Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
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29-10-2016, 12:00 AM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(28-10-2016 10:22 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  I'm for example absent belief in god - based on lack of evidence I think that such vaguely defined thing do not exist.

I'm sorry, but thanks for proving my freakin' point Facepalm
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29-10-2016, 12:04 AM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(28-10-2016 11:15 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  How does this supposed to not come off as simply self indulgent arrogance to have any care for a personal revaluation of terminology.

I don't blame you for thinking so, but I simply don't care; I'm not interested in character judgments and the like. I make my posts for my reasons and people can interpret them however they wish, it doesn't affect me. But thanks for being the first one to be honest about it. Thumbsup
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29-10-2016, 12:51 AM (This post was last modified: 29-10-2016 01:13 AM by jennybee.)
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(28-10-2016 11:29 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Jenny, are you able to discern if you hold a belief or not ? It doesn't matter what the belief is.

Do you know if you have any beliefs or is that a mystery ?

Can you mentally determine if you have a belief in your mind that says "I believe that I'm a frog."

Are you unsure if you have this belief in your mind ?

Yes, and my philosophy of life *at the time* in my example was that I was a Pure Agnostic, number 4 on the Dawkins Scale, which is defined as "God's existence and nonexistence are exactly equiprobable." That was my "belief" at the time.

I used the phrase "I don't know" because at the time, I really didn't know if God did or didn't exist. Both seemed equally likely to me at that stage in my life. I don't know" fit exactly how I felt at the time, being caught between a religion I was raised and conditioned in and the world of science and rational thought.

Transitioning out of religion was a very confusing time for me, and can be for many people. As such, "I don't know" is a very fair phrase to use.
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29-10-2016, 04:03 AM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
Part of the confusion, I think, is that there are two "working" definitions of agnostic being used.

One is that agnostic means "I don't know" or "I don't have an opinion". It is this version that gets a lot of people riled up against agnostics, on both sides, since everyone thinks they're just being lazy or craven in refusing to "pick a side". That's not really fair, but it's how that discussion seems to go.

The one I use is a bit different. I think the term refers to a philosophy of belief in the knowability of the answer to that question. Since I function as a methodological naturalist and cannot see any evidence so far of things beyond the natural which we humans can detect by any means (despite many stories of supernatural interactions by humans, it always turns out to be better-explained by other phenomena, up to and including outright lying, and every systematic test I have seen of claims of supernatural phenomena have been utter failures for the claimants-- e.g. the failure of "prayer-healing" experiments), I do not see any means by which we could actually answer this question here in the real world.

Thus, I think the question is un-knowable, and all proposed answers to this question are guesses, however informed or confident the person making the guess may be. Thus, I am an agnostic in the sense that I do not think we can know the answer to the question of supernatural beings, let alone gods.

However, since it is clear to me that all the god-stories I have heard humans propose, in their myriad and varied forms, all fail miserably to produce anything other than obvious products of the human imagination, and all of them fail in some way (usually, many ways) to align with testable reality in the few claims they do make about these beings' interaction with the natural world, I reject them all. Thus, I am an atheist.

I am an agnostic atheist. I don't think it's possible to know whether or not there are beings "out there" (whatever that means) beyond our ability to detect, but it's clear to me that all the versions of gods worshiped here on earth are total fabrications from human psychological projection... and most of them therefore produce gods that are unworthy of worship, even if they were demonstrably as real as their adherents claim.

As a closing note, since one of our resident fundies recently wrote that "every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (citing one of many New Testament references to Isaiah)... I have to say that no, no I would not. Absolutely not. If their deity is exactly as their scriptures proclaim, then proof of his reality would still not cause me to give worship to this awful creature, no matter how powerful. With all respect to modern-day Jews, who seem quite Humanist on the whole and in my experience generally a lovely people to know, the barbaric, Bronze/Iron-Age roots of their religion produced a Deity to which I consider myself morally superior in nearly every way. I could no more worship this being than I could Joseph Stalin or Adolph Hitler, even at gunpoint... and for the same reasons.

Maybe there is some greater being out there. How would we possibly know? But I can say with an overwhelming degree of confidence that none of the beings described to me in any of the world religions is it.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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29-10-2016, 06:13 AM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(27-10-2016 05:46 PM)unknowndevil666 Wrote:  I was a soft agnostic atheist. [...]

For someone who apparently dislikes labels, this one is a doozy. And as it happens nonsensical in my opinion. You're either an atheist or you're not—there's no "degrees" of atheism. Atheism is all about beliefs, or more specifically what one doesn't believe. Agnosticism is about knowledge, or specifically about what you don't know. An atheist doesn't believe in any gods, whereas an agnostic doesn't know if any gods exist or not.

Ergo; one cannot be both an atheist and and agnostic. And "soft"? WTF?

I'm personally convinced that—based on evidence, or the lack thereof—that God or gods do not exist. I've carried this conviction for well over fifty years.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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29-10-2016, 07:26 AM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
The game is three card monty.
Three playing cards
One queen, two kings

Placed face down on a table, the dealer skillfully moves the cards around attempting to trick the people watching.

Dealer says "Where do you believe the queen is ?"
The Mark says "I don't know where the queen is."

Dealer "Good. That means I've done my job well, but the question remains. Where do believe it is ? This guy over here is pointing toward the middle. This lady is yelling out that it's in my pocket and others in the crowd have picked right or left. None of them know where, but they all believe the queen is somewhere. Where do you believe it is ?"

The Mark still responds "I don't know where the queen is."
Dealer "Yes, we've established that but knowledge and belief are two different things. I'm not asking about what you know. I'm asking about what you believe. It's possible to believe something without knowing. Now then, without knowing where the queen is, can you guess ? "

The Mark "I don't have any beliefs about where the queen is."
Dealer "You're saying you lack a belief on where the queen is."

The Mark "Correct."
Dealer "Congratulations, you're an Atheist"

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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29-10-2016, 07:43 AM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(29-10-2016 07:26 AM)Rahn127 Wrote:  The game is three card monty.
Three playing cards
One queen, two kings

Placed face down on a table, the dealer skillfully moves the cards around attempting to trick the people watching.

Dealer says "Where do you believe the queen is ?"
The Mark says "I don't know where the queen is."

Dealer "Good. That means I've done my job well, but the question remains. Where do believe it is ? This guy over here is pointing toward the middle. This lady is yelling out that it's in my pocket and others in the crowd have picked right or left. None of them know where, but they all believe the queen is somewhere. Where do you believe it is ?"

The Mark still responds "I don't know where the queen is."
Dealer "Yes, we've established that but knowledge and belief are two different things. I'm not asking about what you know. I'm asking about what you believe. It's possible to believe something without knowing. Now then, without knowing where the queen is, can you guess ? "

The Mark "I don't have any beliefs about where the queen is."
Dealer "You're saying you lack a belief on where the queen is."

The Mark "Correct."
Dealer "Congratulations, you're an Atheist"

And if the brain was only a deck of cards instead of being filled with past experiences, feelings, learned and innate behaviors, fluidity of thought--this analogy would work.
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29-10-2016, 07:44 AM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(29-10-2016 07:43 AM)jennybee Wrote:  And if the brain was only a deck of cards instead of being filled with past experiences, feelings, learned and innate behaviors, fluidity of thought--this analogy would work.

Not to mention we know the Queen card exists. Wink

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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29-10-2016, 08:04 AM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(29-10-2016 06:13 AM)SYZ Wrote:  You're either an atheist or you're not—there's no "degrees" of atheism. Atheism is all about beliefs, or more specifically what one doesn't believe. Agnosticism is about knowledge, or specifically about what you don't know. An atheist doesn't believe in any gods, whereas an agnostic doesn't know if any gods exist or not.

Ergo; one cannot be both an atheist and and agnostic. And "soft"? WTF?

You're not just disagreeing with me, you're disagreeing with most atheists on this forum and most atheists that I've encountered in my life. "Soft/weak" and "agnostic atheist" are well-established ideas within the atheist sphere, so I'll let other users argue that point with you.

Quote:I'm personally convinced that—based on evidence, or the lack thereof—that God or gods do not exist.

That's another tally btw. Thumbsup
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29-10-2016, 08:14 AM
RE: Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
(29-10-2016 04:03 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Part of the confusion, I think, is that there are two "working" definitions of agnostic being used.

One is that agnostic means "I don't know" or "I don't have an opinion".
...
The one I use is a bit different. I think the term refers to a philosophy of belief in the knowability of the answer to that question.

Props for recognizing the varied meanings being used. Simply put, my point of view is, as a famous commercial actress once said: "Why not both?" Plenty of words in the English language (like, all of them) have more than one meaning (or usage I think might be the better term). If you (general) think it's sloppy or inaccurate for one term to describe similar but different positions, then recognize that (1) most terms do that (like any political position) and (2) you can always expand on your beliefs. You don't have to be tied to one word that's supposed to perfectly represent your worldview.
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