What's the MAIN difference between atheism and agnosticism?

Indeed, I know that there are agnostic atheists.

But, what makes them different enough to have their own labels?

I'm curious as to your thoughts.



24 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Theism: Belief in one or more gods.

    Atheism: Not theism.

    Gnosticism: The position that the existence of god is known one way or another.

    Agnosticism: Not gnosticism.

    The letter “a” in front of atheism and agnosticism functions like a NOT gate; an inverter.

    Everyone in the world is one of these four options, with example sentences:

    Gnostic theist: “I know there is a god.”

    Agnostic theist: “I don’t know for sure if there is a god, but I believe in one.”

    Gnostic atheist: “I know there is no god.”

    Agnostic atheist: “I don’t know if there are any gods, but I don’t particularly believe in any.”

    I am an agnostic atheist, myself.

  • Steve
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Atheist is someone who is without theist beliefs. a-theist

    Agnostic is someone who is without gnosis (gnosis is a greek word that means the knowledge that is derived from direct experience of the divine)

    It's the difference between conceptual and direct understanding. If someone tells you a flame is hot then you have the concept in your mind but if you stick your hand in the flame then you have the direct experience.

    In the same way an atheist says 'I don't accept what theists say about god' and the agnostic says 'i've never experienced the presence of god'

    An agnostic atheist would combine the two. "I've never experienced the existence of God for myself so I can't honestly accept the idea that it exists".

  • 1 decade ago

    Atheism is the complete and utter denial of a deity or God. Agnosticism is like sitting the line between Atheism and Theism - basically saying the existence of a God is either unknowable, or you are uncertain of the existence of a God.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's very simple, really.

    Agnostic people believe that there is indeed a higher power, they just don't know what it is, or don't wish to follow any religion, or put a name to their beliefs.

    Atheists just refuse the idea that there is any higher power. In their eyes, man is the only superior force in the Universe, and everything else is just here by chance. Pretty selfish way to live, if you ask me.

    Source(s): A Witch who knows her stuff.
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Atheism and theism deal with belief, where as agnosticism and gnosticism deal with knowledge.

    Atheism is the lack of belief in deities. Not necessarily the assertive disbelief, as some others here are claiming it to be.

    Agnosticism is the assertion that God's existence and nature are ultimately unknowable. It doesn't mean you're "undecided". It's not a half-way point between theism and atheism.

  • 1 decade ago

    Agnostics doesn't take a side on the debate on whether there is a God or not.

    Atheist and Theists do however.

  • 1 decade ago

    Atheism is a statement of skepticism.

    Agnosticism is an epistemological assertion.

    As it turns out, the two are almost entirely unrelated, hence why it is possible to be both.

  • 1 decade ago

    Agnostics do not know and believe that one cannot know if there is a god

    Atheists do not know but do not believe / believe there is no god

    Theists do not know but believe there is a god

    But in the end, no one knows.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Lack of belief v. lack of knowledge.

    "Agnostic: A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of god or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in god."

  • 1 decade ago

    They're completely different things.

    Atheism - I don't believe in any deity.

    Agnosticism - I think the existence of deities is unknown/unknowable.

    One is a lack of belief, the other is a stance on knowledge.

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