Pre-debate Theist Questionnaire
- What specific religion best represents you?
Churches have split over dogma differences so often that the label of “Christian” doesn’t tell me enough. To know what you believe, I want to know with which faith you most identify.
- What doctrine(s) of your religion do you not subscribe to, if any?
To know you as an individual, I recognize that every belief of your adopted religion may not apply. If so, I want to know where you deviate from your faith.
- Do you accept the Theory of Evolution?
This comes up surprisingly often no matter which argument for God we discuss. Give me a heads up in advance if it’s even worth bringing up this aspect of science.
- Do you believe in hell and/or the devil?
I should be able to surmise this from questions 1 & 2, but if the answers are vague or something is forgotten, this answer will prove useful.
- Do you see your holy book as entirely literal, entirely allegory, or some of both? If both, how do you determine the interpretation?
- How would you describe your level of belief toward the God in question?
Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
How would you describe your level of skepticism toward the God in question?
Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.
(I don't include pure agnostics because I don't see any reason why they would engage in a debate without a position to argue.)
The “God in question,” from above, is an important distinction from just “God” for the atheist. I would tackle an argument for a vaguely defined creator very differently than I would for claims that Yahweh specifically is real. In fact, my assessment of personal belief would also vary. I’m a de-facto atheist in regards to Vishnu, but agnostic towards a god defined only as an agent existing outside our universe.