I recently had a very brief but interesting (and amusing, if I must admit) conversation with somebody who goes by the name Flying Free on Twitter. It was about one of my articles on Richard Dawkins and atheism.
In that article is is a statement which I believe sparked the whole debate that follows. I quote myself:
Agnosticism is the safe line bordering both atheism and theism …
I have gone on to say that the existence of higher beings or their lack thereof ought to be of no consequence to the work of a scientifically-minded fellow. (I was, of course, talking of science and religion then.)
Not a middle ground?
Somebody who had clearly read my article (because this particular sentence comes round the end anyway) had this to say:
@VHBelvadi Agnosticism is not a middle ground, you are either an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.
— Flying Free (@FlyingFree333) January 10, 2014
That got me thinking. As far as I knew, agnosticism, atheism and theism were on the same page even if they defined themselves slightly differently. The definition of an agnostic, according to the Cambridge dictionary of English goes thus:
Someone who believes that it is impossible to know whether a god exists.
Looking into the annals of religious social development, one finds a slightly different definition taking equal prominence:
A person calling oneself ‘agnostic’ is literally stating that he or she has no opinion on the existence of God.
The closest I had ever come to reading about agnostic atheists and agnostic theists (as I could recall at that time, phone in hand, Twitter app opened) was George Smith’s, Atheism: the case against god. Continue reading