If you don’t believe in God, you’re an atheist. If you don’t know whether or not God exists, but accept a possibility either way, you don’t believe in God. Therefore agnosticism is a subset of atheism.
It’s pretty simple, and nothing to get bent out of shape about.
It’s all part of a spectrum, ranging from agnostics who hope that there is a god to atheists who consider the very concept of a god too absurd to even consider. I consider myself an atheist, but I will readily admit that I could very well be wrong about that.
Atheism is a hard line in the sand. It leaves no room for new evidence. It states in no uncertain terms that the one who professes atheism knows everything they need to know about the universe to assert certainty that there is nothing except pure, mechanical, reductionist physics.
Agnosticism is an acknowledgment that the universe is an infinitely stranger–and possibly unknowable at some point–phenomenon. It holds off drawing that line and asserting certainty.
At the end of the day, though, perhaps it’s more of a personality difference, or just people choosing the outlook they need to cope with existence.
I think it has a lot to do with how one defines god. I would say that atheists generally have fairly well-defined images of the various gods whose existence they dismiss, while agnostics tend to leave the door open for some either known or unknown something that could constitute a god or gods.
Nah, it’s very much the logic of someone who looks at what words literally mean. Although to be fair, you are technically correct on that last statement there -
It’s possible to be an agnostic theist as well as an agnostic atheist, as long as you believe (or not) but don’t think you know if there is a god/gods.
I would argue this statement is true only in the eyes of a believer, who sees anything less than “unquestioning belief” as a lack of faith and thus atheism. To a hardcore Christian? Absolutely “agnostic” is just another flavor of non-believer.
But I think we can be a little more sophisticated in splitting those hairs here. If we’re talking to each other as generally scientific thinkers, then atheism is a drawn conclusion, a firm “no”.
Unless you’re suggesting that atheists do, in fact, leave room for new evidence to potentially persuade them that there could be something going on with the universe that resembles/functions in the capacity of a “deity”.
If that’s the “normalized definition” then yes, there would be little difference in our stances.
Well, this has not been my experience, which is why I argued. The last militant atheist I have personal experience with was an abominable narcissist. There is a level of “certainty” that becomes absolutely toxic in a person.
in my opinion agnosticism is not a subset of atheism. to me, atheism represents a level of certainty beyond the provable. it is, in a way, a kind of faith–the conviction of things not seen. to put it in terms of my belief structures, i am an agnostic because i have neither the inherent certainty nor the logical or scientific proof that a supreme being or beings exists nor the inherent certainty nor the logical or scientific certainty that a supreme being or beings does not exist.
agnostics live in a state of recognized ignorance or uncertainty about the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities. that is not the same thing as having the certainty of nonexistence.