Types of agnosticism

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T. H. Huxley at the age of 32. Huxley coined the word "agnostic".

Below are definitions of the various types of agnosticism.

Weak and strong agnosticism

See also: Atheism and agnosticism and Antitheism and Denials that atheists exist

The proponent of the weaker form of agnosticism does not make a claim to knowledge about existence, but he simply suspends from making a decision. A suspension of decision, in terms of logic, does not have a truth value, and therefore they are not making an argument. The proponent of the stronger form goes a step further and makes a claim to knowledge by saying, I know that the existence of God cannot be known.

Limited agnosticism vs. unlimited agnosticism

The Christian apologist Norman Geisler makes a distinction between limited agnosticism and unlimited agnosticism.[1]

According to the website All About Philosophy:

Two other types with respect to the ability to know God are limited and unlimited agnosticism. Limited agnosticism holds that God is partially unknowable. It is possible to know some things, but not everything, about God. Unlimited agnosticism, however, claims that God is completely unknowable. It says that it is impossible to know anything about God.[2]

Norman Geisler on unlimited/complete agnosticism

See also: Agnosticism quotes

Christian apologist Norman Geisler wrote on complete agnosticism:

Complete agnosticism is self-defeating; it reduces to the self-destructing assertion that "one knows enough about reality in order to affirm that nothing can be known about reality." This statement provides within itself all that is necessary to falsify itself. For if one knows something about reality, then he surely cannot affirm in the same breath that all of reality is unknowable. And of course if one knows nothing whatsoever about reality, then he has no basis whatsoever for making a statement about reality. It will not suffice to say that his knowledge about reality is purely and completely negative, that is, a knowledge of what one cannot meaningfully affirm that something is not – that it follows that total agnosticism is self-defeating because it assumes some knowledge about reality in order to deny any knowledge of reality (Geisler, Apologetics, p. 20).[3]

Apathetic agnosticism

See also: Apatheism and Atheism and apathy

Apathetic agnosticism is not knowing if God/gods exists exist and not caring if God/gods exist.

Agnostic theism vs. agnostic atheism

Further division lies with in two kinds of agnosticism: agnostic theism and agnostic atheism.

Agnostic theists believe in a God/gods, but do not claim to know there is a god.

Agnostic atheists indicate that they do not believe in a God/gods, but do not claim to know there is not a God/gods.

Agnostic beliefs

See also: Agnostic beliefs

See also


  1. Christian Apologetics By Norman L. Geisler, 2013
  2. Agnosticism, AllaboutPhilosophy.com
  3. http://www.greatcom.org/resources/secular_religions/ch01/default.htm