In a word, “No”
But that does progress the debate very far, does it?
Before I deal with the issue, let me do what we agnostics do best: change the subject. (But I do promise to come back to the main topic before very many paragraphs).
Your belief system is the sum of your life experiences to date. As things happen to you, your beliefs get tempered. Sometimes by something with such a huge impact you may go through an epiphany and take on a whole new dimension to your life.
That is, if I had had exactly the same life that you have lived, at this momement I would have a belief system identical to yours, regardless if you are pagan, born-again or Danish.
Which leads me to two conclusions: belief systems are not permanent: and for me to deny your belief would be for me to deny your entire life to date. The first gives hope to all those who wish to change world views, and the second tells us how wrong a simple denial of your existing belief system would be. One really cannot deny a person’s entire life and expect to get any respect, or an open mind, for doing so.
Furthermore – to the true agnostic – it is always on our minds that if your belief is not the same as ours, you may be right, and we may be wrong. (“True Agnostic” is rather like “True Scotsman” – I will adapt its meaning from time to time to make sure that I can always win one of those nit-picking, detailed, laborious arguments).
The reason that agnostic and atheist tend to get dumped into one class comes from the dualistic nature of all religions: either you believe or you are a non-believer. And since there is enough truth in that simplistic position, it is suffice to derail a lot of discussion. Dualism is very powerful in putting down opposition to a world view: therefore dualism is a topic we shall surely look at in detail before long. But because the religious want us to be a single group, that does not mean that we are in any way identical.
The atheist and agnostic are similar in that they have come to find that the god of their birth religion to be so lacking in credulity as to be unacceptable as a rational belief.
And then comes the big divide. The atheist says, inter alia, since I do not believe in the God that I have been asked to believe in for all my life, no other Gods exist Now, it may be true that no other Gods exist, but this does not simply follow from a personal belief being lost in the existence of a specific god.
On the other hand, the agnostic will state “Although the God of my birth is no longer currently part of my belief system, it is not impossible that Gods do exist. As far as I can tell, they have not provided any proof of their existence, and belief without proof is simply faith. Faith is the way of the religious. I am not religious.” This is a tad circular, but will do for an opening position. It will get refined over time.
Those of a religious bent may point to their Religious Experiences, and explain how it transcends all necessity for proof. This is a biggie – if God makes his presence known directly to you, how can you deny Him? The thing is, RE is far more common than you might imagine – and it tells us more about how the brain works than it tells us about the existence of supernatural beings. More of this in my very next article.
Suffice for now that atheists say there are no gods, and agnostics respond by saying: “In that case, prove it”. Agnosticism requires a mental and philosophical regimen that few atheists can really comprehend. And, one observes, if atheists did have an unassailable proof, we would all be atheists.