(my question was born from bill maher's remarks at  the 4:20 mark)

I have found myself thinking, am I really an atheist or an agnostic? 

I'm not as religiously or savvy as most atheists are. You all have your arguments, your references and keen intellect to fall back on. I try to learn as much as I can from people like this but I know that I will probably not amount to their level of expertise on the subject.


The thing is, (and I saw this recently on a youtube video) I chose to be an atheist in because I knew that there was no such thing as god, and that I believe all the stories of religion, as well as it's followers are deluded. The fact that they are so certain about their beliefs annoys me even more.


However, my own certainty is that god does not exist and I use the basic arguments in order to debunk their theories. So, does me having this certainty that makes sense to me, mirror the certainty of religious people and their beliefs?


Of course I will never accept any kind of religion as an answer, nor do I think our lives are dominated by any kind of sentient force.


To this I ask, can I really consider myself an atheist? A person who doesn't believe in religion or its doctrines and deities.

To my understanding an agnostic is a person who  is not certain of these supernatural powers, but may disagree with religions. Is this it?

And lastly can we say FOR SURE, there is no god/deity/force/giant energy ball of life/ flying spaghetti monster, just by presenting a lack of evidence from opposing arguments?





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Atheism and agnosticism are two different ideas. Atheism means you do not believe in gods. is a good start.


Agnosticism refers more specifically to the inability to know if gods exist. An agnostic might believe it is not possible to know, or they may simply decide they do not personally have enough information to make such a judgement.


As far as I am concerned, ultimate knowledge of anything is unlikely. All our information comes from five senses and a chemical brain. Beyond that, science isn't out to disprove gods. It's the religious who want to prove them and the burden of proof is on their end. They haven't managed to convince me.

When I went through my own crisis of faith, o so many years ago, a friend told me, "Agnostic's just a chicken shit way to say atheist."


I'm not sure I agree with that sentiment, but for over 25 years, the memory of that moment has spurred me to go the full monty when asked to choose.


The Russell's Teapot argument doesn't totally deny the possibility of a god's existence: it merely consigns it to probablistic background noise.

it merely consigns it to probablistic background noise.
That is an absolutely awesome phrase I love it.

Freer than any fundie can stomach --
no matter your brand name for freedom of conscience

The US Constitution offers each citizen a radical freedom which millions of fundies in Ameristan would deny to all. Even should some god exist, no US law may deny a sovereign, individual right to reject any claim that it must be acknowledged, accepted, or worshiped.

The fundie televangelists' golddigger, the 1-thug of the Big-3 Monster Theisms, the deistic god-of-the-state referred to on US coins and bills are beneath belief. No officer of the state or religious institution can command otherwise.

• Language which presupposes a supernatural reality is fiction

Supernatural claims are not false; they are vacuous. There are no supernatural agents, locations, states, events, or communications which can be described or spoken about.

1. No supernatural agents: minds, souls, spirits, ghosts, godlings, gods, God (Allah, YHVH), cosmic soul, the absolute, pantheistic "nature";

2. No supernatural locations: hell, purgatory, heaven, buddha realms, moral world order, transcendental existence;

3. No supernatural states:  the numinous, sin, grace, revelation, life after death, illumination, nirvana, buddha mind;

4. No supernatural events: mysterium tremendum, redemption, resurrection, rapture, mystical union, karma, or reincarnation;

5. No supernatural communications: prayer, sacrifice, visions, apports, theophany, mysticism, inner light.


There are altogether no supernatural phenomena, only supernatural interpretations of phenomena.

the anti_supernaturalist

I fully agree that agnosticism is not just a steeping stone towards atheism. That's just a weak, undecided position. There is nothing wrong with saying that you don't believe in gods. Some people are just afraid to identify as atheist, because it appears to be a very loaded term in the US and many people have no clue what it means.


We don't need to disprove god with absolutely certainty. That's logically impossible. But we can be reasonably sure that he doesn't exist. For me the probability is so low that he is effectively non-existent. Maybe if there were some small proof out there. Then I could say "Maybe, but I'm not convinced yet". Plenty of scientific examples for that. But there is NO proof AT ALL. So to hold out on the mere remote possibility that there may be proof is nonsensical.

"my own certainty is that god does not exist"

To my mind, that makes you an atheist.

"can we say FOR SURE, there is no god/deity/force/giant energy ball of life/ flying spaghetti monster, just by presenting a lack of evidence from opposing arguments"

There was a recent thread discussing "Philosophy Is Dead". Restating (and paraphrasing) my opinion, discussing the "FOR SURE" of such matters becomes a word game depending upon precise definitions of words and concepts for which precise definitions don't exist. In  other words if you can get past such metaphysical problems as "do I really exist", then you can state "no God exists" as easily and confidently as you can state "I am".

I consider myself agnostic with my understanding tending towards atheism.  I cannot prove that there are no gods but I consider it highly probable that there are no gods and my behavior reflects this understanding.

A good explanation of agnosticism

As said, the two aren't mutually exclusive. "Gnosis" literally means "knowledge" in Greek. Atheism about belief. You can be both and the whole thing is a spectrum


This chart explains it nicely:

Rene this is the age old question. Penn Jillette tackles this with his usual annoying but intelligent self. The video is below and fast forward to 3:55 to hear his thoughts.

Strictly speaking, agnostics are also atheists.  An atheist is a person who does not believe in gods.  That's the word's fundamental meaning.  An agnostic is a person who says he does not, or cannot, know whether gods exist.  A person who says he does not know whether gods exist plainly does not believe in any gods.

Or, as Judith Hayes puts it in her essay, "A Freethought Easter In Orlando":

"One cannot be an agnostic. Agnostic means 'not to know' and almost by definition all humans are agnostic about God in that no one can be sure whether a God of some sort really exists. I know I haven't a clue. But no thinking person can say that he does not know if he acknowledges a God. We all know if we believe in a God. In our heart of hearts, we either do believe or we do not believe. Either way, we know if we believe. There is no such thing as not knowing if we believe. This supposedly 'neutral' position about the existence of God, agnosticism, is no position at all. The sooner it is eliminated the better, for all of us freethinkers, atheists, unbelievers, nonbelievers, humanists, or whatever."



The quote is true, but your conclusion isn't.


You can acknowledge that you don't know, but believe anyways. That's very definition of faith: believing without evidence

True enough; there are agnostic theists.  Indeed, it's arguable that ALL theists are agnostics, since wishful knowledge isn't truly knowledge at all.


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