Just had a flick through God Delusion and couldn’t find the passage I wanted to quote earlier, but I did find this passage:
Let us take the idea of a spectrum of probabilities seriously, and place human judgements about the existence of God along it, between the two extremes of opposite certainty. The Spectrum is continuous, but it can be represented by the following milestones along the way.
- Strong theist. 100% probability of God. In the words of CG Jung, “I do not believe, I know.”
- Very high probability but short of 100%. De Facto theist. “I cannot know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.”
- Higher than 50% but not very high. Technically agnostic but leaning towards theism. “I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.”
- Exactly 50%. Completely impartial agnostic. “God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.”
- Lower than 50% but not very low. Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism. “I don’t know whether God exists, but I’m inclined to be sceptical.”
- Very low probability, but short of zero. De factoatheist. “I cannot know for certain, but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”
- Strong atheist. “I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung ‘knows’ there is one.”
Naturally I find myself pondering where I would place myself on such a spectrum, and also where I have been in the past. I don’t suppose I’ve ever been at 1, but certainly I was at 2 for a good few years. Whether it’s been a gradual or sudden change I can’t be sure, but I think I’d say I’m at 5 with a nod towards 6 at the moment.
Out of interest, Dawkins places himself at 6 leaning towards 7.
Where are you?