|Amusing, but the spelling drives me nuts!|
Agnostic - 1 : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
Atheism - a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity
By its very nature the existence of some sort of god isn't knowable, unless of course said god one day decides to unequivocally show itself to the masses - maybe by calling a televised press conference (you can be sure that Fox News would be there). My belief here falls cleanly under the definition of agnostic.
But it's not that easy. While I don't believe anyone can say that there absolutely is no god, at the same time I've seen absolutely no evidence to lead me to believe that there is a god. I often hear the phrase "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". That's not quite true. A more accurate statement would be that "absence of evidence is not proof of absence" although that doesn't have near the fancy ring to it. It is absolutely evidence of absence. Given this evidence of absence I choose to believe that there is no god. Here I fall under the atheist definition.
So which am I? I have long considered myself to be agnostic, but not because it's a "safe way" of saying I don't believe in god, or because the word atheist "sounds evil and wrong and scary" as was suggested by Hemant. It's because I think the term agnostic best defines my beliefs.
My type of agnosticism has changed over the years. There was a time when I quite strongly believed that there was some sort of supreme, supernatural being that was responsible for everything, but I still didn't think it had any relation to the religions of the world or any of the holy books. At that time I would have been considered an Agnostic Theist (also known as a Weak Theist). I referred to myself as a deist or simply spiritual.
Gradually as I did more research in my journey for truth and knowledge, I began to lean farther away from believing in the supernatural. Now I would consider myself to be an Agnostic Atheist (also known as a Weak Atheist). I am fairly certain that there is no god, but I have no way of proving it, but I will live my life as if it has been proven.
One other item from Hemant's post: "no one says they’re agnostic about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. No one says they’re agnostic about Zeus or Thor. So why are they agnostic about “God”?"
I am atheist about the FSM because it is an admittedly made up thing. No one actually claimed that it was real so I have no problem classifying it as fiction. I am atheist about Roman and Greek mythology because the general consensus is that they were myths - that the people of the time made up stories to try to explain the world around them. Anything that is acknowledged to have been made up does not deserve to be given any credence as fact.
If you ask me about the current world religions, I would also respond that I am atheist about these. The holy books have been sufficiently discredited for my needs in order to dismiss them as utter fiction. But the fact that they are still believed by so many is enough to open a crack in my mind to the possibility of something supernatural that may have kick started these beliefs. Let's be clear though that this is a minuscule crack - enough to keep me in the agnostic category but not anywhere near big enough to have any effect whatsoever on my life.
In reading the comments to Hemant's post, I'm really surprised by the negative views on this. So many of the atheists view the agnostics as "not having balls" and so many of the agnostics view the atheists as arrogant. I'm happy to see that some understand that it's just semantics. It doesn't really matter what we label ourselves - we're all pretty much on the same page.