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Encyclopedia > Agnostic atheism

Agnostic atheism is a philosophical doctrine that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. While the concepts of atheism and agnosticism occasionally overlap, they are distinct: atheism is generally defined as "a condition of being without theistic beliefs" while agnosticism is usually defined as "an absence of knowledge (or any claim of knowledge)". An agnostic may identify as an atheist or a theist in certain circumstances (see Agnostic theism). Socrates (central bare-chested figure) about to drink hemlock as mandated by the court. ... Atheist redirects here. ... Agnosticism (from the Greek a, meaning without and gnosis, knowledge, translating to unknowable) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims — particularly theological claims regarding metaphysics, afterlife or the existence of God, god(s), or deities — is unknown or (possibly) inherently unknowable. ... Theism is the belief in one or more gods or goddesses. ... Agnostic theism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. ...

One of the earliest explanations of agnostic atheism is that of Robert Flint, in his Croall Lecture of 1887-1888 (published in 1903 under the title Agnosticism): Robert Flint (1838 – 1910) was a Scottish theologian and philosopher, who wrote also on sociology. ...

"The atheist may however be, and not unfrequently is, an agnostic. There is an agnostic atheism or atheistic agnosticism, and the combination of atheism with agnosticism which may be so named is not an uncommon one." (p.49)

"If a man has failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist... if he goes farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist - an agnostic-atheist - an atheist because an agnostic... while, then, it is erroneous to identify agnosticism and atheism, it is equally erroneous so to separate them as if the one were exclusive of the other..." (p.50-51)

Individuals may identify as agnostic atheists based on their knowledge of the philosophical concepts of epistemology, theory of justification and Occam's Razor. According to Plato, Knowledge is what is both true and believed, though not all that is both true and believed counts as knowledge. ... Theory of justification is a part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of statements and beliefs. ... William of Ockham. ...


    • Flint, Robert. Agnosticism: the Croall Lecture, 1887-1888. William Blackwood and Sons, 1903.
    • Martin, Michael. Theism. MSN Encarta. 2000. Microsoft Corporation.
    • Martin, Michael. Atheism: A Philosophical Justification. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1992. ISBN 0-87722-943-0
    • Smith, George H. Atheism: The Case Against God. 1st ed. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1980. ISBN 0-87975-124-X
    • Stein, Gordon. The Encyclopedia of Unbelief. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1985. ISBN 0-87975-307-2
    Atheism topics
    v  d  e
    List of atheists Demographics Ethics Religion Irreligion
    History State atheism Criticism Discrimination Persecution
    Nontheism Weak and strong Agnostic atheism Implicit and explicit Antitheism
    Theism Agnosticism Arguments Faith and reason Religion and science
    Naturalism Skepticism Freethought Humanism Secularism
    Agnosticism topics
    v  d  e
    Agnostic theism Weak agnosticism List of agnostics Strong agnosticism Agnostic atheism
    Theism Apatheism Ignosticism Apathetic agnosticism Atheism

      Results from FactBites:
    Urban Dictionary: Agnostic (705 words)
    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.
    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.
    Thelemapedia: The Encyclopedia of Thelema & Magick | Agnosticism (648 words)
    Agnosticism is the philosophical and theological view that spiritual truths, such as the existence of God, gods or deities, is either unknown or inherently unknowable.
    Agnosticism is not to be confused with a view specifically opposing the doctrine of gnosis and Gnosticism—these are religious concepts that are not generally related to agnosticism.
    However, one can still draw a distinction between weak atheism and agnosticism by drawing a distinction between belief and knowledge, leading those who believe knowledge of God is not possible to claim agnosticism is about knowledge, while atheism/theism is about the lack of belief.
      More results at FactBites »



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