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ندانم گرائی ندانم گوئی لا ادری گری

ندانم‌گویی، لاادری‌گری، یا مسلک لاادریه، دیدگاهی فلسفی است که دانستن درستی یا نادرستی برخی ادّعاها بطور ویژه ادّعاهای مربوط به امور فراطبیعی مانند الهیات و زندگی پس از مرگ و وجود خدا و موجودات روحانی و یا حتی حقیقت نهایی را نامعلوم و یا با توجّه به شکل «ندانم‌گویی» اساساً ناممکن می‌داند. لاادری گری(Agnosticism)، از گرایش‌های فلسفی، که در عین اذعان به عینیت و واقعیت جهان، شناخت قسمتی از آن و یا کل آن را ناممکن می‌داند.

این اصطلاح برای نخستین بار توسط توماس هنری هاکسلی به مفهوم غیر قابل شناخت بودن ماوراء طبیعت بکار رفت، اما پس از آن، در ادبیات فلسفی و به ویژه مارکسیستی، در معنای غیرقابل شناخت بودن جهان مادی بکار می‌رود.

بسیاری از فیلسوفان و اندیشمندها در مورد ندانمگرایی نوشته‌اند که می‌توان از توماس هنری هاکسلی، رابرت انگرزول، برتراند راسل و ابوالعلاء معری نام برد.

نظریه کانت و نظریه شکاکیت، نوعی ندانمگری بشمار می‌روند. هیوم نیز، از فلاسفه باورمندان به این مکتب است.
محتویات
انواع ندانم گرایی

ندانم گرایی به معنی نداشتن دانش کافی در رد یا اثبات وجود یک پدیده است و به زیرشاخه‌های مختلفی تقسیم می‌شود. انواع آنها عبارتند از:
ندانم گرایی قوی

اینکه پرسش وجود یا عدم وجود خدا یا خدایان بدلیل ناتوانایی طبیعی مان از نظر منطقی غیر قابل شناخت است. یک ندانم گرای قوی می‌گوید: «من نمی‌توانم بدانم که خدایی هست یا نه، همانطور که شما هم نمی‌توانید».

ندانم گرایی ضعیف

اینکه وجود یا عدم وجود خدا در حال حاضر ناشناخته‌است اما لزوما غیر قابل شناسایی نیست. بنابراین تا وقتی که شواهدی وجود ندارد این باور را نگه خواهد داشت. یک ندانم گرای ضعیف می‌گوید: «نمی دانم خدایی وجود دارد یا نه اما ممکن است روزی شواهدی برای وجودش بیابیم».

ندانم گرایی پراگماتیک
خداناباوری ندانم گرایانه

دیدگاه آن دسته از افراد که ادعای وجود هیچگونه خدایی نمی‌کنند و به هیچ نوع از آن هم اعتقادی ندارند، و در عین حال ادعا نمی کنند که قطعا هیج گونه خدایی وجود ندارد.

خداباوری ندانم گرایانه

دیدگاه آن دسته از افراد که ادعای وجود هیچگونه خدایی نمی‌کنند اما هنوز به چنین وجودی اعتقاد دارند. سورن کیرکگارد معتقد بود که شناخت هیچگونه خدایی ممکن نیست و به همین دلیل کسانی که می‌خواهند خداباور باشند باید به این اعتقاد داشته باشند که «اگر من توانایی فهم عینی خدا را داشته باشم، دیگر معتقد نخواهم بود اما از آنجایی که نمی‌توانم چنین کاری کنم، پس باید اعتقاد داشته باشم».

تعریف راسل از ندانم‌گرایی
راسل در کهولت

کتاب چرا مسیحی نیستم نوشته برتراند راسل که براساس سخنرانی سال ۱۹۲۷ وی نوشته شده‌است به عنوان بیانیهٔ کلاسیک ندانم گرایی محسوب می‌شود. در این مقاله قبل از بحث در مورد نظراتش در رابطه با آموزه‌های مسیحی، به طور خلاصه در مورد براهین وجود خدا بحث می‌کند. سپس از خواننده‌هایش می‌خواهد که «بر روی دو پای خود بایستند و منصفانه و با دقت به جهان بنگرند» بدون «طرز برخورد از روی ترس و با تفکری آزاد».

راسل در من یک خداناباورم یا یک ندانم گرا؟ در سال ۱۹۴۷ می‌گوید:

"به عنوان یک فیلسوف، اگر بخواهم برای شنونده‌های فلسفی محض سخن بگویم باید بگویم که خود را یک ندانم گرا توصیف می‌کنم چرا که فکر نمی‌کنم برهانی قاطع وجود داشته باشد که کسی بتواند اثبات کند که خدایی وجود ندارد.

از سوی دیگر اگر بخواهم بر فردی معمولی در خیابان اثری صحیح بگذارم فکر می‌کنم که باید بگویم من یک خداناباور هستم چرا که وقتی می‌گویم نمی‌توانم اثبات کنم که خدایی وجود ندارد مجبورم که همچنین به همانسان بگویم که نمی‌توانم اثبات کنم که خدایان هومری وجود ندارند".

در سال ۱۹۵۳ راسل در مقاله «ندانم گرا بودن چیست؟» می‌گوید:

«یک ندانم گرا فکر می‌کند که دانستن حقایقی در مورد خدا و زندگی بعدی آنگونه که مسیحیت و دیگر مذاهب به آنها می‌پردازند، غیر ممکن است. یا اگر غیر ممکن نیست، در حال حاضر غیر ممکن است».

تفاوت ندانم گرایی و خداناباوری

خداناباوری به معنی نداشتن اعتقاد به خداست اما ندانم گرایی به معنی نداشتن دانش و دلیل کافی در اثبات وجود خداست.[۱] خداناباوری از جنس اعتقاد است اما ندانم گرایی ادعایی در مورد دانش است. ندانم گرایی وضعیتی را توصیف می‌کند که یک فرد نمی‌تواند به طور مطمئن ادعا کند که خدایی وجود دارد یا نه بنابراین ندانم گرایی هم با خداباوری و هم با خداناباوری سازگاری دارد.[۲] فردی می‌تواند ادعای خداباوری کند در حالیکه از وجود خدا اطمینان نداشته باشد. به این گرایش خداباوری ندانم گرایانه (به انگلیسی: agnostic theism) گویند. از طرفی دیگر فردی می‌تواند به خدا باور نداشته باشد بدون اینکه ادعا کند مطمئنا خدایی نمی‌تواند وجود داشته باشد. به این گرایش خداناباوری ندانم گرایانه (agnostic atheism) گفته می‌شود.

ندانم گرایی می‌تواند مصارف غیر دینی هم داشته باشد. مثلا وقتی که یک کیهان شناس (Cosmologist) ممکن است که بگوید در مورد نظریه ریسمان (String Theory) ندانم گراست، نه به آن باور دارد و نه باور ندارد.[۳]

از مثال‌های معرف در این زمینه، قوری سماوی برتراند راسل است.
ندانم گرایان معروف
نوشتار اصلی: فهرست ندانم گرایان معروف


منابع

ویکی‌پدیای انگلیسی

↑ Religion 101: What is the difference between atheism and agnosticism
↑ Atheism vs. Agnosticism: What's the Difference? Are they Alternatives to Each Other?
↑ Atheism and Agnosticism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

نماد خرد این یک نوشتار خُرد فلسفه است. با گسترش آن به ویکی‌پدیا کمک کنید.


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قس عربی

اللاأدریة أو الأغنوستیة (باللاتینیة: Agnosticismus) قادمة من الاغریقیة (بالیونانیة: α-γνωστικισμός) حیث الـ «α» تعنی «لا» و«γνωστικισμός» تعنی «المعرفة أو الدرایة». توجه فلسفی یقول أن القیمة الحقیقیة للقضایا الدینیة أو الغیبیة غیر محددة ولا یمکن لأحد تحدیدها. أن قضایا وجود الله أو الذات الإلهیة بالنسبة لهم موضوع غامض کلیة ولا یمکن تحدیده فی الحیاة الطبیعیة للإنسان.

فاللاأدریة فلسفة أو مذهب لادینی یؤمنون باستحالة التعرف على وجود الله والتوصل لهذا الإیمان ضمن شروط الحیاة الإنسانیة.

والأغنوستیة لیست عکس الغنوصیة (باللاتینیة: Gnosticismus) کما قد توحى الأسماء الإنجلیزیة, فاللاأدریة هی نفی وجود یقین بوجود الإله أو عدمه بینما الغنوصیة هی طائفة قدیمة یعاد إحیاءها الآن وهی دین باطنی صوفی وسری لحد ما. ازدهر قدیما فی العالم الأغریقی واستخدمت بعض فرقه مصطلحات مسیحیة للتعبیر عن فکرها الفرید.
محتویات
تعریف اللاأدریة

اللاأدریة هو الأعتقاد بأن وجود الله وأصل الکون أمور لا سبیل إلى معرفتها. وکلمة "اللاأدری" تعنی "بلا درایة أو علم". هناک بعض الاختلافات بین الإلحاد واللاأدریة. فالإلحاد یدعی أن الله غیر موجود. بینما یدعی مذهب اللاأدریة بأنه لا یمکن إثبات وجود الله – ولکن فی نفس الوقت لا توجد طریقة لإثبات عدم وجوده ، وأن التدین من صنع الإنسان.
أصل الکلمة

توماس هکسلی، عالم الأحیاء الإنجلیزی، وضع کلمة لاأدری فی 1869. مع ذلک فإن المفکرین القدماء والأعمال المکتوبة عززت وجهات النظر اللاأدریة. هم یشملون بروتاجراس، الفیلسوف الإغریقی من القرن الخامس قبل المیلاد، وندیسا سوکتا قصة الخلق فی الریجفیدا والنصوص السنسکریتیة القدیمة. منذ أن قام هکسلی بوضع المصطلح العدید من المفکرین الآخرین کتبوا فی اللاأدریة على نطاق واسع.
تصنیفات اللاأدریة

داخل اللاأدریة هناک لاأدریین ملحدین(الذین لا یعتقدون بأی رب موجود، لکنهم لا یرفضون ذلک کإمکانیة)و لاأدریین مؤمنین(الذین یعتقدون برب موجود لکنهم لا یدعون أنهم یعلمون ذلک)
ابرز اللاأدریین

1_ توماس هکسلی 2_ تشارلز دارون 3_ برتراند راسل 4_ جون بارو 5_ جون ویلر 6_ روبرت دیکی (عالم الفیزیاء)
مراجع
مصادر عامة

مکان الإنسان فی الطبیعة, توماس هکسلی, ISBN 0-375-75847-X
لماذا أنا لست مسیحی, برتراند راسل, ISBN 0-671-20323-1
حوارات حول الدین الطبیعی, دیفید هیوم, ISBN 0-14-044536-6
اللغة والحقیقة والمنطق, A.J. Ayer, ISBN 0-486-20010-8
الإلحاد، قضیة ضد الإله, جورج سمیث, ISBN 0-87975-124-X
تقدیرات وکالة المخابرات المرکزیة عن الانتماء الدینی حسب البلد تستخدم "آخر" أو "لا شیء" أو أو "غیر محدد" کمصطلحات وصفیة

وصلات خارجیة
مشاریع شقیقة ابحث عن لاأدریة فی
ویکاموس، القاموس الحر.
مشاریع شقیقة اقرأ اقتباسات من أقوال لاأدریة فی ویکی الاقتباس.

أتباع اللاأدریة حسب البلد خریطة تفاعلیة للعالم من ChartsBin.com
ما هی اللاأدریة؟ من قبل برتراند راسل, [1953].
لماذا أنا لست مسیحیاً من قبل برتراند راسل (مارس 6, 1927).
لماذا أنا لاأدری من قبل وبرت انجرسول, [1896].
قاموس تاریخ الأفکار: اللاأدریة
موسوعة ستانفورد للفلسفة
اللاأدریة (من تخصصات موسوعة الدین والعلم)
اللاأدریة - من ReligiousTolerance.org
بماذا یؤمن اللاأدریین؟ -- وجهة نظر یهودیة
الإیمان والعقل – العلاقة بین الإیمان والعقل یوحنا بولس الثانی [1998]
تحلیل لنفعیة الدین, انظر إلى لا جدوى من الدین: من الذی یحتاج إلى الإله أو الآلهة؟ –استشراف الکتاب المقدس لغیر المؤمنین

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مقالات عن اللاأدریة
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قس انگلیسی

Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown and (so far as can be judged) unknowable.[1][2][3] Agnosticism can be defined in various ways, and is sometimes used to indicate doubt or a skeptical approach to questions. In some senses, agnosticism is a stance about the difference between belief and knowledge, rather than about any specific claim or belief. In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively.[2] In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that humanity does not currently possess the requisite knowledge and/or reason to provide sufficient rational grounds to justify the belief that deities either do or do not exist.

Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist, coined the word agnostic in 1869.[4] However, earlier thinkers and written works have promoted agnostic points of view. They include Protagoras, a 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher,[5] Sanjaya Belatthaputta, a 5th-century BCE Indian philosopher,[6] and the Nasadiya Sukta concerning the origin of the universe in the Rig Veda, an ancient Sanskrit text, which is one of the primary scriptures of Vedic Hinduism.[7]

Since Huxley coined the term, many other thinkers have written extensively about agnosticism.
Contents
Defining agnosticism

Demographic research services normally do not differentiate between various types of non-religious respondents, so agnostics are often classified in the same category as atheists or other non-religious people.[8] Some sources use agnostic in the sense of noncommittal.[9] Agnosticism often overlaps with other belief systems. Agnostic theists identify themselves both as agnostics and as followers of particular religions, viewing agnosticism as a framework for thinking about the nature of belief and their relation to revealed truths. Some nonreligious people, such as author Philip Pullman, identify as both agnostic and atheist.[10] In contrast, the philosopher William L. Rowe said that in the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively, and that in the strict sense agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of rationally justifying the belief that deities do, or do not, exist.

Thomas Henry Huxley said:

Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle...Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable.[11]

Etymology

Agnostic (from Ancient Greek ἀ- (a-), meaning "without", and γνῶσις (gnōsis), meaning "knowledge") was used by Thomas Henry Huxley in a speech at a meeting of the Metaphysical Society in 1869[12] to describe his philosophy which rejects all claims of spiritual or mystical knowledge. Early Christian church leaders used the Greek word gnosis (knowledge) to describe "spiritual knowledge." Agnosticism is not to be confused with religious views opposing the ancient religious movement of Gnosticism in particular; Huxley used the term in a broader, more abstract sense.[13]

Huxley identified agnosticism not as a creed but rather as a method of skeptical, evidence-based inquiry.[14]

In recent years, scientific literature dealing with neuroscience and psychology has used the word to mean "not knowable".[15] In technical and marketing literature, "agnostic" often has a meaning close to "independent"—for example, "platform agnostic" or "hardware agnostic."[16]
Qualifying agnosticism

Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume contended that meaningful statements about the universe are always qualified by some degree of doubt.[17] He asserted that the fallibility of human beings means that they cannot obtain absolute certainty except in trivial cases where a statement is true by definition (i.e. tautologies such as "all bachelors are unmarried" or "all triangles have three corners"). All rational statements that assert a factual claim about the universe that begin "I believe that ...." are simply shorthand for, "Based on my knowledge, understanding, and interpretation of the prevailing evidence, I tentatively believe that...." For instance, when one says, "I believe that Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F. Kennedy," one is not asserting an absolute truth but a tentative belief based on interpretation of the assembled evidence. Even though one may set an alarm clock prior to the following day, believing that waking up will be possible, that belief is tentative, tempered by a small but finite degree of doubt (the clock or its alarm mechanism might break, or one might die before the alarm goes off).

The Catholic Church sees merit in examining what it calls Partial Agnosticism, specifically those systems that "do not aim at constructing a complete philosophy of the Unknowable, but at excluding special kinds of truth, notably religious, from the domain of knowledge."[18] However, the Church is historically opposed to a full denial of the ability of human reason to know God. The Council of the Vatican, relying on biblical scripture, declares that "God, the beginning and end of all, can, by the natural light of human reason, be known with certainty from the works of creation" (Const. De Fide, II, De Rev.)[19]
Types of agnosticism
This Euler diagram represents the relationship between some common theological positions, including some types of agnosticism, as sets and regions. "Gnostic" here means "claiming knowledge", and is distinct from Gnosticism.

Agnosticism can be subdivided into several categories, some of which may be disputed. Variations include:

Agnostic atheism
The view of those who do not believe in the existence of any deity, but do not claim to know if a deity does or does not exist.[20]
Agnostic theism
The view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence.[20]
Apathetic or pragmatic agnosticism
The view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of any deity, but since any deity that may exist appears unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic.[21]
Ignosticism
The view that a coherent definition of a deity must be put forward before the question of the existence of a deity can be meaningfully discussed. If the chosen definition is not coherent, the ignostic holds the noncognitivist view that the existence of a deity is meaningless or empirically untestable.[22] A.J. Ayer, Theodore Drange, and other philosophers see both atheism and agnosticism as incompatible with ignosticism on the grounds that atheism and agnosticism accept "a deity exists" as a meaningful proposition which can be argued for or against.
Strong agnosticism (also called "hard," "closed," "strict," or "permanent agnosticism")
The view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities, and the nature of ultimate reality is unknowable by reason of our natural inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience. A strong agnostic would say, "I cannot know whether a deity exists or not, and neither can you."
Weak agnosticism (also called "soft," "open," "empirical," or "temporal agnosticism")
The view that the existence or nonexistence of any deities is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable; therefore, one will withhold judgment until/if any evidence is available. A weak agnostic would say, "I don't know whether any deities exist or not, but maybe one day, if there is evidence, we can find something out."
Spiritual agnosticism
The view that universal ethics and love can guide actions more effectively than questioning the existence of deities. A spiritual agnostic would say "It doesn't matter which religion you might follow, nor does it matter whether or not you believe in God. What matters is what you do, not what you believe."[23]

History

Since Huxley first used the term, several writers have defended agnosticism as a philosophical viewpoint. A number of earlier thinkers and writings have also explored agnostic thought.
In Hindu philosophy

The Rig Veda takes an agnostic view on the fundamental question of how the universe and the gods were created. Nasadiya Sukta (Creation Hymn) in the tenth chapter of the Rig Veda says:

Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?

Throughout the history of Hinduism there has been a strong tradition of philosophic speculation and skepticism.[24][25]
In Greek philosophy

Agnostic thought, in the form of skepticism, emerged as a formal philosophical position in ancient Greece. Its proponents included Protagoras, Pyrrho, Carneades, Sextus Empiricus and, to some degree, Socrates, who was a strong advocate for a skeptical approach to epistemology.[26] Such thinkers rejected the idea that certainty was possible.
Hume, Kant, and Kierkegaard

Many philosophers (following the examples of Aristotle, Anselm, Aquinas, and Descartes) presented arguments attempting to rationally prove the existence of God. The skeptical empiricism of David Hume, the antinomies of Immanuel Kant, and the existential philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard convinced many later philosophers to abandon these attempts, regarding it impossible to construct any unassailable proof for the existence or non-existence of God.[27] In his 1844 book, Philosophical Fragments, Kierkegaard writes:

Let us call this unknown something: God. It is nothing more than a name we assign to it. The idea of demonstrating that this unknown something (God) exists, could scarcely suggest itself to Reason. For if God does not exist it would of course be impossible to prove it; and if he does exist it would be folly to attempt it. For at the very outset, in beginning my proof, I would have presupposed it, not as doubtful but as certain (a presupposition is never doubtful, for the very reason that it is a presupposition), since otherwise I would not begin, readily understanding that the whole would be impossible if he did not exist. But if when I speak of proving God's existence I mean that I propose to prove that the Unknown, which exists, is God, then I express myself unfortunately. For in that case I do not prove anything, least of all an existence, but merely develop the content of a conception.[28]

Thomas Henry Huxley
Main article: Thomas Henry Huxley
Thomas Henry Huxley

Agnostic views are as old as philosophical skepticism, but the terms agnostic and agnosticism were created by Huxley to sum up his thoughts on contemporary developments of metaphysics about the "unconditioned" (Hamilton) and the "unknowable" (Herbert Spencer). It is important, therefore, to discover Huxley's own views on the matter. Though Huxley began to use the term "agnostic" in 1869, his opinions had taken shape some time before that date. In a letter of September 23, 1860, to Charles Kingsley, Huxley discussed his views extensively:

I neither affirm nor deny the immortality of man. I see no reason for believing it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving it. I have no a priori objections to the doctrine. No man who has to deal daily and hourly with nature can trouble himself about a priori difficulties. Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing in anything else, and I will believe that. Why should I not? It is not half so wonderful as the conservation of force or the indestructibility of matter...

It is no use to talk to me of analogies and probabilities. I know what I mean when I say I believe in the law of the inverse squares, and I will not rest my life and my hopes upon weaker convictions...
That my personality is the surest thing I know may be true. But the attempt to conceive what it is leads me into mere verbal subtleties. I have champed up all that chaff about the ego and the non-ego, noumena and phenomena, and all the rest of it, too often not to know that in attempting even to think of these questions, the human intellect flounders at once out of its depth.

And again, to the same correspondent, May 6, 1863:

I have never had the least sympathy with the a priori reasons against orthodoxy, and I have by nature and disposition the greatest possible antipathy to all the atheistic and infidel school. Nevertheless I know that I am, in spite of myself, exactly what the Christian would call, and, so far as I can see, is justified in calling, atheist and infidel. I cannot see one shadow or tittle of evidence that the great unknown underlying the phenomenon of the universe stands to us in the relation of a Father [who] loves us and cares for us as Christianity asserts. So with regard to the other great Christian dogmas, immortality of soul and future state of rewards and punishments, what possible objection can I—who am compelled perforce to believe in the immortality of what we call Matter and Force, and in a very unmistakable present state of rewards and punishments for our deeds—have to these doctrines? Give me a scintilla of evidence, and I am ready to jump at them.

Of the origin of the name agnostic to describe this attitude, Huxley gave the following account:[29]

When I reached intellectual maturity and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; Christian or a freethinker; I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until, at last, I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure they had attained a certain "gnosis,"–had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. And, with Hume and Kant on my side, I could not think myself presumptuous in holding fast by that opinion. [...]. So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of "agnostic." It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the "gnostic" of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. […] To my great satisfaction the term took.

Huxley's agnosticism is believed to be a natural consequence of the intellectual and philosophical conditions of the 1860s, when clerical intolerance was trying to suppress scientific discoveries which appeared to clash with a literal reading of the Book of Genesis and other established Jewish and Christian doctrines. Agnosticism should not, however, be confused with natural theology, deism, pantheism, or other forms of theism.

By way of clarification, Huxley states, "In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable" (Huxley, Agnosticism, 1889). Although A. W. Momerie has noted that this is nothing but a definition of honesty, Huxley's usual definition goes beyond mere honesty to insist that these metaphysical issues are fundamentally unknowable.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Main article: Robert G. Ingersoll
Robert G. Ingersoll

Robert G. Ingersoll, an Illinois lawyer and politician who evolved into a well-known and sought-after orator in 19th century America, has been referred to as the "Great Agnostic."[30]

In an 1896 lecture titled Why I Am An Agnostic, Ingersoll related why he was an agnostic:

Is there a supernatural power—an arbitrary mind—an enthroned God—a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world—to which all causes bow? I do not deny. I do not know—but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme—that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken—that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer—no power that worship can persuade or change—no power that cares for man.

I believe that with infinite arms Nature embraces the all—that there is no interference—no chance—that behind every event are the necessary and countless causes, and that beyond every event will be and must be the necessary and countless effects.
Is there a God? I do not know. Is man immortal? I do not know. One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be.

In the conclusion of the speech he simply sums up the agnostic position as:

We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know.

Bertrand Russell
Main article: Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell's pamphlet, Why I Am Not a Christian, based on a speech delivered in 1927 and later included in a book of the same title, is considered a classic statement of agnosticism. The essay briefly lays out Russell’s objections to some of the arguments for the existence of God before discussing his moral objections to Christian teachings. He then calls upon his readers to "stand on their own two feet and look fair and square at the world," with a "fearless attitude and a free intelligence."

In 1939, Russell gave a lecture on The existence and nature of God, in which he characterized himself as an atheist. He said:

The existence and nature of God is a subject of which I can discuss only half. If one arrives at a negative conclusion concerning the first part of the question, the second part of the question does not arise; and my position, as you may have gathered, is a negative one on this matter.[31]

However, later in the same lecture, discussing modern non-anthropomorphic concepts of God, Russell states:

That sort of God is, I think, not one that can actually be disproved, as I think the omnipotent and benevolent creator can.[32]

In Russell's 1947 pamphlet, Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic? (subtitled A Plea For Tolerance In The Face Of New Dogmas), he ruminates on the problem of what to call himself:

As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.

In his 1953 essay, What Is An Agnostic? Russell states:

An agnostic thinks it impossible to know the truth in matters such as God and the future life with which Christianity and other religions are concerned. Or, if not impossible, at least impossible at the present time.

However, later in the essay, Russell says:

I think that if I heard a voice from the sky predicting all that was going to happen to me during the next twenty-four hours, including events that would have seemed highly improbable, and if all these events then produced to happen, I might perhaps be convinced at least of the existence of some superhuman intelligence.

Leslie Weatherhead
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: The Christian Agnostic

In 1965 Christian theologian Leslie Weatherhead published The Christian Agnostic, in which he argues:

...many professing agnostics are nearer belief in the true God than are many conventional church-goers who believe in a body that does not exist whom they miscall God.

Although radical and unpalatable to conventional theologians, Weatherhead's agnosticism falls far short of Huxley's, and short even of weak agnosticism:

Of course, the human soul will always have the power to reject God, for choice is essential to its nature, but I cannot believe that anyone will finally do this.

Demographics

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that about 16% of the world's people, the third largest group after Christianity and Islam, have no religious affiliation.[33]

In the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, 55% of agnostic respondents expressed "a belief in God or a universal spirit."[34] 41%, however, stated that they thought that they felt a tension "being non-religious in a society where most people are religious."[35]
Criticism

Agnosticism is criticized from a variety of standpoints. Some religious thinkers see agnosticism as a limitation of the mind's capacity to know reality other than materialism. Some atheists criticize the use of the term agnosticism as functionally indistinguishable from atheism. This line of criticism results in frequent criticisms of those who adopt the term as a means of atheism label avoidance.[36]
Religious

Many theistic thinkers repudiate the validity of agnosticism, or certain forms of agnosticism. Religious scholars in the three Abrahamic religions affirm the possibility of knowledge, even of metaphysical realities such as God and the soul,[37] because human intelligence, they assert, has a non-material, spiritual element. They affirm that “not being able to see or hold some specific thing does not necessarily negate its existence,” as in the case of gravity, entropy, or reason and thought.

Religious scholars, such as Brown, Tacelli, and Kreeft, argue that agnosticism does not take into account the numerous evidence of his existence that God has placed in his creation.[38] And for this, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli cite 20 arguments for God’s existence.[39] They assert that agnosticism's demand for scientific evidence through laboratory testing is in effect asking God, the supreme being, to become man’s servant.[40] They argue that the question of God should be treated differently from other knowable objects in that "this question regards not that which is below us, but that which is above us."[41] Christian Philosopher Blaise Pascal argued that, even if there were truly no evidence for God, agnostics should consider what is now known as Pascal’s Wager: the infinite expected value of acknowledging God is always greater than the finite expected value of not acknowledging his existence, and thus it is a safer “bet” to choose God.[42]

According to Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, agnosticism, more specifically strong agnosticism, is reasoning that limits and contradicts itself in claiming the power of reason to know scientific truth, but not religious or philosophical truths.[41][43] He blames the exclusion of reasoning from religion and ethics for the dangerous pathologies of religion and science such as human and ecological disasters.[41][43][44] "Agnosticism", said Ratzinger, "is always the fruit of a refusal of that knowledge which is in fact offered to man [...] The knowledge of God has always existed."[43] He asserted that agnosticism is a choice of comfort, pride, dominion, and utility over truth, and is opposed by the following attitudes: the keenest self-criticism, humble listening to the whole of existence, the persistent patience and self-correction of the scientific method, a readiness to be purified by the truth.[41]

According to some theistic scholars, agnosticism is impossible in practice, since a person can live only either as if God did not exist (etsi Deus non daretur), or as if God did exist (etsi Deus daretur).[45][46][47] These scholars believe that each day in a person’s life is an unavoidable step towards death, and thus not to decide for or against God, whom they view as the all-encompassing foundation, purpose, and meaning of life, is to decide in favor of atheism.[42][45]
Atheist

According to Richard Dawkins, a distinction between agnosticism and atheism is unwieldy and depends on how close to zero we are willing to rate the probability of existence for any given god-like entity. Since in practice it is not worth contrasting a zero probability with one that is nearly indistinguishable from zero, he prefers to categorize himself as a "de facto atheist". He specifies his position by means of a scale of 1 to 7. On this scale, 1 indicates "100 per cent probability of God." A person ranking at 7 on the scale would be a person who says "I know there is no God..." Dawkins places himself at 6 on the scale, which he characterizes as "I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there", but leaning toward 7. About himself, Dawkins continues that "I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden."[48] Dawkins also identifies two categories of agnostics; Temporary Agnostics in Practice (TAPs), and Permanent Agnostics in Principle (PAPs). Dawkins considers temporary agnosticism an entirely reasonable position, but views permanent agnosticism as "fence-sitting, intellectual cowardice."[49]
See also

Asimov's Guide to the Bible
Apatheism
Existentialism
Ietsism
Laïcité
List of agnostics
Possibilianism
Rationalism
Relativism
Religiosity
Religious skepticism
Russell's teapot
Skepticism
Wealth and agnosticism

Notes

^ Hepburn, Ronald W. (2005) [1967]. "Agnosticism". In Donald M. Borchert. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). MacMillan Reference USA (Gale). p. 92. ISBN 0-02-865780-2. "In the most general use of the term, agnosticism is the view that we do not know whether there is a God or not." (page 56 in 1967 edition)
^ a b Rowe, William L. (1998). "Agnosticism". In Edward Craig. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-07310-3. "In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas an atheist and a theist disbelieve and believe, respectively. In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that deities do or do not exist. In so far as one holds that our beliefs are rational only if they are sufficiently supported by human reason, the person who accepts the philosophical position of agnosticism will hold that neither the belief that God exists nor the belief that God does not exist is rational."
^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.: agnostic
^ Dixon, Thomas (2008). Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-19-929551-7.
^ "The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Protagoras (c. 490 - c. 420 BCE)". Archived from the original on 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-10-06. "While the pious might wish to look to the gods to provide absolute moral guidance in the relativistic universe of the Sophistic Enlightenment, that certainty also was cast into doubt by philosophic and sophistic thinkers, who pointed out the absurdity and immorality of the conventional epic accounts of the gods. Protagoras' prose treatise about the gods began 'Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.'"
^ "Samaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Contemplative Life (a part of the Digha Nikaya translated in 1997 by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)". http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.02.0.than.html. "If you ask me if there exists another world (after death), ... I don't think so. I don't think in that way. I don't think otherwise. I don't think not. I don't think not not."
^ Patri, Umesh and Prativa Devi. "Progress of Atheism in India: A Historical Perspective". Atheist Centre 1940-1990 Golden Jubilee. Vijayawada, February 1990. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
^ "Major Religions Ranked by Size". Adherents.com. Archived from the original on 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
^ "Agnostics - definition of Agnostics by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
^ "Interview with Philip Pullman". surefish.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2010-08-21. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
^ Huxley, Thomas Henry (April 1889). "Agnosticism". The Popular Science Monthly (New York: D. Appleton & Company) 34 (46): 768. Wikisource has the full text of the article here.
^ Antony, Flew. "Agnosticism". Encyclopaedia Britannica online. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
^ American Heritage Dictionary, 2000, under agnostic
^ Aphorisms and Reflections. Kessinger Publishing. 2004 (reprint). pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-1-4191-0730-6.
^ Oxford English Dictionary, Additions Series, 1993
^ English Language and Usage - Odd use of agnostic
^ Hume, David, "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" (1748)
^ Agnosticism, II.,. Catholic Encyclopedia.
^ Agnosticism, VIII.. Catholic Encyclopedia.
^ a b Smith, George H (1979). Atheism: The Case Against God. pp. 10–11. "Properly considered, agnosticism is not a third alternative to theism and atheism because it is concerned with a different aspect of religious belief. Theism and atheism refer to the presence or absence of belief in a god; agnosticism refers to the impossibility of knowledge with regard to a god or supernatural being. The term agnostic does not, in itself, indicate whether or not one believes in a god. Agnosticism can be either theistic or atheistic."
^ B.A. Loftus. "Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance: Apatheism: "Does God exist? I don't know & I don't really care"". Retrieved 2010-10-01.
^ "The Argument From Non-Cognitivism". Retrieved 2010-10-01.
^ "Spiritual Agnosticism". Dec. 24, 2007.
^ Kenneth, Kramer (1986). World scriptures: an introduction to comparative religions. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-8091-2781-8.
^ Subodh Varma (May 6, 2011). speculation "The gods came afterwards". Times of India. Retrieved 2011-06-09.
^ Gareth Southwell. "Scepticism - History of Scepticism". Philosophyonline.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
^ Rowe, William L. (1998). "Agnosticism". In Edward Craig. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-07310-3. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
^ Kierkegaard, Søren. Philosophical Fragments. Ch. 3
^ Huxley, Thomas. Collected Essays, Vol. V: Science and Christian Tradition. Macmillan and Co 1893. pp. 237–239. ISBN 1-85506-922-9.
^ Brandt, Eric T., and Timothy Larsen (2011). "The Old Atheism Revisited: Robert G. Ingersoll and the Bible". Journal of the Historical Society 11 (2): 211–238. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5923.2011.00330.x.
^ Russell, Bertrand. Collected Papers, Vol 10. p. 255.
^ Collected Papers, Vol. 10, p.258
^ Goodstein, Laurie (18 December 2012). "Study Finds One in 6 Follows No Religion". The New York Times.
^ "Summary of Key Findings". Pew Research Center. 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-28. "Nearly all adults (92%) say they believe in God or a universal spirit, including seven-in-ten of the unaffiliated. Indeed, one-in-five people who identify themselves as atheist (21%) and a majority of those who identify themselves as agnostic (55%) express a belief in God or a universal spirit."
^ "Summary of Key Findings". Pew Research Center. 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-28. "Interestingly, a substantial number of adults who are not affiliated with a religion also sense that there is a conflict between religion and modern society – except for them the conflict involves being non-religious in a society where most people are religious. For instance, more than four-inten atheists and agnostics (44% and 41%, respectively) believe that such a tension exists."
^ Sofroniou, Andreas. "Huxley’s nonreligious agnosticism". Moral Philosophy, from Hippocrates to the 21st Aeon. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
^ Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas (2005). "Islamic Philosophy: An Introduction" (pdf). pdcnet.org (Journal of Islamic Philosophy): 21–22. Archived from the original on 2006-09-10. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
^ Laurence B. Brown (2007). "Religion of Islam: Agnosticism". Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-05-25.
^ Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God, from the Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Fr. Ronald Tacelli, SJ, Intervarsity Press, 1994.
^ Ratzinger, Joseph (2007). Jesus of Nazareth. Random House.
^ a b c d Ratzinger, Joseph (2005). The Yes of Jesus Christ: Spiritual Exercises in Faith, Hope, and Love. Cross Roads Publishing.
^ a b "Argument from Pascal's Wager". 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-05-25.
^ a b c Ratzinger, Joseph (2004). Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief And World Religions. Ignatius Press.
^ Benedict XVI, Address at the University of Regensburg 2006
^ a b Sandro Magister (2007). "Habermas writes to Ratzinger and Ruini responds". Retrieved 2008-05-25.
^ "Why can’t I live my life as an agnostic?". 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-05-25.
^ Ratzinger, Joseph (2006). Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures. Ignatius Press. ISBN 978-1-58617-142-1.
^ The God Delusion p. 74
^ The God Delusion p. 70

References

Thomas Huxley (1889) Agnosticism ISBN 1-4400-6878-X
Robin Le Poidevin, (2010) Agnosticism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-957526-8
Thomas Huxley, (1919) Man's Place In Nature, ISBN 0-375-75847-X
Bertrand Russell, (1779–2009) Why I Am Not a Christian, ISBN 0-671-20323-1
David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, ISBN 0-14-044536-6
Immanuel Kant. "Critique of Pure Reason". Retrieved 2012-04-17.
Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments, ISBN 978-0-691-02036-5
A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic, ISBN 0-486-20010-8
George H. Smith, Atheism, the Case Against God, ISBN 0-87975-124-X

External links
Look up agnosticism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Agnosticism
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Agnosticism.

Why I am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell (March 6, 1927).
Why I Am An Agnostic by Robert G. Ingersoll, [1896].
Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Agnosticism
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry
Agnosticism from INTERS - Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science
Agnosticism - from ReligiousTolerance.org
What do Agnostics Believe? - A Jewish perspective
Fides et Ratio – the relationship between faith and reason Karol Wojtyla [1998]
For a utilitarian analysis of religion, see The (F)Utility of Religion: Who Needs God(s)?–A Prospective Bible for Non-Believers at http://bradmusil.kramernet.org
The Natural Religion by Dr Brendan Connolly, 2008
Nielsen, Kai (1968, 1973). "Agnosticism". Dictionary of the History of Ideas. University of Virginia Library.

External links

Agnosticism entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Agnosticism at PhilPapers
Agnosticism at the Indiana Philosophy Ontology Project

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