What to Know About Ignosticism, Igtheism, Theological NonCognitivism, and Apatheism

More Isms to Explore..

A couple other “–ism’s” to just be aware of are igtheism and ignosticism –both closely related to theological non-cognitivism, and also apatheism, although it will be rare enough to meet too many people categorizing themselves with these labels, as these categories all represent positions which conclude -if in different ways- that none of it is worth discussing.  As with agnosticism, there are important points in at least some of these “–ism’s” which should be understood.

The term ignosticism is –like agnosticism- derived from the ancient greek word “gnosis,” meaning knowledge of the gods. The prefix here indicates a negative use of the word. There is no knowledge of the gods. Ignosticism is -like agnosticism- a rejection of the so-called “knowledge of the gods,” but taking a slightly different approach.

Igtheism is the same, just more directly stated. Ignosticism as directly translated rejects the idea of knowledge of the gods, while igtheism translates more to rejects the idea of the gods -same diff, really, for all practical purposes. Both of these positions maintain a codicile that suggest they will be open to discussion, once any and all terms are meaningfully falsifiably demonstrated.

Jefferson saying "Wtf"
Jefferson saying “Wtf”

Stated simply, agnosticism says “we need proof, and will not believe in specious things.” Ignosticism and igtheism make the clever observation “what the fuck are you even talking about?” Where the agnostic accepts the terms -as speciously defined by theology- for the purpose of discussion, the ignostic will not humor you in that. Meaningfully define the term god in a falsifiable manner or there’s nothing to talk about.

So closely related that it’s difficult to distinguish between them is theological noncognitivism. Agnostics reject unproven claims, but will discuss them. Ignostics and igtheists posture from a position of demanding meaningful definitions before a discussion can begin, but will then reject every nonfalsifiable definition that is given, thereby thwarting the proposed discussion. Theological noncognitivists don’t maintain that front. It’s all bullshit and they say so up-front -none of the terms can be meaningfully defined.



While the points of the above positions are slightly different, each one contains a valid and important lesson for our understanding. The lesson is that –although for slightly differing reasons- discussion of the god(s) is meaningless, as the involved terminology or proffered knowledge is unfalsifiable. Consider this point, and consider the thousands and thousands of books written on the subject. Billions of humans, living their lives guided by what is nothing more than pure bullshit.

The last ism to discuss here is apatheism -unrelated to the other three but not substantial enough to go on its own. Apatheism is a position of apathy towards theism, and usually pretty equally towards atheism. Apatheists are not necessarily atheists, but are sometimes referred to as practical atheists, as they tend to live their lives – for all practical purposes – as atheists. An apatheist could be said to have necessarily adopted a “don’t know/can’t know/and so don’t care” attitude regarding the gods.

Technically, anyone lacking a belief in any gods is an atheist, so whether they care for the term or not, most apatheists are also atheists, as are ignostics, igtheists, and theological noncognitivists.

But in the case of the latter three, they’re atheists with an innate point. All discussion of the gods is mere extreme speculation, regarding made-up concepts that have never been satisfactorily established as actual phenomena, and I’ll add are highly suspect when measured against what we do know. Consideration is -therefore- inherently meaningless.