Unwarranted Certainty

I am agnostic about a variety of issues in life, not just the existence of God. I refuse to hold certainty about any claim that could be refuted by future evidence. This post is my response to content from a Facebook message I received which asked “Is Atheism a belief?”. I don’t think it is.

I think you are missing the distinction between the statements:

1) “I don’t believe there is a God”
2) “I believe there is not a God”

Those are two very different statements. Statement 1 is compatible with agnosticism. Statement 2 is not. Statement 1 asserts nothing about God. No belief for or against. Statement 2 positively asserts the nonexistence of God. It is definitively against.

Statement 2 represents a higher class of certainty that I am uncomfortable with and find counterproductive to clear thinking.

Other examples:

“I’ve never seen an Indian man working in my office building”
“There is not an Indian man working in my office building”

“I don’t have any reason to think I’ll get in a car accident tonight”
“I will not get in a car accident tonight”

“I don’t have a reason to think I’ll lose my job”
“I will never lose my job”

and back to our example

“I haven’t seen evidence for God”
“There is no God”

Do you see how all of the second statements show an unwarranted level of certainty about the future state of the evidence?