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Ask the Patriarch 227
Leniency towards Atheism?

from: Dan

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Hi:

I've recently stumbled on to your church during a search for a solution to the problem of people saying that my agnosticism was inconsistent simply because it said nothing about my beliefs. I don't really have any particular belief on the issue simply because it seems unnecessary.

If my belief could never be verified or turned into knowledge, then forming one would only make me have to live with a perpetually uncertain belief. So now, anytime someone asks, I merely say that I don't know whether god exist or not and don't care enough to be in a position in which I would need to formulate a belief one way or the other.

But I have a question. Now people seem to perceive some sort of leniency inherent in my apathetic agnosticism towards atheism which defeated the point. So before I dismiss them completely and accuse them of ignorantly missing the point, I wanted to clarify on whether this was in fact true of apathetic agnosticism or is it indeed a misconception.

Other then that, thanks for creating the church and relieving me of the dozen frustrating conversations I would have to have with my friends about my agnosticism. I hope to be able to set aside some time to get ordained soon.

The Patriarch replies:

Dan:

I'm not completely clear about what you are getting at with "leniency inherent in my apathetic agnosticism towards atheism."

But, as far as I am concerned I try to stay out of wars with atheists. By and large, we are on the same page, and in my view, many of those who call themselves atheists are more agnostic than truly atheist. It's just that definitions have got blurred over the years, and atheism does a better job of marketing. Generally, arguing these issues is a waste of time and effort. I just stick with the position you are using - I don't know; and there is no reason to express a belief on the issue.

Where I do make a point of arguing with individual atheists is when they misrepresent agnosticism, particularly when they ignorantly denigrate it. I enjoy demolishing their positions. Meditation 872 is the latest example of that. I also wrote on the issue in the previous question.

But, by and large, I think a live-and-let-live attitude between atheists and agnostics is appropriate. In fact, quite a few of our members consider themselves both atheists and apathetic agnostics. The definitions in common usage today are sufficient justification for them to do that. However, personally, I am content with being exclusively (apathetic) agnostic.