What is Agnosticism, Agnosticism?

What is Agnosticism, Agnosticism?

June 29, 2021 Off By Felso

Agnosticism is the view that the existence or non-existence of God cannot be known. For this reason, it is also called agnosticism or agnosticism. Followers of agnosticism are called agnostics or agnostics.

Agnosticism argues that the existence or non-existence of God in the theological sense and scientifically from where the universe originated is not known or cannot be known. Thus, according to agnostics, man cannot know the existence of anything beyond the facts he has obtained through his own experiences.

The word “agnostic” is formed from the combination of the ancient Greek negative prefix “an” and the same language “gnostikos” meaning “knowing, having knowledge”. It roughly means “without knowledge”.

Agnosticism was coined by Thomas Huxley as both a term and a philosophical concept. Huxley used the word agnostic for thinkers who rejected both traditional Judeo-Christian theism and the doctrine of atheism, leaving the question of the existence of God in the middle. The term was later taken back to encompass all agnostic teachings. Because earlier thinkers and writers are known to have this thought. For example, the Ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras is also called agnostic.

Huxley’s interpretation of agnosticism is as follows:

“Agnosticism is not a belief; but it is a method whose essence lies in a single vigorous practice. This principle can certainly be shown as reason; however, the results should not be shown as proven or so conclusive as to be called provable.”

There are two types of agnosticism. According to weak agnosticism, no one knows about God; but this may be known; According to strong agnosticism, God cannot be known at all.

Agnosticism arose as a reaction to the great misconceptions of human thought, historically deprived of the control of science. The first reaction was given by the sensory sophists, one of the Greek antiquity scholars. According to them, knowledge is the result of the senses and cannot obtain information outside the senses and cannot be valid for everyone.


Agnosticism is not the same as atheism. Atheism argues that God does not exist or cannot exist. Despite this, agnosticism maintains that it is not known or can never be known whether God exists. For demographic studies, atheism and agnosticism are in the same category as all other religious rejectionist ideas. Some sources interpret agnosticism as neutrality.


According to the agnostic point of view described by Bertrand Russell, the claims made by existing religions about the existence of God and life beyond earth cannot be verified today. Therefore, belonging to any religion can be seen as meaningless.

According to Kant, only the visible can be known, the essence cannot be known: “We are dreaming of a dream in a universe full of secrets. There is nothing we really know. What we think we know is just events. Those events were born out of the relationship between an object we do not know and a subject we will never know.”

According to the American pragmatist William James, the situation of man in the universe is like that of a cat in a library. He sees and hears; but he can never understand.

According to the positivist thinker Auguste Comte, neither objects themselves nor physics can be known as supra-object metaphysics. In the middle of these two unknowable fields, science can only deal with phenomena that are the subject of experiments and observations that we perceive with our senses.

According to Camus, the 20th century French thinker, “The universe is inconsistent and unknowable. Here is the tree, we hear its hardness. We have to make do with this. Science will increasingly tell us about an invisible set of planets where electrons gather around a nucleus. This is an assumption. Thus, we realize that we have come back to the field of poetry and that we cannot know anything.”

Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Year 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Year 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook