Ignosticism is freedom from agency. It is neither a disposition nor a conclusion. If you have made your journey through the path of ignosticism, I do not care where you land, but I will at least believe you in that quest.
“The gentle outlasts the strong” or so it is observed in the Tao. Ignosticism – it is not a belief, rather a gentle idea and personal discipline – a refusal to act in the contrivance bullying of the nihilist atheist or fundamentalist theist. It is the only ethical pathway to a metaphysical choice. If you have made your journey through the path of ignosticism, I do not care where you land, but I will at least believe that your quest was once born of sincerity, integrity and circumspection. When we are infants, we bear no awareness of arguments around god and deities, nor do we even hold a coherent definition of such. We only learn these constructs later from agenda laden contributors. Ignosticism is an effort to reclaim that virginal status, to be a child again and no longer be tainted nor burdened by antiquated, imperious and incoherent arguments lain upon the backs of the innocent – a position unimpressed with obsession over proof, classic philosophers, critical thinking, holy writ and divinely revealed truth.
Ignosticism is the journey and not a particular destination.
As an ethical skeptic and a pursuer of science, ignosticism is the branch of passive non-cognitivism to which I subscribe. Ignosticism is a discipline of thought which seeks to avoid the common social discourse pitfalls regarding the discussion of theism/non-theism: specifically those of Wittgenstein (sinnlos and unsinnig) and Popper Demarcation errors – the idea that most or all theological views assume baseless underpinning extraordinary claims to knowledge, as demonstrated by ubiquitous cul-de-sacs of coercive and curmudgeonly dispute. Ignosticism is silent in the face of rhetoric over undefined concepts such as divinity, god, spirituality, heaven, afterlife, gods/null-set-gods, damnation, righteousness, salvation, alternative life forms, sin and the soul. Note: evil can and does bear a definition, however ‘good’ cannot hold definition – because evil can exploit the appearance of good under such a constraining construct as definition – see virtue signaling. Such precepts, along with their antitheses, are elements of agency. Agency which points out your shortfall inside of their insanity. It is not that these things do or do not exist, rather such discussions are unsound and their terms incoherent, the first two stipulations of a solid argument. I simply contend that the concept ‘god’ bears no scientific Pathway to Accepted Knowledge, it holds no mechanism nor definition (elements of hypothesis and knowledge), and therefore I cannot conclude anything nor make further comment on the matter.
It is not that I ‘believe’, ‘disbelieve’, ‘don’t know’, want/don’t want to do either or have not decided; nor even that I must then ‘lack a belief’ –
as this is key: the shortfall never resided with me in the first place. Your wallow in insanity is mercifully none of my business.
However in ignosticism, I also do not run around telling everyone (on any side) how false their beliefs are. Note that in the statement highlighted above, ‘insanity’ is defined as the realm of ignoratio elenchi argument. Their ‘truth’ may indeed someday be found correct, however it will be so only by mere accident. In ignosticism, each person is allowed to make a metaphysical selection as they may. However, no one is allowed to stand as the representative of truth-god over another. This includes those who enforce the God of The Empty Set as constituting a sound inference of science or critical thinking (Atheism – see The Law of Advanced Intelligence below).
As well, the discipline primarily holds for me, not them. I refuse to become an artifice of their agency; a pawn whose entire philosophy is merely a reaction to someone at whom they are angry (a religion of negative reactance). The ignostic bristles at such a shallow existence. The only time I object is when a person attempts to abuse others inside the contrivance of the religious pitch. The arrogance of insisting that ‘my ontology is the correct one’, is anathema to the character of the ignostic. In ignosticism, I do not feel compelled to mock Muhammad or Jesus, nor marginalize believers as Inquisitionists or Nazis, nor blame atheism for Bolshevik/Stalinist/Maoist purges. I find philosophy or science which asserts there is proof or disproof of God, to be folly.
/ihg-ˈnäs-tih-sih-zum/ : ontological silence : a personal discipline that holds that the concept ‘god’ bears no deductive or falsifiable (Popper) definition (Wittgenstein), and therefore prohibits me from concluding or making further scientific comment on the matter (epoché). A personal freedom from antiquated, imperious and incoherent claims of traditional religion and atheism.
It proceeds along this argument critical path:
Why silence is a valid ontology (ignosticism)
1. One cannot respond to a syllogism, which lacks key underpinning term definition to begin with. Such a contention is incoherent.
For example: God is love. I cannot take any action on this syllogism. It is sound for me to be silent about it.
2. But further then, a theory which as a feature of its very proposition, one is prohibited from inspecting its definitions, is not a contention at all, in reality.
Here again, silence is the only ethical response to such a theory, construct or idea (other than meta-discussion).
3. Therefore, one cannot claim a case of ‘lack a belief’, nor ‘lack of belief’, nor ‘belief’, nor ‘don’t make a claim to know’, nor ‘don’t believe’, nor ‘refuse to believe’, nor ‘hasn’t been proven’, nor ‘is false’, nor ‘no evidence for’, nor ‘haven’t decided’, nor ‘anti-belief’, etc…
…rather simply, silence.
4. The most encompassing of this ilk of claim, ‘lack of belief (regarding this entity)’, implies that there was something to deliberate or consider in the first place.
If one contends that I ‘lack a (belief in) heurivmegenon’ – well yes, that is a semantic truth, but it is not a logical truth. I actually do not ‘lack a (belief in) heurivmegenon’… because a heurivmegenon is not a Wittgenstein object to begin with (neither is belief in one a Wobject), so any contention about it cannot be a logical truth to begin with – regardless of the accuracy of the semantics involved.
5. A semantic truth is a form of rhetoric. The philosopher desires a logical truth.
6. Finally, silence… cannot be refuted. It is not a fallacy. It is not a logical error. It can never be a claim. It can only be punished/counter-argued under the agency of those bearing malicious intent.
In contrast with the agnostic who is undecided as to which is correct,
the ignostic quietly regards theist and atheist to be alike:
Neither of you knows what the hell you are talking about.
To the ignostic, the mere fact that we exist, and the fact that I reside in this vessel and experience this realm is already orders of magnitude more fantastical and improbable than any mundane ‘extraordinary claim’ which has been submitted to me. Aside from exercising my rights as a being, I cannot make any other claim to truth. I expect to be utterly amazed as this gift unfolds.
Its Discipline vs The Religious Pitch
God: Ω • ⊕ Any entity which has been ceded ongoing power, yet at the same time retains an ongoing lack of accountability. A standard employed by a proxy agent, as a virtual mass in the social leveraging of a victim.
Which also presents us with the philosophical circular conundrum in this form:
A putative Actual-God, would not be able to tolerate the being God.
This serves to introduce the reasoning threshold of ignosticism – which is a version of epoché based atheism – an atheism which is not founded upon zombie-nihilism nor any presupposed exclusion or solely ontological assumption.
Ignosticism differentiates itself from nihilistic atheism by means of a principle of theory called Neti’s Razor along with the Non-Existence Definition (see below). Moreover, it differentiates itself from theism by means of the principles called ‘I Am that I Am’ and The Principle of Indistinguishability (also below). Each of these four principles not only compose the tolerable range of ignosticism, but allow the ignostic to identify the role of agency inside such arguments. In short, the ignostic opposes agency.
Therefore, there exists a list of positions related to these four boundary principles (below) which the ignostic cannot in good conscience make in statement. Instead the ignostic chooses the simple distinguishing of one’s philosophy as a gentle idea and not a religion, an aversion to citing others as being materially incorrect – save for when they harm, create ignorance or conduct a religious pitch of insistence. It is the refusal to boast of knowing the right question to ask in the absence of sound deductive science and the lack of any theological position, conclusion or commentary for which one must develop an apologetic to defend. I favor ignosticism because of its discipline in applying The First Duty of Ethical Skepticism – to oppose agency.
In contrast, within the typical religious pitch club, there are exception individuals who practice the ethic which follows. The essence of ignosticism is this:
There is No Club – Club Quality does not work (see #2. below).
Good Intentions Serve to Harm – Good intentions are a way of deceiving self in seeking god-ship over others. Even if harm is not intended, it will still occur as a result. We are to serve needs but not act as a ‘needs broker’. The market of mercy should be flat, and contain few cartel-like entities.
I Do Not Hold Sophia – I do not possess the cognition of any critical entity/method/virtue. I hold myself accountable precisely because of this knowledge.
Truth is Non-Robust/Change is Inevitable – If you are not evolving, you are dying.
Tolerance – Others only need instruction when they harm or foster ignorance under the Religious Pitch – then relax thereafter, as the rest will come.
Never a Blind Eye – Go Look. Always question to increase value or reduce risk (not just ‘doubt’ – see #2 above).
It is not that the ignostic has to arrive at a conclusion at all. Nor that he or she cannot choose and hold dear a metaphysical selection, nor any kind of inspiration or meaning to life, even if esoteric and unprovable – it is rather, the path you undertake to get there, and what you do with it thereafter, which makes all the difference. As a result, under such a discipline of real skepticism, my personal discipline contrasts with the impetus behind the following list of claims made by philosophy, pseudo-science and religion (denoted by √ – see What Constitutes a Religion? and The (Ethical Skeptic) Definition of God).
Ignosticism is a Disciplined Journey and Not an Arrogant Destination – The Following are All Destinations (Claims):
√ = Qualifies as a Religion
ø = Qualifies as a Pseudoscience
Agnosticism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) claims that
• You/we have not defined God for me (this is not the same as mute ignosticism) – agnosticism (passive)
• I do not know if God is knowable – agnosticism (strong)
• I do not know if there is a God or not – agnosticism (weak)
• God might exist but it does not/no longer matters to me – Extheism √
• I have no idea so God is irrelevant to me – agnostic apatheism
Nontheism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) and/or nonscience (Popper Error) claims that
• I lack belief in god(s) – atheism (neutral)
• I have been presented no evidence for God(s) – atheism (passive)
• I do not believe there exists any evidence of nor that any God(s) do exist – atheism (strong) √
• I am mad at God or religious people so I claim to believe that God does not exist, as my revenge – extheist Atheism √
• There is no such thing as a god of any kind, nor should anyone believe in them – nontheism (strong) √
• We are opposed to/seek elimination of any form of God belief – Anti-theism √
• I claim to be an atheist because it sounds better, but really am an Anti-theist and vehement Nihilist – Atheism √ ø
• We are/I am God by implication (the functional placeholder thereof) – Social Skepticism √ ø
• Only the material and directly observable (approved by me or my club) exist – Material Monism √ ø
• Material monism is rational, proved science or scientific – Nihilism √ ø
Igtheism – make the nonscience (Popper Error) claims that
• God is meaningless. This is a metaphysical claim to know – and is not a construct of philosophical/ontological silence – igtheism √
• We cannot know if God exists or not – theological noncognitivism
• The senseless (Wittgenstein sinnlos) concepts of God render it irrelevant to me – apatheism (weak)
• The senseless (Wittgenstein sinnlos) concepts of God render it inherently irrelevant – apatheism (strong)
• ‘Gods’ exist as an advanced terrestrial, extra-terrestrial or Inter-dimensional culture – interventionism
Deism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) and nonscience (Popper Error) claims that
• Some form of God or gods might or must exist – deism
• The elegant interleaved dependencies of nature/physics hint that a God must exist – natural theism ø
• The God or Godhead exists – theism √
• A council of gods exists – elohimism √
• God is an omni-empowered person seeking to eternally love, punish or forsake me – fundamental theism √
• I am one of God’s chosen people – electism √
• A certain person is God – hominem-theism √
• I am a god – egotheism √
• I am God’s chosen one – messiah complex √
• I am the God – ego sum deus/insanity √
• I am God’s messenger – prophet complex √
Forsantheism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) and nonscience (Popper Error) claims that
• God is indefinable and might or must exist in several disparate forms – forsantheism ø
• God is indefinably everywhere including us – pantheism ø
• God is greater than the universe and includes and interpenetrates it – panentheism √
• God is indefinably in/all of us as a collective – iptheism ø
Note: Ignosticism is not a neologism1
a gnostic (latin prefix a-) : ‘away from’ knowledge
The agnostic claims no personal suitable knowledge to form a belief
Between the Theist and Atheist, he does not presume to know which is correct
i gnostic (latin prefix in-) : ‘not’ knowledge
The ignostic says there exists no suitable knowledge to form a belief
Between the Theist and Atheist, he contends that both are wrong
Freedom to Let the Mystery Be
Additional good news is found, in that, since ignosticism is not a form of theism-abstracted argument, I am also free to not comment or conclude upon a whole host of other ethereal/mystical/spiritual issues aside from the concept of god. No forcing any personal ontological or pseudo-epistemological contention upon others! Such a concept! Ethical Skepticism in application.
A key understanding is this – inside ignosticism, one is free to make a metaphysical selection, or not make one, or even wait until one is ready to make one. All these are possibility, provided one does not force this decision upon others, nor promote their decision as being ‘based upon truth or science’. Such imperious claims are indicative of a heart which was never ready to make its own selection in the first place. It betrays an internal spiritual dishonesty. If you have made your journey through the path of ignosticism, I do not care where you land, but I will at least believe you in that quest.
The reason for this, is the understanding that agency is a primary cause of ignorance. Especially the agency of bifurcation. This is elicited no better than by Aesop’s Fable of The Man and His Two Wives.2
In the old days, when men were allowed to have many wives, a middle-aged Man had one wife that was old and one that was young;
each loved him very much, and desired to see him like herself.
Now the Man’s hair was turning grey, which the young Wife did not like, as it made him look too old for her husband.
So every night she used to comb his hair and pick out the white ones.
But the elder Wife saw her husband growing grey with great pleasure, for she did not like to be mistaken for his mother.
So every morning she used to arrange his hair and pick out as many of the black ones as she could.
The consequence was the Man soon found himself entirely bald.
Ignosticism presents attractiveness for me as a philosopher, former arch skeptic and former studious religious youth, in that it allows the unknown to persist and does not force abject conclusions to the pro or con upon science, self or others. I spent almost two decades in the ‘atheist/believer’ camps, and eventually began to see the philosophical folly of both as part of my formulation of thoughts around ethical skepticism. Ignosticism’s central argument is intrinsically a discipline, and not a tenet – it does not possess something to be forced upon others. Much like the Tao is a difficult faith to force on others, because of its ethic of self discipline of thought (and the fact that once you force the philosophy, you are no longer acting in the Tao anyway (see footnote 1). The essence of ignosticism is an ethic of personal choice to disarming the consideration of absurd contentions – Their conversion to the ethical discipline of silence. Neutrally rejecting forced-religious presumptions and definitions. It is a refusal to claim that one knows the penultimate question to ask in the first place. Ignosticism is ethically skeptical.
Indeed, in many ways ignosticism is like good science and skepticism. It is honest, lacking boast, neutral, observing, data collecting, making no claim nor possessing an eagerness to do so without sound basis. It demands that the right questions be asked first, and that no presumption to personal inerrant knowledge underpin one’s search. And in absence of good data and an appropriate question, ignosticism refuses to force a conclusion.
The reality is stark: that among the three forms of logical inference, I cannot apply deductive inference to the issues of god and infinity, nor to a good degree inductive inference; nor can I ethically choose to deescalate to abductive inference. I simply must establish boundaries to the realm inside of which I allow the mystery to be. Be what it is, and not what I would make of it. This mystery, its reality and persistence, not only forces one to be humbly honest – in not knowing, but once one has settled their heart and begun to understand, reveals four of its own truths. Truths which I call the fourfold Law of Advanced Intelligence.
Letting the Mystery Be
Everybody is wondering what and where
They all came from
Everybody is worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go
When the whole thing’s done
But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me
I think I’ll just let the mystery be
~ Iris Dement
The Philosophical Foundation of Ignosticism
This hypocrisy of attempting to define that which is not approachable by attribute is illustrated by the principles I call ‘Neti’s Razor’ and ‘I Am that I Am’ (or if you prefer a Sanskrit parallel, Aham Bramsmi). These are the horizontal boundaries of ethical skepticism and ignosticism, which I frame as part of four ordinates when combined with two additional corollaries, the Principle of Indistinguishability and the Non-Existence Definition. All forming a unified resulting and standing boundary of ignosticism – the letting be, of the mystery:
The Ethical Skeptic’s Law of Advanced Intelligence (Ignosticism)
I. Principle of Indistinguishability (vertical)
/philosophy : science : boundary conditions : limits for claims/ : any sufficiently advanced act of benevolence is indistinguishable from either malevolence or chance.
This may well be a hell of sorts in which we live, but that does not preclude the idea that it is not being done for a reason, nor that it exists for no reason.
II. Neti’s Razor (horizontal)
/philosophy : existentialism : boundary condition/ : one cannot produce evidence from a finite deterministic domain, sufficient to derive a conclusion that nothing aside from that domain therefore exists.
The principle which serves to cut secular nihilism as a form of belief, distinct from all other forms of atheism as either philosophy or belief. From the Sanskrit idiom, Neti Neti (not this, not that). Therefore, you are wholly unqualified to instruct me that this realm is the only realm which exists, and efforts to do so constitute a religious activity. So, nihilism fails the test of epistemology and consequently falls into a belief domain, as opposed to a scientific one. More precisely, we are restricted in our ability to deduce that there is no such thing as an outside intelligence, nor that our domain is the sole domain which exists, nor that it is influenced by any outside agency. They relate to the structure of theory which comprises: element, model and proof accordingly.
1. A comprehensively deterministic system, cannot introduce an element solely in and of its inner workings, which is innately nondeterministic. Free Will Intelligence must arrive from the outside of a comprehensively deterministic system.
2. A comprehensively deterministic system, cannot serve as the substrate solely in and of its inner workings, for a Gedankenerfahrung model which completely describes or predicts its function. That is, such a system on its own, is wholly unable to deductively identify the presence of non-deterministic sets or influences.
3. A terminally or inceptionally truncated and/or finite and comprehensively deterministic system, cannot introduce a proof solely by means in and of its inner workings, which excludes the possibility of all other systems or sets.
III. I Am that I Am (horizontal)
/philosophy : existentialism : boundary condition/ : that which possesses the unique ability to be able to define itself, renders all other entities disqualified in such expertise. There is no such thing as an expert in god.
The principle which serves to cut theism as a form of belief, distinct from all other forms of belief as either philosophy or religion. From the Torah idiom, I Am (I Am that I Am or in Sanskrit, Aham Bramsmi). Therefore, if god existed, you are unqualified to tell me about it. So, theism falls into a lack of allow-for domain.
IV. Non-Existence Definition (vertical)
/philosophy : science : skepticism : elements of attributes/definition/ : six questions form the basis of a definition: What, Where, When, How, Why, Who. The answers to this set of six questions still form an expert definition of attributes, even if the answer to all six is ’empty set’.
Therefore, when one applies the ethics of skepticism – one cannot formulate a definition which is specified as ’empty set’, without due empirical underpinning, a theory possessing a testable mechanism and a consilience of supporting research. We have none of this, and can make no claims to ‘non-existence’ expertise in god.
Violating Neti Neti is akin to having your mistress stand as an alibi witness in your adultery trial. It is a self-defeating condition of epistemological hypocrisy. In significant contrast, elucidated by means of this Razor therefore, (non-secular, non-nihilist) atheism itself is either a lack of belief, lack of conclusion or lack of allow-for concerning only deities. In parallel to this boundary is the bookend condition wherein one makes a claim that they have a definition for god, such that measurements and tests could have and can then begin to be taken.
The Secular Nihilist and the Theist are making the same premise claim “I have successfully defined god through my expertise and now the next burden step of scientific methodology is to conduct measurements based upon this definition, in order to prove his existence.”
The folly of such logic is mocked by ignosticism. Which segues us into how to then apply such discipline to the overall spectrum of belief and non-belief.
An inconsistent model of God will inevitably serve to produce the ardent costume which masks its incumbent insanity.
The Spectrum of Belief and Non-Belief
Note that I did not use the term ‘Un-Belief’. Un-Belief is a just another belief. Both the nihilist atheist and the theist are selling expertise in god. Agnosticism is expert open mindedness inside this bifurcated debate. To the ignostic, all of these destinations constitute absurd claims inside a flawed logical process. Ignosticism is in-expert open mindedness. There are no such things as ‘experts’ with god. The question asked is premature and incoherent, and suffers from a shortfall in domain intelligence and foundational philosophical work. In fact, to the ignostic, both secular nihilism and theism are pseudoscientific and absurd beliefs – ie. religions:
Of the most commonly held contentions, theism, strict atheism, Nihilism (‘Big A’ Atheism), agnosticism as well as fundamentalism are all religious philosophies to the ignostic. Faiths distinguished by holding definitions for that which bears no Wittgenstein language of definition. Distinguished by the way in which one presumes to ask questions, or for all but the agnostic, the choice one makes to subsequently cite all others as being materially incorrect. The religions of Nihilism and Fundamentalism in particular, take absurdity to the extreme of bullying. This is where the social rancor over ‘atheism’ and ‘theism’ originates. It is a fight between extreme dogmatists. Ignosticism cannot boast of material certainty, or that such questions can even be asked. Nor can it be forced as a religion; as it is simply an idea.
In ignosticism, neither mankind nor I know what a god even is. I have no basis to declare others as being wrong.
Therefore I have no belief which to defend. Ontological silence. This is why you do not hear much from the ignostic.
Not that I am instructing anyone to do so but, personally, I choose a ‘Lack of Allow-For’ rather than simply a ‘Lack of Belief.’ This because a ‘Lack of Allow-For’ adheres more closely to the tenets of ethical skepticism. But at the same time I do confess an affinity for both the atheist and agnostic positions. I consider those who hold to those tenets as being individuals who are sincerely deliberating the issue. I do not consider the 3 belief category proponents above to be sincerely deliberating anything – rather trying to instruct me as to what I should believe.
As well, for me personally, I do believe in evil. I think it is a possibility that we are here to learn how to spot it, its consequences, and how to forge a will to not participate in it. As an ethical skeptic, my entire ethos is crafted around spotting agency. Agency is the costuming of bad praxis with virtue/acceptability. It is more than simply bias. But such ontology cannot be approached scientifically – rather it constitutes simply a metaphysical choice (a suspicion). It is impossible to live a life wherein we do no harm at all. Moreover, the worst things we can do, is check out and do nothing or wear a religious costume, or otherwise put on the costume of being good. Such procedural cul-de-sacs demonstrate that we do not understand the nature of this realm. Key inside this is the realization that, unless one follows the discipline of ignosticism, one may fail to even perceive such things. In the graphic below, I have taken the Four Principles and applied them to a set of personal modifications inside ignosticism. These are not necessary tenets of ignosticism – rather simply my interpretation therein. Some of the steps along my journey. You may find it to be a little different.
Its Contrast and Reconciliation with Atheism
I could care less therefore, what you choose to believe. Just don’t force it upon me as science, divine revelation nor righteousness. When you do that, you act under your religion. In contrast, ignosticism is simply a lens by which this issue can be viewed rationally. Choices can be made from there, if one so chooses. Ignosticism contends that there can be no proscription nor prescription with the term god or deity. Just as there can be no null hypothesis. A hypothesis requires a base of observation, intelligence and a coherent definition. We have none of this. So all the claims of belief, neutrality, lack of belief, counter-belief, science, ‘science did not observe this,’ or ‘science proves that’ are all misrepresentations of science and discussions of absurdity or reaction in anger, to the ignostic.
Indeed, ignosticism is a deliberate path of ethical exit by means of the door through which one originally and unwittingly was shoved in the first place. The 27th quatrain of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Fitzgerald’s translation) laments expertly about recovered ignosticism:
Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.
I do not possess a frame of reference on the subject over which you obsess, so how can I possibly recommend or force a view of it upon you? Were you a Hollywood producer asking me to chime in on the tag-along restrictions of the latest version of a Screen Actor’s Guild contract, I would respond that I have absolutely no idea what any of those things are indeed. Ethically, I could not comment. But with atheism and theism participants, un-dawned on their mindset, is the fact that the principles of the SAG, tag-along laws, and Hollywood contracts do not even exist, so the questions are much more basic than the participants of those philosophies even realize. They simply pretend that there is a SAG, and that there are contract laws or tag-along clauses. This pretense constitutes a Wittgenstein Error (unsinnig) in that no language exists, no definitions exist in reality, the context is unframed and the basis of understanding is solely ontological. We pretend that we know the meanings of such words.
The ignostic is ‘unskilled in the argument by choice’ – it is an ethic of attempting to regain the virginosticism of a newly introduced and dispassionate player. A refusal to enter the game of either the duality (belief/anti-belief) or the pretense of knowledge of what the word ‘deity’ means.
But since one can never reclaim a virgin status, sadly the state of ignosticism is the ethical stance of the atheist who refuses the game. It is a circumspect and well considered choice (yellow text in the graph above).
In the above graphic, you see differentiated a position of knowing the definition of god, and choosing whether or not to hold belief, as distinct from either an ignorance of or a refusal to acknowledge god as a coherently defined subject. These are the two categories on the right hand side represented by the gnosis and ignosis boxes respectively. The third box, ‘virginosticism’ is simply a term I made up to elicit the circumstance where we are not even aware that such a debate even exists, moreover nor are we aware of our own lack of belief in the circumstance – as a result. As in the case of aliens or newborn babies – they are brought to the table without any introduction into the debate in the first place. Ignosticism can be viewed as an attempt to try and regain this virgin status of gnosis. To go back to the circumstance where the argument did not even exist in the first place. And while one cannot step back to a status of pure virginosticism – ignosticism can be a viable alternative to knowledge based lacks of belief (agnosticism and atheism).
One must remember that a ‘lack of belief’ is not a scientific argument, rather a personal position. An ignostic ‘lack of allow-for’ is a scientific argument which precludes nihilism every bit as much as it precludes theism.
For the ignostic, only two conditions prompt a ‘lack of allow-for’ disposition:
- Something which has been Popper falsified by science, or
- Something which lacks Wittgenstein valid scientific definition (as is the case here).
Therefore, to the ignostic
1. agnosticism and atheism’s lack of belief are not scientific mindset disciplines, rather personal dispositions (albeit understandable ones),
2. virginosticism is moot from a practical sense, and
3. nihilism and theism are moot from a farcical sense. They are beliefs which are being taught through non-scientific means (Wittgenstein unsinnig).
Even more so with this concept you call god, I have no idea what a god is – so I can make no claim as to whether or not one exists. Under a Wittgenstein definition of science therefore, it is moot whether or not I know or do not know that I do not hold a coherent definition for ‘god,’ therefore to Wittgenstein and an ethical skeptic, virginosticism is farcically moot (and indeed it is only posed as a lever for understanding here) and the two concepts merge into one philosophical entity called ignosticism. I refuse to acknowledge that the concept has been given a coherent or observation based definition. I adhere to what the Tao says about declaring the duality (gnosis state resulting choice of belief or anti-belief in the graphic/belief-superset above):
The Tao Te Ching cites in Classic Tao Chapter 2:
The gentle outlasts the strong
When the world defines beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it defines good as good, evil arises
Thus extant and nonexistent produce each other
Difficulty and ease are their own co-creators
Long and short reveal each other
High and low only exist because of each other
To the ignostic it is the defining of the principle and character of a god which creates both the theist and the atheist. They are the same form of circus clown, both wearing makeup, just painted with different faces. They both worship the same creature crafted of their imagination and seek to enforce that version of worship, veneration and null-veneration, as a set of truth on mankind. To be fair, the nontheist atheist offers the special pleading exemption from this reality by citing ‘well then I don’t believe in gods of any kind, any definition!’ (nontheism). To my friends who are nontheist atheist, I cite this special pleading as a false pluralistic single, a version of the Plurocratic Fallacy.
Pluralistic Single Plurocratic Fallacy
/noun – apologetic/ : a special pleading wherein one claims that their argument applies not to just one version of its claim, but all possible versions of its claim – while failing to define a distinction of such versions – so as to cover all bases in advance. It is therefore a special pleading distinction without a difference.
It is the same exact argument, painted to appear as if it resolves the primary critique. It does not. It is purposely crafted to flex one’s philosophy so as to accommodate any objection that can be brought. This renders the philosophy, a philosophy in name only. The argument is an apologetic grasping for the ethic of ignosticism, when ignosticism does not have an apologetic to begin with. When one chooses to negate an idea, as the Tao Te Ching adeptly cites, one has revealed both itself and its antithesis. One is dancing in the duality, just pretending to not dance.
This broaches the key weakness of pluralistic single atheism. If you reject all ‘gods,’ by nature of their being and bearing a minimal set of characteristic skills in this realm, where do you draw the line? Omniscience? Omnipotence? Fathomless Compassion and Love? Or simply some reduced specter of each along the road thereof? You reject then higher beings and caring intelligence of any kind, benevolent celestial life, advanced technology or inter-dimensionality? In the false pluralistic singular, pretty much any definition or domain you craft for this specially pleaded ‘god,’ might well exist. The only reason in your philosophy it does not exist, is because you said that it does not. Where did you get the exhaustive method and evidence from which to underpin this conclusive claim? Ah, someone told you, and said that they were correct because ‘science’ proved it to them. Yes, my dear atheist/igtheist, we have heard this type of claim before, from the very people you disdain. The simple fact is that you are dancing the duality – and pretending to not dance.
You are ‘acting in the contrivance‘ according to the Tao.3
Ignosticism is the idea that any religious term or theological concept presented must be justified through coherent epistemologically derived definition (Wittgenstein), backed by falsification reduction and sound science (Popper). Conjecture is allowed in such a role as to exemplify philosophy, without trivialist’s critique. However, beyond this, without a clear definition, an ethical question cannot be formulated, and such principles cannot be meaningfully discussed. Once one broaches the threshold of implying such underlying extraordinary claims – as often expressed in the contention that others are materially incorrect, correct or irrelevant; to the ignostic, one is now participating in a religious argument.
Some philosophers have seen ignosticism as superfluous neologism; because it is simply a variation of agnosticism or atheism. This is superficial and incorrect. This equivocation allows for cognitivist apologetics to be broached, and therefore is not consistent with the core idea of ignosticism : ontological silence : to begin with.
Indeed in this nascent field of ideas, independent author Tristan Vick makes the argument that ignosticism, is the only valid pathway to atheism.4
The atheist, by his own definition, can make no opinion on matters of afterlife, spirituality, the soul, or alternative life forms. Those topics have no context inside of Strict atheism as atheism is only a conclusion about ‘gods.’ The Nihilist possesses final definitions and conclusions about all such concepts, and the debate is closed. This is the strong, it is the power of undeniable conclusion acting inside the contrivance decried by the Tao Te Ching; which eventually falls to the subtle whisper of evidence/lacking evidence rending the original presumptions absurd.
The ignostic in contrast is free to ponder the gentleness of ideas, and is free from the strong of defined conclusions.
Familiar is not congruent with defined and coherent. Be wise in understanding this.
Free to research and consider such principles as their epistemological framework comes into clarity, as they have detached their ideas from the artificial construct of god or ‘no god.’ In the end, the diligent atheist who no longer wishes to instruct others as to what is and is not, in absence of enough knowledge, must find their path through the integrity of ignosticism; both in freedom from religion, and freedom of discussion domain. The diligent theist must likewise step off the pulpit of certainty and regain the wonder of not knowing and model the integrity to withstand the cognitive dissonance which arises from being intellectually ethical. Otherwise they both are forever fixated on the religious duty of telling others that what god and all these things are, and indeed that they do or do not exist. All a life spent dwelling inside absurd noises and wasted philosophy.
The Ethical Skeptic, “Ignosticism” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress,30 May 2018, Web; https://wp.me/p17q0e-3pJ