I'm having a discussion on Facebook with my Goddaughter concerning Agnostics.  I find that ironic. I told her that the only difference between Agnostics and Atheists is that an Agnostic is open to the concept of an afterlife.  Both reject scripture. 

I was wondering what people on this site felt about the difference between Agnostics and Atheists.

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P.S. I like to describe myself as such: "My mind is agnostic, but my heart is atheist."

Perhaps this sheds some light on the difference.

Thanks everyone for their comments.  When I discovered the truth, I just said to myself that I don't believe anymore and went on with life.  Last summer, my daughter wanted to go to a bible study group with a church that I had never heard of (thinking cult) and my wife was supportive of my daughter. I believe that it is up to my daughter to decide what she wants to believe and it is my job to make sure she is safe.  That was when I told my wife that I didn't believe anymore.  At that point I realized I needed a support group because I actually thought we were going to separate. We didn't.  I went back to the definition that my atheists father's told me when I was young and that is consistent with what I'm hearing here.  After reading my original post, would replacing "only" with "one of the" make a difference?

After reading my original post, would replacing "only" with "one of the" make a difference?

That sounds better but I'm going to complicate it for you. I am an atheist and I believe in the possibility of an afterlife. While I go so far as to claim to know the god of the bible does not exist and even strongly believe any theistic god does not.... I have had personal experience that is powerful personal evidence of 'something more' out there. I consider myself a pure agnostic when it comes to afterlife.... I just don't know. If there is some sort of afterlife it will be very different than what most people imagine. 

Ben - I agree with you. 


The afterlife remains a possibility, without needing a God.  It is very worthwhile to do thought experiments into how would things be, IF the possibility came true.  As atheists we have no way of proving it one way or another, and [to us] unlike God, the question is of immediate relevance to everyone, especially the de-converted.  Let them keep their afterlife.  Why not?  If there isn't one - so what?  If there is - then this is why it's necessary to live a moral and worthwhile life, otherwise we will end up in a hell of remorse and regret, hated by certain people. 

I've always held the opinion that if there is any punishment in an afterlife, it is self inflicted. 

I agree there is a possibility of an afterlife.  I just have never heard an Atheist say that.  I really don't think of myself either way, I just don't believe in the bible or other religious texts as divine.  They were written by men or women and are philosophical in nature.  I like some of the philosophy credited by Jesus, but I don't think it was divine.  Thanks.

In regard to agnosticism, there is a distinction between "weak" and "strong" varieties. A weak agnostic says "I, personally, do not know if there is a god or not" and they may or may not be open to making a more definite decision in the future. A strong agnostic argues that knowledge of the existence of god is not possible for anyone and that anyone who claims to know is wrong.
In regards to atheism, some people make a distinction between positive and negative varieties. Negative atheism simply means absence of belief in any god. Positive atheism means actual denial of the existence of god, possibly a specific god such as Yahweh or Allah, or of gods in general.
A negative atheist could also be an agnostic if they chose, i.e. "I don't know if there is a god so I do not believe in one."
In practice there is probably a lot of overlap between negative and positive atheism, e.g. someone who does not believe in any gods and actively maintains that specific gods such as Yahweh are no more possible than fairies or leprechauns.

Isn't agnostics the one who just shrug  their shoulders and say "no one knows"  for every argument?

There are many stripes of agnosticism. For example, I'm an atheistic agnostic. I don't believe God exists, but if he does and demonstrates that he does in a manner that is irrefutable, my mind could change on the matter.

Not really.  I know why I don't agree with the bible.  I am open to the concept of a creator god in whatever form.  I just know s/he is not human because we are only, what, a millions years old as a species.  The universe is at least 5 days older than that.  lol

So we won't mention the Apatheists, the ones who don't know if God exists and don't care. :)

Small variations:

Apath-Utilitarianists= I don't care if 'god' exists or not, if it can't be seen to do anything.

Apath-Contraryinists= I don't care if 'god' exists or not, and I'm sticking to it!

Apath-Pataphysians= I don't care if 'god' exists or not, because it is an absurd question, and makes me laugh! 

Apath- No Exitists= I don't care if 'god exists or not, but I am stuck with the rest of you talking about it.



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