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Discussion 2 to Ask the Patriarch 86
I really don't understand your problem.

by JT

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There ain't no answer. There ain't going to be an answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer. Gertrude Stein


I really don't understand your problem.

There are millions of questions in this world for which we do not have answers. To all these questions, "I don't know" is a legitimate answer.

You seem to think that an absence of evidence is evidence of absence. It is not. It is only evidence of a lack of evidence.

You seem to think I am required to make a yes-or-no decision on the existence of deities. There is no such requirement. There is no need.

I neither believe nor disbelieve. I neither have faith in the existence of god nor do I have faith in the non-existence of god.

Agnostics do not deal in belief or faith on this issue. We are concerned with knowledge.

You seem to think that you can play with words in your various reformulations of the same question hoping to catch me in a contradiction. There is no contradiction in "I don't know."

(If you had been wise enough to ask me what subjective probability I give to the possibility of one or more gods rather than making it a yes-or-no / either-or / black-or-white issue, you would have gotten a different answer. But that has already been addressed several times on this site.)

You seem to think you don't have to provide evidence to back up your assertions. That is only true when you are convincing yourself. If you come to me suggesting that I join you in not believing, I have every right to insist, the same as I do with believers, "Prove it!"

The burden of proof is certainly upon believers when they assert the existence of their particular version of god - that is because they are making the claim. But when it is you making the claim, as you are in this case, then you assume the burden of proof.

Your refusal to admit the burden of proof is on you in this case is what is truly evasive.

Of course, I am not surprised that you are unable to provide clear and convincing evidence for the non-existence of gods. And I am not surprised that believers who attempt to change my mind are unable to provide clear and convincing evidence for the existence of gods.

After all, I am an agnostic.

And if you really do not understand the difference between agnosticism and atheism, here is my simplified view of the belief spectrum: