posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 02:58 PM
After a short conversation just now in another thread, I feel the need to create a thread about agnosticism. More specifically, a thread discussing
why being agnostic and being gnostic are not spiritual positions.
Don't mistake me saying gnostic as referring to The Gnostics, or any specific spiritual concept, but rather what the meaning of the word itself means
and where it comes from. Gnostic meaning knowledge, Agnostic meaning without knowledge essentially. These are the definitions I am using when it comes
to this discussion.
The definition is important, because it directly relates solely to a position on ones knowledge. The importance here reveals the huge misconception
many people have on a/gnosticism.
Agnosticism and Gnosticism, speaking generally in what the term means (again, not talking about the spiritual practice that is involved in Gnosticism)
is an epistemological position. To those lacking a dictionary on hand or too lazy to find one, Epistemology is a branch of philosophy pertaining to
One can not simply say they are agnostic or gnostic when pertaining to spiritual matters. An atheist can be gnostic in the sense that they know for a
fact that god or some other sort of spiritual existence does not exist. A christian can be agnostic if they do not believe they know the nature of god
and that such knowledge is outside the realm of human understanding.
As you can see, Agnostic and Gnostic are not terms that can not fully explain an individuals spiritual beliefs. They can be used as adjectives to go
into detail, but these adjectives do not explain an individuals spiritual position alone. They explain an individuals epistemological position ON
One may suggest, "But what if someone simply doesn't know?" Well then, they don't know their spiritual position. But not knowing what you believe
concerning spiritual matters is not a spiritual position. It is in fact, the lack of a spiritual position. Not to be mistaken with say, the gnostic
atheist, whose spiritual position is that there is no such factual thing as spirituality. So an individual who is solely an "agnostic" has not in
fact offered their beliefs on spiritual matters. They have only revealed that they do not know where they stand. Even not knowing where you stand is
not a spiritual matter but rather an epistemological conundrum that is not allowing you to elaborate on your spiritual beliefs or lack thereof.
Essentially in the end, it is a cop out.
So let this be a lesson to those reading. Gnostic and Agnostic are not spiritual positions. They are rather identifiers explaining an individuals
epistemological position on the spiritual. You can be a Theist, or you can be an Atheist. You can be an agnostic theist or a gnostic atheist. But you
can't solely be an agnostic or a gnostic. If asked the question "What do you believe in?" and you answer "I'm an agnostic.", you haven't
answered the question yet.