Atheist or Agnostic?


a·the·ist - a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.

 

 

ag·nos·tic - a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

 

 

Atheism answers the question, “Do you believe God or gods exist?”

 

The evidence for the existence of all 4000 of the gods and goddesses people have worshipped from the beginning of recorded time is identical:

 

  • Personal, spiritual experiences that have lead to an intuitive sense or "gut feeling" that the god/s or goddess/es in question are real
  • The fact that so many other people within a given culture, especially respected people in positions of authority (parents, ministers, educators, political officials), share belief in said god/s or goddess/es.
  • Stories passed on through the spoken or written word supporting the existence of the god/s or goddess/es in question.

 

Since Christian God, Muslim God, the Greek gods, the Roman gods, the Nordic gods, the gods from shamanistic cultures, and so on are all validated subjectively, they each have an equal likelihood of existing.

 

One could easily make up stories of a newly invented god and convince others to believe them. And, this would result in the same spiritual “feelings” that validate the existence of established gods (think Scientology or Moonies). Therefore, any absurdity conjured up by the human mind has the same likelihood of existing as any of the other 4000 gods and goddesses worshipped by humans.

 

So, based on the unimaginably low probability that established or newly invented gods are real, the atheist makes the claim, “I don’t believe god/s or goddess/es exist.”

 

Agnosticism answers a different question, “Can we know if God or gods exist?”

 

In a universe of infinite time and space, anything is possible. We truly cannot know for certain that god/s or godess/es do not exist. We cannot know for certain that fairies, smurfs, and leprechauns do not exist. It is possible that invisible horses with Snoopy heads exist in a place called Woowoo. The probability that this scenario is true is astronomically low. However, it is the exact same likelihood that Thor and Odin exist in a place called Valhalla or that the Christian and Muslim gods exist in a place called Heaven.

 

So, the agnostic states that he/she cannot know if god/s or goddess/es exist. And, the atheist states that, based on probability, he/she does not believe god/s or goddess/es exist.

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Comment by Edward Teach on January 17, 2014 at 7:31am

@ Dennis: That is why I like the term "skeptic." The "go to" position should always be disbelief until evidence demonstrates otherwise.

Comment by Edward Teach on January 17, 2014 at 7:29am

@ R: Yeah, I think many folks who identify with agnosticism are really fence sitters who somehow think that "god" and "no god" are equally likely outcomes. In fact, the likelihood of there being a god is astronomically small, while the likelihood of "no god" is astronomically high.

Comment by Michael Penn on January 16, 2014 at 4:44pm

I agree with Spud because there is absolutely no evidence! What that means (for those who do not know) is that there is no evidence for anything supernatural, period. This goes deeper than god beliefs. It means that your dead relative is NOT trying to get in touch with you. Why? Maybe because they are dead! Absolutely nothing and nobody is "hanging around" but some yo yo's want to believe differently. They need to study a bit more. Bottom line here -- show me the evidence. No evidence = no proof!

Comment by Vasanth Ra on January 16, 2014 at 4:02pm

I was once an agnostic but now I feel that agnosticism is a lazy man's shelter.I'm an Atheist and an agnostic atheist at that.My position is not based on absence of evidence but on evidence of almost an absence of a deity.

Comment by Edward Teach on January 16, 2014 at 1:21pm

Totally with ya, Spud. I like the term Skeptic, but that one still confuses people.

Comment by Idaho Spud on January 16, 2014 at 10:22am

Atheist here, but prefer the term scientist.  The chance of god existing is so close to zero that I'm tired of discussing it.

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