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Why agnosticism isn't a spiritual position

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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 knowledge.

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 spiritual matters.

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.

posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 03:27 PM
Actually you can just be a straight up Agnostic.

Being an Agnostic is kind of like being in a state of the unknown.

If you are not willing to come to a conclusion or believe that with the information we are given that there is no possible way to come to a concrete conclusion then you are an Agnostic.

Your post did teach me something tho. I always labeled myself as an Agnostic but in reality I am an Agnostic Theist because I do believe in some sort of Creator. I just refer to him or her or whoever it may be as my god or my creator as I can not reliably assign it an Identity at this moment haha.

posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 03:29 PM
I am agnostic

I'd like to add something
Agnostics are not atheists and not necessarily spiritual.

Keep in mind you may achieve a higher level of spirituality while being very atheist.

posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 03:49 PM
The OP has an interesting way of looking at it. Here's another.

I'm an agnostic. There are only three responsive answers to any so-called yes-or-no question: Yes, No, or else I don't know.

The question of interest is "Do(es) any god(s) exist?"

Yes = theist

No = atheist

I don't know = agnostic

That's it. Nothing about "spritiuality." There are plenty of spiritual practices that do not, or do not necessarily, traffic in gods, nor do they deny gods: ancestor worship, shamanism, and Buddhism, to name three. There is also no reason why an atheist couldn't be very spiritual.

I won't be so rude as to explore the converse, that there are plenty of people who are theists, but who don't take spiritual matters seriously, or don't behave as if they did.

posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 04:02 PM
I guess I am also an agnostic theist, but I don't really know? I think there is some type of Great Universal Soul, but again, how can anyone know anything unless we live through a short death experience.
I always just referred to myself as agnostic because who really knows? I don't even like to say there is a God, because everyone has such a different perception of the entity. That doesn't make me an atheist though, just don't like the arguments/wars that start over the word/name/entity.
When I finally die, hopefully many years from now, I will make a firm stand on what I believe.

[edit on 8-6-2010 by snowspirit]

posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 07:57 PM
reply to post by eight bits

That's it. Nothing about "spritiuality." There are plenty of spiritual practices that do not, or do not necessarily, traffic in gods, nor do they deny gods: ancestor worship, shamanism, and Buddhism, to name three. There is also no reason why an atheist couldn't be very spiritual.

Well generally speaking, people who consider themselves atheists don't believe in the spiritual. I'm well aware of spiritual beliefs and religions where there are no gods.

But regardless, I believe you're incorrect when it comes to the choices. It's either a yes or no answer. Whether or not you believe you know God(s) exist is irrelevant. When you ask someone "Do you believe in God(s)?" there is no in-between. And generally speaking, when asked this question there are those who choose to take the middle road that does not exist. How can you not know whether or not you BELIEVE in a God?

What matters are the questions. You're presenting the question in which agnostic and gnostic are viable answers whereas I'm talking peoples beliefs. People generally don't ask "Do you know if God exists?" And as I said, you can't not know what your beliefs are.

posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 08:16 PM
"Agnostics are Atheist without balls".
Stephen Colbert

posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 08:42 PM

Originally posted by Target Earth
"Agnostics are Atheist without balls".
Stephen Colbert

That would be me ! Literally

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