The Devout Skeptic

There is some discussion going on about how to properly label an unbeliever. Should we call ourselves agnostics, atheists, anti-theists etc. Personally, I have found this conversation a little bland. Obviously, at least where I’m at, the term atheist has a pretty bad connotation, but at least, lay people know what a person means when he/she uses the term. The term atheist and anti-theist can also be confusing at times. People may think atheists are claiming that there’s 0% chance of there being a god. Then suddenly, a theist shows up claiming you have to prove that God doesn’t exist, but many people who call themselves atheists/anti-theist really mean that they think the existence of a god is so improbable they can ignore it.

So, what am I going to call myself? I think I’m going to steal a term from Kellenberger. “The ideal here is that of the devout sceptic, who rejects or holds back from traditional religion, not because he shallow or immoral, but because on ethical grounds he will not believe where the truth is not clear. (Kellenberger 225) (Full citation: Kellenberger J. “Three Models of Faith” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion vol 12. No. 4 (1981) pp217-233) I think I might like to say something a bit stronger than the term devout skeptic brings. Still, I am fond of it. The reason I don’t try to force myself to believe in God anymore is due to intellectual integrity. (For my believing readers: I’m not calling you stupid.) I simply don’t find the arguments for God’s existence compelling. It would be lying to myself to claim otherwise. It is not out of the realm of possibilities that I could, one day, find a reason to believe in God. Do I think that is likely? Not really, but it could happened given a good reason.



  1. The term ‘secular humanism’ is a good one, because by some definitions it rejects materialism and thus the position that there is no God, but it accepts the possibility of a deity and also holds the position that anything that cannot be tested by science is unreliable.

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