Here's my take on it.
Agnosticism is illogical and refutes itself. Agnosticism and agnostics characterize God as unknowable, ineffable, incomprehensible to all attempts to understand him. This doctrine is self-refuting. The agnostic is making a knowledge claim about what he/she claims is unknowable. How do agnostics know that God is unknowable if he is unknowable ? How do they even know that God's existence cannot be disproved if God is unknowable, or that God even exists if he is unknowable ? To claim any attribute for God is knowledge and claims to know this unknowable God possesses certain attributes. That's a logical contradiction, and any being containing two incompatible attributes cannot possibly exist. So one need not resort to agnosticism. He/she would be justified in not believing in that God if the concept of it contradicts itself in any way. One is justified in accepting and adopting the atheist position.
I find positive atheism as arrogant as theism.
This is the language of theists. Please understand that an atheists has many rational reasons for his non-belief and it is not arrogance to state them firmly. An atheist does not shy away from taking a firm decision after he has gathered enough knowledge and and has used as much rational logic as is needed.
That makes sense Vash. I don't know about the all getting along much better. Maybe about some things. I still think religious beliefs are absurd and are the cause of horrible atrocities.
Everything you say is fine Vash, but how do you know that a non-existent thing does not exist? When an atheist says that I believe that god does not exists, it has a foundation of knowledge too. He does not indulge in imagination as the theists do.
Atheism is not a belief system. Atheism does not claim belief in the non-existence of God. Atheism simply lacks implicitly or explicitly any metaphysical theistic beliefs. I don't possess the belief that no God exists. I simply do not believe in the existence of God. That amounts to lack of belief. Maybe I seem arrogant but I am a critical atheist, and I believe, within limits, a gnostic atheist also. I have researched the matter enough with what science currently knows to come to the self-determined conclusion that I know there is no God, given what we know at this time.
Please forgive me for everything I have said.
I would rather stick to something I learned long ago.
There is no way to argue with a Gnostic.
Jaime Leyton, I am curious about why you write, "Please forgive me for everything I have said." I went back and read everything you wrote and I see nothing for which to be forgiven. We, each one of us, work to understand what we believe and make attempts to put our thoughts into words for others to read. The point is not to get everyone agreeing on everything; it is to express your best understaing as you think right now. You may change your thinking, many of us have made new decisions and do so with gratitude. I surely hope you do not parrot what others say.
I agree, there is no way to argue with a Gnostic. And why would one want to in the first place? At least from my perspective, I have no interest in changing anyone else's mind, I just want to speak my truth, especially in those occasions where others seem to know what is best for me. I express myself as clearly as I can and what is, is.
Dear Joan, the use of “please forgive me” was an ironic way of saying “please forget...”
I do sustain everything I wrote, but once Anthony declare himself as “gnostic" I just lost any drive for arguing with him. It will make as much sense as arguing with a fundamentalist.
Calm down. I don't think you fully understand the use of the word 'gnostic' here. It doesn't refer to absolute knowledge about the existence of God, which obviously no one has and no one here is stupid enough to claim it. 'Gnostic' here simply refers to the position where one doesn't think that the God question is fundamentally unanswerable (which is what agnostic atheists claim).
We're gnostic about the majority of questions in our life, since we recognize that most questions are at least potentially answerable with sufficient research and inquiry. That's all gnostic means.
It certainly doesn't merit any comparison to a fundamentalist. If you think it does, then you probably need to adjust your definition of gnostic to the one that everyone else is using.
You are completely right!
Looking for agnostic definition here is what I found at www.thefreedictionary.com:
1. a. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
b. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
In my view, that second meaning (b) is just a piece of crab.
What I do understand as agnostic is the concept developed through Hume=>Kant=>Huxley, which, as I state earlier, deals with knowledge and certainty. A concept that does not deals with belief.
That’s why I am able to declare my self an agnostic and a strong atheist.
On the other hand, if what you all mean when using the term agnostic is definition b or anything close to it, I must say I agree with almost everything I have read here.
On the other hand, if what you all mean when using the term agnostic is definition b or anything close to it
Given the context I assume you meant to say 'definition a' there, which is indeed roughly the one most people here are using for agnosticism. Definition b is clearly sloppy and a non-technical version, but hey, some people use it and so the dictionary has to put it in there :)
In technical discussion, something close to definition a is what we tend to use.
The reason that definition is favored (at least in academic circles) is illustrated by your previous post. If we were to define gnosticism as being 100% absolutely certain -about God, in this case- and agnosticism as everything else, well then no-one with more than two brain cells to rub together would identify themselves as a gnostic, since claiming 100% certainty about such a question is just stupid.
And in practice, not even the most strident atheist on the planet would claim 100% certainty (except perhaps some really uneducated ones) and declare himself a gnostic. Which means everyone is an agnostic. Which means the term is pretty much useless when used that way :)
Agnosticism by definition a, on the other hand, has some potential to distinguish groups of people. Some people think that the God question to is fundamentally impossible to answer. Others -like me- disagree. So there's a distinction of agnostics vs gnostics that actually tracks some different populations of people, rather than a distinction that really doesn't apply to everyone :)
From my experience, there is no point in arguing with anyone. The only thing that works for me is to tell my truth, as clearly and precisely as I can and pay attention to feedback.
When I first began on this site I took the stand of a scientist who has to have evidence in order to make a claim, I thought lack of evidence was enough to claim agnosticism. I have come to understand that lack of evidence is evidence. Until and unless I have evidence to the contrary, I understand there is no god.
It helps to have been with people who were devout animists, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus in Indonesia, Theravada or Hinayana Buddhism in Thailand, shaman in Native American tribes, whirling dervishes in Turkey, Celtics in Ireland, Roman Catholics, Mennonites and Mormons in Mexico. I could see the differences in these cultures that based their world views on attitudes, beliefs, customs, traditions and values taught from generation to generation, or by intrusions of dominating religions on weaker peoples.
I witnessed the use of fear and hope in transmission of these different belief systems and frankly found that quite insulting to human intelligence. I came away from my travels with skepticism about all religions. Which one is correct? Are they all corrupted by human greed and desire for control and power? My answer is a profound yes! Listening to men and women of all persuasions convinced me that people take leadership roles in these institutions as a way to be one up on another. I see little altruism or at least a perverted altruism that claims to help the poor and sick, and disenfranchised while gaining glory for giving crumbs and clothes to the supplicants instead of unbinding their minds into thinking for themselves.
I, myself, and the atheists I know make no claim to knowledge of the non-existence of any sort of God. We simply say "I don't believe it, because there is no proof for it". We apply this reason to every other part of our lives, why not this too?
If any sort of God manifested itself as real, in a real, tangible, clear and direct way, I would no longer say "I do not believe in God", because I would know that it is real. I still would not worship this God, but I could no longer doubt it's existence.
Until such a thing happens, all of this is merely opinion. No one can claim "knowledge" of anything that they cannot prove exists. Therefore the most logical position for a skeptic is that of the Agnostic Atheist who says "I do not know if there is a God, but I do not believe in one".
Atheists and Theists alike indulge the imagination equally, it is simply in different areas. Atheists tend not to let our imaginations rule our lives, that's all.
That in no way means that Atheists are automatically smarter, more rational or even more realistic than Theists. I know several Atheists who do not believe in God, but believe in UFOs, and one who believes firmly in Bigfoot. Being an Atheist doesn't make you reasonable about anything other than your belief in God.