ATHIEST vs AGNOSTIC - please read this. its why im here (sorta)...

I am not into any religions, and im also not an athiest. im AGNOSTIC. I want to learn here at thinkathiest. I always hear Athiests telling me 'youre almost there man, just come over!!!!! JUMP THAT FENCE!!!!" and I dont understand why. I dont know what happens when i die, so how can i say this is it. or there isnt anything else. I dont mean gods and heaven stuff. Im saying WHO KNOWS?!? To me an athiest is someone who believes there IS NO GOD. DONE DEAL. to me thats almost like believing in some higher power... thats why im so confused. what am i missing???? this is a serious question for ME. I guess ill say this. ok.. when we are talking about santa clause there isn't a group of people called 'something' who dont believe in santa. okk. there is no need for any word at all, but there is... atheists... or atheism... PLEASE DONT RESPOND TO THIS with the stuff about theists and non theists stuff unless necessary. im looking for an answer from someone like me who just has questions and want an answer like im talking to a friend, not the awesomest atheist in the village.. lol with all due respect. some Atheists are overbearing, although totally cool because youve obviously figured out that life is HERE and NOW and not waiting in some cloud with a bunch of virgins and bacon.. or whatever religious crap they spew. I LOVE Bill Mahr, Dawkins, Hitchens, Bill Nye, Neil Degrassi (i think its spelled right).

HOW CAN ATHIESTS SAY THERE IS NOTHING when NO ONE KNOWS?!?! Its the whole point! anyway, im new here so dont clobber me.. lol Thanks for reading this and responding.
(anyone can reply, i was just saying, im not an amateur and dont need the 101 on words that shouldn't even really exist... )


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Hi Ryan, ok, I will start with this....

I am an Atheist because I do not believe there are any gods. I am technically also an Agnostic because I have no knowledge about any of them. There is nothing objective for me to consider, to learn from, that would convince me that my lack of belief is unwarranted.

Atheism is a lack of belief in a particular god. If you do not profess to have faith or belief in any god then you are an Atheist. Christians are atheists towards Hindu gods. I am towards all gods. I have no knowledge of the existence of any god so I am agnostic towards them all to. The evidence is completely absent. There is none, not a sliver. So I am a “strong atheist”. There are no gods.

Thank you for that response. I appreciate it. I understand what you mean completely. I personally don't think there are any 'gods' out there either. But what about everything else we haven't thought of? As far as I'm concerned, we have better odds of going to a new planet made out of red-velvet cake than some sort of creator. Although, I don't know. In a sense, there could have been another inverse with a couple scientists sitting around and accident,y created our universe. They're universe is their problem. We will get to THAT bridge when we cross it. I wouldn't consider them gods or our creators... Especially if it was an accident. Yes, that is totally hypothetical. To me, it just seems like every 'free-thinking person would end up at AGNOSTIC rather than ATHEIST. I don't think I'm confused. It just seems like once you realize santa isn't real, that's it. Ok, now we have a new playing field where physics and logic comes into play and not myths etc. to me a logical person would end up at the agnostic table.
I am not trying to start anything here. I am totally serious. Just feel like I'm missing something because all my favorite people are staunch atheists... Hitchens, Dawkins, etc. I do know Neil is agnostic which is somewhat reassuring that I do actually understand what I think... And by the way, this isn't supposed to be offensive to anyone, I'm just trying to get some logical answers....
Thanks again..
-Ryan Beatty

   The reason I don't call myself an agnostic is because the connotation is that an agnostic is someone who simply says "I don't know," or "It can't in principle be known." I'm an atheist because I want to say something stronger than that. When a theist makes claims about creators and insists that I'm a slave to one, that I'm owned by and eternally in debt to whatever god they're pushing, I have a right to demand evidence. They haven't produced a single shred.

    In my opinion, if these people are bold enough to lie right to my face and make claims they have no business making, I ought to be bold enough to say "I don't believe a word of it." I'm an atheist.

    To capitalize on your Santa analogy, you wouldn't just say "I don't know if Santa exists," if someone really expected you as a grown adult to believe he did. Saying that you didn't know would be beneath you. I've never been to the North Pole, I can't prove that toy making elves don't exist, or that magic reindeer can't fly but I can say that there is no credible evidence that they do exist. Anyone who wants to claim otherwise has the burden of proof. Until they satisfy their burden of proof, I won't say "I don't know", I'll say, "I don't believe you."

    To quote Christopher Hitchens, "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." I call myself an atheist not because I know a god doesn't exist but because I have a sense of dignity. I don't have to let church leaders lie to me and demand money for the privilege of listening to them.

    Technically, I'm both an agnostic and an atheist. The two aren't mutually exclusive. It would be too charitable (and in my opinion, cowardly) to theists to call myself simply agnostic.


Ryan, read this:

It will give you some insight into where your reasoning has been led astray.

Thank you. I'm going to check it out after I eat. I appreciate the info!

Ryan, I am also an atheist and an agnostic.  Reg is what's called a "strong" atheist, which means that he goes so far as to say that there are no gods.  I am what is sometimes called a "weak" atheist, which means that although I don't personally believe in a god, I don't claim there are none.  Saying I am a weak atheist does not imply that I am on any kind of fence.  I am solidly atheistic.  Atheism and agnosticism are not necessarily on a linear continuum - there are too many variables.  

I am an agnostic because I lack knowledge of the existence of a god.  Some agnostics think that nobody can know about a god, but who am I to say what other people can know or not know?  I don't think anybody knows about whatever god may or may not exist.  I think people make gods up because they need to, and then humanity complicates it, screws it up, and calls it religion.

There was a time when I did not understand this, and it became clearer as I learned more and talked to others.  I applaud your efforts!  

I would say that I am atheist with respect to all the gods that humans have conjured up so far, but agnostic about the gods of the future. I just need evidence.

Well said. Nice

Thanks you

-ryan beatty
Hey Diane. Well great... Lol that does help. Thank you for those descriptions.

Here is my real quandary... This has potential to offend atheists who read this. And being agnostic, I know that most won't be offended because we think alike when it comes to logic. To me, being offended is a waste of time. I don't have a big vocabulary so I can't always explain exactly what I mean but being offended is weird to me. I used to get offended so I know exactly what THAT means, but actually being offended is a hurdle the offended need to get over. Ok.. Here goes...

When I see people like Hitchens and Dawkins SO STRONG as if they KNOW there arnt any gods (or whatever.. An afterlife), it really baffles me. In my mind, they are brilliant humans taking the hit for future generations and being OUT there debating and informing other humans of a very controversial subject. Well, controversial to the religious community anyway.these guys KNOW what they're talking about. Years and years of research. Ok, so how do amazing brains get to the point of THERE ISNT ANYTHING AFTER YOU DIE as opposed to, NO ONE ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT HAPPENS. To me the most logical outcome is we don't know. Now, let me add that I do realize they really know their shit, and maybe it's going to take me a few more years to find the 'a-ha' moment. I say that because over 20 years ago I was going to church and being brainwashed into that crap. And although I've been agnostic since I was 20 (39 now), I hadn't discovered some of the secrets to a happy life until my mid 30's... Yeah, in my 20's I had all the answers... Which obviously I didn't and I know that maybe I'm just not supposed to understand yet or maybe I have. Because in 5 years I'll most likely think along the same lines, but I'll know things I don't know now. Know what I mean? Anyway, the LOGICAL answer is 'I DONT KNOW'.

Sometimes when the subject arises I'll either just say I'm an atheist for the sake of explaining..and other times when I really want the person(s) listening to know my stance, I do say agnostic and explain it just in case they don't know.

To me, Believing there IS A GOD is the same exact thing as saying THERE IS NO GOD. ---- both parties are equally convicted to their thought but on polar opposites. That's what's troubling to me. When I say I'm agnostic I feel good about it because basically it says what I am, someone who has no clue what's happening after. Sure, I honestly don't think there is something after, and it doesn't make sense when someone is proud to be an atheist when all they're doing is the same thing as the person who DOES BELIEVE. When I say I'm an atheist, something inside doesn't feel right. For the record, when i do say that, it's only when the conversation is light and most people know what an atheist is, and I'll take title proudly because agnostics and atheists both agree that some 6000 years ago some dude was tricked into eating an apple by a magic talking snake? Yes. It lets the person(s) know where I stand and if the conversation gets good, I will stop and actually say, I'm agnostic so that everyone is on the same page... Y'all please don't be upset at me. I'm not here to start stuff with who I'm sure are wonderful people. I already respect you because we all feel the same when it comes to any human telling us they feel sorry for us and god will hopefully show us the way and that Jesus loves us all. Man I hate that. We can't even really get into it because we are the ones who actually care as to not hurt their feelings by saying, something back. It just isn't in our nature. Now if someone wants to debate, let's talk. Let's do just that and get a healthy argument going, but don't try and tell me I'm going to hell while I sit here and hold my tongue because usually the arguments get heated and they don't have anything to back up anything with. I've read the bible 3 times. Twice because I had to and once because I wanted to. Turns out all these people are believing in fairy tales and they even have a book! Called the bible!!! I wish we had something like that. I'm glad we don't because I don't want the answers to fit into a book! They can't! Anyway, most epode believe in something that I know more about than they do and sometimes I want to shake them and show them this new world they can enjoy and find happiness without being judged by a sky monster who watched your every move and who LOVES YOU BUT WILL SEND YOU TO HELL FOR EATING AHAM SANDWICH ON A FRIDAY!!!! It's like talking to a wall sometimes. But hey, to each their own. Thank GOD I am ME. Yes, thank GOD. Right now I am God in my mind. And you are too. Anyway,I say it a lot. Ok I gotta eat. Thanks for listening out there to everyone.


You are right about the most honest answer being that we don't KNOW. But we are still human so things we feel certain about are given an elevated status.

As for what there is after death: we have not found any evidence for a spirit / soul / whatever so that concept gets dismissed.

My personal view involves the consideration that we can experience many things in our lives that cause a change in us: love, someone else's death, illness, injury, losing sight or hearing, (re)gaining sight or hearing, etc. Some of those things can strengthen us while others can cripple us. Even just natural aging changes a person. Once you consider all those possible sources of change add them up. That sum is still going to be less than the change caused by death. So if there is something of us that continues on past death, that something is not the person you are before death. So this is very much the only life we have to live - even if something continues on.

So, Heaven and Hell - nope, don't exist. No reason for them to exist since none of us are going there. Whatever continues on (if something does) is alien to us now - even though it used to be us.

Thanks man! That was a great response. I'm starting to understand... It really has to do with everything else.. It's really about everything I already believe. Ok... If Santa isn't anywhere and making an appearance or at least some sort of weird physics phenomenon like mars swapping places with mercury... That would obviously be crazy.. I'm talking in a split second... Thanks for your post. It's helped a lot!

Thank you so much for that VERY informative post. After reading all these posts I've come to the conclusion that I'm probably an de facto agnostic atheist... Lol.. Seriously though, I understand now. Easy way of saying it is I am an Atheist

Thank you

-ryan beatty



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