Atheist, Gnostic, Theist, Agnostic
Too many times I have informed someone that I am an atheist, only to have them reply, “Oh, but how could you know that God doesn’t exist? You’re taking a faith position!” Many headaches later, we finally come to an agreement over the definitions of these words. This arrangement is an attempt to clarify and classify these words, so that their rogue meanings no longer confuse and muddle religious debate. To begin with, here are the four key terms arranged on a graph with their opposites across from them. This should allow a very rough placement of one’s theological position. Now here are the terms defined. The horizontal axis concerns WHAT YOU BELIEVE: The vertical axis concerns WHAT YOU THINK WE CAN KNOW: So, to restate: These four labels can be very useful in describing the way we feel about gods. An atheist agnostic is someone who does not believe in gods and also thinks that the existence of gods cannot be known. The absolute central position is one of apathy or indifference.
Related: Ateismo e religioni comparate