I have just had an argument with
Mel Wild‘s excellent posts).
Once I would have called this kind of gross error a mistake. But after explaining why time and time again, I have been forced to accept that this is an intentional bald-faced lie. CT knows it is a lie but peddles it endlessly. CT thinks it’s okay to lie for Jesus, apparently.
I tend to prefer old dictionaries. Why? Well, words have always been weapons, but the masters of words, the speakers in our mass media constantly seek to play with and alter the meaning of words.
So let’s consider the word “Atheism”. Here is how my 1956 Funk &Wagnalls defined it.
1. The denial or disbelief in the existence of God.
2. Godlessness in life or conduct.
Everyone understood then that an Atheist says there is no God. So it is that when I was growing up, when someone called himself an Atheist, everyone understood that fellow believed God does not exist.
Consider the etymology.
“the doctrine that there is no God;” “disbelief in any regularity in the universe to which man must conform himself under penalties” [J.R. Seeley, “Natural Religion,” 1882], 1580s, from French athéisme (16c.), with -ism + Greek atheos “without a god, denying the gods,” from a- “without” (see a- (3)) + theos “a god” (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts). A slightly earlier form is represented by atheonism (1530s) which is perhaps from Italian atheo “atheist.” The ancient Greek noun was atheotes “ungodliness.”
In late 19c. sometimes further distinguished into secondary senses “The denial of theism, that is, of the doctrine that the great first cause is a supreme, intelligent, righteous person” [Century Dictionary, 1897] and “practical indifference to and disregard of God, godlessness.”
In the first sense above given, atheism is to be discriminated from pantheism, which denies the personality of God, and from agnosticism, which denies the possibility of positive knowledge concerning him. In the second sense, atheism includes both pantheism and agnosticism. [Century Dictionary]
didn’t buy that.
thinks those dictionaries are wrong. In fact,
claims to be an agnostic atheist (see this comment). What is an agnostic atheist? Well, it is confused babble. Here is the Wikipedia version.
Agnostic atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact. (continued here)
All About Philosophy, after providing a more concise explanation, makes the following observation about agnostic Atheism.
The agnostic atheist, therefore, combines elements of not knowing the existence of God with the unbelief in God. (from here)
Why is that absurd? Consider the etymology of “agnostic”.
1870, “one who professes that the existence of a First Cause and the essential nature of things are not and cannot be known” [Klein]; coined by T.H. Huxley, supposedly in September 1869, from Greek agnostos “unknown, unknowable,” from a- “not” (see a- (3)) + gnostos “(to be) known,” from PIE root *gno- “to know.” Sometimes said to be a reference to Paul’s mention of the altar to “the Unknown God” in Acts, but according to Huxley it was coined with reference to the early Church movement known as Gnosticism (see Gnostic). The adjective also is first recorded 1870.
I … invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of ‘agnostic,’ … antithetic to the ‘Gnostic’ of Church history who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. [T.H. Huxley, “Science and Christian Tradition,” 1889]
The agnostic does not simply say, “I do not know.” He goes another step, and he says, with great emphasis, that you do not know. [Robert G. Ingersoll, “Reply to Dr. Lyman Abbott,” 1890]
Admittedly, after reading the etymology of “agnostic”, I could not help refrain from teasing
So are you trying to say it cannot be known whether you are an Atheist? (from here)
Think about it. If you are an agnostic, you don’t know. God may or may not exist, but you don’t know. There is a distinct difference between saying “I don’t believe God exists” and “I don’t know whether God exists”. The Atheist does not believe God exists. The agnostic does not know. Combining the two terms is pointless and unnecessary. It is just a sign of an agnostic who wants to claim a certainty he cannot have.
For additional posts in this series, see OF TWISTED WORDS => FEMINISM.