Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Correction

My father is an agnostic and not an atheist.

atheist: one who believes that there is no deity.

agnostic: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and prob. unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god.

Okay I think that's good enough. Later:)

1 comment:

greyspace said...

Not that I'm necessarily looking to start a debate, but I'd like to suggest another interpretation of atheism and agnosticism.

Atheism, as such, is nothing more or less than the lack of belief in a god. Popular definitions aside, it's a wholly negative position ("belief that there is no god" would entail a positive assertion that atheism doesn't make). Now, there are atheists who make the positive assertion that a god does not exist, but it's not required of atheism. Atheism should be understood as a stance with regard to belief in a deity. The positive assertion that a god does not exist would be more like "anti-theism." In itself, atheism no more means "anti-god" than asexual means "against sex" or amoral means "immoral."

On the other hand, agnosticism is also misunderstood as a sort of "middle ground" between theism and atheism. It's nothing of the kind. Where atheism deals with the question of belief, agnosticism deals with the question of knowledge. It is quite possible to be an agnostic theist (one who believes in god, but does not insist that the belief can be bolstered by any actual knowledge of the deity). It's possible to believe in something without having any knowledge of it.

Thanks for reading. ;)