Militant Agnosticism

It’s reassuring when someone agrees with you, especially when they do so in a somewhat-coherent way. My basic approach is that theists are fine, insofar as they admit that their beliefs rely on faith, but atheists are (often) hypocrites, insofar as they chastise theists for a faith-based belief, then proceed to base their beliefs on (what amounts to) faith also.

(I’m not happy accepting a distinction between negative and positive atheism, but I admit that my position is generally directed toward the militant atheists, e.g. Richard Dawkins).

Ron Rosenbaum over at Slate is setting forth (basically) what I believe. Certainly it’s problematic, but less so than atheism:

Faith-based atheism? Yes, alas. Atheists display a credulous and childlike faith, worship a certainty as yet unsupported by evidence—the certainty that they can or will be able to explain how and why the universe came into existence. (And some of them can behave as intolerantly to heretics who deviate from their unproven orthodoxy as the most unbending religious Inquisitor.)

[…]

[Thomas] Huxley originally defined his agnosticism against the claims of religion, but it also applies to the claims of science in its know-it-all mode. I should point out that I accept all that science has proven with evidence and falsifiable hypotheses but don’t believe there is evidence or falsifiable certitude that science can prove or disprove everything. Agnosticism doesn’t contend there are no certainties; it simply resists unwarranted untested or untestable certainties.

Agnosticism doesn’t fear uncertainty. It doesn’t cling like a child in the dark to the dogmas of orthodox religion or atheism. Agnosticism respects and celebrates uncertainty and has been doing so since before quantum physics revealed the uncertainty that lies at the very groundwork of being.

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One Response to Militant Agnosticism

  1. I, for one, am an atheist. I came to be an atheist when I realised that if God (in any sense of the word) exists than he/she/it is neither generous nor loving. Simply consider the excess of unfortunates in the world. All that suffering and God is idle? Apologies but this gives me a moral certainty that pushes me over the agnostic/atheist border.

    Poor Richard Dawkins. Hated by the religious establishment and branded militant by the rest of us. I do believe, though it’s a while since I read the ‘God Delusion’, that Dawkins does not consider himself an atheist for the exact reasons you outline in your blog. Rather, he considers himself a very strong agnostic and feels it would be morally dubious to condemn organised religion but be 100% atheist based on faith alone (though he does think that science will ultimately explain everything).

    I have no problems with calling myself an atheist. Hey, I enjoy friendly arguments. Great blog by the way. Extremely interesting topics and great music to boot. Cheers

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