“Give us reliable evidence and we will change our minds.”

This is a good way to explain the viewpoint known as agnostic atheism. A lot of people don’t realize this, but most atheists are also agnostic, simply because we don’t claim to have absolute certainty that no deities exist. We are atheists because we possess no beliefs in any gods, and we are also agnostics because we are willing to admit that we could, possibly, be wrong.

What’s more, many agnostic atheists find the other type of atheist (gnostic atheists, who are few in number, and who do claim certainty that no deities exist) quite irritating. It simply is not rational to claim that one knows, without doubt, that there are no gods, for one simple reason: lack of supporting evidence. There is no evidence that no gods exist. There is also no evidence for the non-existence of, say, leprechauns.

Something else many people don’t know: theists (that is, religious believers) also come in the same two types. Agnostic theists believe in at least one deity, but don’t claim absolute certainty in that belief. Gnostic theists, by contrast, are believers who do not doubt, nor question, their religious beliefs. They claim to know they are right — and, in that one way, they are just like gnostic atheists. Gnostics, of whatever type, aren’t willing to admit there is the slightest chance that they might be wrong. It’s much easier to have reasonable, productive conversations with agnostics than with gnostics — regardless of whether they are they are theists or atheists. Also, when it comes to debate, there’s simply no point in debating anything with a gnostic. One might as well argue with a rock, for a rock is exactly as likely as a gnostic to have a change of opinion.

(Note: unlike most images on this blog, this picture is not one I created myself. Only the words below the image, in this post, are mine.)

About RobertLovesPi

I go by RobertLovesPi on-line, and am interested in many things. Welcome to my little slice of the Internet. The viewpoints and opinions expressed on this website are my own. They should not be confused with the views of my employer, nor any other organization, nor institution, of any kind.
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