Agnostic vs Atheist
Between the words Agnostic and Atheist, there exist a number of differences. Let us approach this difference in the following manner. There are many religions in the world, and billions follow their religions, firmly believing in the existence of an almighty, the supreme power. However, there are also nonbelievers as well as those who say that it is difficult, rather impossible to prove the existence of God. Thus, there are true atheists, the people who deny the existence of God altogether, and there are agnostics who are skeptical about the existence of a supreme power. There are many similarities in these two categories of people as both do not profess religion in its strict sense. However, atheists have many differences from agnostics that shall be highlighted in this article.
Who is an Agnostic?
Agnosticism is a belief that proving the existence of Gods is extremely difficult. It is thus clear, that agnostics are placed on a rung just below atheists, and thus, are less dogmatic than atheists in their utter rejection of religion and the system of a super power. Agnostics seem to get the benefit of the doubt and escape censure, unlike an atheist who is usually subjected to prejudice. There are countless who have their doubts about the existence of Gods but are fearful of the rejection from the majority. Such people continue to lead a dual life displaying their affinity to religion and religious thoughts despite not believing in them. Agnostics, as they are not sure of themselves in what they believe, appear to be open minded.
If we look in dictionaries, we find that an agnostic is described as a person who says that the existence of gods is impossible to prove. Thus, an agnostic is a person who does not profess any religion as he is skeptical about the existence of God but, at the same time he does not profess true atheism. The term agnostic was coined by a famous Darwinian Thomas Huxley, who said that agnosticism was not a creed in itself but a method of perceiving religious beliefs. What an agnostic believes in, is a thought system that says, that it is impossible to prove the existence of a God. Huxley himself said that it is impossible to ever know inconclusively if there is a god at all.
Who is an Atheist?
Atheism is total disbelief in God. An atheist has to face all types of social pressures, and may even face prejudices of those who are firm believers. Atheists are clear in the mind and do not have to face a tearing apart of their inner belief system and the system that they feel imposed upon them by the majority. Atheists are thus, clear in their mind as they have the courage to back their conviction.
In dictionaries, we find that an atheist is described as a person who denies the existence of Gods. Atheists are more comfortable with their belief system that strongly rejects Gods and Godly things. However, as with religious people, even atheism includes strong and weak atheists. A strong atheist, since he denies the existence of God altogether, has no reason to believe in any religion and gods.
What is the Difference Between Agnostic and Atheist?
• There are many who use the terms atheist and agnostic interchangeably which is a wrong practice.
• Atheists are people who deny the existence of God altogether while agnostics are people who are not sure about the existence of gods and say that it is impossible to prove their existence.
• There can be an overlapping between atheists who are not so strong and agnostics who are firm in their beliefs.
1. “Greg Graffin of Bad Religion sings the National Anthem at the Reason Rally. National Mall, Washington, DC, 2012″ by BDEngler [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons