Mentions Agnostic Atheism, Hears About it For the Rest of the Day

Holy Moses, there are some atheists out there who do not accept agnostic atheism in the slightest! From survey results I've seen, the majority of atheists actually fall into the agnostic atheist category, yet those who reject the term or concept of "agnostic" really, REALLY reject it. That's what I learned today.

While trying to defend my use of the adjective "agnostic", I recalled an image I'd seen attached to a Reddit conversation from a few years ago. I finally found it and thought it would be a good idea to share here. You can click on the image to see a bigger version.

Agnostic atheism is often thought of as being a "weak atheism" or "undecided" or "uncertain atheism". Some think that by simply adding the adjective "agnostic", we might change our minds and be suddenly swayed into superstition, belief in ghosts, psychic woo, and all manner of immaterial insanity.

Some think that it means we are waiting to be moved by a good enough argument, and then we will properly align ourselves with the atheist or theist camp.


"Agnostic" simply means not knowable, or beyond the realm of what is knowable. As I wrote elsewhere in a Facebook comment this morning: Claiming that we cannot know is not wavering or weak. I think it takes a mind that is more confident in, or comfortable with, uncertainty.

Let's look at what others have said.

Radical Skepticism:

Let's get one thing straight: Agnosticism is not some kind of weak-tea atheism. Agnosticism is not atheism or theism. It is radical skepticism, doubt in the possibility of certainty, opposition to the unwarranted certainties that atheism and theism offer. -Ron Rosenbaum (emphasis mine)

Quite Sure About Something:

Richard Dawkins, the man who single-handedly turned atheism into a quasi-religion, called agnosticism "fence-sitting, intellectual cowardice" as though agnostics were afraid of deciding whether god(s) existed or not.
The assumption here – and the one almost always thrown at agnostics – is that we are confused individuals, unsure of our beliefs and unable to make up our minds.
This could not be more incorrect.
Agnostics are quite sure about something: the lack of human ability to understand or explain something as incomprehensible as the existence of god(s). -Kevin Brandt (emphasis mine)

In Fact, Unknown:

Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.
The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who believes that one or more deities exist but claims that the existence or nonexistence of such is unknown or cannot be known. -Wikipedia

Beyond Knowledge's Reach:

If a man has failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist... if he goes farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist – an agnostic-atheist... while, then, it is erroneous to identify agnosticism and atheism, it is equally erroneous so to separate them as if the one were exclusive of the other... -Robert Flint (emphasis mine)

(image via Reddit)