- Published on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 06:22
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1795
Agnostics are not really believers so why the agnostic label? Agnostic means they don’t know if there is a god – but a religious person will view that as not believing, not having faith. You can’t sit on the fence – you either believe or you don’t. An agnostic will argue that they leave the door open – they think there may be a god but it has not been proved. But most atheists will say the same thing – so what’s the difference? Let’s look at the differences:
|Think god exists||No – but open to change||No – but open to listen to evidence & perhaps change|
|Think current evidence for god is good||No||No|
|Believe in afterlife||Not sure||No|
|Belong to an organized religion||No||No|
|Believe in Bible or Qur'an||No||No|
|Attitude to mysticism||Unexplained||Unexplained but certainly natural|
|Usual attitude to believers||Non-confrontational||Varies|
Most will agree with the above although some may disagree – agnostics inherently do not feel the need to choose on the subject of religion. Are they keeping their options open? Hedging their bets? Ready to die then wake up in heaven – or hope to? But if you don’t believe in any religion and don’t believe in god although you think there may be a higher power – you are really an atheist but don’t want to admit it. Especially lately agnostics will say “so many atheists are confrontational – why antagonize others?”. Apart from some insecure people, I don’t find religious people to be unhappy for my lack of belief. They probably just think that I’m a rebel. If I have antagonized anyone, they are keeping it to themselves and still act as if they are friends!
Maybe I’m an atheist because of my way of thinking. I do not like to be undecided on major issues – like what happens when you die or why am I here. I make decisions by weighing the evidence then choosing. However, although not everyone sees me do this, I am always open to be convinced I’m wrong. All it takes is the right evidence. The most notable example of this is that up until I was about 25, I was adamant that the Catholic religion was right but then I thought through their evidence more closely. At first I was agnostic but eventually decided that since there was no reason to stay on the fence and I was living as if I was an atheist, I should come right out and admit to myself and the world that I was explicitly saying “No, there is no god”. Even then I was concerned that I would offend religious people and I have no desire to do that. Fortunately, everyone I know personally has not been offended. Why should they unless they feel insecure and want everyone to agree with them?
So my conclusion? Most agnostics are closet atheists. A few are afraid to be sure (about god not existing) when so many are religious and on the other side of the fence. How could so many people be wrong? One example, a few hundred years ago, 99% of people thought the sun rotated around the earth.