What’s The Difference Between Agnostic And Atheist?
With as much as 7 billion people currently living in the world, it’s understandable that there would be a multitude of religions. While some are as old as the stories we tell, other religions were born from fictional texts that fans of the stories found inspirational.
That being said, most of us can be separated into two specific groups: Agnostic and Atheist. But what’s the difference?
We’ll first start with the group known as Atheist or Atheistic. Some might refer to this ‘belief system’ as ‘Atheism’, citing that it is indeed a religion. But those for declare themselves such would say that they do not believe in any god whatsoever.
The majority of Atheists claim with great certainty that there is no God because in their eyes there is no ‘credible’ evidence of god.
The simplest way to express Atheism is: a lack of belief in and the absence of gods; disbelief in gods, and/or not believing in any god. It is simply a choice of not supporting someone’s idea of how our surrounding universe was created.
With anyone falling into the group known as ‘Agnostic,’ things get a little more complicated though each has a different level of belief or lack thereof.
Agnostics don’t typically confirm or deny the existence or lack thereof regarding specific gods or groups of gods. Simply put, agnosticism involves what a person does or does not know, as opposed to what one does or doesn’t believe (atheism).
Simple, right? There’s actually far more to it. There are two other sub-groups of each ‘belief’ system.
Agnostic Atheist Vs. Agnostic Theist
An agnostic theist is one who believes in gods or a god but is not one who claims to know for certain. Logically, of course, an agnostic atheist doesn’t believe in any god. Both groups do share one thing in common, though: neither claims to have the required knowledge to support their respective claims.
Each respective group falls into the category of ‘agnostic’ because there are still questions to be answered.
Remember that belief and direct knowledge are two separate things. The groups are completely comfortable in not claiming to be certain of any one thing.
Once again to be clear, atheism is the absence of belief in any deity, and agnosticism is the belief in at least one, but also who does not claim to have concrete knowledge of such.
No Such Thing as Agnostic Vs. Atheist
It’s pretty basic, but the definitions often require simplification and repeating. Agnosticism is about what knowledge a person lack and Atheism is simply about what one does not believe.
There are Agnostic Atheists (does not believe in God, does not claim to know) and there are Gnostic Atheists (does not believe in god, claims to know.
On the side of believing in a higher power are Agnostic Theists (believes in god, does not claim to know) and Gnostic Theists (believes in god, claims to know).
Regardless of your belief system or lack thereof, we should strive to develop a sense of respect for one another. Only through adopting such an attitude can things be made better.
Religions Spawned from Fiction or ‘Far Out’ Ideas
Earlier I mentioned that many religions were spawned from fictional stories. Others were created as a parody of more mainstream religions. Here are a few examples of each:
- Pastafarianism – this is the name of the religion for the followers of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. (the result of arguing against creationism in public schools). Some may wear a pasta strainer on their head during prayer
- Jediism – inspired by the philosophical teaching of the fictional Star Wars Jedi Order. (the Temple of the Jedi Order received tax exemption status by the IRS in 2015)
- Church of Bacon – yes, there is indeed a church-based around the love of bacon. It currently has 4,000 members so far. Those who join the worship and spread the word of the one true Bacon God.
- Temple of the True Inner Light – followers of the religion believe that to commune with God, one must ingest substances such as cannabis, LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, psychedelic mushrooms, and dipropyltryptamine. Another belief is that every religion was the result of partaking one or more psychedelic substances and the resulting ‘trip.’
Do you or do you not believe in God? Do you claim to be agnostic or atheist in your belief? Ask yourself the questions you found here and see whether you can call yourself either.