Shedding the ‘Agnostic’ Label

Troy Fitzgerald just published a book last month called Cults and Closets in which he referred to himself as a “devout agnostic.”

And now, in the span of a few weeks, he’s ready to shed that label, too:

… when atheists would tell me I was sitting on the fence by calling myself agnostic, I just didn’t get it. It ticked me off, just like when gay guys would say I was fence-sitting by calling myself bisexual… even though I’ve just published the book, I’m already finding myself compelled to come out of, yet, another closet. Not because I never acknowledged I was an atheist or that because I am ready to come out as an atheist now. I already have. But I’m “coming out” because I’m ready to give up the title “devout agnostic” and even just “agnostic.”

So, I now get why atheists would get annoyed when guys like me would call ourselves “agnostic atheists” just as I get why some gay guys would get annoyed when I — a guy who almost never thought about women sexually — could call myself bisexual. I believe the possibility of a God or a deity existing is about as likely as a Flying Spaghetti Monster or magical purple ponies. So, I am truly without a belief in God. I am by definition an atheist. And I’m no more agnostic about God than I am agnostic about my sexuality. I am no more agnostic about the existence of God than I am agnostic about magic purple ponies.

Troy’s whole story is fascinating — it’s about how he grew up the son of a pastor in a religious cult, and how he came out as gay after being married and having three sons. As his book’s subtitle notes, he came out of chaos and it feels exhilarating. His post and book are definitely worth checking out.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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