Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Agnosticism, the doctrine that no knowledge of a spiritual world does or can exist for mankind, must be carefully distinguished from Atheism, which asserts dogmatically that there is no God. Professor Huxley derived the word Agnosticism from the inscription on the altar seen by St. Paul at Athens (Acts xvii. 23), Agnosto Theo (to an unknown God), and the possibility of the existence of a Deity is not denied, the conclusion of philosophy being accepted, that, as all knowledge rests on the law of the uniformity of nature (a law merely coextensive with human experience), where experience stops knowledge must stop also. The necessity for an Ultimate Cause, or Persistent Force, is recognised, but to quote Mr. Herbert Spencer's words, "our own and all other being is a mystery for ever beyond our comprehension." The question arises as to what Agnosticism can substitute for the sanctions of religion when the dictates of morality are concerned. Love of our fellow-creatures and self-sacrifice for their sakes seem to be generally regarded as the result of the gradual strengthening of the sympathetic emotions in the evolution of humanity and it is asserted that this development will continue. But it obviously remains to be proved whether such is the case, and also whether with most men altruistic sentiments will prevail when unsupported in the conflict with the contradictory impulses of a strong egoism.