David Attenborough: an atheist or an agnostic?


I like a lot of Coyne’s stuff, but I think he has it wrong here. Atheism and agnosticism are answers to different questions. If asked if you believe in a deity, the atheist would say no. If asked if you can know if a deity exists, an agnostic would say no. Atheism is about what you believe and agnosticism is about what you know. They are different things. You can be both an atheist and an agnostic.

I also know that there is a long tradition in some circles of defining atheism as the belief there are no gods instead of just a lack of a positive belief. However, I think this tradition should be confronted and fixed. I’m not alone in this, either:




Yeah, I saw Jerry’s reply. It was a bit polemic in sections, and he said essentially what I had said in the opening post. It is interesting that Jerry also picked up on the fact that Jesus was supposed to be God incarnate which seems to shoot a big whole in Egnor’s entire thesis.

To tie a bow on this one (maybe), the extremes that Egnor went to in that post aren’t even necessary as shown by posts by other Christians in this thread. Christianity has long embraced a “greater mystery” as a matter of faith, and theologians haven’t seemed that troubled by it through the years.

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