This is my first post on here and I have a rather simple question for you all. I do not know how maany of you willl be able to answer this , but I have wondered why some people choose to be an "agnostic" rather than an "atheist". I myself am an atheist and i have just always wondered why some people have chosen to be agnostic over atheist.
I would have considered myself an agnostic from ages 15-27 or so. That was after being brought up catholic. I never liked to describe myself as agnostic, because to me, that meant that I had no idea what was going on. But that was the reality. I hadn't actively looked into the sciences to find evidence for or against a god. I think I still wanted god to exist, so I didn't want to look into it.
But the more I learned about god, the less it made sense. And the more I learned about science, the more it made sense. I can't recall the moment that I made the switch to atheism, but it wasn't long after realizing that.
The terms actually address two separate claims. Belief and knowledge. Atheism states that you are without belief in a god and theism states that you do have a positive belief in a god. Agnosticism however, address knowledge and is applicable to more than just religion and deities. Being Agnostic means that you simply don't hold enough knowledge to say that something is 100% a fact. Since I don't believe and also lack omniscience, I would classify as an Agnostic Atheist. But why do people misuse or confuse the terms? Sometimes it's because people think Atheism requires the active denial and of gods as well as certainty that they don't exist. That is false, as an Atheist still lacks belief whether they are open to gods, closed to gods, sure of there being no gods, not 100% sure there are no gods, etc. So because of this, many see Agnostic as Atheist-Light. Part of this is possibly thanks to the religious spreading false understanding of the term Atheist and the will to keep the number that self-identify as Atheist as low at possible. Another reason is that Agnostic has the stigma of being more acceptable and less offensive than Atheist.
Hope that helps. Cheers!
Exposure to "other" ideas is a very relative term. Most Brits or French need only travel a couple of hours by car to be immersed in a completely different culture. Yet, some people still manage to never leave home.
In North America, one can travel 4-5 days non-stop by car and still not be exposed to a "other" culture. One can easily understand why "country bumpkins" have higher rates of religiosity than city folk or multi-national regions. Lack of exposure can be, on certain topics, a great hindrance in life.