The Agnosticism Which Dares Not Speak Its Name
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David Barth, in Talk Back 53, criticizes me for promoting agnosticism. He claims it is "antithetical to Agnosticism."
Where this idea came from, I do not know.
It is not reflected in the agnosticism of Huxley, nor the agnosticism of Ingersoll, nor that of Darrow nor that of Darwin. None of them felt they had to keep their agnosticism in the closet. They announced their agnosticism proudly to the world, along with their reasons for rejecting the religious views of others.
If agnosticism were not promoted - and it was promoted from the day Huxley coined the term - how would the idea of agnosticism be promulgated from one person to another? A concept that cannot be talked about cannot be passed on. The term would disappear from the language. There would be no agnostics; just those vaguely dissatisfied with being identified as atheists.
If Mr. Barth has children, should he pass his agnosticism on to them? To do so would be antithetical to the closet agnosticism he seems to believe in - it would be promoting it to them. Not to do so would be to leave his children open to all the religious concepts that have infiltrated our culture. He would be doing his children a disservice.
Let's face it, by writing to me and criticizing what I am doing, Barth is promoting his peculiar view of agnosticism - something he says should not be promoted.
It is as if agnosticism is something to be ashamed of.
I am proud to stand up and say I am an agnostic. I believe agnostics should be too.
This web site is a fairly open forum open to both those in favour of and against agnosticism. It allows a free exchange of ideas. Barth's prescription would eliminate that. He is wrong.