What is Agnosticism?
Agnosticism is not a religion, as agnostics do not follow a God, or any other deities. Agnostics do not consider themselves as atheists either, but more of “a middle ground” between believers and non-believers. Many agnostics consider themselves undecided about the existence of God. There is no proof for them that God exists, but since they cannot prove God’s existence, they choose to walk the middle ground.
History of Agnosticism
Scientist Thomas Huxley coined the term agnostic, after meeting several other scientists who had the same beliefs around the existence of God as he did. Huxley, as a scientist, felt that believers of God needed to prove God’s existence by scientific data. No data was strong enough for him to assert the existence for God, and this is the reason he considered himself an agnostic.
Types of Agnostics
There are specific types of agnostics: zero-data agnostics, unknowability, data vs. data agnostics and data vs. principle agnostics.
- Zero data agnostics – believe that proof may exist of God’s existence OR non-existence, but this proof has yet to be found.
- Unknowability agnostics – there is no evidence that God exists, therefore no proof of God’s existence.
- Data vs. Data agnostics – these agnostics posit that both believers and non-believers of God’s existence have the same evidence. For this reason, no group has the upper hand.
- Data vs. Principle agnostics – this group of agnostics would like the believers to prove the existence of God. Since God’s existence has not been proven, there is no argument that God exists.
Agnosticism vs. Atheism
Agnostics cannot prove or disprove in God’s existence, whereas Atheists do not believe in a God. Atheists may deny there is a God, whereas an agnostic may simply not believe in God, because they simply do not know (by proof or lack of) if a God exists.