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An Agnostic is someone who suggests that the concept of whether or not there is a supernatural creator or other God-type entity is either unknown or can never be known.
There are two basic types of Agnosticism:
- Weak Agnostic - holds to the idea that he/she does not know if God exists.
- Strong Agnostic - holds to the idea that whether or not God exists can never be known.
Agnosticism as a subset of atheism
Many people use the term "agnostic" to describe their freethinking, non-theistic stance. Some of these people do so to distance themselves from the "atheist" moniker and the demonization (no pun intended) such a term connotates in modern society.
Despite the fact that many so-called "agnostics" claim they are not "atheists", they are incorrect. An agnostic is a type of atheist. If you do not know if God exists (as per the definition of Agnostic) then it is impossible to believe in such an entity. Therefore agnostics also meet the criteria for being an atheist (lacking a belief in God).
Some self-professed agnostics would beg to differ that they are not "atheists" but this is because they erroneously subscribe to the notion that an atheist is someone who "believes there is/are no god(s)" which is not the true definition.
Agnosticism as a world view
Like atheism, agnosticism does not embody any sort of world view, rules, guidelines or other doctrine or dogma. It's merely a position on an issue with no supplemental constructs. Being agnostic does not in any way suggest certain views on morality, decency, how to live ones' life, or who to pay homage to. Other philosophies such as Humanism or Buddhism represent a more applicable agnostic-type world view.
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