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I was told by two respected Roshai Yeshiva that one who isn't certain of God's existence (an agnostic) is not deemed to be a kofer (denier of His existence) as long as he thinks that His existence is probable. So one who is 51% sure of God's existence is not a kofer, but one who is 49% sure of it is. They both admitted that they had no source for this, but thought it was logical.

Can anyone provide a source for this? Are there other views? Does one have to be 100% certain of God's existence to not be considered a kofer? Is someone who isn't convinced that God exists, but is a fully practicing Jew because of Pascal's wager considered a kofer?

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maybe the rosh yeshiva was just telling people to be content with simple faith and not to think too much due to this: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/5463/1857 –  ray Jan 30 at 7:30
I don't think he was. One in particular is a very philosophical person who wouldn't say that. He told me that he was originally going to be a philosophy professor, but decided to become a Rosh Yeshiva instead. Either way, unless an agnostic view was permissible he wouldn't advocate relying on simple faith and living with doubts. –  Ish Ploni ViKohen Jan 30 at 18:28
Marpe Lenefesh commentary on ch.10 of Shaar Yichud: "As we find recorded in books, that most of the early philosophers became insane. And we see even in our generation - those groups which go after their opinions and investigations, either they became crazy or they go out to evil ways..." - not clear from here if actual apikores, but if you rely only on your intellect alone you will likely go off and become a full fledged bonafide apikores. –  ray Jan 30 at 20:21
It’s difficult enough giving a p’sak in matters of hashkafah, and you want to know the shiur too? –  J. C. Salomon Feb 5 at 19:43

1 Answer 1

This Chabad Article deals with agnosticism which Thomas Huxley defined as the "doctrine that humans cannot know of the existence of anything beyond the phenomena of their experience" (and therefore, my words, cannot be sure of the existence of G-d).

The article quotes the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950) who told one self-proclaimed atheist, "We are all believers in G-d. It is just a matter of definition."

Therefore someone who isn't 100% certain of God's existence should not be considered a unbeliever.

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Thank you for your answer. I think that most would agree that if one believes in the existence of God to the degree that he believes that George Washington was the first president he is considered a believer, even if he would concede that he cannot prove either one. My question is more in relation to one who has material doubts about God's existence. –  Ish Ploni ViKohen Feb 9 at 22:36

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