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Are you agnostic?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: August 08, 2010 03:54AM
At least we know what we don't know.

One of the best dissertations on agnosticism that I've seen.

Quote
Let's get one thing straight: Agnosticism is not some kind of weak-tea atheism. Agnosticism is not atheism or theism. It is radical skepticism, doubt in the possibility of certainty, opposition to the unwarranted certainties that atheism and theism offer.

from Slate
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: Mike Sellers
Date: August 08, 2010 06:45AM
Oh, I dunno.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: michaelb
Date: August 08, 2010 06:54AM
I am not agnostic, I am an atheist. I disagree with the core premise of the article, which I didn't actually read more than the beginning:

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Indeed agnostics see atheism as "a theism"—as much a faith-based creed as the most orthodox of the religious variety.

Atheism, at least to me, is not a faith based creed at all. It is the rejection of faith based creeds. The difference with that and agnosticism is that they allow the possibility of a faith based, magical, spiritual, etc, explanation to the universe.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: August 08, 2010 07:02AM
I would have to disagree with you michaelb. Atheism is the belief that there is no god. And just as you can not prove there is a god, you can not also prove the opposite. That belief can be as much an article of faith as any religious belief. I think Mike S. summed it up best for agnosticism, "I dunno" can apply to both the belief in a god or gods and to the belief they do not exist.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: August 08, 2010 07:07AM
Acceptance of a belief; there is no G_d, isn't that in itself an expression of a belief and thus in itself adherence to a belief?
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: Doc
Date: August 08, 2010 07:14AM
> Are you agnostic?

I'm not sure.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: michaelb
Date: August 08, 2010 07:15AM
It may be a semantic question. I don't accept the Thomas Aquinas formulation that belief in the lack of god is similar to the belief in god. Maybe one is a rational belief system and one is a spiritual belief system, but as belief systems, they are fundamentally different. Not believing is not at all like believing.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: August 08, 2010 07:24AM
I think I'm not ready to take on Thomas Aquinas, so I'll leave it here.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: Doc
Date: August 08, 2010 07:44AM
Quote
michaelb
It may be a semantic question. I don't accept the Thomas Aquinas formulation that belief in the lack of god is similar to the belief in god. Maybe one is a rational belief system and one is a spiritual belief system, but as belief systems, they are fundamentally different. Not believing is not at all like believing.

I am reminded of a story...

A man who was an atheist lived in a town below a Buddhist temple where chanting went on day and night. Every day he woke to chanting. Every night the chanting drove him into fitful and unrestful sleep. One day, he finally had enough of the noise and stormed into the temple where he confronted the master of the house.

"Why do you chant all day and all night? You must stop!" the man demanded.

The master responded, " We chant the name of the divine in order to bring its grace upon ourselves. This way, when we die we become one with the divine. We will never stop until we have achieved this high state."

"You will never stop?!" the man cried out. "Then I will also chant. I will spend every moment of my life cursing your god and surely this will anger him and his ire will fall upon you!" The man did not believe in gods, but he felt that his chanting would be hurtful to the monks and a just revenge upon them.

The man did chant and mutter his curse throughout his every waking moment. He was so inspired that he muttered his curse even in his dreams. He made sure to chant especially loudly when he encountered any monks in the streets or marketplaces.

After a long and seemingly uninspired life, the man died and attained Nirvana.

He had, after all, invoked the divine constantly.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: davester
Date: August 08, 2010 07:52AM
As michaelb noted, the premise of the article is wrong. His definition of atheism (the belief that science will provide an answer for existence) is like none I've ever seen and I reject it. I think that is extremeley poor writing...rather than doing his homework and identifying a framework for discussion, he simply made up a strawman. Before the thread question can be answered, we need to decide on the definitions of agnosticism and atheism.

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wikipedia on atheism
Writers disagree how best to define and classify atheism, contesting what supernatural entities it applies to, whether it is an assertion in its own right or merely the absence of one, and whether it requires a conscious, explicit rejection. A variety of categories have been proposed to try to distinguish the different forms of atheism.

Some of the ambiguity and controversy involved in defining atheism arises from difficulty in reaching a consensus for the definitions of words like deity and god. The plurality of wildly different conceptions of god and deities leads to differing ideas regarding atheism's applicability. The ancient Romans accused Christians of being atheists for not worshiping the pagan deities. In the 20th century, this view fell into disfavor as theism came to be understood as encompassing belief in any divinity.
With respect to the range of phenomena being rejected, atheism may counter anything from the existence of a deity, to the existence of any spiritual, supernatural, or transcendental concepts, such as those of Hinduism and Buddhism

Quote
wikipedia on agnosticism:
Demographic research services normally list agnostics in the same category as atheists and/or non-religious people. Some sources use agnostic in the sense of noncommittal. Agnosticism often overlaps with other belief systems. Agnostic theists identify themselves both as agnostics and as followers of particular religions, viewing agnosticism as a framework for thinking about the nature of belief and their relation to revealed truths. Some nonreligious people, such as author Philip Pullman, identify as both agnostic and atheist.
Thomas Henry Huxley defined the term:
Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle... Positively the principle may be expressed as in matters of intellect, do not pretend conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable.

If we go with Huxley's definition (i.e. require demonstrable conclusions as part of our belief system) then I would say that I'm an agnostic. If we go with other definitions (for example, someone who is a "doubting" christian) then no, I'm more of an atheist than an agnostic.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/2010 07:57AM by davester.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: August 08, 2010 08:49AM
By any definition you'd care to apply, I am an agnostic.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/2010 08:51AM by RgrF.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: Rolando
Date: August 08, 2010 09:53AM
I'm not Agnostic or Atheist. I do believe in God/Creator. But I believe we can not understand it. The more we know, the more incredible we find it to be.

I have no problem with most Atheists or Agnostics. Truly I have more problems with radicals of faith. I don't know of too many Athiest Killing Sprees.

Good words on Atheism.
[www.npr.org]

The listen link will give you the authors voice.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: Greg
Date: August 08, 2010 02:58PM
That one cannot prove that a thing does not exist is not sufficient reason to assert it may exist.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: hal
Date: August 08, 2010 03:24PM
Quote
Greg
That one cannot prove that a thing does not exist is not sufficient reason to assert it may exist.
My mom use to have a little dog that was always barking at the back fence.

When asked why the dog barks, she'd say, "he's scaring away the lions".

"huh?"

"haven't seen any lions since he's been barking at the fence."
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: Don Kiyoti
Date: August 08, 2010 04:53PM
Yeah, I tend to think of myself as an agnostic. And like some of the previous posters, I disagree with much of what was written in that article.





[picasaweb.google.com] [www.flickr.com]
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: Pops
Date: August 08, 2010 05:53PM
Others place their own definitions on what agnostism and atheism are. By my definition, I am an atheist. I do not believe that there is any supernatural being or power or source from which we sprung, whether through creation myths or convoluted explanations of "what created the Big Bang". If atheism is a faith in knowing something, I know that when I die, I will simply cease to exist and my body will decompose. What I leave in legacy through my actions during my life are MINE. Not attributable to anything other than my own choices and actions.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: August 08, 2010 06:29PM
I would describe myself as agnostic leaning towards faith.

I find an atheist trumpeting their superior intellect and mocking those who have faith just as obnoxious as a fundamentalist, frankly. Believe what you want to believe but trust me, trying to force your atheism upon me is JUST AS TIRESOME as someone trying to force their belief in the Rapture or Transmogrification. Sometimes more so, because many of the faithful attribute their faith to their God and express a certain humility, while many atheists attribute their lack of faith to their innate superiority to everyone else on the planet.



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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: davester
Date: August 08, 2010 06:39PM
I'm with you there, Pops, although I have absolutely no constraints on what might be the nature of existence beyond the universe/big bang that we know. Perhaps there is a greater consciousness out there and our universe is simply a mathematical model being operated by that consciousness (which begs the question of what might be the origin of that consciousness). Whatever the case, such things are unknowable to us man-apes with the primitive faculties that we possess.

In earthly terms, I think the possibility that there is some human-centric god as described by any of the major religions operating within our universe/big bang system is without an iota of proof and has a probability so vanishingly small as to be disregardable. All of the major religions are sets of superstitions born of ignorance in the centuries before reason and science became well-developed. None of them have kept up, and they all have records of clinging to long since disproven myths. I believe most of those religions were invented to comfort and control those who feared the oblivion that you contemplate. Fear of oblivion is a powerful coercive tool. It is a crying shame that so many people place so much stock in them and refuse to use their own faculties to enlighten themselves.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: davester
Date: August 08, 2010 06:48PM
Quote
$tevie
I find an atheist trumpeting their superior intellect and mocking those who have faith just as obnoxious as a fundamentalist, frankly.

It's interesting that this picture of atheists is used so often to demonize them. Also, the term "pessimistic atheists" is a common meme. I think that any person with any set of beliefs trumpeting their superior intellect and mocking those who disagree with them is obnoxious, and is definitely NOT a specific or even common characteristic of atheists, though I think this stereotype is used by religious sorts to demonize atheists fairly often.

I will say that many atheists (myself included) are a bit pissed off with having been marginalized and considered social outcasts for so long. I still on occasion find myself in a group of religious people (usually extended family) where inquiries into faith come up and when I reveal that I'm an atheist, the tone changes and the group switches to treating me as though I'm an illegitimate stepchild, unsuitable for decent conversation, especially with children around



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: August 08, 2010 07:00PM
If I had any interest, which I don't, I guarantee I can find some pretty snotty remarks from the atheists around here, esp. if I hit AS to look for them.

"refuse to use their own faculties to enlighten themselves"? Excuse me, davester, we are discussing faith. You can't practice faith by going around seeking to disprove your own faith -- that's no longer faith.

As for being marginalized, I haven't heard anyone in my family or circle of friends or even acquaintances act as if an atheist is anything other than an atheist. And I know a few pretty damned religious people. You shouldn't assume that the entire planet acts like the crabbed and cripply sort of people that you seem to be stuck with.



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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: davester
Date: August 08, 2010 07:45PM
Quote
$tevie
If I had any interest, which I don't, I guarantee I can find some pretty snotty remarks from the atheists around here

I can guarantee that pretty snotty remarks come from non-atheists too. Doesn't prove anything. The "pessimistic, snotty, arrogant atheist" meme is simply a stereotype. Of course, usually arrogant snotty types in any field are the ones who are newsworthy (Richard Dawkins, anyone?), so the stereotype gets exaggerated in the popular press.


Quote
$tevie
"refuse to use their own faculties to enlighten themselves"? Excuse me, davester, we are discussing faith. You can't practice faith by going around seeking to disprove your own faith -- that's no longer faith.

I should have been clearer on that one. I was thinking specifically about people who refute scientific knowledge (the "earth is only 5,000 years old and I didn't come from no monkey" types) because reason conflicts with faith. Those are the people who refuse to use their own faculties. I think that is a bit different than those who have faith in things (supreme beings) that can be neither proven nor disproven. I don't buy into the latter either, but at least it is not something that flies in the face of reason.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/2010 07:51PM by davester.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: August 08, 2010 07:55PM
Okay, we began tripping over semantics it appears.



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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: Kiva
Date: August 09, 2010 02:09AM
Personally, I see myself as wavering between agnosticism and a deep spirituality. Depends on the moment. I don't believe in any sort of personalized god, but I also believe our consciousness is part of something greater than our understanding. I also totally accept that my belief may, in the end, turn out to be completely wrong.

My own searching has found a commonality that binds us all together. It may not even be supernatural. It may just be an experience/energy/force that science just hasn't completely measured yet. Even then, I doubt they'll be able to explain where it came from. I'm rambling a bit here, but I think that as one moves through the Stages of Faith, it becomes more difficult to explain and is more based on experience. I believe spirituality is best found in our relationships with others and our world and the embracing of paradox and connectedness. I know that sounds a bit new-agey, but, it's not.

What holds me back is my frustration with the ego-centric anthropomorphism in thinking of 'god' which, IMO, as Davester explains so well, appears to be a creation by our unenlightened ancestors to explain how their world worked. The literal interpretation of the myths of religion is difficult for me to be around, at times. I'm working on it.

A friend of mine was recalling something she read that spoke to me on this subject: it was about how the mystics of all the different religions get to a point where they have a very difficult time relating to anybody within their own religious group anymore and, in the end, relate best with one-another. i Hope to get there one day. Right now, I relate best to other doubters and there is safety in that.

kiva



----------------------



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2010 02:21AM by Kiva.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: August 09, 2010 08:00AM
No.

But I'm comfortable with people of any religion. I know Catholics who make the worst 'evangelical fundamentalist Christian' look like a heathen (my brother in law, for fact). Those people annoy the heck out of me... mostly because they seem to cherry pick the teachings of the faith for the ones that make them feel superior to everyone else.

What do I believe ?
I believe that religion is a deeply private thing.
Proselytizing makes me uncomfortable... it's kind of .. rude.
I believe that forcing religion on other people is wrong.
I have great respect for people who are true to their beliefs
I have great respect for other religions and philosophies. I've studied many of them. I've been in churches, temples, mosques, forums....

I have great respect for people who are willing to seek their own personal truth. Agnostics are, in the main, seekers of truth. I'll posit that only those with a sense of uncertainty can find real truth... think of it as the philisophical equivalent of the Scientific Method, which must not begin with certitude.

And in the end, we're all human. We all have the same basic drives, wants, needs, and desires.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: kanesa
Date: August 09, 2010 09:19AM
Quote
Kiva
Personally, I see myself as wavering between agnosticism and a deep spirituality. Depends on the moment. I don't believe in any sort of personalized god, but I also believe our consciousness is part of something greater than our understanding. I also totally accept that my belief may, in the end, turn out to be completely wrong.

My own searching has found a commonality that binds us all together. It may not even be supernatural. It may just be an experience/energy/force that science just hasn't completely measured yet. Even then, I doubt they'll be able to explain where it came from. I'm rambling a bit here, but I think that as one moves through the Stages of Faith, it becomes more difficult to explain and is more based on experience. I believe spirituality is best found in our relationships with others and our world and the embracing of paradox and connectedness. I know that sounds a bit new-agey, but, it's not.

kiva

It amazes me sometimes when I find others have the same thoughts and beliefs that I do. Your explanation of your "faith" is exactly how I have come to accept the "God" within me.

I pray alot for friends, people in trouble and myself. I do say "Dear God" but my prayers are more like a mantra or way to calm myself. I find they have positive effects. I also do think our thoughts have power. I know that sounds "crazy" but until someone can explain how I can think of someone who I haven't seen or heard from in months or years and then I run into them a few days later. People call it coincidence, I think it is something more.

We are God and God is us.

edited for length



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2010 09:20AM by kanesa.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: the_poochies
Date: August 09, 2010 09:36AM
I'm a practicing Roman Catholic, but I generally keep my faith to myself (well, okay, I enrolled Little Poochie in Catholic school, but that's a different story).

Human beings will never be able to comprehend something as expansive and unexplainable as the divine. Yes, folks like Aquinas have tried, but we will always fall short because we are, after all, human. Other religious people have tried, sometime with disastrous results.

Personally, if I didn't believe in a benevolent creator and the promise of immortality, I probably would be a very nihilistic, selfish person only concerned with my own short-term pleasure. After all, once I die, the game is over so I would try having as much fun as possible while I am here on earth and to heck with everybody else.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: August 09, 2010 10:21AM
Quote
Kiva
the ego-centric anthropomorphism in thinking of 'god'

I totally reject the idea of God as a "person" in "heaven". However, I do not reject the idea of "God". I was raised with the Quaker concept of the Inner Light, or "that of God in every man", within which we are free to choose our interpretation of same. It may be a little more work to be a Quaker but the search is part of the beauty of it.



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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: neophyte
Date: August 09, 2010 10:49AM
Agnostic, yes.

"Personally, if I didn't believe in a benevolent creator and the promise of immortality, I probably would be a very nihilistic, selfish person only concerned with my own short-term pleasure. After all, once I die, the game is over so I would try having as much fun as possible while I am here on earth and to heck with everybody else."

Seems to me that the above statement is the reason for some religions: To guide us in how to behave towards one-another. The 'do unto others...' thing. But some religions add a carrot-stick idea - immortality. Why? I'm agnostic, but I still treat others in a moral manner with no reward expected. I just feel its 'the right thing to do'. I never have a guilty conscience and I sleep well every night.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: robfilms
Date: August 09, 2010 12:33PM
rgrf-

god forbid!

ymmv

be well

rob
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: the_poochies
Date: August 09, 2010 01:56PM
Quote
neophyte
Agnostic, yes.

"Personally, if I didn't believe in a benevolent creator and the promise of immortality, I probably would be a very nihilistic, selfish person only concerned with my own short-term pleasure. After all, once I die, the game is over so I would try having as much fun as possible while I am here on earth and to heck with everybody else."

Seems to me that the above statement is the reason for some religions: To guide us in how to behave towards one-another. The 'do unto others...' thing. But some religions add a carrot-stick idea - immortality. Why? I'm agnostic, but I still treat others in a moral manner with no reward expected. I just feel its 'the right thing to do'. I never have a guilty conscience and I sleep well every night.

Yes, but where does that feeling to "do the right thing" come from? Philosophers, social scientists and theologians have probably argued that for centuries. In the past 40 years, observations of altruism among animals has even thrown this idea of a morally-upright conscience being unique to homo sapiens into question.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: davester
Date: August 09, 2010 01:58PM
Quote
the_poochies
Personally, if I didn't believe in a benevolent creator and the promise of immortality, I probably would be a very nihilistic, selfish person only concerned with my own short-term pleasure. After all, once I die, the game is over so I would try having as much fun as possible while I am here on earth and to heck with everybody else.

Wow!! That's a very honest and somewhat shocking statement, poochies. I don't believe in a creator or immortality and I'm nothing like that. I feel that I'd like to leave a legacy for my children and others to think about after I have gone to oblivion, and I would not get joy from leading a completely selfish life while still here because we are social animals and I treasure the good feelings people have about me. Are you really sure you'd feel that way without the crutch of immortality? Perhaps you're thinking that way now because with god's judgement and immortality omnipresent, you've never had to think beyond that for reasons to avoid nihilism and selfishness. I think the reason humans are not nihilistic and selfish in general has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with evolution. Our species would never have survived long enough to even develop superstition if we were completely nihilistic selfish creatures in the absence of religious rewards and threats. As an aside, look at the bonobos. They are the closest human relative and have no religion, yet live in social groups where compassion, altruism, mutual support, etc are a significant part of their lives. These values seem necessary for preserving social species like our own.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: the_poochies
Date: August 09, 2010 02:39PM
Quote
davester
Quote
the_poochies
Personally, if I didn't believe in a benevolent creator and the promise of immortality, I probably would be a very nihilistic, selfish person only concerned with my own short-term pleasure. After all, once I die, the game is over so I would try having as much fun as possible while I am here on earth and to heck with everybody else.

Wow!! That's a very honest and somewhat shocking statement, poochies. I don't believe in a creator or immortality and I'm nothing like that. I feel that I'd like to leave a legacy for my children and others to think about after I have gone to oblivion, and I would not get joy from leading a completely selfish life while still here because we are social animals and I treasure the good feelings people have about me. Are you really sure you'd feel that way without the crutch of immortality? Perhaps you're thinking that way now because with god's judgement and immortality omnipresent, you've never had to think beyond that for reasons to avoid nihilism and selfishness. I think the reason humans are not nihilistic and selfish in general has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with evolution. Our species would never have survived long enough to even develop superstition if we were completely nihilistic selfish creatures in the absence of religious rewards and threats. As an aside, look at the bonobos. They are the closest human relative and have no religion, yet live in social groups where compassion, altruism, mutual support, etc are a significant part of their lives. These values seem necessary for preserving social species like our own.

Yeah, my statement was a bit harsh, and probably a bit of it was said to stir the pot here.devil smiley

But isn't "he (or she) who dies with the most toys wins" a popular outlook on life my a significant number of people? If my goal in life is to live a hedonistic life and pile up a whole lotta dough, that would be beneficial for Little Poochie because he wouldn't have to worry about where his next meal is coming from (he'd be a spoiled brat, but if I taught him to look out for #1 because he'd only be on this planet a short while, then I probably wouldn't care too much about his brattiness).

As I said above, altruism and behavior that humans may consider "moral" is being observed among members of the animal kingdom, so that has challenged my ideas of morality and ethical behavior stemming from religious tradition.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: davester
Date: August 09, 2010 03:33PM
Quote
the_poochies
But isn't "he (or she) who dies with the most toys wins" a popular outlook on life my a significant number of people?

I don't know if that's a significant number of people. I tend to think of them as pathetic, directionless people who I'm not interested in knowing.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: billb
Date: August 09, 2010 04:16PM
especially when they have more toys
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: August 09, 2010 08:05PM
I know I'm not gnostic. So I guess I ride the line between agnostic and atheist.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2010 08:06PM by Jimmypoo.
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Re: Are you agnostic?
Posted by: Pops
Date: August 10, 2010 08:35AM
Quote
the_poochies
Personally, if I didn't believe in a benevolent creator and the promise of immortality, I probably would be a very nihilistic, selfish person only concerned with my own short-term pleasure. After all, once I die, the game is over so I would try having as much fun as possible while I am here on earth and to heck with everybody else.
I couldn't disagree more with that statement. I tend to agree that perhaps that conclusion is, in itself, a product of the brainwashing of most religions.

Don't get me wrong. I am not anti-religion. I have many reasons to object to the actions of many, many people who are religious and have done great harm over the centuries, but I also know more who are good, kind people who are well-served by their faith and do not push it my face or expect it to govern secular nations.
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