The Agnostic F.A.Q.

One of the hardest parts of being an agnostic in today's world is that people just don't know what "agnostic" means! Like so many other parts of our lives, society expects us to be one thing or the other, religious or atheist. So here, in a (probably feeble) attempt to end it all, I have written the Agnostic FAQ, based off of real questions I have been asked about my beliefs.

Q: What does agnostic mean?
A: Agnostic means, literally "don't know." Agnostics don't think it's possible to know the answers to life's toughest questions, and they think it's silly that so many people are so sure they're right.

Q: So are you atheist?
A: Agnostic is not the same as atheist. Atheists are people who are willing to come out and say, "There is no god." It is possible to be an agnostic atheist, a person who considers it incredibly improbable that god exists, but is open to the possibility. Personally, I don't subscribe to that belief.

Q: "Agnostic atheist?" So are you an "agnostic theist?"
A: No. Although, there is nothing about agnosticism that conflicts with either atheism or theism. An agnostic theist would simply be someone who considers that, while nobody can know for sure, they personally believe in a god. So, really, anyone who has ever had a crisis of faith has been, in some respects, an agnostic theist. But, again, I personally don't subscribe to that belief, either. I'm an Agnostic Humanist.

Q: What's an Agnostic Humanist?
A: An Agnostic Humanist is someone who is undecided about the existence of a god, and most importantly, doesn't think that it is important.

Q: What!??! How could it not be important?
A: Because we believe that, no matter what the answer is, we should live our lives the same way. If there's no god, we don't want to descend into a moral oblivion. I base my morals off of secular ideas. I try to be a good person for the sake of being a good person, I do it because it's right, but I don't do it for fear of punishment. I don't do it because I'm yearning to reach nirvana, or heaven, and I don't do it because I'm God's tool. I'm my own tool, and I do works because I myself believe good works should be done.

Q: Do all agnostics think like that?
A: Not at all. If there's one thing that you take away from this about agnosticism, let it be this: agnosticism can, pretty much, coincide with any other belief or set of ethical principles. You can be an agnostic atheist or theist, an agnostic humanist, an agnostic altruist, an agnostic hedonist…the list goes on and on. Agnosticism is, quite simply, admitting that we don't know the answer to that one big question. Not knowing, though, is not the same as not having an opinion. Many agnostics have very strong opinions about the existence (or non-existence) of God. But, when it comes to the bottom line, they're realistic, and admit that they're not 100% sure.

author: Jonathan Busch

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