APISTIA Is More Than Atheism Plus Skepticism
I use to declare myself to be both an atheist and a skeptic. But I have come to the conclusion, that I should better define myself as apistic.
Skepticism means to doubt any claim or appearance and never accept anything as true. Instead of believing anything as true, I always estimate the probability, that it could be true. But skepticism is limited to not believe something, when I am aware of its being an option to be believed.
Therefore in a society, where I am confronted with the alleged existence of a deity, my skepticism leads me to be an atheist and to label myself as one. This means to live as if I had never even heard of the possibility of being under the impact of any imaginary deity. In this sense I am an atheist in contrast to the theist people around me. It is comprehensible, even though I do not really like to define myself by the absence of something as weird as the belief in a god. I prefer positive definitions like being rational and logical.
In a feedback to another blog entry, it was pointed out to me that my use of atheism as not having any faith is not exact. Literally this criticism is justified. I should better call myself apistic. Unfortunately this is not practical, because apistia is not a commonly used word. It makes not much sense to call myself something, that nobody understands.
Atheism is practical as a widely accepted and in a fuzzy way understood umbrella definition. I am using it meaning an extended skepticism precluding any unknown faith. I am not only doubting the claims, when I am confronted with them. I am also doubting all possible beliefs, even those, of which I have never even heard of. I live as if nothing exists, that besides lacking scientific evidence also has no impact upon myself, no matter, how many other people believe in it.
Calling myself a-theos, without a god, does not mean, that I am bothered to define, what is a god and what is not. I let theologians waste their time with such obsolete questions. I do not belief in any personified deity figure, christian or other, not in an immortal soul, not in cosmic powers, ghosts or astrology. It really makes no difference, because all these beliefs are equally preposterous. I see no reason, why I should make a distinction between not believing in something, that can be defined as a god, and something, that can be called woo-woo but not a god.
Atheism in its more limited sense means only refusing the suggested or discarding the previous belief in a specific deity. In this sense, someone can be without the belief in a specific deity, but he can continue to feel a need to believe. Atheism does not exclude the shift to a replacement faith, which is more vague than a deity, anything like chi, mother nature or reiki.
After consulting a Greek dictionary and then googling, I discovered Apistia as a much better word for the absence of all belief. Correctly I should define myself as apistic. Apistia is more than atheism and more than skepticism, it includes both. But there can be atheists, who are not apistic.
Therefore I really am apistic. But as long as this word is not widely known and used, I will continue to call myself an atheist.
This is a slightly modified copy from my ERCP-blog