I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
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18-07-2011, 12:57 PM
 
RE: I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
(18-07-2011 10:44 AM)Ghost Wrote:  No.

What it disproves is that particular ACCOUNT of God. It says nothing of God.

For example. X is on trial for murdering Y. Z takes the stand and offers fanciful yet condemning evidence that proves X committed murder. The defence attorney then rips Zs testimony apart, proving that it's completely baseless. By your rationale, that action proves that X is innocent. What I am saying is that the debunking of Zs testimony says nothing about the nature of X whatsoever. The debunking of Zs testimony simply means that the prosecution no longer has any evidence. X might have committed murder, X might not have. An Agnostic says, "In the absence of evidence I cannot say whether he committed murder or no." A non-Agnostic might say, "I don't care if there's no evidence because I believe that he ______(insert value position)." This analogy is a little wonky because people on trial are presumed innocent to begin with, but when it comes to God, there is no, or at least should be no, initial position. Ie, failure to disprove his existence doesn't prove his existence and vice versa.

That isn't a proper analogy. As Lilith said, I'm saying that a particular version of God - a god with the traits described in the Bible and who performed the actions described in the Bible - is falsifiable. That God does not exist, and that is relatively easy to demonstrate. A god may exist, but he isn't the one in this book because we know the book's account of him is false. He may bear some similarities to that god, but we know that all or part of that information about him is false.

(18-07-2011 10:44 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:If someone wants to propose something that has no evidence for or against it and is completely unverifiable, I would assume it is false and behave under that assumption.

I see nothing objectively wrong with this position, but it is the antithesis of Agnosticism.

If you're saying that's how you'd go about it, I can only acknowledge that truth. If you're saying this is the only way for anyone to go about it, then I would say that that statement is incorrect.

I guess I'm saying that's how I'd go about it and that's what seems most reasonable to me personally.

(18-07-2011 10:44 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:For example, if I propose an invisible, intangible being who follows people around and causes bad things to happen when they displease him would anyone have a reason to believe me?

No, because you're clearly fabricating it to make a point. Agnostics aren't stupid Cool

But wouldn't you be agnostic about that? Even if I made it up, it could be true. For all I know, the invisible fairy planted it in my head to convince us all it isn't real. It's pretty much like the power of prayer; the invisible fairy's opinions and actions are beyond our comprehension, so everything bad that happens is because we displeased him in some way. Any contradiction to my theory can be explained thanks to my fairy's ambiguity and the fact that he's far more intelligent to us so we can't comprehend his superior reasoning Tongue

(18-07-2011 10:44 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:I can construct such a claim so that there is absolutely no way to acquire any evidence for or against it.

Yes you can. And this is why the supernatural represents a special case.

If a scientist believes that there's another element that can be used in nuclear fission (what do they use now? Uranium and plutonium? Nuclear scientist I am not), I have no reason to believe or disbelieve him until after the experiments are run. If the evidence says he's right, I believe he's right. If the evidence points to it being impossible, I believe he's wrong. I remain undecided until the evidence is in. If someone asks if another element can be used in nuclear fission, all I can say is, I don't know. That's Agnosticism in action in the mundane.

But the supernatural is indemonstrable. Period. There will never be empirical evidence for or against because empirical evidence by its very nature is natural. So I must remain neutral eternally. That's the demand of Agnosticism. If someone says they refuse to believe until evidence arrives, I say they're in for a long wait because there never will be evidence. I also know that every single person that has ever lived that disbelieves in the supernatural has reached that conclusion in the utter absence of evidence. I'm not saying that's objectively wrong, but that it is what it is.

But is that incompatible with forming an opinion? Any time I hold a belief for or against something, it's implied that it may be incorrect. Depending on how the claim was made, you would probably form an opinion early on. If the scientist showed convincing evidence that led him to believe this element could be used for nuclear fusion, you might consider it likely and predict that his experiment will be a success. If he refused to support his claim or explain why he thinks that, you would probably become suspicious that he's basing it on nothing, and probably guess it will fail. In either case, you know you lack the knowledge to be remotely certain, but you can still form an opinion while remembering you don't actually know the answer.

(18-07-2011 10:44 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:There is no way to know if my claim is true or false, but since I can't support it you should simply reject or ignore it until I can give evidence.

I "should" not do anything. All I can say is, someone made a claim. Do I know if it's true or not? No, I do not know. Can I say there's no evidence to support it? Certainly. But that's different than saying it's false.

But why consider a claim has any merit until it is backed by evidence? Rejecting it isn't saying you know it's false, but there's no point investigating or considering every claim that you hear.

(18-07-2011 10:44 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:Without any evidence to justify my claim, the most reasonable assumption is that I made it up.

There's absolutely nothing reasonable about that. There is no reason for me to assume that a lack of evidence is evidence of deliberate action on your part.

"Dude, I saw a tornado tear a horse apart into itty bitty pieces."
"Do you have any evidence?"
"No. The pieces are scattered across miles and are too small to be detected."
"I see. Clearly you have fabricated this story."

Sorry, but there's nothing rational about that.

The reasonable assumption is that a phenomenon may or may not have been witnessed and that there is no evidence to corroborate either possibility. That's the reasonable assumption because it's factual.

In that case, I could still show you the missing house, and it should be easy to verify that it existed and that a tornado passed through the area. I didn't consider just witnessing an event when I said that, but I wasn't thinking along those lines. I think a better example to illustrate what I'm talking about is something where the claim would require you to take some action if it were true. That's where I would apply this reasoning, and that's where many religions and god-claims fall:

Some Christians might claim that if you don't worship God you will go to hell, with all hell's unpleasantness, for eternity. You need to decide whether to act on this information. You have several options:
-Ignore it and don't take action, which implies an assumption it is most likely false or apathy towards ending up in hell
-Worship, which implies an assumption that it is true or likely to be true
-Refuse to worship, on the assumption that it is false or that it is true and you desire to go to hell

The first and third are effectively the same, but I think they represent different attitudes. What other response to that would fit "I don't know?" If you have the assumption that divine knowledge is unattainable, then you can reject their claim as false because they couldn't have learned about God's wishes and their source for that information is fictional(like my invisible fairy), or because that God is also supposed to be fair, which requires he doesn't punish someone for not knowing something they cannot know. They could also have a different idea of fair, but in that case you'd have to reach a consensus over what is fair.

(18-07-2011 10:44 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:Also, you mentioned earlier that you live your life as if you don't know whether a God exists instead of as if he does not exist. Aside from discussing the concept as we are right now, what is the difference?

When Germany was attacking Europe, what was the difference in the reaction of France, Austria and Switzerland? France fought. Austria allied itself. Switzerland remained neutral.

That's just one example of neutrality and an example, I would hope, that clearly illustrates that neutrality is not the same as either a positive or negative position.

I understand neutrality is different in many cases, but in this case neutrality and lack of belief seem to hold the same consequences. Could you give an example of what significant differences there are in living as if God doesn't exist versus living as if you don't and can't know?

(18-07-2011 10:44 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:If God's existence is completely unknowable then it cannot have any impact on the real world or anyone's life.

I don't know what you mean exactly.

That being said, if God exists but is unknowable, God can absolutely have an impact.

If God is simply unknowable, then whether he exists or not, the truth of his unknowable nature absolutely has an impact because it calls into question the certainty of people that either believe he exists or disbelieve in his existence.

Quote:In that case, what would change if one finally decided that God didn't exist?

If there was ever any empirical evidence that God, or more generally, that the supernatural did not exist (which I believe is impossible, but for the sake of the hypothetical) then I would know that Naturalism is true. Science would no longer believe in Methodological Naturalism, they'd know Naturalism was true. I'd know there was no God and I'd think anyone who believed in him believed in a fiction. I'd still be an Agnostic, but I'd also become an Atheist.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

What I meant is that if God did alter reality and have an affect on peoples' lives, it would be detectable. Maybe not now, but if he was changing something he would have to interfere with deterministic laws. Say he diverted a meteor from hitting the earth, there would be a change in the meteor's direction but we wouldn't be able to see where the force required to alter its path had come from. But trying to explain this, it's clearly not a relevant point. Our uncertainty about our own observations and lack of precision in our perceptions and measurements would prevent us from identifying something like that, unless it was really obvious. Even then, our limited knowledge would prevent us from ruling out natural causes for anything God decided to do in order to demonstrate his existence.

Thanks for taking the time to reply to all that, I hope I've put forth my ideas a little better in this post.
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18-07-2011, 01:15 PM
RE: I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
(18-07-2011 12:34 PM)lucradis Wrote:  Yes the idea of this god can be deconstructed but the god itself can't.

That's the thing though, Christians follow that idea they don't follow anything that could possibly be construed as the same. As I said the fact that they denounce any god not following their strict code of what god is states that their code has to be right or it's not their god. It's basically saying that christians themselves would have to change faiths if they realized that god was not like the bible. Christians are not deists who accept that whatever form of entity it might be is what it is. They make sure that everyone knows exactly what it is, and that if there is something different than this then it is a false deity. By this I'm stating if a god exists, and christians meet it finding that it does not follow the same views as their god then they would decide that christianity is wrong. That god would not be the god of christianity despite the fact that it is a god. He is stating how a specific claim is incorrect not how it says there is no possibility.

If christians believed that there was a god who created everything, and didn't go heavy into detail on the exact views actions and to an extent manifestations of this god, then an actual deity could be the christian god without having done what the bible says. Despite malicious intent it is the view of christians that the truth of the bible cannot be stained by human hands and that it is still in there even if some priests altered the word. If the accounts laid forth by this god, as most of the book is quotes from god explaining events, then that means the only god which can be defined here is the god who explained all of this. If it didn't happen then you have a malicious entity or an entity that never said these things, and either way you don't have the christian god.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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18-07-2011, 05:18 PM
RE: I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
Hey, Ludacris.

Wow... yeah... uhh... exactly... cool... people don't usually understand me Cool Thanks, brother!

Hey, Lilith.

We have to be specific. There are over 38 000 Christian sects, so we can't act like there's a single theology. The nature of God varies pretty radically between the different sects and the reliance on and interpretation of the Bible varies just as radically. That being said, I think that debunking the Bible is a fine way to poke holes in the proposed nature of God....

Kurt Cobain once said, "I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not," meaning there is a difference between a persona and a person. The persona of God might be debunked. Christian theology might be proven untenable. But none of that says anything about the person of God.

Anyhoo, there's 3 distinct things. Christianity. The Bible. God. They all have a relationship, but they all exist independently of those relationships and independently of one another (if God exists at all).

Hey, Zach.

Quote:That isn't a proper analogy. As Lilith said, I'm saying that a particular version of God - a god with the traits described in the Bible and who performed the actions described in the Bible - is falsifiable. That God does not exist, and that is relatively easy to demonstrate. A god may exist, but he isn't the one in this book because we know the book's account of him is false. He may bear some similarities to that god, but we know that all or part of that information about him is false.

God isn't Windows. There's no version of him. God is God. Whatever God is or isn't. All that there is is accounts of him. Those accounts lend absolutely nothing to his existence, should he have existence. So you can say that if God exists, he likely doesn't have the qualities described in the Bible (provided there is a rational link between the two, which is not guaranteed, more to come on that one). But you can't say, because he's different then that God in the Bible ceases to exist.

So he IS the one in the Book (possibly). They just fucked up the account.

Kurt Cobain is a selfish bastard who robbed us of our genius and took the cowards way out.
Kurt Cobain was a tortured soul suffering from creative, spiritual and physical pain, none of which could be healed and he could not go on.
Kurt Cobain was a drug addict who like many drug addicts became depressed and committed suicide.

Kurt Cobain exists(ed) independently of all three of these accounts. Maybe they're all true, maybe none of them are true, but prove all of them wrong and there is Kurt Cobain, still existing as whatever he actually was.

You cannot say, the first account is wrong so that version of Kurt Cobain doesn't exist. Just typing that out, I'm struck by the sheer absurdity of it. Moving right along...

Quote:I guess I'm saying that's how I'd go about it and that's what seems most reasonable to me personally.

Cool.

Quote:But wouldn't you be agnostic about that? Even if I made it up, it could be true. For all I know, the invisible fairy planted it in my head to convince us all it isn't real. It's pretty much like the power of prayer; the invisible fairy's opinions and actions are beyond our comprehension, so everything bad that happens is because we displeased him in some way. Any contradiction to my theory can be explained thanks to my fairy's ambiguity and the fact that he's far more intelligent to us so we can't comprehend his superior reasoning Tongue

I'm not Agnostic ABOUT anything. I AM an Agnostic. I believe IN Agnosticism. That being said... dude... come on... you made it up. You aren't even denying that you made it up. That's evidence.

Quote:But is that incompatible with forming an opinion? Any time I hold a belief for or against something, it's implied that it may be incorrect. Depending on how the claim was made, you would probably form an opinion early on. If the scientist showed convincing evidence that led him to believe this element could be used for nuclear fusion, you might consider it likely and predict that his experiment will be a success. If he refused to support his claim or explain why he thinks that, you would probably become suspicious that he's basing it on nothing, and probably guess it will fail. In either case, you know you lack the knowledge to be remotely certain, but you can still form an opinion while remembering you don't actually know the answer.

I'm with you on things maybe being correct. But the ability for new evidence to topple old theories isn't the issue at hand. The issue is current theories and the availability, or lack thereof, of evidence currently.

If he showed convincing evidence, I'd be convinced by the evidence (provided it was empirical and not anecdotal or circumstantial).

If he had no evidence I'd say, neat theory but figure it out and get back to me.

Quote:But why consider a claim has any merit until it is backed by evidence? Rejecting it isn't saying you know it's false, but there's no point investigating or considering every claim that you hear.

What do you have to lose if you consider it having merit? Rejecting a theory as true is fine as long as you don't say that means it's false.

I don't investigate everything I hear. I just file most of it under I don't know.

Quote:In that case, I could still show you the missing house, and it should be easy to verify that it existed and that a tornado passed through the area. I didn't consider just witnessing an event when I said that, but I wasn't thinking along those lines. I think a better example to illustrate what I'm talking about is something where the claim would require you to take some action if it were true. That's where I would apply this reasoning, and that's where many religions and god-claims fall:

Some Christians might claim that if you don't worship God you will go to hell, with all hell's unpleasantness, for eternity. You need to decide whether to act on this information. You have several options:
-Ignore it and don't take action, which implies an assumption it is most likely false or apathy towards ending up in hell
-Worship, which implies an assumption that it is true or likely to be true
-Refuse to worship, on the assumption that it is false or that it is true and you desire to go to hell

The first and third are effectively the same, but I think they represent different attitudes. What other response to that would fit "I don't know?" If you have the assumption that divine knowledge is unattainable, then you can reject their claim as false because they couldn't have learned about God's wishes and their source for that information is fictional(like my invisible fairy), or because that God is also supposed to be fair, which requires he doesn't punish someone for not knowing something they cannot know. They could also have a different idea of fair, but in that case you'd have to reach a consensus over what is fair.

Gruesome, I know, but I said horse :sick:

Here's the thing. If the supernatural exists, there's no reason to believe that it will be detectable because the rules we follow to detect things need not apply.

Think Q. He can do whatever he wants. He can change the universe and no one is the wiser. He can change history. He can arbitrarily decide that all humanoids have grapefruit heads and we might never think to question it. If he turned your head into a grapefruit and then turned it back, what possible experiment could we devise to investigate how heads spontaneously turn into grapefruits, provided we were even left aware of the transformation or that we were aware of it in the first place or that it even occurred in space time.

The only reason to assume it would be detectable would be if it followed our rules which by definition it does not.

If God exists, will he send me to hell? I don't know. But maybe I want to wait and see. Maybe I like the idea of Hell (I don’t, it sounds shit). There's nothing requiring me to respond to the possibility of it in the three ways you suggested.

Also, there's no link between the belief and the action. Someone might say that they don't know if there's a Hell but they want to hedge their bets so they're practicing Christians. Someone else might say that they don't know but they just plain don't like church so que serra, serra.

Quote:I understand neutrality is different in many cases, but in this case neutrality and lack of belief seem to hold the same consequences. Could you give an example of what significant differences there are in living as if God doesn't exist versus living as if you don't and can't know?

To be perfectly honest, I don't feel comfortable discussing my personal relationship with the supernatural openly. I can say that I don't think that the two are the same. I think that you can believe in God but be irreligious or disbelieve and be devout.

That being said, there's no one right answer. Agnostics are as complex as any other group.

And thank you for taking the time as well. I am enjoying this.

If anything I’ve said is confusing, just refer to Ludacris’ post Cool

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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18-07-2011, 05:32 PM (This post was last modified: 18-07-2011 05:49 PM by NotSoVacuous.)
RE: I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
(13-07-2011 11:20 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, NSV.

How did you uncover my penis gambit?!?!

Quote:They don't know if there is a god, yet they live their life if there isn't one. Or at least this seems to be the case to me, could be wrong.

Can't speak for everyone, but in my case you're wrong. I don't know if there is or isn't a God, not just the former. I don't live my life as if there isn't one; I live it like I don't know.

I don't even know what that means? Your way of thinking might be as if you don't know if there is no god, but how could your way of actually living out your life be portrayed as you don't know if there is a god? I really can't think of an example. Undecided

And if this holds true and you give me an example of "living" as you don't know rather than thinking, could you give me an example of "living/thinking" in your life where you live/think as fairies/pink unicorns do not exist.

Please don't take this response as arrogant or terse, this is purely legitimate and honest question.

"We Humans are capable of greatness." -Carl Sagan
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19-07-2011, 04:37 AM
RE: I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
As many versions of christianity as there may be Ghost, the fact remains that each sect of christianity feels the other sects are mistaken. Plenty of christians of one variety try to save christians of another variety because there is a proper way to worship god =p

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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19-07-2011, 08:22 AM
 
RE: I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
(18-07-2011 05:18 PM)Ghost Wrote:  God isn't Windows. There's no version of him. God is God. Whatever God is or isn't. All that there is is accounts of him. Those accounts lend absolutely nothing to his existence, should he have existence. So you can say that if God exists, he likely doesn't have the qualities described in the Bible (provided there is a rational link between the two, which is not guaranteed, more to come on that one). But you can't say, because he's different then that God in the Bible ceases to exist.

So he IS the one in the Book (possibly). They just fucked up the account.

Kurt Cobain is a selfish bastard who robbed us of our genius and took the cowards way out.
Kurt Cobain was a tortured soul suffering from creative, spiritual and physical pain, none of which could be healed and he could not go on.
Kurt Cobain was a drug addict who like many drug addicts became depressed and committed suicide.

Kurt Cobain exists(ed) independently of all three of these accounts. Maybe they're all true, maybe none of them are true, but prove all of them wrong and there is Kurt Cobain, still existing as whatever he actually was.

You cannot say, the first account is wrong so that version of Kurt Cobain doesn't exist. Just typing that out, I'm struck by the sheer absurdity of it. Moving right along...

I think this one does come down to semantics, and I agree with some of what you are saying. I understand that a God similar to what is described in the Bible may exist, and as you said the authors could have been trying to describe him but doing a lousy job. But we can be relatively certain that the particular collection of personality traits and actions that makes up this one idea of God does not exist, just like the many gods of the Norse, Greek, and Egyptians. I believe very strongly that they are all nonexistent, part of various myths created by humans. The same goes for Yahweh. They could have all been attempts to describe a real God that were distorted by human interpretation, but it seems much more likely that they were all made up for various reasons and that God has never interacted with people.

As for God meaning some sort of supreme being, I'm only an atheist relative to that idea in the sense that I have no reason to believe it exists (but also no reason to think it doesn't exist). This atheism is a very strict neutral stance, and I think it's exactly the same as yours towards God. It just doesn't stay neutral once a person starts proposing specific traits for that vague, unknowable entity since they're either making them up or taking them from another source who made them up. Same goes for that entity influencing reality or taking any sort of action that we can detect. Those claims venture out of the safety of a vague higher intelligence and make a baseless proposal.

If someone gave me an account of Kurt Cobain as a drug addict, and it turned out he wasn't, then my idea of him would be very inaccurate. The drug addicted musician I had imagined does not exist; the real person who does exist is much different. The person they're describing does exist independently of any account of him, but the people constructed from false accounts do not accurately depict a real human.

That being said, I put the Christian god in the same category as Zeus, Thor, Horus, and every other fictitious god from other cultures: fabrications to control people or embody ideas important to those cultures. I don't see what makes him special compared to the rest of them. Would you have the same stance towards Yahweh as you do all the other gods of these various mythologies?

(18-07-2011 05:18 PM)Ghost Wrote:  I'm not Agnostic ABOUT anything. I AM an Agnostic. I believe IN Agnosticism. That being said... dude... come on... you made it up. You aren't even denying that you made it up. That's evidence.

I misused the word agnostic; by being agnostic about something I meant holding the same stance an agnostic like yourself holds towards God towards that particular something. If me making that idea up is evidence that the idea is false, wouldn't the same hold true for any gods fabricated by humans? Again, just those particular gods not THE God if it actually exists outside the human mind.

(18-07-2011 05:18 PM)Ghost Wrote:  I'm with you on things maybe being correct. But the ability for new evidence to topple old theories isn't the issue at hand. The issue is current theories and the availability, or lack thereof, of evidence currently.

If he showed convincing evidence, I'd be convinced by the evidence (provided it was empirical and not anecdotal or circumstantial).

If he had no evidence I'd say, neat theory but figure it out and get back to me.

Would that be equivalent to not accepting his theory? That's all I mean by not believing in God, except without the "figure it out and get back to me" part because that isn't possible.

(18-07-2011 05:18 PM)Ghost Wrote:  What do you have to lose if you consider it having merit? Rejecting a theory as true is fine as long as you don't say that means it's false.

I don't investigate everything I hear. I just file most of it under I don't know.

I should have applied that statement to claims that require action on your part. Considering a claim that requires me to do something without being provided any evidence

(18-07-2011 05:18 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Gruesome, I know, but I said horse :sick:

Oops, my bad Big Grin

In that case I would say that a tornado does not disintegrate a horse Tongue

(18-07-2011 05:18 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Here's the thing. If the supernatural exists, there's no reason to believe that it will be detectable because the rules we follow to detect things need not apply.

Think Q. He can do whatever he wants. He can change the universe and no one is the wiser. He can change history. He can arbitrarily decide that all humanoids have grapefruit heads and we might never think to question it. If he turned your head into a grapefruit and then turned it back, what possible experiment could we devise to investigate how heads spontaneously turn into grapefruits, provided we were even left aware of the transformation or that we were aware of it in the first place or that it even occurred in space time.

The only reason to assume it would be detectable would be if it followed our rules which by definition it does not.

If God exists, will he send me to hell? I don't know. But maybe I want to wait and see. Maybe I like the idea of Hell (I don’t, it sounds shit). There's nothing requiring me to respond to the possibility of it in the three ways you suggested.

Also, there's no link between the belief and the action. Someone might say that they don't know if there's a Hell but they want to hedge their bets so they're practicing Christians. Someone else might say that they don't know but they just plain don't like church so que serra, serra.

I'm not sure if you've answered the question though. Wouldn't you treat any specific claims that require you to "believe now or be punished" as false? It isn't practical to consider such claims since so many religions make them. If you consider it equally likely that you'll go to hell or suffer no consequence, wouldn't you try to figure out which it is? Taking no action implies you don't anticipate such a strong, negative consequence.

(18-07-2011 05:18 PM)Ghost Wrote:  To be perfectly honest, I don't feel comfortable discussing my personal relationship with the supernatural openly. I can say that I don't think that the two are the same. I think that you can believe in God but be irreligious or disbelieve and be devout.

That being said, there's no one right answer. Agnostics are as complex as any other group.

That's understandable. There isn't any non-personal example though? Something general like a believer going to church and a non-believer not going to church, except with a third option that an agnostic would take?
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19-07-2011, 05:09 PM
RE: I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
I think it is possible to claim that a perfectly good god does not exist, "perfect" being the operative word here. Most religions want their god to be "perfect" in the sense of goodness. Imagine the ultra clever and reasonably happy inhabitants occupying planet Xenu; they could be far superior to us but still not ''perfectly good".
Everything is relative and without some suffering there can be no growth, at least as we percieve things. From our finite experience, re perfectly good god, the term athiest seems appropriate.The idealistic notion of an ever evolving force of cosmic betterment, if one want such , avoids the aforementioned problem.
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"Who then remains unconquerable;he whom the inevitable cannot overcome" Epectitus
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19-07-2011, 10:53 PM
RE: I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
Hey, Notso.

Every father, prior to knowing the gender of their child makes the decision to live like he's about to raise a son, like he's about to raise a daughter, or like he has no idea whether he's going to raise a son or a daughter.

As for myself, I find the God question curious. I sometimes wonder if there is or isn't a God and it invariably ends with me realising that I just don't know.

People just keep asking me, are you Agnositc about unicorns, and Zeus and Ra? I am an Agnostic. If it's not demonstrated or if it's indemonstrable, I can't know and I don't pretend that I do. So yes, if it is supernatural, I don't know.

Ghosts. I don't know if they exist or not. Sometimes I just don't think about them and sometimes I get scared. How's that?

Hey, Lilith.

Fair enough.

Hey, Zach.

I have no reason to believe that Thor doesn't exist. Nor do I have any reason to believe he does exist.

Quote:If me making that idea up is evidence that the idea is false, wouldn't the same hold true for any gods fabricated by humans?

The Flying Spaghetti Monster. It's fictional. That is demonstrable. So in that sense, yes, it does hold true for all fabricated Gods.

The issue is, how do we determine which Gods are fabricated in the absence of evidence?

Quote:In that case I would say that a tornado does not disintegrate a horse

Based on what?

Quote:Wouldn't you treat any specific claims that require you to "believe now or be punished" as false? It isn't practical to consider such claims since so many religions make them. If you consider it equally likely that you'll go to hell or suffer no consequence, wouldn't you try to figure out which it is? Taking no action implies you don't anticipate such a strong, negative consequence.

No I would not.

When I don't know, I act in whichever way I happen to act. There is no road map.

I can't figure out which it is. That’s the problem. To this day I couldn't tell you if I'm going to Hell or not. I try to live a good life and in the end, I hope that's enough to get me into Heaven if there is one, but I also accept that being irreligious might be enough to land me in Hell.

Taking no action implies nothing.

Quote:Would that be equivalent to not accepting his theory? That's all I mean by not believing in God, except without the "figure it out and get back to me" part because that isn't possible.

No. Neutrality is neutrality. I didn't invent this concept. It's clearly defined.

In the sense that I have not accepted it a la I never said, yes I believe you, then sure, I haven't accepted it. But that is easily misconstrued to mean that I rejected it, which is not the case. In the sense that I have not rejected it, no, I haven't not accepted his theory.

Personal story time. In 2008, after a CT scan, doctors found several non-calcified nodules in my lungs, multiple enlarged lymph glands and discovered that my spleen was enlarged too. The doctors told me that this discovery needed to be followed up because it might have been lymphoma. Cancer. It's a fucking scary word. It took four months to rule it out (it was something else). That was a shitty four months for me and ask anyone who has been told they might have cancer or anyone diagnosed with cancer, that waiting period is the worst (I just worked with a cancer survivour and she said when she was told, she was ok with it because she knew what she had to do). The reason that it sucks is because you can't make your peace with anything. Am I dead in four weeks? Is it nothing? Am I going to have to do chemo? On and on and on. There's a zillion possibilities and you can't arbitrarily decide which one to accept because you know that the tests coming down the pipe will tell you. I would constantly think, what happens if I decide to believe that it's nothing and then I find out that I have four weeks to live? What happens if I resign myself to death and then find out there's a chance? I could never allow myself to pick anything for one simple reason. I did not know.

That's Agnosticism.

In the absence of evidence, you just admit that you don't know. And know what? It was fucking terrifying. At random intervals I'd just collapse to the ground in tears. I was just afraid for four months. I had nothing to cling to. I could very easily have clung to the idea that it was nothing and that I'd be fine. It would have eased my suffering greatly. It would have been comforting. But I couldn't because I didn't know.

So how did that affect my life? Well, I didn't make funeral arrangements and I didn't smile. I was a fucking mess and I was scared for my life. I lived my life as if I didn't know and I never once leaned in one direction over the other. Not ever.

Then one day, a respirologist stuck a camera into my lung and looked around for a half hour or so, maybe an hour, I have no idea I was loopy on drugs, he took some biopsies and sent them to a lab and ultimately diagnosed me with a different condition and my haematologist said that the odds of me having lymphoma were suddenly vanishingly small. Since that day, the day I was given evidence, I have never once thought that I have cancer. If you ask me to day if I have lymphoma I answer with a confident, no.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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20-07-2011, 03:49 AM
 
RE: I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
Have you heard the news that talks about religion? In the news they have mentioned that an Austrian male has surfaced successful in a rather intriguing religious freedom case. The man was given the right to put on headwear representing his faith in his license image. The man is a Pastafarian, and sought to put on something appropriate for an adherent of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Flying Spaghetti MONSTER is only called such because of his distinctly non-human form; we were not created in his image, not by a long shot. Here is the proof:Austrian wins right to wear Pastafarian garb in license photo
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20-07-2011, 08:57 AM
 
RE: I'm not atheist, I'm agnostic...
(19-07-2011 10:53 PM)Ghost Wrote:  The issue is, how do we determine which Gods are fabricated in the absence of evidence?

We can't establish this as reliably as the FSM, but I think it may be possible to predict the origin of these mythologies. I don't know how though, and I understand the distinction.

(19-07-2011 10:53 PM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:In that case I would say that a tornado does not disintegrate a horse

Based on what?

As far as I know, high speed winds aren't capable of shredding something that isn't fragile, like a animal, into such small pieces. I may be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that it's impossible for a tornado to do that to a horse. Not even a house, there would still be pieces of wreckage all over the place, it doesn't break things down to the point where you can't find any remains.

If I were shown evidence that this can happen then I would accept that it was true, but without any evidence I can only go with my very limited knowledge.

(19-07-2011 10:53 PM)Ghost Wrote:  No I would not.

When I don't know, I act in whichever way I happen to act. There is no road map.

I can't figure out which it is. That’s the problem. To this day I couldn't tell you if I'm going to Hell or not. I try to live a good life and in the end, I hope that's enough to get me into Heaven if there is one, but I also accept that being irreligious might be enough to land me in Hell.

Taking no action implies nothing.

I think taking no action in most situations implies that you don't think it will result in any negative consequences. With the God question, there are too many claims to investigate them all, so taking no action seems to accept the pointlessness of trying to falsify each and every claim before rejecting it. But I didn't consider hope playing into a neutral stance on religion. No way of knowing, so take the action that seems most reasonable and hope that any God that may exist will understand.

(19-07-2011 10:53 PM)Ghost Wrote:  In the sense that I have not accepted it a la I never said, yes I believe you, then sure, I haven't accepted it. But that is easily misconstrued to mean that I rejected it, which is not the case. In the sense that I have not rejected it, no, I haven't not accepted his theory.

This is what I mean by not accepting or not believing. The absence of a positive belief within your mind, not any active rejection or antagonism towards the idea. I consider that a form of agnostic atheism and you consider it agnostic, but that goes back to the semantics and arguing over how they should be defined, which is irrelevant. But that is what most people mean when they say atheism is the lack of belief in God(s) or not believing in Gods.

(19-07-2011 10:53 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Personal story time. In 2008, after a CT scan, doctors found several non-calcified nodules in my lungs, multiple enlarged lymph glands and discovered that my spleen was enlarged too. The doctors told me that this discovery needed to be followed up because it might have been lymphoma. Cancer. It's a fucking scary word. It took four months to rule it out (it was something else). That was a shitty four months for me and ask anyone who has been told they might have cancer or anyone diagnosed with cancer, that waiting period is the worst (I just worked with a cancer survivour and she said when she was told, she was ok with it because she knew what she had to do). The reason that it sucks is because you can't make your peace with anything. Am I dead in four weeks? Is it nothing? Am I going to have to do chemo? On and on and on. There's a zillion possibilities and you can't arbitrarily decide which one to accept because you know that the tests coming down the pipe will tell you. I would constantly think, what happens if I decide to believe that it's nothing and then I find out that I have four weeks to live? What happens if I resign myself to death and then find out there's a chance? I could never allow myself to pick anything for one simple reason. I did not know.

That's Agnosticism.

In the absence of evidence, you just admit that you don't know. And know what? It was fucking terrifying. At random intervals I'd just collapse to the ground in tears. I was just afraid for four months. I had nothing to cling to. I could very easily have clung to the idea that it was nothing and that I'd be fine. It would have eased my suffering greatly. It would have been comforting. But I couldn't because I didn't know.

So how did that affect my life? Well, I didn't make funeral arrangements and I didn't smile. I was a fucking mess and I was scared for my life. I lived my life as if I didn't know and I never once leaned in one direction over the other. Not ever.

Then one day, a respirologist stuck a camera into my lung and looked around for a half hour or so, maybe an hour, I have no idea I was loopy on drugs, he took some biopsies and sent them to a lab and ultimately diagnosed me with a different condition and my haematologist said that the odds of me having lymphoma were suddenly vanishingly small. Since that day, the day I was given evidence, I have never once thought that I have cancer. If you ask me to day if I have lymphoma I answer with a confident, no.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

No reason to get your hopes up or to give up completely. No reason to make any conjecture when you consider all current evidence invalid. That story illustrates what you mean about your neutral stance very well.
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