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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 724)...

    In response to the question and answer #538, you stated that you are not agnostic because you are not stating that you don't KNOW if God exists, but that the knowledge is unobtainable. I find this difficult to follow. If the knowledge is unobtainable (which is what I know) then does that not imply that you don't know if God exists (I don't)? The reason I don't know God exists is BECAUSE the knowledge is unobtainable, and that, from what I've been taught, makes me agnostic. Please help me with this!

    ...and the response:

    If you ask a mathematician if he knows how to draw a map that needs more than four colors (so that adjacent territories do not share a color), he won't say, "I don't know--I'm an agnostic on the question." Rather, he'll say, "That knowledge is unobtainable. It's impossible to draw such a map." It's true that he doesn't know how to draw such a map, but he won't see the matter in terms of what he DOESN'T know but rather what he DOES know. In the same way, on the question of God's existence, I don't see the matter in terms of what I DON'T know but rather in terms of what I DO know--that the existence of God is undeterminable. My dictionary defines agnosticism as a belief; for me, it's not a matter of belief. Another example may help clarify the difference: On the question of whether there are other intelligent races in the universe, it would be plausible to describe me as an agnostic: I simply don't know; this knowledge is theoretically obtainable (and may be obtained someday), but I myself don't have it.


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