Atheism vs. Agnosticism

DrTerwilliker's picture
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Atheism vs. Agnosticism

Damn it, the whole thing drives me crazy.

I just got in a whole, long, drawn-out debate, on the IMDb "The Dark Knight" board, of all things, on the definitions of agnosticism and atheism and whether the two can coexist in one person or not. I was, obviously, on the side that they surely could. This guy was insisting that atheism is absolutely an assertion that there is NO god, and that agnosticism is a "maybe" on the question of whether god exists or not. I'm so sick of that shit. Pulling out wikipedia articles and dictionary definitions wouldn't even convince this guy. Actually, dictionaries don't help much with the whole "atheism" argument, since most of them use only the definition of strong atheism. Anyway, the guy kept insisting that my belief is "nontheism," which is actually the exact same thing since non=a, but whatever. I gave up at that point, because it was becoming clearer and clearer that I'd engaged in a debate with one of those "I'm always right" pricks who will never budge an inch, regardless of how well an opponent argues. My brother's one of them. Seems to be a lot among men between the ages of 14-60.

Anyway, why do people still confuse these definitions so frequently? This was a learned guy, and he apparently had no clue that atheism is the lack of a belief, and not a firm doctrine. Arrgh.

Okay, I'm done.



V1per41's picture
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That can be pretty

That can be pretty annoying.  Most people I talk to think that atheism is the assertion that a god(s) doesn't exist and agnostic means that you believe there is "something" you just don't know what it is.

I don't understand how someone could argue with you when you present dictionary definitions of the terms... that just makes no sense. 

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