is a belief that we
cannot prove either the existence or the non-existence of deity. Many Agnostics
believe that we cannot know anything about a deity at the present time,
but that this could conceivably change in the future.
There is a general consensus that:
A person who believes in a specific
God, Goddess or combination of deities is a Theist.
A person who actively denies the
existence of any and all deities is an Atheist.
A person who feels that we have no
method by which we can conclude whether a deity exists is an Agnostic.
Agnosticism is a belief related
to the existence or non-existence of God. An Agnostic is a person who feels that
God's existence can neither be proved nor disproved, on the basis of current
evidence. Agnostics note that theologians and philosophers have tried to to
prove, for thousands of years that either God exists or that God does not exist.
It is ironic that agnostics place their faith in a belief which they cannot
prove, which is the basis for faith or religion.
Are they Theists? No, because
Agnostics do not believe in a God.
However, some Agnostics consider
themselves to be Atheists. That is because the term
"Atheist" has two meanings:
A person who positively believes
that no God exists.
A person who has no belief in a God. Just as a newborn has no concept of a deity, some adults also
have no such belief. The term "Atheist" is derived from the Greek
words "a" which means "without" and "Theos"
which means "God." A person can be a non-theist by simply
lacking a belief in God without actively denying God's existence.
Some Agnostics feel that their beliefs
match the second definition, and thus consider themselves to be both Atheist and
An Agnostic usually holds the question
of the existence of God open, pending the arrival of more evidence. They are
willing to change their belief if some solid evidence or logical proof is found
in the future. However, some have taken the position that there is no logical
way in which the existence or the non-existence of a deity can be proven.
Bertrand Russell was a well known
British philosopher of the 20th century. He was arrested during World War I for
anti-war activities, and filled out a form at the jail. The officer, noting that
Russell had defined his religious affiliation as "Agnostic"
commented: "Ah yes; we all worship Him
in our own way, don't we." This comment allegedly "kept
him smiling through his first few days of incarceration."