ThinkingI can understand why a person would choose to be agnostic. I myself was agnostic for many years. I would have called myself an atheist, though in reality I was in fact agnostic.

Though I've written on agnosticism before and in particular whether the "we cannot know anything about God" hypothesis is a good one, but I wanted to make an observation re agnosticism that I've been thinking about recently. This may not be a particularly well crafted argument as I've written it, but such is the nature of blog posts!

Agnosticism is, in my humble opinion, the least reasonable position with regards to God's existence (if having a lack of opinion can truly be called having a position, that is). Here I am referring to "closed" or "strong" agnosticism which is content to not believe nor disbelieve in God's existence, not actively seeking agnosticism.

First of all we can ask whether it is more important to a) Discover truth, or b) Avoid error. In my opinion it is more important to try to discover truth. The process of discovering truth may lead sometimes to error, while avoiding even searching for truth may avoid error but will never find truth. Often it is through making mistakes that we learn, so it would seem that making errors (while the error in itself may be negative) will often have a positive end result. As Adam Osborne supposedly said, "The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can't learn anything from being perfect." (Thank you!)

Now apply this reasoning to the agnosticism question. Note that in regards to God's existence, there are only two possible options: Either God exists or God does not exist. God cannot "kind of" exist. (I am here not referring to any particular conception of God, merely whether God of any kind exists or not.)

Here then is the situation regarding the God dilemma: The theist has a chance of being right and the atheist has a chance of being right. They will of course differ on their appraisal of the odds, but regardless, at least by taking a position they have a chance of being correct. The closed agnostic, however, has no chance of being right, because they take no position one way or the other. Therefore, since the strong agnostic has no chance of being correct, it seems to be a poor (lack of) position to uphold.

However, as I said earlier, I can understand why someone might have strongly held agnostic (lack of) beliefs. "Don't you think it's arrogant," the argument might go, "to think that YOU have the truth about God?" Thus sometimes strong agnosticism may be the result of the perceived modesty of the position. But agnosticism of the closed or strong variety turns out to be rather arrogant when it supposes that it is impossible for anyone to really know that God exists or what God is like. Is it really humble to suggest that no one, anywhere, at any time or any age or under any circumstances, has really got it right about God? Or is it more humble to say, "I've spent a lot of time thinking about this issue, and I may be wrong, but here's what I think."? I'd say the latter is more reasonable.

Please check out my previous post Is God unknowable? for further discussion on whether the claim that we cannot know anything about God is well founded.