Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A question for agnostics

A lot of people claim to be agnostic when asked if they believe in god. They say that means that they do not know if god exists. Well yes, most of us don't know whether or not god exists, such a thing is not really possible, and those who claim to know with 100% certainty in either direction worry me. The question of being religious or not religious is what you believe, not what you know.

A believer bases his life on the assumption that god exists. He (or she, please don't make me use gender inclusion in all of my posts, it's a pain in the ass, and I'd like to stop now) prays, follows rules from the respective holy texts of his religion, etc. Maybe he doesn't do any of those things at all, but he does still believe that there is a god, and might try praying when he finds himself in a really tough situation.

On the other hand, an atheist lives his life on the assumption that there is not a god. He likely does not follow rules from a holy text, except for cultural reasons, and does not pray, except possibly to keep up appearances. Let's face it, I wouldn't want to be the only one who refuses the call to prayer from a mosque in Saudi Arabia, would you? The point is, that he does not believe god is there.

Now, both the believer and the atheist are open to the small possibility that they are wrong, except for the worrisome ones on either side. So does that technically make all rational people agnostics? Yes, perhaps, but that isn't really a useful description of the situation and of your personal stance on the issue. When people ask you if you believe in god, and you reply that you are agnostic, you really haven't answered their question.

So, my question for agnostics is, "Do you live your life on the assumption that gods exists, or that they don't exist?"

So that settles it. You're either an atheist or a believer. Which is it?

If you still claim to be an agnostic when people ask about your belief system, I ask you, "What does that mean exactly?" Do you alternate days with prayer and days without? Do you try to follow the rules of all religions? What exactly does it mean to say that you neither believe in god, nor disbelieve in it? I think "yes' and 'no' exhaust all possible answers on this issue. If you are actively trying to determine the answer to god's existence as we speak, that's ok, which one do you believe right at this moment? You can change your mind later if you want, it's ok. Don't listen to those damn jackass politicians (especially that fool, W) who criticise 'flip-flopping'. It's called 'changing your mind', and it's what most intelligent people do when new information comes to light, or they just refine their thoughts. People who refuse to change their minds, despite new information, are stupid. So what are you right now, a believer or an atheist?

If you still think you're an agnostic, please write me a comment below to explain. Even if you're not, go ahead and comment.

43 comments:

GD said...

as an agnostic,
your questions strike me as both confusing and slightly ridiculous
do I pray or flip flop my ethereal notions on certain days?
you sound as condescending and educated in what you're talking about as the Christians when they ask me about agnosticism
Do I live my life by an assumption?
wouldn't that be idiotic to begin with, do you know the definition of 'assumption'?

I apologize for being rude, but this sort of flippancy is something I would expect from the zealots
as an agnostic, myself, since this..creed (ironic choice of words) is very individualistic, I represent no one but myself when I state how I live my life: I live my life simply by trying to be, logic permitting, the best person I can be. It's a foolish goal, but it's the only one I can live with.

As for voting I vote accordingly to the notions of the politicians I agree with (none republican) and whether or not I think they're going to try and let their imaginary friend rule. That said, being agnostic, I DO reject all religious teachings for their obviously human characteristics which proves they were fabricated (my personal belief). But I'm not prepared to dismiss the notion of a high power, even an uninvolved one, simply because of a few fucked up individuals fabricating stories to justify their own twisted actions.

that help at all?

Admin said...

The questions shouldn't strike you as confusing. They're meant to be ridiculous.

You live your life trying to be the best person you can be. You reject religion. You are not prepared to outright dismiss the possibility of a higher power. You don't incorporate religious ritual into your life. You sound just like me.

Congratulations, you are an atheist! You are without definite belief in a god. But you are also agnostic, in that you don't claim to know for sure that there are no gods. Many (most?) atheists, including myself, fall into this category.

That's the whole point of this post. I am challenging the idea that there can be such thing as a person who doesn't believe in gods, but also doesn't NOT believe.

If you have further comment, feel free.

Admin said...

By the way, I do know the definition of 'assumption'. We all live our lives based on assumptions. I live my life on the assumption that dropping things will cause them to hit the ground, and they therefore need to be protected. I assume that a moving vehicle can kill me, and therefore always get out of their way. etc. etc. etc.

GD said...

I thought atheism was asserting there is indeed no god?
as another one said, "I preach the gospel of I don't know"
could have swore that was agnosticism,

George said...

that said, I reject all the main religions which is atheistic
but I'm led toward the notion that there is a higher power simply because of the roll of the dice that got us here and because you don't see people explaining themselves to cockroaches
it's irrational, I know
but I'm not starting false wars or letting it affect my vote lol

Admin said...

George, thanks for coming back.

Very few atheists will assert that there are no gods, with 100% certainty. I certainly wouldn't say that. It seems a foolish statement to make. I think the reason that more people like yourself haven't identified themselves as atheists, is that 'atheist' has been such a dirty word. I don't know which country you're from..... no wait, let me use my Big Brother software.... OK, now I know which country you're from. In your country, coming out as an atheist can cost a person their job or place in the community. So many have identified themselves as 'agnostic', which is more tolerable to the religious.

But if theism is believing in gods, then atheism is the opposite, merely not believing. If you are not convinced, you are an atheist. 'Believing' is different from 'knowing'. you can say you don't know either way, but it's much more difficult to explain what it means to not believe either way. That is the point of this post. My questions were meant to be ridiculous.

As for the roll-of-the-dice argument, you are then left with a much bigger problem of explaining how that god got there. A roll of bigger dice, perhaps?

The cockroach line that you used... I just saw that in the movie, The Mothman Prophecies, on the weekend.

Admin said...

Oh, I didn't explain what agnosticism is. I tried to get at it in the top of my post, but let me try again. Agnosticism is the belief that we can't 'know' things for sure, such as whether or not there are gods. It is a separate issue from what you 'believe'.

I don't believe there are gods, so I am an atheist. And I don't believe it's possible to prove my position, so I am an agnostic-atheist. Sounds like you are, too.

Admin said...

George,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism

Does this describe your position? It describes mine.

George said...

"An agnostic atheist is atheistic because he or she does not believe in the existence of any deity and is also agnostic because he or she does not claim to have definitive knowledge that a deity does not exist." but I'm leaning more towards the notion of there being a higher power, yet not claiming to have definitive knowledge, but also open to the possibility of there not being one (basically the inversion of that)

tolerable to the religious? never considered that for a moment. have you been to the southern region of the United States? I might as well be sacrificing animals to Satan on the front lawn every night lol
as for losing a job over it, have not heard of that.

I think we better not start the dice rolling, that could go on for a LONG time. Finally, someone who actually found where I use that metaphor from.

btw, this feels awfully nontraditional, shouldn't there be violence taking place during this discussion?

Admin said...

If you're leaning towards there being a higher power, then I suppose that would make you a theist. That makes you my enemy! I must kill you in the name of Charles Darwin! I will slaughter you on my copy of Origin of Species!

I've never been to ... no wait, I have been to the Southern US. I lived in a mid-western state for a couple of years, too.

The dice-rolling argument doesn't provide any real answers. It just passes the problem to another place, at which point the person will stop trying to figure it out.

Let me give an example. Let's say we decide that we are living in a computer simulation. Would you stop at that explanation? Or would you want to know the answers to questions like; Who created the simulator? Where do they live? How long has it been going on for? Is it running on a Mac or a PC? etc etc etc

But the typical "higher power apologist", such as Lee Stroebel, doesn't ask such questions. He merely claims that there is a creator, then stops. He has created far more serious problems, but does not attempt to answer them. If there's a creator, I'd like to know; Where does it live? How did it come into being? What process did it use to create the Universe? What is its exact nature?

So we end up at the same place we were by not knowing where the Universe came from. If we have two choices, that a god exists and we don't know where it came from, or that the Universe exists and we don't know where it came from, I'm going to stick with the Universe hypothesis. At least we can demonstrate that the Universe exists, which makes it the more likely of the two choices.

Anonymous said...

Sorry admin, you are free to call your belief or lack of it whatever you like. Who am I to stop you.

HOWEVER, what you call "atheism" is what is generally defined as "agnosticism".

Atheism is an absolute term and does not allow for any doubt. The minute there is a doubt it becomes agnosticism.

I don't want to give a lesson in ancient greek here, but if you don't believe me...check it out.

Mancman said...

Sorry admin, you are free to call your belief or lack of it whatever you like. Who am I to stop you.

HOWEVER, what you call "atheism" is what is generally defined as "agnosticism".

Atheism is an absolute term and does not allow for any doubt. The minute there is a doubt it becomes agnosticism.

I don't want to give a lesson in ancient greek here, but if you don't believe me...check it out.

Admin said...

Wow Mancman, you must be from the Ray Comfort School. Nobody is really atheist, right? Wrong!

I don't suppose I could trouble you to consider the top of my post, or to look up 'atheist' in a dictionary, could I?

atheist –noun
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Source - Dictionary.com

Wait, I thought you said 'atheist' had no room for doubt? Doesn't seem that definition and yours match, does it? You're obviously not up with the atheist lingo, like 'hard atheism', 'soft atheism'.

Are you an atheist? Either way, if you check the comments further up, you'll see that I've been through this already with another poster.

Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually-exclusive terms. I in fact, am an agnostic-atheist

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism

The point of my post is that when asked if you believe in gods, it is not very helpful to say you are agnostic.

I'll be happy to discuss this further, if you'd like to learn more about atheists and atheism.

Admin said...

In fact, to respond "I'm agnostic" to the question of whether or not you believe in gods, doesn't even answer the question! The question is about belief or lack of.

Admin said...

Here's the definition of 'agnostic, by the way. Funny that these definitions don't seem to match what you claimed. But I know that one of the best weapons of the religious is to create confusion and doubt.

agnostic –noun
1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

Charles said...

First off, some education about the term 'Agnostic'

http://www.religioustolerance.org/agnostic.htm

There is clearly a wide range of beliefs there. Some Agnostics consider themselves atheists, some consider themselves theists. However, there is a difference between an Agnostic Atheist, an Atheist, and an Agnostic. (I believe you mention the former above.) As with many subjects and terms in religion, it can get confusing.

Personally I think - not that the world cares what I think - of an athiest as one who actively believes (even if there is some doubt) that science provides evidence heavily against the existence of god, while an agnostic would see the question as being unproven and unprovable (or unimportant.)

Personally, while I like to discuss and think about the issue, I do not consider the question "Is there a God?" to be relevant to how we live our life, which is the more important issue. Moreover, while it is true that any hypothesis is generally required to have evidence before it is acted upon, as someone whom has dedicated his life to science, I have so little faith in the amount of knowledge we have collected about the universe that I have no personal desire to come to a conclusion that I do not yet feel scientifically justified to make a conclusion on.

I realize you find the concept that one could honestly take a non-position on such an issue absurd, so perhaps I'll put it this way; I have intentionally taken the position that I shall take no position, and I do not believe that the results of the position (either way) matter in any sense to how one should best live life on a daily basis.

When interacting with others theologically, I tend to argue from the atheist perspective. When arguing with others philosophically, I tend to take either the deist or humanist perspective.

Charles said...

I should add that I do not believe in any sort of god who actively interferes in human affairs or has any sort of 'personal' relationship with man; unless you twist the definition of the word beyond its current (very christian) connotations.

Admin said...

Charles, this is an interesting response. This post was one of my very first on this site. It was meant to solicit responses on an issue to which I was genuinely confused, so I don't necessarily find your position to be absurd.

The point of the post was that for a person who claims to be agnostic, but does not practice any religion, they are effectively an atheist, as they have no religious rituals or prayers.

I did not consider that some people might have a religious belief which does not require any practice, such as what you're describing. In that case, an atheist is indistinguishable from a believer, and so an the existence of an agnostic suddenly seems possible and reasonable.

However, I strongly disagree with your comment near the end, that the answer to the question doesn't really affect how we should live our lives. What did you mean by that? I think that depending on what the answer is, it could have a very strong effect.

Charles said...

Before I explain, let me note that I oppose the idea that simplistic moral statements can be moral absolutes (i.e its 'always wrong to lie') in favor of situational-morality (i.e. it is wrong to NOT lie to Natzi guards about the locations of Jews, but in general lying selfishly is probably wrong.)

Anyways...

Most devout Christians I know have a belief I find very odd. They claim that all morality comes from god. When I ask them if god could make an evil action good, if they are idiots, they usually tell me yes, and if they are pastors, they usually tell me 'yes but that's not within his character, so he couldn't.' I usually reply that I think a more reasonable expectation would be that God would do something because it was good, and one should judge any supposed actions by god in terms of what we know to be good and evil.

This conversation illustrates my point. Regardless of whether or not there is a god, and regardless of whether or not we, as humans, can know what is good or evil (or more moral or less moral) in any given situation, I do believe there is an 'absolute morality' in the same sense that the laws of mathematics exist. (No matter what universe existed, the laws of mathematics and logic MUST be true.)

Most philosophy - good philosophy, is based on the rules of logic; though usually we think of mathematics as being more abstract, I consider it less abstract for the purposes of concluding which is more fundamental to the universe. Ultimately, if you accept that logic "exists" and has real meaning, and then accept that human feelings and emotions exist, then it would seem to me that there is a sort of 'natural law' independent of any sort of god or belief system, with which human beings can use to regulate their actions. I would say this natural law exists in the same sense that mathematics exists, and that it is independent of religion, the existence of a god, or the question of a human soul.

Charles said...

So, if we have morality independent of God, then we have by extension solved the question 'How do I lead a good life?' and perhaps even 'What is the meaning of my life?' - I even know of entirely atheistic responses to the latter questions, that are still quite good. Perhaps we can even (attempt) the real question, which is 'How do I live my life in such a way as to be happy?'

Admin said...

Charles, I see your point, but think of another side of the coin (this coin has many sides). What if the answer is that Allah exists, and that Al Qaeda's particular brand of Islam is the correct one? In that case, it would be correct for me to start cutting off the heads of infidels.

Most current mainstream religions have rules that would need to be followed in order to not piss off their particular god. If any of those gods exist, we would have to change our behaviour accordingly.

Admin said...

I'm happy :-)

Charles said...

Personally, I've always thought it would be ironic if we died and found out the Aztecs had it right.

Charles said...

...that was a joke. But anyways; I think good arguments can be made that religion has to bow to reason, and not the other way around. You make some of them elsewhere, I'm sure. But that doesn't (have) to be the end of the story. Unfortunately, the utter stupids we have to deal with insure that in our culture, by default if you are a thinking person - it is.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, I'm not going to read all that right now. I'm about a year late anyway. An agnostic is not someone who flip-flops or believes sometimes but not others. An agnostic is a person who acknowledges that it is impossible to know one way or the other whether there is a god or not. We simply do not have the capacity to know (or find knowledge) of the nature of the creator of the universe, or of it's will. Anyone who says "I know God wants this and this..." or who says "I know there is no god..." is simply wrong. You don't know, you CAN'T know. No one can. Personally, I'm what they call a "hard" agnostic, which means I lean more toward atheism. I consider myself a scientifically minded person, and it just doesn't seem likely. Why did god give us appendixes and wisdom teeth? Why do men have nipples? How can each of the religions say it is right and the others are all wrong? They can't all be right. Far more likely (that Occam's Razor thing) that they're all wrong. There may be something profoundly amazing and metaphysical about the universe and it's creator, but whatever it is humans haven't even come close to describing or understanding it, and won't until after we die, if then at all. No point in wasting time structuring beliefs for yourself about something that can't be proven. Anyway, that's my explanation. I like your website, just found it today, I'll be back.

Anonymous said...

You fucked up americans. It`s all black or white isn`t it?

Anyways, an agnostic is by definition someone who neither beliefs in/lives by any contitutionized religion/god nor chooses to blow away the idea that there might actually be "something out there" -but since this can`t be proven (either..) an agnostic (and his/hers) life is not obtained by these questions -and by any religious rituals because they derive from human made and conformed religion. Either religion is the god and belief, or "god" is "god" and can`t be proven, and the different religions surrounding "god" here on earth are still made by men and is therefor non-valid since men can`t prove "god" and therefor actually are unable to describe "god" in its total.

To much for ya cowbrains? Call an agnostic for a spiritual anarchist.

MoncO

Admin said...

MoncO, are you talking to me? And are you calling me an American? Why would you do that?

Real Fl@me said...

Well, I find it surprising that an intelligent atheist like you does not know the true definition of agnosticism.

In this respect, I suggest you check my blog out (I'm just starting out):

http://therealflame.blogspot.com/

Anyways, to sum it up, I'm an agnostic atheist, where knowledge-wise I'm agnostic because I can't completely 100% rule out the existence of a higher power but belief-wise I'm atheist because there's no basis or proof for the existence of a higher power.

My life and how I deal with religion and supernatural issues does not differ in any way in comparison to that of an average atheist, or even a gnostic atheist.

Being agnostic means that I'm simply not 100% sure knowledge-wise whether a higher power exists or not.

For the record, agnosticism is NOT mutually exclusive to either theism or atheism. It IS possible for someone to be either an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.

Thaddeus said...

agnostics think or "believe" our human brains are not equipped at this point in the evolutionary advancement of our brain to have all the answers. So, rather than be a fundamentalist atheist we merely admit the short comings of the human mind. I think my dog is smart , but she does not not know what the fuck I'm doing when I type this message. So, maybe in cosmic intelligence we are like the dog, or a snail or even less intelligent than it really takes to understand the hard questions. i don't know. Hey I don't know, but I don't prayer on Sunday and denounce religion on Monday. Please re-think your answer to the Agnostic title. cheers

Laura said...

I'm going for the definition of Wikipedia (our present day bible lol):
"Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists."

I've been brought up totally unreligious. In the Netherlands, where I live, not being religious is hardly a problem for anyone under 50 (because we went thru the proces of un-believing and stop going to church since the 60's) outside a small area where religion still plays a very large role.
For me, religion is unbelievable. And saying no I don't believe in god, but I do believe in a higher power is like saying I don't believe in God but I believe in -a- god. Higher power is as much a name for god as uhm... god. In which way a higher power is different from god is a complete mystery. If you talk with people about that, it comes down to that they believe in God but just don't wanna go to church on sunday or don't want to be assocaiated with RC church or reasons like that. They pray and believe that we were made in some way or another just as any 'real' theist. We even got a name for this belief: somethingism (ietsisme in Dutch).

I call myself atheist because agnosticism holds too much doubt for me. Not that I can be really really really 100 % sure there is no god, but there is no fact to prove it and as I stated elsewhere: no, a book is not proof, wonders are no proof. The only proof would be him showing up and showing his powers in front of the whole world, with tests coming up with the same results time and again. As long as this proof is not coming, I state there is no god.

Anonymous said...

all atheists are agnostic because no intelligent person could say they know 100% there never is, was, or will be any type of higher power even if it's just a collection of all of our souls combined.
so right now i believe [daily] "i don't know for sure". all i DO know for sure is that ALL "organized" religions are complete b.s.!
but because i am alive right now, & i have "awareness" instead of nothingness, and the statistical possibility of that-- unless we always have awareness in some form [not just right now]-- is so slim, i can't say 100% we aren't here for a purpose. and if we are here for a purpose.... well, then you at least must consider some type of soul.
which i really [as a scientist] do not want to believe in! but i am forced to look at the mere possibility.

Admin said...

"all atheists are agnostic because no intelligent person could say they know 100% there never is..."

You're wrong. There are some atheists who claim to know for sure that there are no gods.

"but because i am alive right now, & i have "awareness" instead of nothingness, and the statistical possibility of that...is so slim..."

You should know that we have no way of calculating the statistical probability of life or "awareness" occurring. We only have a sample of one planet, which is insufficient, but there are several lifeforms on Earth that have what scientists refer to as "awareness". This is a silly reason to consider a baseless claim of a soul to be correct.

Admin said...

"all atheists are agnostic because no intelligent person could say they know 100% there never is.."

Actually, your statement is self-refuting, unless you consider all atheists to be intelligent. If there are some unintelligent atheists, then your statement allows for the possibility that some of them could claim 100% certainty.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that labeling your beliefs, or lack of, is the issue at hand. Based on my "beliefs" in congruence with the various definitions I am an atheist...an agnostic...an agnostic-atheist, what else?
While I have my own personal definitions of the terms, who am I, or any of us, to challenge anyone on their beliefs or their definition of their beliefs (or lack-there-of)? I don't push my ideals on people regardless, I don't say it's silly if someone says they are "agnostic" when it is clear they are non-denomenational, atheist or something entirely different. I don't do this becuase I do not want it done to me.
We are here discussing something as silly as definitions as if it were black and white when it is quite far from that. All I am seeing is people not willing to compromise and stuck to their personal definitions and ideas.

Admin said...

"While I have my own personal definitions of the terms, who am I, or any of us, to challenge anyone on their beliefs or their definition of their beliefs (or lack-there-of)?"

Because words have meaning and language fails if those meanings become blurred or arbitrary. This is a ridiculous comment.

I also will challenge people on the content of their beliefs because their beliefs have real consequences in the real world. I didn't realise some people live in an isolated bubble.

Admin said...

Also, as you may or may not have noticed, the definition of the term "agnostic" comes into play quite often. Religious apologists try to sway atheists by suggesting that we are agnostics, not atheists. They fail to understand the meaning of the words, or they just don't care, because lying for their religion is OK.

Andreas said...

I have actually noticed quite recently some scientists, most notably Victor Stenger, claiming that we can conclude that some of the definitions of God do not exist. I.e. some definitions of God are falsifiable and have been falsified. Therefore it is possible to be a hard atheist as well as intellectually fulfilled. Or so it seems.
Though I don't claim either him nor me think we can know anything without doubt, simply that the subject of most personal interfering Gods can be discredited as certainly as we establish other scientific theories, such as General and Special Relativity and Evolution by Natural Selection.
And on that I would like to reference Stephen Colbert; "Agnosticism is just Atheism without the balls" though in my mind it is also the theism without the balls.

For more info regarding Stenger, go for "God: The Failed Hypothesis"

Anonymous said...

Then what? The simple atheists are not "intelligent atheists" as they do not make profession of "agnosticism"?
Words have usually two meanings,that usually don't coincide totally, the strict and the lato or ample. Beyond the strict etymological sense the term agnostic in ampler sense, has an emotional charge of denoting detachment, aloofness, coolness, lack of passion and partisanism in the context of religious or irreligious matters. Check Wikipedia which you yourself quoted about "agnostic atheism": "In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves there is a God, whereas an atheist disbelieves there is a God." So then, to denote oneself as "agnostic" implies in the common people the idea of lack of definition, the lack of firm and definite stance in the matter. What is more, many people that assume themselves as agnostics are usually either indiferentists or as "Charles" here, deists.
So, if "agnostic atheist" is a correct expression and precise and congruent in epistemological terms, in common language and life it gives the impression of a dettached, wishy-washy, lukewarm and not too convinced atheist.

Admin said...

Sorry, I'm using the strict definition, which is the part followed by the part of the quote you borrowed. It's also popular belief that "your" = "you're", but I'm not going to accept that either. Whether you "disbelieve" there are gods or you believe there are no gods, you are an atheist.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the point for me was not if "to disbelieve" and "not believe" are, as they are, equivalent expressions.
Personally I do and did understand that you are using the concept "agnostic" in its strict sense, but, from observation of years, when discussing matters of philosophy, theology, science in general, logic, psychology, etc., a lot of wasted time and energy, as well as long tirades, are behind the fact of not beginning by establishing the common meaning that the parties will accept for concepts used in that discussion; and then, as "propaganda" is used to publish some ideas or subjects and convince people of a defined point of view about those ideas and subjects, and the name of your blog is "Atheist Propaganda", I mentioned a possible drawback of using, without proper and explicit clarification, the term "agnostic" due to the common use of it in its ample and popular meaning, and the consequent possible confusions from it; I would guess that, at the very least, from every 5 persons that know the word "agnostic" four would say its meaning is "b. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism." So, I, personally, would not obfuscate my philosophical position, atheist, by adding the surname "agnostic", surname epistemologically correct and valid but, unless in the context of, precisely, an epistemological discussion, superfluous and then confusing for the majority of persons which would result in distracting the attention from the basic question: the essential differentiation between atheism and theism/deism.
Vale.

Andrew said...

I don't see how there is any confusion in what this article states. You have two different questions.

Do you KNOW there is/are god(s)?

Do you BELIEVE in god(s)?

One states absolute knowledge the other states belief without proof(faith or hope).

And am I the only one who can reasonably state that I am a gnostic atheist?

In a purely philosophical sense you could call ALL of reality into question. How do you know you're not a brain in a jar? That would mean the body you KNOW, the people you KNOW, the world you KNOW, etc doesn't exist. But it's generally irrational to think that would be true. I KNOW there is no god(s) in the same way I KNOW there are no unicorns/leprechauns. I KNOW there is no god(s) in the same way I KNOW the president isn't an alien from another planet that's come here to lull us into a false sense of security. You can be 100% certain that there is no god(s). The god of the gaps believe is just absurd. Why after thousands of years of disproving ALL other god(s)[Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian, etc. I mean at least they have humanistic qualities and are more reasonable] would you still think "I don't know so it must be god"?

Jim said...

You can't be an "atheist agnostic". The words are contradictory. In order to be one, you must not be another. To be agnostic means you must admit that there is a god who created the universe. I'll supply the definition.

Agnostic:
noun
1.
a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. Synonyms: disbeliever, nonbeliever, unbeliever; doubter, skeptic, secularist, empiricist; heathen, heretic, infidel, pagan.

How can you be an atheist and admit there is some sort of supernatural being who created the universe?

JackSainthill said...

The pedant might claim that agnosticism is the only truly rational standpoint because nobody can prove or disprove the existance of gods.
Although that is so, any person sufficiently strongly drawn towards atheism is sure entitled call him/herself an atheist.
How strongly drawn? Here's a test (which I hope you need never have to take take!): faced with a surgical operation - one which carries a substantial risk of leaving you either dead or severely incapacitated - would it even occur to you to offer a up prayer? If not then you, like me, are an atheist.
By the way, in my case I made it and I am fine!