Agnosticism itself is contradicting itself

Irene Nickel

Atheism or agnosticism?

The difference is widely seen as something like this:

    Atheists assume that there is no God;

    Agnostics assume that one cannot know
whether there is a god or not.

What am I?
What is the best word to describe my beliefs?

In the years after 1970 -
since it became clear to me that I no longer believed in God -
I saw it something like Karlheinz Deschner
in his essay Why I am an agnostic writes:

“Theism claims, atheism denies God.
But everyone owes the proof [...].
Because no one can God
but no one can also prove its non-existence "
(P. 139 in Why I am a Christian / Atheist / Agnostic
by Friedrich Heer / Joachim Kahl / Karlheinz Deschner)

“But the agnostic also shies away from the irrevocable no. [...]
He's careful, but not out of fear. [...]
But he never gives guesses as probabilities,
never probabilities as certainties ... "
(P. 140)

"Since a 'highest being' can neither be verified nor, of course,
as a result of our knowledge limitation,
to be excluded without a doubt,
the agnostic thesis seems to me more responsible,
more consistent than the atheist.
Whereby the critical atheist,
who rejects the idea of ​​God as unfounded and superfluous,
is naturally closer to the agnostic than the dogmatic atheist,
who assertorically denies them. "
(P. 143 f)

So should I get one Agnostic call?
I was not entirely satisfied with this self-designation.
Because from what I read
I didn't even make it clear that I didn't believe in God.
In my lexicon, under "agnosticism" I found the following information:

"In the narrower sense philos. Doctrine of the unknowability of God,
partly to express to make way for faith (→ Augustine) "
      (The large fisherman's lexicon in color, 1975)

The words come from this church father Augustine:

"Where knowledge ends, belief begins."
(out: DUDEN quotes and sayings, Part II,
Keyword "Faith")

The word "agnostic"
could thus be associated with views
who were completely remote from me.

My dilemma was:
If I called myself an "agnostic", then I was saying too little,
if I called myself an “atheist” I was saying too much.

Occasionally I said of myself back then:

"In theory, I'm an agnostic,
I am practically an atheist. "

By that I meant that in my life practice,
in my thinking, feeling and acting
proceeded from the assumption of the nonexistence of God -
except when I was at it
to deal with theoretical considerations about the existence of God.

Another concept of "atheism"

For a long time it was a matter of course:
Atheism is the belief that there is no God.

That you could see it differently
I found out if I remember correctly
for the first time in 1991 at the atheist congress in Fulda,
where someone described his atheism something like this:

"With that I mean Not,
that I would claim that there is no God;
because I can't know for sure.
By that I mean rather:
From my point of view there are no convincing reasons
for the assumption that a god would exist.
So I don't believe in it - why should I? "1

"Weak Atheism"
can this kind of atheism be called as I learned later -
in contrast to "strong atheism",
the atheism I had known until then.
The difference,
in a nutshell:

    a strong atheist
is convinced that there is no God;

    a weak atheist
is not convinced that there is a God.

I liked the term "weak atheism".
It was an excellent match for my beliefs at the time,
as far as the existence of gods in general was concerned.

However, I saw it differently with some special ideas about God.
In certain cases it was clear to me:
One such God certainly doesn't exist.

One example was the God of the Bible.
And every other god as well,
of whom it is said he is almighty and very kind.
Such a god, and a world full of pain and suffering?
That couldn't be, I was firmly convinced of it.
(more about this consideration - the "theodicy problem" - here)

I would not have been so sure about other gods.

So I was neither a “weak atheist” in its purest form
another “strong atheist” in its purest form.
Occasionally I have called myself a "differentiating atheist".
I explained what I meant by that as follows:

    under a differentiating atheists
I understand a person
who decides depending on the concept of God,
whether he has the existence of a god who corresponds to this idea,
- for excluded,
- extremely unlikely
- or considers it more or less improbable,
- or whether he just sees no reason
to believe in the existence of such a god,
and only therefore decides
to live as if this God does not exist -
or if,
for example in pantheistic ideas of God,
in place of the Doubt of existence
the Criticism of the use of the word "God" kicks
thus the criticism of a language usage.2

Was that an end of either / or within reach?

The either-or between agnosticism and atheism,
of either / or between “weak” and “strong” atheism?

Agnostic and "weak atheist"
can man be in a person without further ado,
and between "weak" and "strong" atheism
extends a wide range of possibilities
of "differentiating" atheism.

The best conditions for a friendly coexistence?
Apparently that wasn't something that could be taken for granted.
Occasionally it amazed me
how violent the polemics
could be between atheists and agnostics.

Then the atheist Dr. Joachim Kahl:

"Such is agnosticism -
not to be confused with skepticism,
who is committed to the search for truth -
an attitude that is widespread today ideological laxity.
These Ideology of laziness ...“
(from: The answer of atheism Disclaimer,
First published in 1968;
Emphasis I. N.)

And the agnostic Dr. Michael Schmidt-Salomon:

"That too apparently anti-religious Counterpart to theism,
theoretical atheism,
originates from religious use of the "world in itself",
he claims thatGod does not exist in itself.
This too is an unjustifiable attempt
to seize the "world in itself".
Theoretical atheism poses as such
is no alternative to the religious dilemma.

A real, human alternative to religion
offers agnosticism alonewho refuses
To make statements about the "world itself",
because he turns to epistemological narrowness -
of humanity !! - confesses our constructions of reality.
Agnosticism is therefore
the epistemological basis
any serious humanism. "
(from: openness instead of revelation Disclaimer;
The article appeared in MIZ 4/94, page 47ff.
Emphasis I. N.)

In fairness it should be pointed out that
how far back these statements were;
I hope some of this is embarrassing to the authors themselves.3

The reasons of the opponents are more interesting:

Why the one the agnosticism,
the other so sharply rejected atheism.

Dr. Joachim Kahl took the view
belief in God can be refute.
He said there are two "pillars of atheism"
an “empirical” and a “metaphysical” proof.
He wrote:

"The empirical evidence aims at the unredeemed, miserable state of the world, the heart-wrenching, innocent suffering and death of animals and humans, which are incompatible with the belief in a simultaneously all-good, all-knowing, all-effective and all-powerful God."

Here goes Dr. Bald from a certain conception of God: that
"At the same time all-good, all-knowing, all-effective and all-powerful God".

However, this “pillar of atheism” only refutes
the existence of a god this kind.
She leaves the possibility open
that there could be an indifferent God
who would not be motivated to do anything about suffering.
And also the possibility
that there could be a god
who would be too powerless to do much about suffering.

"The second pillar of atheism," writes Dr. Bald,
"Denies ... God the Creator."
In his explanations - there are several - Dr. Bald
again certain characteristics of God in advance:
he is "unchangeable",
he is "perfect",
he was "a pure spirit".
As far as Dr. Kahl's justifications actually prove something
so again it is just the non-existence of a god of a certain kind.

Dr. Michael Schmidt-Salomon describes in his essay
God as "God in himself", from the area of ​​a "world in itself",
and about this "world in itself" he writes:

"We cannot perceive the world
how it exists apart from our perception.

If this sentence is correct
(and I don't know of any reasonable refutation of this sentence),
this means that secure access to the 'world in itself'
(the world detached from our perception)
is locked for all time ... "

From this point of view, Dr. Schmidt-Salomon
to agnosticism and finally to the statement:

"Whether God exists in himself or not,
is completely irrelevant from an agnostic perspective,
because undecidable. "

However, he only justified this statement
for the case of a "God in himself",
of a god, its existence or nonexistence
could not be verified on the basis of the state of the perceptible world.
That would have to be a god
about which no statements are made,
who would allow
from the assumption of its existence
any verifiable conclusions
to draw on the state of the perceptible world.

Dr. Schmidt-Salomon made this statement
only for ideas of God certain kind
and, as I know from later utterances of him,
there is also from his point of view
absolutely notions of God,
about which he would not have made such a statement.

Out of my sight
founded Dr. Joachim Kahl made his plea for atheism
for ideas of God of a certain kind,
and Dr. Michael Schmidt-Salomon made his plea for agnosticism
for ideas of God of a different kind.

The attitude of atheism towards one concept of God,
the attitude of agnosticism towards others -
both can find space very well
under one roof differentiating atheism.

Atheist and agnostic rolled into one?

Is this possible on the basis of a view
that I got to know in 2003 at the Forum Freigeisterhaus:4

    Agnosticism is one epistemological position
and denies the possibility of making definitive statements.

    Atheism is one ideological Attitude,
who knows no gods or even denies the existence of gods.

I found an interesting distinction.
It largely coincided with a self-description of me:
"In theory I am an agnostic, practically an atheist."

This is where atheism and agnosticism become
not as two alternative answers
one and the same question - "Is there a God?"
Rather, atheism and agnosticism
viewed as answers to two different questions:

    Agnosticism as an answer
on a epistemological Question:
What can we know
about the existence or nonexistence of God?
At what assumptions about it
can we be sure to what extent
that they apply or do not apply,
or that there is a high probability that they apply
or with a medium or low probability ?.

    Atheism as an answer
on a question of ideological attitude:
What are our assumptions
what options are we seriously considering,
with consequences for our lives?
What is the basis of our life practice,
of our thoughts, feelings and actions?

There is no contradiction in
if somebody the existence of some god -
perhaps a god who deliberately hides from us -
thinks theoretically possible
but irrelevant to his life
and therefore dispensable in the ideological basis
of his thoughts, feelings and actions.

An Achilles' heel of agnosticism?

"And if it does exist ..."

With this slogan Christians wanted to counter
as "activists in matters of 'disbelief'"
drove a bus through Germany in 2009,5
on which was to be read:
"There is (with a probability bordering on certainty) no God".

Have these Christians hit a weak point with their slogan,
with their opponents from the bus campaign
and also with many other people who do not believe in God?

Many of these people wouldn't say
that they for sure would know that there is no god.
Especially not the agnostics
in whose opinion one cannot even know.
And even the active ones from the bus campaign
speak of "probability bordering on certainty",
but not of certain certainty.

The existence of a god
So is used by a number of unbelievers
not considered entirely excluded.

The Christians tried to build on this
with their slogan "And if it does exist ...".
And what needs to be added to the three dots,
this is apparently supposed to amount to the conclusion:
Then that would be of the greatest relevance for everyone! "

Does that shake the position of the bus campaign activists?
And the position of those agnostics
who think the existence of a god is theoretically possible,
but for irrelevant to your life?

No. Not for two reasons:

1. When people admit
that it may be one God could give
then they have far not admitted
that it too the God of whom Christians speak
could possibly give.

2. Even if some agnostics admit,
that the God of Christians could possibly also exist,
is by no means said everything about
how relevant this possibility would have to be for these agnostics.

To 1.:
Whoever sees himself as an agnostic,
has by no means renounced the possibility
to differentiate between different ideas of God.
He can admit
that possibly any God could exist
maybe an indifferent god -
and at the same time he can consider it proven
that certain types of gods does not exist.
For example, because of the theodicy problem, he can
the existence of a almighty and very kind God
consider excluded
and with it the existence of the God of Christians.

The slogan "And if it does exist ..."
can't impress this agnostic
because for him it is certain that this is definitely not the case.

To 2 .:
Even if some agnostics admit
that the God of Christians could possibly also exist,
Doesn't that mean for a long time
that they attach more importance to this possibility
than the possibility that there might be any other god.

Some agnostics even understand their agnosticism as
that this does not only include the view
that one cannot know whether there is a god at all,
but also the view
that - if there is one God, or several -
could know nothing about this god or about these gods.
And some add
not even about the probabilities
of all the different options
could we make well-founded statements;
We also lack the necessary knowledge for this.

An agnostic with these beliefs
the question of whether there is a God hardly needs to be of interest
(except when he is dealing with theoretical considerations).
apart from such theoretical considerations,
needs the opportunity
that maybe there could be a god
having no consequences for his behavior.
Why should he do anything different about that
if he is about a possibly existing god
don't know a thing?
So if he doesn't even know
whether this god is interested in human behavior at all?
And if so, what would he like and what not?

On the slogan "And if it does exist ..."
can be an agnostic with these beliefs
answer in all serenity,
he already takes this possibility into account:
Both in his beliefs and in his behavior
do he consider this possibility,
and in exactly the way that it is due
as one of many possibilities.

"One possibility of many",
Of course, the agnostics can also admit that,
who do not think
that one knows as little about god or gods as just described.
Of course you can too
differentiate between different ideas of God,
of course they can have certain ideas about God
ascribing a lower probability than others.
And for example, they can see the existence of the God of Christians
ascribing a particularly low probability.
With that they have no reason
to attach particular importance to this possibility of all things;
even less than the agnostics previously described.

It appears,
that a thoughtful agnosticism
with a slogan like "And if it does exist ..."
need not falter.

At least as long as people orientate themselves
what they may, with good reason, believe to be true or untrue
or for more or less likely.

But people have their weaknesses

And there are starting points
for slogans like "And if it does exist ...".

The desire to be loved

The Christians appeal to this wish,
who advertised with the slogan,
on their website Disclaimer:
“We believe that God loves us
and that he wants a personal relationship with us.
We experience that as an enrichment ... "

An appeal that will certainly appeal to some Christians
and keeps them engaged.
The effect on unbelieving people is likely to be less.

The so vaunted "love" is not even attractive
for those of the unbelievers
experienced real love from real people.
What should the "love" of a god mean to them,
from which they could not even expect an answer,
when you speak to him?

In addition: Even if one or the other unbeliever
should feel the desire for this type of enrichment,
he knows that desire and reality are two different things.

It is of little help if the Christians explain on their website:
"Anyone who gets involved in the question of God,
can experience that it is reality. "
What these Christians experience
that can be explained as well as what a child experiences,
when it finds comfort and security in its cuddly toy.
It cannot be concluded from this
that the cuddly toy would be something other than a piece of dead matter,
it can still be concluded
that the God of these Christians would be something else
as an object of human imagination.
Anyone based on such experiences
wanted to trust
that this god would be real,
would have to lie something in his own pocket.

To do without it shouldn't be too difficult,
once you have had the experience
that one can get along very well without religious belief.

It may be different for some unbelieving people,
if it is not about temptations,
but about fears.

The fear of eternal damnation

If, contrary to expectations, the Christian religion should be true,
then all unbelievers are threatened with eternal damnation.
On this side of the Christian religion
do not need to specifically point out missionary Christians -
Many a Christian educated person remembers this immediately,
when he hears the slogan: "And if it does exist ..."

Has he heard this lesson often enough?
in religious education, in church,
in communion classes or in confirmation classes;
and he can also read it in his Bible:

"... but whoever doesn't believe will be damned."
(Mark 16:16)

This is a deeply terrifying lesson
if you take them really seriously:
Damnation means torments that never end.6

What fear this teaching can cause,
Many people are no longer aware of this nowadays.
You got used to
that many no longer take this teaching very seriously.
For example according to the motto:
"Nothing is eaten as hot as cooked."
Or it is said that the "eternal fire" is just a picture.
If it's a fitting picture
then it stands for something that is just as bad;
and what would you get from the fact that it is “only” a picture?
But if you say
the image of the eternal fire stands for something that is much more harmless,
then you don't take the text seriously.

With this "doublethink"7 some people may drive well themselves:
Bible-friendly facade yes, take the content seriously no.
The only fatal thing is
that these people help maintain a system
in which children are repeatedly told
the biblical texts are "God's word" and to be taken very seriously.
The consequences are borne by the children
who then actually take these texts seriously;
sometimes even contrary to parents and teachers,
with whose doublethink they cannot make friends.

"Hell lurks in the center of church disease",
writes the psychotherapist and theologian Richard Picker
in his book Sick through the church. (on page 192)
He also writes:
"Therapy has a difficult time against fear of hell.
You are through human history
and through catechesis (at least the past 200 years)
engraved deeply in people's consciousness. ...
They give absolute reinforcement to every fear and fear
or their justification. "
And Picker does not hide what not only Catholics,
but also Bible-literate Protestants know:
Jesus also warns of hell
'And do not be afraid of those who kill the body,
but cannot kill the soul,
but rather fear him
who can perish body and soul in hell ’(Mt 20:28)
'There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Mk 8:11). "
(the last quote - about Jesus - is on page 193;
italicized here is a heading,
as in Richard Picker's book;
a review by me of this book can be found here Disclaimer)

The fear of agony in hell
can make Christians spiritual prisoners of their faith.
If this fear arises with every doubt of faith,
then not everyone has the courage to face these doubts
and think openly about
whether it is justified to hold on to the faith.

Completely free from this fear
some people raised in a Christian way will not even then
when they have left that belief behind.
Some people are repeatedly plagued by the anxious question:
"What if it does exist?"

Such a fear can trigger this question,
when people have left their faith behind,
that "he" really exists,
but on the other hand have not come to the firm conviction
that "he" certainly does not exist.
If you seriously think it's possible
that "he" could actually exist.

And some think they have to.
After all, they hear from many quarters
by Christians as well as by agnostics and "weak" atheists,
that the existence of God can neither be proven nor refuted.
And quite a few advocates of this view
refer to the philosopher Immanuel Kant.

The uncertainty that arises from this is largely based
on mistakes in thinking and on psychology.

First mistake:
One pays too little attention to the difference
between two questions:

    the question of whether any God exists

    the question of whether a certain one God exists, the biblical Christian.

Kant's famous utterances relate to the first question:

"The highest being therefore remains for the purely speculative use of reason a mere, but nevertheless error-free ideal,
a concept [...] whose objective reality in this way
not proven, but also cannot be refuted ... "
(Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason,
last paragraph in the 7th section of the 3rd main part)

If one agrees with the view
that existence any Of God, even if it is a supreme God,
cannot be refuted,
then you don't have to agree with the view that
that the existence of the biblical-christian God
could not be refuted.

Rather, there are a number of reasons
the existence this To believe that God has been refuted.
For example the theodicy problem.

A second mistake in reasoning
can increase the uncertainty:
If people draw too far conclusions from it,
that in their opinion there is no evidence
neither for the existence of the biblical Christian God nor against it.
If you think so,
that's why one guess would be as good as the other,
therefore would be the presumption of existence
just as justified as the presumption of nonexistence.

Not necessarily.
Even where there is a lack of evidence
there is not always a lack of reasons
that speak for or against certain assumptions.

So someone can see good reasons to suspect
that there is no particular god
and hold on to the opinion
one proof for this assumption there is no.
Both are definitely compatible,
it does not lead to any logical contradiction.

To psychological problems
however, it can still lead.
A mere guess
can be too little for some Christian educated people,
to completely free them from fear of the torments of hell.
As long as there is a remnant of uncertainty
can that remain a sore point.

Psychology plays a major role in this.
One person who had such a problem confirmed to me:
The fear that plagued him
was the fear of the God he once believed in.
Not the fear of some strange gods;
about the possibility of their existence
he wasn't worried at all.
He saw no reason
the existence of his former god
to be considered more likely than the existence of other gods.

It seems that traces are left
when someone has seriously believed something for a long time.
That seems to increase the tendency
still believing it possible
and to pay attention to this possibility.
If not from the mind
but then sometimes based on feeling.

Then it doesn't always help to remember
how small the probability is
that the god of acquired religion would really exist.
Because on fear
affects a remnant of uncertainty
different from temptations.
Tempting loses much of its charm,
when it is probably not achievable one way or the other.
On the other hand, fear
cannot be silenced that easily.
Even if the probability is low
remains the possibility exist that what is feared will nevertheless occur -
and then it hits you with full force,
no matter how small the probability was previously.

Many agnostics and many "weak" atheists
do not know this problem.
But their reasoning that there is no reason
to believe in the God of the Bible and his hell,
is hardly of any help
once the fear has set in
in a Christian educated person.
Because the possibility is left open
that this God and his hell might exist after all.

It can be downright counterproductive if
when fearful Christian brought up people
be persuaded into extreme agnosticism,
to which the view belongs
that - if there is one God, or several -
could know nothing about this god or about these gods.
So that the existence of the God of the Bible
would be just as possible as the existence of any other god.
This makes it possible to
that the God of the Bible and his hell could really exist,
Left wide open.
To the detriment of fear-plagued people.

These people need strong arguments
to fight off their fear.
And it turns out that these arguments can be found
as soon as you pay attention to the individual statements,
which belong to certain ideas about God.

Then it turns out that there are good reasons for believing
that the god of the bible definitely does not exist.
I mentioned the theodicy problem.
Additional reasons,
to consider the message of the biblical-Christian religion unbelievable,
I performed on under
Nathan the wise -
or: questions of faith and rational decisions.

I am convinced that the theodicy problem is alone
proof that the God of the Biblical Christian religion
certainly does not exist.

And even if you don't see any evidence in it in the strict sense,
you can in it - and in the other reasons I have listed -
still see weighty reasons
who speak against the existence of this god.

In addition, there are reasons to be skeptical
against the threats of the Bible with eternal torments of hell:
Much of these threats are based
on the sermon of a certain Jesus of Nazareth.
This man preached one thing above all:
The "Kingdom of God" is imminent in the near future,
and some of his listeners would live to see it (Matthew 16:28).
Obviously, this spectacular event did not occur.
Jesus was completely wrong
and that in its central message.
He has shown himself to be a person
on whose speeches one does not need to give much.
Consequently, not even on his speeches about the eternal torments of hell.

Now Christians have had some practice
to hold fast to certain statements of the Bible,

even if you know
that a number of other statements in the Bible
has proven to be untrue.

The Christian faith survived brilliantly
the results of scientific research,
according to which the world and its living beings
originated in another way,
than what is described at the beginning of the Bible.
Many Christians today have no problem
in the biblical stories
of creation, of Noah's ark, and of the Tower of Babel
to see only pious poetry,
which you do not need to take literally
and which therefore poses no danger to their faith.
Some Christians are also known
that the pious poetry in the Bible goes a lot further:
So did recent archaeological research
also when leaving Egypt
and in the forcible conquest of the "promised land"
significant discrepancies between the Bible and historical reality uncovered.
Likewise, some Christians of today have become aware again
"That Jesus was mistaken in expecting the near end of the world".
(according to the theologian Rudolf Bultmann)
"Conscious again," I wrote,
because already at the time the New Testament was written
was this clear to some critical contemporaries of the early Christians:
"... At the end of the days scoffers will come,
who ... mockingly say:
Where is his promised arrival?
Since the fathers fell asleep, everything has remained
as it was from the beginning of creation. "
(2 Peter 3: 3-4)

All of this obviously doesn't change anything
that certain other statements of the Bible
for many Christians still "are gospel",
like that idiom so revealing
describes a certain type of belief.

Who leaves this belief behind,
does not always leave immediately and automatically
the associated thought patterns behind you.
At least not completely:
Certain statements believesyou maybe no longer
but you still seriously ask yourself
whether she is not possibly are true
although they were announced in connection with statements,
that are obviously wrong
and which are anything but irrelevant in this context.

The right thing to do is of course
that such false statements no proof are for
that every single statement in this context would have to be untrue.
In fact, these are false statements
"only" proof that
that you can also use other statements in this context
Reason to be skeptical Has.

But when someone is therefore seriously worries
that the threats of hell against unbelievers could be true,
then it needs a reference to
where this way of thinking leads.
There are a myriad of other statements
which one could also consider "possibly true"
on the grounds that there is no counter-evidence.
You could to prove,
that other gods don't really exist
perhaps Zeus or Baal or Krishna?
You could to prove,
that not the God of the Old Testament
would pour out his anger on all
who worshiped a man named Jesus as God,
against his first commandment
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me"?
You could to prove,
that there is no god
who would be deeply offended and angry
about the claims of Christians,
he had on purpose
an innocent man, especially his own son,
tortured to death on the cross?

My favorite alternative to the biblical-Christian God
is the latter.
On the one hand, because they are not burdened with traditional dogmas
is burdened that could give rise to their refutation,
for example according to the pattern: "I was on Olympus, and there is no Zeus."
But especially
a god appears to me who gets angry,
if you say this injustice and this cruelty to him,
a lot more plausible
as the God of Christians,
who found out about this outrageous blasphemy
also happy.

"You sucked this God out of your fingers,
You don't believe in him yourself! ",
could someone now counter me.
To which I reply:
First: So what?
Jesus believed in his threats from hell
but he also believed in the near end of the world,
and that did not happen.
If Jesus believed something
then that obviously does not speak in favor of believing that too.
And secondly
it doesn't matter that I don't believe in my alternate God.
On the contrary:
Just the fact that it seems absurd to me
to believe in this alternate God
or even to seriously consider its existence to be possible,
has proven useful to me at times.
She reminded me
that this is the normal response
on far-fetched ideas
like the possible existence of the alternate god
or even the possible existence of the God of Christians.
And it's a reasonable response:
If you have everything
which could possibly be true because it has not been refuted,
would seriously believe it is possible and worry about it
then you would hardly get out of worrying -
and it would often bring nothing
because the opposite could also be “possibly true”.

These considerations,
as ridiculous as they may seem to some,
have given me one or the other time
helped over weak moments,
when me in the first time of my disbelief
occasionally the anxious question plagued me: "What if it does exist?"

Time did the rest.
Bit by bit
my intellectual knowledge settled
into the corresponding feelings.
From the intellectual knowledge
that there was no reason
to be troubled by Jesus' threats to hell,
gradually developed the emotional reaction,
that I no longer felt worried.

With the slogan "And if it does exist ..."
Christians may occasionally succeed
To cause uncertainty.

But this uncertainty is mainly based on psychology.
At the level of the arguments
Agnostics and atheists have enough to counter this slogan.

And as for the feelings:

First, like a sense of fear
be a motive to deal with certain statements.
But it is not necessarily a reason
wanting to believe something that is not believed to be true.
Not everyone is ready to tell a lie to their own pocket;
because whoever lies to himself makes himself lied to.

And second, this is based on feeling of fear
to a large extent on habituation.
One can get used to it,
to take certain ideas seriously,
once you've believed in it
and took it seriously.
But you can get used to it again.
When you realize
that Jesus' ideas of hell
When seen in light, they don't deserve any more attention
than any other ideas
which at some point sprang from a human brain.

Differentiating atheism - strong atheism

I have my opinions for a long time
described as a "differentiating atheism".
And I still think it's right
to differentiate between different ideas of God.