Although it is a common mistake for religious people to confuse the views of atheism with those of agnosticism, said Ohio University sophomore Jordan Cooper, he claims the only real similarity is that "they both start with the letter ‘A’."
Cooper is an agnostic and said that the confusion between the two views is usually the result of apathy or a lack of understanding on the part of others.
OU senior Brenton Withers, who was raised atheist, agreed.
"I think a lot of people…think atheists and agnostics are just people who have lost their faith or never found out (about it) in the first place," he said.
In reality, agnostics can sometimes be defined as religious individuals who base their beliefs on faith rather than concrete knowledge, said George Weckman, an associate professor in the department of Classics and World Religions at OU.
"There are people who say all religions involve agnosticism," Weckman said. "You can be agnostic as a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Christian because you’re saying it’s a matter of faith and not knowledge."
Religious people who are not agnostic, Weckman said, are individuals who believe their religious views are based solely on fact. [Source]
This is a pretty strange definition for agnoticism and is more accurately a redefinition. Dictionary.com gives the definition as:
- a. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
b. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
- .One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.
This definition tries to make the faith and reason as one or the other. That on one side there are those who have blind faith that there is a God and on the other side are those who based their belief on concrete knowledge. Also be this definition there could only be atheists and agnostics since many articles of faith such as the Trinity can not be proven and rely on God’s revelation to us. And then comes a redefinition for atheism:
Weckman also said that there are two different ways to define atheism.
"One is to be against the idea that there is a god; the other is to be against religion. Those may or may not be the same," he said.
So now the claim is that those who are deist but don’t accept organized religion are in fact atheists.