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So, if you're Agnostic what causes you to "sit on the fence?". Why are you not an Atheist?

Philt1960 5 Feb 26

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10

Have y’all seen this? It defines the descriptive terms that we deal with on this site.

10

I am agnostic and probably always will be, because there is no proof either way. The evidence suggests that there are no gods, but that's not proof. We all know there's no proof of the existence of god...so on the fence I remain.

How do you define the term ‘atheist’?

may i sugest watching michael shermer, how man created god.. all the evidence you need is there. we don't need to search the cosmos for magical man made creatures.

10

Maybe some think that atheism is not rational because they think atheists assert "there is no god" even though I do not assert this in the slightest (this definition is mostly pedaled by theists). Most atheists would probably say "lacking belief in any god(s)." You claim gods exists but I do not believe you etc. I say a loving and caring god that happens to favor humans is highly improbable and we should withhold all belief because there is lacking evidence and much to the contrary. I do not believe in god(s) because they have not met their burden of proof and have not been able to be demonstrated for thousands of years. I don't assert 100% certainty nor do I claim to know these things for sure. About 99% sure the god of Abraham is false, about 95% on any god at all, say a deistic god, but withdraw belief even in that because it has not been demonstrated or proven. We may sound more certain because we place god in the same category as leprechauns, unicorns, fairies, because they all lack evidence. The greeks gods have as much evidence to support them as the christian god yet we call the greek gods "myths."

Well said

Thank you. Your comment saved me a lot of typing.

8

I am atheist, but I can understand people saying they are agnostic.
Semantics, seeing you cannot prove anything does NOT exist, they stay open to the possibility.
I cannot prove there is no god, but is it easy to disprove any of the known gods. So I say atheist.

@Rugglesby I remember you saying you were a pantheist in your younger years. What made you convert to atheism?

@TheInterlooper I didn't really change, I changed the name I applied to myself. I am still in awe of existence, when younger I felt nature to be the higher power, ie higher than man, still do, but I don;t think of the nature around me, ie life on earth as a creator. Atheist as not believing in a creator is probably more accurate but pantheism is sexier.

7

It's a video essay of a YouTuber fan, Rationality Rules, to David Mitchell (a well known Comedian) who claims to be Agnostic but not Atheist. Mitchell explains that it is more rational to be Agnostic because we could never know for certain.

Jump to 4m 25s of this video.

Rationality Rules, explains that: "...Theism and Atheism address what you believe. Gnosticism and Agnosticism address what you assert to know...."

He makes an example addressing Mitchell directly: "...If I ask you if you believe in a god, and your answer is 'no', then you're an Atheist. And if you answered 'I don't know', then you haven't answered the question. Either you believe or do not believe. That is, either you're a theist or an atheist. And how certain you are in your belief, that is: how Gnostic or Agnostic you are, is a completely different question. And so since you don't believe in a god or gods, you are an Atheist..."

I can be any of these:
a: a non-believer because there's no proof yet of existence of a god - an Agnostic Atheist
b: a non-believer because I know there's no proof - a Gnostic Atheist
c: a believer because there's no proof yet of non-existence of a god - an Agnostic Theist
d: a believer because I know there's proof of a god. (I hear his voice every morning.) - a Gnostic Theist

Theism/atheism is an answer to "Do you believe?" And Gnosticism/Agnosticism is an answer to "How certain are you of that belief?"

(Mostly copied from another of my comment to another post.)

Well put!

7

These are different things. Agnostic just acknowledges that we don't know the nature of God. Atheist states that we don't believe in any god. For me both of those things are true. So I am an agnostic, athiest.
Basically, I don't know if there is a God, creator, higher power, kid with a universe erector set, etc. So, I don't know. And I certainly have not seen any evidence to say there is any god, etc so I don't believe in one. That doesn't mean that one absolutely does not exist.

The delineation is you either consider the possibilities of a god (or gods) or you don't. This seems to be the ultimate, and illogical, "fence riding" to me. I can see no possibility of agnostic atheism, atheist agnosticism, et al.

Still, I'm an older guy struggling with more than two gender identifications...which incidentally all make more sense to me...anyway...

So long as you're not using your identification to identify me or others as an atheist, which has been done often on this site, we're good. I just consider it insulting to be considered so closed minded or associated with your idiot fringe...or any attempts to recruit me into such ranks.

6

Because of the scientist in me that has a knee jerk reaction to all encompassing statements like: there is no such thing as...

Basically, I can't prove that there can't be a being of sufficient power or advancement that we would consider them a 'god.'

Another example is to consider the possibility that we were 'seeded' here by another race that, way back in the day, was so far advanced that we considered them 'gods' (as above). If they came back for a while, we might have sighted them and thus the various ancient drawings that are unexplainable... is it impossible to think that this could be true? Nope.

So, agnostic. I can't prove that gods exist. I can't prove that they don't exist. And I know that anytime you say "never" or "none" in an argument, some jerk will show up with a counter example. 🙂

5

As Bertrand Russell in his essays pointed out, in effect agnostics are atheist about the thousands of gods that have been dreamt up by people that they don't know, don't care out, or didn't grow up with, and it's usually the one God that they did grow up with that they remain "on the fence" about. As Russell said, realistically agnostics don't go around seriously thinking they are agnostic about ancient gods, like Apollo. Generally I find agnostics say they are agnostic about "God" (singular). In practice, the only difference between an agnostic and atheist is that one God; they agree on the 99.9% of the other Gods. The irony is that monotheists are also atheists about all the Gods they reject, like 99.9% of them, apart from the one God they affirm is true. So, for monotheists, atheists and agnostics, when you get right down to it, it's a difference over one God in thousands.

While witty I have always found that not a good way to describe it.

When you decide to not buy a shirt you don't decide to not buy any shirt in human history. You talk, think about, discuss, try to understand what is around you. If you live in a Christian country you deal with christanity if you live in a Hindu country you deal with hinduism.

@engineer_in_nj not quite sure of your point here, but it is true that generally, but of course not always, people focus on the gods and culture they were born into, and we have no control over where and when we are born. To an atheist we reject all gods universally as there is no evidence for any of them, and that includes Apollo as well all past and present gods.

@David1955 you arent really rejecting apollo. No one around you is worshiping him.

@engineer_in_nj you would be surprised. There are still to this day people who follow ancient religions. There is no difference between the ancient gods and modern gods. There's no proof any of them. How many people follow them is irrelevant.

@David1955 of course it is relevant. It effects your daily life what faith the people around you have.

5

Because I don't pretend to possess the sum total of all the knowledge of the universe.

I'm not sure if I can put it any more simply.

If you can't state your stance as simply, I don't want to hear it.

If you can state it as or more simply, I'll still be calling BS.

I'm also an apathetic agnostic...I really could care less anyway...especially about know it alls.

Thanks for that, totally how I feel.

I've spent far more time defending agnosticism from fanatic atheists than fanatic theists on this site. Its sadly ironic, given the name.

In my opinion, it also points to the same closed mindedness and self induced ignorance as a theist.

But then, I don't know everything.

5

Well, I kind of equate them to mean the same thing, except that, to me, atheist means end of the road, no equivocation, there's absolutely nothing out there. Whereas, Agnosticism is more open to the possibility of SOMETHING somewhere. Also, I'm still an active member of a church. Been there 25 year's. With my depression, lack of friends and family, I can't leave them when they're the only family I have. They're the ones who truly "live like Jesus" not Bible thumpers who repeatedly tell me I'm going to hell. They all know I don't believe and love me anyway. Only one, an older gentleman, told me a child molester who accepted God before the needle got stuck in his arm would get into heaven before me because I'm a non-believer. Now, that hurt.

Thats the attitude most xtians have. This is one of the reasons I realized there can be no god.

@Philt1960 which attitude are you referring to? My outlook or the elderly gentleman's response?

That was mighty nasty of the old fart to say such a thing. But it’s kind of amazing the fools that think they make these rules and god has to obey them. You could have just given him the bird, smiled and said I doubt that it will work for you. But that’s just me talking, I’m sure you are much nicer than I would have been.

@Tony80223 LOL I couldn't have done that because I've known this man since I was 13. He's like an uncle. Love him dearly. Guess that's why his response was so hurtful. A stranger, I definitely would've told to take a long leap off a short pier.

@Melbates The elderly gentleman

@Philt1960 I try not to let others actions influence my belief, or lack thereof. Yes, I have problems with organized religion but that's wholly separate from my Agnosticism.

5

I wonder this as well. I guess I have a sense that there is something greater than me. Not that is matters too much but I just feel like somehow we are all connected to this higher power. Not any religion, I just feel there is something deeper.

I certainly understand. I wanted to believe there was a higher power most of my life. I never found the proof

4

The view from the fence is great. It demonstrates that everyone else is barely hanging on to any kind of tangible evidence to back their claims.

4

Not sitting on any fence there actually isnt a fence to sit on both 'agnostic' and 'atheist' mean the same thing 'without a god!' I don't care what I call myself as long as the other person gets the message and doesnt have a go at converting me

4

Currently the preponderance of evidence points to the high probability that there is no god. But there are enough unanswered questions regarding the origin of the universe to make me wait. Ultimately I won't' believe anything without proof!

4

Agnostic does not just mean just sitting on a fence for proof of a God, at least not in my book. To me it's looking for proof of anything to do with how the universe and life came to be.

Fair enough. I understand

4

I did this for a while. I think it had to do with not wanting to full on admit what I'd been taught was as dead wrong as any other religion.

To me agnostic means "Someone who doesn't believe in organized religion". (You will find many definitions of agnostic here!).

That being said I eventually figured out nothing was going to become a believable religion - and became Atheist.

Ok, what does ‘atheist’ mean to you?

@NothinnXpreVails Not believing in any god(s) existence.

I’m failing to draw any significant difference between that and your definition of agnostic. @RavenCT

@NothinnXpreVails Let me rephrase: Agnostic - does not want anything to do with organized religion but thinks there could be a god.

Atheist - does not believe in the existence of gods.

I think you’re totally wrong. Gnosticism and agnosticism equate to knowing and not knowing, respectively. Theism and atheism equate to believing and not believing, respectively. @RavenCT

@NothinnXpreVails We all have our definitions.

No disrespect intended. I told you what they mean to me. Even if I operated on a false belief - it's what I believed.

I’m not intending disrespect, either. I just seek to teach and learn. @RavenCT

3

I consider Myself Agnostic because because my mind is open to any possibility that can be factually proven. basically, if god wants me to believe in him he needs to prove his existence.

As far as I am concerned god cannot be factually proven. Unless that happens I won't believe

@Philt1960 i agree sir which is why i said i will believe he exist if HE not a man proves his existence

3

I was an atheist and then I developed schizophrenia and believed I was the devil for a few months. I literally believed that I formed an alliance with god to fight against Comcast. I then used critical thinking to determine that none of it was true but I haven't gone back to being fully atheist yet. Just not at that point. Before this all happened I was certain there was no god but now I just don't know.

I'm no psychotherapist but you've apparently overcome the pitfalls any rigid thinking can cause.

Not to "evangelize" (as atheists tend to do) but I suggest you stay outside the box: its cold, dark and stupid in there!

Agreed. It's better outside the box @DangerDave

2

I don't really see it as sitting on a fence. I see it as not having 100% surety that there is or isn't a creator/divinity/deity or whatever label you put on it. I can't say that there is and I can't say that there isn't one. Therefore, I would be agnostic. In my opinion, atheists cannot say that there isn't a god with absolute 100% accuracy. Just my opinion.

I can. I can say I do not believe there is a god with 100% accuracy. My opinion of course

2

I always considered myself an agnostic until I realized I was given religion a special place in the "I don't know category". Meaning, if someone asked if I believed in unicorns or fairies, I would say no. It doesn't mean that if someone showed me proof of unicorns or whatever I would sit in denial of the evidence. I would update. Same with God. Without evidence, I'm without believe, thus atheist seem more correct.

With that being said, I'm sympathetic with people like Neil deGrasse Tyson, who say they call themselves agnostic to septate themselves from the conduct of some atheist.

JeffB Level 6 Feb 27, 2018
1

christians have done such a bang up job on distorting the atheist position, that people use the word agnostic to soften the blow. though it does not answer the question on your belief, only on knowledge, which was not the question.

1

I was an agnostic since the age of 15. Became an atheist about five years ago. I am 51. I guess I finally realized that science explains the fact that there is no god.

My beliefs ping ponged most of my life but I think all along I was an atheist.

1

Great thread, you can put me down as a gnostic theist,which is a minority on here.I have jumped too to the other side of the fence so to speak.

It's all personal whatever we believe(or don't believe) ,we all have little indiosyncracies and superstitions,we are a bundle of mixed up feelings and emotions.I became a believer but I can't tell you what kind of god I believe in,he has no name and no presence we can experience with our 5 senses.I bleive its up to us to experience life as part of the process laid out for us,which will be different for each individual.

I have to use other senses to understand my version of god. It is a kind of deduction process for me.Trying to understand what god is is not easy for sure. Atheism for me is too obtuse and refuses to see anything other than what is right in front of our noses,that is,if they can't see it,touch it, smell it,hear it,or taste it it doesn't exist. That's far too narrow a view on our existence for me,its just not enough. There was a hole in my life before I realised there must be a god,personal relevation helps too of course,but as the saying goes "seek and you shall find," The corollary is of course if you don't seek you won't find.

"Atheism for me is too obtuse and refuses to see anything other than what is right in front of our noses,that is,if they can't see it,touch it, smell it,hear it,or taste it it doesn't exist. "

You have a very distorted view of atheism. There is more to evidence than our senses. There are ways to detect how things react with our reality. If something acts on reality, then it can be detected and measured.

I don't have a hole in my life that I needed to invent a god that has "no presence we can experience" to fill that gap. A god that has no presence we can experience is no different to a god that does not exist.

I am an atheist because I do not believe the claims that theists make about their god/s Should a theist present credible, verifiable evidence for their god/s then I will no longer be an atheist.

I am agnostic because I do not know that a god/s could not exist in any form in any universe, but the only time to believe in something is when there is sufficient evidence to warrant it.

I use to call myslef an atheist thats why I have a view on it,so its not distorted in the least.You then exactly go on to prove my point,you want the universe measured and transcribed to our human satisfaction before you accept anything.That is ok if you are content with plodding along but of leaves no thinking beyond very narrow bounds.
You have no hole great but I did,it's what drove me on to look elsewhere,its not for everyone,each to our own I always say.
I did find a god, no idea what its is, but its there,for me we have to understand that we are it(god) or at least part of it,we are not separate from it.For me it was right under my nose all the time just I did not see it.It an awareness that you cannot measure or define,that is what we humans can do, we are not robots.

0

"Sitting on the fence" (as in indecisive) is a judgmental view of free-thinking people with intellectual modesty. Let's face it: nobody real knows!
Other responses are mostly psychological projective attitudes stemming from personal conscious or sub-conscious lifetime experiences.

Fair enough. Perhaps I am judgmental.

0

Nobody's sitting on the fence. There's still a significant difference between atheists and agnostics.
In fact, I'm not on the fence at all. I'm very much agnostic.

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