When Avoidant Cowards Hide Behind Words
I used to address agnosticism on the Atheism 101 page simply because self-professed agnostics are in actuality disingenuous atheists who are too afraid to answer one simple question. (We’ll get to the question in just a bit.) But I have since created this page so as not to sully the intellectual honesty of the atheist perspective. Add to that, theism and atheism pertain to belief and lack thereof. Agnosticism has absolutely nothing – NOTHING – to do with belief or disbelief. And moreover, most people just don’t know what the word agnostic really means.
Thomas Huxley coined the term in 1869 for a purpose which as has since been perverted, but before we get into it, it’s essential that you understand and accept what belief and faith mean, and that that they are synonymous. They are an expression of the same position.
- An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
- Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction.
faith – trust – confidence – persuasion – credence
- Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
- Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
belief – trust – confidence – credence – credit
The definition of agnostic/agnosticism has somehow been perverted. Society at large has ignored it’s prima facie definition:
From the Greek word agnostos: a (not) + gnostos (to be known)
Agnosticism addresses KNOWLEDGE (specifically referring to the nature of god), not belief, so don’t even think this word unless you know and understand its meaning and intend to use it in its proper context.
Enlightening the Ignorant
Most people seem to think that an agnostic is someone who questions the existence of god, that they are unsure.
Agnosticism asks, irrespective of one’s personal theism, if god can be known. And that’s not the same. Not even a little.
Pay close attention. When we discuss atheism and agnosticism, there is no “or” involved. You don’t get to choose one OR another. There is in fact an “and” in play.
For example, a Christian can also be agnostic, and most outside of the fundamentalist movement are. This is the only intellectually honest way to believe in any god. These folks concede that god can’t be known, but they take his existence on faith. Such a person is an agnostic theist. They are a theist AND an agnostic. But most evangelical Christians claim that god can be known. Such a person is a gnostic theist. These morons claim to KNOW for a fact that [their] god is real from personal experience.
Lord God Penn said it best:
But the meaning of agnosticism is put to bed when you take a quick and simple look at the words belief and faith as we have above.
Belief is not a gray area. Faith is not a sliding scale. You don’t kinda-sorta believe. You don’t sometimes have faith. You either believe, or you do not believe. You either have faith, or you do not have faith. What part of FIRMLY HELD CONVICTION do you not understand? What part of COMPLETE TRUST can’t you grasp? These are resolute positions. They are unwavering. They contain no fuzzy and they contain no gray, and as such, ANY DOUBT IS ENOUGH DOUBT.
Therefore, a person who questions the existence of god is a person who doubts, and a person who doubts (by definition) doesn’t believe, and a person who doesn’t believe in god is an atheist. Period.
Now Answer the God Damn Question
Okay, so you say you’re an agnostic. Mazel tov. You believe that god can’t be known. (And believe it or not, I agree with you.) The matter of knowledge has officially been settled, so go fuck yourself. We’re now moving on to the next matter: BELIEF.
When it comes to the topic of religion there is only ONE question that really matters, and you have yet to answer it: DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD?
There are only two options: YES or fucking NO.
Kick and scream like petulant child that you are, but there are no other options. And if you shrug and say, “I dunno…” then we have your answer whether you like it or not. “Not knowing” is doubt, and I think it’s sad that you can neither see nor admit it.
But it’s my experience and opinion that the majority of those who claim to be agnostic as (falsely) defined as one who questions the existence of god are bet-hedging assholes. They will always – ALWAYS – refuse to answer the “Do you believe…” inquiry with a simple yes or a no.
The Discussion Ender
A theist is someone who believes in a god. An atheist is someone who does not believe in a god. Since belief by its very definition is binary, then everyone on the planet – everyone who has ever existed – is a theist (of some kind) or an atheist.
Final Question: ARE YOU A THEIST?
If you’re not a theist then by default we know what you really are. The matter is settled, you disingenuous sack of shit.
Deny It. I Dare You.
Finally, for the defiant little children who insist on clinging to the “You just can’t know!” argument, I tender the following commentary with a heartfelt fuck you.
Go ahead. Admit that “you just can’t know” that the teapot doesn’t exist. One BILLION Hindus believe that Brahma is real. Go ahead. Tell me you can’t know he’s not real.
At the end of the day all that matters is the black and white nature of belief. Belief is binary. When it comes to god, you either believe or you don’t believe. Period. If you’re unsure or you question or you doubt, then you don’t believe – and that makes you an atheist. End of discussion.
Technically, nothing can truly be known. Is there a god? No one really knows for sure. Most people think they do, but I think it’s just wishful thinking and confirmation bias in play. Practically speaking, everyone on the planet is an agnostic – including myself. However, I call myself a strong atheist (i.e. there is no god, god does not exist) on principle. Read my Statement of Faith for further clarification.
Look, I have no problem embracing the agnostic position from a practical standpoint. But what pisses me off no less than Christians spewing their rhetoric are these fundamentalist agnostic assholes who get all bent out of shape when people like me take a hardline approach to skepticism and the condemnation of organized religion and the lunacy of religious beliefs.
For the majority of these fence-sitters, I think they’re just pissed off because they don’t have the balls to take an absolute position of belief one way or another. No balls to accept, no balls to reject, no balls to even critique or utter one word of criticism for fear of backlash. These are the “live and let live” agnostics. But for some odd reason this maxim doesn’t apply to their opinion of strong atheists. (Hmmm. I think someone might be a latent believer and is just too afraid of being wrong. You never know, god just might be listening!)
An atheist is no less certain that there is no god than you are certain, for example, that your parents love you. Love, like god, is an intangible and cannot be proved concretely – lest you be dumb enough to believe that everyone who utters those words actually means it. Love may only be demonstrated as god may only be inferred. This is why we have this little word called faith.
Disingenuous morons who claim agnosticism as doubt (as opposed to lack of knowledge) necessarily claim to question the existence of gods. Okay. So let’s talk about questioning, shall we?
Let’s say you asked your significant other, “Do you love me?” and they responded, “I don’t know.” Tell me, honestly, would you take that as a yes or a no? Please, save your disingenuous response. If an immediate yes doesn’t come rolling off their tongue then the answer is no. Period and end of fucking story. Your husband doesn’t know if he loves you? Your wife is sitting on the fence about it? No. Sorry. I think not.
And it works the same way with the eternal question at hand.
Sorry to break the awful news to you, but agnostics are self-deceiving jackwads. Just like the aforementioned intangible and unprovable love, any doubt is enough doubt. God is supposed to be eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent…and you question his existence? WTF? Exactly who do you think you’re kidding?
When it comes to trivial matters I’ll happily concede the possibility of general uncertainty. But when it comes to an almighty creator whose existence is supposedly so evident that even a child could see it, again, any doubt is enough doubt. And your pitiable refutations and denials don’t change any of this.
Neither Here Nor There Claims Conviction
One agnostic wrote to me awhile back blasting me for being close-minded (as all agnostics do) and then proceeded to tell me that agnostics have more conviction, faith, and courage than atheists.
More conviction, faith, and courage? Um, what color is the sky in your world? When it comes to religious beliefs or lack thereof, by definition, atheists have infinitely more of all of the aforementioned.
Atheists reject all notions of god absolutely and without reservation. Agnostics hover in gutless neutrality claiming uncertainty given what they know at the moment. Um, hello? One position is absolute and the other is indecisive. What part of this isn’t clear to you?
I’ll be the first to concede that this isn’t a pissing contest, but the argument that open-minded uncertainly carries more faith than the absolute rejection that atheism requires is profoundly illogical and dishonest. In fact, it’s laughable.
Essentially what this disingenuous bet-hedging turd said to me was [my words], “Yes, I am militantly unsure if there is or isn’t a god. I don’t know. To me it’s neither here nor there. But the faith I have in my own uncertainty is as strong as anything that you believe with absolute certainty.”
Please. Uncertainty is the state of not knowing for sure and doubt is tantamount to non-commitment.
Bottom line, agnostics are neither here nor there. That’s not conviction, and it sure as shit ain’t faith.
And as for courage, its inclusion in this imbecile’s list is so profoundly moronic that I won’t justify it with a response.
Agnosticism is easy and safe, and that’s perfectly fine and well. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with shrugging one’s shoulders and saying “I don’t know.” You’re honest. Mazel tov! But you earn no brownie points for taking a stand of neutrality or non-committal indifference. So please get off your moral high ground horse and quit claiming to have more faith in what you believe than atheists do. You can’t possibly have faith in something that you neither accept nor reject, you fucking child.
I’m done with you. Now go outside and play with your brother until I call you for dinner.