One of the questions I am most often asked after revealing that I am a gnostic atheist (an individual who is relatively confident that he can state with certainty that there is no god), is how can I be a gnostic atheist?
It is rather easy to consider ways that one could be a gnostic theist. They could experience a moment where they feel they directly interact with God (ie: They hear or see him, or one of his angels) and someone could say that from this experience they can deduce that there IS a God. (Of course this person is presuming that their senses are absolutely reliable, even in that case, which may not always be the case. Our senses simply aren't always reliable.)
That being said, since I'm a human being the same as you and I don't have an infinite knowledge of the universe and our existence, how can I rule out the possibility of there being a God?
1. No knowledge is absolute. Knowledge is based upon what we have observed thus far.
As of right now we can not say with absolute certainty that any knowledge of the natural world is absolute. There are things that we can create that are simply a product of our mind (such as mathematics) where we can define laws in such a way that certain things are absolutely true, but within the field of science nothing can be said to be absolutely true.
One glaringly obvious case of this is where we believed for a long period of time it was commonly believed that the earth was flat. The thing was that up until that point that we determined the earth was NOT flat, each of our observances led us to believe that it was. Later as we were able to understand the world better we were able to then understand that the world was not flat.
Therefore I am saying that any knowledge we have now is not absolute, and is simply based upon what we know thus far.
2. I have not yet found a God I feel could feasibly exist.
There are a near limitless number of definitions for God and what he might be. However, for every God which I have had presented to me by a theist I have been unable to find a way for this God to exist in our universe, and I have not found any proof that any of these Gods do exist.
I can say that I believe that 100% of the Gods I know about cannot exist from what I know. Of course, there might be some God which is outside of my realm of understand, or I simply haven't thought of yet. Yes, there is a possibility that there is some type of God out there, but from what information I currently have about various Gods and their I can say I don't believe that any of them exist.
3. Therefore I am comfortable saying that I know there is no God.
Obviously this isn't an argument to convince others to not believe in God, because different people have experienced different things and might believe in a God for reasons I'm unaware of, but this is why I claim to be a gnostic atheist.
Questions? Anything I should clarify?
Your point number two refutes your entire position. If you admit there might be some god outside your realm of understanding, that makes you an ag-nostic. By definition, therefore, you are neither a gnostic nor an atheist.
Further, a precise subject requires a precise language. Such notions as "absolute truth" are virtually meaningless. It is indeed possible, on the other hand, to come to awareness of Objective Reality, referred to in scripture as "the Knowledge of Good and Evil", and by Gurdjieff as "the Knowledge of the True Events of the Past".
Nothing escapes Khem. That's why we must pay attention to what we say.
In this case Blade Swift says, "Of course, there might be some God which is outside of my realm of understand". . . then goes on to mention he/she is comfortable saying "I know there is no God".
What I'm saying though is that whenever we observe an occurrence and from what we observe we make deductions we realize that there might be some situation where what I learn from that situation might refute my stance.
I could drop a bouncy ball 10 feet from the floor a thousand times, and every time it could come up at least 3 feet from the ground in a particular set of conditions. However there is a possibility that one time whatever I observe might not be perfect in line with my preconceptions about that bouncy ball.
As of right now I've not yet been presented any hypothetical God which I think could exist, and since I've been able to reason away any well-defined God that I've been presented I feel safe to presume that I will be able to continue to do so in the future.
Perhaps there is some unusual God with some unusual set of properties I'm not prepared for. A God which could exist in the universe. However thus far in my experience I have no reason to think that is the case so I feel reasonable saying I know there's not a God.
That being said I also believe that we can't be absolutely sure of anything we know unless it's a product of our own mind where we define the rules, but within the field of science people still feel confident saying they know something if it has stood to test and trial repetitively thus far (even if in some unusual test down the road it might fail).
There are some things one cannot know or understand until one believes in them first.
If you don't believe you can be victorious, you probably can't.
If you've not yet been presented any hypothetical God which you think could exist, you probably won't.
This search is not an intellectual pursuit but rather a creative endeavour that requires that you first know who/what you are.
It is your belief in or about you that will open the way to this hypothetical God you think might not exist.
All the best finding people to present their hypothetical gods to you Blade.
Looking forward to future posts.
Well first I'm talking about knowing whether or not something exist, not knowing how a particular feeling feels. I'm more interested in the search for a living God, a sentient entity which created the universe and possibly interacts with it still from time to time. There are also 'Gods' which are purely ideological (ie: There is no actual being which is God. God is simply the name which human beings give to positive things.) but the definitions of said Gods can often vary too greatly from case to case and honestly they simply don't interest me. (An ideological God does not directly influence the universe, but is instead influenced by the universe. A living God influences the universe directly.)
That being said, I feel you can know whether or not a particular item exists, in this case God. It's obviously not easy to determine with absolute certainty whether or not he exists, but I think it is something that can be known.
I feel that discovering an ideological God is as you say a creative endeavor, as it is the search for what values you hold close to you.