Agnostic belief
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26-05-2011, 11:48 AM
RE: Agnostic belief
I have had this discussion many times before on other forums and with professors at the college I just graduated from. Here is what I've said, and perhaps I'm biased, but I like to think it doesn't get much simpler than this... Tongue

I think there are two important questions that can be asked in such conversations, and I think that there OUGHT to be two distinct answers to these questions:

1) Do you believe that God exists?
2) Do you claim to know or have the ability to know with any degree of certainty if there is/isn't a God?

I think that each person should answer each question individually and should consider/label themselves accordingly, and I think this is important because I believe there really are four different types of people.

1. Gnostic Atheist - Claims to know there is no god.
2. Agnostic Atheist - Lacks belief in god, but does not claim they know there is no god with anything resembling certainty.
3. Gnostic Theist - Claims to know there is a god.
4. Agnostic Theist - Believes in god, but does not claim they know god exists with anything resembling certainty.

I think the best way to get rid of the ambiguity is to label yourself as one of those four. I personally know people who claim to be all four of those things, and I think they really are four distinct categories, so to do away with confusion the most fruitful uses of the terms should be that atheism/theism is the belief or lack of believe in god, and agnosticism/gnosticism deals with claims to knowledge.

Also keep in mind that you can actually be different combination of those labels depending upon the God that is proposed. Different definitions of God require different and often distinct responses and positions. In terms of an all-knowing, all-powerful, and totally benevolent God, I consider myself pretty close to a gnostic atheist. In terms of some non-personal deist God that created the universe but doesn't care about us, I consider myself an agnostic atheist. If you want to define your God as the sun without adding any supernatural abilities or anthropomorphizing it in any way, I am a gnostic theist in regards to it's existence. I believe that particular "sun God" exists and am pretty sure that I 'know' it... Know what I mean?

Anyway, sup guys? This is my first post here! Cool
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26-05-2011, 01:08 PM
RE: Agnostic belief
You make a common error, agnosticism is only about knowledge and I accept that I will never know if God exists, but I do not believe.
This makes me an agnostic atheist.
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26-05-2011, 02:37 PM
RE: Agnostic belief
The point was brought up recently, and it's a good one, that on the Cartesian graph where atheist/theist is x-axis and gnostic/agnostic is y-axis, what does one call it when the value of x is 0?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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26-05-2011, 03:06 PM
RE: Agnostic belief
http://freethinker.co.uk/2009/09/25/8419/

There's something about the origin coordinate (0,0):

Quote:The absolute central position is one of apathy or indifference. An apatheist, perhaps. *

* Note: Such a person will act as if there are no gods, since they are utterly indifferent to the idea. For all intents and purposes, they are an atheist. This is a non-trivial point. Babies are born indifferent to the idea of gods – indeed – they cannot conceive it, and accordingly are atheists: they do not believe in gods because they can not.

The God excuse: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument. "God did it." Anything we can't describe must have come from God. - George Carlin

Whenever I'm asked "What if you're wrong?", I always show the asker this video: http://youtu.be/iClejS8vWjo Screw Pascal's wager.
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26-05-2011, 03:18 PM
RE: Agnostic belief
(26-05-2011 02:37 PM)Ghost Wrote:  The point was brought up recently, and it's a good one, that on the Cartesian graph where atheist/theist is x-axis and gnostic/agnostic is y-axis, what does one call it when the value of x is 0?

A Cartesian graph is a poor model for this. Both a/gnosticism and a/theism are binary. You are either one or the other.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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26-05-2011, 04:23 PM
RE: Agnostic belief
(26-05-2011 03:18 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(26-05-2011 02:37 PM)Ghost Wrote:  The point was brought up recently, and it's a good one, that on the Cartesian graph where atheist/theist is x-axis and gnostic/agnostic is y-axis, what does one call it when the value of x is 0?

A Cartesian graph is a poor model for this. Both a/gnosticism and a/theism are binary. You are either one or the other.

Exactly... A better model would be a 2x2 matrix.. The vast majority of people are somewhere in four categories that I listed above.
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26-05-2011, 05:25 PM
RE: Agnostic belief
http://www.religioustolerance.org/apatheism.htm

Quote:An associated term is Apathetic Agnosticism, a.k.a. Pragmatic Agnosticism. This is the view that millennia of debate has neither proven nor disproven the existence of a God or Gods. However, even if one or more deities exist, they do not appear to be concerned about the fate of humans. Thus, their existence has little impact on humanity and should be of little interest.

I find the apatheist/atheist analogy that I previously posted interesting. They aren't concerned or prefer not to care about the existence of gods, therefore they live their life without considering the topic of the existence of a god. Since they don't acknowledge the existence of a god out of indifference, they're atheists. Do those who consider themselves true agnostics follow this reasoning too? I haven't met many agnostics really, and the few I've met who call themselves agnostics usually lean a little bit towards atheism (agnostic atheists near the Y axis on the graph, or 5 on the Dawkins scale). Haven't met any like Ghost, who prefers a middle ground.

The God excuse: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument. "God did it." Anything we can't describe must have come from God. - George Carlin

Whenever I'm asked "What if you're wrong?", I always show the asker this video: http://youtu.be/iClejS8vWjo Screw Pascal's wager.
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26-05-2011, 05:29 PM
RE: Agnostic belief
(26-05-2011 05:25 PM)Efrx86 Wrote:  http://www.religioustolerance.org/apatheism.htm

Quote:An associated term is Apathetic Agnosticism, a.k.a. Pragmatic Agnosticism. This is the view that millennia of debate has neither proven nor disproven the existence of a God or Gods. However, even if one or more deities exist, they do not appear to be concerned about the fate of humans. Thus, their existence has little impact on humanity and should be of little interest.

I find the apatheist/atheist analogy that I previously posted interesting. They aren't concerned or prefer not to care about the existence of gods, therefore they live their life without considering the topic of the existence of a god. Since they don't acknowledge the existence of a god out of indifference, they're atheists. Do those who consider themselves true agnostics follow this reasoning too? I haven't met many agnostics really, and the few I've met who call themselves agnostics usually lean a little bit towards atheism (agnostic atheists near the Y axis on the graph, or 5 on the Dawkins scale). Haven't met any like Ghost, who prefers a middle ground.

I used to consider myself solely agnostic because I thought that it was on the same spectrum as atheism/theism. I thought theism was the belief in God, atheist was the belief that there is no god, and agnosticism is one who "doesn't know". It wasn't until I heard Matt Dillahunty from the atheist experience explain the terms that I realized I was both an atheist and an agnostic and that they are not mutually exclusive.

I would venture a guess and say that most people who call themselves agnostic are really atheists and simply don't fully understand the terminology. If you believe in God, you are a theist. ANYONE ELSE that doesn't fit into that category is an atheist.
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26-05-2011, 05:39 PM
 
RE: Agnostic belief
(26-05-2011 05:29 PM)MikeNH Wrote:  I would venture a guess and say that most people who call themselves agnostic are really atheists and simply don't fully understand the terminology. If you believe in God, you are a theist. ANYONE ELSE that doesn't fit into that category is an atheist.

Yes. I think the term A-theism itself has all the meaning. I always feel the true dichotomy is theism and non-theism. But, people somehow use the term Non-religious to represent non-theism. I still think A-theism is the best term to describe non-religious. Big Grin
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26-05-2011, 05:43 PM
 
RE: Agnostic belief
(22-05-2011 04:21 PM)Efrx86 Wrote:  That would make most of us 5 or 6 on the Dawkins scale, instead of 7's who are absolutely certain that there is no such thing as a god. There are a few 4's and 7's lurking around though. Anyways, welcome to TTA.

can't i be a 6.5???


if by some miracle with overwhelming evidence like that of a rock smacking me in the face claiming that there is a god, i will believe. however, something supernatural cannot make its way into the natural world without it no longer being supernatural. you cannot prove there's a deity. no one will ever be able to prove there is one. therefore i am a 6.5.


and you can think and be atheist without being agnostic.
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