What is Atheism?
Most societies believe in a higher power or in a supernatural realm. The most common type of belief is the system of monotheism. Monotheism is the belief that there is only one God. The three Abrahamic religions which include Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are monotheistic religions. Deism is a type of theism that hold the proposition that God created the universe but does not intervene. Polytheism holds to a view that there are multiple Gods controlling the universe. Pantheism is the belief that God is the universe. All of these beliefs hold to the belief in some sort of God or Gods existence. Atheism is the proposition that no God or God’s exist (Draper 1). The New Atheists tend to define atheism as a lack of belief, but that is not the standard definition that philosophers will use. Philosophers use Draper’s definition because it helps to do philosophy. Philosophy does not deal with psychological states, but rather what is objectively real by using philosophy concepts such as epistemology, ontology, metaphysics, so on (Draper).
Atheism is the opposite of theism because it holds the opposite truth value. Theism affirms that God does exist and Atheism affirms that God does not exist. One could be an atheist without evidence to convince himself psychologically, but to convince others you must present evidence for the proposition that God does not exist. When it comes to the existence of God, philosophers must be as objective as possible because it is the most important metaphysical question in Philosophy. There are only two answers to whether God exists. There are two contradictory positions so we have to distinguish which is true. Absolute certainty is not needed for a rational belief in the existence of God. If we have more evidence for God existing, then it follows that he most likely exists. If there is more evidence showing that God does not exist, then it follows that God most likely does not exist. In debates over the existence of God both sides hold propositions that should be tested objectively (Draper).
Atheism can also be defined as the rejection of the belief in God or God’s (Nielsen 2). If a person rejects something, then they tend to have reasons for what they’ve rejected. After one comes out of his or his childhood, they tend to reject that Santa Claus actually exists. You would realize that there is not elf workshop in the North Pole or no actually sightings of Santa Claus. You would even realize that the myth of Santa Clause bridges of the historical Saint Nicholas. There is overwhelming evidence against the existence of Santa Clause, so we reject the existence of Santa Claus. Professional, atheist philosophers give reasons for why they reject the concept of God or Gods (Draper). Atheism has many sub-categorical definitions, but the most common use in philosophy is a proposition that asserts God or Gods do not exist.
What is Agnosticism?
T.H Huxley an English biologist, successfully developed the combination of agnostic and agnosticism. Agnostic mainly means one who cannot obtain any knowledge concerning the existence of God. Agnosticism means that the body of knowledge concerning God cannot be known (Draper). It is the neutral zone for when it comes to the topic of God’s existence and his attributes. David Hume was an agnostic who challenged miracles and we could not actually know with any certainty if there are such things as suspension of natural laws. He challenges the historicity of miracles by suggesting that the people who wrote about alleged miracles either could have made the miracles stories up or did not understand what they actually witnessed. Hume’s view was that we could not know if miracles actually happened or not. Humanity simply cannot know which leads us to agnosticism about miracles (Flew). Agnostics withhold judgments about the existence of God and hold the propositions that nothing about God can be known.
Draper, Paul. “Atheism and Agnosticism.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 2 Aug. 2017, plato.stanford.edu/entries/atheism-agnosticism/.
Flew, Antony Garrard Newton. “Agnosticism.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 12 Sept. 2017, www.britannica.com/topic/agnosticism.
Nielsen, Kai E. “Atheism.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 20 June 2017, www.britannica.com/topic/atheism.