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Agnoticism: The truthful standpoint on God

 
 
Greyfan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 05:39 pm
Agnostics, Atheists, and Theists are all united by one thing:

the belief that they alone have found the answer.

Although Frank usually carries the ball, the Agnostics seem as bent on converting unbelievers as anyone.

I'm in the atheist camp myself; I find the lack of evidence for Gods beloved of Theists convincing, as do most agnostics, and the absence of assertions for theoretical Gods beloved of Agnostics irrelevant, as do most theists.

We are all taking shots in the dark; the agnostic claim a truth which escapes the rest of us is just another guess, with the added burden that while either Theism or Atheism could be wrong concerning the existence of God, Agnosticism definitely is, as there either is or is not a God or Gods, however defined.

The theist observes the world, and arrogantly asserts there is a God; the Atheist observes the world, and arrogantly asserts there is no God. The Agnostic observes the world, and arrogantly asserts there ought to be more to go on.

Three faith-based positions, it seems to me.
0 Replies
 
physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 08:58 pm
Hm... I don't personally think that Atheists in general believe that there isn't a god (as a definite claim), but that there isn't a compelling reason to think that there is one. I realize that it's not often phrased that way because we (well, I and therefore everyone else...) tend to be sloppy with our language.

Is that self-imposed? You betcha! Smile Theists are willing to accept a god thingy evidence be damned, but in general that only goes for the supernatural. Whenever I tell them that I have a patent that's about to bring in millions, and I'll split it with them if they sell everything they own and give me the proceeds now, they suddenly need proof to believe...

As for neutrons, and other aspects of physics, except for the ones with books to sell, most scientists accept certain things as "proven" because they are so successful at modeling the universe. However, if a situation came along that, say, a particle theory with electrons gives the wrong answer to, but another theory (without e-) gives the correct answer to as well as correctly handling what the theory with e- handles, then the e- theory would be abandoned in favor of the more successful theory, in spite of the fact that e- are already "proven." That may be a run-on sentence... Confused Anyway, we don't doubt those things because there are compeling reasons, usually extraordinarily compelling reasons, to believe them, not because we know for absolute fact that they exist.

Personally, as much empasis as religions in general seem to place of faith, if they're right, I'd be shocked if these god thingies arranged the universe so that they can be shown to exist for certian. So, it seems to me that there are just fundamentally different people in the world: those who are willing to blindly belive and those who aren't.

As for athiests being arrogant because we reject the various gods currently on the table, we just believe in one less god than you, so you're only a half-step down from us arrogance wise... :wink:
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 10:32 pm
Not all athiests observe the world, and assert there is no God.

A very many of them have no necessity for a god in their obsevations and daily life, so god is irrelevant.
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physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 10:41 pm
Okay, I agree with you, but I'm a snob and would rather call them non-belivers than athiests. Smile Strictly speaking, anyone who doesn't accept theism is a athiest. However, I tend to want to restrict the term only to those with "rational disbelief." Hm, can you have a disbelief? Eh, you know what I mean. Smile

Besides, just because something is irrelevant doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. I have no use for esperanto in my day to day life, but it still exists.
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physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 10:44 pm
Damn, a double negative. Sad Maybe I should say that relevance and existance don't seem to be related issues to me.

And who is Hamster 9935, and why is he so concerned with the success of my posts?
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 11:36 pm
You're right, relevance and existence aren't necessarily related.

But relevance is what a lot of athiests base their viewpoints on, and that viewpoint is germane to the discussion of theism, atheism, and agnosticism.

Ultimately, one is a theist or an athiest because one believes or doesn't believe in god.

Rationality in regard to belief in god is a subjective issue.

Some people see, feel, taste, smell, and hear god. Others don't.
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Jan, 2005 11:43 pm
Individual,
That's a great question, and the issue is at the root of all of the difficulties inherent in discussing god.

We need to examine the point of reference from which we are approaching these discussions, and take into account the variety of points of reference so that at the very least we realize that some arguments are just not compatible.
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WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 04:00 am
physics_guru1981 wrote:
And who is Hamster 9935, and why is he so concerned with the success of my posts?


Not to worry ... he's just another god thingie. You chose to impose him upon yourself when you accepted the User Agreement.

All hail the hamster thingie.
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 04:31 am
InfraBlue wrote:
Not all athiests observe the world, and assert there is no God.

A very many of them have no necessity for a god in their obsevations and daily life, so god is irrelevant.


That's a good argument!
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physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 09:50 am
Quote:
Not to worry ... he's just another god thingie. You chose to impose him upon yourself when you accepted the User Agreement.

All hail the hamster thingie.


Ah, finally a god thingie that I like! It directly, observably interacts with the world! I guess there are some after all. Surprised

Quote:
But relevance is what a lot of athiests base their viewpoints on, and that viewpoint is germane to the discussion of theism, atheism, and agnosticism.


I think I'm missing something here. Let's say I (and maybe a small group of others) had enough agricultural skills to actually be self-sufficient. Think the Amish here; we can grow our own food, make our own clothes, etc. We could reasonably conclude that the government is irrelevant to us. However, if we all just decided to ignore the government because irrelevance is tantamount to non-existence, it would remind us that it does exist and can choose to make itself relevant to our lives after we failed to pay our taxes, and yes, the Amish do pay taxes, just as a side note.

My point is that just because people choose to think this way doesn't make it a good basis for a belief or lack there of because relevance and existence aren't necessarily related. Is there a reason to think that they are related in this case?

I'm not trying to bash anyone's way of ideas, but I don't understand this argument yet. I'm all for understanding points of view, and discussing why we think what we think. Very Happy
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 11:28 pm
I don't think god has chosen to make itself relevant to the athiests for whom it is irrelevant.
0 Replies
 
WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2005 04:31 am
InfraBlue wrote:
I don't think god has chosen to make itself relevant to the athiests for whom it is irrelevant.


I don't think the atheists should be allowed off the hook so easily. I believe God most definitely has chosen to make Himself relevant to atheists. The offer of peace, contentment, and wisdom has always been on the table for them. Atheists insist on God coming to them on their own terms (hence my earlier comments regarding self-centered arrogance.) They know this will never happen, they choose not to accept the offer, and then place the blame on an imperceivable and irrelevant God.

One agnostic (of a certain reputation hereabouts) challenged God to prove His existence by sending a comet blazing through the skies at a particular time he had chosen. I suspect said agnostic has grown accustomed to standing on lonely hilltops, waving his arms, and screaming into the air.

Once again ... methinks certain agnostics protest too much ... if they are so secure in their beliefs, why the constant challenge and discussion on forums such as this? Intellectual stimulation? I don't think so ............
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2005 06:01 am
Man, whoodathunk,
I think you nailed it right there...
If the agnostics are so secure in their formula of "I know I do not know", that security and peace doesn't come through when I am confronted by them on boards like these. On the contrary, I get the sense of profound unsettledness and a combativeness that is most reminiscent of the sassy, directionless rebelliousness of an adolescent. A possible cry for help that comes packaged in a porcupine hide - and everyone knows you can't hug a porcupine...
0 Replies
 
physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2005 09:23 am
Quote:
I don't think god has chosen to make itself relevant to the athiests for whom it is irrelevant.


I didn't say that it had. The point I'm still stuck on is irrelevance leading to non-existance. To me that seems to be like saying, "Oh, I burned my toast this morning; I better take my raincoat with me today." What?! There's a missing link in that logic. Is it a matter of faith? Meaning that you just connect the two but don't have sound reasoning for doing so, or is it deeper than that?

Somewhat more back on the theme of this tread, even is agnosticism is more honest in what it claims: that you can't be certain, so you shouldn't hazard a guess, that seems meaningless to me. You wouldn't take that position on anything else really. You wouldn't, I don't think anyway, say you're agnostic about the existance of unicorns or my patent from a post or two ago. You'd say they don't exist; it's not impossible that they exist, but for lack of a reason to think that they do...

Secondly, in my only somewhat humble opinion, self-centered, arrogant, bastard that I am :wink:, you've got to live your life in some manner. Given that a large number of religions are exlusionary, in the sense of if you're not one of us, afterlife's going to suck for you..., you either have to live like they're correct, or like they're not. I don't think they're correct, and I give meaning to my own life and interact with others accordingly. Either way, if you're going to live one way or the other, why try to call yourself agnostic? Or am I wrong altogether, it happens a lot, is there someway to live your life sort of "splitting the difference;" I'll admit that I don't see that possibility, not that that means anything. Smile

Quote:
Atheists insist on God coming to them on their own terms...


As for WhoodaThunk, there's an offer for you to sell everything you own and give me the money in return for unimaginable wealth on the table. Are you going to accept or are you going to miss out on the offer by insisting that I "come to you" on your own terms? Just curious... Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Individual
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2005 04:57 pm
WhoodaThunk wrote:
The offer of peace, contentment, and wisdom has always been on the table for them.

My god never promised peace and contentment.

If a god doesn't come to you on your own terms, then what good is he to you? People pray for help and salvation, then they get slammed with what they brush off as "God's plan.' And if you can't trust that god will do what you ask of him, then what else can you be praying for? Salvation? It seems that lifelong servitude to a being that you don't even know exists (but you believe he does) only to be let into paradise when you die (which you also don't know if it exists, but believe nonetheless) is a waste of time. But that's only the christian god...

On another note, I'm having a hard time continuing this argument when you've convinced yourself that we can't possibly understand each other. It seems that you have chosen to build a wall where it doesn't need to be. So tell me, what's the difference between us that I can't possibly bridge? I refuse to believe that just because we believe in opposing views, that we won't be able to see what the other is saying. To me, it's just a way to make sure that you don't have to deal with things that your religion can't explain away.
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binnyboy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 01:18 am
I can understand what some people say about not trying to convert others.

I do not take this role, and I sincerely hope to convert others. The people I disagree with on religious questions are often the ones casting their votes against things like stem cell research... things that will help the human race a lot. They keep people out of office that will make big strides by drastic means toward the end of the betterment of the human race and the human condition.
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WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 04:30 am
Individual wrote:
I'm having a hard time continuing this argument when you've convinced yourself that we can't possibly understand each other. It seems that you have chosen to build a wall where it doesn't need to be. So tell me, what's the difference between us that I can't possibly bridge? I refuse to believe that just because we believe in opposing views, that we won't be able to see what the other is saying. To me, it's just a way to make sure that you don't have to deal with things that your religion can't explain away.


Individual: Perhaps you are having such a difficult time because you view this an an "argument" rather than a discussion where we exchange different views. Do you have latent desires to convert us misguided theists? I've always found the atheist crowd to be oddly evangelical despite what they profess.

Now, don't come ringing MY doorbell, Individual. Confused
0 Replies
 
WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 04:40 am
physics_guru1981 wrote:
As for WhoodaThunk, there's an offer for you to sell everything you own and give me the money in return for unimaginable wealth on the table. Are you going to accept or are you going to miss out on the offer by insisting that I "come to you" on your own terms? Just curious... Very Happy


PG: I'm sure you're aware that you're using the "Jesus & The Rich, Young Ruler" parable or is that more "Satan's Temptation of Christ" ... no matter ... I'll decline your offer based on the fact that unimaginable wealth has never really "done it" for me. Somehow, Donald Trump is not my model of peace and contentment.


BTW ... there are several comments I'd like to address here ... especially yours, Snood, regarding the porcupine analogy. I think you've described that situation pretty accurately.

I'll be back when I have more time.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 05:38 pm
Individual wrote:
WhoodaThunk wrote:
The offer of peace, contentment, and wisdom has always been on the table for them.

My god never promised peace and contentment.

If a god doesn't come to you on your own terms, then what good is he to you? People pray for help and salvation, then they get slammed with what they brush off as "God's plan.' And if you can't trust that god will do what you ask of him, then what else can you be praying for? Salvation? It seems that lifelong servitude to a being that you don't even know exists (but you believe he does) only to be let into paradise when you die (which you also don't know if it exists, but believe nonetheless) is a waste of time. But that's only the christian god...

On another note, I'm having a hard time continuing this argument when you've convinced yourself that we can't possibly understand each other. It seems that you have chosen to build a wall where it doesn't need to be. So tell me, what's the difference between us that I can't possibly bridge? I refuse to believe that just because we believe in opposing views, that we won't be able to see what the other is saying. To me, it's just a way to make sure that you don't have to deal with things that your religion can't explain away.


Or, maybe it's just resignation to a situation somewhat like trying to explain the taste of a banana to someone who's never eaten fruit.
0 Replies
 
Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 06:39 pm
Ray wrote:
Quote:
That's your opinion.


True.
Let me restate myself: I don't know whether there is a God or not, and I don't see how anyone can prove that there is or there isn't. Therefore, I don't understand the point in all these atheists vs. theists thread. I think that agnostics are more 'truthful' about God because they assert that they don't know whether or not there is a God, whereas many atheists and theists try to debunk one another on basis of belief and claiming sometimes that they know that God exists or not.



You should look up a really old thread in which we argued on this topic for a long time. I agree with you, although agnostics tend to differ greatly on the finer points of what it means to have and not have evidence.
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