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doyendroll's avatar

Do you believe in a higher power that prevails over the universe?

Asked by doyendroll (1771points) February 22nd, 2021

If you know then you are gnostic, and if you do not know then you are agnostic.

If you believe in gods then you are theist, and if you do not believe in gods then you are atheist.

Everyone either knows or does not know, and either believes or does not believe.

What do you choose: gnostic theist, gnostic atheist, agnostic theist or agnostic atheist? Or would you prefer nullifidian, panentheism, pantheism or some other choice eg, you are god?

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22 Answers

Zaku's avatar


What if I don’t know what you mean by “If you know”? If I know what? Whether I believe in a higher power that “prevails over the universe”? That’s some Judeo-Christian/Islamic bias up the Wazzu there, though what does “prevails over the universe” even mean?

I don’t trust that I know what you mean by ”believe in gods”, either.

I feel like the Christian-like patterns in the wording of this question make me uneasy about answering, for fear of being annoyed by more Christian-like ideas.

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filmfann's avatar

I believe.

LostInParadise's avatar

What difference does it make? What are the consequences one way or the other? There are more consequences that follow from belief in extra-terrestrials than from belief in God.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Militant agnostic. I don’t know and neither do you.

ragingloli's avatar

You mean like the Goa’uld?

kritiper's avatar

No. To do so would be the same as believing in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. (Among others)
I can imagine a area of space in front of me and there is no evidence of anything or anybody in that space. IMO, the laws of physics don’t allow for this “supreme being” to exist, as advertised, in that space. And, since the laws of physics apply everywhere equally, I can know, to my satisfaction, that some “supreme being” can’t exist anywhere. And no one can tell me that I don’t or can’t know that.

cookieman's avatar

No, and we just had a very similar question recently, by the by.

Having grown up Catholic (alter boy for three years), sent my daughter to Catholic school for thirteen years, and not blind to the comfort and benefits some receive from religion — I am generally happy with whatever you believe in.

I only take issue when folks say they know god(s) exist. That just tells me you don’t understand the difference between beliefs and facts.

(Well, I also take issue with folks who use religion as an excuse for horrible behavior, but those bananas are assholes no matter you how slice it — and frankly make kind, rationale believers look bad.)

Kropotkin's avatar

I’ve never seen a belief in a “higher power” that didn’t amount to an incredulity in there not being one, regardless of the sophistication or naivety of the arguments.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

“I am not ashamed to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know that, which other men say they are sure of.” Clarence Darrow. I always liked that quote. And in my opinion, it can apply to people of faith or hard core atheists alike. And this: “They mystery of the origin of all things is insoluble by us, so I for one, must be content to remain an agnostic”. Charles Darwin.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Here is an interesting take on the Passion Events, by Edward Gibbon, from his “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”: But how shall we excuse the supine inattention of the Pagan and philosophic world to those evidences which were presented by the hand of Omnipotence, not to their reason, but to their senses? During the age of Christ, of his apostles, and of their first disciples, the doctrine which they preached was confirmed by innumerable prodigies. The lame walked, the blind saw, the sick were healed, the dead were raised, daemons were expelled, and the laws of Nature were frequently suspended for the benefit of the church. General silence concerning the darkness of the passion. But the sages of Greece and Rome turned aside from the awful spectacle, and, pursuing the ordinary occupations of life and study, appeared unconscious of any alterations in the moral or physical government of the world. Under the reign of Tiberius, the whole earth, (194) or at least a celebrated province of the Roman empire, (195) was involved in a preternatural darkness of three hours. Even this miraculous event, which ought to have excited the wonder, the curiosity, and the devotion of mankind, passed without notice in an age of science and history. (196) It happened during the lifetime of Seneca and the elder Pliny, who must have experienced the immediate effects, or received the earliest intelligence, of the prodigy. Each of these philosophers, in a laborious work, has recorded all the great phenomena of Nature, earthquakes, meteors, comets, and eclipses, which his indefatigable curiosity could collect. (197) Both the one and the other have omitted to mention the greatest phenomenon to which the mortal eye has been witness since the creation of the globe. A distinct chapter of Pliny (198) is designed for eclipses of an extraordinary nature and unusual duration; but he contents himself with describing the singular defect of light which followed the murder of Caesar, when, during the greatest part of a year, the orb of the sun appeared pale and without splendour. This season of obscurity, which cannot surely be compared with the preternatural darkness of the Passion, had been already celebrated by most of the poets (199) and historians of that memorable age.

Jeruba's avatar

I do not subscribe to your limited and dualistic definitions. I don’t agree to define myself with respect to any ineffable supreme entity. That acknowledges it as a reference point that I don’t accept.

Atheists do not have to meet anyone’s qualifying criteria. It’s not a club you join with bylaws you agree to. Two atheists standing side by side can have different beliefs, and neither one has to explain, justify, or reconcile themselves one to the other.

I’m extremely irritated by people who want to tell me what I must or must not believe, and that includes people who want to control my definition of my own position. It also extends to people who want to speak for me in any context in which I haven’t given them my proxy, either directly or indirectly.

JLoon's avatar

Yes – But gravity doesn’t answer prayers.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I believe, yes, but organized religion isn’t really my thing.

Zaku's avatar

@JLoon Oh ye of little faith! Gravity is ever-forthcoming in her blessings, when her faithful pray for them!

May I ever be accelerated at nine point eight meters per second per second toward the center of this earth, as long as I remain on its surface, oh Holy Gravity that I love and need!

JLoon's avatar

@Zaku – AMEN BRO’ !!!

smudges's avatar

I choose not to be put in one of four categories defined by someone else.

sadiesayit's avatar


There isn’t anything that needs a higher power to explain it, or anything whose explanation is helped by appealing to a higher power.

And from what I can tell, many things make far less sense if there’s supposed to be a higher power creating and guiding everything.

smudges's avatar

One of my favorite quotes sums up my beliefs:

Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while. :::Groucho Marx

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, unless you consider physics a higher power.

crazyguy's avatar


Let me elaborate.

If you believe in reincarnation, that the majority of the world does not believe in, are you stupid or is the majority of the human population stupid? Since no religion commands the belief of a majority of the world, the same argument can be used for every other religious belief. For instance, as a Christian, you believe in Heaven and Hell. Do you accept that the majority of the world, some of whom are as passionate about their beliefs as you, do not?

If so, what do you do?

You believe in SCIENCE. I am convinced that ultimately, SCIENCE shall solve the ultimate mystery of life and death, and thus obliterate the need for religion. That will remove one of the major divisive forces in the world.

crazyguy's avatar

One more point. If there were a GOD, would He want all the adulation and worship that all major religions accord Him? For instance:

As far as I am concerned, there is NOBODY worthy of such praise.

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