Insofar as theology depends upon revelation, can it possibly be agnostic? Kile Jones argues that an "agnostic theology" is not only not a contradiction in terms, but is an intellectually honest position that allows one to provide reasons for possible belief in God while simultaneously allowing reasons for possible nonbelief in God. Though our tools may be limited, this does not mean that they cannot grasp what is or is not actually there.
Contains two brief essential quotations from T. H. Huxley with commentary. Copyright © 1996.
"There has long been a trend among some strong atheists to savagely attack any who declare themselves to be agnostics, claiming that if you fail to assert that God exists (and to thereby become a theist), the only other option available is to declare that you lack a belief in any God or gods, and that this is one of the accepted definitions for atheism. I have long opposed such people by asserting this argument to be a fallacious form of bifurcation. Now, another carefully reasoned argument for the fallaciousness of this same argument has surfaced. This new argument is the subject of this brief essay."
Oppy defends "weak agnosticism," the view that "it is permissible for reasonable persons to suspend judgement on the question of God's existence." A major article with extensive notes.
Victorian Agnosticism by Glenn Everett and George P. Landow (Off Site)
The concluding paragraph says: "Twentieth-Century thinkers, especially existentialists, have used agnosticism as a jumping-off point for their own philosophies, and the imprecision with which the term is used these days is a measure of its success. Much of that success is due to Huxley's creation of the name. "Agnosticism" has a cachet which neither "rational nonbelief" nor an other phrase could approximate." The article suggests that Huxley invented Agnosticism while at Cambridge in the 1840s but no documentation of this contention was included.
Originally published in Free Inquiry, Summer, 1981.
The Huxley File web site contains electronic reprints of the works of T. H. Huxley, who first coined the word agnostic. The three main articles about agnosticism are "Agnosticism," "Agnosticism: A Rejoinder," and "Agnosticism and Christianity," all published in The Nineteenth Century in 1889.
Evangelical Agnosticism (1985) by Bill Young
Originally published in Free Inquiry, Summer, 1985.
The Origin of the Word 'Agnostic' (1999) by Bill Young
Written for Internet Infidels to help clear up conflicting statements about when the word agnostic was invented.
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