Genus Unbelief, Species Atheism: The Case for and Against Unbelief as a Master Concept for Non-Religion

Jack David Eller

Vol. 3, No. 1

Summer 2021

Pages: 1-24

Genus Unbelief, Species Atheism: The Case for and Against Unbelief as a Master Concept for Non-Religion

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no1.01

ORCID_logo_with_tagline.svg.png

Abstract

More from the Author

Rational Faith.png
Rational Faith.png

Editorial

Jack David Eller, Atheism, Unbelief, Irreligion, Belief, Credition, Religion, Humanism

Recent initiatives by Stein, Flynn, Conrad, and others have promoted ‘unbelief’ as a replacement, an ‘umbrella term,’ for concepts like atheism, secularism, and irreligion. In this essay I show that unbelief as it is currently construed cannot serve this function: it is simultaneously too broad (embracing not only irreligion but heterodox religious belief) and too narrow (focusing on religious belief to the exclusion of other types of belief), and it commits a taxonomic error of equating unbelief with categories above and below its level. However, I also argue that, once reformed and disciplined, unbelief is a valuable and essential tool, and I provide some resources and models for a future Unbelief Studies in the Credition Research Project and the literature on agnotology, as well as ethnographical material questioning the cross-cultural applicability of belief and unbelief. Finally, I charge Unbelief Studies with the mission not only to analyze belief but to criticize and ultimately banish it as a bad mental and linguistic habit that perpetuates mistakes and leaves individuals vulnerable to further faults while eroding social trust and facticity itself.

Preview

Davis, Stephen vol 2, no 2 PREVIEW_Page_
$1.99

$1.99

dimensions_logo_400x80.png
SHERM Front Cover - no glow.png

Print Issue

Coming Soon!

ATLA 3.jpg
ORCID_Cert_Service_Provider_logo[&vF].pn
crossref-members.png