Atheism, Theism and Agnosticism

Discussion in 'Religious Issues' started by hooligan74, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. It seems to me that there is a fairly pervasive misunderstanding of these terms within our society. Here they are as I understand them to be:

    Theism: A belief in a god or gods.

    Atheism: A lack of belief in a god or gods.

    Agnosticism: A lack of certain knowledge regarding the existence of a god or gods - or, in some cases, the belief that knowledge of the existence of a god or gods is unattainable.

    If the above definitions are accurate, then one cannot simply describe themselves at "agnostic", they are either agnostic theists or agnostic atheists.

    What say you?

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  3. First, anyone that hasn't seen it should look at
    Why is it so hard to admit Atheism is a Religion?

    2300 posts and never agreed upon.


    CD, someone that has never heard of any god and never heard of any religion, are they...

    I would very much apreciate a yes or no for each of the four.

  4. Guess that makes me an Agnostic Atheist.
  5. I don't believe in Athiests
  6. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot

    Nope, not gonna do it...

    :shame: :miff:
  7. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member


    I have often said the same about theists.

    Based on logic and observing alleged theists, I don't believe anybody really believes in god/gods. Among other reasons - First, they seem to have an unsually hard time following simple moral rules that an atheist like me has no problem with - making me very skeptical of how strong their belief in the threat/reward of religion is. Second, they are very, almost hysterically, afraid of letting in any knowledge that could shake their beliefs and are very strict about avoiding contact with evidence or argument that undermines their beliefs. Even those willing to argue, in this forum, are often angry about atheist input.

    It's the conduct of people who want to believe, not people who do believe.
    #6 Bren, Jan 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013

  8. You and me both, Glock36. I lack a belief in any gods, but I don't claim to *know* that no gods exist. I don't ascribe to the belief that God/gods are not knowable, however.
    #7 hooligan74, Jan 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013

  9. Ah, thanks! I didn't know there was a genesis (sorry for the religious pun) for this debate - I picked up on it from some of CavDoc's posts in the political forum.

    So, it would appear that CD has cemented the fact that he is agnostic, but seems reluctant to answer whether he is an agnostic atheist or agnostic theist.

    He further appears to have the mistaken notion that atheism requires an absolute belief of the lack of gods, versus a lack of belief that gods exist. I'll admit it is a nuanced difference, but an important one, IMO.
  10. I's jus funnin
  11. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot

    In the hopes that some useful discussion can actually come out of this thread (unlikely), I do have a question/problem with the graph. I like the idea overall, but there is a coordinate on this chart that doesn't make sense. Imagine an individual that is 100% on the y-axis (completely gnostic), but also located at exactly zero on the x-axis (midway between theist and atheist). What would that person be 100% certain of exactly?
    #10 Geko45, Jan 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  12. I can't see the graph (blocked by USAF firewall), but it sounds like they would be 100% certain that they don't know if they believe in gods or not? :supergrin: :rofl:
  13. You're right. Atheists and agnostics are different degrees of the same thing. Knowledgeable atheists don't say there is no God because that is a logically indefensible as saying there is a God. The only logical position for an atheist to take is there is probably no God. This is where the theists get tripped up. They can't say there probably is a God because that implies a lack of faith.

  14. Nope, you can be an agnostic theist. You *believe* there is a god/gods, but admit that you don't *know* there is a god/gods. Boom. Agnostic theist.

    There are definitely theists and atheists that both claim they *know* that god/gods do/do not exist. Those would be gnostic theists or gnostic atheists.
    #13 hooligan74, Jan 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013

  15. On this topic, however, you have just illustrated how being gnostic or agnostic doesn't paint the whole picture (I assume that's what you were saying in the above post).

    You have to be gnostic/agnostic about *something*. You can't simply say "I'm agnostic" as that means nothing without further context.

    I'm looking at you Cavalry Doc....
    #14 hooligan74, Jan 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  16. You can't know there is no God so the distinction is a matter of semantics. They're the same thing.
  17. Does claiming to know, or thinking you know, count as being gnostic?
  18. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot

    I would think so. You don't have to be right in order to hold an opinion. Plus, the whole point of this sort of graph is that everything is a matter of degree. No one is perfectly gnostic on either side of the debate. The most devout theist would still have a small amount of doubt as they are still only human. I myself could arguably be the most gnostic atheist here as I think the non-existence of any deity can be known with as much certainty as anything can be known (ie 99.999% certain) allowing only for the same probability that I would assign to santa clause or the easter bunny.
  19. If atheism is a religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby.
  20. There is a God.
  21. You're right. It's me. I'm God.

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