Atheist: I'm an atheist.

Closeted Atheist: Oh, well, I think you're going a bit too far. I mean, you can't conclusively prove that gods don't exist.

Atheist: So, you are a theist?

Closeted Atheist: Of course not! I'm agnostic; I don't claim that gods don't exist because that's a non-falsifiable claim. It's not possible to prove a negative.

Atheist: I agree and take the same position. So, why do you call yourself agnostic but not an atheist?

Closeted Atheist: Agnostic refers to a lack of certitude with regard to some question. It means, "without knowledge."

Atheist: So, your agnosticism addresses the question of knowledge: you don't know whether gods exist. Is that correct?

Closeted Atheist: Yes. What's your point?

Atheist: Well, I don't know whether gods exist either.

Closeted Atheist: There. That settles it. You really should be calling yourself an agnostic instead of an atheist.

Atheist: Oh, but I do call myself an agnostic.

Closeted Atheist: Didn't you say you were an atheist?

Atheist: I didn't realize the two distinctions were mutually exclusive.

Closeted Atheist: What do you mean?

Atheist: Well, we already established that our agnosticism addresses the question of knowledge. But what about belief? Does agnosticism really say anything about what one believes?

Closeted Atheist: Of course it does! An agnostic person does not believe one way or the other!

Atheist: I thought you said an agnostic person does not know one way or the other.

Closeted Atheist: It's the same thing!

Atheist: Really? Interesting! Does a theist know that gods exist?

Closeted Atheist: I suppose not...

Atheist: So a theist is really just agnostic--someone who doesn't know one way or the other!

Closeted Atheist: But a theist believes that gods exist!

Atheist: And yet the theist does not know that gods exist. So what distinguishes you from the theist? Do you share the belief of the theist as well as his/her ignorance?

Closeted Atheist: Of course not! I'm not a theist, I'm an...

Atheist: Atheist--without belief in gods--"not a theist." Am I right?

Closeted Atheist: Oh, I suppose you are. I never thought of it that way. I'm an a-theist...huh, sounds terrible.

Atheist: That's okay, you'll get over the taboo.

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Comment by James Smith on September 6, 2012 at 6:47am
As I have often said, "Belief and faith are the same things. They are accepting as true something for which there is no supporting evidence and possibly even much evidence against it." Does that sound like a decent description of "theist?"
Comment by Casey Wollberg on September 28, 2009 at 12:28pm
You still don't get it.
Comment by Altant on September 28, 2009 at 7:52am
Forgive me for my mispelling as i was ment to write " coming up without strong arguments" rather than "coming up with strong arguments". English is not my native language so i sometimes make these mistakes.
I can emphatize with you in requesting stronger arguments against the points you made, but you really are acting rude while doing so yourself. It doesn't necesarilly mean "they don't get it" if they don't know what is the precise definition of where they stand.

The point i tried to make in my second proposition is the self labelled agnostics seems to me more of knowledge seekers as they express their view in not knowing rather than in their unbelief like the self labelled atheists who seem to be guarding themselves towards religion by high expression of unbelief.Hence, i think reflecting on oneself more on what is not being known seems to be more rational state of mind. Of course thats what it is ment to be, but i see it often regularly in all areas of life.
Comment by Casey Wollberg on September 27, 2009 at 12:43pm
"First of all, it is interesting to note that you are doing exactly the same things that you are accusing people are doing towards you; being rude and coming up with strong arguments."

I never accused anybody of being rude, and I especially didn't accuse them of "coming up with strong arguments," quite the opposite. Do you know how to read?

"And i also don't understand why is it exclusively who call themselves agnostics are shifting the burden of proof. Wouldn't it also be true for agnostic atheists as well (on that logic)?"

Of course you don't understand: you lack reading comprehension skills. I won't bother explaining it again, since it's all hashed out exhaustively in what has already been written.

"Having a tendecy to define oneself as "not knowing" rather than "not believing" seems to me a more rational approach. "What about what agnostics believe?" you may say, but it is precisely because they don't give a damn about believing something before being sure of it they label themselves as agnostics."

My point was that so-called "agnostics" DO NOT believe in gods, not that they DO believe gods don't exist. They lack a belief in gods, which makes them atheists; agnostic atheists, to be sure...but indeed atheists. It doesn't matter how they would prefer to define themselves. They satisfy the one requirement of atheism: lack of belief in gods.

"Having a tendecy to define oneself as "not knowing" rather than "not believing" seems to me a more rational approach."

As opposed to what? And why are you making a false dichotomy? Agnostic atheists define themselves as both "not knowing" and "not believing." Agnostic theists define themselves as both "not knowing" and believing. Only those who claim to be "agnostics" when answering the question "Do you believe in gods?" miss the point of agnosticism. An agnostic is someone who will not believe a proposition without good reason (evidence to support the claim). That is, the agnostic tries to maintain a stance of skepticism with regard to any claim unsupported by facts that can be known. Since agnosticism holds that god's existence cannot be supported by facts that can be known, the agnostic fails to believe the proposition "god exists." And that, my uncomprehending friend, makes him an atheist. By the way, the theist that asserts agnosticism believes for reasons that have nothing to do with agnosticism.
Comment by Altant on September 27, 2009 at 10:20am
In addition, while agreeing that not all agnostics are using the label in the most precise way, i usually find their position in a more rational stance than the atheists. The reason is that the people who call them atheists are usually the people who tend to exhibit their point of view in terms of "what they not believe" rather than "what they do not know" as agnostics usually put it. As inaccurate their description of where they stand may be, the way thay want to make their standpoint can also give clues about what standouts more in their mind. Having a tendecy to define oneself as "not knowing" rather than "not believing" seems to me a more rational approach. "What about what agnostics believe?" you may say, but it is precisely because they don't give a damn about believing something before being sure of it they label themselves as agnostics.
Comment by Altant on September 27, 2009 at 9:57am
First of all, it is interesting to note that you are doing exactly the same things that you are accusing people are doing towards you; being rude and coming up with strong arguments.

( Don't accuse me of being rude in my response as i will respond exactly the same way you to towards the other members so you may realize why the people are reacting you this way) The main point you 'fail' in your attempt is you seem to be unaware that the people who refer to themselves as agnostics don't choose to believe something they don't have knowledge about. Belief is of not a big importance for them, that is why they chose to be agnostic, and remember that agnosticism is a form of irreligion like atheism. And, yes they should be technically called "Agnostic atheists" as you put it, but it doesn't make them less of an agnostic if they don't know the exact term for where they stand. It means maybe they don't care about specific definitions about a stance which seems to be loose anyway
And i also don't understand why is it exclusively who call themselves agnostics are shifting the burden of proof. Wouldn't it also be true for agnostic atheists as well (on that logic)?
Comment by Eric Sell on August 11, 2009 at 12:47pm
Its very good to see the above dialogue! A good friend of mine has often said "all they have to do is look it (the word agnostic) up in the dictionary!" People who call themselves agnostic (in the now common and incorrect sense of the word) are generally those who once had religious belief and are losing it. Once upon a time they thought they KNEW--their belief was strong. But now that their belief is shaken, they feel like they don't know anymore; and I think that's where this common confusion begins. However, if someone is claiming to be a non-theist through the "safe" label of agnostic, then they need to be strong enough to deal with the "taboo" of the term atheist.
Comment by Casey Wollberg on June 13, 2009 at 3:23pm
heretic:

You can't say it's "pointless" until you address the point being made. And this isn't semantics.
Comment by Osh Kanawa on June 12, 2009 at 6:54pm
Kewl , Casey ! I have a "label"now...LMAO. But seriously, never even heard of the term "ignostic". Googled it - Yup, I agree that the whole concept of "A God" is meaningless... nonsensical ...but damn sure am glad most humans *think* there's one. Keeps most of 'em "in check"...even if it's just for appearances. Without it, humans would be uncontrolled and insanity would overcome the world. (Though..to believe in Santa Claus truly is insanity, to me.) Not, however, that it hasn't been the main source of insanity (and wars, and murder, and....) since the beginning of recorded time.
Glad I found this sight. Actual people who *think* deeper and beyond society.
Though, there sure are fair share of creepy people here. :)
Comment by Mike Cherrill on June 12, 2009 at 6:08pm
I consider myself an atheist because I do not believe in a concept invented by other people, but I consider myself to be an agnostic because I have had personal experience which I believe is usually taken by other people to be direct communion with God.

I think that there are people who experience the same thing as me, but who have no language with which to express it, so they fall back to conceptual accounts.

I also have no language with which to express it, so I will not attempt to do so.

It's similar to a discussion that one would have with a solipsist. The solipsist knows that he is not alone. However, the solipsist feels experience from a particular consciousness and no other. When the solipsist is no more, so the universe is no more.

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