At long last I have returned to attempt this blog again. I had decided to forego writing my musings on (a)theism as my thoughts can mostly be found in other resources, and explained better as well. I have decided to try again, exceptionalism be damned. To begin a discussion on atheism, theism, and philosophy (or about anything, really) terms need to be decided.
Firstly, atheism. There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding on this topic. Regardless of how a particular atheist may define it or a theist may misrepresent it, I define it, for my purposes and use of the term here, as one who rejects god claims. This is distinct from the position of claiming god doesn’t exist, a gnostic claim, and a rather untenable position. An atheist simply rejects the god claim. As an analogy, if you are on a jury you must decide whether or not there is enough evidence to claim someone is guilty. If there is not enough evidence you must vote not guilty. This does not mean you believe they are innocent, just that there is not enough evidence to prove they are guilty. This is the same as atheism. There is not enough evidence to claim god exists.
Secondly, god. I will not define this here but I will mention that before anyone can discuss theism or god they must define exactly what they mean by god. You cannot have a discussion on god without specifying what you mean, something most theists fail to do. I generally find the descriptions that are given to be vague and nebulous as well, something to get into in another post.
Lastly, for today, agnostic. Agnostic on its own is essentially nothing. One is not an agnostic. One is an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist. This is in contrast to the other options of being a gnostic atheist or a gnostic theist. This is because (a)gnostic refers to knowledge, while (a)theism refers to belief, or more accurately, acceptance of a claim. They are two different spectrums. Theist and atheist are not on the same spectrum as gnostic and agnostic. To fully define it, an agnostic atheist does not accept a god claim and does not claim to know they are correct. A gnostic atheist does not accept a god claim and also claims that they know for sure a god does not exist (in which case they are wrong, as you cannot know, by definition of what it is to be supernatural). On the other side, an agnostic theist accepts a god claim but doesn’t claim to know for sure they are correct. A gnostic theist accepts a god claim and claims to know for sure they are correct ( again, a logically flawed position that is by definition wrong). To sum up, you can be both an atheist and an agnostic (as I am), they are not mutually exclusive in any way, in fact, it is necessary to have one of each category (knowledge and belief) because they answer different questions.