I joined Think Atheist a few days ago at the suggestion of one of my friends. Throughout my life, i have been an atheist, never questioning my lack of belief in God. After going to Northern Ireland and talking with some people, I now consider myself to be agnostic. I have a bunch of questions which I wrote down about Christianity and am still leaning towards atheism but do not feel that I have a definitive answer as to whether or not God exists or not.
Um. . . Agnosticism is not a halfway house between belief and non-belief. I found that out as the first thing upon arriving at atheism because I was mis-informed on its definition as well. You could call yourself an agnostic atheist.
There's no such thing as a definitive answer anyway. It all comes down to certainty of the probability. A gnostic atheist(substituting unicorns) would say "In all likelihood, the existence of a unicorn is highly improbable. So I am certain these things don't exist." An agnostic atheist would say "I don't believe in unicorns. But I am not certain those who believe in them are telling lies."
Mario saves me the typing. Thanks, Mario. And I also considered myself an "agnostic" for many years until I realized that I had been an atheist all during my so called "agnostic" phase. I just didn't know it at the time. Atheism is not having certainty that there is no god or gods, but rather and simply not believing that one or any exist. And while I might call myself an agnostic atheist, I find the dual labels redundant and tedious.
Actually, I was misinformed of the definition also. I considered myself agnostic for a while than one of my friends pointed out that because I didn't believe in the Christian god, I was an atheist...which makes sense I guess.
If you'd like, we could take on the questions. It could be a fun discussion. There are many well read members here and discussing this topic is something that we quite enjoy. I'm with the other guys too. The possibility of a god has to always be there. I just know of no such god that has compelled me to buy their story.
Hey Tracy, I'm not sure if you're familiar with Richard Dawkin's Belief Scale which he formulated in his book The God Delusion. He says that the different levels of convictions in the existence or inexistence of God can be placed on a 7-point scale or spectrum; 1 being total belief to 7 being total non-belief. Here are the complete 7 categories:
1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.
5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
7. Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.
Strong agnosticism: the view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities and the nature of ultimate reality is unknowable by reason of our natural inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience. A strong agnostic would say, "I cannot know whether a deity exists or not, and neither can you." Weak agnosticism: the view that the existence or nonexistence of any deities is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable, therefore one will withhold judgment until/if any evidence is available. A weak agnostic would say, "I don't know whether any deities exist or not, but maybe one day when there is evidence we can find something out." Apathetic agnosticism: the view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of any deity, but since any deity that may exist appears unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic. Agnostic atheism: Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not have belief in the existence of any deity, and agnostic because they do not claim to know that a deity does not exist. Agnostic theism: the view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence.