You don’t get your throat cut in the name of Atheism

Smith on agnosticism

In Atheism: The Case Against God[2] George H. Smith argues that all agnosticism is a form of atheism (defined here as “lacking a belief in a deity”). His argument against agnostic theism is that it is contradictory to state that a being is inherently or currently unknowable, and yet positively assert a belief in its existence. His argument goes:”One cannot possibly know that something exists without some knowledge of what it is that exists.”If it is declared unknowable, the concept of “god” becomes meaningless. The agnostic theist’s statement of belief therefore becomes equivalent to “a blark exists.”This unspecified belief (“I believe in ‘something'”) is equivalent to nonbelief (“I am not convinced by any particular religious claim”). Therefore the so-called agnostic theist is in fact an atheist (by being unable to assert a positive belief in any specific deity).It ensues that all agnosticism is a form of atheism.If the agnostic theist still wishes to believe, he must ascribe attributes of some sort to the belief. However, they would then be claiming some knowledge of their deity and are therefore no longer agnostics but are theists instead.Smith concisely describes the paradox on pg 44:To posit the existence of something which, by its nature, cannot be known to man is to submerge oneself in hopeless contradictions. […] When one claims that something is unknowable, can one produce knowledge in support of this claim? If one cannot, one’s assertion is arbitrary and utterly without merit. If one can, one has accomplished the impossible: one has knowledge of the unknowable. […] The theist who is called upon to explain the content of his belief – and who then introduces the “unknowable” as a supposed characteristic of the concept itself – is saying, in effect: “I will explain the concept of god by pointing out that it cannot be explained.”Agnosticism is a double talk Victorian farce that dupes the lazy thinking gullible. It is a joke not a position.