Why I’m Agnostic, Not Atheist

23 Jun

I feel like agnosticism gets a bad rap – worse than atheism by religious folk, and worse than religion by atheists. Really, it’s because we don’t really “fit in” like we should.

A lot of the time, we seem to given this title of being unable to decide (just look up “agnostic” in Google images and you can see exactly what I’m talking about), and while that may be the case for some folks, I am very firm in what I believe.

So, what do I believe? Well, I do not believe in a god, and am, therefore, atheistic in my beliefs. You know…polytheistic meaning the belief in multiple gods, monotheistic, meaning the belief in a single god, and atheistic, meaning the belief in no gods.

But if I don’t believe in a god (and I say a god, because multiple “exist” – not just the Christian one), then why do I call myself agnostic?

Now THAT is because I find atheism, just like most religions, to be slightly…arrogant. Basically, if you’re atheist you firmly believe that no god exists, and that it is impossible for one to exist. If you are religious, you firmly believe that one does exist, and that it is impossible for one not to exist.

That’s all fine and dandy – I mean, its your beliefs – but in order for either of those to be true, one has to have full understanding and knowledge of the universe.

No one has an understanding like this, so while I do not believe in a god, gods, or anything similar, I also acknowledge that my knowledge of the universe is limited, and I can, in no way, have all the answers or exhaust all possibilities. 

This is what separates me from atheists. It isn’t what I believe, it’s how I believe it.  Even if I did believe in a higher being, I would still acknowledge that there is a possibility it’s a load of crap, and would still consider myself agnostic.

That does not mean that I am, in any way, indecisive about my beliefs.

How do you define agnostic? Atheist? What is your religious association? Thoughts?

7 Responses to “Why I’m Agnostic, Not Atheist”

  1. Doubledb June 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    I would usually say Agnostic are those people who believe there is a God but either do not know or do not think one can know which one, among the many, is the right one. To me usually Agnostics have grown up interested in multiple religions and in the study of philosophy, so why they might not deny God, they are not sure exactly what the truth about God is at that time.

    You graph is interesting though, because the Gnostics believe there is a special knowledge about Gods that only some have can obtain, along with the fact that the spiritual is good but the physical is bad, is sinful. So, putting Agnostic opposite actually does make sense using your definition, because is supposes there is no special knowledge and one cannot be certain if a God does or does not exist. I find that interesting.

    Me? Well, I am Christian. Technically I am a Protestant, then a Baptist. While I did grow up that way, through college and seminary/graduate school my beliefs and calling to ministry have only been more confirmed in my life.

    However, how I approach those who think or believe differently from me has radically changed during that time. In high-school, I always felt bad I wasn’t witnessing and conversing/changing all my friends. Yes, I wanted them to know Jesus but I didn’t want to lose our friendship because I was always trying to “save” them. What good would it be if I nagged them so much our friendship ended? When I was young, I guess I didn’t know how to express my concerns but I also was still a “child” and was under adults who were telling me our main purpose was to “save lost souls”. And well, that is fine with me if they think they are lost, but what if they do not? What if they are fine? Would I like people talking at me about life and faith or rather talking to me, listening, and having a conversation and dialogue.

    So, while in seminary I started reading some more “liberal” Christian authors. The ones who say to be friend with people where they are at when you meet them. I started to see sharing the gospel as much more about actions than just words, about love than judgement, less about us vs. them and more about all of us trying to figure this thing called life out. So, while I am Christian and believe Jesus was the son of God and the way to salvation, I’ve come to be fine with those who do not believe the same. And while part of me desires them to know the same truth I believe that I have found, I totally get that they might not see that as truth at all. In fact, they may see my belief as a myth, just as I may see their belief as myth.

    ~ Doubledb

    • mishie1 June 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      Insightful. These “liberal” Christian people sound like my kind of folks.

      The reason I chose the graphic (I didn’t make it, nor am I any expert on gnosticism or agnosticism) was that when I was looking for a graphic, I looked up a definition of gnostic and agnostic, and chose to apply the very generic meaning of “relating to knowledge”, such that gnostic people claim to have knowledge (gnostic theists “Yes, there is a God for sure” or gnostic atheists “No, there is not a God for sure”) of the universe and agnostic people choose to acknowledge of lack of certainty.

      And even more applicable than that is to acknowledge that sex:sexuality as theism:knowledge. That’s kind of a terrible analogy, but basically that agnostic and atheist are not describing the same thing, just as sex (male) does not describe sexuality (likes women, likes men, etc).

      I do find it interesting that there is a group of people who think certain people are what…privileged? and are able to “know”.

    • Aday May 14, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

      Im not protensent or catholic im a true bride of Christ and a true child of God. Repent the kingdom of God is comming. I dont have a religion. I have a iminate relationship with Jesus.
      Relationship status haleys status
      Married to Jesus!
      I haley alyssa Gates say this with love.

  2. M June 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    I’m Christian. I respect your beliefs more than an atheist. Like you said, arrogance.

  3. purplepoet7 June 25, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    I’m an agnostic as well. I was raised Protestant, but once I got into my 20s was unable to hold onto that faith. Most religions seem about the same to me, and although I kind of feel like it’s a cop-out to say no one can know, it’s what I believe. None of us was around when our world began, and whether the theories about it are based on science or religion, I tend to think they’re nice mental exercise but not much more.

  4. ialsoagree July 28, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    Just wanted to point out, atheism does not necessarily mean that one “that no gods exist.”

    Like you, I am an agnostic atheist – agnosticism going to what I know (gnostic literally meaning “knowledge” or, in the spiritual sense, “knowledge of god” and agnostic meaning “lack of knowledge”), and atheism going to what I believe (lack of belief in a god).

    What you describe in your post is hard atheism (or gnostic atheism, having knowledge of god, and that knowledge being that god doesn’t exist).

    Put another way, agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive, one can be both, just as one can be an agnostic theist.

  5. TJ Bradders April 6, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    So why doesn’t anyone here understand that Agnosticism is the personal philosophy of Thomas Huxley?
    Stop allowing Atheist to tell you what it means, read Huxley!

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