Sunday, October 14, 2007

Three useful god terms

While checking out the Wikipedia definitions for some terms used in my Eastern Phiosophy class, I came across two new words

Ignosticism is the refusal to decide on the existence of God until someone comes up with a coherent definition of what God is.

Henotheism is the belief that many gods exist, but that only one is deserving of your worship. As near as I can tell, most of the Hebrew bible was written by henotheists, not monotheists.

Meanwhile, my colleague Ben Cordry has coined the term "Deflationary Theism" to describe the viewpoint suggested in Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, that the difference between theism and atheism is merely verbal.

Caroline asked me again why we don't say grace. I told her that grace was a part of a religion I don't believe in. She did not, thankfully, ask the follow up question "what is religion?" This is a question I ask my students regularly, and I ask it because I don't have a very good answer.

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