Origin of agnostic
In a more recent trend, one can be agnostic simply by not taking a stand on something. In 2010, President Obama called himself “agnostic” on tax cuts until he had seen all available options. At a forum on sustainable energy in 2008, GE CEO Jeff Immelt said he was “fuel agnostic fundamentally.” In technology, software or hardware can be said to be agnostic as well. Computer code that can run on any operating system is called “platform agnostic,” and such services as phone and electric may be considered “agnostic” if not dedicated to a particular carrier, device, or user interface.
—Agnostic Front: A New York punk band, considered at the forefront of the New York hardcore music scene. Founded in 1983, in existence for over 25 years.
- "It [agnostic] came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the ‘gnostic’ of Church history who professed to know so much."-T. H. Huxley Agnosticism Collected Essays, Volume V; Science and Christian Tradition: Essays (1894)
- "In theory he [Prof. Huxley] is a great and even severe Agnostic,–who goes about exhorting all men to know how little they know."-R. H. Hutton Spectator (January 29, 1870)
- "Militant Agnostic: I don't know, and you don't either"-Bumper sticker Northern Sun (Accessed 2010)
- "Melville is a political agnostic in Billy Budd—he ‘doesn't know’ with finality—not because he is indifferent, but because he sees too much."-Robert Midler Exiled Royalties: Melville and the Life We Imagine (2006)
- "The whole point of it is to make sure that all ideas are on the table…So what I want to do is to be completely agnostic, in terms of solutions."-President Barack Obama by Rich Miller Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won't Prejudge Tax Increases Bloomberg Businessweek (Feb. 11, 2010)
- "Our view has always been technology agnostic."-Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila by James Aley and Ann Harrington Heads We Win, Tails We Win As cellphones continue their takeover of the world, one company is certain to succeed: Here's how Qualcomm does it. Fortune Magazine (March 3, 2003)
Examples from the Web for agnostic
In general, MBAs are agnostic about how cost cutting can be achieved.Burger King Invades Canada to Save His Faltering Kingdom|Daniel Gross|August 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
According to Pew, close to two-thirds of those who identify as atheist or agnostic are men.
For the record, I believe in God but am an agnostic about therapy.Anthony Weiner and Other Democrats in Sex Scandals Don’t Mention God|Dean Obeidallah|July 25, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Street savvy but compassionate, mystical but agnostic and above all, brilliantly idiosyncratic, Fly is a rambling poet of sorts.
I'm agnostic on affirmative action as a policy matter:it's an unjust way of rectifying a deep injustice.
The Agnostic is one who asserts—what no one denies—that there are limits to human intelligence.Theism or Atheism|Chapman Cohen
But what the agnostic means is that human reason is inadequate to grasp the greatness of the ultimate being.A Critical History of Greek Philosophy|W. T. Stace
The agnostic holds that there are limits to human reason, and that theology lies outside those limits.A History of Freedom of Thought|John Bagnell Bury
You cannot in one breath say that Lincoln was an agnostic, and then in the next one say that Lincoln was an honest man.The Battle of Principles|Newell Dwight Hillis
Is there any difference between the knowledge of the Christian and of the Agnostic?The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. 11 (of 12)|Robert G. Ingersoll
Word Origin for agnostic
1870, "one who professes that the existence of a First Cause and the essential nature of things are not and cannot be known" [Klein]; coined by T.H. Huxley (1825-1895), supposedly in September 1869, from Greek agnostos "unknown, unknowable," from a- "not" + gnostos "(to be) known" (see gnostic). Sometimes said to be a reference to Paul's mention of the altar to "the Unknown God," but according to Huxley it was coined with reference to the early Church movement known as Gnosticism (see Gnostic).
I ... invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of 'agnostic,' ... antithetic to the 'Gnostic' of Church history who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. [T.H. Huxley, "Science and Christian Tradition," 1889]
The adjective is first recorded 1870.