(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?
gnosticism isn't the same as knowledge, it is the belief that you have knowledge.
And yes, there are agnostic theists, but I think its a bit silly to believe in something without good reason, especially if you acknowledge that you don't have good reason.
The dictionary definition of faith is "believing in s.th. without evidence". So acknowledging that there is no evidence makes perfect logical sense to me and would be the honest position.
I've seen theists state that they don't really know, but that they believe anyways. It's rare, but it does happen
The only reason to be agnostic is that you accept the false notion that the burden of proof is on you to prove god doesn't exist. It isn't. If you are agnostic as to god, then you might as well say you are agnostic as to fairies and invisible pink unicorns. The logic is the same.
I believe agnosticism to be impossible. At this moment, you either believe in Santa Claus, or you do not. Your intellectual take on Santa is something different (we do not know enough to determine if he exists). If you do not believe in Santa, you are automatically aSanta (without santa).
Atheism is a loaded term these days. I prefer "FreeThinker" and am proud to wear it. Agnostic, it seems to me, is a refutation of the discourse about the existence of a god. It's a term of denial in my opinion. Let's not talk about anything we can't prove or disprove and yet when it comes to taking an active stand against those who
force religion down our throats, the agnostic shrugs and moves on. The FreeThinker confronts those view with logic and science. The North Pole doesn't contain the home of Santa Claus and the bible is the conjecture
of clerics with an agenda. Agnostic is a term of avoidance of the issue.
Quite right, Frank. And "atheist" is too often received as a term of denial, too. I prefer "freethinker" as well. It's positive and innocuous. Trouble is, "atheist" isn't going away, so we do have do reckon with it more than we might like, especially when certain challenging people say things like, "'Freethinker'? What's that? If you're an atheist, why don't you say so? What are you afraid of?" What we're cautious about, I think, is becoming stigmatized, because "atheist" comes with so much denigrating baggage. As Richard Dawkins says, with a nod to Bertrand Russell, the fact that he does not believe in an orbiting teapot doesn't make him an "a-teapotist."
Usually, I take pains to explain that it means simply that I have no belief in gods; I do not deny them, nor do I care to claim (not, at least, in mixed company) that they do not exist. I am without theistic belief, period.
Sometimes, I will point out also that it's a mistake for us to define atheism as a "lack of belief in gods," a commonly advanced definition. That definition is mistaken because it's the theists' definition of the word. Many dictionaries offer this definition, but dictionaries are largely written by theists--theists who fail to recognize their implicit bias. The word "lack" carries the connotation of deficiency, the sense that what is lacking is something to be desired. By definition, to lack something is to be in want of whatever one lacks. Atheists know that belief in god is nothing to be desired. We are certainly not in want of it.
The better and more accurate definition is: "the absence of [belief in] gods."
As George Smith has written:
"Atheism, therefore, is the absence of theistic belief. One who does not believe in the existence of a god or supernatural being is properly designated as an atheist. Atheism is sometimes defined as 'the belief that there is no God of any kind,' or the claim that a god cannot exist. While these are categories of atheism, they do not exhaust the meaning of atheism--and are somewhat misleading with respect to the basic nature of atheism. Atheism, in its basic form, is not a belief: it is the absence of belief. An atheist is not primarily a person who believes that a god does not exist, rather he does not believe in the existence of a god."
--Atheism: The Case Against God (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1989)
Again (see above), atheists do not lack a belief in gods, because their having no belief in gods cannot be fairly deemed a deficiency. To lack something, by definition, is to be deficient in whatever one lacks.