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Agnostic   Listen
noun
Agnostic  n.  One who professes ignorance, or denies that we have any knowledge, save of phenomena; one who supports agnosticism, neither affirming nor denying the existence of a personal Deity, a future life, etc.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Agnostic" Quotes from Famous Books



... intervals of ennui and discontent. 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 ...
— Delia Blanchflower • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... her old friends, Susan 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 the modern test ...
— Susan B. Anthony - Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian • Alma Lutz

... theology, and he 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 ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 3 of 3) - Essay 7: A Sketch • John Morley

... problems is the best and highest contribution that they can make to the development of life in this world. They do not believe that as a social contribution to the betterment of human life a saint is less valuable than an agnostic professor of sociology or an atheistic socialistic leader; nor does the Christian believe that strict attention to the affairs of the Kingdom of God renders him less valuable as a citizen than strict attention to a brewery or a bank. ...
— Our Lady Saint Mary • J. G. H. Barry

... 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 ...
— Modern English Books of Power • George Hamlin Fitch

... "Occult" have done my reputation in this narrow provincial town much harm. I have been sneered at as a "spiritualist," a "spook hunter," an "agnostic." I am none of the three. I am a seeker after Truth; even while fully aware of the impossibility of absolutely finding that elusive quality. Nor do my researches in any way conflict with revealed religion, nor in the simple Bible faith that has ever ...
— The Return of Peter Grimm - Novelised From the Play • David Belasco

... hunchback had no idea of the moods of nature; at any rate they never seemed to affect him. To him all water was something to drink or something to swim in, and the earth was good pasture or hard road to ride a horse over. The grasp of no agnostic was more cynical. He inquired if any of Woodford's men had crossed that day, and was answered that they ...
— Dwellers in the Hills • Melville Davisson Post

... rationalism; neology. [person who is not religious] atheist, skeptic, unbeliever, deist, infidel, pyrrhonist; giaour^, heathen, alien, gentile, Nazarene; espri fort [Fr.], freethinker, latitudinarian, rationalist; materialist, positivist, nihilist, agnostic, somatist^, theophobist^. V. be irreligious &c adj.; disbelieve, lack faith; doubt, question &c 485. dechristianize^. Adj. irreligious; indevout^; undevout^; devoutless^, godless, graceless; ungodly, unholy, unsanctified^, unhallowed; atheistic, ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... another 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 ...
— The Missionary • George Griffith

... well-disposed but easily puzzled believers of the ill-instructed and uncritical sort, a series of anti-agnostic tracts for the million would really seem to be called for. Yet never has the present writer felt more abjectly crushed with a sense of incompetence than when posed by the difficulties of a "hagnostic" greengrocer, or of ...
— The Faith of the Millions (2nd series) • George Tyrrell

... more leisure and opportunity for such feeling. In the second century B.C. old Cato had described the paterfamilias, on his arrival at his farm from the city, saluting the Lar familiaris before he goes about his round of inspection; and even Horace hardly shows a trace of the agnostic when he pictures the slaves of the farm, and the master with them, sitting at their meal in front of the image of the Lar[378]. We may perhaps guess that with the renewal of the love of country life, and with that revival ...
— Social life at Rome in the Age of Cicero • W. Warde Fowler

... 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

... 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

... his village; but the moment he discovered that the teaching about Jehovah was opposed to their Heathen customs, he sternly forbade us. One day, during my address, he blossomed out into a full-fledged and pronounced Agnostic (with as much reason at his back as the European type!), and ...
— The Story of John G. Paton - Or Thirty Years Among South Sea Cannibals • James Paton

... opposition from the apathy which had fallen upon it after its defeat at the polls. Churchill roused the Conservatives and gave them a fighting issue, by putting himself at the head of the resistance to Mr Bradlaugh, the member for Northampton, who, though an avowed atheist or agnostic, was prepared to take the parliamentary oath. Sir Stafford Northcote, the Conservative leader in the Lower House, was forced to take a strong line on this difficult question by the energy of the fourth party, who in this case clearly expressed the views of the bulk of the opposition. The long and ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 3 - "Chitral" to "Cincinnati" • Various

... of the schools behind him, should relapse at last into these childish and exploded mediaeval superstitions! How incredible that, after having been brought up from his babyhood upward on the strong meat of the agnostic philosophers, he should fall back in his manhood on the milk for babes administered to him by orthodox theology! The simple-minded old sceptic could hardly credit it, now that Arthur told him so with his own lips, though ...
— Philistia • Grant Allen

... all, 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 ...
— Preventable Diseases • Woods Hutchinson

... privileged to learn Darwin's argument before it was given to the world; but the greatness of the book, mere instalment as it was of the long accumulated mass of notes, almost took him by surprise. Before this time, he had taken up a thoroughly agnostic attitude with regard to the species question, for he could not accept the creational theory, yet sought in vain among the transmutationists for any cause adequate to produce transmutation. He had had many talks ...
— The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley Volume 1 • Leonard Huxley

... cocking a feather, drawing a sword or draining a flagon for all I know. While he is speaking I am sure that there are some things he does not understand. But while he is listening (at the Queen's Hall) he may understand everything, including God and me. Upon this part of him I am a reverent agnostic; it is well to have some such dark continent in the character of a man of whom one writes. It preserves two very important things—modesty in the biographer and mystery in ...
— George Bernard Shaw • Gilbert K. Chesterton

... itself is what is called a religious attitude of mind. It is the morbid desire to set up a fetich and adore it, to fall down and worship something. It makes little difference whether the something be Jesus or Buddha or a tum-tum tree. You don't agree with me, of course. You may be atheist or agnostic or anything you like, but I could feel the religious temperament in you at five yards. However, it is of no use for us to discuss that. But you are quite mistaken in thinking that I, for one, look upon the knifing as merely a means of removing objectionable ...
— The Gadfly • E. L. Voynich

... are perhaps in too agnostic a state to be absorbed by such a contemplation. The subject in a narrower sense is true at most to those who will to cherish the solace of a salvation which they have not fully apprehended. And so the Liszt symphony of the nineteenth century ...
— Symphonies and Their Meaning; Third Series, Modern Symphonies • Philip H. Goepp

... without ever having heard of the term, he was an agnostic, but not one of the self-complacent, superior type who fancy that they have developed themselves beyond the trammels of faith and are ever ready to make the world aware ...
— He Fell in Love with His Wife • Edward P. Roe

... Christianity in 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 Empire of the East • H. B. Montgomery

... 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

... 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 ...
— History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom • Andrew Dickson White

... 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 ...
— Readings on Fascism and National Socialism • Various

... gentle seeker, a sympathetic friend. 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 Gospel ...
— The Olden Time Series, Vol. 3: New-England Sunday - Gleanings Chiefly From Old Newspapers Of Boston And Salem, Massachusetts • Henry M. Brooks

... 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 his step towards the place where they lived, as ...
— The Quality of Mercy • W. D. Howells

... 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 pushed ...
— Indian Tales • Rudyard Kipling

... reflection will serve 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 ...
— Problems of Immanence - Studies Critical and Constructive • J. Warschauer

... the creed of the Agnostic, but the confession of the spiritual numbness of humanity? Natural Law, ...
— Beautiful Thoughts • Henry Drummond

... neuropath often peruses certain agnostic works, the result usually being deplorable, for this class are dependent on some stable base outside themselves, such as is found in a calm religion manifested in a steadfast attempt to overcome the weakness of the flesh, by ordering life in accordance with ...
— Epilepsy, Hysteria, and Neurasthenia • Isaac G. Briggs

... Folio of 1623 (nor, perhaps, with the absolute entirety of any given play). "The Author" or "Shakespeare" is not a syndicate (like the Homer of many critics), but an individual human being, apparently of the male sex. As to the name by which he was called on earth, Mr. Greenwood is "agnostic." He himself is not Anti-Baconian. He does not oust Bacon and put the Unknown in his place. He neither affirms nor denies that Bacon may have contributed, more or less, to the bulk of Shakespearean work. To ...
— Shakespeare, Bacon and the Great Unknown • Andrew Lang

... 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 ...
— The Free Press • Hilaire Belloc

... one like himself must be the fittest; that the weakest must go to the wall, and that any one he could not understand must be the weakest; that was the philosophy which he lumberingly believed through life, like many another agnostic old bachelor of the Victorian era. All his views on religion (reverently quoted in the Review of Reviews) were simply the stalest ideas of his time. It was not his fault, poor fellow, that he called a high hill somewhere in South Africa "his church." It was not his ...
— A Miscellany of Men • G. K. Chesterton

... late enough to be 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

... 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

... 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? ...
— The Albany Depot - A Farce • W. D. Howells

... recollect the feelings with which, in the period of our fresh emancipation from a faith far more irrational than Buddhism, we looked back upon the gloomy theology of our fathers. Intellectual Japan has become agnostic within only a few decades; and the suddenness of this mental revolution sufficiently explains the principal, though not perhaps all the causes of the present attitude of the superior class toward Buddhism. For the time being it certainly borders upon intolerance; and ...
— Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan - First Series • Lafcadio Hearn

... saluting me in the fashion of his 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

... 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 lost his faith, and he no longer believed ...
— Herb of Grace • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... talk foolishness. They think, but they do not know," rejoined this Hyperborean agnostic, as positively and as ignorantly as if he had been a ...
— The Walrus Hunters - A Romance of the Realms of Ice • R.M. Ballantyne

... "She has had an enormous influence upon her. She has taught Hadria to see that one may hold one's own ideas quietly, without flying in everybody's face. Lady Engleton is a pronounced agnostic, yet she never misses a Sunday at Craddock Church, and I am glad to see that Hadria is following her example. It must be a great satisfaction to you, Hubert. People used to talk unpleasantly about Hadria's extremely irregular attendance. ...
— The Daughters of Danaus • Mona Caird

... ignorance. This doctrine of identity or nonduality (advaitha) lies at the foundation of all their religious thinking. This Being which is devoid of qualities (nirguna), because incomprehensible to man, can be of no comfort to him. In this respect the Hindu is an agnostic of a profound type. ...
— India's Problem Krishna or Christ • John P. Jones

... author is not a cowboy—he's a perfect gentleman—as polished as I am; and there's nothing very sad in the book. It contains several lectures in the line of agnostic agitation, which were from time to time delivered by a very talented, but, as I think, mistaken man. When I say mistaken, I do not mean mistaken in the sense that our church people might apply the term to him; for our church people seem to misunderstand ...
— A Strange Discovery • Charles Romyn Dake

... days they man or woman who was moved by the enthusiasm of humanity put on robe or veil and swore celibacy and obedience, can really be practised quite as well without religious vows, peculiar dress, articles of religion, papal allegiance, or anything of the kind. The doubter, the agnostic, the atheist, may as truly sacrifice himself and give up his life for humanity as the most saintly of the faithful. There was an enthusiast fifteen years ago who cheerfully endured prison and exile, ...
— As We Are and As We May Be • Sir Walter Besant

... and destroyed, for the mind would have become engaged with something that was beneficial and helpful. And remember this: God is good, and it is His pleasure to help those who are seeking to help themselves. Or to put it in a way that even our agnostic friends can receive, Nature is on the side of the man or woman who is seeking to live naturally, that is, rightly. Hence, substitute good thoughts for the worrying thoughts and the latter will fade away as do the mist and fog ...
— Quit Your Worrying! • George Wharton James

... course, he assured himself that he was not intended for the life of a clergyman. One who reads his mocking sayings, or what seemed to be a clever string of jeers directed against religion, might well think that Carlyle was throughout his life an atheist, or an agnostic. He confessed to Irving that he did not believe in the Christian religion, and it was vain to hope that ...
— Famous Affinities of History, Vol 1-4, Complete - The Romance of Devotion • Lyndon Orr

... years old. Her labors were quite heavy for the neat six years. At the end of that time, she and her father moved to Foleshill, near Coventry, where she had ample leisure to pursue her studies and music. At Foleshill, she came under the influence of free-thinking friends and became an agnostic, which she remained through the rest of her life. This home was again broken up in 1849 by the death of her father. Through the advice of friends she sought comfort in travel ...
— Halleck's New English Literature • Reuben P. Halleck

... a doctor who is a scientist, who does not believe in anything not material being scientific; a vicar who is a typical clergyman, who thoroughly believes in supernatural things until they are proved, when he becomes an agnostic; a young American who is a cad and a fool; a girl who believes in fairies and goes to Holy Communion, which is the one thing that depicts she has a certain amount of sense; a duke who ends every sentence with a quotation from Tennyson ...
— Gilbert Keith Chesterton • Patrick Braybrooke

... 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 ...
— The Life Everlasting: A Reality of Romance • Marie Corelli

... most of the German school then and since, which justly offended both his scientific and his religious sense. Agassiz always "thought nobly of the soul," and could in no way approve either materialistic or agnostic opinions. The idealistic turn of his mind was doubtless confirmed in his student days at Munich, whither he and his friend Braun resorted after one session at Heidelberg, and where both devotedly attended the lectures of Schelling—then in ...
— Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 4 of 8 • Various

... knowledge could lead him. We learn this from the concluding words of his chapter on religion "The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic."[86] ...
— Evolution in Modern Thought • Ernst Haeckel

... 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 deduce ...
— At Large • Arthur Christopher Benson

... ($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 ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, October 1887 - Volume 1, Number 9 • Various

... when they are formulated as creeds. These persons mean that they have no regard for group beliefs but only for those of the individual. Each has his own beliefs, and he must have confidence in them, for they are the grounds on which he acts, if he is a normal man. Even the faith of an Agnostic is based on a very positive belief. As for me, I feel that the churchman goes one step beyond him: he even doubts Doubt. Said Socrates: "I know nothing except this one thing, that I know nothing. The rest of you are ignorant even of this." Socrates was a great man. If he had been greater still, ...
— A Librarian's Open Shelf • Arthur E. Bostwick

... 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, The Buddhist, ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... we've polished his wicked wits for him! Even his dialect is no longer pure South Carolinian; it is corrupted by Northern slang. We have ruined his religious principles, too. The crackers haven't much of any morality, but they are very religious,—all Southerners are. But Demming is an unconscious Agnostic. 'I tell ye,' he says to the saloon theologians, 'thar ain't no tellin'. 'Ligion's a heap like jumpin' arter a waggin in th' dark; yo' mo'n likely ter lan' on nuthin'!' And you have seen for yourselves that he has lost the ...
— Stories by American Authors, Volume 7 • Various

... is a thoroughgoing evangelist, who, in the stress of temptation by 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 tradition of ...
— The Poet's Poet • Elizabeth Atkins

... 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 Miranda, who was sitting at Bentham's feet about ...
— The English Utilitarians, Volume II (of 3) - James Mill • Leslie Stephen

... silliness; in literature, an intemperate mixture of dull style and cowardly ideas, for they had to credit the business man with honesty, the buccaneer who purchased a dot for his son and refused to pay that of his daughter, with virtue; chaste love to the Voltairian agnostic who accused the clergy of rapes and then went hypocritically and stupidly to sniff, in ...
— Against The Grain • Joris-Karl Huysmans

... Manchester Fenians had been conducted and at the sentence pronounced against them, but his Imperialist and O'Connellised self had deprecated the action of the Fenians in the first place. He was a Catholic by blood and an agnostic by temperament; the former made him abhor blasphemy, and the latter definite boundaries. He was a follower of Russell, that aristocrat of reform, and yet voted against his Reform Bill, as many Liberals did, because it was half-hearted. He was an Irish-Canadian and sat for a ...
— Secret Bread • F. Tennyson Jesse

... 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.' But such evidence was not forthcoming in ...
— The Coming of Evolution - The Story of a Great Revolution in Science • John W. (John Wesley) Judd

... tells you that woman is independent, self-sufficing. Your instincts cry feebly for passion, that savage outlaw which still lies in wait for the modern woman, to carry her whither she would not. Hence your lapse from strict agnostic morality into matrimony, bondage, subjection, and ...
— The Black Cat - A Play in Three Acts • John Todhunter

... "All agnostic writers seem to think that there is no reason in religion, and at times they come pretty near proving it ...
— Dorian • Nephi Anderson

... how, a short time previous to his death, Col. Robert Ingersoli, the agnostic lecturer, gave out a thesis with the above title, offering a negative conclusion. Some discussion ensued in public print; the question was debated hotly, and whole columns of pros and cons were inflicted on the suffering public by the theologues who ...
— Explanation of Catholic Morals - A Concise, Reasoned, and Popular Exposition of Catholic Morals • John H. Stapleton

... 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. ...
— Ardath - The Story of a Dead Self • Marie Corelli

... 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

... founded by Pyrrho (4th contury B.C.). He advocated "suspension of judgment," and taught the relativity of knowledge and impossibility of proof. The school is not unlike the Agnostic school. ...
— Meditations • Marcus Aurelius

... "agnostic'' was invented by Huxley in 1869 to describe the philosophical and religious attitude of those who hold that we can have scientific or real knowledge of phenomena only, and that so far as what may lie behind phenomena is concerned—God, immortality, &c.—there is no evidence which entitles ...
— Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia

... her great surprise that so secret and private a matter should have been correctly stated. Mrs. Nicol then explained that she and her husband, both connected with journalism and both absolutely agnostic, had discovered that she had the power of automatic writing. That while, using this power she had received communications purporting to come from Fred Bridger whom they had known in life, and that upon reading ...
— The Vital Message • Arthur Conan Doyle

... all the while impressed with a profound and sad conviction that the machine is in a bad way, and certain to smash up, whatever is done? Consequently we have just such weak documents as this encyclical letter, emanating now from an eminent agnostic scientist, now from a millionnaire "philanthropist" and now from the Pope—all conflicting with each other, the first denying that man has any more rights than a rattlesnake, the second lauding a "triumphant democracy" which has ...
— The Arena - Volume 4, No. 22, September, 1891 • Various

... 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

... developed in those whose minds have been fed upon it. However, there was nothing aggressive in the attitude of either toward religious observance. The grandfather especially seems to have been a "gentle sceptic," an agnostic in the germ, affirming nothing beyond the natural, probably because all substantial ground for supernatural affirmations seemed to him to be cut away by the fundamental training imparted to him. He was a kindly, virtuous, warm-hearted man, with a life of his own which made him incurious ...
— Life of Father Hecker • Walter Elliott

... a Catholic. His mother was an American Catholic, rather strict and narrow. His brothers and 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 ...
— Twelve Men • Theodore Dreiser

... spiritual beings while we do not know how to serve men? We feel the existence of something invisible and mysterious, but its nature and meaning are too deep for the human understanding to grasp. The safest, indeed the only reasonable, course is that of the agnostic—to leave alone the unknowable, while acknowledging its existence and its mystery, and to try to understand knowable phenomena and guide our ...
— Myths and Legends of China • E. T. C. Werner

... in the course of the prolific verbosity of pontificated dogma which has graced the scroll of medical science, whole libraries have been written—and ably written, too—by skillful pens for the sole purpose of covering the simple nudity of the agnostic position of science—the dreaded, confidence-shattering admission: "I ...
— Valere Aude - Dare to Be Healthy, Or, The Light of Physical Regeneration • Louis Dechmann

... orthodoxy; and, beneath all, a vague disquiet, a breaking up of ancient social and natural bonds, and a blind groping toward some more cosmopolitan creed and some deeper satisfaction for the emotional needs of mankind.'— The Religion of all Sensible Men in An Agnostic's Apology, 1893.]; all that need be done is to pass in review those points of it, some important, and some trifling, which are sure to occur in a detached way ...
— Works, V1 • Lucian of Samosata

... cut it off from disturbing supernatural imaginings. We have set ourselves to purge out from our scheme of things anything that seemed to interfere with it. The unseen was the unknown and the unknowable. But our agnostic programme has broken down. Facts have been too much for it. The isolation desired by it is impossible. In and out of the life that we can cover with our rationalized experiences, there are influences, forces, powers which are forever ...
— The Life Radiant • Lilian Whiting

... (in imprisonment) And in an awful storm at sea she asked the mate what mizzen meant; It was a plucky act; if I'd neglected to report it you'd Never have known the depth and true dimensions of her fortitude. If you remain agnostic, if you hold it still not proven, I'll Give fifty more examples of her courage when a juvenile; They lie in my portfolio, all printed, filed and docketed, Including one in which a stick ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, January 21st, 1920 • Various

... under the shadow of the Cross, and what is best in it still breathes the spirit of the Crucified. It is to be feared that Eastern thinkers consider it rather an advantage than a detriment that they are appropriating the material progress of Europe unfettered by Christian traditions,—as agnostic countries. But, for the present at least, agnosticism with Christian ages behind it is a very different thing from agnosticism which has never ...
— The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and Future • A. T. Mahan

... for the enslavement of their fellow-creatures. As he told his friend Trelawny, he used the word Atheism "to express his abhorrence of superstition; he took it up as a knight took up a gauntlet, in defiance of injustice." But Shelley believed too much to be consistently agnostic. He believed so firmly and intensely in his own religion—a kind of passionate positivism, a creed which seemed to have no God because it was all God—that he felt convinced he only needed to destroy accepted figments, for the light which blazed around him to break ...
— Percy Bysshe Shelley • John Addington Symonds

... Agnostic and Churchman, denier and believer, have split on the same amatory rock. The knowledge breathes no sympathy in the ...
— The Dop Doctor • Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

... childhood, but now normal in 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 views ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... science, for it assumed its position in an age of dense ignorance, and claimed too much infallibility to admit of enlightenment. Nevertheless, the Church feels the spirit of the age and slowly moves. At the present time it is being slowly permeated by the modern spirit of agnostic scepticism, which is another form ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, December 1887 - Volume 1, Number 11 • Various

... Sundays, despite all of the execrations of the priest, and the terrible threats of eternal damnation, he often dozes the Sabbath away unperturbed on the stove; and lets the women attend to the church going. Under Bolshevik rule Holy Russia will be Agnostic Russia; and it is a pity, for religious teaching was the guiding star of these poor people, and religious precepts, hard, gloomy and dismal though they were, the foundation of ...
— The History of the American Expedition Fighting the Bolsheviki - Campaigning in North Russia 1918-1919 • Joel R. Moore

... 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 ages, insult the face of the sun any ...
— Varied Types • G. K. Chesterton

... the lot of our suffering fellow creatures here on this earth. You can publish this if you please, but without suppressing any of it. If not and any notice is given of subscriptions as I see you are doing, I beg it may be notified that I send this mite as a reverent agnostic to our ...
— Darkest India - A Supplement to General Booth's "In Darkest England, and the Way Out" • Commissioner Booth-Tucker

... a materialist; he may be an idealist; he may be neither. In the last case, he may, with Spinoza, call the one Substance God; that is, he may be a Pantheist. On the other hand, he may, with Spencer, call it the Unknowable, and be an Agnostic. Other shades of opinion are open to him, if he ...
— An Introduction to Philosophy • George Stuart Fullerton

... state of settled gloom, I then became acutely anxious as to my soul's salvation, and feverishly pursued every ism and ology that caught my roving eye's attention, until in one short month I had become, in despairing rotation, an incipient agnostic, atheist, pantheist, and monist. Meanwhile I read Ibsen, and wisely discussed the new school of ...
— Mary Marie • Eleanor H. Porter

... receive this morning this question on a post-card: "Is a pragmatist necessarily a complete materialist and agnostic?" One of my oldest friends, who ought to know me better, writes me a letter that accuses the pragmatism I am recommending, of shutting out all wider metaphysical views and condemning us to the ...
— Pragmatism - A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking • William James

... talk and in soliloquy, as a believer in deity, in prayer, in 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

... a long time he avoided them, but at length he fell into a particularly damp one, and would inevitably have been drowned, had not the sagacious Stray brought men to his assistance. And thus SONOGUN, the scoffer, the agnostic, the moody, gloomy, morose, cast-iron, Roman-faced misanthrope, got home. That same evening he changed his clothes and his character, and on the ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100. March 7, 1891. • Various

... to believe literally in the devil, or in devils—concerning whose existence many persons will prefer to remain agnostic—in order to find in the figure of the devil, as he appears in Biblical and other literature, a convenient personification of certain forms of evil. There is an atmosphere of evil about us, a Kingdom ...
— Religious Reality • A.E.J. Rawlinson

... a Christian man, I did not dare to deny that miracles happened; as a reasonably humble man, I did not dare to deny that they happened at Lourdes; yet, I suppose, my attitude even up to now had been that of a reverent agnostic—the attitude, in fact, of a majority of Christians on this particular point—Christians, that is, who resemble the Apostle Thomas in his less agreeable aspect. I had heard and read a good deal about psychology, about the effect of mind on matter and of nerves ...
— Lourdes • Robert Hugh Benson

... David, "are around him." "No man," said the Preacher, "can find out the work of God." ... The difference between religions is a difference in their relative content of agnosticism. The most satisfying and ecstatic faith is almost purely agnostic. It trusts absolutely without professing to ...
— Damn! - A Book of Calumny • Henry Louis Mencken

... behind her handkerchief. "I'm trying to show you that it's your duty to yourself—and to me—and to people who can know how to profit by your teaching and your example, not to give way as you're doing, simply because a wornout old agnostic couldn't keep his hold on the truth. I don't know what your Rixonitism is for if it won't let you wait upon the divine will in such a thing, too. You're more conscientious than the worst kind of Congregationalist. And now for ...
— A Pair of Patient Lovers • William Dean Howells

... was nearly opposite the entrance to Chancery Lane, and was for nearly thirty years an exceedingly pleasant rendezvous of book-collectors, and whose proprietor was one of the most genial of bibliopoles. The third is Edward Truelove, of 256, High Holborn, the well-known agnostic bookseller, who removed here from the Strand, and who had been in business over forty years. Mr. Truelove retired two or three years since. Further up the road, in New Oxford Street, we find the shop of Mr. James Westell, whose career as ...
— The Book-Hunter in London - Historical and Other Studies of Collectors and Collecting • William Roberts

... any additional details which Cowperwood might want to have taken into consideration. When he was ushered in, Cowperwood turned to him his keen, analytical eyes and saw at once a personality he liked. McKibben was just remote and artistic enough to suit him. He liked his clothes, his agnostic unreadableness, his social air. McKibben, on his part, caught the significance of the superior financial atmosphere at once. He noted Cowperwood's light-brown suit picked out with strands of red, his maroon ...
— The Titan • Theodore Dreiser

... as the heathen temples are going into decay. If it does, Christianity will be as much benefited by it as the Japanese. The cast iron theology of the Anglo-Saxon race will not suit the Japanese. The works of agnostic scientists and liberals have already a strong hold on the Japanese. The Christianity of the past will have to be reformed and ameliorated to suit Japan. They will never appreciate the theology of the Andover creed, which has been versified as follows ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, March 1887 - Volume 1, Number 2 • Various

... man, however great and wise, 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 it a tree or a serpent. We are ...
— Robert Browning • G. K. Chesterton

... a satisfaction, even though it is not a delight, to come in contact with a mind like Mr. Hughes'; it is so definite, so hard and firm and palpable. You feel sure that it rests somewhere on the eternal verities. It is never agnostic. It has none of the malaise of the twentieth century. Mr. Justice Brandeis, when Mr. Hughes was governor of New York and a reformer and progressive, said of him, "His is the most enlightened mind of the ...
— The Mirrors of Washington • Anonymous



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



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