What is agnosticism?  


By BibleAsk Team


Agnosticism is the belief that the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities cannot be known with certainty. The word agnostic (Greek agnōstos): ”a” means “without” and “gnosis” means “knowledge.” The word agnosticism is equated with skepticism about religious questions and particularly with not accepting the Christian beliefs, as influenced with modern scientific thinking.  

Modern secular and atheist agnosticism may be originally credited to the Sophists and to Socrates in the 5th century BC (not the “Socrates” of Plato’s Republic), Sanjaya Belatthaputta (Indian philosopher), Protagoras (Greek philosopher), and the Nasadiya Sukta in the Rigveda. However, the most significant and direct source of ideas was the Scottish philosopher Hume in 18th AD.  

The term agnosticism was first coined in 1869 by T.H. Huxley (1825-1895), a British biologist and champion of the Darwinian theory of evolution. He used this word at a meeting of the Metaphysical Society in London and presented his philosophy, that rejected all claims of spiritual or mystical knowledge.  


When we contrast Agnosticism with Atheism, we find that the Atheist maintains that there is no God, whereas the Agnostic asserts only that he does not know. Theistic critics advocate that agnosticism is impossible in practice, since a person can live only either as if God did not exist, or as if God did exist.

Religious scholars like L. B. Brown criticized the misapplication of the word agnosticism, teaching that it has turned to be a most misused word in metaphysics. Brown asks the agnostics the question, “You claim that nothing can be known with certainty … how, then, can you be so sure?”

Christian polemicists and Friedrich Engels, the co-worker of Karl Marx, labeled T. H. Huxley a “shame-faced atheist,” because he adopted the term agnostic merely to avoid the atheist label. For though Huxley admitted that he does not know, in reality, he openly rejected many views about God.

Christian scholars like Blaise Pascal stressed that even if there were no evidence for God, agnostics should think of what is now known as Pascal’s Wager: the infinite expected value of acknowledging God is always greater than the finite expected value of not acknowledging his existence, and thus it is a safer “bet” to choose God.

Jesus – The Revelation of God’s Existence   

David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Søren Kierkegaard tried to persuade philosophers to stop their attempts to prove the existence of God, claiming it was impossible to acquire invincible evidence for the existence or non-existence of God.  

However, God gave mankind all the necessary evidence for His existence which is shown clearly in His creative works of nature in this world and in the Universe (Psalms 19:1), His revealed Word through His prophets (Ezekiel 39:7a), and ultimately in the life, death and resurrection of His Son, the Savior of mankind (Hebrews 1:2). 

Christ healed all sickness (Luke 5:15-26), fed thousands of people (Luke 9:12-17), had authority over nature (Luke 8:22-25), cast out demons (Luke 4:33-37), raised the dead (Luke 7:11-16), lived a sinless life (1 Peter 2:22), sacrificed His life for humanity (1 John 3:16). No other man on earth ever did such mighty works.

Also, the Son of God fulfilled all the Messianic prophecies that were given hundreds of years before His birth (Luke 24:26, 27, 44; John 5:39). There are over 270 Bible prophecies concerning Christ. All these prophecies were fulfilled in His life with amazing accuracy. Jesus would have had no control over many of them such as His birthplace or time of birth. The odds of one man accidentally fulfilling even just 16 of these are 1 in 10^45.

See: Is Jesus Christ the Messiah?

Finally, God glorified His name among men by resurrecting His Son from the dead (Matthew 27:53). All through His ministry, Jesus prophesied that He would die and be raised on the third day (Matthew 20:19; Mark 8:31). And after His resurrection, He appeared to many of His disciples, and they testified to that fact as well (Luke 24:13-47). Peacefully His disciples spread the good news of the gospel to all the world. 

Jesus left us His teachings. These earthshaking words (John 7:46; 14:10; Matthew 7:29) have divine power to change lives and transform people from sinners to saints. No other man in history had such influence upon the humanity. The Bible, which contains Christ’s teachings, continues to be the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book of all times.

Therefore, the claim that an agnostic doesn’t accept the truths of the Bible due to a lack of evidence, is not valid because the proofs are clearly there for all to see. Could it be because he simply has not given himself the opportunity to see it?  My Agnostic brother, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18) 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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