How Can Someone be an Agnostic and an Atheist at the Same Time?

Can someone be an atheist and theist at the same time? I think so.


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Nice article, @Patrick .
I know you don’t believe in God, but what if there is, indeed, One Who believes in you?
Honestly not trying to be smarmy, just friendly.

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@EricMH please elaborate.

Thanks, over the years I have had the great fortune of several people who have believed in me.

That’s a really good thing. Kudos!

Frank Schaeffer does have a book “Why I am an atheist who believes in God”.

One can definitely be an agnostic and a theist at the same time. Agnosticism is a statement about knowledge, and theism is a statement about belief. What we know and what we believe are two different things. Therefore, an agnostic theist doesn’t know if God exists, but still believes in God.

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Oppy, a philosopher of religion, puts forward these definitions in his book Atheism and Agnosticism

Under these definitions, its seems to me that a person cannot be both an agnostic and an atheist.

In philosophy, the starting point for analysis of knowledge defines knowledge as Justified True Belief. As best I can tell, the linked post is not using this definition.

In addition to belief, knowledge requires both truth and justification. A justified belief can still be false and hence not knowledge.

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Those are poor definitions. For starters, atheism is a lack of belief in gods. This is different than believing there are no gods. It’s a subtle, but important difference. I like the way the American Atheist organizations states it:


That’s because you aren’t thinking like a scientist. Suppose I said that the probability of there being no god is 95%. Would I be an atheist, an agnostic, or something else?

Something else. Delusional, maybe? : )

How about an intelligent happy person.

With an exaggerated sense of their own math abilities, maybe, sure. : )

Not exaggerated at all. Just a human in the 21 century living comfortably due to the creativity, innovation, of the millions of humans of the past million years. Thanks Homo Erectus!

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Thanks, but that was intended as an example, not as my actual position. I’d actually put it closer to 99.99%. Does calling people delusional fit the community standards? Would it be OK if I called you delusional? I’d really like to, if so.

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Why is “lack of belief in gods” a better definition of atheism than “belief that there are no gods”?

Especially when the latter has just been cited as the definition from a prominent (atheist!) philosopher of religion?

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Because lack of belief in gods is more apathetic.

Who is this prominent atheist philosopher of religion?