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Agnosticism

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Agnosticism

Agnosticism (Photo credit: Pensiero)

In the strongest sense of the term, agnosticism refers to the belief that we can never know if God, the afterlife, or heaven and hell exist because all human experiences, including internal ones, are apparently subjective.

By way of contrast, so-called weak agnosticism maintains a “maybe, maybe not” position that, until some kind of definitive proof comes along, neither denies nor affirms God, the afterlife, heaven and hell.

The word was coined from the Greek (a = not, not with) + (Gnosis = knowledge) by the 19th-century British scientist Thomas H. Huxley. Huxley’s original use of the term referred to only being able to gain knowledge of the so-called empirical world.

More recently, the idea of agnosticism has undergone some philosophical refinement, as outlined at Wikipedia:

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.”†

Related Posts » Atheism, Idealism, Theism

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† http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism

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Author: Earthpages.ca

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5 thoughts on “Agnosticism

  1. Nice. Most of the agnostics I have met are only agnostic because they don’t give a crap.

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  2. Hey, EA, got a question, but didn’t know where to post it. How did you get the links to the click-a-day websites on your blog? I’d like to try and put it on mine as well. I click on them from facebook each day, but it might help if others saw them as well. Thanks! 🙂

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  3. Hi ara, good to hear from you again. You’re right, it is a nice thing to do and absolutely free. If you follow this link, it should work for the Hunger site.

    http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/linktous.faces?siteId=1&link=ctg_ths_linktous_from_home_leftnav

    You put this link in a “text widget” at wordpress. At least, that’s how I did it. Ask me for help if you need any.

    To get the other buttons, just click on each tab at top (e.g. Breast Cancer, Child Health… ) and for each one find the link in the left column of the page that says “Link to Us.”

    This should bring up the appropriate button choices (there are different ones) for each category.

    I hope this makes sense. I’m just waking up first thing in the morning!

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  4. Thanks! I finally got it figured out how to edit it thanks to you. Now maybe more people can click a day and help out 🙂 It certainly can’t hurt anyway.

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