Aren’t Atheists Just Agnostic?

Billions of people throughout the world believe in something outside of space and time. What I mean by this is that the belief in a God/gods of some sort is fairly consistent among human beings. Whether it is a single, all-supreme God like Yahweh or Allah, which is called monotheism, or perhaps it’s polytheistic like Hinduism, Taoism or Mahayana Buddhism, which these beliefs are centered around the worship of many gods. In addition, pantheism is known amongst many African and Native American religions, which comprises of details surrounding the idea that God is a manifestation of the universe. Then there is the agnostic, who “believes” that they simply don’t “know,” and aren’t going to make any “claims” surrounding the idea whether or not these spiritual deities or beings actually exist. Regardless of whether or not these are true, the atheist “believes” that there aren’t any gods at all, or that the “idea” of God/gods cannot be proven or supported by what is “known” within reality. However, the issue that surrounds atheism as a whole, is the idea and belief that if God/gods exist(s), He/they cannot be proven to exist, or that they don’t exist at all, and it is arbitrary for people to place their trust and faith in an idea or belief when there isn’t any hard, empirical evidence to support these claims.

But is this actually the case? Can the atheist even make these claims without digressing into a logical fallacy? There is a logical caveat known as the Fallacy Fallacy. This states that the argument made doesn’t actually validate the premise, or simply put, their argument isn’t supported even though they might not be wrong, per se. Likewise, it is also an appeal to ignorance, which goes both ways, hinging on evidence-based research to support the claim. This means contextually that, the atheist (or theist, etc.) can’t prove/disprove the existence of God empirically, therefore both are left with a waning outcry behind their “belief” system and epistemologically derived worldview. However, the atheist seems to be jaded because in the end, the burden of proof is on them. Additionally, the atheist commits the fallacy of exclusion (i.e. with Christianity and the historicity of Jesus), fallacy of equivocation (i.e. origins of the universe), and many others.

Yet, the issue stems primarily in the quantitative knowledge within the universe itself. With all the knowledge that exists in the universe, the knowledge of God/gods is either there, or not there. For theists and the likes, their claim is based primarily on their holy books and philosophical positions, (eyewitness reports [eg. Anecdotal] and ecclesiastical testimony) but likewise it is creation itself that often is the evidence that supports their idea that God or many gods exist. However, the bold claim of old atheists like Friedrich Nietzsche, making the assertion that “God is dead,” or that He doesn’t exist at all, is indirectly (or albeit directly) a claim to have all knowledge based on the remedial findings of a carbon-based life form whose never been in space, or had the knowledge the best scientists know as of today. These types of atheists are putting themselves into an ontological state of being outside of space and time, and even more so, asserting to have all-knowledge that exists in the universe, basing their belief system on their epistemologically derived worldview. This is indeed a bold claim to make and lacking evidence to support it. Moreover, new atheists have changed their tune in the past few decades sidestepping into a binary claim that “there is no” (a truth statement) evidence for God/gods within the natural world or can it be proven empirically. This also is a bold claim within the realm of reality asserting that as of date, they have all-knowledge in their epistemologically derived worldview to confidently make this truth claim. Both are fallacious. Even more so, new atheism has made the haphazard attempt at fusing the two patterns of thought, atheist agnostic, or agnostic atheists, a term diametrically inconsistent with each other. Knowledge is a subset of belief and vice versa. One can’t make the claim to not believe in divine beings while at the same time claim to not know whether they exist or not. It’s just self-refuting semantical gymnastics.

So, who has the upper hand and what does this mean for atheists, whether they are new or old? The theist, etc. has the upper hand because they relinquish the task of having made the claim to have all-knowledge, relying not only on their holy books and philosophical positions, but also the testimony of religious followers since their particular religion commenced. For the atheist, the claim to have all-knowledge is a digression into a fallacy, and since they do not have this encompassing intellect that supersedes all things known and unknown in the universe, they are merely intellectually agnostic, and their worldview of a deity-less reality, etc. is a non-sequitur. They have no basis whatsoever for their claim and having to concede to this, they must by default admit their worldview is wholly agnostic, because they, simply put, don’t know whether God/gods exist or not. Wrapping up this long-winded debate, the atheist needs to look for another position that can coherently support their worldview, or simply, join the millions of Socratic agnostics throughout the world, and claim, “all I know, is that I know nothing.”