A term invented in September 1869 by the English scientist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), supposedly from Greek agnostos "unknown, unknowable." The term is now proudly claimed by many people who believe the word means that they do not believe in religion. Surprisingly, the word agnostic is a very accurate description for them, since the word agnostic is actually derived from the prefix a- "not, without" and the word gnostikos "knowing, able to discern," from gnostos "knowable," from gignoskein "to learn, to come to know," thus agnostic means "without knowledge, to not know, to be ignorant." In fact, he said:

"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." —Science and Christian Tradition, 1889

Curiously, those who embrace the term "agnostic" usually fail to realize that its origin was steeped in an effort to reject the blind faith of religious fanatics, and encourage freedom of personal investigation, all of which is the heart and soul of Gnosticism. After all, the word gnosis means "experiential knowledge of truth." So, in this regard, Huxley and his followers, while attempting to reject religion, were actually using an aspect of Gnostic reasoning. One can only know the truth through your own experience, and to acquire that experience, one must free the mind from beliefs, dogmas, religions, sects, etc.

"The mind must free itself from all kinds of schools, religions, sects, beliefs, etc. All those “cages” are obstacles which render the mind incapable of thinking freely. It is necessary for the mind to become free of the illusions of this world and to instead become a fine and marvelous instrument of the Inner Being." —Samael Aun Weor

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