My Japanese friend asked me whether I believe in an afterlife.

I wanted to say, "I don't believe, but also I don't not believe." My point is that while I do not believe, I like to keep an open mind.

I intentionally use the double negative, because the meaning is different from simply collapsing the double negative into a positive: "I don't believe, but also I believe," which makes no sense.

The best I could come up with in my clunky Japanese is "信じていないけど信じたい" but that doesn't really say what I want either.

Is there a better way to get my point across? Does Japanese make possible these kinds of tortuous constructs?

  • 1
    I wonder if you could say 信じることも信じないこともない. I mean, that's what I'd say, but I often (usually?) say stuff wrong, so I don't want to post it as an answer.
    – user1478
    Aug 28, 2013 at 7:30

1 Answer 1


I would say it as 信じても信じなくもない or 信じてはないけど、信じなくもない.

  • 2
    "信じなくてもない" means something like "even if you don't believe, it doesn't exist". To say "It's not that I don't believe", you could say 信じてなくもない.
    – dainichi
    Aug 28, 2013 at 4:37

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