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Agnoticism: The truthful standpoint on God

 
 
Individual
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 02:40 pm
WhoodaThunk, believe it or not, most atheists at one point or another have experienced faith. From the ones that I know, they were raised in a religious environment and later rejected the beliefs (but oddly enough, not the traditions) of that life. Others don't need god to have faith.

Do I believe that life is nothing more than eating, pooping, buying, and selling? No, I believe that it is much less at times. Everything that we do can be summed up into one evolutionary driving force: survival.
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 02:46 pm
Fresco, when atheists (and even theists) have tested in every way that they can, what else is there to do but conclude that god does not exist?

I have since tested for pink elephants, but again have come up empty handed. If I can't trust my own senses, then I cannot trust myself. That's a scary thought, but considering that I have millions of years of evolutionary work done to perfect my body...I would say that I trust it a lot more than the relatively recent idea of a god.
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 03:15 pm
Individual wrote:
Everything that we do can be summed up into one evolutionary driving force: survival.


Even though I agree with most of your comments, I'm somehow doubtful about this one above. You forgot Allah suicide bombers.
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WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 03:24 pm
Individual wrote:
If I can't trust my own senses, then I cannot trust myself.


And that's my point.

Anything more from me is pointless. I sincerely do wish you well, Individual. Happy eating, pooping, buying, and selling.
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 03:27 pm
Francis, perhaps this phenomenon happens when humans voluntarily sacrifice their potential progeny (by means of their own death) in favor of the protection of their tribe as a whole. This could be similar to any soldier who expects to die on the battlefield.

WhoodaThunk, I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean. Would you care to elaborate?
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 05:11 pm
Individual

<<Fresco, when atheists (and even theists) have tested in every way that they can, what else is there to do but conclude that god does not exist?>>

The point is that since "the nature of God" cannot be specified there are NO tests and hence no conclusions. Logic applied to deities is like juggling with water. "Causality" is now known by physicists to be a psychological construction so even the argument for an non-intervening prime mover breaks down.

However beyond the obvious invention of "god" as a psychological palliative there are certain issues about states of consciousness and "self awareness" which might indicate to the mystically or religiously inclined that there is something "more" beyond a naive realism of the senses. Whether such experiences are self-delusional or not remains an interesting question.
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 05:19 pm
Individual wrote:
Francis, perhaps this phenomenon happens when humans voluntarily sacrifice their potential progeny (by means of their own death) in favor of the protection of their tribe as a whole. This could be similar to any soldier who expects to die on the battlefield.

WhoodaThunk, I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean. Would you care to elaborate?


I think the very reason whoodathunk is abstaining from further comment is because of that disconnect in understanding - maybe he doesn't think it's bridgeable here (just my opinion).
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 05:41 pm
Fresco, there is a fairly complicated belief in Judaic mysticism (I'm not sure about Christian and Muslim mysticism) that human beings can ascend to higher levels of consciousness and thus become closer to god. Is this what you are talking about?

Snood, I think you may be right.

Please come back WhoodaThunk, I really want to share opinions with you.
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WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 07:19 pm
Snood & Individual: Yes, that's exactly right. I don't think the chasm between theists and non-theist is bridgeable because of the limitations set forth by non-believers: If it cannot be perceived by human senses, then it cannot be.

Honestly, I respect the agnostic/atheistic positions ... I think I understand where they are, and why they are there ... but I also pity them for what they're missing due to their self-imposed limitations. When I said "ask & listen," it was meant as well-intentioned advice, not as judgmental lecturing. I truly believe that God gives each of us the capacity and resources to pick our way through the charlatans, legalists, and philistines of all stripes to uncover our own relationships with our Creator. I believe he waits for us ... to ask and listen ... but on his terms, not ours ... and when the connection is made, the light bulb really does come on over our heads.

I hope I didn't give the impression I was leaving in a snit. Not at all. It's just that eventually we all end up repeating ourselves to no end. Like I said earlier, I'm not here to sell anything or convert anyone. Those who know me probably question my credentials as a Christian ... I'm hardly a King James, arm-waving doorbell ringer ... but I guess we're all works in progress, huh?
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binnyboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 09:29 pm
Quote:
BinnyBoy, If I had no knowledge of a country, and I could not see any of its elephants (I'll give you this scenario because it's as likely as mine), then I would not believe anybody who told me that it was there. Would you, beyond apprehension or doubt?

I'm not sure I exactly follow this. I'd like to be cooperative, but I don't want to answer stupidly because of a lack of understanding of the question and its premises.
Quote:
Do you understand how silly it sounds (to an atheist) to believe in some being that has always been and always will be, who can never be perceived, never touched, but can hear everything that you think no matter where you are? But most of all, how unlikely it is that this being, were it to exist, coincided with your exact idea of what it is?

And yet, you don't care about reason, or the fact that it sounds silly, but you believe that he's there anyway...What you're referring to, sounds to me like what I know to be true: that my mother will always be there to scorn me for screwing up.

I understand perfectly how an atheist could conceive that. I am an atheist. I do think that. But silly is not impossible. The point of my statements is to address the agnostic argument as silly for the very reason you have said. I don't know about ALL agnostics, but one I know likes to say that he does not have enough evidence to guess one way or another. I contend that lack of evidence for something that sounds pretty absurd is plenty, just as my example of cloaked elephants in your bedroom pointed out.
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Jan, 2005 11:24 pm
Binny, I was trying to say that if I couldn't perceive something as being there then even if people told me it was I wouldn't believe them. Would you believe them under the same circumstances?



WhoodaThunk wrote:
but I also pity them for what they're missing due to their self-imposed limitations


That's fine, it's your "self-imposed" god that I don't believe in.

Let's just leave this discussion at: If god does exist, then he has obviously chosen my path to be one of disbelief.

Thanks for the conversation!
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binnyboy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 12:25 am
probably not... depends on how logical what they are saying is.
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 01:47 am
Individual,

Yes, "higher levels of consciousness" are identified with a selfless holistic state, which some might call "God". The question remains whether this state in which "the self is killed off" is merely a delusional escape.
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 02:38 am
Also, as belief is agued here as an individual's prerogative, the necessity of one's belief is determined by the individual. God is necessary to the believers. To the non-believers, god isn't necessary.

The necessity of god is subjective.

So, if one needs god, he exists.
If one doesn't, then god doesn't exist.

An agnosic is a complete ignorant in this respect. He doesn't know if he needs a god or not.
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 03:08 am
Fresco, if that's the case, then all people are doing is voluntarily altering their conscious state. People can learn to slow their heartbeat or even hypnotize themselves, but it is not in any way becoming closer to god (unless you fall under the group of people who believe that we are our own gods).

In fact, this feeling of closeness to god has been studied in extent and the researchers found that it is exactly the same feeling that comes over a person as when they have run very hard for a period of time. Does that mean that sprinters are closer to god when they run? Perhaps the feeling of being close to god is simply the act of restricting blood flow to the brain.
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 03:12 am
InfraBlue, I disagree with your last statement. An agnostic, like any other person, is capable of deciding whether or not he or she needs a god. They just haven't decided if one exists or not.
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 03:33 am
Sure, your argument is predicated on an empiricist standpoint. From that standpoint I agree.

But I was arguing on a subjectivist standpoint.

And so, I left out what I was going to start my post with, and that's that the people on this thread are arguing past each other with arguments based on different angles of approach. Some, like you, are arguing, like I stated above, from an empiricist point of reference. Others, me namely, are arguing from a subjectivist standpoint. Others are arguing from yet different standpoints.
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 03:47 am
How then can we possibly combine our views so that we can form a coherent debate?
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WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 08:09 am
Individual wrote:
WhoodaThunk wrote:
but I also pity them for what they're missing due to their self-imposed limitations


That's fine, it's your "self-imposed" god that I don't believe in.

Let's just leave this discussion at: If god does exist, then he has obviously chosen my path to be one of disbelief.

Thanks for the conversation!


Oh, nice. Individual doesn't like my viewpoint, becomes flippant and dismisses me from the conversation after beckoning me back even though I tried to politely excuse myself citing irreconcilable differences.

Please refer to my earlier comments regarding atheist/agnostic arrogance.

But first, a few points:

1) My God is not self-imposed. He is accepted and revered. The semantics are important.

2) Your limitations are self-imposed. (Check your comments regarding distrust for that which you cannot perceive through your senses.)

3) God did not choose your path of disbelief. You were given the capacity and wherewithal for free choice. You chose your path of disbelief. Wasn't that the point of this "conversation."

4) Ask & listen ... if you are capable and willing. Again, it's a choice.

5) Ask yourself why you and yours become so ----- (you choose the adjective) when you discuss this subject with those who really are indifferent with your acceptance/rejection of God? Why do you insist you're being imposed upon when I personally could care less if you worship a 50-year-old Twinkie? Put it in the town square next to the manger, I don't care. Methinks there's more beneath the analytical & rational veneer.

But ... I'll respect your request and take a hike.

My best wishes to you.
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 02:17 pm
Whoa WhoodaThunk, I'm sorry if I came off as being flippant. My writing style has been this way for a while and though I don't mean to sound arrogant and disrespectful, I really do mean well. I suppose other's knowledge of this problem was one of the things that I sacrificed by being away from the forums for so long.

I really do apologize, but please understand how difficult it is to maintain a civil tone while having a discussion about religion, especially when both sides continually misunderstand each other.

Now I'm going to rebut your points and sound like a total ass all over again. Twisted Evil

1) Again, the problem of two points of view. You think that your god is loved and accepted while I believe that he was created and imposed upon yourself by you. My main evidence is that most religions see their gods in a different light, and furthermore, within those religions, entire sects or even individuals claim that their own personal view is the only way that god is. How, then, can it be possible for god to contain so many conflicting attributes? Unfortunately, having asked this question before, I know that I will quickly be shot down because most theists believe that god is indeed capable of such feats and that his ways will never be understood.

2) Yes, my limitations are self-imposed, and for what I think are good reasons.

3) I always get confused about each religion's unique view on god's path versus free will. Sorry, but I was mistaken about what religion you held.

4) Indeed, I have asked and have listened. I hope that satisfies you.

5) I'm not sure what word I should place in that blank, but I can answer the second question. I do not insist that I'm being imposed upon because I don't believe in a god. Not only that, whatever form your god takes or whoever approves of it has nothing to do with the fact that that god is self-imposed.

I would like to discuss this "self-imposed god" idea further. The word "imposed" is not necessarily a bad thing (which is why I think you shied away from it at first). For instance, the clothes I wear each day are "self-imposed", my job is "self-imposed", and what I do at the end of my day is "self-imposed". I choose each, just as I chose not to accept any god. You have the ability to reject your god, therefore, you must be choosing to embrace it, whether this is a conscious choice or not.
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