Agnosticism is the belief that no one can truly know for certain whether there is a god or gods, because there exists no physical evidence one way or another. Belief, or lack thereof, rests entirely on faith. Deism holds that yes, there is a god or gods, but that reason, knowledge, and understanding of the natural world — not organized religion — are how we find the answer as to whether God exists.
Agnostic Deism, or Agnostic Theism, holds that there is a deity or deities, but that this concept is inherently unknowable because, again, there is no physical evidence, thus requiring a certain amount of faith. Our search for answers must rely on our own ability to use reason, scientific method, and proper interpretation of known facts. In that sense, Olaf Stapledon‘s Star Maker may be considered a blueprint for finding these answers, thus allowing us to philosophically determine the existence and nature of God, and the deity’s intentions and goals for us, its mortal creations.
To be an agnostic is to retain an open mind as to the possibility of God’s existence, acknowledging that it may be impossible to ever really know the truth. Thus we agnostics are in a better position to find answers, because, unlike atheists and theists, we have not closed our minds off completely to possibility.
Of course, until we die, we can never really know what of our conclusions, if any at all, are correct — and by then it’s too late, and we cannot relate our findings to those we leave behind. Reason requires that we respect that our beliefs may not be the truth, or at least not the complete truth, and that other faiths may each hold a piece of the larger puzzle.
Thus the purpose and intent of this blog is to dissect the concepts of atheism, theism, religion, belief systems, and the various, often violent disputes among these competing philosophies, in order to make sense of it all. In a society wherein each group seeks to impose its own ideas on others, often by force of physical violence or through legislative action, or both, it is important to understand the multitude of ideas and beliefs, challenge them where necessary, but in a manner that respects that to those who hold them, they are each legitimate, and if we wish respect for our own beliefs, we must first show respect to others.
Too often disagreements between and among believers of various faiths (which, I will point out in greater detail at a later date, includes atheism) lead to contentious, hostile, and all-too-often violent confrontation. Rome understood this quite well: a conquered civilization may grudgingly accept new rulers, but it will rebel violently and until its dying breath against attempts to forcibly change, replace, or do away with its religion. Thus, with some notable exceptions, the Roman Empire until its adoption of Christianity was mostly tolerant of the religious beliefs of the peoples it conquered, and even assimilated aspects of the various religions into its own, especially Greek gods and customs, given Roman names and twists.
In the search for answers, the use of reason and scientific method to determine the existence and nature of God therefore should be explored as the best option. The reasoned analysis of the various religions, their texts, and their basic tenets, should also provide valuable insight into our search, for each holds a piece of the greater puzzle.