Difference Between Agnostic and Atheist

Main Difference – Agnostic vs. Atheist

Many people misuse the two terms agnostic and atheist. Although both these terms are related to the belief in God, there is a difference between them. The main difference between Agnostic and Atheist is that an atheist is a person who doesn’t believe in god whereas an agnostic is a person who is not sure whether the god exists or not. An agnostic is neither a disbeliever nor a believer of god whereas an atheist is a disbeliever.

Difference Between Agnostic and Atheist - infographic

Who is an Atheist

Atheists are people who don’t believe in the existence of god. Most of the major religions in the world (e.g., Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism) are based on the existence of god. The followers of these religions believe in the existence of god(s). Thus, many atheists do not follow these religions. Religious people, i.e., those who follow religion and believe in the existence of god are called theists.

The disbelief in god can arise from the inherent inability to believe incredulous religious teachings; atheism can also be a deliberate choice. Atheists can be categorized into two types: strong atheists and weak atheists. Strong atheists deny the existence of any god whereas weak atheist simply lacks belief in god.

Main Difference - Agnostic vs Atheist

Agnostic – Meaning and Usage

An agnostic is a person who believes that there is no way of knowing whether the god exists or not. Agonists are therefore neither believers nor disbelievers of god. Agonists believe that there is no way of knowing about the existence of the god because they have not found any evidence, or proof to support the existence of god. Since they are not ready to accept theories of divinity and divine power without evidence, they can be described as rational or free thinkers.

There are two types of agnostics: theist agnostics and atheist agnostics. Theist agnostics are people who believe in god but thinks that existence of god cannot be known. Atheist agnostics are people who do not believe in god and thinks that existence of god cannot be known.

Gnostic is the opposite of agnostic. Gnostics believe that the existence of the god can be known and proved. Gnostics can also be classified into two different categories: theist gnostic and atheist gnostic.

Difference Between Agnostic and Atheist

Difference Between Agnostic and Atheist

Existence of God

Agnostic does not believe that the existence of god can be known or proved.

Atheist does not believe in the existence of god.


Agnostic is neither a believer nor a disbeliever of god.

Atheist is a disbeliever.


Agnostic is the opposite of Gnostic.

Atheist is the opposite of Theist.

Image Courtesy:

“No God” By TeVe – Own work (Public Domain) via

” Euler diagram of Theological Positions” by Marekich – Own work (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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