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Atheists Vs. Agnostics

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Posted by Hartley DiBianca on March 21, 2001 01:47:46 UTC

Greetings, it has been about two years since I posted on this forum. I would like to comment on religious terminology and the views many people have on the subject. Perhaps some of you have delt with similiar individuals and situations, or disagree agree completely with what you are about to read.

First, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what atheism means and how it is defined. Second, agnosticism seems to get thrown around way to much as an actual religion while it is not. It does not mean one is undecided (although for practical pruposes it has come to mean this) but it does mean one holds the belief that it is impossible to know whether or not god(s) exist. This misunderstanding seems to persist in conjunction with the belief that atheists positively believe there is no god. This is equally as false. A break down of the word tranlates into not theist. Simply no positive believe that there is a god. A true atheist would be anyone who is undecided, doesn't care, or does hold a positive believe that there is no god. An agnostic could be an atheist or a theist. "I believe it is impossible to know whether or not god exists, but I have faith" or "I believe it is impossible to know whether or not god exists and I have no faith."

This may all seem like semantic, but some discussions become very difficult when they center around disagreements over terminology rather than substance. Substance can be very difficult (at least for me) to discuss when most of the time is spent on trivial issues.

Let me dig a little deeper. I believe agnosticism has emerged because atheism has been tagged as a dirty word. Much like reactionary or radical in politics have been deemed undesirable while conservative and progressive seem to be the words of choice. These terms, along with the classic liberal term, have been beat up and abused to much they are almost dead. Another conversation for another time.

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