Agnostic Theism makes no sense
This is a common argument that as an Agnostic Theist I am faced with, predominantly by Atheists and even fellow Agnostics.
It is for this reason that I am writing this post to explain why it is irrefutably possible to be both an Agnostic and a theist. The best way to clarify this point is looking into each of the words separately and then seeing how they work together.
Agnostic – Agnosticism
Merriam Webster: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
Theist – Theism
Merriam Webster Theism: the belief that God exists or that many gods exist
Belief – Where Agnostic Theism gets complex
Merriam Webster Belief: a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true.
Knowledge Vs Belief
Merriam Webster Knowledge: information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education
Agnostic Theism is contradictory
What I will say next will probably sound a little off at first but hear me out. Agnosticism in and of itself pertains to the knowledge of God or Gods.
It is actually the definition of agnosticism that is somewhat flawed in this case; it is contradictory to confuse knowledge with belief. Agnosticism cannot be the knowledge and belief since knowledge and belief are two distinctly different things. I cannot know a thing and reasonably disbelieve it; this is true – however if I do not know a thing which is what agnosticism implies – then I am free to believe or disbelieve it.
Origin of the word Gnosis and its meaning
Gnosis is actually the Greek word for Knowledge; feel free to google translate to confirm this. It is therefore the bastardization of this word that is improper. This taken into account and going with the original and true meaning of Gnosis the root of Gnostic and Agnostic; one quickly finds that Agnosticism actually pertains to the knowledge part of things.
Once this is ascertained and accepted since it is indisputable it becomes easier to explain agnostic theism in the following way.
Agnostic Theism – I know I do not know but I still believe
An atheist for example has no certain knowledge that God does not exist; however an atheist believes that God does not exist. A theist on the other hand has no certain knowledge that God exists – yet chooses to believe in the existence of God.
The difference between a theist and an Agnostic Theist is that an Agnostic Theist is specifically professing and accepting that they have no real knowledge of the existence or lack of existence of God. A Gnostic Atheist and a Gnostic Theist profess to have made their decision based on knowledge.
Simply saying atheist or theist does not define if the person has reached their conclusions based on knowledge or the lack of it.
An agnostic theist is stating that they do not know. Adding agnostic is a way of explaining that the individual has no known knowledge on the subject.
It is due to this very reasoning that Agnostic Theism becomes irrefutable. Agnostic Theism is plausible, it is not truly contradictory because it makes two statements – One is about knowledge the other is about belief. Knowledge and belief are two different things.