lanfear63 wrote:Has the view of all this shifted over the years though to where it is now.
A little bit. Language usage always shifts, though. In this case, as the term gained in popularity, and with new atheism, it has been clarified more.
"gnostic" used to refer only to a an individual who subscribes to gnosticism
(an ancient esoteric religious sect) as a noun; now it is also used as an adjective as a counter to agnostic (that may even be a more prevalent usage today).
"positive", "strong", or "explicit" are also used instead of "gnostic"; "weak" or "implicit" are also used instead of "agnostic"
The term 'agnostic' was coined by Huxley
in response to claims by theists that they were right because they just knew it due to spiritual gnosis (which means kind of direct and mystical connection to spiritual facts, also known as direct spiritual revelation, and sometimes referred to today as "the deep knowing")
He was trying to say that he did not subscribe to the existence or validity such means of "knowing", and instead needed evidence in order to believe something (with no particular claim as to his position on god- just that he didn't accept 'gnosis' as a valid source of knowledge/or believe in gnosis)
He was, however - and grudgingly - an atheist.
You can read more on Agnosticism on the Wiki particle (which echoes most of that we have said here) and on Huxley's position:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticis ... nry_Huxley
He considered Agnosticism to be a methodology, not a belief in itself.
Huxley wrote:I have never had the least sympathy with the a priori reasons against orthodoxy, and I have by nature and disposition the greatest possible antipathy to all the atheistic and infidel school. Nevertheless I know that I am, in spite of myself, exactly what the Christian would call, and, so far as I can see, is justified in calling, atheist and infidel.
He didn't like to be called an atheist, but he most certainly was- even by its own admission.
So, even from the moment of the coinage of the term "agnostic" it meant largely what it is used for today.
lanfear63 wrote:Is this the current consensus of all atheists, agnostics etc as to how it is defined?
Overwhelmingly, yes, it seems to be. Also, it's the correct usage as per its coinage, and as to its philosophical and logical meaning.
A small minority of people seem to be under the mistaken impression that it's possible to be an agnostic all by itself.
These people are widely regarded as being crazy people. Not knowing has nothing to do with belief.
I seem to recall years ago that if you asked someone what happens when you die and they say you would just rot in the ground then that alone would class them as an atheist without any further questions in a lot of peoples views.
That's inaccurate in a number of ways.
Not only do most atheists believe in an afterlife of some kind, but not all theists believe in an afterlife- some people believe in a god, and believe that human life ends with death (in particular, some traditional Jews believe this, since the Christians kind of invented the whole afterlife thing based on Greek mythology- but they are not alone).
lanfear63 wrote:So, the question is I would ask is can there ever be any true 100 percent pure atheists out there?
Not all atheists are skeptics, and not all atheists believe in science, logic, or anything else.
As I said before, most atheists believe in some kind of afterlife.
Some people are atheists on religious grounds, based on faith- and they believe they have 100% knowledge on that subject. This is, for example, one of the dogmas of Jainism in my understanding. True Buddhists are also atheists, with regards to the monotheistic god concept; some accept the existence of devas, which are similar to gods but which are flawed and limited, and mortal, like humans (that is, not gods by any commonly accepted definition in the West).
There is also solid logical foundation for rejecting with 100% certainty some
god concepts, as cufflink correctly pointed out.
You would have to investigate the philosophy more to really understand where some of those arguments are coming from.
As one example: We can reject 100% the literal
god of the bible, YHWH, because the bible says self-contradicting things about YHWH (which couldn't possibly be true).
A god that:
Wants everybody to be saved and doesn't wants some people to go to hell
who never gets angry, and gets angry all of the time. Whose anger is fleeting, and eternal.
Who can do anything, and can't do some things.
Who never authors confusion, and also authors confusion sometimes.
Who desires animal sacrifices, and doesn't desire animal sacrifices
Who is transparent to all, and opaque and mysterious to everybody
Who will be found by those who seek him, and won't be found by those who seek him
Who is infinitely forgiving, and forgives all sins, and who does not forgive sins
I could go on.
Now, not all people believe the bible is literal and perfect, and not all people even believe in the god of the bible.
That's just an example of ONE god that we can be sure doesn't exist.
If you change its properties to be logically consistent as far as we can tell, then it becomes at least apparently possible for it to exist (although in fact, it may or may not really be possible).
lanfear63 wrote:A person who just says nope, nothing out there, that's it, I'm an atheist could I supposed be called arrogant, single minded,, even ignorant for just denying anything just because he or she feels that way,
There are people who do that, yes. There was one on this forum a few weeks ago. I believe he left though, when we didn't all agree with him.
lanfear63 wrote:which to the opposite extreme is just as bad as a religious god fanatic taking an ancient manuscript as the undisputed truth entirely on faith and live base his or hers life on it!
Well, that's debatable. There are some differences there, some subtle, some not-so-subtle.