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Is Bill Gates an atheist?


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September 28, 2010 9:07AM

It's not entirely known, but probably agnostic. Agnostic people are unsure of the existence of a god. Atheists lack the belief of any gods.

See related link for quotes from Bill Gates on the subject.

Microsoft Cofounder and CEO, was interviewed November 1995 on PBS by David Frost. Below is the transcript with minor edits...

Frost: Do you believe in the Sermon on the Mount?

Gates: I don't. I'm not somebody who goes to church on a regular basis. The specific elements of Christianity are not something I'm a huge believer in. There's a lot of merit in the moral aspects of religion. I think it can have a very, very positive impact.

Frost: I sometimes say to people, do you believe there is a god, or do you know there is a god? And, you'd say you don't know?

Gates: In terms of doing things I take a fairly scientific approach to why things happen and how they happen. I don't know if there's a god or not, but I think religious principles are quite valid.

The artificer here is the term agnostic. Agnosticism is not a position on belief, it is a position on knowledge. The prefix A means without and Gnostic refers to knowledge, hence agnostics do not claim to have knowledge of the existence of any gods. Belief is a binary position, either on believes in some proposition or one does not, there is no middle ground (no one can half-believe something). Given his comments Bill Gates appears most likely to be an agnostic atheist, that is a person who does not believe in any gods but does not claim to know that they don't exist.