6 Varieties of the Agnostic Experience
Few spiritual labels know such ambiguity. Now for some clarity.
February 27, 2012 - 2:30 pm
The Huffington Post reported last week that New Atheist firebrand Richard Dawkins conceded that God might exist:
In a 100-minute debate with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Richard Dawkins surprised his online and theater audiences by conceding a personal chink of doubt about his conviction that there is no such thing as a creator.
But, to the amusement of the archbishop and others, the evolutionary biologist swiftly added that he was “6.9 out of seven” certain of his long-standing atheist beliefs.
Replying to moderator Anthony Kenny, a noted English philosopher, Dawkins said, “I think the probability of a supernatural creator existing (is) very, very low.”
So we can call Dawkins an “agnostic-atheist” now. Among the varieties of the agnostic experience this one’s the worst — the opposite of my agnostic theism:
1. Agnostic-Atheist-Materialist-Scientist: “God probably doesn’t exist but I won’t say so absolutely because that would reveal that I’m as dogmatic as the Jesus Freaks I live to mock and that I’m using science as a rhetorical device to dupe people into respecting my materialist theology.”
Agnostic-atheism’s logical conclusion? Nihilism. If there’s no God and no afterlife and if eventually all evidence of humanity’s existence disappears when the sun transforms into a red giant engulfing the first four planets of the solar system… then nothing matters. You can lie, defraud, abuse, and intimidate whomever you want — we’re all just space dust anyway. That’s where we came from billions of years ago and that’s where we’re all going to end up again. So I can be an evil person.
For the Agnostic-Atheist no power exists greater than his own intellect. Morality and ethics are well and good for the common, stupid man but meaningless in the long run. He’s more advanced than every believer throughout history. Thus, the agnostic-atheist has no check on his own innate arrogance. He is God.
The next degree of agnostic-atheism improves somewhat but still generates more smoke than light.