Before I launch into a summarised version of my opinions on religion, I’d like to leave a disclaimer that what you will read here are basically just that: my personal opinions. Staunch religious followers can rest assured that I won’t be touching on sensitive issues on specific denominations. It only covers a discussion I had with a friend over the weekend on agnosticism and atheism. And how many people often confuse the differences between the two.
Please keep it to yourself, thanks.
I’m sure you’d have heard of the phrase “Religion is like a penis. It’s fine to have one and are proud of it, but it doesn’t give you the right to wave it around in other people’s faces.” Or something along those lines. In fact, it is such a popular phrase that over the years, people have come to creating various versions of the phrase. Truth be told, I’ve had my share of friends and acquaintances who think they are entitled to giving me unorthodox advice as to why I’m missing out on the benefits of following their religion. If it’s all the same to you, thanks, but no thanks. There is a reason why I have my own beliefs. If I shared your views, I’d be what you are today.
And then there are those who swing the other way. There is no such thing as a God! NO! There is a God, you just don’t know that He’s there! Or, worse, they’d say that they’re a bit of both. I’m not sure if there’s no such thing as being “a bit of both”. To my understanding, you’re either one or the other.
You’re either an atheist…
Perhaps you don’t believe that gods exist and you don’t believe in any (even if they did exist). That makes you an atheist. It’s a simple concept, but sadly, it’s also a widely misunderstood concept. Just for that reason alone, atheism can come with a variety of definitions: from a lack of belief in gods, an absence of belief in gods, disbelief in gods, to simply not believing in gods at all. Which is not wrong. Yours truly is an atheist. However, just because I don’t believe in gods doesn’t make me a Satanic worshipper or any funny ideas mushrooming in your head.
Or an agnostic.
There’s another simple yet widely misunderstood concept, similar to atheism. An agnostic is defined as someone who doesn’t claim to know if any gods exist or not, regardless of what their reasons are or how they approach the question of whether any gods exist or not.
The only similarity is that both beliefs deal with the existence of gods. Atheism involves what a person does or does not believe, while agnosticism involves what a person does or does not know. Beliefs and knowledge are related, but still remain separate issues.
And then there are those who claim that they are neither atheist nor agnostic, and call themselves a “free thinker“. I’m not sure about you but I’m all for “free things” or “freedom of thoughts”, can I be called a “free thinker” then?