The word belief is a troublesome one. My friend insists that he is an agnostic,
(though he is an atheist), since he can not know (scientifically prove) that
god is not real. I say to him, well, the pope can’t prove that god is real
either so should he properly describe himself as an agnostic too?
No, because the god question is not a scientific one, it is a belief one - no
one is asking for proof, they are asking whether, given one’s world experience
one thinks god is real? Belief in this case means opinion. No one demands
evidence before accepting an opinion. But the word belief is also used to
indicate how we feel about issues of science… so maybe it’s best that when the topic
is scientific that we avoid the word belief. I don’t know. I just know it
creates all kinds of grief and misunderstanding and that there are
fantastically elaborate discussions about atheism vs. agnosticism vs. theism
that, to me, are all due to confusion over the meaning of the word belief. If
you believe in god, you’re a theist; if you don’t, you’re an atheist; if you’re
unsure, you’re an agnostic. Can any of these three prove their position? No.
It’s just opinion.