Religion

Agnostic

God's existence and actual proofs of His presence have always been a matter of interest to mankind, both believers and non-believers. Many have tried to study God or the divine beings from the rational science, which is deficient for this study, since it is limited only to material world and does not allow to give certain proofs that allow to believe or not in these celestial beings. Agnostic represents that man who believes in everything he can verify with his senses and which is part of material universe. In this sense, as he lacks elements to give evidence of God or Gods, he can neither deny nor believe in this or these beings.

Agnostic

Related topics

Shinto, Zoroastrianism

What does it mean to be agnostic?

An agnostic is defined as a person who considers that all divine, supra-human or intangible knowledge is inaccessible to human understanding but does not reject it. There are two types of agnostics: the theistic agnostic and the atheistic agnostic. The theist admits and considers that there can be a God or supreme being so that, he cannot explain it. The atheist is skeptical of God's or supreme existence or presence and therefore, rejects it.

Etymology of agnostic

Agnostic (from the Greek agnostos meaning not known). This term was first used by the British biologist Thomas Henry Huxley to expose his rejection of all kinds of spiritual or mystical knowledge.

The word “gnosis” (knowledge), from Greek, was used by Christian church to define spiritual knowledge. Huxley added to this word the prefix “a” which means “lack of” to define agnosticism as a skeptical method of research based on evidence and not on an atheistic creed.

Currently, the term agnosticism can be understood in two senses. The first as a method of research based on verifiable facts, and the second as a philosophical position that, not having rational foundations to prove God’s existence, does not believe and denies the existence of a supreme being.

Agnostic Theism

Agnostic theism represents people’ posture who do not deny the existence of a supreme being although they cannot prove its presence. This type of agnostic is also known as a pragmatic or apathetic agnostic because, not having elements to confirm God’s existence, nor to deny it, it simply decides not to link itself to that subject, showing little interest in it and considering it an argument of interest for theologians.

Differences between agnostics, atheists and gnostics

The differences of these mindsets focus on God and ways to access divine knowledge.

Agnostic, as we have already defined it, has no way of proving God’s existence, thus he cannot affirm whether he exists or not. However, the agnostic can decide whether to accept this belief because he cannot prove it and be a theistic agnostic; or if on the contrary, he decides to deny it and be an atheistic agnostic.

Atheists, unlike agnostics, totally deny God’s existence and any divine entity, so do not bother to talk about these issues and focuses on the material. The etymology of the word atheist is composed of the prefix “a” which means “lack of” and Theos which means God. Atheists believe that the existence of God is false in different aspects and look for scientific or logical evidence to explain why there cannot be a supreme being.

Atheists can be classified into two groups, practical atheists and theoretical atheists. Practical atheists tend to relate all the facts and events happened to natural phenomena, they are indifferent in speaking about God and knowing about it; theoretical atheists on the contrary, have scientific and logical arguments to prove that God does not exist and that all the knowledge generated about divine beings is contradictory and invented.

For Gnostics, God or celestial beings is of great importance because they seek to reach Him through divine knowledge that is only acquired through intuition and faith. Gnostics believe in God and know that the methods to reach him are not based on reason but on the belief that there is something beyond senses and logic.

In this sense, it can be said that the agnostic cannot confirm the existence of God and can decide if he believes or not; the atheist denies it in a reasoned way and the gnostic believes and seeks beyond his senses in order to communicate with the supreme being and link up with him through faith and intuition.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.
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