I couldn’t get past two or three pages of responses to Danny’s Forum Topic “What if there is a god?” without encountering the great contradiction/misunderstanding I find in almost every discussion of this topic: agnosticism.
I maintain that there is no such thing as agnosticism.
The only reason this “concept”or “word” exists is the sloppy way we use our language.

Allow me to begin my argument with Wikipedia’s entry that someone quoted in Danny's forum:

"Atheism can be either the rejection of theism,[1] or the assertion that deities do not exist.[2] In the broadest sense, it is the absence of belief in the existence of deities.[3]

Even Wikipedia gets it wrong. Atheism is not...”the absence of belief...” It is the absence of FAITH.

Belief is not the same thing as faith. Theists and atheists share most (if not all) beliefs... like: the sun will “come up” in the morning, or, if you drop a brick, you move your toes. Those are beliefs that all humans share. Faith is not engaged to exercise a belief. Faith is a mechanism activated for those “things” for which there is no evidence.
You either have faith or you don’t. It’s like being pregnant, you’re either pregnant or not pregnant. You have faith or you don’t have faith. There is no middle ground. That is the essence of faith.
To say something like: “Well, I don’t know whether there is a god or not” is an admission of a lack of faith. If you possessed faith in the existence of a deity you would never say such a thing.
Statements like: “Well, I can’t say there is a god anymore than I can say there is no god” is meaningless.
God is an object of faith, and if you can’t say “I have faith in the existence of God” then you are an atheist, and A/N is the right site for you. If you say “I don’t know” then you are saying that you lack faith, and you are an atheist.
Atheism is an abandonment or lack of faith in the existence of a deity.
If you do not embrace “faith”, then you are an atheist, not an agnostic, and it leads me to the “belief” that there is no such thing as an agnostic.
You have faith or you don’t.
My suspicion is that self proclaimed “agnostics” are those who are reluctant to abandon faith itself, not just faith in a god.

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God is not an object of knowledge. God is an object of faith. Knowledge is irrelevant when it comes to objects of faith. If you "know" something then faith is not engaged.
You say: "Owing to a lack of knowledge on your part, you don't know if God exists." So if you admit this, then isn't this saying that you lack "faith" in the existence of god? And if you lack faith in the existence of god, then you are an atheist. That is the very definition of atheism.
When you talk about objects of faith you don't speak in terms of "knowledge" or "belief" you can only speak in terms of faith.
I agree, I don't know if god exists, I don't know if he doesn't exit.
I do know that I don't have faith in god's existence, and that makes me an atheist. not an agnostic.
"Absolute knowledge" has no role in the discussion about an object of faith.
I'm not being thoughtless here, I think I am being the opposite. And I'm not telling people they don't exist. I'm simply saying that agnosticism doesn't exist.
I don't know too many people who identify themselves in terms of what they don't have faith in. At least I don't, and I think I am typical of folks here on A/N. So I'm not depriving anybody of their identity.
But let's stick to the subject.
Do you, the Nerd, possess faith in the existence of god(s)?
Your answer defines you as a theist or an atheist. I'm not sure where else to go, unless you want to redefine atheism.
I agree with this POV, The Nerd. Neither do I believe in fairies, in chocolate teapots that orbit in space, in flying spaghetti monsters, nor in invisible pink unicorns etc. It's not because I don't have faith in these strange things; it's because I have no reason to believe in them. Same for "God".

I have no knowledge of "God". I cannot prove the non-existence of "God". I cannot prove the non-existence of any of those strange things I mentioned. I just don't have any good reason to believe.

When I say that I have no knowledge of "God" I mean that the non-existence of "God" is entirely compatible with the having no knowledge of "God". Having knowledge of “God” is impossible if there is no god. Thus on having knowledge of “God” I am agnostic. There can be no evidence for a universally non-existent thing. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence, but it's not proof.
I have always classified it as having strong unwavering belief that god dosen't exist, but I cannot prove it using material facts neither to myself or others so I consider myself agnostic but lean very close to the Atheist persuation.
Again, belief and faith are two different things, Craig.
I just burned my tongue... I believe my coffee is too hot to drink. I will wait a while for the coffee to cool, because I believe it will cool when allowed to sit in the atmosphere by itself. I don’t need to engage faith in this situation. Coffee too hot to drink is different from contemplating an object of faith of which there is no direct experience.
I’ve never been to Rochester, N.Y. but I believe it exists. I can find it on a map, its entry in the encyclopedia, I know people who have visited your home town. It would be silly for me to have to say something like: “I have faith in the existence of Rochester, N.Y.”
But “god(s)” is(are) different.
You have to engage the mechanism of faith to be a theist.
If you do not have faith in the existence of god then you are an atheist.
There is no fence to straddle, no direction to lean.
Duane Robertson writes:
***”The problem I have with your argument, Asa, is that you're taking a very narrow definition of the terms atheist, agnostic, faith, and belief.”

Yes Indeed, Duane, I am doing exactly that.
Don’t get me wrong, as I believe that for the purposes of everyday conversations, and general discussions, we all understand the meaning of others who say, for example, “I don’t believe in god”.

But this is not an ordinary discussion. This is a discussion about these very things, and unless we can all agree on the meaning of the terms we use, our exchanges become pointless, and our understanding of each other here ambiguous and difficult.

Language is useful only to the extent to which we can all agree on the meaning of the words we use.
I get the feeling that it is somehow bad to use the language precisely, to easily understand each other because we agree on what words mean.
That doesn’t mean I can’t agree to some new definition you might propose for any word, but I think that the definitions of those four words above are pretty easy to agree upon, and we should use them that way.
Except for, perhaps, agnostic, which is the subject here, and you should, by now, know my position on that.
***
Here’s your reference from Wikipedia:
Noun
agnostic (plural agnostics)
1. A person who holds to a form of agnosticism, especially uncertainty of the existence of a deity.
***
Well, I too am surely uncertain about the existence of a deity. But my uncertainty is irrelevant. Is god something you can even be certain or uncertain about?
What is relevant, when it comes to considering “god”, is faith, and I am certain that I don’t have faith in god’s existence.
That makes me an atheist.
I see your point, but I think you are being too dogmatic. You say "And if you lack faith in the existence of god, then you are an atheist. That is the very definition of atheism." I disagree, I would say that lack of faith is at least agnosticism, the ability to say "there is no god" is atheism.
When I as an atheist, say there is no god, can i absolutely prove it 100%? Of course not, just like I can't prove a sunrise will happen tomorrow, But I "know" it enough to call it a fact. Like Gould essentially said, even a fact can change at some point. So an agnostic simply is unwilling to say "there is no god", I am.
Check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_atheism
Let me add: It's like sexuality. Sexuality can be defined by 1) what you do 2) what you want to do, and 3) How you self-identify. So if a person is in prison and can only have homosexual sex but doesn't want to and doesn't self identify as homosexual, I have no problem with them saying they are straight. If someone has sex with bot genders but identifies as straight or homo, it's fine with me. These definitions aren't a science, it's whatever label people feel comfortable with (within reason, whatever that means).
Ronin wrote:
***”the ability to say "there is no god" is atheism.”
I am of the opinion that this is where some atheists cross the line and get into trouble.
Ronin, you can’t say "there is no god". You can’t know that, anymore than a theist can know “there is a god”. He can’t "know" that either. He can have faith in a god’s existence, but he can’t “know” a god exists, any more than you can "know" that a god doesn’t exist.
An object of faith is an object of faith because it is not knowable. Were it knowable, faith would not need engaging.
God is an object of faith. A theist employes faith in his relationship with this.....er....well.... God Almighty. You don’t. And perhaps you should hesitate to express such an equal faith in the opposite.
It gives theists the excuse to call atheism a religion.

***”When I as an atheist, say there is no god, can i absolutely prove it 100%? Of course not.”

Then you shouldn’t say it.


***”So an agnostic simply is unwilling to say "there is no god", I am.”

Surely you are not saying that those who identify themselves as agnostics are cowards?
Then again, that might explain an unwillingness to truly and completely abandon faith itself. Perhaps that is the common trait among agnostics. NAAaaaaa.

And, no, I don’t think it’s like sex, although, in both cases, you get it or you don’t.
And I’m not trying to label people, people here are quite clear about all that themselves. I’m trying to understand/clarify a label.

Thanks for the link. It was Great!!
VERY interesting. We can talk about that too.
It fits right in.
I think Atheist and Agnostic answer two different questions.
Do you believe in gods? No (then you're an Atheist).
Do you believe gods exist? I don't know (then you're an Agnostic.

Every rational Atheist is to some extent an Agnostic too. And every Agnostic is practically an Atheist.
"I am of the opinion that this is where some atheists cross the line and get into trouble.
Ronin, you can’t say "there is no god". You can’t know that, anymore than a theist can know “there is a god”. He can’t "know" that either."


Asa Watcher, if I may ask, what are you?

Your above statment is a classic for agnostics to start with. They start with a way for others to begin to question their own beliefs; it's a classic, oldest trick in the book.

And yet you believe: "I maintain that there is no such thing as agnosticism."

I am most likely the biggest disliker of agnostics here on Atheist Nexus. I am not going to hide that. As much as I dislike agnostics over the whole 'Belief in God' question, I must side with The Nerd. Agnostics are people, I just dislike their belief.

I can befriend anyone, just as long as they don't 'Convert' me.

Oh, and before you answer this post with your Belief, Faith mash-up; Atheism is the disbelief in 'Theism'. A-Theism, Anti-Theism. Faith is constructed by the Strong 'Theists' to control the weaker ones.

Just remember, It is foolish to believe that Fictional characters are real.

Viva Atheism.

"The World needs Religion as much as the Dead need Politics."--Andrew L.
***”Oh, and before you answer this post with your Belief, Faith mash-up; Atheism is the disbelief in 'Theism'. A-Theism, Anti-Theism. Faith”

Andrew;
I hold very strongly to my assertion that faith and belief are two different things. If we could get common acceptance of the difference, there would be virtually no arguments about the existence of god because it would be recognized that god is an object of “faith”, not of simple “belief” which can be affirmed or refuted by an increase of knowledge.

As far as the A in atheism, I’ve always understood it as simply being non something, like being amoral doesn't necessarily mean you are not moral or that you are anti moral.
Atheism is passive. It describes the lack of something (i.e. faith).
As I said in an earlier post, Atheists get into trouble when they begin to assert that as a matter of fact there is no god.
"As far as the A in atheism, I’ve always understood it as simply being non something, like being amoral doesn't necessarily mean you are not moral or that you are anti moral."

Atheism does not mean 'Amoral', in fact how did you assert that Atheism has anything to do with morality?

"If we could get common acceptance of the difference, there would be virtually no arguments about the existence of god because it would be recognized that god is an object of “faith”, not of simple “belief” which can be affirmed or refuted by an increase of knowledge."

Yes, as I stated earlier, 'Faith' is a construct of 'Theism'. Those strong in 'Theism' created 'Faith' to control the weaker of the pack. Are you a 'Theist' since you sing the praise of 'Faith'?
So, an increase of knowledge will blow all beliefs out of the water? I believe that socks will keep my feet warm. But if knowledge proves that there is a hole in my sock then, my earlier belief is thrown out the window, correct?
Do you have any belief's? Or are you just deeply 'faithful' to some common things?

"Atheism is passive. It describes the lack of something (i.e. faith).
As I said in an earlier post, Atheists get into trouble when they begin to assert that as a matter of fact there is no god."


Because, There is no God! Show me physical proof in the existence of God! And don't give me that 'Mumbo-Jumbo' crap about God is in everything. I believe that God does not exist, because God does not exist!! If God exists in everthing then God is in rape, war, murder, death, destruction, disease, dope, crack, weed, beer, etc, etc, etc.

You think Atheism is passive, then how about this: You, Asa Watcher, you are the sorriest excuse for an Atheist! You do not even rank near agnosticism! No, you are a 'Theist' in the guise of an agnostic, singing the praise of 'Faith'; a construct of 'Theism'! 'Faith' = 'Theism'. How's that? Is that 'Passive' enough for you?

Viva Atheism

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