Do You Know?

When I was a Christian, the word “agnostic” was a bit of an enigma. It meant someone who was in-between; they weren’t a part of the church, but they weren’t entirely atheists either. Many Christians, and even many atheists, don’t really know how to regard agnostics and often label them as atheist or Christian – against them or with them – according to their own criteria or needs. With atheistic Satanism, agnostics are sometimes looked down on. There are many people who believe atheistic Satanism requires a disbelief in all supernatural, not just gods; since agnosticism requires the possibility of the existence of the supernatural, the two are not compatible. However, it is not entirely the case that atheistic Satanism requires a disbelief in all supernatural. Atheistic Satanists can be agnostic – it all depends on how comfortable they are with the phrase “I don’t know.”

Let’s look at the roots of the words “atheist” and “agnostic.” Both are derived from Greek words: “theos,” meaning “god,” and “gnostos,” meaning “to be known.” Both also share the Greek prefix “a-” meaning “without.” Therefore, an atheist is a person who does not believe in a god or gods, and an agnostic is a person whose belief is somewhat uncertain – regardless of their belief, they don’t know and can’t know what is truly the reality.

chart explaining how an atheist can be agnostic found on Reddit

It is entirely possible to be an atheist and agnostic at the same time; likewise, it is entirely possible to be a Christian and agnostic at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive. What it really boils down to is this: atheism describes what the belief (or disbelief) is, and agnosticism describes how sure one is of the belief. A gnostic atheist is an atheist who knows with absolute certainty that there is no god, this is the only life we get, and there are no such thing as ghosts or demons. An agnostic atheist knows the same thing, except they are also aware of how impossible it is to really know the reality of the universe.

I myself consider myself a skeptical believer in the supernatural and therefore an agnostic atheistic Satanist. When confronted with seemingly paranormal phenomenon, I look for more rational explanations than spirits or the stars. Coincidences exist, for sure, but sometimes events are related. Perhaps it’s just a remnant of my Christian background, but I like the idea of mysterious forces moving beyond the known world. A little bit of spookiness makes life all the more interesting.

Does that mean that anything and everything I can’t explain must by process of elimination be attributed to the supernatural? Of course not. To be an agnostic means being comfortable with not knowing. To me, the phrase “I don’t know” isn’t an admission of failure or some sort of deficit, it’s a mere statement of fact. I consider myself a skeptical believer because I can’t know for absolute certain that the supernatural can’t exist – I’ve also seen enough weird shit that could potentially have a supernatural cause, but might also have a perfectly natural cause. I don’t know what the reality is, and there’s no way I’ll ever really know. That’s what makes me agnostic.

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