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Agnostic   Listen
adjective
Agnostic  adj.  Professing ignorance; involving no dogmatic; pertaining to or involving agnosticism.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Agnostic" Quotes from Famous Books



... But agnostic man labors in vain. He cannot escape the mysteries which surround him on every hand, like a gulf in which reason is inevitably lost so soon as it ...
— Delsarte System of Oratory • Various

... that you do see me, yes, I suppose you are. What have you got there that makes you cut all your friends?" He looks at Roberts's open page. "Oh! Popular Science Monthly. Isn't Agnes a little afraid of your turning out an agnostic? By-the-way, ...
— The Albany Depot - A Farce • W. D. Howells

... increasing sphere we may say that every addition to its surface does but bring it into wider contact with surrounding nescience,"[43] from his standpoint he is quite correct. The endeavors of well-meaning persons to show that the Agnostic's position, when he asserts his ignorance of the Spiritual World, is only a pretence; the attempts to prove that he really knows a great deal about it if he would only admit it, are quite misplaced. ...
— Natural Law in the Spiritual World • Henry Drummond

... would not believe it, even from you. I had an argument with young O'Connor, half-fun and half-earnest. He was an Agnostic, while I profess to be a Christian of no denomination—just a Christian. ...
— Grey Town - An Australian Story • Gerald Baldwin

... towns quite as truly as are the positive indictments brought against them by Mr. Masters and Mr. Anderson. If Mr. Howe is less vivid than those two, because he distrusts passion and poetry, he is also quieter and surer. "I am not an Agnostic; I know.... I have lived a long time, and my real problems have ...
— Contemporary American Novelists (1900-1920) • Carl Van Doren

... writers had seen that there could be something elemental and eternal in a song or statute, he alone saw that there could be something elemental and eternal in a joke. No one who ever read it will forget the passage, full of dark and agnostic gratification, in which he narrates that some Court chronicler described Louis XV. as 'falling asleep in the Lord.' 'Enough for us that he did fall asleep; that, curtained in thick night, under what keeping we ask not, he at least will never, through unending ...
— Twelve Types • G.K. Chesterton

... come by Mah[a]tmaism and Yogism, just as they are moved by native seance-spirits and mesmerism. Blavatskyism (which represents no phase of Buddhism) will always find disciples among the ignorant classes, especially in an agnostic or atheistic environment, so that one should attribute the mental attitude of such minds to their lack of culture rather than to India; for if Mah[a]tmaism had not been discovered, they would still profess it under another name. ...
— The Religions of India - Handbooks On The History Of Religions, Volume 1, Edited By Morris Jastrow • Edward Washburn Hopkins

... important to distinguish between religion and ethics. In the sphere of ethics the different faiths of men may find much common ground, while in their religious elements they may be entirely true or utterly false. The teachings of Confucius, though agnostic, presented a moral code which places the relations of the family and state on a very firm basis. And the very highest precepts of Buddhism belong to the period in which it was virtually atheistic. ...
— Oriental Religions and Christianity • Frank F. Ellinwood

... a woman who would seduce him, falls upon his knees and saves his own soul and hers likewise. In Kathrina, though the hero, rebellious on account of the suicide of his demented parents, remains agnostic till almost the end of the poem, this is clearly regarded by Holland as the cause of his incomplete success as a poet, and in the end the hero becomes an irreproachable churchman. At present Vachel Lindsay keeps up the ...
— The Poet's Poet • Elizabeth Atkins

... development from the simplicity of their nominal founder—these were based upon assumptions for which the seeker after reasoned evidence could find no valid support. Ten years before he coined the word "Agnostic" to label his attitude towards the unproved, whether likely or unlikely, in contradistinction to the Gnostics, who professed to "know" from within apart from external proof, Huxley described the Agnostic position he had already ...
— Thomas Henry Huxley - A Character Sketch • Leonard Huxley

... him out of his house the night before, he knew that she knew of it, though she let him go in that fearful company, and made no effort to keep him. He was so strait an agnostic that, as he boasted, he had no superstitions even; but his relation to the Northwicks covered the period of his longest resistance of temptation, and by a sort of instinctive, brute impulse, he turned ...
— The Quality of Mercy • W. D. Howells

... The agnostic holds that there are limits to human reason, and that theology lies outside those limits. Within those limits lies the world with which science (including psychology) deals. Science deals entirely with phenomena, and has nothing ...
— A History of Freedom of Thought • John Bagnell Bury

... what Meyrick's religious views are; he attends his College chapel with a cool decorum. But I suspect him of being a quiet agnostic. I do not think he cares a straw whether his individuality endures, and he looks forward to a progress which can be tabulated and statistics about the decrease of crime and disease that can be verified; that, I am sure, is his idea ...
— The Silent Isle • Arthur Christopher Benson

... had been High Church for a season, and had even taken Orders in the year 1860, but whose faith had wilted in the heat and toil of the day, so that by 1870 he was an agnostic barrister, took Grandmama back through the last century, and she became reminiscent over the Tractarian movement, and, later, ...
— Dangerous Ages • Rose Macaulay

... we are asked to believe that a man who could express himself in this way and show this courage was a doubter, a skeptic, an unbeliever, an agnostic, an infidel. "Christ is God." This was Lincoln's faith in 1860, found in a letter addressed ...
— Our American Holidays: Lincoln's Birthday • Various

... a high-chieftaincy, they were suffered, on grounds of policy, to spare one child; all other children, who had a father or a mother in the company of Oro, stood condemned from the moment of conception. A freemasonry, an agnostic sect, a company of artists, its members all under oath to spread unchastity, and all forbidden to leave offspring—I do not know how it may appear to others, but to me the design seems obvious. Famine ...
— In the South Seas • Robert Louis Stevenson

... upstairs." Ellen followed Marion up to the big sitting-room with a sense that, though she had not seen it, she would not like it. She was as disquieted by hearing a middle-aged woman speak about life with this agnostic despair as a child might if it was out for a walk with its nurse and discovered this being whom it had regarded as all-knowing and all-powerful was in tears because she had lost the way. She had always hoped that the old really did know best; that one learned ...
— The Judge • Rebecca West

... consideration of Mr. Chesterton's use of paradox is more relevant to our present subject than it may seem. For, curiously enough, the habit of paradox has been his way of entrance into faith. At the age of sixteen he was a complete agnostic, and it was the reading of Huxley and Herbert Spencer and Bradlaugh which brought him back to orthodox theology. For, as he read, he found that Christianity was attacked on all sides, and for all manner of contradictory reasons; and this discovery led him to the conviction ...
— Among Famous Books • John Kelman

... to say about Mr. Booth personally, for I know nothing. On that subject, as on several others, I profess myself an agnostic. But, if he is, as he may be, a saint actuated by the purest of motives, he is not the first saint who, as you have said, has shown himself "in the ardour of prosecuting a well-meant object" to be capable of overlooking "the plain maxims of every-day morality." If I were a Salvationist soldier, ...
— Evolution and Ethics and Other Essays • Thomas H. Huxley

... is a thought to make one ponder, that by far the finest Life of Christ was written by an agnostic, Renan. ...
— War Letters of a Public-School Boy • Henry Paul Mainwaring Jones

... health and physical condition, though not fond of athletics. His mental ability is much above the average, especially in scientific directions; he was brought up in narrow and strict religious views, but at an early age developed agnostic ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... subjects; the "lady authoress" with a mission to show up the vices of a society which she knew only by hearsay. Hither came, unwittingly, simple-minded Church dignitaries, who, Sybell hoped, might influence for his good the young agnostic poet who had written a sonnet on her muff-chain, a very daring sonnet, which Doll, who did not care for poetry, had not been shown. Hither, by mistake, thinking it was an ordinary dinner-party, came Hugh, whom Sybell said she had discovered, and who was not aware that ...
— Red Pottage • Mary Cholmondeley

... while his Celtic aestheticism permitted him to eat nothing but raw meat, because he mistrusted alike "the reeking products of the manure-heap and the barbaric fingers of cooks," it was surely his modernity that made him an agnostic, because bishops sat in the House of Lords. Smaller men might dislike vegetables and bishops without allowing it to affect their conduct; but Dale was careful to observe that every slightest conviction should have its place in the formation of his character. Conversely, ...
— The Ghost Ship • Richard Middleton

... Bentham's principles, and his resolution to devote his life to their propagation, implies a development of opinion. He had entirely dropped his theology. In the early years of his London life, Mill had been only a rationalist. He had by this time become what would now be called an agnostic. He thought 'dogmatic atheism' absurd, says J. S. Mill;[6] 'but he held that we can know nothing whatever as to the origin of the world.' The occasion of the change, according to his family, was his intercourse with General ...
— The English Utilitarians, Volume II (of 3) - James Mill • Leslie Stephen

... lose. Eleven out of every twelve jurymen in this state would mulct an Agnostic rather ...
— Elder Conklin and Other Stories • Frank Harris

... to unpack he grinned in spite of himself, for into his mind came a poem of Guiterman's he'd read lately, about an agnostic Brahmin who didn't believe in prayer, and came inadvertently on a tiger praying for a ...
— The Wishing-Ring Man • Margaret Widdemer

... same "spirit of opposition," but of arrogance none. The C sharp minor theme is of lyric beauty, the coda with its scales, brilliant. It seems to be banned by classicists and Chopin worshippers alike. The agnostic attitude is not yet dead in the ...
— Chopin: The Man and His Music • James Huneker

... the romance of my father's life," the soft voice went on, speaking as if I had not interrupted him, "but nobody knows the tragedy. Love for my mother came upon him like an arrow shot out of ambush, and he married into a worldly, pleasure-loving, agnostic circle of people who all adored and flattered him until he—he became confused and doubting. He had transgressed the law: 'yoke not yourselves with unbelievers,' and he suffered. She never understood. It killed him, and when he had been dead nearly twenty years ...
— The Heart's Kingdom • Maria Thompson Daviess

... misanthrope—he had a wife in a lunatic asylum—he had known some great trouble that had embittered his life; he had made a vow never to let a human being cross his threshold; he was a Roman Catholic priest in disguise, an Agnostic, a Nihilist." There was no end to Olivia's quaint surmises, but she could only be certain of two facts—that the mysterious Mr. Gaythorne was methodical by nature, and whatever might be the weather always took his exercise at the same hour, and also that only ...
— Doctor Luttrell's First Patient • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... people, gave me to know that he welcomed me to the land of spirits, and that he was deputed to carry me to the paradise of the Ojibbeways. "But, sir," I cried in painful confusion, "there is here some great mistake. I am no Ojibbeway, but an Agnostic; the after-life of spirits is only (as one of our great teachers says) 'an hypothesis based on contradictory probabilities;' and I really must decline to accompany you to a place of which the existence is uncertain, and which, if it does anywhere ...
— In the Wrong Paradise • Andrew Lang

... Americans would sit and look at her as if they half believed her a creature from another world. Sometimes Harris would draw her into conversation on topics pertaining to philosophy and religion, for he had early seen her bent and, agnostic that he was, delighted to hear her express her views, which to him were so childishly impossible. But as often he would voluntarily retire from the conflict, sometimes shaking his head dubiously, sometimes muttering his impatience with a mere child whose logic ...
— Carmen Ariza • Charles Francis Stocking

... common unbelief—a cold negation. He was unhappy. He found no territory on which to stand. He hated the cant and formalism that chilled him in the fashionable church. He hated the insolent creed of the deist, and the ignorance of the agnostic. He seemed to be hating almost all things with himself included. If he had been sure there was a God who heard mortals pray, he would have cried to Him to deliver him from so wretched a position. But he roused himself ...
— The First Soprano • Mary Hitchcock

... about Pythagoras, according to which the philosopher was wont to declare that in an earlier state he had visited Hades, and had there seen Homer and Hesiod tortured because of the absurd things they had said about the gods. Apocrypbal or otherwise, the tale suggests that Pythagoras was an agnostic as regards the current Greek religion of his time. The same thing is perhaps true of most of the great thinkers of this earliest period. But one among them was remembered in later times as having ...
— A History of Science, Volume 1(of 5) • Henry Smith Williams

... truly Liberal. Old prejudices about "this England," old words from Henry V. and King John, haunted his memory and darkened his vision of the true proportions of things. We draw in prejudice with our mother's milk. The mother of Tennyson had not been an Agnostic or a Comtist; his father had not been a staunch true-blue anti- Englander. Thus he inherited a certain bias in favour of faith and fatherland, a bias from which he could never emancipate himself. But tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner. Had Tennyson's birth been later, we might find in ...
— Alfred Tennyson • Andrew Lang

... drawing-room tables of devout Catholics and high-flying Anglicans article after article, sending divinities, creeds, and Churches all headlong into limbo, was indeed piquant. Much of all this elegant dabbling in infidelity has been a caprice of fashion. The Agnostic has had his day with the fine ladies, like the black footboy of other times, or the spirit-rapper and table-turner of our own. What we have been watching, after all, was perhaps a tournament, ...
— Studies in Literature • John Morley

... once you are at the Cave of Despair, beneath the funereal orb of Glaucoma, in the thick midst of poniarded, slit-throat, rope-dependant figures, placarded across the bosom Disillusioned, Infidel, Agnostic, Miserrimus. That is the sentimental route to advancement. Spirituality does not light it; evanescent dreams: are its oil-lamps, often with wick askant in ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... the meaning of the words himself, and he said 'Very good—very good.' The class caught right on—at least three or four of the brighter ones did—and they kept up the fun. Jean Blane said that 'acoustic' meant 'a religious squabble,' and Muriel Baker said that an 'agnostic' was 'a man who had indigestion,' and Jim Carter said that 'acerbity' meant that 'you ate nothing but vegetable food,' and so on all down the list. Whiskers swallowed it all, and kept saying 'Very good—very good' ...
— Rilla of Ingleside • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... instance, as the old-fashioned scheme of redemption, by which men have attempted with a pathetic hopefulness to justify the ways of God to man, are, and are bound to be, despairingly incomplete. The danger of the scientific spirit is not that it is too agnostic, but that it is not agnostic enough: it professes to account for everything when it only has a very few of the data in its grasp. The materialistic philosophy tends to be a tyranny which menaces liberty of thought. Every one has a right to ...
— At Large • Arthur Christopher Benson

... Intervals too of poetic enthusiasm, or ascetic religion. At eighteen she had been practically a Catholic, influenced by the charming wife of one of her father's aides-de-camp. And then—a few stray books or magazine articles had made a Darwinian and an agnostic of her; the one phase as ...
— Delia Blanchflower • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... misrepresented by the belief being ascribed to him that 'the forces operating on the globe have never acted with greater intensity than at the present day.' But his real position in this matter was a frankly 'agnostic' one. 'Bring me evidence,' he would have said, 'that changes have taken place on the globe, which cannot be accounted for by agencies still at work when operating through sufficiently long periods of time, and I will abandon my position.' ...
— The Coming of Evolution - The Story of a Great Revolution in Science • John W. (John Wesley) Judd

... Laird of Dumbiedikes to his son Jock: 'When ye hae naething better to do, ye can be aye sticking in a tree; it'll aye be growin' when ye are sleeping.' There is an ash-tree growing here that my mother planted with her own hands at threescore and ten. What agnostic folly to think that tree has outlived her who ...
— Authors and Friends • Annie Fields

... backwards and forwards. Four classes of writers wage war over the facts: the Baconians, like the late Mr. Donnelly, who deny everything; the Romanticists, who accept what is pleasant, and occasionally believe manufactured tradition to suit their inclinations; the agnostic Shakespeareans, like Halliwell-Phillipps, who really work, but believe only what they can see and touch, if it accords with their opinions; and the ingenuous workers who seek saving truth like the agnostics, but bring human influences ...
— Shakespeare's Family • Mrs. C. C. Stopes

... sceptical and agnostic days it may sound a little strange, and perhaps to some seem quite absurd, that the authorities of Harvard in 1791 felt obliged publicly to deny that Gibbon's History was used as a text-book at the University. But with the exception ...
— The Olden Time Series, Vol. 6: Literary Curiosities - Gleanings Chiefly from Old Newspapers of Boston and Salem, Massachusetts • Henry M. Brooks

... assert that it need necessarily be maintained as a Religious Office. There are serious objections to the attempt at divine officiation by those who have no conviction of their own Divine Office. There are surely sufficient persons, even in pessimistic and agnostic Spain, to carry on the Mass in sincerity for a long time to come. When sincerity failed, I would hold that the Mass as an act of religion had come ...
— Impressions And Comments • Havelock Ellis

... sisters, of whom there were four, were, as I learned later, astonishingly virile and interesting Americans of a rather wild, unsettled type. They were all, in so far as I could judge from chance meetings, agnostic, tense, quick-moving—so vital that they weighed on one a little, as very intense temperaments are apt to do. One of the brothers, K——, who seemed to seek me out ever so often for Peter's sake, was so intense, nervous, rapid-talking, rapid-living, that he frightened me ...
— Twelve Men • Theodore Dreiser

... passionate card-player into the bargain. Gambling and religion go hand-in-hand —they are but two forms of the same speculative spirit. Think of the Poles, an entire nation of pious roulette-lovers! I have yet to meet a full-blown agnostic who relished these hazards. The unbeliever is not adventurous on such lines; he knows the odds against backing a winner in heaven or ...
— Alone • Norman Douglas

... soothing in certain moods; but it was the noble personality of Father Damon. He was devoted to the people as she was, he understood them; and for the moment their passion of humanity assumed the same aspect, though she knew that what he saw, or thought he saw, lay beyond her agnostic vision. ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... lessons of evolution, summarized in the foregoing statements. The atheist, who declines to personify the ultimate powers of the universe, may, nevertheless, find direction for his life in the principles brought to light by science. The agnostic, who doubts the validity of many conventional dicta that may not seem well grounded, can also find something to believe and to obey. Finally, the orthodox theist of whatever creed may discover cogent reasons for many of his beliefs like ...
— The Doctrine of Evolution - Its Basis and Its Scope • Henry Edward Crampton

... 'An agnostic,' said the man behind the moat, 'is a bloke wot don't believe nothing unless 'e see it with ...
— The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists • Robert Tressell

... atheism, then the verdict must be reversed. The dialogues on religion contained in The Ball and the Cross are alone enough and more than enough to place it among the few books on religion which could be safely placed in the hands of an atheist or an agnostic with an intelligence. ...
— G. K. Chesterton, A Critical Study • Julius West

... your physiognomy of disease includes not merely its face, but its voice; not only the picture that it draws, but the sound that it makes. For, when all has been allowed and discounted that the most hardened cynic or pessimistic agnostic can say about speech being given to man to conceal his thoughts, and the hopeless unreliability of human testimony, two-thirds of what your patients tell you about their symptoms will be found to be literally the voice of the disease itself speaking through them. They may tell you much that ...
— Preventable Diseases • Woods Hutchinson

... Why not? That is possible with us; for the very bond of our union is sympathetic regard for one another's freedom. It is also specially possible with us because our teachings do not, at all events, outrage the reason and shock the moral sense. Even an agnostic might listen to us and hope that our ...
— The Olden Time Series, Vol. 3: New-England Sunday - Gleanings Chiefly From Old Newspapers Of Boston And Salem, Massachusetts • Henry M. Brooks

... hell, and in heaven. These speeches are mostly reproductions of the old play, the new matter being in the nature of the pagan allusion to the "divinity that shapes our ends." What is definitely Shaksperean is just the agnostic conclusion. ...
— Montaigne and Shakspere • John M. Robertson

... maintain the thesis that fashion has a great deal to do with this. It is not fashionable to believe in God, or at least it was not. It was highly fashionable to call oneself an agnostic; perhaps it is not quite so much the vogue now as it was. No doubt there is something in this, though not very much. It is much easier to go with the tide than against it, and there are scientific tides as truly as there are tides in the fashion of dress. There was a Weismann tide, ...
— Science and Morals and Other Essays • Bertram Coghill Alan Windle

... the earth, you shall not escape these: by these, as surely as I am the Church, you shall be mine in the end.' . . . And do you think, Mr. Simeon, any man in England could for ever resist that appeal? A few of us agnostics, perhaps. But we are human souls, after all; and no one is an agnostic for the fun of it. We should be ...
— Brother Copas • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... a weekly journal ($3 a year) established by the late D. M. Bennett, still carries on with undiminished ability the honest agnostic work for which it has been famous. It is a vigorous iconoclast but does little for ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, October 1887 - Volume 1, Number 9 • Various

... entered into the bonds of a friendship which, I am happy to think, has known no interruption. Many and prolonged were the battles we fought on this topic. But even my friend's rare dialectic skill and copiousness of apt illustration could not drive me from my agnostic position. I took my stand upon two grounds: firstly, that up to that time, the evidence in favour of transmutation was wholly insufficient; and secondly, that no suggestion respecting the causes of the transmutation assumed, which had been made, was in any way adequate to explain the phenomena. ...
— The Reception of the 'Origin of Species' • Thomas Henry Huxley

... all of which were individually derived from experience. This is the position scientists as such, and believers in the theory of naturalism, take up as to the possibility of the knowledge of truth to the human mind. They are entirely consistent, therefore, when they arrive ultimately at the agnostic position, and contend that our knowledge must necessarily be confined to the world of experience, and that nothing can be known of the world beyond. But they are fundamentally wrong in overestimating the place of the sense organs, and ...
— Rudolph Eucken • Abel J. Jones

... brains. She could describe a man coolly; which neither George Eliot nor Charlotte Bronte could do. She knew what she knew, like a sound dogmatist: she did not know what she did not know—like a sound agnostic. But she belongs to a vanished world before the great progressive ...
— The Victorian Age in Literature • G. K. Chesterton

... suffered at this time from an extreme scepticism. As he expressed it he "felt as if everything might be a dream" as if he had "projected the universe from within." The agnostic doubts the existence of God. Gilbert at moments doubted the existence ...
— Gilbert Keith Chesterton • Maisie Ward

... I do?" asked Strong. "She jammed me close up to the wall. I did not know where to turn. You would have been still less pleased if I had done what she wanted, and given her the whole Agnostic creed." ...
— Esther • Henry Adams

... could dream of God and not die. But there is a vital distinction between the mystical view of Browning, that the blind men are misled because there is so much for them to learn, and the purely impressionist and agnostic view of the modern poet, that the blind men were misled because there was nothing for them to learn. To the impressionist artist of our time we are not blind men groping after an elephant and naming ...
— Robert Browning • G. K. Chesterton

... readers who possess the rare gift of patience, for anything that may seem too personal in the following statement which I feel it almost necessary to make on the subject of my own "psychic" creed. I am so often asked if I believe this or that, if I am "orthodox," if I am a sceptic, materialist or agnostic, that I should like, if possible, to make things clear between myself and these enquirers. Therefore I may say at once that my belief in God and the immortality of the Soul is absolute,—but that I did not attain to the faith I hold without hard training and bitter ...
— The Life Everlasting: A Reality of Romance • Marie Corelli

... knowledge. Thus, his optimism and faith in God is finally based upon ignorance. If, on the side of love, he insists, almost in the spirit of a Spinozist, on God's communication of His own substance to man; on the side of knowledge he may be called an agnostic, in spite of stray expressions which break through his deliberate theory. While "love gains God at ...
— Browning as a Philosophical and Religious Teacher • Henry Jones

... to place this beyond doubt. Against the old-fashioned Deism which continued to bear sway till far into the last century, the agnostic had an almost fatally easy case; he had but to reject the revelation alleged to have been given once for all in the dim past—to reject it on scientific or critical grounds—and who was to prove to him that the universe had been created a few thousand years ago by a remote and ...
— Problems of Immanence - Studies Critical and Constructive • J. Warschauer

... that I know nothing.'' But Arcesilaus went farther and denied the possibility of even the Socratic minimum of certainty: "I cannot know even whether I know or not.'' Thus from the dogmatism of the master the Academy plunged into the extremes of agnostic criticism. ...
— Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia

... which was most widespread, most intense, and most formative. Nor could it be otherwise with a Capitalist enterprise whose directing motive was not conversion or even expression, but mere gain. There was nothing to distinguish a large daily paper owned by a Jew from one owned by an Agnostic or a Catholic. Necessity of expression compelled the creation of a Free Press in connection with this one ...
— The Free Press • Hilaire Belloc

... never of the fine world of literature, the world that sniffs and sneers, and abashes the simpler-hearted reader. But he was a true artist, and English born as he was, he divined American character as few Americans have done. He was a man of eminent courage, and in the days when to be an agnostic was to be almost an outcast, he had the heart to say of the Mysteries, that he did not know. He outlived the condemnation that this brought, and I think that no man ever came near him without in some measure loving him. To me he was ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... Orthodox and agnostic are as the poles asunder, yet they could not but both agree with Barty Josselin, who so cleverly extended a hand to each, and acted ...
— The Martian • George Du Maurier

... consistent agnostic, and a believer in the slow evolution of morals, in his "Science of Ethics,"[1] naturally holds, like Herbert Spencer, to the gradual development of the custom of truthfulness, as a necessity of society.[2] The moral sense of primitive man, as he sees it, might seem to justify falsehood to an ...
— A Lie Never Justifiable • H. Clay Trumbull

... here been given deserve a place of honor in the comments to Suetonius' "Lives of the Emperors." The exploration of underground Rome must be greeted with pleasure, not only by the pious believers in Christ and his martyrs, but also by agnostic students of classical history. A tombstone, which on one side is inscribed with the records of the victories gained by the imperial legions, on the other with the simple and humble name of a Christian who has given his life for his faith, is a monument worthy the consideration of all thoughtful ...
— Pagan and Christian Rome • Rodolfo Lanciani

... agnostic teachings of Confucius and their own practical temperament, the Chinese are a very superstitious people and live in constant terror of evil spirits. The grossest superstitions prevail among them, while ...
— An Inevitable Awakening • ARTHUR JUDSON BROWN

... embarrassments and difficulties. First, he said, it was afflicted with cholera, next with trichinae, and then with Andy Johnson, all in the same year, and that was more than any country could stand. Ebon C. Ingersoll was a brother of the famous Robert G. Ingersoll, the world's greatest agnostic. ...
— Fifty Years of Public Service • Shelby M. Cullom

... The Infidel, The Millerites, The Agnostic, The Mormons, The Baptist, The Laurence Oliphant The Methodist, Harrisites, The Catholic, and the other The Grand Lama's people, 115 Christian sects, the The Monarchists, Presbyterian excepted, The Imperialists, The 72 Mohammedan sects, The Democrats, ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... glad, Miss Fenwick, that you have put those questions. I desire to state briefly and frankly my attitude, up to this time, towards mediumship and the philosophy and phenomena of spiritual manifestations generally: I believe I was a born agnostic. All my life I have been skeptical as to the verity of a life beyond the grave. In this I have differed widely from my people, a large majority of whom have been zealous Presbyterians for at least five generations, ...
— Solaris Farm - A Story of the Twentieth Century • Milan C. Edson

... like to say this," he said. "I have told Mrs. Stapleton already. It is this. I must confess that so far as I am concerned I am not a believer. But neither am I a skeptic. I am just a real agnostic in this matter. I have read several books; and I have been impressed. But there's a great deal in them that seems to me nonsense; perhaps I had better say which I don't understand. This materializing business, for instance.... ...
— The Necromancers • Robert Hugh Benson

... Japan in view of the labour and money devoted by different religious bodies to its propagation for many years past. There is, let me add, no marked hostility to Christianity in Japan—only indifference. The educated Japanese of to-day is, I believe, for the most part an agnostic, and he views Shintoism, Buddhism, Christianity alike, except in so far as he regards the first two as more or less national and the last as ...
— The Empire of the East • H. B. Montgomery

... he had nothing whatever to do. Goddess-like she had descended upon him from skies in which previously he had held no faith at all; and even yet it was a tussle for his conscience to accept anything coming from that quarter as really divine. He was agnostic; he did not like the Church, and he rather despised that attitude of mind which accepted miracle as a directing power in human affairs, and looked to an unseen world for the inspirations of life. It was as though some modern Endymion gazing ...
— King John of Jingalo - The Story of a Monarch in Difficulties • Laurence Housman

... manhood. In France, man now knows himself to be the only God; England—good, slow-pacing England—is approaching France in intelligence by degrees, and I rejoice to see that it is possible for a newspaper like the Agnostic to exist in London. Only the other day that excellent journal was discussing the possibility of teaching monkeys to read, and a witty writer, who adopts the nom de plume of 'Saladin,' very cleverly remarked 'that supposing monkeys were able ...
— Ziska - The Problem of a Wicked Soul • Marie Corelli

... would have delighted Voltaire and given him another ground for quizzing English moderation even in negation. I thought then, and have often thought since, how far the principle of moderation might be extended, and whether you could be a moderate agnostic or a moderate ...
— The Adventure of Living • John St. Loe Strachey

... do the work to be done in the interest of the temporal as a basis for the spiritual advancement of humanity. The African and the Jew are the spiritual races, and to them political ascendence among the nations of the earth is not promised. It was M. Renan, the great French agnostic, who said: "The fate of the Jewish people was not to form a separate nationality; it is a race which always cherishes a dream ...
— Masterpieces of Negro Eloquence - The Best Speeches Delivered by the Negro from the days of - Slavery to the Present Time • Various

... governess. In that case, ignorance is only valued because being ignorant is the best and purest preparation for receiving the horrible revelations of high life. Somewhat in the same way being an agnostic is the best and purest preparation for receiving the happy revelations ...
— All Things Considered • G. K. Chesterton

... Borrow determined to try his fortunes in London with those bundles of unsaleable manuscripts, gave him introductions to Sir Richard Phillips and to Thomas Campbell. It was in the agnostic spirit that he had learned from Taylor that he wrote during this period to his one friend in London, Roger Kerrison. Kerrison was grandson of Sir Roger Kerrison, Mayor of Norwich in 1778, as his son ...
— George Borrow and His Circle - Wherein May Be Found Many Hitherto Unpublished Letters Of - Borrow And His Friends • Clement King Shorter

... described as Atheism. His religious opinions were afterwards modified (or so he supposed) by S. T. Coleridge; but that influence is not conspicuous in his posthumous essay on religion, and the best label for his attitude is perhaps Huxley's word, "Agnostic." ...
— Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle • H. N. Brailsford

... course open to you, a course which, terrible as it is, is better than the one that you are now following, because it is more honest. Be honest with yourselves and each other, and, what is of more consequence, be honest with God too. A well-known agnostic lecturer once said that no god could afford to damn an honest man, and I am not sure that he was not right; but if the words of Christ were not the empty mouthings of a charlatan or a dreamer, there cannot be the slightest doubt about the fate of the hypocrite. Remember that ...
— The Missionary • George Griffith

... Christianity filtering to men who stand apart from it. But I gravely doubt whether you will ever get any large, continuous, self-sacrificing efforts for the outcasts, unless they are the direct result of the spirit of Christ moving on men who owe their own deliverance to Him. We have not yet seen agnostic missionary societies ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - St. Matthew Chaps. IX to XXVIII • Alexander Maclaren

... a spiritual conception, itself also a result of the general reaction of the Century against the languid and materialistic positivism of the Eighteenth Century. Anti-positivist, but positive: neither sceptical nor agnostic, neither pessimistic nor passively optimistic, as are in general the doctrines (all of them negative) which place the centre of life outside of man, who by his free will can and should create his own world ...
— Readings on Fascism and National Socialism • Various

... lovers walked in the Garden of Eden, Dinah and Douglas Fraser were that couple—until the cloud came that was to eclipse their happiness in this world. There is no need for me to enter into the matter very fully, though I know everything. One unhappy day Dinah discovered that Dr. Fraser was an agnostic—that for some time he had had grave doubts on the subject of revealed religion, which he had kept to himself for fear of distressing her; but now a sense of honour compelled him to tell her the truth. He had ...
— Herb of Grace • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... Can't you see how miserable I am, and how hollow everything seems all at once? I don't believe in any one, and I don't feel as if I knew anything, except that love is an inexplicable phenomenon of matter. I shall become an agnostic. ...
— Fashionable Philosophy - and Other Sketches • Laurence Oliphant

... die unless I kill myself,—which it is possible I may do ere long. But in the meantime,"—he hesitated a moment, then went on, "in the meantime, I have a strong wish to be deluded—I use the word advisedly, and repeat it—DELUDED into an imaginary happiness, though I am aware that as an agnostic and searcher after truth—truth absolute, truth positive—such a desire on my part seems even to myself inconsistent and unreasonable. Still I confess to having it; and therein, I know, I betray the weakness of my nature. It ...
— Ardath - The Story of a Dead Self • Marie Corelli

... to glance at the Bar Senestro. Despite the triumph he was apprehensive of the princes's keen genius. An agnostic is seldom converted by what could be explained away as mere coincidence. Moreover, as it ultimately appeared, the Bar now had more than one reason for antagonising the man who claimed to be ...
— The Blind Spot • Austin Hall and Homer Eon Flint

... was quite aware of it. He was content with the thought that he had found fragments of true ore. Hence the extraordinary difficulty of classifying him. One would be inclined to place him as a Theist, yet can we give any other name but Agnostic to a man who speaks in such ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 3 of 3) - Essay 7: A Sketch • John Morley

... looks as she does now. She is not in the least inclined to devotional rhapsodies or to subserviency to priestcraft, like so many women abroad. She merely appears to recognize a divine power as she accepts nature, only more reverently and consciously. I suppose I am an agnostic as much as anything, yet I should only be too glad to have Stella at my side with such an expression on her face. I wonder if she will go with me this afternoon. I will submit to this diplomacy a few days longer, and shall then end the matter. There is an increasing ...
— A Young Girl's Wooing • E. P. Roe

... this possible? And I so filled with tenderness and interest! Can it be, dear Somerset, that you are under the empire of these outworn scruples? or that you judge a patriot by the morality of the religious tract? I thought you were a good agnostic." ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 5 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... theories.[126] The peculiar forms adapted for the exposition of his thoughts contribute to the difficulty of obtaining a methodical view of Bruno's philosophy. It has, therefore, been disputed whether he was a pantheist or an atheist, a materialist or a spiritualist, a mystic or an agnostic. No one would have contended more earnestly than Bruno himself, that the sage can hold each and all of these apparent contradictions together, with the exception of atheism; which last is a simple impossibility. The fragmentary and impassioned exposition which ...
— Renaissance in Italy, Volumes 1 and 2 - The Catholic Reaction • John Addington Symonds

... realized as never before how completely she had outgrown her old environment. In her enthusiasm for her new work, she exposed "many of her heresies," and when her friends labeled William Lloyd Garrison an agnostic and rabble rouser, she protested that he was the most Christlike man she had ever known. "Thus it is belief, not Christian benevolence," she confided to her diary in 1854, "that is made ...
— Susan B. Anthony - Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian • Alma Lutz

... Welsford, Mithridates Minor, p. 2. As to Bentley's position as a scholar, see the famous estimate in Macaulay's Essays. For a short but very interesting account of him, see Mark Pattison's article in vol. iii of the last edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The postion of Pattison as an agnostic dignitary in the English Church eminently fitted him to understand Bentley's career, both as regards the orthodox and the scholastic world. For perhaps the most striking account of the manner in which Bentley lorded it in the scholastic world of his time, see Monk's Life of Bentley, ...
— History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom • Andrew Dickson White

... the leading representative of the Scottish School; Bentham is known as the advocate of utilitarianism; Mill, an exponent of the traditional empiricism of English thinking, develops the theory of induction and the principle of utility; Spencer combines an agnostic doctrine of the absolute and thoroughgoing evolution in the phenomenal world into a comprehensive philosophical system.[2] In recent years there has been a reaction against empirical doctrines on the basis of neo-Kantian and neo-Hegelian principles. ...
— History Of Modern Philosophy - From Nicolas of Cusa to the Present Time • Richard Falckenberg

... impresses one as a very sad woman, with an eager desire to recapture the lost religious faith of her happy, unquestioning childhood and a still more passionate desire to believe in that immortality which her cold agnostic creed rejected as illogical. It was pitiful, this strong-minded woman reaching out for the things that less-endowed women accept without question. It was even more pitiful to see her, with her keen moral sense, violate all the conventions of English law and society in order to take up ...
— Modern English Books of Power • George Hamlin Fitch

... Philosophy—humbler perhaps and more practical, but not less profound than any vain attempt to discover to finite conception the Absolute as it is in itself. Therefore it is that the efforts of negative and agnostic criticism to dispense with the recognition of Reality as a necessary postulate of our activity are foredoomed to failure. They leave us not a solitude which we might pretend to be peace, but a seething sea of troubles urgently demanding ...
— Essays Towards a Theory of Knowledge • Alexander Philip

... door I stumbled over a man at the threshold. He was sobbing hysterically and his arms flapped like the wings of a goose. It was Wali Dad, Agnostic and Unbeliever, shoeless, turbanless, and frothing at the mouth, the flesh on his chest bruised and bleeding from the vehemence with which he had smitten himself. A broken torch-handle lay by his side, and his quivering lips murmured, "Ya Hasan! Ya Hussain!" as I stooped over him. I ...
— Indian Tales • Rudyard Kipling

... interesting "Song of the Harper," which is found on the same Harris Papyrus, is also fully edited and collated with the parallel texts from the Theban tombs, and compared with other writings dealing with death from the agnostic point of view. The following extracts are translated from ...
— History Of Egypt From 330 B.C. To The Present Time, Volume 12 (of 12) • S. Rappoport



Words linked to "Agnostic" :   nescient, gnostic, person, mortal, soul, somebody, doubter, individual, agnostical, religious person, agnosticism, someone, unbelieving



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