Ive noticed quite a few agnostics becoming quite vocal and opinionated recently with statements like "I dont know...and neither do you!". To me, agnosticism is exactly like any religion, twisting and rationalizing excuses for religion to be a viable alternative to reason, albeit with agnosticism a "live and let live" seems to more be the idea. What really gets me, though is that insipid argument in which they state that atheism requires as much faith as religion, and that Agnosticism is the only non-faith movement. Its BULLSHIT, of course. We are all atheists about the flying spaghetti monster and a celestial teapot, and yet we do not have "Faith" those things do not exist. Faith is a positive action where you believe in something that clearly does not exist. (the more clear it is that something exists, the less faith is required)

Anyway, I am as passionately anti agnostic as I am anti theist, because I see agnosticism as a gateway drug to religious delusion, and it only aids religion by turning a blind eye to it.

Thoughts? Am I alone in this? Should we ridicule agnostics on A/N until they leave or change their minds?

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This debate has arisen many times, so here's a collection of what I've said before.
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(JBH) For myself, I like the position once presented in American Atheist magazine, I forget by whom: "atheism" is about what you believe, "agnosticism" is about what you claim to know. Thus there are four possible cases. You can be a gnostic theist, claiming to know that there is a god; you can be an agnostic theist, not claiming to know but believing anyway (this position is also called "fideism"); you can be a gnostic atheist, claiming to know that there is no god (for example, by claiming that all concepts of god so far offered are self-contradictory or incoherent); or you can be an agnostic atheist, not claiming to know but disbelieving (perhaps judging that the stories of gods are highly implausible, highly unlikely to be true).

Since many gods, and many different concepts of god, have been offered, the writer proposed that we should be "gnostic atheists" for all testable gods and "agnostic atheists" for all untestable gods.

We could claim to know the non-existence of Demeter and Neptune, since they were supposed to live in a palace on top of Mt. Olympus, and we can check that. But if someone speaks of the Ground of Being, or similar vague and untestable concepts, we remain agnostic but choose to pay it no mind until some evidence is offered.

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To the question "Do you believe in God?" we should reply "Please define your terms... what do you mean by this 'God'? Is your 'god' detectable or testable in any way?" If it is not, we do not claim to know it does not exist, merely that we see no reason to think that it does, and no reason to care.

More important IMHO is the rejection of all claims of "divine revelation" delivered by human beings. This is what was important about Deism, historically. It effectively denied that any human being could speak or act with divine authority, thus denying any moral authority (denying any grounds for temporal authority) for monarchs and organized clergy. This denial is the essential precondition for religious liberty and democratic forms of government.

So, technically, the important rejection, the historically revolutionary rejection, was not of "god" but of "revelation", it was done not by atheists but by freethinkers.

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It pains me to see this debate going on. I suppose it will always return after some interval, like bad weather.

"Holier than thou" is a game that many people play, in many different ways. "More atheist than thou" is a strange way to play it, but some people do. IMHO, I don't think it is helpful.

Nonbelievers have called themselves by many different names- nullifidian, ignostic, rationalist, igtheist, as well as the more common atheist, agnostic, humanist, infidel, whatever.

They are all trying to make fine distinctions, that seem important to them for some reason.

"Theism" and "atheism" are matters of what you believe. "Gnostic" and "agnostic" are matters of what you claim to know. This is a real distinction. Most agnostics are either atheists or "functional atheists". But a few are fideists: "reliance on faith rather than reason in pursuit of religious truth." They acknowledge that there is no proof, perhaps they even acknowledge that there is no evidence, but they believe it anyway.

"Knowledge" and "belief" are not the same things. And what qualifies as "knowledge" is not a simple question. Does "knowledge" imply certainty? Does it imply truth? If you counted yourself as knowing what herbs were good for what ailments, and later found that you were mistaken, does this mean that you really didn't have knowledge, you just believed that you had knowledge? How do you know if you really know or not?

If "knowledge" is taken to imply certainty, then I would count myself as an agnostic on almost all subjects. I don't claim to know things, I take working hypotheses. But in ordinary conversation I call myself an atheist, because I'm pretty damn confident that gods are fictional. It is only when someone tries to play philosophy with me that I take the agnostic position.
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Bottom line: Atheists and agnostics (and infidels and nullifidians and skeptics etc) should be friends. Sniping at each other wastes our time and weakens our influence. The enemy is the folks who believe in some dogma or other, who apply dogma-based ethics and politics to the world.
Sniping? Who's sniping? I am being critical of an idea. Isn't that the definition of critical thinking and skepticism? Wouldn't a "snipe" be defined as an unjustified personal attack?

I have posited that agnosticism weakens our influence because it lends passive creedence to religion, and is likely why religion remains so powerful in society. Few if any people are really influenced by fundamentalists, but passive, lazy thinking is what keeps many of us subject to them.

My point is, one can run around in circles with various definitions and conundrums, or one can take a stand and make a decision. What is the conclusion of agnosticism? What is the action one takes regarding the ongoing damage caused by mass religious delusion? "I dont know" ?
"Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable." - wikipedia definition

I guess its the "amount of doubt" that we are getting at here. The statement "I don't know and you don't either" can give a free pass to religion if it is followed by "...so leave the pastors alone because you are in no position to criticize".

However, if a person calls themselves agnostic but holds that the existence of god(s) is as unlikely as the existence of huge invisible space barnacles, then I would call them an atheist.
Believing is the root of the problem. The doing is the inevitable result of the belief.

If a given number of people strongly believe that all Jews are evil, then that belief is what needs to be fought with education and debate, to win them over. People who are nonchalant about that belief enable its continued existence. As belief goes, so does action.
Having come from an evangelical Christian background--I even attended a Bible college with the intention of becoming a minister--my path from "belief" to "nonbelief" was a slow and meandering process, but always driven by 'truth' wherever it might lead, like it or not.

When I was 24, after several years of reading, study, and research I was able to separate myself from the Judeo-Christian tradition, although still considered myself 'spiritual' and a kind of theist. For another ten years I worked my way through eastern philosophies and religions, before settling on a mishmash of Taoism and Zen.

By the time I was 40, this too fell by the wayside, and I began to call and consider myself an 'agnostic' as I was still conceding to the use of labels and therefore empowering language to contain more magnitude than the phyisical act of living in a natural universe. For another 10 years I used the term 'agnostic' to describe myself, since I didn't really know whether or not there was a god or ever had been a god, although also held that any description of 'god' or the 'character/characteristics of god' or the 'will of god' was a manmade invention and pure bullshit. I held on to this position with a genuine desire to be truthful with myself, for the truth of the matter was I really believed I didn't know, not realizing that my 'agnosticism' was based more on a 'language game' and less on a 'belief game'.

By the time I turned 50, my agnosticism had evolved into ignosticism as I embraced theological noncognitivism and a very nebulous post-structuralism. It wasn't until I wrote about Language & The Real World that I could finally call myself an 'atheist' and 'out' myself and be done with it.

So, what does all this mean? It means that for many people--myself included--the path of 'nontheism' is a process, not composed in clear-cut choices of either/or or strictly black-and-white, but in an array of multitudinous shades of gray. Until one is able to take on their own 'incredulity to metanarratives' (as Jean-François Lyotard would say), then 'words' and 'labels' are still a concern and point of contention.

For myself, reality exists--as it has always existed--in the absence of words. Silence is golden, but getting there is not only half the battle, but all the battle, since the words we use and the inferences we make are an abstraction and an artifice. Something of a Liar's Paradox, is it not? Put 'paradox' too is only a word.
For the record, I agree and disagree.

Under the modern understanding of the word, agnostic means you don't know. And I agree that most people call themselves this to avoid making that hard decision about god(s).

The original definition of an agnostic was someone who thought it was impossible to know. Under this definition, I am an agnostic. It is impossible for us to know with 100% certainty if some being exists outside of time and space. That said, I am also an atheist because it is defined as someone who is "without god(s)." I don't believe any god(s) exist, and won't until (if ever) any actual verifiable and falsifiable evidence is presented of their existence. I won't hold my breath.

Also for the record, agnostics under any definition are welcome on Nexus. Our only requirement is to be a nontheist. This covers us all under whatever definition or titles we choose. It will be by communication with each other that we are educated about such things.
Have a Socrates t-shirt:

Thank you Dr. F. You're shirt says it all.
With all the endless repetition of these threads, no one intends that agnostics aren't welcome. They're just indistinguishable from theists when they try to shoot atheists down using the Ray Comfort routine.
"no one intends that agnostics aren't welcome" Agnostic atheists you mean? There are millions of agnostic theists, I suspect that is what fills 75% of the church halls every Sunday.
and the skys have parted!
I had thought that at first too, but according to wikipedia:
"Agnostic (Greek: ἀ- a-, without + γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) was used by Thomas Henry Huxley in a speech at a meeting of the Metaphysical Society in 1876[7] to describe his philosophy which rejects all claims of spiritual or mystical knowledge. Early Christian church leaders used the Greek word gnosis (knowledge) to describe "spiritual knowledge." Agnosticism is not to be confused with religious views opposing the ancient religious movement of Gnosticism in particular; Huxley used the term in a broader, more abstract sense.[8] Huxley identified agnosticism not as a creed but rather as a method of skeptical, evidence-based inquiry.[9][10]"

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