure agnosticism”.

      • Andrew Says:

        The belief is either there or it is not. In the case of “pure agnostics,” the belief in God is absent.

        We don’t necessarily know this. This is an incorrect assumption that you’ve carried through since the original post.

        You make a leap that says “In the case someone doesn’t want to accept either the term atheist or theist, then they lack belief in God.” “In the case someone wants to say they are a “pure agnostic,” then their belief inventory must not have belief in god.”

        This is not necessarily true. In the case someone doesn’t want to accept either the term atheist or theist, they may have belief in god, but feel “theism” is inadequate a term to describe them. (e.g., they believe theists must act a certain way, or believe in a certain way…so they might believe, but in a way they feel is insufficient to say they are theistic.)

        I wanted it to be known that anyone who tries to take that position to avoid atheism actually ends up being an atheist after all.

        Only SOME people who take this position of pure agnosticism actually end up being atheist. After all, you fail to account for those who take the position to avoid theism (because of attitudes or preconceptions — however misinformed they may be — about what theism entails). Couldn’t these people actually be theists after all?

        I don’t think I’m misinterpreting what you’re saying. I think what you’re saying involves great leaps that you haven’t justified yourself in making.

      • Heath Says:

        I apologize for bringing the notions of “terms” into this discussion at all. I only used it to try to shed some more light on what I was saying, to come at it from a different angle, but I see that you’ve tried to use it against me. So go ahead and scrap that argument, it is not the basis of my thesis anyway.

        //Only SOME people who take this position of pure agnosticism actually end up being atheist. After all, you fail to account for those who take the position to avoid theism…. Couldn’t these people actually be theists after all?//

        Could you explain in more detail just how it could be the case that people who reject theism are “theists after all”? Perhaps I’ve misinterpreted this paragraph, you are a bit unclear with your use of pronouns.

        When you ask someone “Do you believe in God?” (or, alternatively “Are you a theist?”), there are only two possible answers: yes or no. Either the belief is there, or it isn’t. A lot of people will want to answer with neither. “I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer, but this is exactly the answer that “pure agnostics” will give you. Since this is not a yes, it must fall into the category of no. This move is justified by the fact that each rational and contemplative individual is solely responsible for his/her own thoughts and opinions and such. I cannot be wrong when I say something like “It feels cold outside right now” or “I have a pain in my leg” or “I believe in God”. I cannot be wrong about my own beliefs, and neither can any other neurologically healthy human being. We are each the sole authors of our own mental narratives. So if “pure agnostics” believe in God (i.e., are theists), then they would know it. But they do not know it, hence their “agnosticism”. Therefore they do not believe in God and are weak atheists.

        So let’s look at the argument simplified:
        1) Everyone knows their own beliefs and what they are.
        2) “Pure agnostics” don’t know whether or not they believe in God.
        3) “Pure agnostics”, then, don’t know one of their own beliefs.
        4) “Pure agnostics”, then, must not exist, given the truth of 1).

        This supports my claim that the position is a fundamentally confused one. The position cannot exist, so all those who claim to be “pure agnostics” must be something else in reality.

        5) Either one is a theist, or one is not a theist.
        6) If one is not a theist, one is an atheist*
        7) “Pure agnostics” are not theists, by their own testimony.
        8) Given the truth of 1), “pure agnostics”, then, are atheists.

        *Keep in mind that atheism is meant in the weak sense, meaning only a lack of belief in the existence of the theistic God. Weak atheism is still compatible with deism, pantheism, and pretty much every other nontheistic position.

  4. Andrew Says:

    OK, here’s how we could explain someone who rejects theism yet could still “be a theist after all”

    Let’s take what you said about “pure agnostics”:

    I labeled these people “pure agnostics”, to emphasize their unwillingness to be as atheists or theists (the usual reasons for this are public stigma against atheism and personal dissatisfaction with theism, usually Christianity)

    So, pure agnostics avoid terms “atheist” or “theist” not because these terms do not describe them (one or the other must describe them, logically), but because they have (mis)conceptions about the terms used that make them feel like they must reject membership. Atheism has such public stigma…so they can’t be atheist. Theism is personally dissatisfying (based on what they’ve seen with something like…say…Christianity), so they can’t be theist.

    Well, if we use these conceptions, no wonder they are “pure agnostic.” And yet, these conceptions aren’t the totality of either atheism or theism. So, it could be that they FEEL that theism is personally dissatisfying, based on their experiences with Christianity. Does this mean they do not believe in any god? We can’t say that for sure. It could be that they believe in a god, but they feel that theism has such a stigma (Christian or otherwise) that they don’t want to use theism to describe themselves.

    So, let’s take this question: “Do you believe in God?” The “pure agnostic is reminded of such dissatisfying thoughts about the Christian god, so he says he does not. (Actually, your pure agnostic, as you pointed out, wouldn’t even say that. He would say, as you pointed out, “I don’t know.” And I agree that this is an invalid answer.) But this “I don’t know” does not say that his belief inventory lacks a belief in a god. It says that he lacks a belief in whatever he feels describes the word “God” — and nothing more.

    Imagine if we asked people, “Do you believe in Allah?” Now, Allah is just a generic name for “the deity.” Allah is the same as the judeo-christian God. And yet, many people would be so caught up in their preconceived notions of Allah that they might reject it out of hand. We would have a language failure…because in their heart they could believe in something that definitely describes what *we* meant by God…and yet we could not tap into that.

    You bring up implicit atheism, and I understand what you’re trying to say here. This is a binary, right. You either believe or do not believe. Since they do not believe…they do not believe.

    Yet…we’re really not ascertaining that they do not believe. We have a language problem. If we accept your reasoning, then someone who is truly a theist at heart (but feels frustrated with the term “theism” or the term “God”) will be seen as an atheist — however implicit. This is like those recent research studies…people are being turned off by religion, so they answer that they are non-religious. However, they still believe in many of the things we would call “religious” beliefs…they are just alienated and disgusted by the connotations of the term “religion.” We do a great disservice to say these “non-religious” people are quite the same as nonreligious atheists.

    So, let me address your comment further in light of this. Can you be wrong saying things like, “It feels cold outside right now” or “I believe in God”? I think, taking into account the language problem, you can.

    For example, what if I ask you, “Do you feel cold?” and you somehow think that the word “cold” means “hot.” (There is some connotation or denotation or misconception that you have about the word cold.) In this case, you say, “No!” or some kind of non-yes answer. And yet, this is just what your language says. Truly, you believe it is “cold.” you just have a problem with language.

    Now, coldness is a term pretty well defined. We would be incredulous if someone thought that the term “cold” actually meant what we use the word “hot” for.

    God, however, is more amorphous. Belief in God can have a range of connotations, so confusion is pretty reasonable (in the same way nonbelief in God has all of these connotations, so the “pure agnostics” also don’t want to say they are atheist.)

    So…if pure agnostics believe in God, I agree they would know it. I don’t agree they would know the word to articulate it necessarily. (In the same way that we KNOW that pure agnostics that don’t believe in God don’t *know* that they are atheist. They don’t know that atheism *is* the best word to articulate themselves and all of the connotations and stigma are smokescreens.)

    So, let’s adjust your argument.

    1) Everyone knows their own beliefs and what they are.
    2) “Pure agnostics” say they don’t know whether or not they believe in God.
    3) “Pure agnostics,” then, claim not to know one of their own beliefs.
    4) “Pure agnostics,” then, must not exist, given the truth of 1.

    ^I agree with this. I agree that it is a fundamentally confused position. I agree that pure agnostics must be something else in reality. But what that something else is…I disagree. Because we’re distinguishing between reality and what they say, when the pure agnostic’s word has already been found to be unreliable.

    5) Either one is a theist or one is not a theist.
    6) If one is a theist, one is an atheist.
    7) “Pure agnostics” are not theists, by their own testimony.
    8.) Their testimonies have been shown to be unreliable, because 1-4 have established that they testify that they are something that is impossible and nonexistent.
    9) Therefore, it does not follow that pure agnostics, then, are atheists.

  5. Andrew Says:

    I would also argue that deism should be included with theism, not with atheism. Theism is the belief in god. You can’t use theism as a belief in the theistic god (using a term to describe itself LOL).

    But your definitional difference points out something critical. Our language is unclear. To one person, deism is part of theism (because deism looks like a belief in a god to me!) To another, deism is *not* a part of theism (because of conceptions about what the theistic god must be like…and indeed, the deistic god is much different and does not fit).


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