No probs, I did read that, except I also read that you thought that agnostic and atheism can be used together... perhaps in the way some atheists attempt to use it, which then defies the dictionary definition
Okay, I understand what you're objecting to now.
But if you consider the implications of what I said about the definition of atheism (as provided by you) you should realize that the definitions of atheist and agnostic are not mutually exclusive. An agnostic atheist is NOT someone who has no knowledge of their atheism. They are not agnostic with respect to their own atheism, which it seems is what you are trying to say. I agree, that is silly.
They are agnostic with respect to the issue that atheism is concerned with, namely the existence of a god
. An agnostic atheist is an atheist (someone who is not a theist) who is also under the impression that one cannot be certain about the existence of god.
To understand why, consider this:
Belief in something or lack of belief something is not the same thing as claiming to be certain of that thing.
If you are an agnostic (with respect to god), then you are not
under the belief that there is a god. You may or may not also not be under the belief that there is no god. This is irrelevant, because in either case, you lack belief in a god.
Therefore, by the very definition that you provide
, that would also make you an atheist.
Conversely, if you lack belief in god (atheist) but say that you know this with certainty, then you would not
be an agnostic atheist. You would be a gnostic
(gno(s) + tic = one who knows)
Obviously, in both these situations, one would be an atheist, since they do not claim to believe in god (lack of belief). However, there is a distinction to be made between these two conditions, and that distinction relates to whether or not one claims certainty about the existence of god
(not certainty about whether or not they believe in god).
In the same vein, there are also two categories of theism. One can be an agnostic theist (believe there is a god, but not claim to know for sure whether or not there is a god) or a gnostic theist (believe that there is a god and also claim that the existence of god is something that they are certain of).
I hope that clarifies what people are trying to convey by using these terms.