Robert G. Ingersoll Robert G. Ingersoll , an Illinois lawyer and politician who evolved into a well-known and sought-after orator in 19th-century America, has been referred to as the "Great Agnostic". I do not deny.
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Robert G. Ingersoll Robert G. Ingersoll , an Illinois lawyer and politician who evolved into a well-known and sought-after orator in 19th-century America, has been referred to as the "Great Agnostic". I do not deny. I do not know—but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme—that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken—that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer—no power that worship can persuade or change—no power that cares for man.
I believe that with infinite arms Nature embraces the all—that there is no interference—no chance—that behind every event are the necessary and countless causes, and that beyond every event will be and must be the necessary and countless effects.
Is there a God? I do not know. Is man immortal? One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be. In the conclusion of the speech he simply sums up the agnostic position as:  We can be as honest as we are ignorant.
If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. In Ingersoll explained his comparative view of agnosticism and atheism as follows:  The Agnostic is an Atheist. The Atheist is an Agnostic. See also: Physical determinism Bernard Iddings Bell[ edit ] Canon Bernard Iddings Bell , a popular cultural commentator, Episcopal priest, and author, lauded the necessity of agnosticism in Beyond Agnosticism: A Book for Tired Mechanists, calling it the foundation of "all intelligent Christianity.
Firstly, it was fairly new, an innovation of the Western World, which Aristotle invented and Thomas Aquinas revived among the scientific community.
Secondly, the divorce of "pure" science from human experience, as manifested in American Industrialization , had completely altered the environment, often disfiguring it, so as to suggest its insufficiency to human needs.
Thirdly, because scientists were constantly producing more data—to the point where no single human could grasp it all at once—it followed that human intelligence was incapable of attaining a complete understanding of universe; therefore, to admit the mysteries of the unobserved universe was to be actually scientific. Bell believed that there were two other ways that humans could perceive and interact with the world.
Mystical experience was how one could "read" people and harmonize with them, being what we commonly call love. Without exercising all three, a person became "lopsided. However, humanism, like agnosticism, was also temporal, and would eventually lead to either scientific materialism or theism. He lays out the following thesis: Truth cannot be discovered by reasoning on the evidence of scientific data alone. Our ability to reason is not a way to discover Truth but rather a way to organize our knowledge and experiences somewhat sensibly.
They show us an undefinable reality that is nevertheless intimate and personal, and they reveal qualities lovelier and truer than detached facts can provide. To be religious, in the Christian sense, is to live for the Whole of Reality God rather than for a small part gods. Only by treating this Whole of Reality as a person—good and true and perfect—rather than an impersonal force, can we come closer to the Truth. An ultimate Person can be loved, but a cosmic force cannot.
A scientist can only discover peripheral truths, but a lover is able to get at the Truth. There are many reasons to believe in God but they are not sufficient for an agnostic to become a theist. It is not enough to believe in an ancient holy book, even though when it is accurately analyzed without bias, it proves to be more trustworthy and admirable than what we are taught in school. Neither is it enough to realize how probable it is that a personal God would have to show human beings how to live, considering they have so much trouble on their own.
Nor is it enough to believe for the reason that, throughout history, millions of people have arrived at this Wholeness of Reality only through religious experience. The aforementioned reasons may warm one toward religion, but they fall short of convincing.
However, if one presupposes that God is in fact a knowable, loving person, as an experiment, and then lives according that religion, he or she will suddenly come face to face with experiences previously unknown. It does not defy reason but exceeds it. Because God has been experienced through love, the orders of prayer, fellowship, and devotion now matter.
They empower one to be compassionate and humble, not small-minded or arrogant. No truth should be denied outright, but all should be questioned. Science reveals an ever-growing vision of our universe that should not be discounted due to bias toward older understandings.
Reason is to be trusted and cultivated. To believe in God is not to forego reason or to deny scientific facts, but to step into the unknown and discover the fullness of life. Some atheists criticize the use of the term agnosticism as functionally indistinguishable from atheism; this results in frequent criticisms of those who adopt the term as avoiding the atheist label.
Brown criticize the misuse of the word agnosticism, claiming that it has become one of the most misapplied terms in metaphysics. Brown raises the question, "You claim that nothing can be known with certainty The knowledge of God has always existed". The Council of the Vatican declares, "God, the beginning and end of all, can, by the natural light of human reason, be known with certainty from the works of creation". About himself, Dawkins continues, "I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden.
He states that "agnosticism about the existence of God belongs firmly in the temporary or TAP category. It is a scientific question; one day we may know the answer, and meanwhile we can say something pretty strong about the probability.
If the chosen definition is not coherent, the ignostic holds the noncognitivist view that the existence of a deity is meaningless or empirically untestable. Ayer , Theodore Drange , and other philosophers see both atheism and agnosticism as incompatible with ignosticism on the grounds that atheism and agnosticism accept "a deity exists" as a meaningful proposition that can be argued for or against.
HUXLEY AGNOSTICISM AND CHRISTIANITY PDF
Dei, xii. This principle may be stated in various ways, but they all amount to this: that it is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty. This is what Agnosticism asserts; and, in my opinion, it is all that is essential to Agnosticism. That which Agnostics deny and repudiate, as immoral, is the contrary doctrine, that there are propositions which men ought to believe, without logically satisfactory evidence; and that reprobation ought to attach to the profession of disbelief in such inadequately supported propositions. The justification of the Agnostic principle lies in the success which follows upon its application, whether in the field of natural, or in that of civil, history; and in the fact that, so far as these topics are concerned, no sane man thinks of denying its validity. But whether these things are knowable by any one else is exactly one of those matters which is beyond my knowledge, though I may have a tolerably strong opinion as to the probabilities of the case.
What is agnosticism?
Huxley describes how he came to originate the term "agnostic" as follows: When I reached intellectual maturity, and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; a Christian or a freethinker, I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until at last I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure that they had attained a certain "gnosis"--had more or less successfully solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. And, with Hume and Kant on my side, I could not think myself presumptuous in holding fast by that opinion So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of "agnostic".
Agnosticism and Thomas Henry Huxley
According to Brittanica. Typically and traditionally, the ecclesiastical Christian has insisted that absolute certainty about some minimum approved list of propositions concerning God and the general divine scheme of things was wholly necessary to salvation. Equally typically, according to the tradition, the Buddha sidestepped all such speculative questions. At best they could only distract attention from the urgent business of salvation—salvation, of course, in his own very different interpretation. While some people use it to express doubt or lack of conviction for their atheism i. Many have quarreled over which word to use and when.