What is agnosticism…?

I den sidste tid har en stadigt større flok af ateister forsøgt at underminere agnosticisme ved at hævde, at agnosticisme enten er teisme eller ateisme. På wikipedia kan man imidlertid læse flg.: »Agnosticisme står i modsætning til ateisme, idet ateismen klart afviser Guds eksistens« og »tilsvarende må ateisme også adskilles fra agnosticismen, der hævder, at det ligger uden for menneskers forstand at kunne afgøre, om Gud eksisterer eller ej.« [1] Jeg skal være den første til at beklage den manglende oversættelse, som skyldes ene og alene mangel på tid. Til de ateister, som er kyndige udi engelsk så da:

What Is Agnosticism? (1981)

H. J. Blackham

[This article was originally published in “Free Inquiry,” Summer, 1981, pp. 31-33.]

Winds of Doctrine

As a definition of the limits of knowledge, “agnosticism” needs to be understood historically. Summarily and roughly, philosophy at the time of Plutarch (first century A.D.) offered six positions: on the one hand, a dogmatic Idealism or Materialism: on the other, skepticism, pragmatism, eclecticism, or fideism. The names of Plato and Democritus can be put at the head of the dogmatic traditions: Pyrrho has lent his name to fundamental skepticism; Isocrates made immensely influential a pragmatic view of philosophy; and Plutarch himself was the preeminent representative of a rational and ethical eclecticism. Perhaps Tertullian, if not Saint Paul, represents the constraints of fideism after Christian faith came into contact and conflict with Greek gnosticism.

The case for each of these positions was spelled out in verbal argument. Plato, in the Sophist (246-247), generalizes the permanent irreconcilable conflict between Idealists and Materialists as a Battle of Gods and Giants, which transcends the differences of the Idealist position; but he confidently assumed that they could not be insuperable, because knowledge was not to be had on other terms. He believed in the immortality of the rational soul and the real existence of the objects of its knowledge, which must be intelligible Ideas or Forms, independent of sense perceptions. Protagoras had already sounded the agnostic note, it may be said, with his “of all things the measure is Man,” and explicitly: “As to the gods, I have no means of knowing either that they exist or that they do not exist.” But it is Isocrates who opposed the whole bent of academic philosophy in his development of the rationalizing Enlightenment of the sophists, a rationalism critical of and ready to ridicule “pure reason,” the “phronesis” or idea of wisdom, which was the nuclear element in the development of Plato’s though. This attainable intuitional knowledge was for Plato not only a view of all time and all existence sub specie aeternitatis but also the indispensable source of the right ordering of personal life and public affairs. Isocrates argued that no such knowledge was attainable that would suffice for all occasions and all purposes. Instead, he maintained, cultivation of the art of discourse, relevant to the whole life of civilized man and dealing with great causes and large ideas, was the best preparation for the most complete competence attainable. There was no institution devised by man that the power of speech had not helped to establish (Antidosis). The art of rhetoric and the art of thought were the same. The ability to deliberate and decide was the most versatile and useful of all abilities. This was to recommend and to teach method instead of doctrine, an open approach which, if it did not turn opinions into doctrines with the claim of knowledge, in the manner of the schools, provided a foundation for higher education and intellectual culture, a literary humanism occupied with large human affairs and concerns and addressed concretely to manifest problems with all the seriousness, but not necessarily with the detachment and never with the dryness, of the philosophic spirit. Isocrates was the most illustrious teacher of his time and made his school “the image of Athens.” The pupils of Athens, as he said, became “the teachers of the rest of the word” (Panegyricus).

However, the argument of a discourse were not tautologies that could be ended with a Euclidean flourish: Q.E.D. The wits exercised in such performances were capable of producing a plausible argument on the other side that might be made to seem not less persuasive. Indeed, Protagoras had laid it down that there are two sides to every question and an opposing argument to any proposed, and he taught how to attack and refute any proposition. Since he also first introduced the Socratic method of dialogue and drew attention to distinction of tense and mood and to divisions of discourse, he pioneered development of the technical resources of argument, as well as exploiting for profit the tricks of the trade. Thus eristic theory and techniques, and what was sometimes called “methodics,” became central to philosophy; and a high proportion of a philosopher’s output was in this category, including even collections of refutative arguments, solutions of controversial questions, materials for argument, unscientific proofs, and the like. Diogenes Laertius listed many such works among the writings of Aristotle and Aristotle’s pupil and successor, Theophrastus. Aristotle himself distinguished between methods for attaining knowledge, principally philosophical analysis, and methods of arguing in favor of the probable, principally dialectic.

With all this development of technical resources and refinements in argument in classical philosophy, there was no knock-out device to determine a definitive outcome. On the scientific side, there was systematic collections of observations in the search for causes, particularly in Aristotle’s innumerable notebooks. But it is not too much to say that the manipulation of arguments and the collection of evidence (save of the kind needed in legal prosecution or defense) remained different disciplines and separate interests in classical philosophy.

At the same time, the effect on higher education of Isocrates’ advocacy and successful practice of the art of disclosure as the primary intellectual discipline can hardly be exaggerated. It was a discipline that prepared men for public affairs and public employment. Themes for exercises were taken from literature, history, and moral philosophy to train men for pleading in the courts, arguing for causes in political assemblies, entertaining cultivated audiences, or simply making up their own minds. This was the foundation of the literary humanism so conspicuously successful in the Roman World at the time of the “Second Sophistic” (first two centuries A.D.) and in Europe during the Renaissance.

The First Turning-Point

In the second half of the sixteenth century, Montaigne read himself into the classical inheritance for a different purpose — on a course of free inquiry. He discovered the interminable inconclusiveness of argument of verbal philosophy, and he ended with the ultimate doubt: Que sais-je? Blown, like Augustine, by the winds of doctrine, he could not feel safe in any of the positions; even skepticism was too unjustifiably conclusive. Pascal, reporting to his confessor on his reading, told him that he most respected Epictetus and Montaigne and, in summarizing their opinions for him, he said a discourse was to take it as it appeared and refrain from any examination, which would at once reveal difficulties and raise doubts. This is the professional routine of the philosopher and shows how brittle is the most careful discourse and how treacherous verbal answers are to free inquiry.

A little later, Francis Bacon, who, like Montaigne, was painfully aware that the whole legacy of classical philosophy was a discouragement to learning, set himself the task of reviving hope with a vision of the future inspired by the early successes of empirical methods of testing hypotheses. The loose, but reasonable, appeal to experience had to be refined as an appeal to a specifically devised experience constructed to test a particular theory. Within its limits, this was a decisive way of settling theoretical disputes. Novum Organum (1620) spelled out the new method of learning, which was to displace the literary humanism of Isocrates as the foundation of a positivist culture, obtaining knowledge piecemeal and cooperatively, provisional, corrigible, progressive, to be applied to “the relief of man’s estate.” Bacon, godfather of the Royal Society and acknowledged master of the philosophes in Diderot’s Encyclopédie, left the winds of doctrine to blow where they listed and gave his attention to cultivation of the soil. In particular, his organum was a replacement of the magisterial Metaphysics of Aristotle and made way for the atomic model of Democritus. All the same, he did not set aside or put in question the assumption of theism. On the contrary, he counted on the new learning to fortify belief:

I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind. And therefore God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because His ordinary works convince it. It is true that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion: for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no farther; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity. Nay, even that school which is most accused of atheism doth most demonstrate religion; that is, the school of Leucippus and Democritus, and Epicurus. For it is a thousand times more credible, that four mutable elements, and one immutable fifth essence duly and eternally placed, need no God; than that an army of infinite small portions, or seeds unplaced, should have produced this order and beauty without a divine Marshall. [“Of Atheism”]

Thus the clear-sighted Bacon, looking backward and forward and setting the minds of his contemporaries on the bright prospects opening up for empirical investigation and the technological manipulation of nature, had not in his own mind set science free from metaphysical assumptions and interests.

God on Trial

During this “century of genius,” which produced the first spectacular fruits of modern science, those working in the fields of investigation did, like Bacon, assume that they were piecing together the divine design, enabled, as Kepler said, to “think the thoughts of God.” Studying together, fraternally, the works of God, they were more blessed than students of the Word of God, who had taxed each other with heresy and soaked in blood the centuries beginning anno Domini. Science was another road to God, a second, less disputable revelation. Professional scientists, led by Newton, were amateur theologians. Since there was an order in nature that was being unraveled, it was only reasonable to assume, with Bacon, that it was the work of a rational, purposive intelligence that linked and sustained the whole. The onus was on anyone who thought otherwise to face the odds and justify his own irrationality. John Locke, who enthusiastically welcomed the new regime of empirical investigation and sought to provide its theoretical credentials, and who downgraded philosophers from architects of knowledge to under-laborers on the site of building operations, caring for the tools and preparing the ground, also was witness for the reasonableness of religious belief and excluded atheists from his republic of toleration — on the ground that they were not bound by an oath. God was necessary politically as well as intellectually.

This general assumption that the new learning of science would not only establish positive knowledge but also bring its proofs to the overbeliefs that had been justified by unscientific proofs lasted till the end of the eighteenth century. It has been said that during this period “God was on trial.”

The Second Turning-Point

The critical philosophy of David Hume, reinforced later by Kant (who said that Hume has awakened us from “dogmatic slumbers”), put in question the status and character of positive knowledge. He pointed out that it was simply knowledge of regular sequences and coexistences as presented to our observation of phenomena and did not carry or imply knowledge of causes, powers, natures, essences, or purposes. This began the disassociation of science from metaphysics, surrendering any claim on its behalf to answer general questions. With the steady progress of the sciences and the analytical attention of philosophers to what scientists were doing, it became abundantly clear that science was capable of dealing only with questions arising in the course of a line of research that were formulated in a way to provide answers that could be tested. Loose questions, general questions, first and last questions, the traditional metaphysical questions, were not a kind with which science was, or would ever be, competent to deal. During the period of trial science not only had not proved the existence of God, it had not even been able to do anything to reinforce the assumption. Laplace declared that he had no need of that hypothesis, and of course he had none. His statement was really about the irrelevance of that hypothesis to scientific business, not about its truth claim.

Thus, to look back at Bacon’s statement in “Of Atheism,” God’s ordinary works as studied in the sciences did not “convince atheism,” since they were preoccupied with “second causes scattered” and went no farther. He had begged the question when he went farther to say that Providence and Deity were necessary to link them in a chain, a rational order. Auguste Comte, too, anticipated the issue when he announced at the end of his Cours philosophique in 1851 that the servants of Humanity, theorists and practical persons, had irrevocably displaced the slaves of God and taken the management of earthly affairs into their own hands, to construct at last the true providence: moral, intellectual, and material. Comte said he was not an atheist because that was to take theology seriously, whereas the ages of theology and metaphysics were past and done with, succeeded by the positive sciences. On the side counter to Bacon in this respect, Comte claimed too much for the competence of science. But the overweening claims of theology were being checked, the onus on the unbeliever to justify his perverse irrationality reversed.

Logically, there was a return to the position of Protagoras after the lapse of more than two millennia. Science could not cope with metaphysical questions. They belonged as before to the about, the about of interminable inconclusive argument. Had science, then, made no difference? If metaphysical theories were irrelevant to the sciences, were scientific findings equally irrelevant to metaphysical theories? Even abstract arguments rely on evidence. The answer can be given in two main installments.

  • (1) The physical sciences in their earlier stages seemed to offer models of harmony and design, eminently attributable to a supreme intelligence. Biological studies were sooner to encounter doubts and difficulties for a teleological view. When the evidence produced by Darwin, and his theories, showed the possibility of an order in nature that was not purposive, a turning-point was reached. The ambiguity of “reason” in the interpretation of nature became apparent. There were reasons for what had happened, but not necessarily any reason. The absurdity of unbelief in a supreme reason (with or without capitals) was exposed as an unwarranted assumption. It was at this point that T.H. Huxley, Darwin’s advocate, invented the word “agnosticism” (1869) to reinstate the position of Protagoras. The onus was shifted from the shoulders of the unbeliever to justify his perversity, to the shoulders of the believer to justify his belief, to show why he should be taken seriously.
  • (2) More indirectly, and on all fronts, scientific evidence has demolished the world in which traditional theological beliefs originated and developed. To bring them out of their context, to demythologize and reinterpret them is a delicate, maybe gratuitous, task for modern theologians; so their survival is more remarkable than impressive. Argument will go on, as always, and becomes ever more refined or sophisticated; and when religious beliefs are concerned, argument is not the whole matter and, for many, not the main matter. Intellectually, however, a disregard for religious beliefs does not have to be justified, as once it had, with its back to the wall. The boot is on the other foot. Historically, “agnosticism” does not merely mean a suspension of judgment. Rather, it means intellectual justification for a disregard of theology.

[H.J. Blackham is former president of the British Humanist Association and the author of many books on humanism and philosophy.]

Hvad sagde Huxley:

There are other definitions of atheism and agnosticism that are sometimes used. For example, T. H. Huxley, who first coined the term “agnostic”, 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.«

Huxley sagde endvidere, at han opfandt begrebet agnosticisme for at beskrive det, han mente, gjorde ham unik imellem hans samtidige tænkere:

»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; a 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 that 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.«

Agnostic’ came to mind, he says, because the term was “suggestively antithetic to the ‘gnostic‘ of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant….” Huxley seems to have intended the term to mean that metaphysics is, more or less, bunk. In short, he seems to have agreed with Hume’s conclusion at the end of  An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding:

»When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.«

Mere info om Huxley kan findes her: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Henry_Huxley

og her: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Henry_Huxley_and_agnosticism#Thomas_Henry_Huxley

Forskellige typer af agnosticisme:

Types of agnosticism

Agnosticism can be subdivided into several subcategories. Recently suggested variations include:

  • Strong agnosticism (also called “hard agnosticism,” “closed agnosticism,” “strict agnosticism,” or “absolute agnosticism”) refers the view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of God or gods 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 don’t know whether God exists or not, and neither do you.”
  • Weak agnosticism (also called soft agnosticism, open agnosticism, empirical agnosticism, temporal agnosticism)—the view that the existence or nonexistence of any deity 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 deity exists or not, but maybe one day when there is more evidence we can find something out.”
  • Apathetic agnosticism (also called 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 anyway.[citation needed]
  • Agnostic theism (also called religious agnosticism, spiritual agnosticism)—the view of those who do not claim to know existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence. (See Knowledge vs. Beliefs)
  • Agnostic atheism the view of those who do not know of the existence or nonexistence of a deity, and do not believe in any.[7]
  • Ignosticism the view that a coherent definition of God must be put forward before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed. If the chosen definition isn’t coherent, the ignostic holds the noncognitivist view that the existence of God is meaningless or empirically untestable. 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 “God exists” as a meaningful proposition which can be argued for or against. An ignostic cannot even say whether he/she is a theist or a nontheist until a better definition of theism is put forth.


Austin Cline skriver:

»Once it is understood that atheism is merely the absence of belief in any gods, it becomes evident that agnosticism is not as many assume, a “third way” between atheism and theism. The presence of a belief in a god and the absence of a belief in a god exhaust all of the possibilities. Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not. Thus, it is clear that agnosticism is compatible with both theism and atheism. A person can believe in a god (theism) without claiming to know for sure if that god exists; the result is agnostic theism. On the other hand, a person can disbelieve in gods (atheism) without claiming to know for sure that no gods can or do exist; the result is agnostic atheism. It is also worth noting that there is a vicious double standard involved when theists claim that agnosticism is “better” than atheism because it is less dogmatic. If atheists are closed-minded because they are not agnostic, then so are theists. On the other hand, if theism can be open-minded then so can atheism. In the end, the fact of the matter is a person isn’t faced with the necessity of only being either an atheist or an agnostic. Quite the contrary, not only can a person be both, but it is in fact common for people to be both agnostics and atheists. An agnostic atheist won’t claim to know for sure that nothing warranting the label “god” exists or that such cannot exist, but they also don’t actively believe that such an entity does indeed exist.«

Men Cline skriver også om strong agnosticisme vs. weak agnosticisme, så han anerkender ihvertfald, at der er flere former for agnosticisme og ikke blot de to, som han beskriver ovenfor:

»If someone is a strong agnostic, they don’t merely claim that they don’t know if any gods exist; instead, they also claim that no one can or does know if any gods exist. Whereas weak agnosticism is a position that only describes the state of knowledge of one person, strong agnosticism makes a statement about knowledge and reality themselves. For reasons that are probably obvious, weak agnosticism is the easier of the two to defend. In the first place, if you claim that you don’t know if any gods exist, others should accept that as true unless they have very good reasons to doubt you — but that is rather trivial. More important is the agnostic premise that one shouldn’t make knowledge claims in the absence of clear and convincing evidence — but that, too, can be relatively straightforward so long as the distinction between knowledge and belief is maintained. Because the claim of strong agnosticism goes beyond the individual speaker, it is a bit more difficult to support. Strong agnostics may often point out that there simply isn’t any good evidence or arguments which can allow for a person to assert that they know that a god exists — and, in fact, the evidence for any one god is no better or worse than the evidence for any other god. Therefore, it is argued, the only responsible thing to do is to suspend judgment altogether. While this is a reasonable position, it doesn’t quite justify the claim that knowledge of gods is impossible. Thus, the next step that a strong agnostic needs to take is to define just what is meant by “gods”; if it can be argued that it is logically or physically impossible for humans to have knowledge of any being with the assigned attributes, then strong agnosticism may be justified. Unfortunately, this process effectively narrows the field of what does and does not qualify as a “god” to something much smaller than what humans have actually believed in. This, then, can result in Straw Man fallacy because not everyone believes in “god” as the strong agnostics define the concept (a problem shared with strong atheists, actually).

One interesting criticism of this strong agnosticism is that for a person to adopt the position that knowledge of gods is impossible, they essentially concede that they know something about gods — not to mention the nature of reality itself. This, then, would suggest that strong agnosticism is self-refuting and untenable.«

Zofia Zdybicka skriver:

»Epistemological atheism is proper to all philosophical concepts that deny that man can know God or resolve the problem of God’s existence. Agnosticism is the basic attitude of atheism for epistemological reasons and takes various forms: a) the agnosticism of immanence associated with the philosophy of consciousness or the philosophy of the subject, which leads human thought to the state where it is locked within the subject (consciousness) and where all differences between thought and being are removed, and ultimately consciousness is regarded as an absolute; b) the rationalistic agnosticism of Kant (and the entire Enlightenment), which rejects all sources of knowledge except reason; c) scepticism — the position that we cannot resolve the problem of whether or not God exists (Pythagoras, Montaigne, Charron and Bayle); d) methodological agnosticism — the position that recognizes only the particular sciences as having cognitive value and denies that science can go beyond the area of empirical experience. Methodological monism excludes metaphysics and theology, which are essentially connected with the problem of God, from the field of rationality (sensualism, empiricism, positivism and scientism); e) the agnosticism of the subconscious — this includes positions that exclude the problem of God from their natural philosophical or theological environment and connect the genesis of the idea of God and religion with a purely fantastic hypothesis. Atheism moves beyond this phase and becomes a horizon of thought, a phenomenological domain or a doctrinal system (Freudianism, Marxism).« [3]

Min holdning:

Cline og Zdybicka ligger nærmere opad valget imellem teisme eller ateisme – og det er helt fint. Men agnosticisme forholder sig til viden – ikke tro. Jeg mener derfor, at agnosticisme netop kan repræsentere en tredje vej – nemlig den som beskriver the weak agnostic: A weak agnostic would say, »I don’t know whether any deity exists or not, but maybe one day when there is more evidence we can find something out.« Cline beskriver ydermere blot to former for agnosticisme ud af de 6, som nævnes på wikipedia.

Og som Cline selv skriver: »Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not.«

Jeg ligger tættere op ad Huxley og Protagoras, for som Blackham skriver: »The absurdity of unbelief in a supreme reason (with or without capitals) was exposed as an unwarranted assumption. It was at this point that T.H. Huxley, Darwin’s advocate, invented the word “agnosticism” (1869) to reinstate the position of Protagoras. The onus was shifted from the shoulders of the unbeliever to justify his perversity, to the shoulders of the believer to justify his belief, to show why he should be taken seriously.«

Yderligere en forklaring skal nok findes i, at der absolut ikke er konsensus omkring begrebet ateisme. Således er de tre ordbøger, som jeg har linket til, velansete og respekterede både indefor lærde kredse og i ‘public opinion’. De har alle tre den samme definition på ordet ateisme [1]. Den strider så imod andre, som definerer ordet mere bredt [2]. I en begrebsverden, hvor der i den grad hersker uenighed om betydningen af ordet ateisme, mener jeg stadigvæk, at weak agnosticisme leverer et klart bud på en tredje vej, hvor man netop vælger aktivt ikke at tage stilling. Der er altså ikke blot tale om et passivt fravalg af tro. Der er tale om et aktivt tilvalg af den position, hvor man ikke tager stilling.

Robert T. Carrol skriver: »Agnosticism is the position of believing that knowledge of the existence or non-existence of God is impossible. It is often put forth as a middle ground between theism and atheism. Understood this way, agnosticism is skepticism regarding all things theological. The agnostic holds that human knowledge is limited to the natural world, that the mind is incapable of knowledge of the supernatural. Understood this way, an agnostic could also be a theist or an atheist. The former is called a fideist, one who believes in God purely on faith. The latter is sometimes accused by theists of having faith in the non-existence of God, but the accusation is absurd and the expression meaningless. The agnostic atheist simply finds no compelling reason to believe in God.«

Ifølge Carrol behøver man altså ikke at være hverken teist eller ateist for at være agnostiker.

Hvis analogien om, at man enten er teist eller ateist, skal fungere ud fra præmissen, at man er ateist, hvis troen på Gud(er) er fraværende, så kan en teist jo også erklære, at jeg, som agnostiker er teist, fordi hvis jeg ikke har taget stilling, så tror jeg på Gud(er) – jeg har blot ikke erkendt det.

Så har vi to tilfælde:

  • a) Ateisten erklærer, at jeg er ateist, fordi jeg ikke har taget stilling til om Gud(er) eksisterer.
  • b) En teist erklærer, at jeg er teist, fordi jeg ikke har taget stilling til om Gud(er) eksisterer.

Men vi har også et tredje tilfælde:

  • Jeg erklærer, at jeg ikke er hverken teist eller ateist, fordi jeg ikke har taget stilling til om Gud(er) eksisterer.

Det handler altså ikke om tro eller fravær af tro alene. Det handler om at tage stilling eller ikke tage stilling. Man kan ikke have et fravær af noget, som man ikke har taget stilling til – og nærvær af noget andet, som man heller ikke har taget stilling til. Enten har man fravær af begge dele, nærvær af begge dele eller det vil være der som et potentiale i fremtiden. Hvis jeg ikke har taget stilling til, om jeg vil tage ud og træne i morgen, så betyder det ikke, at jeg ikke tager ud for at træne i morgen, det betyder heller ikke, at jeg tager ud for at træne i morgen. Det betyder alene, at jeg ikke har taget stilling til det. Der ligger altså en tidsdimension indkoblet i, om man vælger noget eller fravælger noget. Hvis man er ateist, så har man fravalgt tro. Hvis man er teist, så har man fravalgt ikke-tro. Hvis man er den form for agnostiker, som jeg beskriver, så har man ikke fravalgt nogen af delene. Deri ligger ikke et fravær af det ene – men et fravær af begge.

»Man kan potentielt være såvel troende som ikke troende, og som potentiale kan de eksistere som muligheder på samme tid, men sågu kun som potentiale, man ER en af delene, og kan ikke være begge på samme tid.«

Man kan potentielt godt gå rundt med en ubevidst tro, som styrer en del af ens liv – uden at man er bevidst om den; men hvis vi holder os til den bevidste del, så giver det ikke så meget mening, at man skulle kunne være både troende og ikke-troende på samme tid, hvorfor den eneste mulighed, som giver mening – hvis man vælger ikke at tage stilling – er, at man ikke er nogen af delene – altså fravær af begge – både teist og ateist. Hvad er der så tilbage? – Agnosticisme.

En typisk analogi, som ateister projicerer over på deres modstandere i en diskussion er den med en enkelt dør, som man kan vælge at gå igennem eller lade være. Man kan ikke forbeholde beslutningen om, hvilken side af døren, man befinder sig på, man kan kun beslutte, om man vil gå igennem døren eller ej; men indtil den beslutning er taget, er man fysisk til stede på A-siden (ateisme). Enten er man på den ene side af døren eller den anden side af døren. Der er ingen anden epistemologisk mulighed tilgængelig. Går du gennem døren eller ej? Og hvis du siger, at du ikke vil tage stilling nu og her, så er det fint, så er du stadigvæk på A-siden af døren (ateist).

Men hvis nu Dawkins virkelig holder fast i, at religion er et kognitivt virus (altså en sygdom), så må han vel også være nået til den erkendelse, at religion ligesom skizofreni eller influenza eller tilstanden hjernedød ikke kræver nogen forståelsesgrad, ikke sandt? Altså hvordan kan Dawkins så påstå, at eksempelvis ateisme dækker over hele spektret af fravær af tro – og at dette ikke gælder for teisme, fordi teisme kræver en erkendelse? For hvis religion er en sygdom (et virus), så må Dawkins vel nødvendigvis være enig i, at man i så fald også kan være teist uden nogen erkendelsesgrad. Hvordan kan man så påstå, at alle – som ikke har en erkendelse af tro – er ateister?  Eller at ateisme er et passivt fravær – hvor teisme kræver et aktivt tilvalg? Altså kan udgangspunktet nødvendigvis – ifølge Dawkins egen teori om virus – findes på begge sider af døren.

In English: Many, who consider themselves more true to agnosticism, believe that if you choose not to take a stand on the subject of theism – atheism, then you are neither by default. Since atheism is also defined more broadly as an absence of belief in deities, it is the belief of many agnostics that agnosticism is not coherent with the generally acknowledged form of atheism, where one believes in the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods or the rejection of theism. True agnostics would say that there is not substantial empiric evidence/material to take a stance on theism – atheism. The truth of the matter is that the allocation of agnosticism to atheism is disputed; it can also be regarded as an independent, basic world-view.

In that sense being an agnostic is about choice. You choose the position, where you simply do not take a stand on being neither a theist nor an atheist. It is often put forth by atheists such as 1772 when Baron d’Holbach said that »all children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God«, that if you do not choose, then you are an atheist by default (absence of belief), but then a theist could justly argue, that you could as well be a theist, if you do not take a stand – you simply don’t realize it. I believe that we are born agnostic – inherently undecisive on something we do not know the nature of. Atheism or theism cannot – in my opinion – come into speak, until we know the nature of the terms and as a result decide to take a stand, but, as clearly as we can decide to take a stand, we can also choose not to take a stand – based on learning that there is no conclusive empiric evidence. Now here comes the tricky part. If you choose not to take a stand on something, there is a time-dimension added (e.g. I have not taken a stand on whether I will go training, but I may – may not tomorrow). Now by choosing not to take a stand on the subject theism – atheism, I have not chosen not to be a theist, and yet mysteriously I am an atheist by default (abscence of belief). It would be as obscene as to believe that by choosing not to take a stand, I would have chosen not to be an atheist, and yet mysteriously I am a theist by default. If you choose not to take a stand you are either both by default, none by default, or you have the potential in time to be either •. Some believe that subconsciously you can actually believe something, and yet it doesn’t appear in your conscious mind, but if we keep to the conscious level, it does not make much sense to say, that you are both a theist and an atheist, so that leaves us with the point, that if you do choose not to take a stand on the subject of theism – atheism, then you are neither by default. What is left then? – agnosticism. Thus, you may say, I put my decision on hold in the perspective of time, but that does not make me a theist – nor does it make me an atheist. To me it is the pure form of agnosticism.

When it comes to agnostic atheism or agnostic theism it is merely forms of theism and atheism and thus not defining agnosticism. However I do acknowledge that there doesn’t seem to be a general consensus on the terms in speak. Rather it seems that different groups take the stance that best fits what they want to promote – be it theism or atheism. I am of the firm belief that the argumentation about theism – atheism and the possible choice of agnosticism as a middle stance is important when defining what theism – agnosticism – atheism is in reality. There is too much swearing on the frontline these days – I believe more in dialogue…

  • Being an atheist is not a state. It is the positive prejudice of many atheists that it is a state/condition. Atheism clearly subjugates indecisiveness or negates the possible choice in time. The difficulty arises because we confuse belief and knowledge. The agnostic denies the possibility of knowledge on this subject and accepts the claims of the theist or atheist merely as beliefs. Being an agnostic I do not have to take a stand on belief. With belief there is often a question to be resolved by additional evidence, but in the case of the agnostic he doubts that as well. Major theologians have reached similar conclusions. Hans Kung finds the question cannot be settled by rational argument. Either view is allowable and cannot be established solely on the basis of reason. Niebuhr finds the question “Does God exist?” mistaken, because in his theology God is the ground of all existence, not part of it. I am agnostic because knowledge is impossible on this question, not because I can’t make up my mind. I think it is biased only to mention that agnosticism can be paired with theism – atheism. It can naturally stand on its own two feet too.
  • We cannot have any knowledge of an omnipotent or omniscient being since those qualities do not exist in anything we do know. Even Aquinas had to admit that we know God only by analogy and not directly. I do not consider myself an atheist nor am I a theist either. I consider both labels to be void of meaning and irrelevant because their object (God) is also meaningless and irrelevant. To me it is as if one is saying “I believe in …..” and the other “I lack belief in …..”. From an empirical point of view it just doesn’t make sense to discuss it at all – the premonition of the object (God) would be deeply personal for both anyways.«

A typical thought-experiment that ahteists project on their opponents in a discussion is that analogy containing a single door, through which one can decide whether or not to pass. One cannot reserve decision on which side of the door he is. One can reserve decision on whether or not to go through the door, but until that decision is made, one *is* physically present on side A. One *must* be either through the door or not through the door; there is no other option epistemologically possible. Do you go through the door, or do you not? So how about that? And if you say “I choose not to decide at this time,” that’s fine, but for now you’re still on this side of the door.

Well do you believe in Dawkins when he claims religion to be a virus? If you do, then you must also recognize that religion – just like schizophrenia, the flu, braindead, herpes, etc. – is a disease or condition that doesn’t require any active choice, nor any understanding of god(s) or any creative design, right? So if theism does not require any active choice, then it must be able to cover the same greyzone as atheism, where atheism is claimed by you people to cover all passive non-belief – in the understanding, that if you suffer from a disease like theism (virus) then you are not required to understand what it is, nor be active about it, right?
Now if we return to your thought experiment involving the door, bear this in mind, then how can you claim, that on one side of the door is atheism, which does not require an active choice, and that on the other side of the door is theism, but it requires an active choice in order to go through it and become a theist?
If theism is by Dawkins terms a virus, then it doesn’t care about doors and choices. I cannot lie in my bed and decide for myself that now I do not want to have herpes anymore and *poof* it vanishes in thin air, now can I? So obviously I can stand on your side of the door and be a theist without knowing anything about it – as per Dawkins argument about virus – or the starting point may as well be on the other side of the door – facing the choice of atheism – or not.

Den australske filosof Graham Oppy har udgivet en bog, som ser meget spændende ud. Den hedder Arguing about Gods. Og Terry Eagleton nævner også Humes i sin anmeldelse af Dawkins: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n20/eagl01_.html

[1] Atheism

»atheist Show phonetics
noun [C]
someone who believes that God or gods do not exist«

»a disbelief in the existence of deity b: the doctrine that there is no deity«

• noun the belief that God does not exist.
— DERIVATIVES atheist noun atheistic adjective atheistical adjective.
— ORIGIN from Greek a- ‘without’ + theos ‘god’.«

[2] Austin Cline:


[3]Zdybicka, Zofia J.

Zdybicka, Zofia J. (2005), “Atheism”, in Maryniarczyk, Andrzej, Universal Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1, Polish Thomas Aquinas Association.

[4] Holbach, Paul Henri Thiry, baron d’, 1723-1789

d’Holbach, P. H. T. (1772). Good Sense. Retrieved on 2006-10-27.


  1. Nu kom jeg ikke den hele igennem, men jeg mener ikke der er nogen uoverenstemmelse med at være agnostisk og ateist. Jeg tror ikke på guder, men jeg ved ikke med 100 % sikkerhed om der eksistere nogen guder. Jeg ved dog med sikkerhed at dem der er blevet beskrevet i diverse hellige skrifter er noget vås

  2. hótigris says:

    Så er du jo et sted midt imellem. Måske agnostisk ateist. 😉

  3. Dawkins og formentligt andre har jo lavet en skala (kan ikke huske hvordan den så ud, men lad os lave en):

    1 Tror på gud/divinitet/sjæl whatever

    5 Agnostisk

    9 (her ligger jeg nok)
    10 Ateist

    Og min forklaring er den samme som de fleste andre; at jeg simpelhen finder det så usandsynligt at der skulle eksistere nogen gud, men som det er idag kan jeg ikke 100 % afvise det.

    Men du er jo også ateist. Det kommer jo an på hvordan man vægter begreberne. For mig er ateist først og fremmest at man ikke tror på nogen guder og som jeg forstå dig tror du ikke på nogen guder. Men du siger samtidig også at du ikke kan vide det med sikkerhed.

    Men en “agnostisk ateist”, med betoning på ‘ateist’ er måske meget beskrivende.

    PS. har stadig ikke læst artiklen 😀

  4. hótigris says:

    Jeg vil egentlig slet ikke tage stilling, og det er positionen ignostisk eller weak agnostiker. 🙂 Ifølge Dawkins skala ligger agnostikere lige midt imellem ateisme og teisme. Men det er da godt i så fald. Skalaen går fra:

    1.00: Strong theist. 100 percent possibility of God. In the words of C.G. Jung, ‘I do not believe, I know.’

    2.00: Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. De facto theist. ‘I cannot know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.

    3.00: Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. Technically agnostic but leaning towards theism. ‘I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.’

    4.00: Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial agnostic. ‘God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.’

    5.00: Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism. ‘I don’t know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be sceptical.’

    6.00: Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. ‘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.’

    7:00: Strong atheist. ‘I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung ‘knows’ there is one.’

  5. hótigris says:

    Ellers kan vi jo bruge en analogi.

    Hvilken is synes du bedst om?

    A) Vaniljeis
    B) Chokoladeis

    Se jeres argument er, at man SKAL vælge.

    Mit argument er, at der helt åbenlyst mangler en tredje mulighed i jeres projektive identifikation:

    C) Ved ikke, ligeglad, meningsløst at vælge, Is er Is, Jeg er ikke interesseret i at vælge, hvad er forskellen?

    I sidste ende er det højest individuelt om man vælger at tage stilling eller ej. Ganske enkelt!

  6. hótigris says:

    Og der er endda en fjerde svarmulighed:

    D) Idag kan jeg muligvis lide vaniljeis – imorgen kan jeg muligvis lide chokoladeis – på fredag kan jeg muligvis lide begge dele, hvorfor jeg naturligvis ikke kan tage stilling til spørgsmålet idag.

  7. hótigris says:

    Og hvis vi skal føre is-analogien videre.

    Hvis du stiller to muligheder op:

    A) Spiser is

    B) Spiser ikke is

    C) Spiser noget, som man ikke kan afgøre hvad er – det er muligvis is – det er muligvis ikke is.

    I alle tre tilfælde spiser man noget.

  8. Hvem skriver du til i de seneste tre kommentarer?

  9. hótigris says:

    Det er blot udpluk fra en debat på et andet forum. Det er ikke et svar til nogen her. 😉

  10. NBPP says:

    jeg er enten “weak agnostic” eller “spiritual agnostic”, men tror nok, at jeg er tættest på at være en “spiritual agnostic” 🙂

    jeg er selv ret sikker på at der findes en Gud, men som du skriver, så er menneskelig viden begrænset til den fysiske verden, og vi kan derfor ikke vide om der findes en Gud. man kan hverken modbevise eller bevise det.

    jeg er/føler mig som en muslim , men tror ikke på det, der bliver skrevet om Ham i de hellige bøger. religion er menneskeskabt (ifølge mig).

    100 % ateisme er absurd, ligesom 100 % religiøsitet er det

  11. hej nbpp

    “100 % ateisme er absurd, ligesom 100 % religiøsitet er det”

    – jeg er enig i den forstand at man opfatter ateisme som at man ‘ved’ at der ikke findes guder. Og jeg ved godt at der er mange der opfatter begrebet “ateisme” sådan (deriblandt folk der opfatter sig værende ateister), men jeg har det sådan at jeg ikke tror på guder (jeg ved dog ikke med 100 % sikkerhed om de eksistere eller ej) og derved mener jeg at er ateist (og dertil kan jeg dog nævne at jeg ved at der er en masse forestillinger om guder jeg ved ikke er sande).

    “jeg er/føler mig som en muslim , men tror ikke på det, der bliver skrevet om Ham i de hellige bøger. religion er menneskeskabt (ifølge mig).”

    – der forstå jeg ikke hvorfor du har behov for at “føle”/”være” muslim. Hvorfor ikke bare deist? eller freelance teist? Hvorfor benævne sig noget når man mener at egentlig ikke rigtig er ‘sandt’. Jeg har den samme forundring omkring mange kristne, der “kræver” at kalde sig kristne samtidig med at de står at siger at de ikke rigtig tror på noget af kristendommen, men dog har en mening om der måske er noget guddommeligt eller noget mere! Hvorfor skal de institutioner have lov til at fastholde nationer og mennesker gennem tiderne?

    I forlængelse af Dawkins opfordring af ateister til at komme ud af skabet, så vil jeg måske opfordre agnostikere og deister, frittænkende teister mv. til at komme ud af skabet. Hvorfor opretholde religioners særlige holdeplads?

  12. hótigris says:

    NPBB – Jeg kan udmærket forstå din holdning. Jeg synes, at det er en rigtig fornuftig holdning, som sikkert deles af rigtig mange. 🙂

  13. NBPP says:


    jeg forstår dig godt. jeg har det på den samme måde, når folk siger til mig, at de er kristne selvom de i virkeligheden ikke er det. men jeg ved det ikke rigtigt, det hele er sket så hurtigt, så jeg tror at det er derfor jeg har lidt svært ved at sige, at jeg ikke er muslim længere..
    men skal faktisk snart til at lære at bede. vil gerne i “kontakt” med universet (eller Gud som nogen vil kalde det) for at få en form for indre ro.
    synes du ikke det er lidt underligt, at en som (snart) beder 5 gange om dagen, ikke er muslim? det virker lidt mærkeligt ikk?

    men ved sgu ikke hva’ jeg skal kalde mig selv, a agnostic muslim? 😀


    tak 🙂

    håber da at holdning deles af mange, for jeg synes selv det er lidt “uhyggeligt” når folk rent faktisk tror på at det, som står i de hellige bøger, er direkte fra Gud.

  14. NBPP says:

    ps til søren

    ” jeg har det sådan at jeg ikke tror på guder (jeg ved dog ikke med 100 % sikkerhed om de eksistere eller ej) og derved mener jeg at er ateist ”

    det er jo lige det du ikke er. en ateist benægter fuldkomment eksistens på gud. en agnostiker kan derimod også mene at gud/guder ikke findes, men indrømme at muligheden kan være det. derfor vil jeg mene at det er fejlagtigt at betegner dig selv som ateist når du i virkeligheden er agnostiker (lige som mig?) 🙂

  15. Hvor gammel er du? Jeg synes jeg får divergerende informationer. Du snakker om at det er gået lidt hurtigt, og måske ikke er muslim og omvendt snakker du om at skulle lære at bede. Jeg er ikke helt med, men det er jo nok fordi jeg ikke kender din livshistorie. Mig bekendt lærer børn af muslimske forældre (vel at mærke muslimske forældre der selv er “aktive” bedere (lol det er vist ikke et ord. Jeg er også lidt træt 🙂 )) at bede i en relativ tidlig alder, og eftersom jeg ville skyde dig til at være ældre end det specifikke “relative”… nå det ved jeg ikke 🙂 Det kan du måske forklarer nærmere hvis du har lyst.

    Men derudover hvis du føler at du vil i kontakt med et eller andet, hvorfor gør du det så ikke bare på din egen måde, og eventuelt 50 gange om dagen, hvis det er det du føler behov for. Igen hvorfor følge nogle gamle institutionelle opsætninger?

    Angående begrebet ‘ateisme’ har det adskellige forskellige definitioner. Personligt mener jeg bare at det dækker over at man ikke tror på guder, eller benægter det om du vil, ikke andet. Alt andet er påhæng. Siger man således at man ‘ved’ at der ikke findes guder? Nej, bare at det ikke er noget man tror på. Jeg tror ikke på guder, derved er jeg ateist.

    Ps. jeg har mødt mange der har forskellige holdninger til det med deres “oprindelige” religion og hvordan de efterfølgende vil betegne sig selv. En af dem vil helst ikke betegnes som eks-muslim, men vil bare gerne have lov til at være menneske (og er endvidere ved egne ord en agnostisk deist 🙂 ). Men qua hans navn, så vil han automatisk blive puttet i boksen ‘muslim’; eller som han og andre skriver så er der måske en tendens til at muslimer på nogle måder kan blive en slags ny ‘jøde’. Du kan være så og så ikke-troende eller troende, men lige meget hvad, qua dit navn, er du jøde. En anden meget sjov fyr har erklæret sig kultur muslimsk ateist. Som jo er en som ikke tror på guden, men synes der er nogle meget gode ting i den religiøse institutions baggage. Vores begreber og benævnelser kan være mange og temmeligt forvirrende. Og folk skal selvsagt selv have lov til at bestemme hvad de vil kalde sig selv. Jeg synes bare at det er mærkeligt at påklistre sig et specifikt “religiøst label”, hvis man ikke tror på hvad “labelen” “står for”.

  16. Jon says:

    Hej Søren

    Kan være at du har mest lyst til at kalde dig ateist, men nu er sprog jo først og fremmest en konvention. Hvis du ifølge denne konvention er agnostisk ateist, så må du jo kalde dig det, ellers risikerer man jo bare misforståelser. Hvis du kalder dig selv ateist, risikerer du jo at blive indbefattet i den gruppe som jeg har kaldt “usandsynlig dum” (i det indlæg som pingbackede hertil), den gruppe der mener at “vide” at Gud findes eller ikke findes. Jeg synes i imdlertid ikke du er dum, og ifølge den “autoriserede” definition på agnostisk teisme, tilhører du jo denne strømning. Jeg synes bare ikke det, i så fald giver mening, at kalde sig for ateist. For at sætte det på en knivsspids kunne jeg nu også vælger at kalde en spade for en iskarameliseret kronhjort. Chancen for at nogle ville forstå mig er bare temmelig lav, imidlertid er chancen for misforståelse høj.
    Jeg ville bare have på det rene, at jeg (og du) ikke mener, at du tilhører den gruppe der er dum, selvom du altså selv mener, du deler dens navn.

    Venlig Hilsen


  17. hótigris says:

    Problemet for de mest aggressive ateister/religionskritikere/racister m.m. er, at de glemmer, at der findes mennesker, der ikke nødvendigvis deler den opfattelse, som visse hysteriske imamer og præster forsøger at presse igennem – nemlig den forkvaklede holdning at deres tro pr. definition er den eneste sande vej. Når forskellige religiøse tosser søger at underminere det faktum, at vi som mennesker grundlæggende er ens, ser jeg en tydelig tråd til lige så latterlige indebrændte stoddere, der bruger religionshadet som et retfærdiggørende instrument til manglende tolerance for andre mennesker.

    Man kan læne sig tilbage og grine overbærende af hele det show, der kører, når mennesker sætter sig selv og hinanden op mod hinanden i en stadig polarisering. Men rent faktisk er det bizart, at vi ikke kan finde ud af ret meget andet end at kritisere hinanden. Den endelige konsekvens af forældet vanetænkning fra begge parter er, at stupiditeten koster menneskeliv – og hverken en hysterisk ateist-religionshader-racist, eller en fundamentalistisk religiøs satan kan ændre det faktum. Ingen af dem er interesseret i at nå til noget konstruktivt plan.

    Vi må og skal have dialogen i højsædet.

  18. Jon says:

    Tja S

    Man har prøvet at få dialogen i højsædet lige siden Oplysningstiden. Resultaterne er ikke lige frem synlige. Det er vel i grunden en lige så utopisk tanke som så meget andet.

    Venlig hilsen


  19. Hej Jon

    “Hvis du kalder dig selv ateist, risikerer du jo at blive indbefattet i den gruppe som jeg har kaldt “usandsynlig dum” (i det indlæg som pingbackede hertil), den gruppe der mener at “vide” at Gud findes eller ikke findes”

    – jeg ved godt at der er ateister der mener at vide bestemt at der ikke kan findes nogen divinitet. Men reelt set er der også en lille, men næsten umulig mulighed for at jeg har HIV, selvom at jeg er blevet testet i hovede og røv (undskyld sproget 🙂 ). Sandsynliggørelse er nøgleordet! Og jeg finder en divinitet uhøre usandsyndlig. Men det er sagen uvedkommende. Ordet ‘ateist’ betyder bare ikke-tro, ergo hvis man ikke tror på guder er man per definition ateist. En anden ting er den italesætten man tilføjer forskellige ord (et andet men svært at dekonstruere er ordet ‘antisemitisme’. Det er jo normalt kædet sammen med jødedommen. Reelt set ligger der i ordet ‘antisemit’, at man er imod folk der er semitisk af etnicitet; og et andet ord der bliver brugt til altmuligt det ikke har nogen egentlig mening med er ‘racist’. Når men nok om det. Ordet ‘ateist’ er på ingen måde rodet ind i sådanne semantiske overvejelser, formentligt fordi det ikke på samme måde er rodet ind i nogle voldsomme individuelle og kollektive følelser (hvilket det egentlig godt burde komme, og det kan da være at vi er igang med det). Som sagt ‘ateist’=’ikke-tro’. Hvis du vil have en betegnelse hvormed at du kan omtale folk der mener at 100 % vide sådan noget så kald dem da ‘gnostiske ateister’ (men det kommer selvfølgelig i clinch med den religiøse gruppe der kalder sig selv gnostikere). Men for sagen vedkommende ligger der ikke andet i ordet ‘ateist’ at man ikke tror på guder. Der er ikke noget videre i begrebet om man ved at der ikke findes guder eller flyvende grise. Det må man selv definere. Jeg ved ikke om du mener at Richard Dawkins er med i denne “dumme”-kategori, men i realiteten er han det ikke, efter eget udsagn. Han erkender at han ikke med 100 % kan vide det; det kan man ikke.

    Så jeg kalder mig selv ateist. Jeg tror nemlig ikke på guder. Og jeg vil da også kalde mig selv fritænker. Jeg ser at du også forsøger at konstruere den betegnelse som noget negativt. Og hvis jeg absolut skal forklare nærmere, så ja så er jeg en agnostisk ateist; en som ikke tror på guder, men som ikke ved med sikkerhed om de ikke eksisterer.


  20. Jon says:

    Hej Søren

    I virkeligheden er det en sag om ord. Det vigtige er det dybereliggende – du er ikke dum. Det er Richard Dawkins givet heller ikke, han er bare irriterende. Vi kan vel prøve at finde en fagordbog, hvis det endelig skal være. Jeg synes bare, at det ville være mærkeligt, hvis der var en menings-overlapning imellem ateisme og ateistisk agnosticisme.
    I øvrigt har jeg intet imod fritænkere. I al beskedenhed mener jeg da også, at jeg tænker frit. Jeg kan dog godt se, hvor misforståelsen er opstået. Du kan se i kommentarfeltet på det indlæg, der pingbackede hertil, for at se min forklaring.

    Venlig Hilsen


  21. Hej Jon

    Ja det er skriblerier og fnidderfnadderi om ord 🙂

    Du er klar over hvad a-gnosticisme kommer af? Det tror jeg såmænd godt du ved og jeg har også udtrykt det ved at trække ‘a’ lidt væk. Således vil en ateist der føler at være 100 % vidende være en gnostisk ateist. Ateist er bare en rammebetegnelse for personer der ikke tror. Den er såmænd ikke længere. Men ja der er både ateister og troende der forsøger at male begrebet ‘ateist’ op i et hjørne og det synes jeg ikke du behøves at være med til. På samme måde er der jo også folk, både religiøse og ikke-religiøse, der forsøger at male begrebet ‘religiøs’ op i et hjørne, som nogen temmeligt fundamentalistiske typer. Det mener jeg heller skal ske. Hvis du ikke forstår hvad jeg mener med dette kan du jo bare vælge at kigge på retorikken blandt andet hos nogen religiøse der konstruere alle der ikke er enig med deres teologi som frafaldne.

    Jeg vender tilbage til din blog senere.

  22. Jon says:

    Hej Søren

    Ta for forklaringen. Jeg må vel erkende at du har ret.

    Venlig hilsen


  23. Superwoman says:

    Hej St…

    Har skimtet artiklen igennem. Og jeg bliver nød til at spørge dig, ligesom jeg vil spørge enhver anden agnostikker/ateist :

    Hvad er det for en gud/guder som du ikke tror på??

    Hvis du nu skulle vælge at tro på “ham”, hvilke forventninger har du så til at han skal være, så du sikrer dig for at han ikke er resultatet af din eller andre menneskers projektion?

    For mig som muslim er Gud ikke en antropomorfologisk størrelse, og ligner på ingen måde det han har skabt. Den måde vi lærer ham at kende på er via det han har åbenbaret for os i sin skabelse i lyset af Koranen. Hans 99 navne, er transcendente og et af dem er « Al-Haqq » dvs. Ultimativ sandhed eller realitet.

    Selvom mennesker går hver i dybt forskellige retninger religiøst set, så tror jeg faktisk at kravene til Gud som værende sand og perfekt et universalt koncept.

    Og jeg tror ( sådan meget firkantet sagt) at grunden til at ateister eller agnostikkere kalder sig for det de nu gør, er at de ikke kan få ultimativ sandhed eller realitet for den sags skyld til at hænge sammen med den gud som religionerne nu fremstiller ham som at være.

    Som muslimer tror vi ikke på begrebet A-teisme ( at stå uden for Gud) som sådan, eftersom Gud er definitionen på absolut sandhed og at intet menneske ikke kan forholde til en verden sig uden for denne i en absolut forstand. Selv de evnesvage har en eller anden form for virklighedsbegreb, selvom det er i en svag udstrækning. (Dog tror vi ikke på at de vil stå til regnskab på dommens dag)

    I en kristen eller hellenistisk optik er begrebet “atheist” jo kun mulig pga. den dualitistiske og antagonistiske opfattelse af omverdenen, hvor man enten tilhører den ene eller den anden kategori.
    god vs. ond,
    natur vs. menneske,
    videnskab vs. tro

    Antagonismen kan også ses i forhold mellem mennesket og de græske guder.
    ( Guderne bliver jaloux da de finder ud af at mennesket (prometheus) stjal hemligheden bag ilden og fik en grusom straf)

    På trods af at man har besluttet sig for at skille hvad vi kalder tro- og videnskab, eller følelse og fornuft fra hinanden med henblik på at se tingene som de nu engang er , synes
    jeg nu alligevel at det er komisk at det hellenistiske syn alligevel udtryk i videnskaben.

    -Steven Hawkings foreslog at hvis der var liv på de andre planeter, så skulle man hurtigst muligt sørge for at koloniserer dem.
    -De videnskabsmænd der nægter at acceptere muligheden for at der skulle være liv ude i rummet bygger på en forståelse der hedder ” hvis der havde været liv ude i rummet (eller en Gud), så havde de allerede forsøgt på at overtage os”.

    De kristne siger at Gud er « all-good » og omni-potent samtidigt, og kan på igen måde associeres med det onde. Noget som jeg synes værende problematisk for en monotheist. Fordi hvis Gud er « all-good » eller omnipotent, hvorfor fjerner han så ikke det onde fra jordens overflade? Enten kan han ikke, eller også så vil han ikke.
    Det er derfor også et chock for dem når de læser i Koranen at det er Gud der leder folk (der nægter at se) på afveje når han slører deres hjerte. Og ender med at straffe dem for det.
    Og så tænker de, jamen det er jo en ond og uretfærdig Gud fordi de jo har de associerer Gud med noget der udelukkende har med det gode at gøre.

    Men jeg har lyst til at sige til disse mennesker, jamen ligger det ikke i sagens natur, at folk der vil fornægte noget, har mulighed for at gøre det?? I så fald er det så ikke deres egen skyld?? Er det ikke tættere på det vi ved er sandt??

    Koranen opdeler folk i muslimer, kristne, jøder og polytheister.
    Dvs, at en atheist =polytheist, hvilket jo hænger godt sammen med at atheisme eller agnostisme jo netop IKKE er en religion, men et livssyn der består af flere forskellige fragmenterede sandheder og relativisme.
    Den grundlæggende forskel mellem polytheisterne og ateisterne er hvordan deres livssyn kommer til udtryk på, enten som spirituel ekspressionisme via statuer med , i hvilken guddomen eller sandheden er projekteret i, eller via relativ sandhed velvidende om at det er det, der tager udgangspunkt i flere forskellige virkligheder, og som i sidste ende vil kollidere ind i hinanden hvis de ikke gradvist tilpasses.
    Deres syn på et liv efter døden, bærer paradoksalt også fællestrræk. De tror ikke på en regskabstime som kristne og muslimer gør, men at hvis der forelægger en straf så er den her på jorden. En hindu tror på at han konkret bliver reinkarneret som noget et laverestående væsen i den hierarkiske fødekæde, og det gør ateisten også, dengang i en « spirituelt form » i form af at efterlade sig et dårligt eftermægle, eller endnu være, i glemsomhedens bog, som en der aldrig har eksisteret. Hans frelse så at sige, som ligger i at han ikke har levet forgæves her på jorden, ligger i hans efterkommers billede.

    Det kan godt være at en atheist vil hævde at han definerer objektiv sandhed udfra videnskablige principper, men det holder jo kun lige så længe han ikke forlader sit laboratorium. Lige så snart han skal begå sig i sociale eller etiske sammenhænge, så må han ty til en alternativ virklighedsopfattelser eller sandhed som grundlag for hans gøren og laden, når han skal træffe et valg. Jeg benægter selvfølgelig ikke at videnskaben i nogle sammenhænge kan være med til at kaste lys over måden vi handler på når vi skal træffe moralske valg. ( det er svært at skælde en et autistisk barn ud, når man nu med 100% sikkerhed kan slå fast at hans adfærd ikke er et resultat af dårlig opførelse, men pga. defekt i hjernen).

    Muslimer er radikale monotheister, og modsat det kristne eller hellenistiske livsyn består vores virklighedsopfattelse ikke af dualitet eller antagonisme eller streng polarisering imellem godt og ondt.
    Godt og ondt er ikke noget fast, men noget der skal forstås som aspekter eller facetter som ikke overlapper eller fungere modstridende i forhold til hinanden, men som i sidste ende går op i højere enhed der hedder objektiv sandhed.

  24. Superwoman says:

    mvh Superwoman

    P.s. TUSIND TAK FORDI DU HAR VALGT EN STØRRE SKRIFTSTØRRELSE!!! Jeg har 10 gange nemmere ved at læse din blog nu…

  25. hótigris says:

    Hej med dig. Det var så lidt mht. skriftstørrelse. Jeg har længe tænkt på det. 🙂

  26. hótigris says:

    Til din kommentar.

    »Hvad er det for en gud/guder som du ikke tror på??«

    Det skal du først og fremmest spørge ateisterne om. Som agnostiker har jeg ikke taget stilling. Jeg mener ikke, at Gud(er) kan defineres, så spørgsmålet er ud fra en empirisk stillingtagen fuldstændigt åbent og lader sig ikke besvare.

    »Hvis du nu skulle vælge at tro på “ham”, hvilke forventninger har du så til at han skal være, så du sikrer dig for at han ikke er resultatet af din eller andre menneskers projektion?«

    Personligt har jeg ikke nogen forventninger til, hvordan Gud evt. skal være. Jeg er faktisk meget enig i meget af det, som du skriver. Men du kan i sagens natur ikke bevise, at der overhovedet eksisterer en gud eller nogle guder – ligeså lidt som du kan bevise det modsatte. Derfor vælger jeg ikke at tage stilling.

  27. Superwoman says:

    Ok…interessant respons. Tak 🙂

  28. Hej superwoman

    Jeg kan prøve at besvare dig som ateist 🙂

    »Hvad er det for en gud/guder som du ikke tror på??«

    den gud(er) der er blevet illustreret i de forskellige religioner (og de respektive bøger), dem synes jeg med garanti at kunne afvise. Endvidere kan jeg ikke se at det er nødvendigt med nogen gud eller divinitet for at forklare ‘eksistensen’, så derfor er jeg også adeist og apanteist.

    »Hvis du nu skulle vælge at tro på “ham”, hvilke forventninger har du så til at han skal være, så du sikrer dig for at han ikke er resultatet af din eller andre menneskers projektion?«

    – jeg kan ikke rigtig se hvilke forventninger jeg skulle have. Der vil jeg umiddelbart give snowtiger ret.

    Men angående at koranen ikke illustrere et dualistisk billede er jeg uenig. Shaitan/iblis/satan er jo netop den ‘onde’ der indtil dommedag vil prøve at forlede de ‘gode’. De ‘onde’ vil efterfølgende til al evig tid brænde i helvede og de ‘gode’ vil i al evig tid sidde og drikke vin og mælk fra floder sammen med guttermanden, og de forskellige priviligerede profeter.

  29. Superwoman says:

    Hej Søren Svendsen

    Tak for din respons:-)

    Med hensyn til din fortolkning af Iblis/Shaitan er jeg uenig, fordi han jo netop er det ondes menneskes antagonist og ikke Allah’s. ( de gode tager Allah sig af).
    Iblis ved at han er dømt til helvede for evig tid, og har ondt i røven over at skulle tage derned alene. Hans sidste ønske er derfor at få LOV fra Allah om at lede folk på afveje. Han får så permision granted på vej ned. Den sidste bemærkning fra Allah er noget i retning af, at de rigtigt troende, vil du ikke være i stand til at nå.

    Når jeg tænker dualisme så tænker jeg på en magtfordeling på 50-50, hvilket langtfra er tilfældet mellem Allah og Iblis.
    I et andet vers (kan ikke finde det lige nu) står der at hvis der havde været mere end én Gud, så havde de med sikkerhed prøvet at underminerer hinanden til der var én tilbage.
    Pointen er at man kan ikke være Gud og være i en position hvor man er udsat for en potentiel trussel samtidigt. Er der derimod to ens dele der samarbejder i fuld overensstemmelse i ordets absolute forstand med hinanden så er der i virkligheden tale om én enhed.

    Der er andre vers som f.eks siger:
    “We have permitted the enemies of every prophet -human and jinn devils-to inspire each other fancy words, in order to deceive. Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. You shall disregard them as fabrications. This is the mind of those who do not beleive in the hererafter listen to such fabrications, and accept them and thus expose their real convictions.

    (72 jomfruer, stening, drab ved frafald, profeten “sagde” dit, profeten “sagde” dat, det kan Imamer der levede 150-200 år efter ham jo bekræfte eftersom deres hadith er autentiske, for det står der jo at de er…profeten vil redde dig på dommens dag osv. osv)

    De gode som Allah tager sig af ( de sandhedsøgende) og som i kraft af det ville være tættere på sandhed/realitet, er dem som Iblis ikke vil kunne nå. Det er umuligt at tro på løgne med oprigtighed når man ved bedre 😉
    Graden af antagonisme mellem Iblis og mennesket bliver derfor i sidste ende en relativ størrelse.

    ST og SørenSørensen

    Jeg skal tænke over jeres respons lidt grundigere med hensyn til “at tage stilling til Gud”, før jeg giver et svar.

  30. “Med hensyn til din fortolkning af Iblis/Shaitan er jeg uenig, fordi han jo netop er det ondes menneskes antagonist og ikke Allah’s. ( de gode tager Allah sig af).”

    – det er det samme i kristendommen, i hvert fald i mainstream-teologi. Der er magtforholdet heller ikke 50-50. Satan er en falden engel, eller som andre udtrykker det en engel der gør oprør. Og efterfølgende forleder folk. Men den kristne gud afgør i sidste ende sagerne 🙂

    Men kan godt lide skepsisen overfor ahadith 🙂 Man kan da næsten også kun blive skeptisk ud fra læse dem.

    “De gode som Allah tager sig af ( de sandhedsøgende) og som i kraft af det ville være tættere på sandhed/realitet, er dem som Iblis ikke vil kunne nå. Det er umuligt at tro på løgne med oprigtighed når man ved bedre”

    – jeg har altid fundet sådan et argument for religion underfundigt. For helt ærligt, hvem i verden (der er nok nogen, men det er formentligt nok de færreste) kunne ikke tænke sig oprigtigt at få sandheden at vide (eller som i kristen og muslimsk retorik “få åbnet sit hjerte”/”fjernet sløret fra hjertet” mv), hvis det var sådan at man vil blive straffet i helvede til al evig tid for ikke at være “sandhedssøgende”. Svaret er indlysende, at 99 % (hvis ikke 100%) af alle mennesker ville være “sandhedssøgende”, men tydeligvis kommer de bare frem til vidt forskellige resultater. Er det fordi der er flere guder, der kan give forskellige resultater? Er det fordi at den gud der eksisterer alligevel ikke føler at de har fortjent det? eller er det måske bare fordi der ikke er nogen gud og folk selv forestiller sig at deres gud/guder/særlige “mellem himmel og jord”-konstruktion har givet, netop dem den rette indstilling?

    Men nu vi forholder os til det her, har jeg måske lidt svært ved at kunne forestille mig en transcendent, men dog samtidig personlig og lovgivende gud. En alskabende gud er endvidere sig selv selvmodsigende. Og jeg vil nok aldrig kunne tro på at denne gud iøvrigt ville straffe folk i al evig tid bare fordi man er skeptisk overfor dennes eksistens. Woody Allan, som er ateist, mener selv at man må da kunne forklare guden, at det er logisk nok, ikke at finde en guds eksistens særlig sandsynlig 🙂


    Søren Svendsen

  31. hótigris says:

    Det kuriøse ved Darwin er vel, at han mig bekendt aldrig har taget stilling til, om der eksisterer en universel ikke-menneskeskabt gud. Samme må vel siges om Einstein. Og det er disse to, som profileres vidt og bredt hver eneste gang en ateist skal ud og vise flaget. Jow jow – man har virkeligt forfinet den hæderkronede gamle offerdans ‘at træde rundt i spinaten’.

    I den værdikamp som skal forestille at være imellem tro vs. ikke-tro er Darwin således et umådeligt ringe kort at spille.

  32. Hej Jens

    Nogen gange har du evnen til at komme med en kommentar næsten fuldstændig uden for kontekst? Er det fordi at du nedskriver noter til dig selv? – eller fra en anden debat?

    Nå men anyways. Darwin kaldte sig selv agnostiker, Einstein virker til at have svævet et sted mellem agnosticisme og panteisme; har blandt andet udtalt at han troede på Spinozas gud. Jeg er ikke ude at kippe med noget flag (det er blandt andet derfor at jeg ikke forstå din kommentar her i denne kontekst). Så din “hver eneste gang” må være på baggrund af andre omstændigheder.

    I forhold til om Darwin kan “bruges” i en debat om tro vs. ikke-tro, så kan han da i allerhøjeste grad “bruges”, eftersom han gik fra at tro, til at erklære at han ikke troede længere (på bibelen), men samtidig ikke kunne vide med sikkerhed om der eksisterede nogen guder eller ej. Så han er da “brugbar” 🙂

  33. hótigris says:

    Hej Søren.

    Du har helt ret. Det er fra en anden debat. Det er absolut ikke fordi jeg på nogen måde sammenligner dig med rabiate ateister. Det er du både for klog og for alment dannet til. 🙂

    Han er brugbar i forhold til at stille spørgsmålstegn ved tro. Men han er ikke brugbar i forhold til at hylde ateismen.

  1. […] Som man kan læse om det på Hótigris blog, så findes der flere former for agnosticisme. Jeg vil nu beskrive 5 af i alt 6 former for agnosticisme (den sidste strømning er for denne […]

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