What is the difference between Atheism and Agnosticism?
No, but the answer depends on if you want a one line definition or to fully understand the various viewpoints.
The a- and an- suffix mean "not" as in asexual (reproduces without sex) anhydrous (no water) etc. By this an atheist is someone who is not a theist. Generally atheists accept the possibility of god(s) but find it highly unlikely; I fall into that camp. Among atheists some make the distinction of strong and weak atheists. A weak atheist doesn't believe in god(s) while a strong atheist believes there is no god. Weak indicating lack of belief in god and the strong indicating a belief that there are no gods.
Agnosticism is a term coined by Thomas Huxley. Huxley noted that many people felt like they solved the mystery of the universe with the god explination or with a purely physical materialistic explination. He felt that ultimate truths are unknowable (such as the existance of God). Of course the inconsistancy is that if the ultimate truths are unknowable that this is an ultimate truth; therefore an agnostic can not believe in agnosticism. FWIW, I am also an agnostic. I believe that the ultimate truths are unknowable; we just do the best we can and go from there.
Popularly agnostic is used to describe someone who isn't sure of the existance of God and atheist is someone who denies the existance of god.
There were atheists long before the theory of evolution, before we knew the age of the world, and before we had good theories on the origin of the cosmos.
I've never met an atheist who quit believing in God because evolution or the Bib Bang theory made such sense to them. They quit believing based on a perceived weakness of religion rather than the strength of scientific explinations. The most common viewpoint among believers is dualism. They do not see science and religion as opposed to each other; they see them as answers to different questions. Only fundamentalists generally see their worldview challenged by scientific investigation.
Most atheists don't think they have all the answers, we are fine admitting that there are things we don't know. The fact that we don't understand things (like how life sprung from lifelessness, how the cosmos formed, etc) doesn't cause us to latch onto supernatural explinations though.
If it was proven that the cosmos didn't start with a big bang or that evolution doesn't work the way we thought it did it wouldn't cause me to turn to religion.
Actually gnosticism is a religious viewpoint that followers are saved by having certain knowledge that only they are privy to.
That would be Gnosticism with a capital G. Gnosticism with a lowercase G simply means "knowing." Most atheists would say that they're not 100% sure that God doesn't exist (Even the Great Richard Dawkins is only 99.9% sure), but most atheists would say that they're 100% sure that God exists.
Pfft, I'm always right.
I don't think Gnostics believed in being saved at all because they didn't believe in the Biblical God. They seemed to be more interested in knowing the ultimate truth, not going to heaven. I've read that some Gnostics believed the Biblical God was almost like a devil-like hindrance to us all. That was a very interesting idea.
Actually gnosticism is a religious viewpoint that followers are saved by having certain knowledge that only they are privy to. There were Gnostic Christians and their beliefs were quite interesting. When Constatine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire any Christian groups deemed heretical were wiped out, Gnostics being one of these groups.
From a neutral standpoint: Atheists believe there is no God. Agnostics believe the existence of God can be neither proven nor disproven.
From my standpoint: Agnostics believe that Theists AND Atheists are BOTH WRONG.
Oh, and the definition of 'Agnostic' that mentioned a 'lack of knowledge' ...it meant GLOBALLY, not personally.
One is not a valid non-religion.
Atheists are people who don't believe in God who (usually) base their lack of belief on scientific facts and evidence. Agnostics are people who are not knowledgeable about the existence of God. Agnosticism usually goes hand-in-hand with atheism, whereas gnosticism goes hand-in-hand with theism.
Atheist base their belief on Scientific theory which changes every 5 - 80 years and Agnostics base their beliefs on lack of knowledge. go ahead look it up.
I think its that Atheists believe, without a doubt, that there is no God and Agnostics aren't really sure and don't care much anyways.
Both are missing spirituality in their lives, they are generally very pathetic.