Some Questions for Atheists, Agnostics, Seculars, Theists and Deists

I am very curious about people’s suppositions about God(s), especially of those who reject the notion.  What sort of god or gods would you find acceptable/tolerable?  What sort of evidence would you consider valid evidence for the existence of this god-concept?  (Remember, this absolutely need not be an ‘off the rack’ model – I want to know whatever you think.)  Similarly, theists and deists, what sort of god concept do you think is the case and what would count as evidence against that god-concept?

In in the interest of disclosure, I’m an atheist, but there are days when I lean panendeist.  What would count as evidence against this account?  Honestly, I’m not entirely sure, but there are two probable answers.  One, incontrovertible evidence of a miracle.  Two, an account of the mind that convincingly eliminates all that functionally unspecifiable stuff (like qualia) and which gives a half-way decent account of intentionality.

Contrary to Agressive Atheists and Their Theistic Counterparts,…

can be both an atheist and an agnostic.  It has been claimed by at least one theist of whom I am aware that he appreciates atheists because they at least have strength of their convictions, whereas he finds agnostics to be too wishy-washy.  Of course, a sentiment such as this makes perfect sense coming from a man of faith – he recognizes and admires firm belief in the face of doubt, even if that belief directly contradicts his own.  [1]  And I am personally acquainted with many atheists who would agree with this pastor that agnosticism is an unacceptable form of cowardice because it is obviously the case that there is no God. 

But I must demur.  I think both of these positions can be taken up by the same person, because they have different domains – atheism is a doxastic (i.e. belief related) position, while agnosticism is an epistemic (i.e. knowledge related) matter.  It is true that I do not believe that Christianity is true (or, more strongly, I believe that it is false), and I believe that I have good reasons for saying so.  But I also think that I do not and cannot know that there is nothing at all that exists which is invisible to us and which might well be something that is deserving of the appellation of ‘God’ or ‘The Absolute’ or somesuch.  [2]  So I don’t see these positions as incompatible.

Endnotes:

[1] This reminds me of an old story about my great-grandfather that has been passed down in family lore.  He (British) fought in the trenches in WWI and had the following to say about Frenchmen and Germans.  Paraphrased: “give me a German over a Frenchman any day: at least you know the German’s not going to run.”

[2] Granted, the falsity of Christianity is something that can be more definitively assigned to the realm of knowledge because it posits miracles and interventions by God in the natural world – for example, I am fairly certain that I know that there has never been a virgin birth.  Other positions are firmly out of the realm of knowledge, however.  For instance, deism is precisely the sort of position that I literally cannot make any knowledge claims about.