The term agnostic is usually referred to someone who is unsure about the existence of gods/goddesses or something like that. I think that it could easily be applied to being uncertain about any claim to knowledge.
My WordWeb dictionary has two noun definitions of “agnostic”.
1. Someone who is doubtful or noncommittal about something
2. A person who claims that they cannot have true knowledge about the existence of God (but does not deny that God might exist)
I fall under both categories given that I can’t claim 100% certain knowledge about everything that exists or not. Technically I can’t know that I don’t live in a Matrix where everything is all an illusion, but I dismiss this because there is nothing I could do about it if it was true.
I am what I like to call a practical atheist. When it comes to ideas such as the supernatural, spirits, gods, or an afterlife, there is not really anything I can do about these things even if they were true. I have countless reasons for thinking they don’t exist such as the fact that none of them can be clearly defined by the believers in them.
So when a pantheist says God is the universe, then fine, I believe God exists because it has been defined as the universe. However, this is not what a Christian, Jew, or Muslim means when they talk about God. They describe a person with thoughts, emotions, intentions, etc. What I think they are doing is just taking all their own thoughts, emotions, and intentions and combining them all into a blob named “God”.
I used to do the very same thing. I used to think: “I like ketchup so God must like ketchup. I am sad when babies are aborted so God must be the same.”. There came a day when I realized what I was doing. God was nothing more than a clone of my personality. I stopped believing in hell because I didn’t want anyone to burn forever so I figured that God must not be that way either. I was a universalist type of christian for awhile believing that everyone went to heaven after they died.
So what changed? I realized I had not one shred of proof for this. I could not convince anyone that my beliefs were true. Another problem is that I had another internal conflict that was going on. I became increasingly upset at the abortion situation and wondered why God didn’t just turn everyone pro-life, remove their reproductive organs, or just turn everyone asexual.
Of course by this time I already had dismissed the bible as a bunch of lies. I wanted to believe in a nice God instead of the one that demanded animal sacrifices and struck people dead for certain sins. It all sounded so crazy so I quit basing my beliefs on the bible and instead was entirely emotionally driven.
Perhaps I still am a slave to my emotions an what I want to believe, but I have come to understand that is what everyone is doing. What I mean is that we are all biased and have reasons for believing things based on what we believe the consequences are of believing those things.
Think about it this way, people who believe in Free Will do so because they WANT to believe they are in control of their own destiny and what happens to them. At the same time, people who believe in God WANT to believe they have an imaginary friend or heavenly father/mother that will take control over their lives and help them when they screw up.
There is no escape from our desires that compel us to believe or disbelieve certain things. I have come to see believe in God in much the same way as belief in Free Will. It may be a nice thought to believe there is someone to help you when none of the humans in your life care about you, but that does not make it true.
So could I be wrong? Could there be some type of personal guiding force or creator that people have been referring to as “God”? I suppose so, but until I meet this force I will think the concept is just something that mankind started believing to help them overcome their fears about death.
So I am agnostic about this but I use the label of atheist because belief in something is binary. You either live by it or you don’t. I will live this way until I am proven wrong or until I die.
I wasted the first 25 years of my life in christianity and I have come to hate the way it causes people to shut their brain off and just live in a state of perpetual drunkenness. I think of religion as a sort of drug that makes people feel happier but later causes them great pain.