Atheism vs. Agnosticism vs. Belief By: David Rader II on March 07, 2009 @ 11:43 AM
I've found many people wrongly call themselves Atheists when they explain them selves, by definition, they're actually Agnostic. So I'm giving the rundown of the three major belief systems here: Belief, Agnosticism, & Atheism. Plus I'm adding in some personal flavor from my experience to make it a bit more than a dictionary entry.
Belief in God
It is my personal belief, and once explained, a natural belief to many others that ones belief in God depends on his or her definition.
If one believes God is a being who lets no one get hurt, then obviously, that God does not exist. If one believes God is another name for "Everything" to personify it and make it more understandable, then obviously, God does exist.
I choose to take this route of belief, because it does help me understand and I think it's foolish to disregard the high likely-hood that there are greater forces at work than on the interpersonal level. We are but ants on a mountain.
My experience with Atheists is that usually they realize their defined God doesn't exist so they assume "God does not exist." Who's to say their definition of God was right though? Why are they so "almighty" to even assume their one minuscule definition of God is the right one? I think atheism becomes more a practice of misunderstanding and defiance just because it's "cool."
Agnosticism takes the standpoint that "I don't know for sure either way." I can really respect this standpoint. I think that once anyone believes or realizes that their belief in anything however exists greatly due to their personal definition of it though, then they choose out of the three major belief systems mentioned here, which is the most logical approach. Agnosticism is the middle ground.
#1David March 12, 2009 @ 10:36 PM
I think you hit the nail on the head. A belief is just that, a belief. What unnerves me is when people have a complete certitude that their beliefs are the absolute truth. How do we know? This applies to both the religious and the atheist. We have our beliefs but lets accept that we could be wrong. I mean...somebody has to be right and somebody has to be wrong. Can everybody be right? Then that means the chances are...our beliefs are not exactly accurate either.
#2Mark March 13, 2009 @ 5:52 PM
I'd disagree. Most people who call themselves atheists are atheists; it's wrong to think that an atheist claims there is definitely no god, though.
There are two types of atheist arguments; the weak atheist and the strong atheist approach. Most (almost all I'd say) people who call themselves atheists these days are weak atheists - I am, myself - and this argument is essentially "I don't think there's a god (any god) or supreme power or guiding fairy or invisible goblin because there's no proof and no method to test for it BUT precisely because there's no way to test I can't absolutely rule it out because that's impossible." This is different to the agnostic shrug and "I don't know." The strong atheist belief is essentially "there is no god (any form), period." The strong atheist is effectively the same as the person who states "there is a god (my particular form), period." Neither standpoint holds water rationally and subsequently people who are religious and won't entertain the possibility of there being no god are the same as strong atheists with their standpoint of not entertaining the possibility of a god. Fortunately, strong atheists are rare because most people sensible enough to rule out divinity in some form are also sensible enough to only take the argument to its logical conclusion.
So, open-minded, intelligent people are weak atheists - but still atheists and not because it's "cool." Narrow-minded people or fantasists are either strong atheists or religious. People who can't be bothered to think it through properly are agnostic or whatever their parents told them to be when they grew up.
#3David L. Rader II March 14, 2009 @ 1:18 AM
I believe by the standard definition of Atheism, one must specifically deny the existence of god.
That's the fundamental difference between agnosticism and atheism. Agnostic believes specifically that is shouldn't be believed either way (or believes in nothing at all, i.e. there is no judgement).
A big, if not the number one point of this article; making an exhibition of the differences between atheism and agnosticism.
I may have messed up that exhibition at first when giving my views on theism. I've found that confusing to explain, considering one may need to evaluate their own definition of god, much more do they assume their definitions to be right and just evaluate "why I do or don't I believe in that god."
To be either atheist or theist, one must have an idea of what they consider god to be.
My next article on Chexed.com is going to be called "Who is God to You?" I'm going to give my opinion, why I consider it most likely to be true and I'm going to ask my readers their opinions and why they consider them to be true. Get notified when it's posted by subscribing to a feed here: chexed.com
#4Hicham March 17, 2009 @ 8:07 PM
I agree with your post and your comment and simply state that the problem is in the definition of 'God' for people. That's the core of the whole difference between atheist and theist.
Aside note: I however beleive that there's no compulsion in religion so it's not to be forced upon anybody.
Glad that I found this blog :)
#5Jeff March 18, 2009 @ 12:31 PM
hey man, i just wanted to say thanks for visiting my site earlier and commenting on it. i'm sort of busy with med school so i don' t have alot of time updating and writing, but come back once in a while! thanks.
#6A Woad Raider January 26, 2010 @ 7:33 PM
Whatever, just if they keep it good.