-30 votes

To Christians and atheists on the DP

The primary purpose of this article is to show that many people on the DP are using the same words in their arguments, but are thinking of different meanings when using them.

Clarifying what meanings are intended will help to make discussion more civil. If you aren't sure that someone is thinking of the same meaning as you are, asking them about their definition could prevent a lot of hostility.

The secondary purpose is to lay out reasoning that leads to one conclusion: Personal beliefs change only in the long-term, and are not likely to be strongly influenced by what most people have the time and space to say in a few comments.

As such, we should recognize that fighting in the comments does a lot of harm, while very little else changes. It is better to hold long discussions about beliefs over private messages or email.

    A few of the things that I address below:
  • Meanings for "Evidence"
  • Meanings for "Faith"
  • Meanings for "Proof"
  • Meanings for "Science"
  • Illustration: Explanation of my beliefs
  • Requests that I make of the members of DP


Evidence

The moment the word "evidence" is mentioned, a big problem can occur. That's because there isn't one meaning of "evidence" that everyone uses.

Colloquially, people say "evidence" and mean "anything that leads a person to think that something is true", which includes things like feelings, personal experiences, and so on - which is how many theists often use it.

Some people also colloquially mean "scientific proof" - which is how many atheists often use it.

Formally, "evidence" means a proposition that has been demonstrated to be right. That is, it isn't reliant on consensus by the community of academic researchers, but it also isn't simply up to one's personal feelings or experiences. It has to be something that has been carefully scrutinized.

The difference between scientific evidence and colloquial evidence seems to be one of the reasons why there is so much fighting going on. Several people feel that only positive scientific proof constitutes a reason to believe something, while others feel that feelings, intuitions, and personal perceptions of events can constitute evidence.

It's beyond the scope of this letter to get into philosophy of science and philosophy of epistemology to show that no one has beliefs that are based solely on verifiable scientific facts, but I encourage all of you to look both subjects up on the internet. There are plenty of online encyclopedias of philosophy and theses written by great philosophers and theologians that are available for free.


Faith

It must also be understood that the colloquial meaning of evidence and the meaning of faith are not necessarily the same. This is another mistake that people make.

Faith has one definition, but can mean three things colloquially:

The definition: confidence (or belief) in the truth or rightness of some proposition or person's character

The colloquial meanings:

(1) adherence to a proposition as true in light of a great preponderance of evidence that is not necessarily conclusive

(2) adherence to a proposition as true despite there being no confirming scientific evidence

(3) adherence to a proposition as true due to colloquial evidence

When a person follows meaning #2 and adheres to a belief in the face of disconfirming scientific evidence, or to #3 in the face of disconfirming colloquial evidence they are given a clinical diagnosis.

That clinical diagnosis may be that the person has an "overvalued idea" - such as the belief that evolution is a set of scientific propositions that are lies pushed by public and private researchers in every discipline. This is demonstrably false (there is disconfirming evidence).

When the amount of disconfirming evidence is great and the adherence to a proposition is great, a diagnosis such as "delusional disorder" may be given. This applies to people who think that they are Jesus, Hitler, the Devil, and so on.


Proof

Some people also equate "evidence" with "proof". It's beyond the scope of my letter to get into philosophical discussion about topics like "degrees of certainty", but I'll address this quickly.

Though many people use the word "proof" in daily conversation, very few philosophers would ever say that there are universally agreed-upon conditions that, when met, would allow someone to say that they have "proven" something.

In other words, almost everything that people believe is always subject to being shown to be wrong in the future due to new developments - or can never be shown to be "objectively right" because we are limited by things like our reliance on inductive reasoning.

Some people use the word "proof" to mean "confident without a doubt" about something. But not leaving any room for doubt is a really foolish idea. We don't have to be certain without doubt in order to believe something - we can be more confident in our beliefs as we get more evidence for them, and less certain of them (or more certain of alternatives) as our supporting beliefs/evidential propositions fall apart or evidence for alternatives arises.

In fact, this is how humans operate. It's called the "web of beliefs".

On a side note, some people say "objective" colloquially to mean "something that no one can deny". Formally speaking, objectivity is impossible for reasons stated above (re: degrees of confidence and our limited ability to experience things in the universe).

What people should focus on are "inter-subjective" facts - things that everyone who has had roughly the same amount of in-depth experience (research, personal application, etc) agree on.


Science

Some people also get mixed up when speaking of "science".

Colloquially, people say "science" when they mean "generally the institutions that are regarded as scientific, and what the people in this institutions believe is true or is most important in determining what is true".

Others, when speaking colloquially, say "science" and mean "formal beliefs about what constitutes proper scientific processes" such as positivism.

Still others say "science" and mean "what most academics believe".

Formally, "science" means "the scientific method and disciplinary studies that employ it".

Science is not a thing that can be worshiped, just as atheism is not a belief about the world. Neither are a religion. A person who has dogmatic views about what science is or what atheists should do with their lives are simply dogmatists of their own intellectual or moral code.


Conclusion

Given all of the above noted possibilities of meaning, it makes little practical sense to say something like, "He is 'irrational' for having 'faith' when there is 'no evidence' for (or even 'evidence against') his belief." or "Only 'science' can provide 'objective' 'proof' about the things in our universe."

Rather, a good discussion must start with an agreement on the meaning of terms to be used.


My background

I am an atheist. More specifically, I identify as an agnostic atheist. I am also a philosopher, a psychologist, and a communication specialist - by saying which I mean that I have done academic research and presented professional work in all of those disciplines. I also was once a Christian and intended to be a minister. I studied with religious officials and scholars from several Christian denominations as I tried to find what I called "the true path to a moral and pious life".

I have also studied anthropology and world religions including Buddhism, Shintoism, Islam, and others.

I bring this up because I'm often asked "Why is this any of your business?". The answer is: I know the issues in great detail from personal experience, and want the conversations to be civil.


Illustration: Explanation of my beliefs

I believe that the universe has always been present in some form, that cosmological and biological evolution got the universe to this point, that there is no residual experience of life after the particles that compose one's body are separated, and that there only the material things exist.

Simply put, I am a naturalist and a materialist. I don't believe that spirits, ghosts, etc are words that reference things that actually exist - I think that they are words for things that people have created through storytelling.

However, other atheists may believe completely different things. They may believe in ghosts, reincarnation, a universal consciousness, and so on.

Being an atheist doesn't mean believing in some specific replacement belief, or that one doesn't believe in other specific things. If you tell me a ball is filled with mercury and I see no good reason to think that (and probably some reason to doubt it), it doesn't mean that I do or don't specifically believe that it is filled with sand, water, a combination of sand and water, lemonade, or nothing at all.

My views on these things are kind of like my views on having a roommate: I can't say that there is no possible way that I would find someone that I would like to room with, but I don't have sufficient reason to believe that there is someone - especially given what I know of my incompatibilities with the way other people like to live.

Said another way, I have a lot of "colloquial evidence" that suggests that I'm not likely to ever choose to have a roommate. I don't have "scientific proof" that I won't choose to have one under any circumstances, and I wouldn't claim to have it. I'm agnostic about the idea in the epistemological sense, but I really don't believe that it's going to happen.


Q&A and Requests

I'll end by answering two questions and making two requests.

Question #1: What would convince you to become a spiritualist - whether a deist, theist, or otherwise? (I get asked this all the time, either by people who are genuinely curious, or by people who are trying to make me say something stupid, like "There's nothing that could ever convince me.")

Answer: For me, it could only be a personal experience with something that I could not explain. Any retelling of the experience to people who can't relate would make me sound 'out of my mind', and I would be ascribed a mental disorder or something of the like by nonbelievers. This is similar to the answer given by Søren Aabye Kierkegaard.

Given that, I cannot look down upon anyone who says that they are a theist because of their personal experience.

Question #2: What caused you to become an atheist? (Also a big question, as some people really struggle with the idea that someone who is knowledgeable and was once very devout is now an atheist.)

Answer: Every core pillar of my theistic and deistic belief systems fell apart in the face of research and reflection. This includes historical texts, supernatural events, explanations of how the universe came to be and operates, divine revelation of moral laws, and - most importantly - the poor initial physical and intellectual conditions under which life originates [whether with reference to evolution or traditional creationism, and whether we're talking about the first human or a newborn].

In other words, a lot of evidence - colloquial and scientific - that many theistic and deistic claims and arguments are wrong (morally, logically, or factually) in the light of.

Request #1: Please post your responses to this article below, both so that I can edit in any oversights and so that this article can be read by others who have been caught up in arguments on these subjects.

Request #2: Please stop attacking each other in the comment sections of posts on the Daily Paul.

Those of you trying to convince others to change their beliefs aren't even going to be that successful by posting a handful of comments, anyway. Belief change is a long-term process that requires a lot of resources. It's one thing to correct a misconception about a single, simple idea (like what the word "atheist" means). It's another to try to get someone to change their whole worldview.


Thank you for your time.

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When someone posts a response to my comment - whether asking a question or making an argument - it's only sensible that I reply if there's something worth saying. And that's all that I have done, minus the short five posts that I made on top of each other during a time when there was a lot of posting and voting war going on - and that only applies to this thread.

I haven't attacked anyone's personal faith. I've responded to people who attack both Christians and atheists, and who make false statements about issues, by providing them with facts that are indisputable to anyone who is familiar with relevant scholarly work - and then point them in the direction of resources that they can use to learn about that work.

If you were actually concerned about my article being bumped, you wouldn't respond to it or comments in it.

Simply put, you are the troll, and that's now been exposed for everyone to see.

Thanks for revealing yourself.

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????

Don't try your psychological mumbo jumbo with me. You did "exactly" what I said you would do.
It is quite irrelevant whether I "bump" your thread or not - because you'll be bumping it for yourself - and then pretend you are only here to "help" people. LOL
Actually, you instead "force" yourself on others - like a true passive aggressive. I understand your motives as do others (20 down votes) - so continue making an idiot and a nuisance of yourself - others are aware.

Proof of my point

My laptop broke and I was away for over a week, and in that time this thread continued to be bumped by you and others.

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"you are the troll...."

Speaking of "insults being thrown about"

Have you ever heard of the pot calling the kettle black?

Freedom is my Worship Word!

He has been a troll

since joining.
It's as clear as day.

The fault actually lies with the moderators for repeatedly failing to recognize this type of trolling, and failing to ban the perpetrators.
And because of that, the members here are constantly subjected to every worthless freaking troll on planet Earth coming in here to taunt us, while we are trying to get important things accomplished.

This troll has been reported on the moderator thread more than once, and not even by me. Check it out.

Check it out

I'm absolutely happy for people to look, since there isn't a single such entry mentioning opposition to "JordanShaw" or "Jordan Shaw" going back even a few pages into the thread's history.

In fact, what you'll find is one post, written by me, on the fact that AE threads have been a problem. Related to that post, I had a personal conversation with Michael about the definition of spam on DP.

So, please, keep making stuff up and proving that you're a serial liar.

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"... you're a serial liar"

Speaking of name-calling, um, ahem.

Freedom is my Worship Word!

wolfe's picture

BigT is not a liar...

He has been here forever and is respected here. I may not always agree with him, but he is respected and on this we do agree... Here is a direct link to one of the comments... so that everyone here knows you are the liar and have inappropriately accused BigT.

http://www.dailypaul.com/mod-suggestion-box#comment-2378454

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

Posted last night

So there's one comment, that doesn't use my user ID, and was posted hours after I stopped posting yesterday. Not at all the same as the implication behind saying that I've been "reported more than once".

Also so nice of you to again misrepresent posts that you and I made in other threads, like this one: http://www.dailypaul.com/223159/you-cant-be-christian-and-li...

The two of you are in good company, given your persecution complexes, as evidenced in paranoid comments like this one: http://www.dailypaul.com/226479/evangelical-community-reachi...

A comment that would do you a lot of good to read, posted on an article by the guy who posted in the mod suggestion box: http://www.dailypaul.com/216159/how-to-spot-a-concern-troll#...

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wolfe's picture

ok...

So BigT, Jive, myself, and apparently others are all wrong about you?

You aren't being misrepresented. You revived that damn thread, every time I saw it die by saying "let this die".

Just like you revive this thread by "pacing" your responses to comments in it.

Your behavior is obvious. You are seeking attention. Why else restart a topic under your own name after "begging" to let the last one die.

Most of us that have been around here a while have found as many disagreements between us as agreements, but one thing can be said, we all know we are on the same side... It's hard to understand what side you are on when you come on here, let it be known that you are not libertarian, and continually post/bump this kind of crap?

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

The guy's a serial dork.

Let him go.

But maybe send him a handful of brochures! ;-)

Freedom is my Worship Word!

A fact-based case

It's really sad that there are so many people who will give your words credit just because you've been here longer.

But that's life, and it's worth it to me to fight at this point.

Yes, you are misrepresenting me, and what I've done. My posts in that thread by BurningSirius were always posted once someone else had bumped it somewhat recently, and once new comments that would restart the argument had pushed people's requests that it be left alone down the comment thread and onto or nearly onto the next page.

The only question that I have about you, wolfe, if whether you are purposely following me around, downvoting, and commenting on my replies because you dislike the fact that I'm an atheist who disagrees with your views (since you're an atheist with a different beliefs than mine), you are doing so because you and other long-standing members are so paranoid, or because you enjoy getting involved in arguments/riling people up.

Another post full of paranoia: http://www.dailypaul.com/226479/evangelical-community-reachi...

I don't pace my comments, and the only post that I actively sought attention for was my article on how Americans Elect was generally bad business, but might be worthwhile in specific cases - and that was only because no one had created a successful article that made the case. Once a successful one popped up, I stopped posting. Check the facts.

All of my articles on divisive/wedge issues have stated facts and provided relevant conclusions, with the exception of the article that focused on providing an account of one woman's experience with the new "abortion ban" laws.

That article also provided a brief argument for why supporters of limited government should be against those laws - and it linked to an article with more information. I moved and bumped the informative article because I expected it to actually be the article with more discussion. It hasn't gotten almost any attention, and I haven't bumped it.

In my other articles on wedge issues, I've always made the primary text center on the need for unity and understanding, and the supportive text has always been about bolstering that case with relevant stories.

I don't identify as libertarian, but I do identify as a supporter of limited government. If you're so dogmatic about others' adherence to your personal views, there's no way that you can be an honest libertarian.

All of the facts go against the claims that you've made about me.

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Thanks, wolfe.

We aren't wrong about it.
They always try to wiggle out of it when they get caught.
It allows them to extend their trolling time for before the inevitable ban finally comes.
Seen it a million times.
They are always playing the "victim", even as they continue to troll.

Research the Orgins of Government...

and you will find beyond any reasonable doubt that the story of buddy J was created by man for the control of men. God and the son of God comes from when people used to worship the sun. It's uncomfortable to come to terms with but it's just like all the evidence which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the pentagon was not hit by a 747 but rather a missle. Just because things are uncomfortable and upset a world view that you have held for most of your life does not make them less probable. I couldn't care less if people are spiritual or not. I only care that Religon's and State power are almost exclusively responsible for most of the mass murder thoughout history. In my view the best kind of religion is exactly like the best kind of government....a VERY VERY small one and with almost no influence.

It is obvious from your writing...

that you are an intelligent human being. I'll bet you carefully thought out and drafted your letter. You probably jotted down an outline of the things you wanted to say here, and then you wrote your paragraphs and then refined them so that they would say exactly what you wanted them to say. In other words you designed your letter using your mind to create it.

Now let's look at the entire universe and all that is in it. It is very complex, and each and every plant, animal, fish, human being, etc. is very complex and uniquely designed. Each living thing has capabilities for reproduction, nourishment, digestion, elimination of waste, and self preservation etc.

Doesn't it make sense to realize that there had to be someone, a creator, some form of intelligent design that layed out the universe and all that is in it? When I look around me and see all the wonders of nature and the complexities that are part of it, I know that there had to be a Creator who had a plan. For me that Creator is God. And man is made in His image and likeness.

If at all possible, I hope that you can someday watch a series of videos called "The Truth Project." After all, we must be Truth Seekers in all things, and if our viewpoints cannot stand up to challenges, then what good are they?

Minnesota Mary

"Intelligent design"

When you look at the Laws of Physics that came out of the Big Bang, it becomes clear that evolution is really the only intelligent way to design a Universe. ;-)

Freedom is my Worship Word!

Answering your question

"Doesn't it make sense to realize that there had to be someone, a creator, some form of intelligent design that layed out the universe and all that is in it?"

No. There are no facts that I have encountered which now lead me to such a "realization".

There are better explanations for the complexity of the universe and things within it - explanations that account for the structural problems, useless elements (like outmoded and/or useless organs, DNA, and foundational supports), and suffering that we have observed in both living and non-living things.

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Mysterious Ways

Perhaps you are not looking in the right places.

So...WHY is this guy in Federal Prison?

...instead of campaigning for the restoration of our Republic via a Ron Paul Presidency among professing evangelicals?

Probably because he is very REASONABLE and PERSUASIVE in making Christians THINK for themselves, rather than follow deceptive personalities, cults, idols, as well as counterfeit and substitute organized religions plagued with rituals to draw out, distract, and prey upon people's inherent eclectic tendencies that we were CREATED by a Supreme Being who desires only GOOD for His creation...

The PURE faith of our founders was rooted in reason, logic, argument, debate, wisdom, knowledge and understanding; not bread and circuses!!!

Watch how he presents himself, and ask yourself; what does he want of his audience? This guy was clearly a targeted THREAT, to whom???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR35R69wa-c

Atheists and agnostics DO NOT get railroaded as political prisoners...that's because they are easily manipulated by sold-out happy servants of Lucifer, and used as pied pipers for even more people who also are inherently bent on avoiding a look in the mirror and humbly admitting they were WRONG about something moral; such as God's existence, His binding natural laws upon ALL mankind, or the reasonableness of the FAITH argument that He created everything like He said he did.

Creation and conscience revelation DOES NOT lie! Those who do not believe are without excuse...since when is Ron Paul's Statesmanship also NOT ENOUGH evidence that God exists, and following/promoting His moral dictates in any free society BENEFICIAL?

Seriously folks! To get all excited about Ron Paul's Libertarian leanings, and act like the faith in God our founders had is totally irrelevant to the restoration of our nation's moral fabric is swallowing a camel!

Ron Paul is a man of faith who reverences a Creator, like the overwhelming majority our founders(and subsequent Statesmen who did right) did ... there is no secular Libertarian utopia where the moral compass of any American will be silenced or rooted out of our Rule of Law...minus God there is NO wisdom to be found; so forget all the fluff...evolution theory AND creation theory are BOTH religious theories - except on ONE of these theories is the tax-supported religion in our public schools that has rendered this nation unable to QUALIFY/DISQUALIFY a man to serve in public office; yet 97% of the voting public DEMANDS they be a "Christian" in order to get on the ballot!

Seriously; I've had enough of this "we can win our Republic back without the God-talk" - that's NOT how our founders approached their revolution when they threw off tyranny and the Bank of England...principalities and powers in HIGH PLACES...they literally succor men into doing EVIL when fallible man gives up on pursuing/listening to his Creator, and gives place to them!!!

Go to bat for this guy; because Alex Jones won't!!!

http://www.lewrockwell.com/sardi/sardi143.html

I agree

"No nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion - nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I, as Chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the sanction of my example." -Thomas Jefferson

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till." -J.R.R. Tolkien

Not a real quote

That quote was attributed to Jefferson long after he was dead, and no source for it has ever been produced. Supposedly, Ethan Allen is responsible for suggesting the quote.

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I got the quote from a book I have

Here is the source they gave:

Rev. Ethan Allen, "Washington Parish, Washington City," Handwritten history in possession of the Library of Congress, quoted in James Hutson, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (Washington DC: Library of Congress, 1998), 96.

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till." -J.R.R. Tolkien

WOW, just WOW

It is this kind of radical, narrow, preconceived prejudicial worldview and unsubstantiated claims that scare people of all camps away.

To everyone that has posted below, thank you for exercising empathy in the spirit of Liberty. Such display is a testament to how RP reaches out to the broadest range of people, out off all the presidential candidates, and brings us together as patriots and U.S. citizens.

yeah....

....those stupid founders who were influenced by John Locke....Gee, where's the TOLERANCE?

My faith is so antiquated now that it has faded into oblivion? Progressives, are we?

Pretty much

sums up my thoughts. We Christians should put on our dunce hats and go sit in the corner as the big boys talk. *eye roll*

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
Follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Burning_Sirius

Atheism is not a "lack of belief" - that would be agnosticism

Atheism is the active belief that there is no god.

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till." -J.R.R. Tolkien

You're not correct

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism

As noted in the second link, agnostic atheists are atheists who do not claim to know that there is no god (said the other way, they are agnostics who are also atheists).

As stated in the first link, atheism simply means not having a stated belief in a god. It's in the root of the word (a-theism, or not/without theism).

Those who identify as "purely agnostic" are a different sort. They claim to have no leaning toward belief or disbelief, as the question at hand is inaccessible to them due to their lack of information. Very few people seriously state this position while knowing what it means.

It is true that Huxley and Russell had originally used "agnostic" as a philosophically preferential word to define their stance as non-believers, but this was only because the well-known atheists at the time had all claimed to have, in Huxley's words, "solved the problem of existence". Russell wrote in 1947 that he would use "agnostic" in philosophical circles, and "atheist" in layman's conversations.

It's not 1947 anymore. Public representation of the words has changed and now aligns them more closely with their linguistic origins.

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wolfe's picture

Except you are still wrong...

Repeat that non-sense all you like, that doesn't make it true.

a·the·ism [ey-thee-iz-uhm]
noun
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

That is an active belief, not indifference. Notice the use of the words "doctrine" and "disbelief" (not lack of, but opposite of). Also notice that I site dictionary references which actually define words unlike the sporadic accuracy of Wikipedia.

ag·nos·tic [ag-nos-tik]
noun
1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable
2. a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study.
3. a person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic: Socrates was an agnostic on the subject of immortality.

This is the lack of a belief. You cannot believe that god doesn't exist, and that it is unknowable at the same time. It's a logical absurdity. It would be like saying there is such a thing as an "agnostic Christian".

For someone that wanted to let this wedge issue die, you sure have a funny way of showing it.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

Point of the article

This article was written to draw attention to the importance of understanding the meanings of words. The importance is clearly lost on you.

But I'll help you out this time.

Choose your dictionary reference. I have two.

dis·be·lief
   [dis-bi-leef]
noun
1. the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true.

dis·be·lieve
verb \-ˈlēv\
Definition of DISBELIEVE
transitive verb
1: to hold not worthy of belief
2: not believe
intransitive verb
: to withhold or reject belief

And breaking it down:

in·abil·i·ty
noun \ˌi-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē\
: lack of sufficient power, resources, or capacity

with·hold
verb \with-ˈhōld, with-\
with·heldwith·hold·ing
Definition of WITHHOLD
transitive verb
1: to hold back from action : check
2archaic : to keep in custody
3: to refrain from granting, giving, or allowing
4: to deduct (withholding tax) from income

Putting it all together:

ag·nos·tic [ag-nos-tik]
noun
1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable [pure theological agnosticism]
2. a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study. [pure epistemological agnosticism]
3. a person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic: Socrates was an agnostic on the subject of immortality. [pure generic agnosticism]

I'll just take a moment here to note that different dictionaries have different definitions because they are based on the bias of their writers and the information that those writers have access to, so your choice of dictionary automatically biases your presented information. For example, Merriam-Webster states "a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god", by which definition agnostic can simply mean "a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality is unknown". Wikipedia, however, is a community-based co-authored project that has statistically reduced bias. Moreover, a meaning based on the linguistic root of a word is always the most legitimate use of a word when public perception is closely aligned between two meanings.

a·the·ism [ey-thee-iz-uhm]
noun
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God. [gnostic atheism - refusal/transitive1]
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings. [agnostic atheism - inability/transitive2/intransitive]


So, no, I'm not wrong.

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Faith is not the absense of Scientific Evidence

I have faith that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west (i know technically the sun does not rise). I have faith that the oceans will rise and fall with the tides. I can not prove that these things will happen until they do, but my faith is based on mountains of evidence and empirical observation.

Faith is the extension and application of reason, principle or promise, that has previously deemed true or believable, into other areas of life and disciplines.