Jump to content


Getting an "Insecure Connection" warning for Exisle? No worry

Details in this thread

Who Here is an Agnostic?

Religion Agnostic

  • Please log in to reply
67 replies to this topic

#1 Vapor Trails

Vapor Trails

    In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big.

  • Awaiting Authorisation
  • 16,523 posts

Posted 03 April 2005 - 01:44 PM

I think people here are pretty clear on my views on religion. I figure I want to clarify some points, and if possible, have a discussion. I don't know how much time I'll have to post to this thread, but I'll try to add stuff when I can.

I don't believe in ANY of the world's religions. In that sense, I'm an atheist. Do I believe there's an "intelligence" behind the Cosmos? I simply don't know. So, in that sense, I guess that would make me an agnostic. And what I view as "intelligence" may not be applicable to the reality that exists out there. I'm a lowly human, after all. Do my views REALLY matter, in the grand scheme of things?

I'm readily willing to admit that I don't have the answers to everything, and IMHO, I think that's the smartest way to look at these mysteries. I can understand why there are those who might think there is a "logic" to how things work in Nature, therefore meaning a "supreme being" is behind all this; when you look at how plants work, when you see how animals seem to fit in differing environments around the world, and so on and so forth. But that idea of "logic" in nature falls flat when you look at humans. The examples that show the illogic of humanity are far too vast to discuss here.

I see myself as on a journey of trying to understand. I also am a very analytical person, and I force myself every day to face hard reality. What I want to believe doesn't matter; all that matters is the REALITY that exists out there. I don't care that millions of people subscribe to a certain belief system. As someone once said, "If two million people do a foolish thing, it's still a foolish thing."

We look back at the ancient Egyptians, their pyramids, and their gods as strange curiosities. Yet, I wouldn't be surprised that thousands of years later-assuming humanity is still around-that people will look back at places like the Basilica in Rome, churches, mosques, Bhuddist temples and the like as strange curiosities.

To quote a line from a Rush song:

Why are we here? Because we are here. Roll the bones.

Saul

Edited by Digital Man, 03 April 2005 - 01:50 PM.

Posted Image

Politicians are like bananas; they hang together, they're all yellow, and there's not a straight one among them.

"We're relevant for $ and a vote once every two years. Beyond that, we're completely irrelevant, except of course to consume, and preach the gospel according to [insert political demigod here]."--Cait

#2 Godeskian

Godeskian

    You'll be seein' rainbooms

  • Islander
  • 26,839 posts

Posted 03 April 2005 - 01:53 PM

Good for you Saul.

from a Scatman John song.

"I want to be a human being, not a human doing."

I'm not an agnostic, but i'm glad to see you are still enjoying the mysteries of the world :)

Defy Gravity!


The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.


#3 Snow Angel

Snow Angel

    Fallen... and I can't get up

  • Islander
  • 1,933 posts

Posted 03 April 2005 - 02:07 PM

Okay, I'll step right up and hope not to get slammed too hard :)

EDITED:  ^^  (cuz I'm a slow poster)

For starters, I agree with everything you just said.  (wow, how often does someone say a thing like that in OT?)

I was raised Christian, but don't believe I ever was one.  I went to church every sunday as a child, but was removed from sunday school for asking too many inflammatory questions.  They would have let me back, but I didn't want to go.

I don't know exactly how old I was, but still quite young when my parents decided that it should be up to me if I wanted to keep going to church, and I never went back.  Though both firm believers, I am happy to say they are not exactly the fundamentalist sort, and this did not do too much damage to our relationship.  I know a lot of people are not so lucky as to have their parents be so accepting.

For a few years, I discribed myself as an atheist, until a friend actually explained to me what an agnostic was and the basic differences between the two.

An atheist knows there is no god, and agnostic may consider it unlikely, but is willing to admit there's no way to prove it.  I eventually realized that atheism really makes about as much sense as any religion, after all, it's all based on being thoroughly convinced of something outside the realm of your own senses.

How can I know that there is something in the universe that I am wholly incapable of sensing in any way?  How can I know there isn't?

I can't.  I honestly don't believe that anyone can.

In fact, my friend who explained agnosticism to me (actually a liberal christian herself), reccommended a choice bumper sticker for me (in the event I ever own a car).

--Militant Agnositc:  I don't know, and you don't either--

Okay, before anyone gets really upset over this, it is only supposed to be funny.  I would never argue with anyone that they should not be religious.  I went to high school in a small christian town, and I know better than to argue.  In fact, as much as I appreciate a good debate, I don't believe it is possible to have a rational argument on the subject of religion.

I'm sure I could keep rambling, but I'm going to stop now, because this post is getting much too long as it is.

Edited by Snow Angel, 03 April 2005 - 02:16 PM.

Not knowing where the rock came from DOESN'T MAKE IT CHEESE.
--Kissing Hank's [Butt]

#4 Vapor Trails

Vapor Trails

    In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big.

  • Awaiting Authorisation
  • 16,523 posts

Posted 03 April 2005 - 02:12 PM

Steven_Q, on Apr 3 2005, 01:53 PM, said:

Good for you Saul.

from a Scatman John song.

"I want to be a human being, not a human doing."

I'm not an agnostic, but i'm glad to see you are still enjoying the mysteries of the world :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



In all honesty, not all the mysteries are "enjoyable" to tackle. A lot of them are downright frightening. Like I said, I force myself to analyze things sometimes-and I oftentimes look at things that people may be too frightened to tackle. Some of the implications terrify me as well.

For instance, I often think about homosexuality. I do think there is a genetic disposition towards it. My thinking is this: humans have a need to belong. Given the way homosexuality is shunned in large parts of society, why would a human being WILLINGLY go down that path, given the way homosexuals are shunned?

Recently, I began to think about an even darker, more terrifying subject-pedophiles. A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to National Public Radio, and I heard about a world-wide child porn ring being cracked. This led me to thinking-what if there is some genetic disposition towards pedophelia as well? The implications, if this is so, are terrifying.

This is not to say I think pedophelia is good. The difference between that and homosexuality are obvious IMO: with homosexuality, you're usually dealing with sexual relationships between two consenting adults.  With pedophelia, it's an adult and child-and children obviously are not mature enough to understand the dynamics involved, mentally and physically. That's what makes pedophelia wrong in my eyes, and the eyes of many others.

I feel that when you are exploring the mysteries of life, you can't just limit it to things that are "fun" to confront. You have to confront the darker things as well. I've been doing an examination of the latter a LOT in these past few years-given the darkness in my life, and particularly after witnessing the slaughter of 2,800 people in New York City.

Learning isn't always enjoyable.

:pout:
Posted Image

Politicians are like bananas; they hang together, they're all yellow, and there's not a straight one among them.

"We're relevant for $ and a vote once every two years. Beyond that, we're completely irrelevant, except of course to consume, and preach the gospel according to [insert political demigod here]."--Cait

#5 Elara

Elara

    Feel the silence of the moonlight.

  • Watchdog
  • 2,905 posts

Posted 03 April 2005 - 04:36 PM

As one who got sent to the hall, often, for asking the wrong questions in Sunday school, I can relate, Snow Angel.

Now, am I an agnostic? Well, I do consider myself a Pagan because I do give thanks to the five elements, but that is not being agnostic. However, otoh it is, so I am, but I'm not.

My thoughts have always been that all the gods/goddesses existed, but they were never truly gods/goddesses, just beings of higher powers and learnings.

So, whatever I am, I am on a path that is bound to learn and discover, never to be closed off to possibilities and never to be shackled by a belief system that considers no other possibilities.
El
~ blue crystal glows, the dark side unseen, sparkles in scant light, from sun to planet, to me in between ~


I want a job in HRC's "shadow" cabinet. Good pay, really easy hours, lots of time off. Can't go wrong.

"You have a fair and valid point here. I've pointed out, numerous times, that the Left's or Democrats always cry "Racist" whenever someone disagrees with them. I failed to realize that the Right or Republicans do the same thing with "Liberal"." ~ LotS

#6 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,302 posts

Posted 03 April 2005 - 10:33 PM

I do not believe that disbelieving in religions that one knows about makes one an atheist.  Being atheist is an active disbelief in the existence of Deity.  Being one who is unsure of, perhaps uncaring about (but not denying the possibility of), or convinced of the ultimate unprovability of the existence of Deity is inherently the definition of being agnostic.  I think the title agnostic has as a root "gnos" meaning to know.  Being agnostic is simply affirming that one doesn't know.

In lots of ways I think we are all agnostic.  I'm Baha'i, and I believe in God.  And yet, as an article of faith, I acknowledge entirely that I cannot "know" God - that anything that I might say about God is inherently wrong - just my idle guess about God at the time.  In truth - I don't know.  In that sense, I'm agnostic.  In the sense that I do fundamentally believe that God IS, I'm not - I'm a believer.  
For me - that's a good place to be - because it keeps me humble enough not to assume that any of my conceptions of God are "right" and therefore imposeable on anyone else.  My agnosticism about the truth of God is inherently a statement that says that any ideas I might have about God are my own, for my own benefit, and not necessarily for anyone else.

HM07

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#7 Pallas

Pallas

    Wicked--Like the Witch of the West

  • Islander
  • 833 posts

Posted 03 April 2005 - 11:08 PM

Agnosticism=neutral on the existence of a God; no evidence either way to support whether or not there is or is not a god. There may not be any good evidence for a God but lack of evidence is not evidence that there may *be* a God.
I'm atheist; atheism is defined to be disbelief in existence of God(s). I was originally Wiccan/Pagan but rejected it the same way I rejected Christianity and all religions, for mostly the same reasons.

Kalistria.
We can do noble acts without ruling the earth and sea--Aristotle

#8 TechHarper

TechHarper
  • Islander
  • 231 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 04:50 AM

Kalistria, on Apr 3 2005, 08:08 PM, said:

*snip*

I'm atheist; atheism is defined to be disbelief in existence of God(s). I was originally Wiccan/Pagan but rejected it the same way I rejected Christianity and all religions, for mostly the same reasons.

Kalistria.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You bring up an important point in the bit of text I bolded.  Atheism can be defined as a disbelief in the existence of gods.  This is usually considered weak atheism.  Strong atheism is the belief that there are no gods.  Strong atheism is as illogical as the belief that there is a god (you cannot know with absolute certainty that something exists or doesn't exist when there is no evidence proving or disproving it), but weak atheism is very similar to agnosticism.  A weak atheist tends to say something like, "I don't believe in a god because I've seen no evidence for the existence of such a being or beings," whereas a strong atheist says, "There definitely is no god or gods."

Personally I fall under the category of a weak atheist.  I was raised as a Christian, but my parents let me think for myself.  As a child I spent all of my time reading books about paleontology, geology, and the other sciences to a lesser extent.  I never could rectify the odd stories in the Bible with the hard facts presented by trained scientists.  When I reached my early teens I realized that not only did I not believe in a god, but I thought the whole thing was rather silly.  I mean, most people believe in gods for the same reason they believed in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the tooth fairy:  someone, generally their parents, told them that these beings exist.  Although I now try to be far more accepting of people's religious beliefs than I was immediately after realizing that I didn't really believe, I can't help but feel like I'm discussing the existence of unicorns with an adult who should know better.

That having been said, religion does offer comfort to some people so I wouldn't say it's inherently bad or anything like that.  It's just really hard for me to understand because even as a child I felt like I was pretending.  *shrug*

Edited by TechHarper, 04 April 2005 - 04:52 AM.

"When the government fears the people, there is liberty; when the people fear the government, there is tyranny. - Thomas Jefferson
"A nation that limits freedom in the name of security will have neither." - Thomas Jefferson

#9 FlatlandDan

FlatlandDan

    Sophisticate

  • Islander
  • 8,824 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 05:05 AM

When I was younger I was definately an athiest.  Then in my first year of university I took a world religions course on a lark and am now firmly an agnostic.  Snow Angel posted something very similar to what I would have (along with the choice line, Militant Agnositc: I don't know, and you don't either).
My candle burns at both its ends;
It will not last the night;
But oh, my foes, and oh, my friends --
It gives a lovely light."
-Edna St. Vincent Millay

#10 Hawkeye

Hawkeye

    I regret I have but one life to waste infront of videogames.

  • Islander
  • 8,278 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 05:44 AM

I was brought up a christian, I was even an altar boy. However, i grew disturbed that people were worshipping something that they had no (to my mind) proof even existed (i think the roots of hawkeye the scientist are here somewhere ;) )
I didnt know the definition of agnostic before i read this thread but i think that sums me up...
I think religion is a fine thing when it encourages people to be the best they can be. But I'm still not convinced there is a god. or if there is one, *which* god it is.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air; And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind.

Posted Image

#11 Nonny

Nonny

    Scourge of Pretentious Bad Latin

  • Islander
  • 31,142 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 10:34 AM

Where the God of Abraham is concerned, I am a nonbeliever, or, more accurately, a noncarer.  I simply don't care if such a creature (and, yes, I mean creature) exists, because if he does, he is too scary for me to respect.  

Where other deities are concerned, I don't know enough to state belief or nonbelief.  

As a nonbeliever, I am impressed with NPR's coverage of the pope's passing.  I was raised a Catholic, I left the church many years ago, I did not like this pope, and I really hate that he dared style himself a "feminist," given his opinions about women and women's rights.  Being pope, however, he could give his opinions as doctrine, even claim papal infallibility.  

What I like best about NPR's coverage is that he is being portrayed as a charismatic, much loved man who was ignored by much of his flock.  Sure, I dislike him for his archaic opinions, but I love those I left behind in the church for picking and choosing what they will actually follow.  

Nonny
Posted Image


The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#12 Rov Judicata

Rov Judicata

    Crassly Irresponsible and Indifferent

  • Islander
  • 15,720 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 10:48 AM

Agnostic doesn't quite describe me, because it implies that it's impossible to know whether there's a god or not (that's not NECCASARILY included in the definition—it can mean simply being skeptical about the existence of God--, but that's what people frequently mean by agnostic). That's a bit too much of an affirmative statement in my case; I won't commit to a negative that's impossible to prove.

It's more fitting to simply say I don't care. I don't have enough evidence to effectively evaluate the proposition, and I'm confident that such evidence hasn't been discovered as of yet (if it did, I would have heard of it by now). Until then, it's no more intrinsically interesting than, say, whether life ever existed on Mars. It's an intriguing question, but not one I worry about all that often.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#13 Zwolf

Zwolf
  • Islander
  • 3,683 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 11:21 AM

Well, apparently I am.

Wait... I thought you said "antagonistic."  I always get those confused.  Nope, full-blown Atheist here.  :)

Cheers,

Zwolf
"I've moved on and I'm feeling fine
And I'll feel even better
When your life has nothing to do with mine."
-Pittbull, "No Love Lost"

"There are things that I'd like to say
But I'm never talking to you again
There's things I'd like to phrase some way
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'd put you down where you belong
But I'm never talking to you again
I'd show you everywhere you're wrong
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you."
- Husker Du, "Never Talking To You Again"

#14 Norville

Norville
  • Islander
  • 4,501 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 12:22 PM

Nonny said:

I did not like this pope, and I really hate that he dared style himself a "feminist," given his opinions about women and women's rights.

Oh, yes, that was unbelievable to me, but maybe he *was* a feminist... in comparison to the Church during the Middle Ages or a similar period. ;) (Perhaps if he never quoted the Malleus Maleficarum, by Kramer and Sprenger, he could call himself feminist. :p~ )

Edited by Norville, 04 April 2005 - 12:25 PM.

"The dew has fallen with a particularly sickening thud this morning."
- Marvin the Paranoid Android, "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"

Rules for Surviving an Autocracy
Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
http://www.nybooks.c...s-for-survival/

#15 Nonny

Nonny

    Scourge of Pretentious Bad Latin

  • Islander
  • 31,142 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 12:31 PM

Norville, on Apr 4 2005, 09:22 AM, said:

Nonny said:

I did not like this pope, and I really hate that he dared style himself a "feminist," given his opinions about women and women's rights.
Oh, yes, that was unbelievable to me, but maybe he *was* a feminist... in comparison to the Church during the Middle Ages or a similar period. ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, but I think the main difference between popes of the Middle Ages and this one is that this one couldn't kill heretics.  :unsure:  

He not only invoked papal infallibility when he denied ordination for women, he declared that, since he was not allowing women to be ordained, that he was the true champion of women's rights!  :Oo: :angry:

Nonny
Posted Image


The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#16 Nonny

Nonny

    Scourge of Pretentious Bad Latin

  • Islander
  • 31,142 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 12:33 PM

Norville, on Apr 4 2005, 09:22 AM, said:

(Perhaps if he never quoted the Malleus Maleficarum, by Kramer and Sprenger, he could call himself feminist. :p~ )

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Good one!  Are you familiar with the works of Ute Ranke Heinemann?  Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven in particular?

Nonny
Posted Image


The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#17 Rhea

Rhea

  • Islander
  • 16,433 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 12:55 PM

Confirmed agnostic here. I believe that there is an order in the universe, but I find it impossible to believe that the order comes in the form of a deity who actively intervenes in our lives.

I, too, was one of those kids who asked unanswerable questions all the time at Sunday school, and I think one of the things that drove me away was the reluctance of tptb to give a honest answer instead of a stock answer. At any rate, the greater questions have never been answered for me. I'm not ready to declare myself an atheist, but I most certainly fit the "agnostic" label.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#18 prolog

prolog

    The Merry Programmer

  • Islander
  • 1,062 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 01:04 PM

I'm a "weak atheist" by the definitions above, and also a former Christian (baptized and confirmed in the Anglican church).

#19 Kosh

Kosh

    Criag Ferguson For President!

  • Islander
  • 11,147 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 03:53 PM

Some more of Mr. Peart's lyrics.

Quote

"Totem"

I've got twelve disciples and a Buddha smile
Garden of Allah, Viking Valhalla
A miracle once in a while

I've got a pantheon of animals in a pagan soul
Vishnu and Gaia, Aztec and Maya
Dance around my totem pole
Totem pole...

I believe in what I see
I believe in what I hear
I believe that what I'm feeling
Changes how the world appears

Angels and demons dancing in my head
Lunatics and monsters underneath my bed
Media messiahs preying on my fears
Pop culture prophets playing in my ears

I've got celestial mechanics
To synchronize my stars
Seasonal migrations, daily variations
World of the unlikely and bizarre

I've got idols and icons, unspoken holy vows
Thoughts to keep well-hidden
Sacred and forbidden
Free to browse among the holy cows


That's why I believe

Angels and demons inside of me
Saviors and Satans all around me

Sweet chariot, swing low, coming for me

I highlighted my favorite verse.
Can't Touch This!!

#20 Pallas

Pallas

    Wicked--Like the Witch of the West

  • Islander
  • 833 posts

Posted 04 April 2005 - 06:37 PM

Yes TechHarper is correct on my definition of atheism. So sorry; I'm in crunch time at the U and defining things slip my attention (unless its for a paper in which case, I'm queen of definitions).

I waffle between weak and strong atheism depending on how combative I'm feeling that day. I have several acquiantances who are religious (Christian) and they take every opportunity to poke me whenever they can. But I've been debating about the aspects of religion for a long time now and nothing they say surprises me anymore. I try not to be rude about it but my tolerance and patience level is very short.

I'm best described as a secular humanist but I don't claim to be one. I think it's because there are some aspects of the humanist principles that I don't agree with and I've learned never to simply agree with something just to be associated with the label (Okay that makes me sound like an idiot but please take that as it means and not the way it came out  :hehe: ). However, I think agnosticism is a better place to be than religious because then at the very least, it forces the onus of responsibility onto your own shoulders (no god or god-rules to dictate irrational actions; it all depends on you baby!  :p ) and I'm big on personal responsibility.

Kalistria.
We can do noble acts without ruling the earth and sea--Aristotle



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Religion, Agnostic

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users