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Overview

agnostic

Subject: Law

A person who believes that nothing certain can be known about the existence of God or anything else beyond the material, and may therefore prefer to make an affirmation rather than an ...

agnosticism

agnosticism   Quick reference

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Religion
Length:
17 words

... . As commonly understood, the view that we cannot know whether there is a God or...

agnosticism

agnosticism   Reference library

David Nash

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2022
Subject:
Religion
Length:
214 words

...Nash H. Spencer , First Principles (1862). L. Stephen , An Agnostic’s Apology and other Essays (1893). J. Ward , Naturalism and Agnosticism ( Gifford Lectures for 1896–8; 2 vols, 1899; 2nd edn, 1903). R. Flint , Agnosticism (New York, 1903). R. A. Armstrong , Agnosticism and Theism in the Nineteenth Century (Boston, 1905). J. [A.] Passmore , A Hundred Years of Philosophy (London, 1957; 2nd edn, 1966), chs 1–2. B. Lightman , The Origins of Agnosticism: Victorian Unbelief and the Limits of Knowledge (Baltimore,...

agnosticism

agnosticism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Philosophy (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
27 words

... The view that some proposition is not known, and perhaps cannot be known to be true or false. The term is particularly applied to theological...

agnosticism

agnosticism n.   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Psychology (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... n. A belief that nothing is or can be known about God. More loosely, a belief that the existence of God cannot be known with certainty, but this sense is avoided in careful usage. agnostic adj. n. (Of or pertaining to) one who espouses agnosticism. Compare atheism , deism , pantheism , theism . [Coined in 1869 by the English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley ( 1825–95 ), from Greek a - without + gnostos known + - ismos indicating a state or...

agnosticism

agnosticism   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011
Subject:
Literature, Classical studies
Length:
161 words

... The view that it is impossible to have knowledge of the existence, or non-existence, of gods. In the ancient world it is not easy to distinguish between agnostic and atheistic views. The Greeks had no word for agnostic and did not make fine distinctions in the matter: those who disbelieved in the gods who were usually worshipped and believed in were liable to be called atheists ( athēoi ). From the sixth century bc onwards philosophers, especially those with views on cosmological matters which seemed to indicate disbelief in the traditional gods,...

agnosticism

agnosticism   Reference library

The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
2,259 words

...about agnosticism, Watts began publishing the Agnostic Annual in 1884 , and a new monthly entitled the Agnostic a year later. Watts's ally, William Stewart Ross , followed his lead and pushed dissident secularism towards the new agnosticism. In January 1885 he gave the Secular Review a new subtitle, A Journal of Agnosticism , and then four years later renamed it the Agnostic and Secular Review . Watts and Ross were aided by Richard Bithell , Frederick James Gould and Samuel Laing , all of whom wrote books and essays on agnosticism, many of...

Agnosticism

Agnosticism   Quick reference

A Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Religion
Length:
70 words

... A term coined by T. H Huxley . to denote that attitude which, unlike theism (conviction that God exists) and atheism (conviction that God does not exist), maintains that it cannot be known whether or not God exists. Judaism, as a monotheistic religion, obviously rejects the agnostic attitude as it does that of atheism. This is not to say, however, that there are no unexplored areas in matters of belief...

agnosticism

agnosticism   Quick reference

World Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Encyclopedias
Length:
54 words

... Philosophical viewpoint according to which it is impossible either to demonstrate or refute the existence of a supreme being or ultimate cause on the basis of available evidence. It was particularly associated with the rationalism of Thomas Huxley and is used as a reasoned basis for the rejection of both Christianity and atheism...

Agnosticism

Agnosticism   Reference library

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Religion
Length:
126 words

... (Gk., a + gnōstos , ‘not know’). A position distinguished from theism and atheism equally, by its view that neither in principle nor in fact is it possible to know God's nature or even whether he exists. In its broadest sense, agnosticism is compatible with deep religious commitment, as in the case of Nicholas of Cusa or of Henry Mansel ( 1820–71 ); in its narrower and more specific sense, however, it normally implies a certain detachment in matters religious. The term itself was coined by T. H. Huxley ( 1825–95 ), who defined its basic...

AGNOSTICISM

AGNOSTICISM   Reference library

The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011
Subject:
Religion
Length:
256 words

... . As originally formulated in the nineteenth century by T. H. Huxley, agnosticism designated an attitude of suspended judgment, particularly in religious matters. In this sense, it meshed in only limited ways with classical Jewish tradition, which generally treated the existence of God as unnecessary of proof. The problem of evil and suffering might lead to anguish about God’s justice (as in the Book of Job ) but not usually to doubts regarding his existence and power. Agnostic tendencies, denying the possibility of metaphysical knowledge, did exist...

agnosticism

agnosticism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
352 words

... 2. The term is also used in a second sense to indicate a general attitude of indecision. In this sense, agnosticism can refer to a lack of commitment or conviction directed towards any topic, not only existential and metaphysical questions. This form of agnosticism is sometimes called ‘weak agnosticism’ and, contrasted with ‘strong agnosticism’, used to indicate the sceptical form. See also agnostic...

agnosticism, atheism

agnosticism, atheism   Reference library

Oxford Reader's Companion to Trollope

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011
Subject:
Literature, Literary studies (19th century)
Length:
203 words

..., atheism . For a devout believer like Trollope , these were alien concepts. When the Fortnightly Review was founded ( 1865 ), he wanted to exclude from the pages of this expressly liberal periodical any material that called into question the basis of the Christian faith; and when he interviewed the intellectual John *Morley for the editorship, he challenged his agnosticism outright. In Orley Farm Trollope mounts a ferocious attack on the atheistic hedonism of the commercial traveller Mr Moulder and his friends, ‘pigs out of the sty of...

methodological agnosticism

methodological agnosticism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
76 words

...methodological agnosticism A device used by empirical researchers, especially in sociology and other human sciences, which suspends metaphysical questions by treating all metaphysical positions as equally possible. Methodological agnosticism aims to redress a perceived bias in methodological atheism towards naturalist explanations. It also resonates with new anthropological approaches which investigate the role of God(s) and supernatural agents as relatively autonomous actors in individual and social life, without seeking to determine the ultimate reality...

atheism and agnosticism

atheism and agnosticism   Reference library

George I. Mavrodes

The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
201 words

...and agnosticism . Atheism is ostensibly the doctrine that there is no God. Some atheists support this claim by arguments. But these arguments are usually directed against the Christian concept of God, and are largely irrelevant to other possible gods. Thus much Western atheism may be better understood as the doctrine that the Christian God does not exist. Agnosticism may be strictly personal and confessional—‘I have no firm belief about God’—or it may be the more ambitious claim that no one ought to have a positive belief for or against the divine...

Atheism and Agnosticism

Atheism and Agnosticism   Reference library

Stephen Wagley

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
3,598 words
Illustration(s):
1

...reason. T. H. Huxley coined the word “agnosticism” (from Acts 17:23, in which Paul preaches at the altar dedicated “To an unknown god”) in 1869 for the notion that reason cannot deal with the question of God. Agnostics were offended by what they took to be the illogicalities of Christian teaching, the narrow-mindedness of Christian authority, and the immorality of much Christian behavior, but suspended judgment about the truth claims of religion. Both the defenders of religion and atheists found the agnostic position wanting, a fence-sitting that...

agnosticism

agnosticism  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Religion
The view that some proposition is not known, and perhaps cannot be known to be true or false. The term is particularly applied to theological doctrines.
Agnostic

Agnostic   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

... (Greek a -, ‘not’, and gnostic , ‘knowing’) A term coined by T.H. Huxley in 1869 (with allusion to St paul ’s mention of an altar ‘To the Unknown God’ in Acts 17:23 ) to denote a person who holds that knowledge of a Supreme Being is impossible. An atheist denies the existence of God. An agnostic says that it is impossible to know whether God exists or not. See also gnostics ; theist...

agnostic

agnostic   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2021
Subject:
Language reference, History of English
Length:
89 words

...agnostic [M19th] This word was coined by the Victorian biologist Thomas Huxley (1825–95) to describe his own beliefs: he did not believe in God but did not think one could say for sure that God did not exist. Before Huxley devised agnostic there was no word for such a religious position. He is said to have first used it in 1869 at a party held in Clapham, London, prior to the formation of the Metaphysical Society. Huxley formed the word from the Greek a - ‘not’ and gnostos ...

agnostic

agnostic   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
91 words

...agnostic Of or pertaining to strong or weak agnosticism . The term can be used to identify a person or group espousing strong agnostic beliefs, as well as those who are undecided or uncommitted to any theory or belief pertaining to God(s) or higher powers (i.e. weak agnosticism)—what G. B. Shaw referred to as the ‘Don’t Knowists’. Because the weak notion of agnosticism is used colloquially not only in reference to religious and/or theistic claims, the adjectival form can also be used to identify an attitude of indecision towards any...

agnostic

agnostic   Reference library

Australian Law Dictionary (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Law
Length:
34 words

...agnostic A person who believes that nothing certain can be known about the existence of God or anything else beyond the material, and may therefore prefer to make an affirmation rather than an oath ....

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