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Agnoticism: The truthful standpoint on God

 
 
Child of the Light
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 06:52 pm
There is such an anti-atheist sentiment among believers and non-believers.

Believers say, "You can't be sure that there isn't a God!! How can you completely rule God out?!?!?"

Well, I can't completely rule it out, but I don't feel all that confident in following a belief system created by histories most primitive people. I also don't feel good when a 4 year old can stump the leaders of a system. "Mister Preacher, what created God?", "Well junior, I don't know." Jesus, you contributed an amazing philosophy to society, but I don't wanna follow your belief system.

Non-Believers say"How can you be so narrow-minded?? You are just as bad as the Christians you condemn!!!"

Well, I find the idea of a God laughable, should I force myself to continue following just to stay objective?

I wish religion never would have caught on.
0 Replies
 
Individual
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 07:38 pm
WhoodaThunk, that was just a bad choice of words, I'm sure you knew what I was actually trying to say. So, what's the difference between us that we can't bridge? Is that just an easy excuse to brush off things that your religion can't explain?

Snood, that's an interesting simile, but I've tasted the fruit and found it spoiled.
0 Replies
 
physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 11:14 pm
Quote:
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.


Hm... Actually, I don't think I am. I hadn't thought about it in those thems because I'm not asking you to renounce God and believe me instead. All my offer requires is that you trust me when I tell you that I can live up to my end of the agreement. I'm familiar with the Bible, and I don't recall "thou shall not trust physics_guru1981" being anywhere in there, so no conflict there. Also, I'm also not stipulating what you do with the wealth once you have it. You could use every cent of it to further God's work. Therefore, I don't see why you think that God would have any problem with you accepting my offer, so long as you were faithful enough to let Him guide you in how to use it.

Maybe you see the sheer amount of money being offered as testing God to see if there's enough of Him in you to use the money as He'd want? So, let's say the deal is if you give me $100, I'll give you double back. That's not massive, corrupting wealth. $100 is not an unbearable fiscal risk to you, probably, but you'd still turn me down I think. Be honest, would you turn me down because you're not faithful enough to let God use the $100 profit, i.e. $100 really would be that tempting as to still be a test of faith, or because you don't have any reason to believe that I'll actually give you the $200? If I'm wrong and you'll accept that offer, I'll gladly provide you with the information you need to get the money, preferrably money order, to me. Very Happy

The point is that when it comes to something extraordinairly valuable to you, your immortal soul, your standard of evidence is virtually non-existant, i.e. "just believe." However, when we're discussing something that you should view as fleeting and trivial, material wealth, you have a much, much higher standard of evidence. That just confuses me! When I'm thinking about the possible risks to something that's not particularly important to me, I'm much looser about how certain I have to be that it won't be damaged, lost, or whatever is appropriate for the situation. On the other hand, for something that I value, I try to be careful to make sure that it won't be hurt.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 11:17 pm
WhoodaThunk,
you're making assumptions here about peace, contentment, and wisdom. There are a very many athiests who are at peace, are content and are wise. There are a very many theists who are not.

If you're at peace, are content and are wise, and you attribute that to your belief in God, good for you.

There are athiests who are at peace, are content and are wise for whom god is irrelevant. Good for them.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 11:17 pm
snood,
your description of agnostics is apt for a very many theists also.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 11:21 pm
physics_guru1981 wrote:
Is it a matter of faith?


Isn't that what certain gods (e.g. the Judeo/Christian one), are all about?

You are making the assumption that one has got to live one's life in some manner in respect to the sense of "if you're not one of us, afterlife's going to suck for you." One most certainly does not have to live in some manner in respect to that sense. Most people don't live in respect to that sense. Most people live, at varying degrees, in respect to the laws of the land in which they exist.
0 Replies
 
physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2005 11:34 pm
InfraBlue, the sentence about faith was imbeded in a paragraph trying to understand why some athiests would see a link between relevance and existance. That's a view that I'm not familiar with, so I don't understand why someone would think that they are related. Putting it there like that is taking it out of context...

Also, I explictly state that I don't like my life along the lines of following a religion's tenets, so I am aware that you don't have to live like that... My point there was that if someone claims to be an agnostic, then how do you decide how to live your life? If you're a thiest, you god picks for you. If you're an athiest, you pick for yourself. If you're an agnostic? Well, I don't see how you could be comfortable picking for yourself over what a possible god says, so do you live according to a religion? Which one? You can't know which one, if any, are right, so you can't know which set of tenets to follow.

That being said, agnostics do live their lives according to some set of morals, how are they choosen? If they more or less follow what one, or maybe several if the the morals aren't exclusionary, god, then why not be a thiest? If you're picking for yourself, the why not call yourself an athiest?
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2005 12:28 am
I quoted your sentence because that is the heart of the matter concerning some atheist's atheism, and some theist's theism, faith. When talking about the Judeo/Christian god, it all boils down to faith. This god exists through faith. In regard to this conception of god, the atheists don't need to have faith in that god, so it is irrelevant. If this god exists through faith, and one doesn't have faith in this god, then this god does not exist for them. The reverse holds for those who do.

Why do morals necessarily have to involve gods or not, pg?
0 Replies
 
physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2005 02:51 am
Ah, okay, I think that I'm starting to see what you're saying InfraBlue. The link between relevance and existance is through faith. However, I don't think I'm all the way there. Can you be killed by a bullet you don't believe in? I take existance to mean capable of interacting with the physical world and, of course, the reverse since that's the same thing. I can't say that I can show that you're wrong, but what you've said seems to lead to a believer's universe having something physical in it that a non-believer's doesn't. Which brings me back to the bullet; if I truly didn't believe in it, would it still be able to kill me? Is the existance of god the only thing that's dependent on belief? If so, why? What do you mean when you say "exists"? If it's not a physical existance, then what is it?

As for morals, my language is probably going to be sloppy on this point, you'll notice that I didn't pick philosophy_guru as my name, and maybe I can illustrate my thinking better through example. Let's take "Thou shall not covet...". So, god apparently doesn't want you to desire or be jealous of something your neighbor has (a wife, an ass, whatever); it's just wrong because god says so. Forgetting god for a moment, I could argue that coveting your neighbors possesions isn't the problem, it's the choices you make from that. Maybe he has a nice home because he has a good enough job to afford it. I want a nice home too, so I can either work towards that by saving, taking the steps necessary to get a higher paying career, etc; or I can just be mad that I don't already have it and let it prevent me from doing something productive. So, rather than trying to rid myself of desire for what others have (presumable by filling myself with him, blah, blah, blah) because that's a sin and therefore evil, I can desire all sorts of things and probably grow and become a better person as I strive for them. I can also hurt myself striving for them, but probably still grow.

Now the choice, god says coveting is wrong, however, I say it can be used as a spring board to help me grow as a person, so I say it's right, contegently at least. Since I'm an athiest, I have no problem striving for things I want. A Christian would still strive of course because they're human, but at the same time would have to realize that they're sinning because they really don't want the nice home for the "glory of god", they want it for the glory of Bob (or whatever their name is). So, how would an agnostic choose? Is it okay to covet or not? If you're picking the safe side of not knowing and deciding to not offend god by coveting, why not just "believe" and be a theist? If you're going to recognize that wanting things and striving for them can be good for you, although possibly offensive to god if he exists, why not just call yourself an athiest?
0 Replies
 
WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2005 04:35 am
InfraBlue wrote:
There are a very many athiests who are at peace, are content and are wise.


But that just doesn't come through on the many, many threads that appear here and elsewhere. It seems that the atheist "search" continues even as they claim otherwise.
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WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2005 04:41 am
physics_guru1981 wrote:
The point is that when it comes to something extraordinairly valuable to you, your immortal soul, your standard of evidence is virtually non-existant, i.e. "just believe." However, when we're discussing something that you should view as fleeting and trivial, material wealth, you have a much, much higher standard of evidence. That just confuses me! When I'm thinking about the possible risks to something that's not particularly important to me, I'm much looser about how certain I have to be that it won't be damaged, lost, or whatever is appropriate for the situation. On the other hand, for something that I value, I try to be careful to make sure that it won't be hurt.


Before I attempt to address your rather voluminous posts, please tell me what I've said that's caused you to draw this conclusion?
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WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2005 04:48 am
physics_guru1981 wrote:
The point is that when it comes to something extraordinairly valuable to you, your immortal soul, your standard of evidence is virtually non-existant, i.e. "just believe."


And BTW, I find it rather presumptuous on your part to determine for me that my standard of evidence is virtually non-existent.

Please refer to my earlier comments re: establishing your own validation criteria and/or atheistic arrogance. :wink:
0 Replies
 
physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2005 09:24 am
WhoodaThunk wrote
Quote:
Before I attempt to address your rather voluminous posts, please tell me what I've said that's caused you to draw this conclusion?


I was drawing a conclusion from the claim that athiests insist that "god come to them on their own terms..." Maybe I misunderstood what you meant by that?

I know my posts have been lengthy; I've been striving to make myself as clear as possible... I'll try to keep the verbage to a minimum. Very Happy

WhoodaThunk wrote
Quote:
And BTW, I find it rather presumptuous on your part to determine for me that my standard of evidence is virtually non-existent.

Please refer to my earlier comments re: establishing your own validation criteria and/or atheistic arrogance. Wink


When have I ever denied being arrogant? I've freely admitted to it several times now... I do have my own validation criteria, so do you by the way. Also, I'm not determining your standard of evidence; I'm presenting my current understanding of your standard. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. How is that arrogant? I thought it was the purpose of a discussion? I present my views, you challenge what you think I've misunderstood, back and forth...

My view is that if god is capable of interacting with the world, then the world is capable of interacting with him. Okay, well, we haven't seen him around anywhere... As I've also said that's not proof, er... disproof; all I've claimed, in my first post in this thread I believe, so far is that I don't see any good reason to think that he exists. For everything else, no good reason to believe it exists leads me to think that it doesn't. I don't see any reason to treat the case of god any differently.
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2005 05:07 pm
WhoodaThunk, I don't know if you're ignoring me on purpose, but I would really like to hear your response to my question.

Quote:
...what's the difference between us that we can't bridge?
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2005 10:55 pm
You can't really say god is comparable to a bullet though, pg.

A bullet is a physical thing, occupies space, etc.

I don't know about god. Like I said previously, some people claim to touch, taste, smell, see, and hear god. Other people don't. I'm at a loss for a criteria.

Ok. Of all the morals you could have chosen to illustrate your stance you use the example of "thou shall not covet . . ." That is an arbitrary moral that not everyone abides by, theist or atheist. You then bring in the concept of "sin," a religious concept that not everyone holds, even different religious people, not to mention theists and atheists, and then you want everyone to choose either one way or the other. Your illustration is arbitrary, and so is the choice you try to impose on everyone.

Can you think of a more universal moral, something upon which the law of the land is based, to illustrate?
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2005 11:03 pm
WhoodaThunk,
That there are a very many athiests who are at peace, are content and are wise comes through here about as often as it does with anyone else. I'm not sure what you mean by "search," but you're making the assumption that "searching" isn't peaceful, contented or wise, and that isn't necessarily so.
0 Replies
 
Einherjar
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Jan, 2005 05:56 am
physics_guru1981 wrote:
Ah, okay, I think that I'm starting to see what you're saying InfraBlue. The link between relevance and existance is through faith. However, I don't think I'm all the way there. Can you be killed by a bullet you don't believe in? I take existance to mean capable of interacting with the physical world and, of course, the reverse since that's the same thing. I can't say that I can show that you're wrong, but what you've said seems to lead to a believer's universe having something physical in it that a non-believer's doesn't. Which brings me back to the bullet; if I truly didn't believe in it, would it still be able to kill me? Is the existance of god the only thing that's dependent on belief? If so, why? What do you mean when you say "exists"? If it's not a physical existance, then what is it?


Nice definition of existance, can you see how it would also make a working definition of relevant?
0 Replies
 
TethrynII
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Jan, 2005 07:58 am
How can you say that Agnosticism is the truthful standpoint? It's not even really a standpoint, but a lack thereof.
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physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Jan, 2005 10:29 am
InfraBlue wrote:
Quote:
A bullet is a physical thing, occupies space, etc.


Well, yes, but that fits completely with how I concieve of existance, i.e. capable of interacting with the physical world. A god has to have some kind of physical manifestation if it's capable of interacting with the physical universe. That physical manifestation should exist independently of my belief in it.

If someone claims to physically experience a god, then at the least that god as affected the electrical impulses in their brain. We can detect EM disturbances, but so far we haven't seen god... This is part of the reason that I asked what you mean when you say something "exists."

Quote:
Ok. Of all the morals you could have chosen to illustrate your stance you use the example of "thou shall not covet . . ." That is an arbitrary moral that not everyone abides by, theist or atheist... [T]hen you want everyone to choose either one way or the other. Your illustration is arbitrary, and so is the choice you try to impose on everyone.

Can you think of a more universal moral, something upon which the law of the land is based, to illustrate?


I chose it because it's so arbitrary! Apparently coveting doesn't even bother all of the supposed gods. I'm not actually imposing the choice, at least not exactly. If certian gods exist then they will be offended if you covet. If other gods or no gods exist then no one will really be bothered by coveting. So, how would you decide if it is "okay" for you to covet?

Yes, there are "univeral" morals, not murdering, stealing, etc. However, those would make poor examples, I think, because if gods don't exist, human laws will provide a reason to follow them; if gods do exist then divine laws and human laws provide a reson to follow them. The interesting morals are the ones that only a god or gods would punish you for, if it turns out that they exist. Since you don't know whether or not they do, how do you decide if deity dependent morals are worth following? More or less, how "safe" do you feel ignoring the commands of deities that might exist and punish you later?
0 Replies
 
physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Jan, 2005 10:46 am
Einherjar wrote:
Quote:
Nice definition of existance, can you see how it would also make a working definition of relevant?


Sure, if you take relevant to mean existing in a physical sense then an irrelevant god wouldn't exist by my definition. However, that seems to be a tautology to me. When InfraBlue first proposed the relevance/existance idea, I took relevant to mean: having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand. So, "relevant to their daily lives" would mean having an influence on how you live day to day. So, something like the Eiffel Tower exists but is still irrelevant to my life.

Influencing how I live would seem to be a great proof for the idea of a god. However, if we're discussing a being that is capable of working independently of myself that is still a long way from a proof of existance or nonexistance, even for an individual. Hm...maybe we should nail down a little tighter just what we mean by a "god."
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