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I’ve listened patiently for a few months trying to understand the dichotomy between Agnostics & Atheists on this website. What I’m about to write I mean no offense.

There is a huge difference on how we described ourselves. An Agnostic hedges their answer to a god’s existence, while an Atheist has flushed it from their belief system. Using MyersBriggs I would say Agnostics are Introverts & Atheists are extroverts.

I would be interested in any comments & thought.

ChurchLess 7 Dec 18
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68 comments

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9

As an atheist, I would like to state that you make a common mistake when describing atheists. Atheists do not have a "belief system". Atheism is defined as: disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. I do not believe in god, gods, the zodiac, the tao, numerology, paganism, angels, or any other believe system, including "spirituality". I do not have a religiously based "belief system."

9

I give absolutely no credence whatsoever to Myers-Briggs testing.
None. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Just because it's popularly accepted, referred to, and used by HR departments and
others, doesn't make it remotely accurate.

For myself, I'm an atheist, an anti-theist, and I really don't like people in general.
I don't think I'm an introvert or an extrovert.
If credible, verifiable evidence to prove the existence of ANY god is ever made
available, I'll reconsider my position.
Beyond that, I see absolutely no reason to justify or otherwise explain my complete
lack of belief in any gods.

As far as religion goes, I believe it's all man-made and it's all evil.

8

The terms aren't mutually exclusive as one can be both as am I. Its easy to understand. agnostic answer the question of what you KNOW or claim to know, while atheism answer what you BELIEVE. I'm an Agnostic Athesit. Meaning I don't Know (agnostic) if a god/gods exist and I don't believe / convinced (atheism) one does.

7

The either or definition irks me. Like Dawkins, I believe it's a spectrum. Level six and introverted btw.

Yeah I'm a level six too.

7

I'm an agnostic and I don't hedge any answer to the question of the existence of a god or gods. I have no answer and I don't need any answer.

7

introverted atheist here....

6

You're gonna run into obstacles whenever you try to fit humans neatly into little defined packages. Way too many variables among all of us, which could be changing as I write !

5

Atheists come in different varieties. The basic definition of atheism is one who lacks belief or disbelieves in a God or gods. There are implicit atheists (e.g., babies and puppies) who have no concept of any god and therefore lack belief, and there are explicit atheists who understand the concept and reject it. Within explicit atheism are two stripes: negative (or soft, or weak) atheism, and positive (or hard, or strong) atheism. A negative atheist is one who lacks a belief in a God or gods, but does not claim that no God or gods exist; a positive atheist is one who claims that no God or gods exist. Put another way, the negative atheist is unconvinced by the claim that "God or gods exist" and disregards it. It is the negative stance, because it rejects the claim rather than asserts one. By contrast, the positive atheist is making a positive claim, i.e., no God or gods exist.

Agnostics also have a couple of meanings, from "I don't know" to "it is unknowable" whether a God or gods exist. Some people use the label "agnostic atheist" to mean "negative atheist." I use the phrase because more people know what the words mean, but I also sometimes just call myself a non-theist. Some people are "pure" agnostics, which basically places them as a "definite maybe" where they consider the proposition for God/gods to be equally plausible as the proposition against.

There are other labels, too, like "ignosticism," meaning that the concept or definition of "God" is too nebulous to be meaningful or to have a qualified opinion about.

Considering that there are a variety of stripes of atheism and agnosticism, I don't think I'd be able to draw any correlation between these terms and introversion and extraversion. On the other hand, it might be a fun experiment to determine what people believe or don't believe and compare it to various personality traits. I know that some people think being an atheist is always a rational decision, but I'm not certain that's necessarily or entirely the case. There might be some interesting correlations.

For the record, I'm quite introverted and I'm a negative atheist.

Good clear and not too long, they should post this at the top of the front page for all the Newbies to read. (Save having to answer this question fifty times a month.) For added interest I always call myself a 'broard church sceptic'.

@Fernapple Yes, the ongoing debate over definitions gets a little wearisome after a while. There are some people here, even seasoned members, who insist that atheism is exclusively the positive stance; at this point, that's willful ignorance (or, more likely, strawman argumentation, e.g., "atheists are just as irrational as theists because both make a claim without evidence to back it up" ). It's my experience that there are more atheists of the negative variety, who don't claim it couldn't be but rather don't accept the claim itself as having merit, treating it similarly to how one might react to claims re healing crystals, Sasquatch, or a Nigerian prince giving away millions of dollars. Sure, these claims might be true, but there is no convincing reason to think they are and, therefore, it is reasonable to dismiss the claims and live without constantly worrying about Bigfoot destroying my property. Theists sometimes fall back to, "Yeah, but you can't prove that there isn't a God, so it's just as likely there is," trying to justify their belief as being as valid as another's non-belief or skepticism. While it's wrong in the case of negative atheism, their position is also inconsistent when it's actually held up to other positive claims of religion; Christians don't accept Islam as being just as likely; Orthodox Jews don't consider Hinduism to be just as plausible; Scientologists don't accept LDS claims as having equal weight. But atheists are told that we must give credence to theism in whatever forms it takes because we "can't prove it isn't true."

5

I was born an ebullient extrovert. Extrovert and introvert are personality traits.

Choosing to be atheist or agnostic is a rational decision. It has nothing to do with personality traits.

Have been an atheist since age 13, when I realized the Bible is just a book of stories written by men. Like Grimm's Fairy Tales.

4

Instead of trying to categorize us, maybe you should focus on which of those defines you.

4

That's rather presumptuous to assume. Even Richard Dawkins admits that atheism/agnosticism exists along a spectrum.

4

I don't believe in generalization. The splitting of non believers groups is caustic. This internal tribalism is not healthy to the movement.

Always call myself a 'broard church sceptic'.
(But I spell it the UK way.)

4

I am curious as to why you've chosen the Myers Briggs tests to compare the two. I personally don't see how belief system corresponds with personality type as belief is not based on personality but experience.

4

I'm at introvert unless I'm drunk or offended. I'm a total atheist.

4

...trying to understand the dichotomy between Agnostics & Atheists on this website.

And yet zero differance in how they live thier lives. But boy oh boy is it ever importaint that we not believe the right way. For some reason.

1of5 Level 8 Dec 18, 2019
3

The def of "dichotomy" is 2 things that are opposed/opposite. Atheist & Agnostic are simply on a scale leading from abject worship to free thinking. I prefer less fomenting of divisiveness, myself.

3

It’s not a binary. There are all sorts here. I’m a non-theist humanist.

UUNJ Level 8 Dec 19, 2019
3

I'd like to thank everyone for their comments, even the nasty comments and the know it alls. We are surely a diverse group. What I also learned is each person appears to have their own personal reason why they identify as one or the other. I wish you all well.

3

You might wanna join the Introvert Group here. You're guess is polar opposite the reality. (Here and elsewhere.) Most of us actual/true introverts, are very science/evidence oriented and don't bother with the "what ifs" of agnosticism. (Of course there will be introverts and extroverts of every self-label. One isn't necessarily synonymous with the other, and so on.)

3

Well,call it what you may wish but me, I'm just a plain old, ordinary, Heathen, Heretic, Atheistic, Aussie Bloke.

3

I may be a fellow atheist, but don’t feel like I “flushed” anything from my “belief system.” I just don’t buy into the idea of gods as anything other than metaphors, the same way I don’t believe what I hear in advertisements.

3

I'd say it has to do with how much research a person does. An agnostic has not done enough research to become an atheist. An atheist has done too much research to be an agnostic. I, for example, have spent years looking for evidence on both sides of the issue -- the religious side and the anti-religious side. I have found no convincing evidence supporting religion, and much evidence in favor of atheism. Therefore, I am an atheist. I do admit the possibility (not a probability) that I have missed some research that could turn me back toward religion. But until such evidence comes to my attention, I remain an atheist. Whenever a missionary approaches me, I ask for evidence for what they are preaching. So far, nobody has been able to show me enough evidence to turn me away from atheism. In fact, this tactic causes missionaries to tire of me and abandon me, which is most often a good riddance. 🙂

i didn't do any research. what is there to research? i had to read hitchens to be convinced there are no gods when their nonexistence is so glaringly obvious to me? i stopped believing in any gods when i was 15 and i don't need to read about someone else's reason for not believing in any to justify my own. i don't think research is a bad thing; i love researching (other topics, for other reasons). i don't need to do it to validate myself. research can be so selective, you can prove or disprove pretty much anything if you just read what supports what you already want to find. i don't diss agnostics or think they're lacking in strength or remiss in the research department any more than i diss myself by pretending to be arrogant, as atheists are sometimes said to be. we're PEOPLE. why pigeonhole us?

g

@Doraz You are fortunate. I had years of brainwashing to overcome. 🙂

3

I'm an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in any deity, but I have no proof of my beliefs.

I am, however, definitely an introvert. If I say 10 words to anyone other than my doggy-doo, that's a good day.

2

To me "agnostic" means I don't know. Which means I have neither belief in a god, nor belief that there is no god. The "I don't know" is carefully selected because there is so much to know and I know so little. For example, according to a branch of mathematics called "String Theory," there are a minimum of seven dimensions. We humans (or at least I) only understand 3 1/2 dimensions: up/down, left/right, forward/back, and the half is time because we only experience it in one direction. So, let's talk about something I also don't know, and I don't think you do, either. How about the fifth dimension? What does it taste like? Is it warm, or fuzzy, or sharp, etc. What does it smell like? Are there creatures there? Tell me about the fifth dimension... but I bet you can't because you simply don't know. That is the way I look at god. I don't believe in a god, but how can I affirmatively believe that god does not exist; the whole topic is one about which I have no knowledge whatsoever.

2

I would characterize myself as philosophically agnostic but functionally atheist. As one trained in science I have to admit that the fact that there is no evidence of a thing's existence does not prove its non-existence. So I have to leave open the possibility of god's existence. I cannot say for sure there is no god l. I just don't know. That's the agnostic me. However, as an individual who is familiar with world mythologies and the human tendency to anthropomorphize and ascribe intention and intelligence to all manner of inanimate objects, and at the same time taking stock if the glaring absence of evidence, I have to say that the probability of god's existence is vanishingly small. If I were to quantify that probability, I would say I am 99.999999999999999999% sure there is no god. There is my functional atheist.

I object to being labelled an atheist. The term pre-supposes theism as the "normal" or "correct" mental state. Furthermore, if we look at the English lexicon, we find no special terms for people who do not believe in witches, Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, or any number of other fictitious characters. The term "atheist" has historically been used as a pejorative, an indictment, an accusation. It is not a fair term. It is chauvinistic. It strips away a person's right to critical thinking.

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