agathist /A-gə-thist/. noun. One who believes things naturally tend toward the good. A systemic optimist. An adherent to the doctrine of agathism, a doctrine of optimism and a life devoted to the good. From Greek agath (good).
“From the agathist point of view, religion at its best is self-conscious, disciplined pursuit of knowledge of the good plus devotion to it. Such a life may or may not involve belief in a personal, transcendent God.” (Richard E. Creel)
“The existence of evil compels Dr. Miller to substitute the moderate title of ‘Agathist’ for that of ‘Optimist.’ Pawns, therefore, must fall, and bishops; but he will in part indemnify us by pointing out the reason.” (The Edinburgh Review)
Doctor Kearney, who formerly, with so much reputation, delivered lectures in this place on the history of Rome, observed to me once, that he was not an optimist, but an “agathist”; that he believed that everything tended to good, but did not think himself competent to determine what was absolutely thebest. The distinction is important, and seems to be fatal to the system of Optimism. (George Miller)
If the existence of pain and evil render it difficult for a reflecting man to be an optimist, there is no reason why he should not, at all events, be an agathist. It is an observation of Dr. Johnson, that as the greatest liar tells more truth than falsehood, so may it be said of the worst man, that he does more good than evil. (Horace Smnith)