Searching Agnostic

I’ve called myself an ‘agnostic Atheist’ for a fairly long time, and over the last few months, since being exposed to the writings of C.S. Lewis on a deeper level (not just reading to reinforce what I believe – but reading to understand WHY someone believes) I have come to the realisation that I am not an atheist. Now, this is going out FAR later than when I talked about this on the podcast and journey some of this with Justin Brierley, Majesty of Reason, Peter. S. Williams and Trent. Man, we’ve had some epic guests on the podcast so far, I wonder who else and where else it has gone since writing this? Anyway, coming up against arguments that I can’t just push away has made me realise that there is an intellectual side to Christianity (and no, I won’t be delving into other religions off the back of this) that I can’t ignore.

The following is a fairly complex video from Majesty of Reason (or as I call him, Joe), but it does a fantastic job at explaining what agnosticism is, and why Joe himself is agnostic when it comes to the Judaeo-Christian God, and yeah – there are so many versions aren’t there?!?

I hope you find the time to watch the above because it really allowed me to realise that I had come out of Christianity and had focused on atheism, ignoring the massive area in between – agnosticism. Maybe you’ve heard agnostic atheism described like this, ‘agnostic due to my knowledge, and atheist because I am not convinced there is a god’, but here’s the rub. That isn’t how the term is generally utilised within philosophy or history. It’s become an extremely popular definition since the new atheist movement, but atheism, in my mind, should be held by those who have a positive belief that ‘God’ doesn’t exist. The issue is defining said ‘God’ and ensuring you are philosophically confident that you have disproved His existence is very hard. People like Graham Oppy hold a positive atheism, being a philosopher of religion, Mr Oppy does a very good job of explaining his thoughts in this why he holds to atheism, at least in regard to the generally agreed upon Judo-Christian God.

Now, before you throw up your arms and declare:

…it should be noted that I lean more towards atheist than religious in regard to the Judo-Christian God, but I do not hold a positive atheistic perspective that is philosophically robust enough to defend. I would say if 0.0 is Christian and 1.0 is atheist, I am 0.7, currently.

Two final thoughts before I wrap this up:

1) Not everyone can or will hold a positive atheistic perspective that is philosophically robust enough to defend, and this is OK. People are entitled to call themselves whatever they want, and I hold no grudges against anyone calling themselves an atheist, even if it doesn’t fit within my idea of atheism. This stuff is very complicated, and we seem to desire labels or groups to belong to, to feel supported and secure, I think. I’ve noticed this within myself, seeking comfort within new atheism, scientism and anti-Christian subcultures, but this isn’t helpful or honest when searching for some actual answers. If there is even such a thing.

2) Searching agnostic fits what I am in regard to my religious convictions and the blog/podcast, but it isn’t who I am. People, both within and outside of religion enjoy a badge of office a bit too much at times. Job titles, family status, wealth, postcodes, belief systems, the list could go on. These are just created positions of importance and status that we hold far too reverently.

I am Sam, and Sam is on a journey, the labels, for now, can fuck right off.

_

As always, your support enables When Belief Dies to grow, so please consider hitting ‘support’ at the top of this page. You will also find links to the YouTube Channel, Podcast and social accounts up there. You can subscribe via email at the bottom of this post. This blog is roughly twelve to twenty-four months behind where I currently am in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting. –Sam

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Sam,

    Would it be fair to generally say that agnostics are practical atheists, meaning that even though they are undecided about God intellectually, they live their lives as though God does not exist? Is it possible to be agnostic, but a practical believer, meaning they live as though God DOES exist? I don’t mean faking or pretending, but thinking, feeling, and acting as though God is real, even while intellectually unconvinced?

    Reply
    • whenbeliefdies
      January 11, 2022 7:40 am

      Hey Michael,

      So I know agnostics that lean both ways. In essence they don’t know for sure, but some live as if God doesn’t exist, others like He does exist.

      What’s interesting is both sets of people, in the broad essence, live in the same way – as in their life doesn’t look that different.

      Hope that makes some sort of sense?
      Sam 🙂

      Reply

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