This page features a glossary of terms used on this website that may be unfamiliar to some readers.
However, note that due to the sometimes vague nature of how words are defined across different individuals and groups and different dictionaries, the way you define some of these terms may be slightly different. So for clarity, this glossary conveys the particular meaning which I intend to express by these words when used on this site.
Agnosticism is the view that ultimately we cannot be certain that a god or gods exist or do not exist. This view pertains to knowledge not belief. Therefore one can believe that a god exists, or that no gods exist, and also be Agnostic.
Thomas Huxley who coined the term “agnostic”, defined it as the view that a god can neither be known to exist or not exist, and that this perfectly described his own view that there is “not one shadow or tittle” of evidence for a god at all but he would of course believe in a god if there were such evidence (He even clarifies further that he is exactly what a Christian would call an atheist and be justified in doing so). However, over time “Agnostic” has also taken on the connotation of someone who avoids admitting to either belief or disbelief in gods, and this results in a lot of confusion about the term.
The practice of trying to defend beliefs with evidence and logical arguments; regarding the topic of this website specifically: the practice of defending religious beliefs. Someone who practices apologetics can be referred to as an apologist.
Disbelief (or lack of belief) in a Theistic or deistic concept of a god or gods. “Atheists” include people who claim 100% knowledge that gods do not exist as well as people who think that it is more likely that no gods exist than that any do exist.
The belief that in a personal god that created the universe but doesn’t intervene in nature any further or influence human affairs. Hence a deistic god performs no miracles, answers no prayers, and helps no one.
The total body of available information potentially pertinent to a given inquiry that may indicate what beliefs or propositions are most likely true or false. (Note that evidence doesn’t need to be reproducible. What information is actually known just needs to be indicative of a conclusion rather than be ambiguous)
A person who follows a particular doctrine very strictly, and whose views and attitudes towards society and politics are directly governed by those doctrines. the term is often use pejoratively to refer to people who are very dogmatic and express views that their detractors consider intolerant.
The term can be used in a variety of ways, however the concept I deal with most on the website is the concept of a personal god and that is the meaning I intend whenever I do not say otherwise.
A religious moderate is someone with at least some fundamentally religious beliefs, such as belief in a god, but who do not support many extreme or strict views based on religious beliefs or religious doctrines. However, this term can be misleading because a religious “moderate” may actually have many dogmatic secular beliefs and have very emotional and hateful reactions to various people and ideas. Moderates often do not fully practice or even know about many of their religion’s or holy book’s core beliefs so their lives are not highly influenced by religion. Often, their actual beliefs would be more accurately identified with a different label than the one they use to identify themselves.
A demonstrably valid principle of logic that states that out of multiple propositions, the propositions that requires the fewest assumptions is the one most likely to be correct.
The belief that God should be defined as all that exists. The use of ‘God” is usually an abstraction which does not refer to an actual being or intelligence, hence in such cases it is not a form of Theism or Deism. When “God” is used as an abstraction to describe unconscious forces of nature the pantheist is by definition also an atheist. However, some other people who identify as Pantheists may indeed believe that the universe itself is one total conscious entity.
A being with intelligence, self-awareness, and powers to affect the universe either by creation, intervention in an existing creation, or both. This notion is different from using the term “God” to describe an abstraction or unconscious force as do some atheists.
This term can be used in a variety of ways. Unless a specify otherwise, when I use the term on this site I am referring to the concept of a set of beliefs in a controlling force or intelligent being (such as a personal god) that is not yet scientifically verifiable or deducible. This force or being is usually, although not always, described as “supernatural” by those who believe in it.
Belief in at least one personal god, especially one that created the universe.