Esoteric Encyclopedia

Esoteric Encyclopedia Entry of the Week: Agnosticism

“I know one thing: that I know nothing” – Socrates

The term “agnostic” was coined by an English biologist named Thomas Henry Huxley in 1869, and is defined as the point of view that the truth of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown or unknowable. While a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, the agnostic neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity (or deities).

Although Huxley coined the term, early thinkers have written works that promoted agnostic points of view – including Sanjaya Belatthaputta, a 5th-century BCE Indian philosopher who expressed agnosticism about any afterlife, Protagoras, a 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher was agnostic about the gods. The Nasadiya Sukta in the Rigveda is agnostic about the origin of the universe.

Famous modern-day agnostics include Edward Snowden, Brad Pitt, Ridley Scott, and Howard Stern.

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