Good point. I remember telling my wife, when I was right in the middle of my de-conversion, that I'm not struggling to decide whether or not I want to do what God wants me to do, I'm struggling with his existance at all. Which is funny. If god is real it should be so clear and obvious. I mean why hide? He should come down and chat with me, or call out with a booming voice in the sky all the time. The only decision I should have to make here is whether or not I want to do what he says to do. Instead I am trying to tell the difference between the invisible and the non-exisitant. Which we know look identical and are generally the exact same thing.
Probably not = Atheist too. Becuase it's a supernatural claim, no one can say definitly not with 100% certainty. There's just not enough evidence for that, just as there is no evidence for his existence. But with 99.99% certainty you can say there's no reason to beleive a god exists or god probably doesn't exist. You're not agnostic in that case, your a normal atheist.
Actually, a person's level of agnosticism refers to that person's willingness to accept the extent to which we can know anything. Theists and atheists have 'made up their minds'- so to speak. I'm agnostic about many things but entirely atheist. I say this because, while I don't claim to know what is actually going on with the big picture; I am virtually certain it is not 'god' - especially when that god is defined with any of the following aspects, attributes, or characteristics:
1. Separate and or transcendent from 'everything else'
2. Created 'everything else'
3. Has a 'Master Plan'
4. Is all powerful
5. Made 'everything else' all about humanity
6. Can be petitioned for changes in the 'Master Plan' by individual or groups via prayer
7. Takes sides
8. While being the all-powerful creator; is not responsible for everything that happens
9. Is granularly aware of the specific details of every event that occurs no matter how large or small in the grander 'scheme'
10. Has been clearly described in an ancient, unwavering text written by him through human ghost writers
I hear you Howard. I just think that, in response to Ian's comments, you don't have to come to a "definitely not" position of absolutes in order to qualify as an atheist. In fact, even Richard Dawkins takes the 99.99% approach when it comes to certainty about the existence of anything supernatural- since it’s not falsifiable. But 99.99% certainty is good enough to make a well informed decision and feel confident about it, without having to be 100% certain.
It all boils down to the credible evidence or proof that a god exists. For me, there is none. Although I have no evidence or proof that there isn't one either, it's not my burden to prove the negative. It's the ones making the extraordinary claims that need to come up with the extraordinary evidence.
I am really an a-belief-ist on top of being an atheist. I lack the "faith" that is required to believe anything in which there is no proof.
It is quite obvious that people are making it up as they go, has nothing to do with their religious docturen. The big issue is they don't even realize it.
It was said best with:
"I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows."
Susan B. Anthony
I usually extend that to someone who claims to know the true interpretation of the bible, or as I would put it:
"Show me someone who know the true interpretation of the bible, and I will show you someone whom believing in the bible suits them perfect."