Difference Between Atheism and Agnosticism

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. Atheism and Agnosticism are two very similar appearing but very different categorizations that primarily have the belief that God does not exist.

Atheism vs Agnosticism

The main difference between Atheism and Agnosticism is that Atheism straightaway rules out the existence of God, and no thoughts, perspectives, or examples can change their mind. On the other hand, in Agnosticism, the existence of God relies on proofs and facts, meaning, if someone provides Agnosticists with valid proof or convincible perception about God’s existence, they might alter their beliefs.

Atheism and Agnosticism

Atheism is a term used for a group of people who follow the belief of God’s non-existence. 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.

Agnosticism is a little different from Atheism. 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 Between Atheism and Agnosticism

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 in the concept that there is no god and everything that is happening around them is due to a scientific reason or any other reason but not because of God. In Atheism, people do not care about proof of someone else’s thoughts or perspective or examples that might support God’s existence and are not affected by them.

The people who follow the belief system of  Atheism are known as atheists. There are some atheists who think about God 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. 

The primary basis of this belief system is that there is no valid proof that can claim that God exists. This is because there is no room for the benefit of the doubt and strictly carries their decision to not believe in God. 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 his life is just a biological phenomenon.

What is Agnosticism?

Agnosticism is not seen entirely as a belief system but considered as a theory of knowledge. They rely on perspectives and proof for their final claim of believing in God or not. This can lead someone to think that in agnosticism, there is no opinion of their own. It is entirely based on proofs, examples, perspectives, and theories.

The people who come under the category of following agnosticism are known as agnostics. This term was introduced in the year 1876, and the person who is behind this is Thomas Henry Huxley. According to the definition which he gave at Britain’s Metaphysical Society, agnosticism is science’s essence, and 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 its 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. To understand the difference between Atheism and Agnosticism more clearly, we can say that an Agostic can turn into an atheist, but an atheist can never turn into an agnostic.

Main Differences Between Atheism and Agnosticism

  1. Atheism means not believing in God, whereas Agnosticism means not agreeing that there is a God unless they are provided with solid proof.
  2. Atheism says that as there is no proof of God’s existence, thus there is no God. On the other hand, Agnosticism does not rely upon evidence for their view of not believing in God.
  3. Atheism cares if a particular person does not believe in God and does not care about what they believe in. Agnosticism cares about how a person is approaching a belief.
  4. Atheism strictly rules out that God exists and so also 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.
  5. 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.

Conclusion

It is an obvious fact that there will be as many perspectives in the world as there are people. Theism, Atheism, and Agnosticism is a categorisation of people with three different beliefs. In theism, people believe in the existence of God and do not require any proof or example to affirm their belief. In Atheism, people deny the existence of God, and no proof or example can change their perspective. Lastly, in Agnosticism, there are people who do not hold a firm opinion about God’s existence and consider facts, proof, and perspectives before claiming their thoughts.

References

  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/elements/atheism-and-agnosticism/C0D61CA2D386696A43294D440B7F9C11
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