Agnosticism is often used as a middle ground of sorts between theism and atheism. I think this is a misuse of the word -- regardless of Huxley's intentions when he coined it.
comes from the Greek "gnosis", meaning "knowledge". Why this is ever applied to belief
, I do not know.
comes from the Greek "theos", meaning "god". Literally, "atheos" means "godless".
In both situations, the a-
prefix, of course means "without". (i.e. "without knowledge", "without god")
Now, I contend that each word answers different questions. Some profess that an atheist says "I know there is no god.
" I argue that not all atheists will make this affirmative statement. Some will say, "I don't know if there is or isn't a god, but it just seems so improbable that I do not believe in one.
If you are going to say that atheists "knows there is no god", then you must be willing to state that theists "know there is a god". If one position implies knowledge, then so does the other -- they are essentially the same word
There are many terms that one can label their self. I consider myself an ignostic atheist
-- and now the fun begins.
The word "ignostic" gets us into the ideas behind theological noncognitivism
. In a nutshell, it is that to talk about the concept of "god" is nonsensical because the concept is so ill-defined. For example, a god with omnipotence and omniscience makes no sense in our world because of the conflicts -- so to speak of such a god makes no sense. I wouldn't say that I know
this god does not exist anymore than I would say that I know a 5-sided square does not exist. There's no need to make knowledge claims over that which cannot
That aside, agnosticism doesn't just have to apply to theistic belief.
In the realm of unicorns, I am a gnostic aunicornist.
In the realm of goblins, I am a gnostic agoblinist.
In the realm of E.T.s, I am an agnostic E.T.ist -- I do not know
, but I believe
I think it is important to draw a line between knowledge and belief. They are of different realms.
Things get really sticky when you consider that there are, indeed, gnostic atheists and gnostic theists. Both claim opposing knowledge. And now we shift into the realm of epistemology -- thus, I suppose the idea of [a]gnosticism is best looked at as "belief
Because of my ignosticism, I feel I can positively state that I have knowledge on god's non-existence.