Letter: Unbelievable

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The Independent Online
WHAT a pity that your 'Dinner Party Guide to Unbelief' (7 August) was not only superficial but inaccurate, despite the help given by several unbelievers.

Agnostics are not people who can't make up their minds what to believe, but people who believe that the answers to 'ultimate questions' cannot be known. Humanism goes back not just to Petrarch 500 years ago, but to Protagoras 2,500 years ago. Materialists don't include Hegel, who was the exact opposite, teaching that the ultimate reality is not matter but spirit. Atheists don't believe that God is dead, but that God never was alive. Forms of unbelief omitted include scepticism, rationalism, secularism, ethicism, naturalism, nihilism and 'nothingarianism'.

Nicolas Walter

Humanist Centre, London WC1