Agnosticism is a belief system that adheres to the principle that there may or may not be a higher power. Agnostics are separate from atheists, who do not believe in any religious practices or share religious beliefs with anyone. Agnostics are also separate from more religious people because they question the validity of their beliefs.
There are many reasons for which agnosticism could be praised. Among them is the reason that agnostics are thoughtful, questioning that which many people regard as fact. Agnostics are forever considering how or why. These attitudes could be applied in the argument against religion.
Religion is an institution that requires subordination.
In a religious institution, adherents are expected to hold true to the beliefs of the group. This often leads to conflict when the group’s beliefs are held against an individual belief system.
Religion also discourages the kind of questioning agnostics are fond of.
While many religions encourage questions, believers are supposed to do just that: believe. When a person starts to question their religious beliefs, many others within the group are inclined to ostracize that person as a nonbeliever.
Both of these examples can lead to major conflicts: both inner and outward. Large groups of people who believe what they are told can be made to act in any conceivable way. A person of influence may use these people to his own benefit.
People feel very strongly about their beliefs in situations such as these. They may feel their beliefs are superior to those of others and act accordingly. An agnostic will consider all alternative viewpoints equally.
Agnostics do not eliminate the possibility of a higher power.
Agnostics question, think, and observe any possible evidence toward one or another viewpoint. These viewpoints which are beneficial to agnostics may be to the detriment of atheists.
Atheism eliminates the very human need to look outside of oneself for hope and advice. Atheists are happy to depend only on themselves.
There are several good reasons to search for hope and advice from a higher power. Imagining the judgment of another can lead to better moral decisions. Without the fear of judgment or punishment, a person is much more likely to commit a wrong.
Hope is also very important to a satisfying emotional life.
Without hope, a person does not have anything to anticipate. Positive anticipation gives an individual a reason to go about his life the way he wants to live it. Without this, a person can easily slip into depression and despair.
Considering alternative viewpoints, while all the while asking questions and forming their own opinions, agnostics are very reasonable. They are equally unlikely to be caught up in religious fervor or the despair that can come with having nothing to believe in. Not taking anything for granted, while still leaving room for hope, agnostics have the more positive aspects of either side.