Agnostic seems like a pointless term...

Teknison
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Agnostic seems like a pointless term...

Seeing as agnostic literally means without knowledge, and having knowledge means to know, its a term that should never be applied to theism or atheism on grounds that neither side has knowledge of wether a god exist or not. Am I wrong in saying that to apply the modifier agnostic to theism or atheism is pretty ridiculous? I cannot prove that god exist or does not exist therefore I cannot possibly know if he/she exist or not. Therefore we are all agnostic on the subject and its meaningless to slap a word infront of something to state the obvious.


zntneo
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The problem is that there

The problem is that there are people, many in fact, who say that they do know that god exists, with certainty and there are people who think that they know god doesn't exist. Most even assert that they are able to prove this. Therefore the term is needed to differentiate these people from  people who don't know that god does or doesn't exist.


ispeakmetal
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Yeah, I'd say it has to do

Yeah, I'd say it has to do more with professed knowledge than actual knowledge. Like zntneo said, there are a lot of people claiming it, whether they can "prove" it or not. Who knows? Maybe some of them really do know. haha.


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Teknison wrote: Seeing as

Teknison wrote:
Seeing as agnostic literally means without knowledge, and having knowledge means to know, its a term that should never be applied to theism or atheism on grounds that neither side has knowledge of wether a god exist or not. Am I wrong in saying that to apply the modifier agnostic to theism or atheism is pretty ridiculous?

 

No you are wrong.  the terms are about positions people take, not about whether or not their positions are accurate.

 agnostic people take the position that it is impossible to know whether god exists or not. The term was actually coined by Huxley to describe his own position which he felt was kind of the opposite of the position the gnostics took, which was of course that they had absolute knowledge of the existence of god and his nature.

 

 


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I'm with Teknison, Agnostic

I'm with Teknison,

Agnostic is a completely redundant term as every single person is one.  No one knows one way or the other.

Although technically I suppose someone out there could actually know, but I highly doubt that said person would keep it to themselves.

One of the major tenants of xianity especially is faith, so they are basically comming right out and saying that thye don't know for sure and are therefore agnostic.

To me, a xian is someone who lives their life as if the xian god exists, a muslim is someone who lives their life as if allah exists, and an atheist lives their life as if no deity exists.

 

I'm sure that's really confusing to read, but it all makes sense in my head. 

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan


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Depending on how strict you

Depending on how high you set the requirements for knowledge, it could be considered impossible to know anything (e.g. the regress argument). On the other hand, if you set the requirements for knowledge low enough, and depending on how you define a god, it could very well be considered possible to either know that a god exists or to know that no god exists. As such, I would call myself a gnostic except that I don't want to be mistaken for a Gnostic.


Hambydammit
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Quote: Seeing as agnostic

Quote:
Seeing as agnostic literally means without knowledge, and having knowledge means to know, its a term that should never be applied to theism or atheism on grounds that neither side has knowledge of wether a god exist or not.

Yes, but sweetmeat is neither sweet nor a meat.  Meat is technically muscle, and sweetmeat is brains, and it's definitely not sweet.  It's pickled, for crying out loud.

Having said that, if we apply its proper meaning (without knowledge) we still have some problems.

I can prove with logical certainty that the Christian god doesn't exist.  Theoretically, I have no knowledge of him because he doesn't exist.  However, I have knowledge of unicorns, and they don't exist.  Similarly, I have lots of knowledge of the concept of the Christian god.

I cannot prove with logical certainty that "god" doesn't exist unless god is defined.  Culturally, god has dozens, maybe hundreds, or even thousands of meanings.  I can logically throw out any that rely on the world "supernatural" because that word is an empty set and literally refers to nothing.  Even so, there are so many gods who are described as natural but are unfalsifiable.

So, when someone asks if I have knowledge of god, I must ask what god is before answering.  If I am told a coherent definition, I now have knowledge of the concept, but not the existence of this god.

To make a long story short, the word agnostic doesn't have an agreed upon precise definition.  As soon as you assert that it means a certain thing, someone else can say, with some validity, that it means something else.

Here at the Rational Response Squad, we prefer the usage implying direct, empirical knowledge of the actual existence of any god.  Using that definition, everyone on the planet is an agnostic.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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QuasarX
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Hambydammit wrote: Here at

Hambydammit wrote:
Here at the Rational Response Squad, we prefer the usage implying direct, empirical knowledge of the actual existence of any god. Using that definition, everyone on the planet is an agnostic.

I was with you right until this paragraph.  Do you mean to say that the preferred usage of agnostic here at RRS is to mean "not having direct, empirical knowledge of the actual existence of any god"?  If so, I'd say that's a broader definition than I'm used to; I'm more accustomed to, "believing that no direct, empirical knowledge of the actual existence of any god can exist".

In either case, though, unless a god is defined as something that doesn't exist, I would have to disagree with you and say that there might be a person who has special, direct knowledge of such a god.  I wouldn't expect it to be the case... but I couldn't rule it out either.


Teknison
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In that case we use the

In that case we use the word agnostic in theism or atheism to mean that we believe or do not believe there is knowledge? or that we believe or do not believe that knowledge possible?

Lets say someone believes that a god exist however they cannot define their god because they say "I cannot apply rules or specifics to something I know nothing about. This is what religion seeks to do." How can I prove that god does not exist or exist? I simply cant. nor for that matter can I have any knowledge on this so called god. I think in any form of agnostic would apply because I havnt been given any information to work with.

1. I do not have knowledge.

2. I do not believe I have knowledge.

3. I do not think knowledge is possible.

Now, I think by any definition, you would be considered agnostic. It also applies as soon your given information you cant prove. You say that you can prove that unicorns do not exist, but what if I were to say that unicorns exist in a magical realm with santa claus and that normal people cannot reach this realm.I cannot combat irrational claims based on non factual information without information that contradicts its existance.

So would it be safe to say that agnostic is a fun little word that we slap around because it either applies in all cases. or that it applies only in case by case basis and should not be used generally? In both cases I get the same answer.

It should not be used so generally whatsoever.


Teknison
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Sorry I was a bit unclear

Sorry I was a bit unclear in my previous post. Let me try and simplify.

I can claim to be an athiest and consider myself to be non-agnostic -

- but to what am I claiming I know?

What am I claiming knowledge is possible in?

I can claim to be an agnostic athiest and consider knowledge to wether god is exist impossible.

what god?

 To claim to be agnostic or not is to make a claim that you fit the definition of one or the other.

Since we are taking the general consensus that there are different definitions of the word.

Claiming to be either does not mean much to an onlooker based on the fact that he/she does not know what your agnostic (or not) in regards to.

theism? but there are all sorts of theism, which does the term agnostic apply to? what religion? what belief? what definition of agnostic?

The word is to flexible and I think its problematic in any definition. I refuse to use it simply because it just confuses people until you explain your case to them.