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What is Agnostic and Agnosticism
According to many standard dictionaries, literally Agnostic means a person who believes that the proof of existence of God is not possible. It has a number of interesting implications which broadly categorized agnostics between weak and strong agnostics.
Who coined the term agnostic- Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist? Coined the word agnostic in 1960.
Origin the word agnostic-it derived from Greek word agnostos which mean unknown.
”A” means “without” and “gnosis” means “knowledge.” Hence, agnostic means without knowledge, more specifically without the knowledge of gods. It may be technically correct, but rare, to use the word in reference to any other word that means knowledge; for example: “I am agnostic about whether O.J. Simpson actually killed his ex-wife.”
Agnosticism can be defined in the following ways:
- Agnosticism is a doctrinaire which neither denies nor supports that existence of a deity or unseen power or god etc. To put it another way,the agnostics believe that no one can prove or disprove the existence of something (God) supernatural or the other dimensional beings responsible for the creation of this world.
- Agnostics think that it is beyond human capacity to proof the existence of God and whatever evidence we have of creation are not sufficient to draw any conclusion about the existence of God.
- It also can be expressed-- the one who hold the ultimate power of this universe is unknowable and beyond our knowledge.
- God can not reveal himself to human, because he is infinite and humans are finite. Since he does not want to come or make himself known to the world known to humans, he remains someone unknown to human in terms of materialistic evidence.
Strong agnosticism vs. weak agnosticism
Agnosticism can be sub-divided into several categories like-pragmatic agnosticism, agnostic atheism, agnostic theism etc. but the two most important categories are-strong and weak agnosticism.
Strong agnostics claim that there is no one on Earth who can prove the existence of God. On the other hand, the weak agnostics claim that they don’t know if god exists. They don’t claim that it is not possible for others to find the existence of god, they only hold to their idea that they themselves are not sure about god’s existence. The main difference here is that the weak agnostics just speck their own state of mind about the existence, but strong agnostics make a strong statement about the existence of god by implicating to everyone’s believe system. One problem with the supporters of strong agnostics is that by calming the position that it is impossible to learn the existence of god, they made it clear that they actually know something about god, isn’t it. How a person cab be absolutely sure that it is impossible to know about god? it is possible only when one have a certain level of understanding of the existence of god.
Who are agnostics?
Anyone whose believe system falls into any of the mentioned categories of agnosticism is an agnostic-sound so simple. Actually, if your logic tells you that material evidence of proving the presence of god is not enough-instantly you become an agnostic regardless of the fact which religion you follow. Thus at a time you can be both theistic and agnostic, because your believe does not require any evidence or proof of god, you simply believe in Him. But, if your perception of the reality makes an impression in your mind that there is no material evidence to either prove or disprove god’s existence –you’re an agnostic.Can you figure out how many times of your life you became both theistic and agnostic?
How people become agnostic?
Most of the world population are born and brought up in religious families and environment, and until they reach certain ages, willingly or unwillingly, hold on to that faith. When a person develop free thinking power, a certain level of agnostic thoughts struck them, perhaps by watching many untoward incidents that are happening around the world. You must have heard about Zac Efron-the famous young actor of “High School Musical” movie series, he was brought-up as an agnostic.So, sometimes people become agnostics not because of the way they want to develop their idea of creation, but it is mainly because of their surrounding environment is agnostic.
Agnostic and theistic relationship.
Apparently it seems that antagonistic and theistic are completely two different paths of believe systems. Theistic people claim about the clear indication of the existence of God, where as according to strong agnosticism supporters it is impossible to know about god, but they never deny the existence of god, nor do they acknowledge. Can you find a subtle similarities between the two.
Agnostic vs. Atheist
Sometimes agnostics are misunderstood by many as atheists. Agnostics does not believe in anything, actually they are neither against nor for to theistic and aesthetics. Aesthetics people have already decided of non-existence of god, and to agnostics that mind set is just one of the two possibilities: non-existence of god cannot be proved. Agnosticism is not about if a person believed in god or not, it is all about one’s personal perception being not sure about the existence of super natural power.
Are Agnostics more Liberal than Believers and Atheists?
Since both theistic and atheists people take two extreme opposite side of faith about the presence of god, the believers of both parties are already partisan in terms of their faith. The judgment power of an agnostic tells him that his mind is powerless to know about the existence of someone having supreme power of this universe. There reason behind their logic is our existing evidence of the presence of god, primarily based on religious books, does not give any materialistic evidence for his presence. Think about an imaginary situation where god himself show up to both agnostics and atheistic. Now, the question is who will believe that he is god. Of course if he shows some miracles, there is a possibility agnostics might believe-because they were waiting for evidence. But what about atheists? Will they believe in him? God is simply out of their believe system. If you have any suggestion to these questions, please comment on it.
How Bertrand Russell viewed Agnosticism
Bertrand Russell, in a lecture in 1939, said that he could only discuss half about the nature and existence of, God, because if one arrived at a negative conclusion about god’s existence then discussing the nature of god is irrelevant and he was negative on the matter of god. He always insisted his audience to approach the matter of god’s existence with a free mind and fearless attitudes. He had an interesting view on non-anthropomorphic God and he did not disprove about the existence of that sort of god. His most strong agnostic statement came in 1947 when he claimed that as a philosopher in front of a philosophic audience he must describe himself as an agnostic, because of the lack of conclusion evidence to prove that there is no god. In 1953, in a easy, Russell said that he would be convinced about the existence of super human intelligence if someone could come from the sky and told him what would happen in the next 24 hours of his life. Unfortunately, during Russell’s life time no one came from sky to tell about super human intelligence!
Notable People who Declared themselves Agnostics.
* Michelle Bachelet
* Antonio Banderas
* Nick Becker
* Burton C. Bell
* Monica Bellucci
* Sir Harrison Birtwistle
* Susie Bright
* Warren Buffett
* Gene Burns
* Kurt Busiek
* Rose Byrne
* Stephen Hawking
* David Horowitz
* Thomas Huxley
* Larry King
* Uma Thurman
* Ted Turner
*Thomas Henry Huxley
* Albert Einstein
Source- celebatheists.com & Wikipedia
Finally, both theism and atheism talks about the belief system. Theistic belief system is based on religious books or revelations, on the other hand atheistic believe is based mostly on evolution theory. In contrasting to both atheists and theistic, agnostics do not believe in any ideology about god or his existence, rather they depend on knowledge. Thus agnosticism is a totally independent and different concept, because it is based on knowledge and perception of a person about the creation and its creator.