What does agnostic mean?

Other uses of the word "agnostic"

Sometimes you'll hear the term "platform-agnostic" or "browser-agnostic", or other variations in the domain of technology. It simply means it doesn't matter which platform or browser you're using; it's set up to work across all of them. For example, a browser-agnostic application will work on Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera or any other browser equally well.

An agnostic believes that the nature of God and/or supernatural are unknown and unknowable by human beings, if they exist at all. An agnostic thinks it is impossible (at least now, with our current understanding of the nature of the world) to conclusively know the truth about the existence of God and the afterlife which Christianity and other religions are concerned with.

If you ask an agnostic "Does God exist?", possible replies might include:

  • I don't personally know.
  • I can't give an opinion because we can't prove the existence or non-existence of God given currently available knowledge.
  • I can't give an opinion because there's no real way to know, with certainty, anything about God.
  • Anything's possible, but we can't assert that God definitely does exist, or that God definitely does not exist. It is beyond our capabilities to prove anything about God.

  • An agnostic is different from an atheist, who believes, with certainty, that God does not exist. Agnostic means, literally, "does not know" (from Greek: the prefix a- means "not/without" + gnosis means "knowledge"

    Thomas Huxley - the inventor of the term agnostic
    Thomas Huxley - the inventor of the term agnostic

    Famous historical agnostics

    Thomas Huxley, an English biologist (1825-1895), coined the word "agnostic". In a letter written in 1860, he wrote:

    "I neither affirm nor deny the immortality of man. I see no reason for believing it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving it. I have no a priori objections to the doctrine."

    He also wrote:

    "When I reached intellectual maturity, and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; a Christian or a freethinker, I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until at last I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last...So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of "agnostic". It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the "gnostic" of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant..."

    Bertrand Russell, and English philosopher (1872-1970) and author of Why I Am Not a Christian, wrote:

    "An atheist, like a Christian, holds that we can know whether or not there is a God. The Christian holds that we can know there is a God; the atheist, that we can know there is not. The Agnostic suspends judgment, saying that there are not sufficient grounds either for affirmation or for denial."

    Read the entire interview here.

    Another quote from Bertrand Russell that is apt here:

    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."

    Famous contemporary agnostics


    Martin Amis

    Piers Anthony

    Margaret Atwood

    Umberto Eco

    Matt Groening

    Tony Kushner

    Dan Savage

    Ibn Warraq


    Michelle Bachelet

    Winston Churchill


    Stephen Jay Gould

    Stephen Hawking

    Carl Sagan


    Antonio Banderas

    Monica Bellucci

    Susie Bright

    Richard Dreyfuss

    Carrie Fisher

    Bob Hoskins

    Larry King

    Dave Matthews

    Larry Niven

    Sean Penn

    Roman Polanski

    Keanu Reeves

    Rod Steiger

    James Taylor

    Uma Thurman


    Clarence Darrow

    Alan Dershowitz


    Bill Gates

    Ted Turner

    More by this Author


    vic profile image

    vic 9 years ago

    Nice Hub and intersting list of agnostics. Thank you.

    jimmythejock profile image

    jimmythejock 9 years ago from Scotland

    I can honestly say that I dont know if there is a god or not but I try to be the best person I can be .....jimmy

    Ralph Deeds profile image

    Ralph Deeds 9 years ago

    It's possible to be a Jew, a Muslim or a Christian AND and agnostic. The Episcopal minister in my church as a kid admitted to having doubts.

    livelonger profile image

    livelonger 9 years ago from San Francisco Author

    I can imagine being (ethnically/culturally) Jewish and agnostic (there are several examples above, like Dreyfuss, King & Dershowitz), but religiously Jewish/Christian/Muslim? I think the central tenet of these religions is the belief in God.

    Your minister might have been an agnostic as a child but by being an Episcopalian Christian, he must have started believing in the existence of God.

    William F. Torpey profile image

    William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

    I was raised a Catholic, but I am now an agnostic. I don't know whether God exists, in fact if I wrote a hub on what I don't know it would break the record for length.

    livelonger profile image

    livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

    I was also born Catholic but consider myself agnostic, too. I truly believe that we can't (at least currently) understand the origins of the universe.

    shannon  8 years ago

    i like this web page it help me with my very hard bit of corsework



    pink 7 years ago

    thanks for helping me understand the terminology's of these religions.

    kephrira profile image

    kephrira 7 years ago from Birmingham

    great hub. There was a punk band called agnostic front and I always loved the name. The world needs a bit of agnostic militancy instead of the religious kind - (basically people standing up to those who set themselves up as the guardians of truth and claim to have all the answers). Belief and atheism are both irrational, so agnosticism is the only reasonable position.

    Dgerrimea profile image

    Dgerrimea 7 years ago

    Nice hub. However, these are not the only accepted definitions of words like "atheist" and "agnostic". Many people use atheism to mean a lack of belief in any gods, by which definition agnostics can be considered atheists. Some people maintain that "theism" and "atheism" are on the axis of belief, while "gnostic" and "agnostic" are on the axis of knowledge, thus a person can be described as a "gnostic atheist", or an "agnostic theist" etc.

    And then of course there are terms such as "weak atheism" and "strong atheism". The semantic knit pickery is endless.

    But anyway, good hub!

    Sethareal profile image

    Sethareal 7 years ago

    Pretty interesting but I feel the topic has barely scratched the surface. I often wonder what the difference between "I think" "I believe" and "I know" are, in other words could someone be agnostic (not knowing) and still 'believe' in God? One inconsistency I noticed was that I thought Winston Churchill was a freemason and one of their tenets for membership in the fraternity has always been 'belief in a supreme being'? This is not a problem however if agnostics can still believe one way or the other without knowing.

    dvdgarces profile image

    dvdgarces 7 years ago

    These topics can be discussed forever and have been. Still it comes down to faith. Believing in something that you cannot see, hear, smell, or touch. I guess it's something you can feel though. For some people every word in their book of religion is taken literally. For others it's left open to interpretation. The human minds imagination has advanced civilization but has yet to accept complete accountability for it's actions. Still primitive in it's basic form.

    chiechiecheist 7 years ago

    Y'know what everyone... each of us was already born agnostics in fact! We were born, unaware... 'cause by that time (we're just infants and still youngsters) we don't know anything about the belief (whether God exists or not)... we just say we were born Christian, Jew, Muslim (whatsoever)because probably, we're already indoctrinated by the beliefs of our family (or anybody who raised us). Makes sense?

    and y'know also that agnosticism could've been probably the OLDEST religion (whatever) existing... as humans haven't proven yet the God's existence since we have different religions and philosophies to dwell on (clashing beliefs,etc.)...still, it's all debatable!

    But, I wanna share to you fellas that we must be open with different possibilities that we COULD still be wrong soon...

    some people say, we have a weak spirit or faith, but I say, it's innate to us to have DOUBTS to give us strength in searching for truth and having our own way of fulfillment... (many to mention)

    just watch this nice video in youtube... click the following link:


    chiechiecheist 7 years ago

    Y'know what everyone... each of us was already born agnostics in fact! We were born, unaware... 'cause by that time (we're just infants and still youngsters) we don't know anything about the belief (whether God exists or not)... we just say we were born Christian, Jew, Muslim (whatsoever)because probably, we're already indoctrinated by the beliefs of our family (or anybody who raised us). Makes sense?

    and y'know also that agnosticism could've been probably the OLDEST religion (whatever) existing... as humans haven't proven yet the God's existence since we have different religions and philosophies to dwell on (clashing beliefs,etc.)...still, it's all debatable!

    But, I wanna share to you fellas that we must be open with different possibilities that we COULD still be wrong soon...

    some people say, we have a weak spirit or faith, but I say, it's innate to us to have DOUBTS to give us strength in searching for truth and having our own way of fulfillment... (many to mention)

    just watch this nice video in youtube... click the following link:


    chiechiecheist 7 years ago

    agnosticism didn't just begin only because thomas huxley coined the term "agnosticism"... it already began since humans doubted and asked vast questions, etc... it would be a long argument for close- minded people to understand this simple idea...

    arshtara 6 years ago

    My professor once quoted a writer, that a fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry.. I believe in my existence. I am alive. I AM. My mum and dad are neither powerful enough to create me or undo me. If we can just stop trying to be smart, open our eyes to our own selves and SEE, we'll KNOW, and we can BELIEVE...That God does exist.

    DreamDancer71 6 years ago

    Thank you for the assistance in researching a topic of interest to me. I am using some of this newfound knowledge on my paper for college...thank you!

    fatfist profile image

    fatfist 6 years ago

    (An agnostic is different from an atheist, who believes, with certainty, that God does not exist.)

    There is no such thing as "belief with certainty". We can believe something to be the case. Certainty means that we can prove something to be the case. Atheists cannot prove god exists or not. Hence they can only take the position of belief there is no god. Just like theists take the position of belief there is a god. So on the issue of belief, there is no difference between agnostic and atheist.

    (Agnostic means, literally, "does not know")

    Yes, atheists don't know either because they cannot prove it either way.

    When asked "do you believe there is a god?"

    Theists answer: Yes

    Atheists answer: No

    Agnostics answer: No

    "I don't know" is not an answer to a question of belief - it is an answer to a question of knowledge.

    Both atheists and agnostics will answer "I don't know" to the question: "Is there a god?"

    Ben Zoltak profile image

    Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

    Thomas Huxley has awesome side burns! Cool hub, any chance you saw my Deistic diatribe below?


    Friend Of Man 6 years ago

    This seems to be an accurate portrayal of agnosticism. I, as an atheist, don't see how it is a valid point of view. Would an agnostic concede that Puff the Magic Dragon may also exist being that Puff's existence cannot be disproved? It would seem that agnostics are willing to assign a modicum of merit to an idea simply because it is commonplace. An atheist is distinguished in that no volume of believers can sway them if they cannot provide evidence supporting their claims. Atheists do not have to prove there is no God, just as they do not have to prove there is no Puff the Magic Dragon. The burden of proof is on the believers.

    LINEOFPROGRESSION profile image


    Great hub. I agree with FRIEND OF MAN for the most part. I am an agnostic/atheist. This is because I deny the existence of all gods pertaining to theism, and gods associated with any other religion that claims to know the ways of God. So in that context I am atheist. But in context to deism, I am agnostic, because deism is the very simple belief that something (a creator) made the universe at some time, but doesn't necessarily associate with its creation. I personally cant absolutely rule out this possibility, although I thinks its unlikely. So in regards to Deism, I am agnostic. Hence, I am atheist/agnostic.

    WeLikeZombies.com 6 years ago

    Great Hub, definitely. I myself am an agnostic, and it's astonishing that most people don't know what this means, I wish it more widely known and referred to (especially by this generation's youth).

    livelonger profile image

    livelonger 6 years ago from San Francisco Author

    WLZ: I agree. I am actually both Jewish and agnostic (it's allowed under Judaism). Keeping an open mind about the nature of existence is an essential part of inquiry.

    baptistCHRISTian 6 years ago

    How can you look around at the wonders of the world and NOT believe that GOD created it? How can anyone believe that it just "happened"? In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth.

    livelonger profile image

    livelonger 6 years ago from San Francisco Author

    How can you look around at the wonders of the world and believe that it came about according to a very specific narrative written by MEN? The whole gist of agnosticism, if you haven't bothered to read the hub itself, is that we DON'T KNOW the nature of the creation of existence.

    Cypress Dog 6 years ago

    The whole human world is insane when it comes to those who claim to know the answer to our existence. Ethnocentricism is the demise to our wonderful planet. Earth is so complex I don't understand how I am expected by others to make myself believe that a book rewritten over and over and misinterpretted over and over (speaking of the bible) to have the answers to all of our questions. In fact I am offended by others accusations that they know the answers.

    Canklefish profile image

    Canklefish 6 years ago from East Coast

    Thorough list of fellow Agnostics for me to reference when the mood suits me.

    Great Hub

    Bob 6 years ago


    Blah 6 years ago

    Bob, Imo,(in my opinion)the bible is pretty crappy. I very much dislike it. So, shut up. ^^

    Emma 6 years ago

    Thanks a bunch for this article. I'm only a teenager, and I've gone to Catholic school all my life, but I've been overthinking my religion and have come to the conclusion that I am agnostic. God is just a theory, as is most everything else in our world. I told my dad that I didn't believe in God, that I was an Atheist, but then he introduced me to agnosticism, and I've been trying to learn more about it and have decided that it's the religion I'm choosing to follow.

    Thanks a bunch for this post. It's helped me understand, and now I can explain my religion better to people.

    still lost 6 years ago

    I will always wonder what lies beyond everything for anything can happen always

    SilverGenes 6 years ago

    There's a huge difference between "I believe" and "I know" and unfortunately it often results in "I want it to be so, therefore I shall fight for it." Interesting hub - thank you.

    Chasuk 6 years ago

    I'm an agnostic following Bertrand' Russell's "Why I Am Not a Christian" definition. Russell's definition is so clear and concise that I've happily used it -- properly attributed -- for over 30 years.

    This was refreshing to read.

    Thanks for the article.

    adorababy profile image

    adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

    The post is an eyeopener that a lot of the huge personalities are actually agnostics.

    Robyn 6 years ago

    I feel sorry people do not believe in God...Look around you, he is everywhere, and so is the devil. I feel everyone always needs "proof"...we must have faith, what's the harm in believing in God? It can only help you, not hurt you. I am not fanatical, and I believe in coincidences, but I have prayed too many times and too many prayers have been answered for me to chalk it up to coincidence. Just putting it out there...and for the record, many agnostics AND athiests hold to their opinions (I won't say faith) until they are on their deathbed...then they want God.

    kp 6 years ago

    i would say i was an agnostic but how does sience proove the bible wrong on sooo many things? god created the earth in 7days - the big bang theory,, god created animals? the dinosaurs were round millions nd millions of years ago,

    Kymber 6 years ago

    I rather believe in GOD and die and find out there was no God than no not believe and find out there is GOD!!

    Kymber 6 years ago

    What I meant to say from my previous comment above that was completely worded wrong is:I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out

    there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't, and die to find out there is.

    Kymber 6 years ago

    Why did the atheist cross the road?

    He thought there might be a street on the other side, but he wouldn’t believe it until he tested his hypothesis.

    Kymber 6 years ago

    Why did the atheist throw her watch out the window?

    She wanted to see if it was designed intelligently enough to evolve into a bird.

    Terresha 6 years ago

    I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I completley believe in my all powerful God. He says in his word that you know he is real when you see the world around you. Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. He says in his word we were created to have a relationship with him. He has made himself known to us. Do you think God would make us and then leave us. Certainly Not!

    Baileybear 6 years ago

    I only recently came across the term agnostic, and realise that it describes where I'm at. I'm ex-christian, and don't consider myself atheist. I lean more towards scientific evidence than the supernatural. There's so much that doesn't add up, more with the Bible and church than with science.

    God hasn't helped me even when I believed in him.

    I get tired of people preaching as "evidence"

    Sherly 6 years ago

    I find it dissapointing that many people have faith in getting an impossible promotion, buying the house of their dreams or having the perfect housband or wife, but can't have faith in God. Some things in life don't make sense to you, but they do to God. @Baileybear I find it impossible to believe that God hasn't helped you...you are healthy, no? Have a job? A house? God doesn't give you anything you can't handle. Have you ever been in a situation that you never found the solution to? And futhermore, do you really think we evolved from monkeys? The problem with science is that they try to find a solution for everything no matter how stupid it is. You say you get tired of people preaching as "evidence"? My dear, that's where the term faith comes from, you have to believe. If you try to find even the smallest thing that doesn't add up in the Bible, then you simply don't WANT to believe. I'll leave you with this question for you to think about...If there is a God that giving you the chance at eternal life and happiness, why wouldn't you take it? It would be like giving you a million dollars, wouldn't you take them?

    Sherly 6 years ago

    Oh and another thing...read the last pages of the bible. How come things that were profesized hundreds of years ago are happening today? Scientists came up with another excuse hundreds of years after the bible was written to explain these events. It's not a coincidence, read and get oriented! I completely agree with kp and baptistCHRISTian. I'd rather die believing in a God and finding out he isn't real than dying without believing in a God and finding out he was real and had a place for me but I was too foolish and sucked into the world to notice He was calling me, then went to hell.

    Kara 6 years ago

    I also agree with arshtara. Oh, and how come people who don't believe in God sooner or later recall him? How come so many people use His name in vain? G****dam*** it ? Holy ******?! Oh my ***?! Seriously, there are no atheist, just people who are confused. Atheists can't say that they have never had a doubt, heck, they probably have doubts still from time to time. Only the term agnostic and theist exist...

    maplethorpej profile image

    maplethorpej 6 years ago from Minneapolis, Minn.

    Short and concise! I like it. It sounds like Stephen Hawking is leaning towards the atheist side now. His new book is definitely slanted that way. WhyWeExist.com

    aguasilver profile image

    aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

    Turning point for me was when I read those words:

    John 14:5-7 (Amplified Bible)

    (Doubting)Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?

    Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.

    If you had known Me [had learned to recognize Me], you would also have known My Father. From now on, you know Him and have seen Him.

    Only three decisions can be reached by these words:

    Christ was telling the truth.

    Christ was a liar.

    Christ was insane.

    Only the first option worked for me, the rest were disproved by His words and ministry

    Sherly 5 years ago

    sorry I don't I agrre with kp...I agreed with Kymber

    Darryl Fernandes 5 years ago

    I dont contradict anybody, but I say we all are not the same, each has a role to play in this world. Weather you are a saint or devil a believer or athiest it does not matter. The real problem is that not everybody has given sufficient answer to each and every question. We are not God, but we are a creation of God. To know that God exist or does not we must demonstrate to the unbelivers of the world. This will surely find an end to this conversation.

    Hannah 5 years ago

    I am a Follower of Christ. I know this is something a lot of people dont want to hear, but please just please hear me out!! I personally cannot look around and not see that God is real. He has seen me through the worst of times and has not abandoned me. I'm not here to argue with anyone who disagrees with me, but to spread the word that God loves EACH AND EVERY ONE of us no matter what we've done, so much so that he sent his son, who was completely and totally innocent, to die in order to save us from our sins. And most people want scientific evidence that this is all true and you've heard it before but i'll say it too. FAITH. Its hard for nonbelievers to grasp. A lot don't try, i think, because they don't want to. Their reasons are their own, but i beg you to please try!! If i sound deparate, i kind of am. Your Eternity is at risk!!

    veevee 5 years ago

    Science can tell us how but it cannot tell us why.

    God has the answer to everything to explain both how and why!! I'm only 17 and I know this. I completely agree with the above comments that say I'd rather live my life as if there is a God and find out there isn't than to live my life like there is no God and find out there is.

    I'm Iraqi but Christian. Many people out there do not even know there are Christian Iraqis out there and its actually heartbreaking. We get no attention from the media and are the minority in Iraq. I do not live there anymore and don't have any close family members there but its still sad to hear about my people dying from church bombings there.

    If you have read the bible you will know about the Assyrians !! Spread the word and spread the love!! There's no reason not to.

    Tremendo profile image

    Tremendo 5 years ago from Rome

    Really interesting! Tks :)

    Rosanna 5 years ago

    I was raised a muslim, all my life my mum would tell me ''this is bad you'de go hell'' or ''no one knows how god is'' or ''angels on you're shoulder's'' It's just all complicated, these last 2 years ive been researching about different religions and in my opinion, i do not believe in any religion, when i compare all the religions the only thing i agree with is ''no lying, no killing, no adultary ect..''

    Tabatha 5 years ago

    I love and know that God loves me. I can tell you that he's changed my life so now I can have a mansion in heaven an walk with him

    lyssamae89 5 years ago

    I very much dislike when people just can't accept that someone doesn't believe or doesn't know if they believe in god. Saying we aren't really agnostic or atheist is like us telling u that u are just pretending to believe in god. Who cares about whether or not atheists and agnostics will spend eternity in hell? U have your spot in heaven so just worry about yourselves.

    And saying u would rather believe in god and find out he is not real than to not believe in him and find out he is real is some of the craziest stuff I have ever heard. It's basically saying u only believe in god because you are scared of the "what ifs" and scared of going to hell. Not one of you self proclaimed believers in the "all-powerful" god mentioned anything about being emotionally destroyed for all of eternity after u die if you found out there was no god; that the thing you "Devoted" your life to didn't exist. You would just be happy to be off the hook and not be in hell. I refuse to say I believe in something just because I am scared of what might happen to me.

    I do, however, agree that faith is faith there is nothing to solidly prove it. Anyone can believe whatever they want and I don't care, but honestly believe if u r going to believe. If u truly believe u wouldn't be trying to make every man written word of the bible "evidence" of gods existence. The bible was written for u by the people who wanted u to believe it. Of course there r passages in it that prove your theories.

    lildave 5 years ago

    My question has to do with all relgious material. Why do people believe in books written by men? I was raised a christian so the Bible is what I am refering to. People by nature are lairs and will say anything to get you to believe. What if someone came out today and said "I am the son of God"? I would laugh my head off and humans would probably send him to the mental ward. But people believe in a person that said he was the son of god 2000 years ago. Christians say we need to pray for someone when there sick and praise god when they get better. but say it was gods will when that person dies. Do christians really believe that all human beings come from Adam and Eve? Does god really know everthing? Why did he let me be born if he knows i am going to hell? My dad always said "Don't believe in anything you read and only half of what you see". I don't think he was talking about the Bible but thats the way I took it.

    Hannah 5 years ago

    lyssamae89: This is a hypothetical situation. Say your a Christian and you KNOW FOR SURE you are going to Heaven and that the alternative is to spend eternity in Hell. Would you still tell others "believe what you want to believe" or would you tell as many as you can about Jesus not only out of fear, but out of love of God and love for others?

    lyssamae89 and lildave: The Bible is the Word Of God. I don't know how else to say it. I just know it's true. It was written by man, yes, but everything in it is what God put on their hearts to say. His words. Many Christians disagree. Many Christians argue over different points in it. Many are hypocrites. While all of it is important, the most important thing is to know that God loves you individually and died for all. All you have to do is accept Him and live by Him. Faith is really hard to grasp, yes. But please believe me it would be the most importand decision and amazing experience y'all would have made.

    AntonOfThe North 5 years ago

    I read a definition of agnostic once that I quite like. I don't remember the source but it stayed with me:

    "An agnostic does not know the nature of god, and doesn't think you do either"

    A belief is a belief. We believe based on how we feel about something, moreso than what we think about something. Passion rules reason. This is why it is so hard to convince someone of an opinion that is contrary to how they feel, no matter how reasonable your argument.

    (Have you ever had a debate with a devout racist?)

    And last I checked, there was no one alive at the moment of creation. "I know. . ." is a hard statement to support. "I believe. . ." cannot be refuted.

    randslam profile image

    randslam 5 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

    It astounds me how simple this hub is and how complicated the "religionists" or "faithists" have made their answers.

    All livelonger did was define a term in a simple manner. "I don't know." Simple.

    Why anyone is shoving their opinion on a guy who's defining an important trait for a human being to possess astounds me. I can't stand people who always answer, "I KNOW. I KNOW. I KNOW."

    You don't know--so try being an agnostic for a day. You might learn something.

    lyssamae89 5 years ago


    I would have to answer to your hypothetical situation, yes, I would still say to people believe what u want to believe. If I were a Christian and I BELiEVED I knew for sure I was going to heaven I would inform people of my beliefs but I would, at the end of the day, have the decency to respect the beliefs of others and not belittle their beliefs by bullying mine onto them.

    And don't get me wrong I was raised Christian and I tried for the sake of my family since a very young age to believe in it all and i just never felt it so it is hard for me to understand how u feel about it. I just feel like everyone that believes felt like I did at some point and just convinced themselves to believe it overtime. I know that is most likely wrong but from my view point I just can't see myself believing unless that were The case. I want to believe I want to find a something that I can put faith into and I look and learn and read about religion all of the time but unless I can know something to be true I just can't accept it, I'm a science geek by nature. I just know that Christianity is that last thing I would ever believe in and religions in general. But I am spiritual and instinctual. I wouldn't coin myself an agnostic, more like indefinitely hesitant and undecided.

    randslam profile image

    randslam 5 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia


    Christians claim that they are "called out." If that is the case then it isn't a personal choice--it is a calling.

    This is where the Christian proselytizing becomes so confusing. If you can't come to Jesus unless the Father calls you why on earth would you force your "special relationship" on someone who isn't hearing that call?

    I was raised in two faiths from birth...from one my parents went to another...battled the good fight...then after 30 years went to another--so I know all about the Christian language, dialogue and conflict. I lived it.

    I don't have to anymore--I can philosophize all I want about archaic Christian faith, but the fact of the matter is that the book is great literature. Is it "god-breathed" as so many like to say--the "word of God?"

    Very unlikely--however, there are enough warnings, wisdoms and universal truths in the book that one can learn moral lessons. There is no indication of a hell fire, in the book. It says, "no man has ascended into heaven." So the absolute lie of Christianity is first, there is no "heaven or hell" scenario.

    Secondly, Lyssamae, by you saying you are undecided and hesitant means you are an agnostic--so I wouldn't worry about it. It's good not to know everything.


    lyssamae89 5 years ago

    @ randslam

    I agree with your statement about the book offering, if nothing else, morals. And since I was raised in not only a christian society, but a christian household, I have to say that I live my life by a lot of those morals. Mainly because they are common sense.

    The reason I am hesitant to coin myself Agnostic is because I feel it often comes with the assumption that someone not only is unsure of their religious or spiritual beliefs, but that they also refuse to seek out any information. That is definitely not me.

    I really like your posts...you seem to think as I do.

    Nadia 5 years ago

    I believe in God. Having doubt can be assumed that deep deep down, you think you are smarter than God. But try thinking deeper, you still cannot create the world.

    lyssamae89 5 years ago

    @ nadia

    Don't assume you know how I think, and I won't assume I know how you think. That's the most frustrating part about this whole blog topic. TO EACH THEIR OWN.

    Secondly, most people don't assume things about things they don't believe in.

    Agnostic 5 years ago

    I feel sorry to Christians who only know to quote their own self-claimed bible which is not recognized by other believers/non-believers. So do I feel sorry to Muslims who can only quote from their self-claimed Al Quran which has no scientific base at all. They must learn about science. they must learn from Stephen Hawking!

    MissChellePanda profile image

    MissChellePanda 5 years ago from Connecticut

    I really like this article but I also think there is another statement an agnostic makes, "I don't really care about religion." At least, that's how I am.

    Great Article!

    MS 5 years ago

    For all those children that are dying of hunger or killed...I wonder where is GOD? When children are being abused and they pray to GOD that it stops but it never does. Where was GOD? I guess GOD is too busy answering prayers for all those that are praying for a car, a house, more money. I know some of you are you going to say that that is their destiny and GOD has his reasons. So GOD is OK watching all these children suffer....I thought he loved all children. I thought GOD didn't discriminate?

    MS 5 years ago

    Maybe if people would stop fighting for religious believes and simply focus on being good people than just maybe this would be a better place for everyone.

    Ben 5 years ago

    I've finally found something to say when people ask me my religion or if I believe in God. thanks! :)

    Naomi's Banner profile image

    Naomi's Banner 5 years ago from United States

    I apreciate your explanation of agnostic. I actually had never bothered to steady it out. It explains a lot for me. I see in one of your comments that you are born Jewish. Could you write a Hub explaining the Hebrew language as this is something that is also fascinating to me. It is a beautiful language and quite diverse.

    livelonger profile image

    livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

    Naomi's Banner: Thank you for your comment. I am actually a convert to Judaism (I was born Catholic). I unfortunately know very little Hebrew beyond some basic sayings - I lived in Israel for a few months - and some blessings.

    brian alford 5 years ago

    for me faith has nothing to do with it,I feel it in my bones I float in the cosmos every day with a smile on my face "knowing" theirs oh so much more to it all!!

    Voice of Reason 5 years ago

    First, I would like to state that I am a former christian, and know the Bible well. I am currently Agnostic. I would also like to say that every christian who's comment I've read so far has been ignorant with flawed logic. This is an accurate portrayal of most Christians in my opinion. I remember one particular post that said, "Evidence? Are you not healthy, with a job and a house?" Come on. There are millions of people without homes and jobs who are Christian. So,where is god at? Also how can you come to reason in your head to pray, when "god" supposedly has everything laid out for you. He didn't really answer your prayer if the nice thing that happened to you has been set in stone since the beginning of time. If you can't change god's plan for you then why pray in the first place. Also for those of you who discredit evolution. The story of Noah's Arc actually supports it. There is no way Noah could build an arc that holds two of all the hundreds of thousands of species in the world. Therefore, After the "flood" there would have to be some incredibly fast paced EVOLUTION going on to have us end up with the millions of species of animals we have on the planet currently. Now, i will say that an ignorant person who doesn't care to know what is really going on and will become a better person by doing so should do it. If you are smart enough to be a good person without someone telling you to then it is only logical to do so. Please Christians, comment back and i will kindly use logic to disprove any thesis you seem to come up with.

    ;) -- Trey Williams

    voice of reason 5 years ago

    I hope this has helped.

    :) -- Trey Williams

    Golflad 4 years ago

    Trey ;

    Your own logic seems to be flawed as is some of my Christian constituents. The thought I have regarding this entire discourse is that lack of knowledge only exists in lieu of someone having the courage to prove their theorem.

    Regardless of point, evidence, or topic everything we know collectively about the world today was once conjecture. People such as Capernicus, Magellan, and Columbus proved their respective generations wrong and this topic is no different.

    However by its very nature this is a topic that demands faith. Knowledge has ever been the antithesis of faith. Where knowledge exists faith will always have a hard time finding purchase.

    So whether you agree, disagree, or as is the case don't know think. We all seek knowledge; but what did we have in place of that knowledge before we had it. The answer is FAITH.


    randslam profile image

    randslam 4 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

    Using the word "faith" where imagination and interpretation fit better is a huge mistake. The imagination and interpretation of the natural universe stated, and written down, by our early ancestors is also a flaw in logic unless scientifically proven.

    Early man saw the universe and created religions by interpreting signs of the sun, moon and stars around the globe. Many of which align themselves with full moons, equinoxes and recorded fables of what may or may not have been global events.

    Until undisputed evidence can be found, every religion is a theory of things to come, interpretation of the past and a belief of "faith" which by its own definition is "evidenced in the invisible".

    One can not present this as evidence of god--it is simply evidence of a strong will that wishes to believes one's chosen pursuit of theological conclusion0--and in many cases--force it on their fellow human beings.

    Voice of Reason 4 years ago

    In my previous comment, i was too harsh on Christians. I was worked up after reading all of the comments and hearing some of the ridiculous beliefs. I still believe that your logic is flawed, Fin, because it was not faith that preexisted Knowledge, among the intelligent, but curiosity. Also, I give examples of the flawed logic of others statements.. Do not call my logic flawed unless you have evidence to support your accusation. Thank you. I am still ready for any response or debate. Consider it... a challenge.

    :) -- Trey Williams

    KeithC 4 years ago

    Actually Fatfist, an atheist would answer question,"Is there a god?" "No" just like a theist would answer the question "Yes". Both of whom would actually be assuming an answer to a question that has cannot be answered.

    ToxicAgnostic 4 years ago

    Robyn, it doesn't sound like you want to believe in god. It sounds like you do it because it's a safe bet. If you're wrong, no big deal. But if you're right, you think that you get to go to heaven. If "god" is everything believers say he is, then he will know the difference.

    alezafree profile image

    alezafree 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    Cool hub! Looks like a hot button issue for some. As a fellow agnostic Jew I'm glad you wrote this and enjoyed the lists. I would hope it opens some minds.

    livelonger profile image

    livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

    Alezafree: Thank you. The discussion is all well and good, although arguing for certainty when it comes to the nature of existence is odd since none of us have the answers.

    Muldania 4 years ago

    I agree that no one can know for certain if God exists or not. All people have are faith. I usually describe myself as an atheist, partly as a reaction to what I consider to be wrong with religion, and party due to the lack of evidence. However, God can only be described using a human understanding. Even the word God has different meanings to different people. Perhaps it would therefore make more sense to replace the word with something else, which does not come attached with everything religion has brought with it.

    Mary 4 years ago

    There is a God always has been always will be!! The Bible clearly states I'm the alpha and omega the beginning n the end He created the world n he will be here when the world is not. The earth n universe didn't just create itself!

    randslam profile image

    randslam 4 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

    Sorry, Mary, but natural forces of the universe could have actually come together without the need for a "creator." The quotes from biblical text are words that are eloquent in their literary worth, but far from evidence of a god.

    One shouldn't be too dogmatic about the godhead, one way or another, because the fact of the matter remains in the "unknowable."

    I feel for overly zealous atheists and theists, as they can't prove any of their conclusions--only the agnostic stands in the middle open to further understanding.

    Is there "magic" in the universe that reveals a god? Not really, only that the universe, the earth, even the beauty of the human species and the animal kingdom are wondrous--but the dogmatism of naïve believers, and the conclusions that faithless humans are doomed to an eternal hell fire is ludicrous...even the bible doesn't describe humans in heaven or hell...that was Dante's Comedy.

    One needs to do careful research and study to come to the realization that life is precious, short, but certainly not conclusive of the Christian, or any, zealots' belief system.

    Dogmatic, blind faith is simply that...overly opinionated and based on nothing...blind.

    Jesus' 4 years ago

    the whole creation, Earth, and space etc. declare the Glory of God and His thumb print is on it. To not see it, is to purposely close your eyes, mind and spirit.

    louromano profile image

    louromano 4 years ago

    Good information is given on this hub.

    hank 4 years ago

    I believe that we should not simply consider the fact that we don't know; evidence that we can't, or a valid reson not to take on the responsibility we all have to find out...and choose. If we wait till we're dead to find out, it will most certainly be too late to take sides.

    pat5150 4 years ago

    I just wanted a more precise definition of "agnostic" to better explain to people how I felt. I now realize that I am another idiot who wastes time looking for explanations instead of just not caring what people think. Why do people care to debate religion when it really is no ones business...Live life..and please try to remember to dumb down once in a while and know that no one will ever see anything the way any other person can..Lets all get over ourselves and our personal choices.

    LauraGT profile image

    LauraGT 4 years ago from MA

    Thanks for the clear definition and many popular examples. Agnosticism, as well as atheism, is often misunderstood.

    greenarcher81 4 years ago

    Being an agnostic basically means you are open minded and (decerningly) receptive to both ends of the spectrum. You ponder and educate yourself before you arrive at a certain conclusion unlike the fanatic believers and atheists who claim to know everything but fail to competently back themselves up.

    Marshall 3 years ago


    Richard Ewald profile image

    Richard Ewald 3 years ago from Winston-Salem, North Carolina

    Agnostic is not a middle ground between theism/atheism, nor is it "fence sitting". Theism/atheism is a dichotomy, as such, the position "I don't know *what to believe*, is null- still a non-belief, thus atheist.

    Interesting that you mention Huxley who coined the term, but not his concise definition. As such you are still misunderstanding the term somewhat, greenarcher's explanation is much closer than yours, though he makes the mistake of describing theism/atheism in terms other than existential "belief/non-belief" claims.

    As well, your juxtaposing of "Gnostic" based on the roots of both words falls under the reasoning error - etymological fallacy.

    Huxley's definition:

    "Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle...Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable." ~ T.H. Huxley (April 1889). "Agnosticism". The Popular Science Monthly

    While it is quite valid to hold a position of "agnostic atheist" as the two are compatible in every way (in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find an atheist who wasn't also by definition; agnostic), if you claim to be a member of a religion (in your case, conversion to Judaism, not an ethnic or cultural Jew), and agnostic; any faith, belief or adherence to the existence of (even an unknowable) deity and respective mythos, while being consistent with the negative aspect of the principle, conflicts with the positive facet of:

    "...follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration."

    Negates, belief and faith claims to the affirmative - "without regard to ANY other consideration".

    Note that this method does not necessitate the question of "gods", it does in fact also describe science to a "T". Further, many of the 2600+ versions of alleged creator deities are defined by claims that can be disproved. The whole "can't know whether god exists" ignores the reality that there are many that are believed in and described in contradictory terms, some with falsifiable qualities. Agnostic is not synonymous with; "solipsistic".

    liljr 3 years ago

    it seems to me that being this way is taking the cowards way out by trying not to offend anyone ...........that's crap

    randslam profile image

    randslam 3 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

    Actually...liljr...agnosticism is the wisest way to go as neither side can prove anything..."i don't know"...is the wise one's way...because neither side can be proven.

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