Hey everyone,

This is my first post on here and I have a rather simple question for you all.  I do not know how maany of you willl be able to answer this , but I have wondered why some people choose to be an "agnostic" rather than an "atheist".  I myself am an atheist and i have just always wondered why some people have chosen to be agnostic over atheist.

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Atheists are the evil green slime that oozes from beneath rocks. Agnostics are harmless confused people. In my experience, that is how most Christians view it, lol.


It's how I view it too :p

without the evil green slime part!!

Hi John,


I don't think you choose to be atheist or agnostic or gay or anything. Rather these are the labels that are applied to you because of the system of ideas, thoughts, actions, beliefs or lack thereof in the case of atheism, that you have formed throughout you life. 


If you are asking why do some people feel the need to take the stance of "I don't know" rather than purely "I don't believe", then I would say that is through each individual's experiences.


For myself, I am totally open to the unknown, and think that there is so much yet that we do not understand in this world and with human beings. That is where I get the "i don't know" agnostic side of me. However, having said that, I am a strong atheist in that I know for certain that I lack a belief in the existence of god or gods. My views on life, death, and the unknown are formed through scientific inquiry and facts and ideas. I also love to study mythology and to me that is the only place I would ever categorize religions or gods or the likewise. My appetite for  my agnosticism or understanding the unknown has been answered with science and most likely will be in the future. However, I do love surprises!


Religion is a choice. Sexuality is not. Please don't confuse that again. Thanks.

I would like to point out that being religious, or atleast subscribing to the doctrines of a religion is NOT a choice either. Think about it, what you believe is not a choice... when you are convinced of something there's almost no way you could deceive yourself to thinking otherwise.

Sam Harris puts this eloquently at one of his lectures when he says "When a person's reasons are good enough, we helplessly believe what they believe. That's what it is to be a rational human being. Reasons are contagious."

Great quote.
For the record, weak atheists are generally also known as agnostic atheists...

Agnostic means they do not know, atheist means they reject theistic claims.

By contrast a strong atheist claims to KNOW that there is NO GOD. (a.k.a. gnostic athiest)

These terms can also be applied to religious people, for example: it is probably safe to assume that the Pope knows that the catholic christian god exists. He is therefore a gnostic theist.

It's a misunderstanding of terms. Those who are agnostic [see synonyms at Everyone] are without knowledge [of deities]; those who are additionally atheistic are without theism—without beliefs regarding deities.


At some point, someone decided that 'agnostic' meant 'not being sure whether to believe in deities', someone else believed him, and it caught on. These days, people [usually theists] who can't grok the basic Greek etymology like to assure us that, unless we're more certain that deities don't exist than they are that they do [per deity, of course; our mutual lack of belief in Zeus is irrelevant to them], we're merely agnostic, and therefore must agree with them up to around ninety-nine percent. Or something.


In fact, people are theistic or atheistic; people believe in one or more deities or they don't. The lack of knowledge as to whether the things exist is unrelated.

I considered myself an agnostif for so long for a single reason:


I cannot tell (I dont know) whether there is a god or not, all I can say is that religions are wrong. The universe can be considered god since its omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, so I cannot tell if that could be a valid definition of god.


I dont know if there is a god or not, all I can say is that all churches got it wrong

I am an atheist.  In fact, I am an antitheist.  However, up until my mid 20's (I'm 75), I called my self an "agnostic."  As I recall, it was because the term "atheist" was synonymous with "dirty atheist," or "evil atheist," terms regularly employed by my entire, extended, Presbyterian family.  Ironically enough, it was when my next door neighbor, a baptist minister, began engaging me in theological discussions that was I forced me to confront my true beliefs, much to his eventual chagrin.

I have chosen, for now, to be an ignostic/weak agnostic. 



I am not an agnostic because I believe we can actually "know" with reasonable certainty that a god, goddess, etc. exists.  But I consider myself an ignostic because, to me, a conversation about whether a god or goddess exists can only occur once we've defined what we mean by the god, goddess, etc.  Personally, I believe it is highly improbable that any god, as traditionally defined, exists.  I have conveniently chosen to define "god" as the sum total of all things for all practical purposes - I know it may seem like semantics and an "easy" out, but it is the only conceivable "god" that could exist for me.  So, "god"=nature for me. 

The only general problem I have with "atheism" is if one simply makes the claim "god does not exist" without allowing for such a possibility, it seems not much different than "god does exist" without allowing for the opposite.  But again, we must expand such statements to include the definition of "god."


The only general problem I have with "atheism" is if one simply makes the claim "god does not exist" without allowing for such a possibility, it seems not much different than "god does exist"


Those two could not be more different!!!!!!! One is evidence based, the other is delusion. This excuse of lack of knowledge claimed by agnostics, if applied to other spheres in life, would render science impossible! Even among believers, a majority are agnostic, to continue the abuse of the word agnostic, one is not noticing that a majority of religious people and believers are agnostic as well. In fact "gnosticism" in religion is extremely rare.


Lack of evidence in no way bears significant weight compared to evidence. One cannot argue the possibility of something just because there is lack of evidence. This is a mistake non legally or scientifically trained people very often.


Possibility requires evidence, at least a shred, a hint, of evidence. Confusion requires conflicting evidence, as does indecision.


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