Talk:Atheist vs. agnostic

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I'm considering modifying this one to remove the references to "prove" and replace them with "know" and "claim to know".

This will lead to sections on epistemology, but I think it's important to make this distinction. It's possible (and common) for believers to claim to "know" that God exists, without any claim of being able to prove it to anyone else. This sort of esoteric, specialized knowledge is critical to claims of direct revelation and the "secret" knowledge of the Gnostics.

Any objections/comments?

Sans Deity 15:20, 19 June 2006 (MST)

This change would, obviously, require a slight modification with regard to strong atheism (as they're unlikely to claim revealed, secret, knowledge that no gods exist), but it shouldn't be a problem to link to a topic which clarifies that this knowledge (like any knowledge) doesn't represent an omniscient claim of an absolute but rather knowledge in the general sense that the evidence overwhelmingly seems to support the idea that no gods exist and this "knowledge" isn't inferior to any other "knowledge" we might claim.
Sans Deity 15:24, 19 June 2006 (MST)
Do what you want! I only pasted the ACA FAQ entry here as a way of getting this page started. There's plenty of room for improvement.
Kazim 16:33, 19 June 2006 (MST)

Combining Terms

While the "Combining Terms" section does a great job of articulating the subtleties of agnosticism, I feel that a position may be missing from the given list of descriptions. You include agnostics that accept the claim that god exists and agnostics that reject that claim, but the latter group could be broken down further into agnostics that reject both given claims regarding god and agnostics that accept the claim that god does not exist. As it is, the list implies that only gnostics can claim that god does not exist. Because an agnostic can accept the claim that god exists, the claim that he does not exist, or accept neither claim, there are actually three positions of agnosticism. Added to the two positions of gnosticism, the list should include five descriptions. On a side note, I would support the change from "prove" to "know" that is being considered. It's semantic, but not irrelevant

--ChristOnIce 13:51, 27 July 2006 (MST)

Note: the above comment was written by ChristOnIce. Please remember to sign your posts by ending it with four tildes (~) --Kazim 11:35, 27 July 2006 (MST)

I'm going to rework this article at some point to clarify, however...The 4 listed positions are all positions on a single claim: "Do you possess a positive belief that God exist?" Your description of an "agnostic that accepts the claim that god does not exist" seems, to me, to be an atheist.

Theism/atheistm addresses what you believe, gnosticism/agnosticism addresses what you know (or claim to know).Sans Deity 11:17, 27 July 2006 (MST)

They are not positions on a single claim. The gnostic atheist introduces the claim "no gods exist", yet belief regarding this claim is not addressed. It is impossible to have a gnostic atheist, using only one claim. As Chris stated, there should be 5 positions.
Do you believe the claim "gods exist"?
Do you believe the claim "no gods exist"?
Do you claim to know "gods exist"?
Do you claim to know "no gods exist"?
YNYN = gnostic theist (or atheo-gnostic)
YNNN = agnostic theist (or theist)
NNNN = agnostic weak or negative atheist (or agnostic)
NYNN = agnostic strong or positive atheist (or atheist)
NYNY = gnostic strong or positive atheist (or atheo-gnostic)
Jason Clark 08:44, 15 October 2015 (CDT)

Color choices

A note to editors on the color choices in the "Combining terms" table:

  • agnostic = yellow = yellow light = proceed with caution
  • gnostic = green = green light = go
  • atheist = pink = invisible pink unicorn
  • theist = purple(-ish) = purple has "royal" connotations — maybe should be "royal blue" instead, but I want to keep the colors light, and light blue just doesn't carry the same connotations <g>

- dcljr 17:33, 26 August 2007 (CDT)

Atheist regarding all other gods

Is it truly accurate to portray the disbelief by theists in all gods but their own as atheism? It makes for lovely rhetoric (Hitch's "one less god") but it seems a bit dishonest in this forum. I don't know if there have been any studies upon how one comes to believe or not believe but common thought on the matter seems to be that theists are indoctrinated into the religion of their family/culture while atheists are either not indoctrinated or reject the indoctrination of their youth. In this model the theist would believe in a different god had they been born elsewhere and the atheist would possibly be a non-believer anywhere. It is perhaps even a straw man. Do we really know what any given theist believes regarding the gods of other religions? I suspect that few of them have given it any thought and if we asked 10 of them we would hear nearly as many answers. If an atheist is literally, "one without theism" (as this article proclaims) then how is it possible to be both theist and atheist? OGRastamon 13:38, 15 May 2015 (CDT)

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