Monday, October 18, 2010

Can An Agnostic Also Be An Atheist

Can An Agnostic Also Be An Atheist Cover Theists believe in the existence of a God, or a Goddess, or in multiple Gods, or multiple Goddesses or in a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses. Agnostics believe that the existence of a deity can neither be proven nor disproven.

However, some Agnostics consider themselves to be Atheists. That is because the term "Atheist" has two slightly different meanings:

1. Strong Atheist: A person who positively believes that no God(s) or Goddess(es) exists. E. Haldeman-Julius suggests that:

"The atheist perceives that history, in every branch of science, in the plainly observable Realities of life and in the processes of common sense there is no place for the picture of a God; the idea doesn't fit in with a calmly reasoned and realistic view of life. The atheist, therefore denies the assumptions of theism because they are mere assumptions and are not proved; whereas the contrary evidences, against the idea of theism, are overwhelming." 1

This is the definition of Atheism used by most Christians, other Theists, and dictionaries of the English language.

2. A person who has no belief in a God or Goddess. Just as most people believe that a newborn has no concept of a deity, some adults also have no such belief. The term "Atheist" is derived from the Greek words "a" which means "without" and "Theos" which means "God." A person can be a non-Theist by simply lacking a belief in God without actively denying God's existence. This is the definition of Atheism used by many Atheists.

Some Agnostics feel that their beliefs match the second definition, and thus consider themselves to be both Atheist and an Agnostic. Such confusion is common throughout the field of religion. We have found 17 definitions for the term "Witch," eight for "cult," and six for the "Pagan." -- all different. A lack of clear, unambiguous definitions for Religious terms is responsible for a great deal of confusion and hatred. It makes dialog among Agnostics, Theists, and Atheists very difficult. In fact, when such a dialogue is attempted, it should be preceded with a long session to agree on a set of definitions.

As currently defined, most Agnostics hold the question of the existence of God open, pending the arrival of more evidence. They would be willing to change their belief if some solid evidence or logical proof is found in the future.

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