Monday, June 17, 2013

What Does It Mean to be An Agnostic?

 The term agnostic comes from ancient Greek and means "without knowledge."
An agnostic is a person who believes that the existence of a greater power, such as a god, cannot be proven or disproved; therefore an agnostic wallows in the complexity of the existence of higher beings. 
Agnostics on religion (Christianity, Islam, Buddhists, etc): Religious zealots are often viewed as ignorant by agnostics’ because of their blind following of a supreme being which may or may not exist. Agnostics will often question the existence of a supreme power because a lot of modern religious beliefs have no basis in modern logic; therefore blind following of popular religions is viewed as an easy out for people who chose not to think for themselves. 
Agnostics on atheism: On the other end of the spectrum, unlike atheists, an agnostic uses a more scientific approach to their belief system. An agnostic knows that just because there is no physical proof of the existence of a higher being, it dose not automatically mean that one does not exist. An agnostic views an atheist on the same plane as a religious zealot; often because the belief that human beings are the pinnacle of intelligence and there are few things that we do not or have the potential to understand. 
The realization of knowing that “we cannot know everything” is the backbone of the agnostic belief.

Christian Zealot: God loves you and everyone. He will save you
Agnostic: Prove it.
Athiest: There is no way that a god can exist. 
Agnostic: Prove it. ~ Urban Dictionary
According to Wikipedia, agnosticism can be separated into these different groups:
Agnostic atheism
The view of those who do not believe in the existence of any deity, but do not claim to know if a deity does or does not exist.
Agnostic theism
The view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence.
Apathetic or pragmatic agnosticism
The view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of any deity, but since any deity that may exist appears unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic.
Strong agnosticism (also called "hard," "closed," "strict," or "permanent agnosticism")
The view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities, and the nature of ultimate reality is unknowable by reason of our natural inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience. A strong agnostic would say, "I cannot know whether a deity exists or not, and neither can you."
Weak agnosticism (also called "soft," "open," "empirical," or "temporal agnosticism")
The view that the existence or nonexistence of any deities is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable; therefore, one will withhold judgment until evidence, if any, becomes available. A weak agnostic would say, "I don't know whether any deities exist or not, but maybe one day, if there is evidence, we can find something out."
To sum it up: agnosticism is for people with questions who don't assume the answers to their questions will be found (the opposite of fundamentalism). It differs from atheism, but the two are often paired together. Agnosticism is regularly paired with a variety of other beliefs, actually. Agnosticism has an ancient history and has included followers from all over the world. I am of the opinion that, the more prominent science becomes in society, the more agnostic people will become.

Here are the blogs of some agnostics:
The Agnostic Wife
The Agnostic Pastor
Recovering Agnostic
Ardent Agnostic
Agnostic Mormon Mom

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