Discussions related to Atheism, a disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods and Agnosticism, a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.
An atheist is anyone who doesn't believe in any gods. This is a very simple concept, but it's also widely misunderstood. For that reason, there are a variety of ways to state it.
Atheism is the lack of belief in gods; the absence of belief in gods; disbelief in gods; or not believing in gods.
The most precise definition may be that an atheist is anyone who does not affirm the proposition "at least one god exists." This is not a proposition made by atheists. Being an atheist requires nothing active or even conscious on the part of the atheist. All that is required is not affirming a proposition made by others.
An agnostic is anyone who doesn't claim to know whether any gods exist or not. This is also an uncomplicated idea, but it may be as misunderstood as atheism.
One major problem is that atheism and agnosticism both deal with questions regarding the existence of gods. Whereas atheism involves what a person does or does not believe, agnosticism involves what a person does or does not know. Belief and knowledge are related but nevertheless separate issues.
There's a simple test to tell if one is an agnostic or not. Do you know for sure if any gods exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic, but an atheist. Do you know for sure that the gods do not or even cannot exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic, but an atheist.
Everyone who cannot answer yes to one of those questions is a person who may or may not believe in one or more gods. However, since they don't also claim to know for sure, they are agnostic. The only question then is whether they are an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.
Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.
Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown and unknowable. An agnostic can also be one who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic. The English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the word agnostic in 1869, and said "It simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe." Earlier thinkers, however, had written works that promoted agnostic points of view, such as Sanjaya Belatthaputta, a 5th-century BCE Indian philosopher who expressed agnosticism about any afterlife; and Protagoras, a 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher who expressed agnosticism about the existence of "the gods". The Nasadiya Sukta in the Rigveda is agnostic about the origin of the universe.
There seem to be two usages for each word. And it depends on the definition of the terms.
Many people, especially people who believe in a god, say that atheism is the belief there isn't a god. While that can be true per individual, it isn't necessarily the case. There are two main definitions of atheism; lack of belief/disbelief, belief in the negative. It can be broken down into 'weak' and 'strong' atheism. Weak atheism being a lack of belief or disbelief in gods and strong atheism being the assertion that there are no gods (which holds the burden of proof upon that belief and/or assertion).
Strong Atheism/Theism/Agnosticism is along a linear perspective; theism <-> agnosticism <-> atheism
There are varying degrees of belief and claimed knowledge (how much can we actually know?) on the subject of the existence of something that apparently is outside of time and space.
Although the above metric describes more subsets of definitions, the below is one that is most commonly used and a bit easier to understand. I personally think everyone is in the 'weak' category of atheism/theism as how can one actually know a god exists?
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