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One can both be an agnostic and an atheist

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/26/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,440 times Debate No: 53377
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (43)
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First round is acceptance only

Con must accept the following definitions:

Atheist; One that lacks a belief in god
Agnostic: One that lacks knowledge of a god's existence.


Thank you. I look forward to it.
Debate Round No. 1


Atheist; One that lacks a belief in god
Agnostic: One that lacks knowledge of a god's existence.

Many people think an Agnostic is the same as being an Atheist. There is a difference and they are not mutually exclusive. You can, in fact, be an Agnostic Atheist.
You can also be an Agnostic Theist. The opposite of Agnostic is Gnostic. You can be a Gnostic Atheist or you can be a Gnostic Theist.
Agnosticism is based on what you know, while Atheism is based on what you believe.
In order to be an Agnostic, you have to admit you don"t know for sure. Since
nobody can prove that there is no God and not enough evidence exists that can
prove that there is a God, it would be fair to say that every person who values evidence, is an Agnostic. Sure, there are people who claim they know that there is, or isn't, a God. That would make them Gnostic. If you claim you know for sure,
you'd need evidence to back that claim up.
Atheism is the lack of the belief in a God. If you believe in a God, you are a
Theist. If you lack the belief in a God, you are an Atheist.
If you don't believe there is a God and claim you know there isn't a God, you
are a Gnostic Atheist. If you don"t believe there is a God, but admit you don"t
know for sure, you are an Agnostic Atheist. If you do believe in a God and admit
you aren't sure, you are an Agnostic Theist. If you believe there is a God and you
claim you know for sure, you are a Gnostic Theist.
Most Atheists are critical thinkers and rely on evidence. Without evidence, you
can't know for sure. That's why most Atheists are also Agnostic. There are Atheists who actually do claim they know for sure that there is no God, so not all Atheists are Agnostic.
Because of the social stigma associated with the word Atheist, many Atheist
call themselves Agnostic.


The above argument centres around the agreed upon definitions, which are so contrived to be necessarily overlapping. That is, "lacks knowledge" and "lacks belief" are, if not necessarily interdependent, at least obviously compatible. It may be conceivable for one to hold a belief with no knowledge, or to have knowledge and yet not believe, but it is obvious that they are not mutually exclusive; they almost imply one another. The argument also categorizes the four possible combinations of relation between belief and knowledge. I will not attempt to add to this list, nor dissolve the dichotomy, though it may not be sound.
Because the argument opens upon semantic grounds, and relies heavily upon the semantics of the agreed upon definition, it also presents itself for criticism on semantic grounds. Rather than denying the compatibility of the definitions of either term, I deny the practical existence of one of the terms altogether, based upon the definition. The argument title "one can be" implies existence in our world. So....
One cannot be an agnostic. The argument defines the term agnostic as "One that lacks knowledge of a god's existence." However, there is not a single existent example of one who has no knowledge of god's existence. One may have knowledge favouring a god's existence or knowledge opposing a god's existence, but there is none that "lacks" knowledge.
The previous argument uses "lack the believe in a God" and "don't believe in God" interchangeably. Thus, "lacks knowledge" and "does not have knowledge" are posed also as interchangeable. Yet everyone has knowledge of some form, whether it compels them toward Theism or Atheism. Just as a true Gnostic has "proof" in the sense of complete evidence (as stated above), an Agnostic lacks evidence in any sense.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent said.

"It may be conceivable for one to hold a belief with no knowledge (agnostic theist), or to have knowledge and yet not believe (Gnostic atheist), but it is obvious that they are not mutually exclusive; they almost imply one another."

OK, so what about an agnostic atheist?

My opponent claims "One cannot be an agnostic."

So that means everybody must know if there's a god or not.

I don't know because of the lack of evidence for one. So, that makes me agnostic.
I don't believe in a god, also due to the lack of evidence for one. That makes me an atheist.

Um...I'm an agnostic atheist.

How is that imposable?

My opponent claims "there is not a single existent example of one who has no knowledge of god's existence."

Where's the proof for that?

Chances are, out of the 8 billion+ people on this planet there is at least one who has never even heard of a god.

My opponent made the claim that there is not a single existent example of one the burden of proof is on him to provide evidence for that.

Good luck with that.



My opponent evidently ignored the claims I actually presented, preferring to substitute his own in a classic straw man fallacy. My claim "One cannot be an agnostic" is explained to mean "One must have some knowledge about a god's existence". My opponent simplified it to be "everybody must know if there's a god or not". In doing so, he seems to have abandoned his own definition of an agnostic, which is, in fact, what I was operating on. Agnosticism, as defined by the terms of the debate (rather poor terms though they may be), is "One who lacks knowledge of a god's existence". My opponent has, in this round, abandoned his own terms of debate (altering the definition of Agnostic to "one who does not know if there is a god or not"). As I previously showed, my opponent's own use of the term "lack" was crucial in the relation of absolutes and gradients. Evidently, my opponent prefers to operate in such tight semantic bounds that even he cannot maneuver within them.
As for the manner in which All Men have knowledge about the existence of a god, it need not be in the absolute sense; they only need have some. My opponent posits a man who has never even heard of a god, as if that would disqualify him from knowing about a god. In his Meditations III, Decartes shows that all of our human concepts--the finite as well as the infinite, the perfect as well as the imperfect--ARE, in fact, conceptions (or "knowledge") of a god.
This discussion would have to delve further into the definitions of a god. If we take the common precedent established by Anselm and define god as "that than which no greater can be conceived", it is evident that every man has a conception of a god. Indeed, even if an example could be presented--I do not admit that it can be-- of a man that has none of these concepts which imply a god, his lack of a concept would be an evidence against the existence of a god. Thus, he would still has knowledge about a god, though knowledge inclining toward Atheism.

As my opponent appears to be fond of fallacies, and this debate goes without vote or reward, I will indulge in bit of an ad hominem. He claims he wants only true, honest debate, and yet he does not at all appear eager to change the mind of another or himself. His evidences are spare, and unpersuasive. Indeed, they do not even attempt to be so; they settle for being provocative. ("Good luck with that"). He attempts to eliminate even the possibility of argument through poorly contrived definitions; yet when I enter the debate within those terms, and use them to defeat the argument by examining such poor definitions, he breaks the very terms he set. He would do well not to oversimplify, and better still to gain some intellectual honesty.
Debate Round No. 3
43 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sagey 6 years ago
Though both the Definitions in this debate are Identical, so Atheist = Agnostic anyway.

Lack of Belief in God, is the Same as No Knowledge of God.
Impossible argument for Con there.

If a person has no Knowledge Of God, then they must Lack Belief In God. Thus they are Atheist by dictionary Definition.

Agnostic by Dictionary definition has changed over the years to now meaning: Those who are aware of God, but consider God as unknowable by Humans. Which is almost Identical to Deism.

So a modern dictionary, implicit or weak Atheist (No Knowledge Of God) thus Lacks Belief In God cannot be Agnostic: (God exists, but not knowable by humans).
Nor can it be an Explicit Atheist: God does not exist.

So in the terms of some modern dictionaries, an Atheist cannot be also Agnostic.
Which would favor Con.
Posted by Sagey 6 years ago
Yes, Biblical Faith is indeed BLIND!
Because the texts are among the most idiotic ever written by humans.
They may have seemed wise in the times of writing, but measured in modern times, they are extremely Naive and out-dated. The morality within the Bible leaves an awful lot to be desired, which much of moder Ethics has greatly improved upon Biblical morality. So in every aspect of modern life, the Bible has been surpassed. Chronologically it is inept, morally it is inept, philosophically it is inept.
The Bible is totally Inept in every aspect.

There is really no use for the Bible in these times, it can be Binned without creating any problems for society, except for a few very upset, but extremely Delusional people.

It would be no great loss to society if all Bibles were binned.
Posted by nonprophet 6 years ago
@Carthage You're so gullible....and don't even know the difference between "you're" and "your".
Posted by St_Thanatos 6 years ago
@Sagey Friend, the modernist search for absolute certainty is an impossibility that I don't suggest you wait upon. Something must be taken on faith--what we call "first principles", for nothing can be reasoned without accepting something as intrinsic true. Descartes tried to reason first principles, and many would say he failed; we can talk about that if you want.
My point is, the search for infallible evidence will never succeed. We take such a stance with God, because we feel we have the luxury to postpone--even indefinitely--a decision. If we took that stance with every aspect of life, we would still be deciding whether we're in a dream or not. If you wish to doubt indefinitely, by all means indulge in that, but do so in every aspect, so that you find the full extent.
If you ever want to hold something as true, faith needs to be in the mix, in however small a part. Biblically, "faith the size of a mustard seed" will do. God never demands our blind faith. There are evidences aplenty.
Posted by Sagey 6 years ago
I'm an agnostic atheist, that is why I labelled myself Confucian.
I'm open to evidence for a God.
But that evidence must be infallible.
Posted by Carthage 6 years ago
I'm glad your gone. And you can't reply to that without directly contradicting yourself.
Posted by nonprophet 6 years ago
Trust me, you'll never hear from me again.
Posted by Teemo 6 years ago
If you make false definitions on your new account, it will be possible to estimate who you are. Regardless, I appreciate you took up my advice on starting fresh. I hope you can have more respectful and fair debates in the future. Good luck to you!
Posted by nonprophet 6 years ago
You know what...I'm shutting this account down and making another one...Good luck trying to harass me then. I promise you won't find me.
Your relentless harassment caused this and I'll explain that to airmax.

You think you are immune to his authority here?

Go tell him that.
Posted by Wylted 6 years ago
Giving compliments is rude in what way? You need some church if you think tht is rude.
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