Atheism vs Agnosticism: Difference and Comparison

The existence of God has always been a bewildering concept among all people. While some believe in God no matter what, some people deny God’s existence and see it as a concept made by man.

Key Takeaways

  1. Atheism denotes disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods, while agnosticism expresses uncertainty or doubt about the existence of God or gods.
  2. Atheists reject the concept of deities, whereas agnostics claim that knowledge about deities is unattainable or inconclusive.
  3. Atheism is a firm position, while agnosticism is a more open stance that does not commit to belief or disbelief.

Atheism vs Agnosticism

Atheism is the lack of belief in the existence of gods or deities and the rejection of the claim that one or more gods exist based on the lack of empirical evidence or logical justification. Agnosticism is the view that the existence or non-existence of gods or deities is currently unknown.

Atheism vs Agnosticism

They strictly deny the concept of God and, instead, think that it is a concept made by man. They also stated that since there is no proof of God’s existence, there is no God.

It relies on the presence of proof and even considers facts, theories, and perspectives to base its judgement on the existence of God. They can be regarded as being midway between Atheism and Theism.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAtheismAgnosticism
AboutIt does not believe in god.It is not claiming to agree with the existence of God.
ProofingStates that there is no proof of God’s existence, and so there’s no God.States no proof is required to know whether God exists or not.
ApproachIn atheism, it is of no concern what a person believes and why.In Agnosticism, it matters how a person approaches a belief.
Benefit of doubt.Atheism vehemently denies the existence of God and so does not leave benefit of doubt.Agnosticism believes in pondering over different perspectives and thoughts, therefore giving benefit of the doubt.
AfterlifeBelieve that there is no life after death.Cannot come to a conclusion about the afterlife and the purpose of life.

What is Atheism?

Atheism is basically a belief system that claims to know or believe that there is no God. This strictly believes that there is no god and everything happening around them is due to a scientific reason or any other reason but not because of God.

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There are some atheists who think about God’s mythology and other people’s perspectives and then come to the decision of not believing in God. Still, some atheists straightaway deny God’s existence without giving it much of a thought. 

Further to this, they also do not believe in the concept of an afterlife. Atheism believes that there is no purpose for man’s birth and that his life is just a biological phenomenon.


What is Agnosticism?

Agnosticism is not seen entirely as a belief system but is considered a theory of knowledge. They rely on perspectives and proof for their final claim of believing in God or not.

According to the definition he gave at Britain’s Metaphysical Society, agnosticism is science’s essence. No man must be compelled to say or express his belief or knowledge which he cannot prove scientifically or conclude with valid points.

Atheism is a system that does not have a conclusion about God’s existence and states that man cannot extend his boundaries of knowledge about the universe beyond experiencing it for sensing it. Unlike atheists who clearly say that they do not believe in god, Agnostics never claim their final answer on whether they believe in the existence of god or not.

Main Differences Between Atheism and Agnosticism

  1. Atheism strictly rules out that God exists and does not have room for the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, Agnosticism tries to consider thoughts and perspectives before concluding and, therefore, benefits from the doubt.
  2. In atheism, it is not believed that there is life after death or an ‘afterlife’, whereas, in Agnosticism, people cannot conclude anything about their belief in an afterlife.
Difference Between Atheism and Agnosticism
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Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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9 thoughts on “Atheism vs Agnosticism: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Agnosticism seems to have a more open-minded approach, unlike atheism, which appears to be more absolute in its stance.

    • Maybe that’s a question that both atheists and agnostics ask, whether they seek comfort in their beliefs or not.

  2. The article presents the differences between atheism and agnosticism in a clear and concise manner. It’s interesting to see this comparison.

  3. It is always interesting to see how people have different beliefs, especially on such an important topic. Atheism and agnosticism have very different approaches and meanings that sometimes get overlooked by people.

    • I think the comparison table shows very clearly the main differences between atheism and agnosticism. However, I’d argue that some individuals can be both agnostic and atheist.

    • I agree! This article does a great job of clearing up those misunderstandings and wrongly conceived notions surrounding both concepts.

  4. This is an interesting read. It’s intriguing how the concept of agnosticism seems to overlap between theism and atheism, making it somewhat the bridge of the two.

  5. I’ve always struggled to understand how someone can be so sure about the existence of God when, to me, it’s something that we cannot prove.


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