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Old 01-01-2007, 01:23 PM   #16
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
An innofensive middle ground; I don't see why entertain any concept of a higher power in the absence of any evidence.
I agree with you to some extent, honestly. I think it's illogical when people claim atheism is another kind of religion. Failing to believe in something for which there's no basis isn't a positive belief. I don't know if I'm saying that right but I know what you mean and agree to some extent...

When I started this thread I was mostly just thinking about people who say things like "as long as you believe in a god, it doesn't matter which one; all different ways of reaching god" etc etc. I was wondering whether those people included agnostics/atheists or couldn't quite rationalize including them. I don't know why.

I have seen things to make me believe beliefs are worthwhile (similar to your story Lies). Including people with addictions who simply could not overcome them until they started believing in a spiritual power. And I've had people try to use that as a way of convincing me to believe, but all it really proved to me is that beliefs are worthwhile for some and that I almost wish I could have that. Whether or not it's true, I do wish in a way I could convince myself to just believe definitely, but I'm not that good at lying to myself.
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Old 01-01-2007, 01:26 PM   #17
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Originally posted by anitram
I have the greatest respect for agnostics. Is it not beautifully truthful and honest to say, "I just don't know?" Many days, I think I am one of you.
I actually think this is the only really honest way to have faith.
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Old 01-01-2007, 02:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by VertigoGal
I think it's illogical when people claim atheism is another kind of religion. Failing to believe in something for which there's no basis isn't a positive belief.
But what if religion isn't defined withing the context of a single god or belief? Like I said earlier, I've always thought of one's religion as whatever truth you know to be true for yourself. That doesn't imply that you either believe in a god or you don't. It could include a god, or it could be agnosticism or atheism or universalism, humanism, etc, etc, or even nothing at all.

I think a lot of the Christianity vs. agnosticism/atheism conflict could be more clearly debated if we all had a better understanding of what religion in general is to each other and how we understand it. When Christians define religion only within the context of the Christian God, I think it is very offensive and exclusive. It's like others are being put down before they've even entered the debate. I think maybe that's what you're getting at?
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Old 01-01-2007, 07:45 PM   #19
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I've never personally known anyone who says "As long as you believe in a God..." so I don't really know what to make of that. Perhaps the idea is that the person saying it feels certain that some kind of faith is necessary in order to avoid some sort of bad end, and therefore they reason it's better to at least entertain some version or another of it than to reject it altogether? I don't know; I suppose if I were curious, I would ask them why they say that rather than make assumptions. My own beliefs aren't such that I presume faith or the lack of it to guarantee or deny you something one way or the other, so I would never say something like this. As far as the "different ways" phrase, that's something I personally associate with theological discussions where someone wishes to make the point that overall adherence to some particular religious worldview or another need not entail categorical dismissal of elements drawn from others. I suppose it could also mean other things depending on the context and the person saying it, but that happens to be the situation I'm most familiar with it from.

I have no particular opinion about agnostics as people, and am not sure how I could; I wouldn't know what to say if someone asked me "What do you think about Christians/atheists/Buddhists/Jews" etc. either. Knowing that sort of information about someone really doesn't tell you anything useful about who they are as a person; they might be brilliant or foolish, compassionate or cruel, humble or arrogant, but those are the sorts of things you can only know from personal experience with them.
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Old 01-01-2007, 08:12 PM   #20
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^
That’s why we should avoid making generalisations on the basis of such flaccid criteria. Although to be honest, that goes without saying.

Agnostic guitars sat on the fence…

I would consider myself to be spiritually agnostic, simply because there are, in regards to my own admittedly limited comprehension, no feasible (logical) means or methodology available to humanity, with which we can (in)validate beyond doubt, the existence(s) of an omnipotent creator deity (or deities). Consequently, agnosticism for me is a way in which I can remain open to further revelations, be they scientific or spiritual, without having to subject myself to the lurid stagnation that can arise from more partisan mindsets.

Nevertheless, a person’s spirituality is often fluid and ever changing, so a day may yet come when I consider my previous paragraph to be somewhat hypocritical if not wholly, albeit inadvertently ironic.
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Old 01-01-2007, 11:55 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
I've never personally known anyone who says "As long as you believe in a God..." so I don't really know what to make of that. Perhaps the idea is that the person saying it feels certain that some kind of faith is necessary in order to avoid some sort of bad end, and therefore they reason it's better to at least entertain some version or another of it than to reject it altogether? I don't know; I suppose if I were curious, I would ask them why they say that rather than make assumptions. My own beliefs aren't such that I presume faith or the lack of it to guarantee or deny you something one way or the other, so I would never say something like this. As far as the "different ways" phrase, that's something I personally associate with theological discussions where someone wishes to make the point that overall adherence to some particular religious worldview or another need not entail categorical dismissal of elements drawn from others. I suppose it could also mean other things depending on the context and the person saying it, but that happens to be the situation I'm most familiar with it from.

I have no particular opinion about agnostics as people, and am not sure how I could; I wouldn't know what to say if someone asked me "What do you think about Christians/atheists/Buddhists/Jews" etc. either. Knowing that sort of information about someone really doesn't tell you anything useful about who they are as a person; they might be brilliant or foolish, compassionate or cruel, humble or arrogant, but those are the sorts of things you can only know from personal experience with them.
true...just a statement that I've run into a lot lately, I dunno why. I don't really get the point of my thread anymore either but hopefully there were like 2 seconds of decent discussion.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:05 AM   #22
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Some thoughts...

I find religion to be a very hard topic to study "objectively," because it seems difficult to crack the shell of "mythic speech." And this "mythos" is so pervasive, for instance, that I find it extremely difficult to even study the history of 1st century A.D. Palestine. Josephus, for instance, is oft cited for his supposedly positive mention of Jesus. On the other hand, nobody mentions that Josephus overtly considered the Roman Emperor Vespatian to be the Messiah in his writings.

I guess this small example illustrates a larger point: it is seemingly impossible to explore religion without bumping into zealots with a larger agenda, whether it be Christian apologists who wish to defend the Bible to every last absurdity, even if those "absurdities" are merely the result of poor translation practices or the sloppy practice of applying modern definitions to archaic cultural practices (in other words, having nothing to do with the literal "Word of God"); or whether it be certain high-profile atheists, whose criticism of religion, while often logically sound in execution, is often predicated on a fallacy--that such aforementioned "religion" is always defined by its most knuckle-dragging, backwards-thinking, and reactionary members.

I find it quite frustrating to wade through an environment like that, and, sometimes, I often wonder if that helps breed "agnosticism" for some people. And it should be noted that "agnosticism"--if literally defined as not knowing the nature of God, in contrast to the Abrahamic insistence of a rigid, knowable nature--is part of the theology of certain religions, such as the Advaita Vedānta school of Hinduism, with "God" being beyond sensory and mental comprehension ("Nirguna Brahman"), and, of course, Buddhism.

In other words, while religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam would likely view "doubt" as a damnable offense, there are other spiritual traditions that seem to view such doubt as a normal part of someone's spiritual journey or go as far as to believe that "God" is purposely obscure, and, as such, does not expect humanity to be able to decipher "Him" as a condition for salvation.

Well, I guess I was just thinking out loud here...
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Old 01-02-2007, 06:17 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by dazzlingamy
Well I do feel that religious people honestly cannot grasp the fact that I don't believe, and in some instances just truly believe that I haven't "got" it yet.
There is nothing more frustrating...

I'm agnostic, and while I do try to understand how one could have "faith" in supernatural things and while I would like to understand what it is that has driven the human race into believeing in "god", all that I know is that it is blatantly obvious that no one knows the truth about whatever "god" is and if there was a "god" for certain...

But at the end of the day, I convince myself that no one is ever gonna know for sure, and that "god" is ultimately therefore something not worth even giving a toss about...why ponder over something when you're never gonna arrive at a conclusion. It's kinda liberating in a sense, I feel pure...

That said, I do believe that all human beings are in a sense born Agnostic... Our ideas of "god" are usually developed when we are innocent and philosophically vulnerable young 'uns. It is the older people and their religions who influence our initial ideas of "god" or whatever "god" is....
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:18 AM   #24
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I dunno. . .to me belief is kind of overrated. I would never say "as long as you believe in something. . ." as if belief has some sort of inherent moral value. I really don't believe it does.

I don't think that being an atheist or agnostic is some sort of moral failing.

And I say that as a believer.
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:28 AM   #25
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I consider myself agnostic. I don't particularly care for orgainized religion, but I do believe in a higher power.
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