Do you think this is a true statement? I had a religious person tell me I take an illogical position saying most atheists are agnostic because they are completely different things. I consider them closely linked. I can't by any evidence "disprove" Gods or anything else of the matter but until there's any kind of empirical evidence to support them I'm going to operate as if they don't exist. Isn't this how people behave in all other forms of human discourse? I mean people didn't believe in Pluto until the evidence was overwhelming. There's a difference in not believing in something and denying something could possibly exist for X reasons.
How do you feel about the topic?
I can't prove that anything doesn't exist - the universe is a big place. But I can say that I don't care about anything that might exist, particularly when it is noncommunicative and has shown no evidence that it exists throughout its multi-generational proposal, and when its supposed qualities defy all aspects of rationality and reason, and when the concept of it existing is demonstrated to be a political tool for controlling the way others think and act.
I see what you're saying thanks for clarifying things for me.
I think Future has rightly called it - atheist and agnostic are indeed two entirely different groups, but I personally believe that almost everyone - theists and non-theists alike - are agnostics, many of them without even realizing it.
It's true that it's impossible to disprove God, but likewise is it impossible to disprove Santa Claus, unicorns, spaghetti monsters, etc. I don't necessarily believe that absence of evidence is evidence of absence, however some ideas are much more worthwhile to consider than others. Extraordinary claims such as those of a monotheist God much be matched by astounding evidence, of which there is effectively none. Thus, while I myself am agnostic, I'm supremely confident that no such deity exists.
My, how we make this so complicated.
“Belief” and “faith” are two different things.
The world of “proof”, of evidence, experience, logic, science, empiricism, rationality and “knowing” is the world of belief.
Religion is the world of faith.
These are two different worlds.
If an atheist is someone who does not posses faith in the existence of a god (unless you have a better definition of an atheist, as god is an object of faith) then any considerations of evidence or proof or arguments about rationality or logic in reference to the existence of a god, are just simply folly.
If your attitude is “I don’t ‘believe’ in god because there is no evidence of god’s existence, but that doesn’t mean I can prove there isn’t a god”, then you can continue to go through life simi-dazed and confused.
There is no such thing as an agnostic.
Even if you say “I don’t know if there is a god or not”, then you are an atheist, because you have just admitted that you don’t posses faith in the existence of a god, and god is an object of faith, not knowledge, not evidence, not proof, but faith.
You possess faith or you don’t
You are a theist or an atheist.
There is no middle ground.
Very interesting this actually makes a lot of sense to me and makes me see things in a new light so to speak. Thanks for answering!
Good for you, Tyler.
So many resist the idea of the simplicity of atheism . . . which, at one time, I sorta humorously called the “zen of atheism”. But the more I contemplated it, I realized that there is a step beyond atheism to which I have given the name “deep atheism”.
There are obviously those who understand themselves well enough to admit to not having faith in the existence of a god, yet are reluctant to release themselves to the abandonment of faith altogether. That is why such ideas as agnosticism have evolved. And, although I am too lazy to go back and research the idea within the context of western philosophical thought (I’ll leave that to younger, more energetic people like you), I am of the notion that agnosticism is a logical consequence of the more analytical approach to life that is our heritage as inheritors of western civilization and its philosophical “structure” (stricture?).
Regardless, I think that this is where eastern and western “thought” will be found to come together, once the occidental world can slough-off the shell of all that “god thinking”, and, then, in time, the malignancy of faith with which “god thinking” has infected western civilization.
It is, at least for the time being, very encouraging to find such a number of people who have chosen to, at least, free themselves from “god thought”.
Now, to go just a bit deeper . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A few clarifications should be made to these terms. Agnostic is a bit squishy and needs to have some hard edges put on it. Some divide agnosticism into weak and hard agnosticism much like we divide weak and hard atheism. Basically, a weak agnostic says "I don't know" where as a hard agnostic says "no one can know, it is unknowable." I personally, posit that the first makes no sense. By these definitions, I am a weak agnostic regarding the name of the manager at the closest supermarket to my home... and yet I am most certainly of the opinion that this person's name could be known. Does it make sense to say I'm an agnostic in regard to this person's name? Heck no, it becomes such an ambiguous term that it loses it's descriptive ability.
The interaction between Agnosticism and Atheism is further complicated by the fact that we may believe that some gods are knowable while others are not. For instance, I consider myself an Agnostic Atheist in regards to the vague non-specific Deistic interpretations of god. That is, I recognize that a god concept which is immune to logic and outside the reach of human knowledge is, possibly by design, unknowable. I also lack belief in said god(s). However, once a god takes even one step outside of the cave of ephemeral vagary, they step into the realm of the knowable. If I believe a god is knowable, then I am a Gnostic in regards to that god. I also lack a belief in all gods and therefore am a Gnostic Atheist towards these specific gods.
Even more complicated is the fact that I could claim that a god is both knowable, and that I lack a belief in that god, while still not claiming to know that god does not exist. This is because not believing a god exists is different from believing a god does not exist. Linguistically, the difference is subtle. Philosophically, the difference is huge.
For the record, most gods are knowable. The Christian god for instance, is knowable. It is special pleading to claim that a god is both knowable and unknowable. If someone claims to know god, then that means that the god of their claim is knowable and we can not only determine whether or not that god exists, but also qualities possessed by said god. If we cannot determine whether or not a god exists, nor any of it's qualities, then that god is unknowable. If someone claims to know the unknowable, then their are making stuff up. Simple as that.
As far as Agnostic Theists go, I live with one. I've got a very diverse household. I'm an Atheist, then there is a Pagan Atheist (spiritual, no gods), a Pagan Pantheist (all gods), and an Agnostic Deist (squishy god). I can certainly appreciate the complexity of these issues. Not everything is as cut and dry as some would have us believe.
Concerning the issue of lack of proof for any number of things posited:
I can posit anything. Literally.
There is a universe where gravity is reversed (it repels).
There is a teapot around Mars.
The Easter Bunny is real.
Positing something exists is not the same as proving it exists. Since the burden of proof is on the claimant, until you show there is an Easter Bunny, or a teapot around Mars, they don't exist.
(In truth they might, but there is no difference in the assumption of non-existence without proof and actual non-existence. Until you show me that teapot, I am not agnostic about it: I know it doesn't exist. It has existence when it is shown to be true.)
One might argue about semantics (is there a sound of a tree falling if no one can hear it) but the fact of the matter is: it doesn't matter. If it has no effect in any measurable way, it doesn't exist, at least until we come up with a way to measure it.
Radio waves existed before the invention of radio. But because we had no way to measure or manipulate them, for all practical purposes, they did not exist. There is no difference in radio waves having no effect and no radio waves, other than semantics. I believe in simplicity.
As for gods, they have no effect in any measurable way. Thus they do not exist, at least in any way we can determine. There is nothing agnostic about that.
On the other hand, if someone comes up with a proof for one or more gods, they cease being a matter of faith and become science. So either religion is irrelevant, or false. There is no other ground.
I like the chart though, may I hijack it?
If you're referring to the one posted above, feel free - I copied from somewhere in this site anyways.
Yes that's right.
In fact, gods are creations of the human mind.
The god called Nonotatall which I invented a minute ago is a fiction because I know I made it up.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster is another fiction created a couple of decades ago.
The gods of the Greeks and Romans are additional gods among the many millions invented in the past.
The abrahamic god is only another fiction to which christians, muslims, mormons and many other shallow thinkers have attached themselves.
Gods are created in human brains. Many atheists recognise it this way, and for them that is the end of the matter. No philosophy deeper than that is needed, no fine definitions of what specific words mean, or might mean.
It is those who know little---those who run from the problem that they regard as being the unsolved mysteries of "Origins"---who satisfy themselves by either inventing a new god or attaching themselves to someone else's fiction so that they can claim, regarding "Origins", that GODDIDIT.