Secular Right | Reality & Reason



An Agnostic Manifesto

Judging by this entertaining new piece in Slate, I suspect that Ron Rosenbaum may have been spending a little too much time thinking about this whole God-or-not thing (a fruitless debate, if ever I saw one), and his idea of a “new agnosticism” doesn’t delight, but there’s still plenty in Rosenbaum’s “manifesto” to enjoy.

This was a good start:

Let’s get one thing straight: Agnosticism is not some kind of weak-tea atheism. Agnosticism is not atheism or theism. It is radical skepticism, doubt in the possibility of certainty, opposition to the unwarranted certainties that atheism and theism offer.

And then there’s this, half a sentence written by an agnostic which proves that Hell does indeed exist:

Having recently spent two weeks in Cambridge (the one in the United Kingdom) on a Templeton-Cambridge Fellowship, being lectured to by believers and nonbelievers…

Read the whole thing.

Thomas Huxley



  • Cephus · July 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Of course, yet again we see someone who doesn’t comprehend the basics behind atheism going on to claim that their straw-man version of atheism must be wrong so their invented “alternative” is needed. There is no absolute certainty in atheism. It is the rejection of theistic claims as unsupported and unjustified, nothing more, nothing less. The idea that atheism is absolute certainty in the non-existence of god(s) is ludicrous, yet it pervades agnostic thought because they don’t have the guts to stand up and admit what they really are, they opt for a namby-pamby weak term designed not to offend the religious.

    No thanks, count me as a proud atheist. I don’t care if the theists like me, I’m honest enough to admit I don’t much like them either.

  • Apathy Curve · July 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Hrm… I can “read the whole thing” or stab myself in the eye with a pencil…

    I’m thinking it over.

  • Snippet · July 1, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    I’ve gotta say, the difference between:

    “There is no God. Deal with it.”


    “I’m open to the possibility that … some day … the evidence for the existence of God (which until now, despite enormous efforts to find it, has been rather lacking) will appear.”

    …is rather fine.

    Interesting how intensely people will disagree over such teensy weensy disagreements.

    Or, is this what’s called, “a heated agreement.”?

  • Susan · July 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    It’s just my personal observation, but I’ve noticed that people who are the most vocally atheistic tend to have been raised in traditionally religious circumstances. Agnostics tend to come from backgrounds where there was an indifference to religion. I have no statistics to back this up, but it’s something I’ve noticed.

  • Clark · July 3, 2010 at 12:35 am

    I think the line between atheism and agnosticism is blurry. Most atheists I talk to are opposed to the interventionist personal God whereas it seems many agnostics take the term broader. The Slate article is like that. The skepticism against atheism is due to things like “why is there something rather than nothing?” But that really isn’t much of an argument to be agnostic about a personal God.

    Note, I accept a personal God. But it seems to me there are lots of theist who seem more agnostic to me and lots of atheists who seem like agnostics or deists.

    I think the terms are pretty fluid.

    Still, the article was hilarious if only as a sendup of the new atheists.



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