APISTIA Is More Than Atheism Plus Skepticism

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

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Comment by Maruli Marulaki on November 8, 2011 at 12:53pm
I enlarge my definition: Apistia is absence of anything, that presents itself as a possible belief/faith.  This determines the rejection of all future suggestions for any belief/faith, no matter the content, as a result of applying skepticism.  

Gullibility and skepticism are mutually exclusive.    Both are methods of information processing independent of the content, to which it is applied.  

The suggestion of the existence of a deity plus gullibility creates religious faith.
The suggestion of the existence of a specific deity plus skepticism leads to atheism concerning this specific religious faith. 

Gullibility is the uncritical accepting of claims or appearances as true.   It means the unawareness for having the option to doubt.   Gullibility automatically creates beliefs/faith, as soon as the content to be believed enters the awareness. 

Skepticism is the awareness for having the option to doubt.   Skepticisim is a mental filter for incoming external information into the brain, either claims or appearances.  This filter allows to evaluate this information by estimating the probability of its truth.   Skepticism replaces the simple true or false dichotomy with the scale of how probable is the truth.   Accepting something as true is gullibility.   Estimating something as having 99% probability of being true can be a very erroneous estimation due to lack of better information, but it is still skepticism.  

1.  Skepticism and gullibility as mutually exclusive can be limited to specific topics.    The same person can be skeptical about some issues and gullible about others.       
A person can be skeptical about the claim of the existence of a god and be an atheist. 
The same person can be gullible and believe in homeopathy or astrology.  

2,  A person can be void of gullibility and is automatically and spontaneously skeptic about everything.   This allows the prognosis, that every future suggestion of a possible content for creating a belief/faith will automatically be rejected and replaced by the estimation of probability.    This does not preclude erroneous estimation of probabilities.  
This is Apistia as I use this word.
Comment by Asa Watcher on November 8, 2011 at 11:19am

Maruli writes:

 

"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."   

 

   I have thought of myself as apistic for quite some time, and I try to use it frequently so as to introduce it into conversations.  

I’m not sure that  apistia necessarily includes the added element of skepticism. 

   The only part of your definition of apistia that I would suggest altering is, of course, the substitution of the word faith for the word belief.

 

Apistia:  "the absence of all faith".

 

Skepticism is, well, skepticism.  And while I would agree that most apistics are what would be called skeptics, I am of the notion that it is not necessary to be skeptical about all things.

 

Coincidentally, I’ve just started rereading Dennett’s “Breaking the Spell”, wherein I think I recall an observation about the reluctance of even some atheists to accept the abandonment all faith, or, at least the idea of faith.

An acquaintance of mine suggested during a recent conversation, that  apistia, the abandonment of even the idea of faith, sounded to her a lot like an approach to Zen.

Well, I don’t know enough about Zen to really understand that.

Comment by Maruli Marulaki on November 2, 2011 at 2:18pm

I hope your skepticism extends beyond religion and into politics, medicine, and every other subject which has it's facts manipulated to mislead the masses.

Skepticism helps to doubt, take a deep breath and attempt to find information.   But it does not replace knowledge in areas, where one has none.   Refusing to believe a claim does not enable me automatically to have a better judgment or a rational opinion.   There are many topics, where I better acknowledge my ignorance instead of attempting to choose between different claims, which I cannot evaluate.  

 

 

 

Comment by Brady on November 1, 2011 at 10:09am
Glad to see someone blog about being a skeptic as well as an atheist. I hope your skepticism extends beyond religion and into politics, medicine, and every other subject which has it's facts manipulated to mislead the masses.

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