What Agnosticism Is

T. H. Huxley

In general, agnosticism is an outlook, stating that the world cannot be cognized objectively. Simply put, agnostics deny the existence of any absolute truth, which you, miserable sinner, must accept or burn in righteous flame for the glory of the Holy Inquisition (exaggerated assertion, but it shortly describes phrenetic positions of the above-mentioned “holy war” parties). In theory, it tends to be a rejection of participating debates on religion and God. That is just one side of the ideology but is under discussion most of all, so we will not stay aloof too.

Agnosticism’s principles on religion are of particular interest: its adherents think that it is impossible to prove existence or non-existence of gods, other universes, life after death, soul or even an objective reality. Its demonstrability is impossible during current humanity development level or impossible at all. That’s why there is no point of taking part in millennial controversies. Herewith, an agnostic can be a believer or an unbeliever – only the idea of controversies and attempts to prove or disprove statements, which pretend to be the Truth, is meaningless for him.

Still, the key to understanding agnosticism is the fact that outlook appeared as an antithesis to popular metaphysic philosophical thoughts of the 20th century, which simply could not have the objective manifestations or confirmation. Therefore, it is important to realize that agnosticism can’t be a contraposition to science. And because the scientific method of knowledge already includes the need to prove the truth of a fact, then, respectively, for the science adherents, agnosticism is simply unnecessary.


“As to gods, I have no way of knowing either that they exist or do not exist, or what they are like.” Protagoras

It would seem that agnostics position “I don’t know, I don’t care” have to provide them with a peaceful life among the participants of cruel and terrific debates. But, as it is customary in phrenetic or almost phrenetic social groups, “you`re either with us or against us.” Agnostics are kind of spectators; they would better grab some popcorn and watch the show. That’s why both camps literally hate them.

 Indifferent Person

Dashing religionists believe that the world is incomprehensibly created by a well-known Someone and are waiting for meeting or saying the last goodbye to Him according to the way they live. Atheists think that there is our world – objective reality, given us in sensation; it is fully cognoscible, and people must accept it because there is nothing bad; every kind of afterlife is just believers’ self-deception. Our heroes state that both are not noteworthy as still cannot be proved and are based on faith, personal beliefs, and conjectures.

Socrates simply described agnostics’ ideology thousands of years ago: “All I know is that I know nothing.”

The Problem from the Standpoint of Agnostic

The question is “Does the God exist?” The answers are:

  1. Theist: yes. He is supernatural, he is the creator, he is the ruler of this world, and he watches you while you do mischief and devilries.
  2. Deist: yes. He is supernatural, he is the creator, but we are not important for him (leastwise while we are alive).
  3. Atheist: there are no any supernatural creative creatures, the world is ruled only by the natural principles.
  4. Agnostic: I don’t know, it is impossible to know for sure. Agnostics with an artistic taste can creatively develop and clarify their position:
    1. Agnostic theist: I don’t know, but I believe.
    2. Agnostic atheist: I neither know nor believe.
    3. Apatheist: I don’t know, and I don’t care.
    4. Anticlerical: yes, but churches are evil.

And so on.

Agnostics are attacked from everywhere; by militant atheists – for the “I don’t care” position; by militant theists – for the same. The non-militant atheist often can be an agnostic, who simply doesn’t know such a beautiful word. Herewith, agnostic like this can participate in religious rites, just in case, to avoid spoiled relations, in contradistinction to militant atheist. That is, we can see that some agnostics are trying to have a foot in both camps. The others are trying to spit in the eyes of both camps. It depends on the personal malevolence level of the agnostic.

Atheists about Agnostics

A Regular Atheist

There are some thoughts against and for agnosticism. Let’s consider thoughts against at first.

Atheists mostly believe that agnosticism is unnecessary at all. Their motivation lies in following questions:

  1. Today you don’t care, tomorrow you will cross yourself, and the day after tomorrow you will burn Giordano Bruno just for company?
  2. Maybe, you will answer the question at least: do you believe or not?

The main thing is that atheists are dividing people into categories, not with the “Does the God exist?” question, but with question “Do you believe in God?” Now there are only two variants of answers, and there is no third. Genuine “neutrals” don’t like such statement of a question.

Some atheists homologate that agnostics have common sense and the ability to think critically, unlike religious people. Thus:

  1. Every agnostic has a chance to distinguish scientifically based, and therefore the true point of view.
  2. Agnostic does not assure atheist that he or she will burn in hell.
  3. Agnostic’s rhetoric style allows to politely avoid undesirable questions.

Believers about Agnostics


Some theists accuse agnostics of cowardice: neutral is a kind of believer, but he doesn’t want to keep the rites, to visit the church and to donate it, so they need to be destroyed.

Arguments con:

  1. Medieval proofs of God’s existence.
  2. The ancient history of their religion.
  3. “Personal mystical experience.”

In general, most of the believers’ debates with agnostics cause just the same results as debates with atheists, but they are longer as the average agnostic is more patient than the average atheist.

Arguments pro:

  1. Every agnostic has a chance to distinguish spiritually perfect, and therefore the true point of view.
  2. Our subject can at least theoretically assume a possibility of not rotting in the grave. However, on the other hand, most religions mean that agnostics still will burn in hell, just like the atheists and people who exercise other religions.

As a conclusion, there are a lot of not very intelligent, but very enthusiastic people in all camps. So, it would be a mistake to treat all of the above-mentioned groups just like such people. There is no difference if you are Christian, Muslim, pagan, atheist, agnostic or whatever. The main thing is to keep your mind sharp and to remain a human being.

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