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Agnosticism   Listen

A religious orientation of doubt; a denial of ultimate knowledge of the existence of God.
The disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge.  Synonyms: scepticism, skepticism.

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"Agnosticism" Quotes from Famous Books

... but the moment that a man seriously tackled the subject, his religion was bound to go, just as that of Ernest Pontifex did at the end of five minutes' conversation with an atheistic shoemaker.[21] Agnosticism and materialism were in the air, and remained the dominant features for quite a number of years. There were those who deplored the loss of their faith such as it had been. Huxley obviously did; and Romanes, ...
— Science and Morals and Other Essays • Bertram Coghill Alan Windle

... cold seas of inchoate regret, of passionate agnosticism as to the world's meanings, if any, does one too often wake, and know not why! Henry, on some mornings, would wake humming (as the queer phrase goes) with prosperity, and spring, warm and alive, to welcome the new day. On other mornings it would be as if he shivered perplexed on the brink of a fathomless ...
— Mystery at Geneva - An Improbable Tale of Singular Happenings • Rose Macaulay

... experienced to cause him to declare, "I am in the garden of Gethsemane now, and my cup of bitterness is full and overflowing!" Only a superlatively good man, only a man of genuine piety, could use honestly such language as this. These words do not indicate unbelief or agnosticism. If ever a man in public life in these United States was removed the distance of the antipodes from the coldness and bleakness of agnosticism, that man was Abraham Lincoln. This confession of faith, incidentally made in a brief letter to a dear friend, is not only orthodox ...
— Our American Holidays: Lincoln's Birthday • Various

... the limitations of philosophy, Hume shows himself the spiritual child and continuator of the work of Locke, he appears no less plainly as the parent of Kant and as the protagonist of that more modern way of thinking, which has been called "agnosticism," from its profession of an incapacity to discover the indispensable conditions of either positive or negative knowledge, in many propositions, respecting which, not only the vulgar, but philosophers of the more sanguine sort, revel in ...
— Hume - (English Men of Letters Series) • T.H. Huxley

... his new-found opinions with all the fluency, vigor, and polish which made him so famous among the orators and talkers of the day. Bolingbroke's views were for that time distinctly heterodox, and, if logically developed, led to complete agnosticism. But he seems to have avoided a complete statement of his ideas to Pope, possibly for fear of shocking or frightening the sensitive little poet who still remained a professed Catholic. Pope, however, was very far ...
— The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems • Alexander Pope

... never fails of at least one moment of consummate realisation and enjoyment. Such a moment was granted to Matthew Arnold when he wrote A Summer Night. Whether that rather vague life-philosophy of his, that erection of a melancholy agnosticism plus asceticism into a creed, was anything more than a not ungraceful or undignified will-worship of Pride, we need not here argue out. But we have seen how faithfully the note of it rings through the verse of these years. And here it rings not only faithfully, ...
— Matthew Arnold • George Saintsbury

... English Church would appear to have become conscious of this, and is leaving the work of propagandism to vulgar and ignorant sects. There seems to be nothing offered the young Hindus graduated in the universities of India except a repulsive "Salvationism" on the one hand, and a cold Agnosticism on the other. I had conversed with a company of students at Madras, and found them hardly able to understand the interest with which I followed the processions of "idols" about the streets, such things being looked on by them much as a march of the Salvation Army might be regarded by ...
— The Arena - Volume 4, No. 23, October, 1891 • Various

... peculiarly opportune just now. For it lies at the bottom of the most pressing questions of the day. Of the two great problems that stare the Western world in the face at the present moment, both turn to it for solution. Agnosticism, the foreboding silence of those who think, socialism, communism, and nihilism, the petulant cry of those who do not, alike depend ultimately for the right to be upon the truth or the falsity ...
— The Soul of the Far East • Percival Lowell

... the complexion of Levite godliness was superadded by election to the deaconate in the Baptist Church, it will readily be seen that two young people, in whom the hard worldliness of wealth and easy conditions had not bred home agnosticism, were material for all the credulities of parent worship. Kate, a year older than Wesley, soon encountered the influences which gave the first shock to her faith and gradually tinctured her sentiments with a clearer insight into her father's character. Oddly enough, it was through the ...
— The Iron Game - A Tale of the War • Henry Francis Keenan

... said Emerson, whom he loved and admired, "for a man not to be always praying." The relations of such men with the unseen are an inseparable part of their daily lives. Froude had no more sympathy with the self-complacent "agnosticism" of modern thought than he had with Catholic authority or ecstatic revivalism. To fear God and to keep His commandments was with him the whole duty of man. The materialistic hypothesis he rejected as incredible, explaining nothing, meaning nothing, a presumptuous attempt to put ignorance ...
— The Life of Froude • Herbert Paul

... then necessary to drop one's daily agnosticism and attempt rerum cognoscere causas. If your aeroplane has a slight indisposition, a handy man may mend it. But, if it is seriously ill, it is all the more likely that some absent-minded old professor with ...
— What's Wrong With The World • G.K. Chesterton

... for the climate and the use the place would be put to. In vain we conjectured, and I hope not impertinently, the characters and tastes of the absentees; the sole clue that offered itself was a bookshelf of some Spanish versions from authors scientific and metaphysical to the verge of agnosticism. I would not swear to Huxley and Herbert Spencer among the English writers, but they were such as these, not in their entire bulk, but in extracts and special essays. I recall the slightly tilted row of the neat paper copies; and I wish I knew who it was liked to read them. The Spanish ...
— Familiar Spanish Travels • W. D. Howells

... over the name and attributes of the inconceivable. Huxley said he did not know, which was equivalent to the dogmatic assertion that he did; Gladstone said he did know, which was a confession of ignorance denser than that of agnosticism. ...
— Two Thousand Miles On An Automobile • Arthur Jerome Eddy

... conviction that one day her physical shame and torment would intensify her glory in Heaven—all this struck him as a revelation, before which the antics of spiritualists, and the foreknowledge of Brahmins, and the blank agnosticism of science paled ...
— My New Curate • P.A. Sheehan

... without a will could as little be bad as he could be good: he would be simply a being without a character. From an intellectual point such a way of looking at the Universe might be more intelligent or intelligible than that of pure Materialism or pure Agnosticism; but morally and religiously I don't know that, when its consequences are fully realized, it is any great improvement upon either of them.[1] {31} Moreover, even intellectually it fails to satisfy the demand which most reflecting people feel, that the world shall be regarded ...
— Philosophy and Religion - Six Lectures Delivered at Cambridge • Hastings Rashdall

... him to reflect upon the great historical reality which Christianity is, he had as yet but dim glimpses of it. He had given up his superficial unbelief, and yet did not believe in anything definite. He drifted into a sort of agnosticism compounded of mental indolence and discouragement. When he scrutinized his conscience to the depths, the most he could find was a belief in the existence of God and His providence—quite abstract ideas which he was incapable of enlivening. But whatever was the ...
— Saint Augustin • Louis Bertrand

Words linked to "Agnosticism" :   disbelief, skepticism, unbelief, religious orientation

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