SO&SO is a lovely new short-form journal for the wandering interneteer. The current, second edition tries to resolve the Atheist / Agnostic distinction. Interesting.
(Hat tip to the creator Alasdair Monk.)
Great site, i’m all for improving people’s understanding of such things, but it does seem to miss out one point which I think is important, i.e. That you can be both an atheist and an agnostic, they are not exclusive and separate ways of thinking that denies the other:
“I know we can’t currently prove that gods do or do not exist (Agnostic), but I don’t personally think there is a god” (Atheistic).
I tend to the agnostic position because the atheist again believes in somtehing (the non-existence of god(s)) while the agnostic posiiton just leaves the question open until more evidence arrives. “I just don’t know” feels more relaxed to me than the “I belive something exists/doesn’t exist”.
This stands also with Jack jumping – while the atheist Jill refutes to believe his alleged 7m jump the agnostic Jill maybe just isn’t so much into sports to decide wheter 7m is plausible or not. Seems logical enough to me.
I think the author’s point is that they are not exclusive concepts, first poster. My reading was that agnostics and atheists share a base view– that they see no evidence of a ‘God’. Or have I missed something?
Also, “Jill not being into sports” seems irrelevant to me. The point would stand if the author had said 7 miles instead of 7 metres. Or would Jill need to know it would be out of the ordinary for people to be able to do that???
Neat article. Says it’s only a third of the essay on the site– any idea when the rest will be published? Or where it can be found?
Following the roots of the words:
Atheist is “One who does not follow a religion.”
Agnostic is “One who does not know.”
Those two are completely separate. Someone could be an agnostic Christian, for example; they might go to church and generally put their faith in God, but will admit that they have no idea He’s real and that they could be completely wrong.
It’s a lot cleaner, too, because it doesn’t have to mean Atheists are forcefully certain. I’ll never begrudge someone their sets of beliefs, just because I don’t follow any particular organization.
Thanks for your remarks, #BT!
BT and Michael,
Hopefully So&So will be publishing the remainder of the essay in the near future. Section 3, the final part, deals with how the difference between knowledge and belief is, for your conception of the distinction at least, illusory.
Whether you would agree or not, I hope that you will find the time to read the rest of the essay and that you find it interesting.
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