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Agnoticism: The truthful standpoint on God

 
 
Einherjar
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Jan, 2005 11:31 am
physics_guru1981 wrote:
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.


I suppose thats sort of what I do, as it is the only way I can make sense of "Irrelevant => Nonexistant". Relevant as being able to interact with, or at least act upon something makes sense to me, as does your definition of existance.

I do not support an argument along the lines of "your laundrylist has no bearing upon any aspect of my life, and thus do not exist".

I consider myself an atheist by the way.
physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Jan, 2005 12:34 pm
Einherjar wrote:
Quote:
Relevant as being able to interact with, or at least act upon something makes sense to me, as does your definition of existance.


Yes, but that's because they are defined the exact same way. If you take relevant to mean capable of interacting with physical objects, my definition of existance, then you have to argue that god is not capable of doing that. You are not in a position to say for certain whether or not god is capable of interacting with the physical world. If you just assume that god is irrelevant, you're assuming away the problem.

With the standard dictionary meaning of relevant, you can state that god is irrelevant to your life since you are in a position to know that for certain. However, you then have to show that relevance and physical existance are tied together. If you just assume that they are, you are once again just assuming the problem away.

This whole line of reasoning doesn't seem much better to me than defining perfection to include existance, saying that god is perfect, and therefore must exist. As InfraBlue or Individual noted earlier though, we may all mean different things by terms we're using...
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jan, 2005 01:14 am
I covet my neighbors' wives daily. It's not a big deal to me, nor is the biblical proscription against it. God is irrelevant in my coveting.

So, what do you mean by god, pg, and what's your criteria?
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physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jan, 2005 09:44 am
Um... Exodus 20:17 :Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour's. Certainly makes it seem like at least one god doesn't like coveting... So, how do you sleep soundly at night knowing that you could be offending a deity? I sleep quite soundly in the "knowledge" that I'm not offending any gods with any of my actions. If you do the same, your actions mirror those of an atheist much more closely than a theist (well, Christian specifically, but that's because of the source for the example). Except for the religions whose morals are almost completely represented by our laws, I would guess that you act more like an atheist (in the sense of choosing your own set of morals/ethics) than a theist in all cases, so what do you gain by calling yourself an agnostic rather than an atheist? I'm not on some kind of conversion trip here, I'm just curious. Very Happy

I don't know precisely what I mean by god. If something is able to interact with the physical world (and all theistic religions that I know of say that god can), then I would think that it has to have some kind of physical manifestation. If it's physical, we should be able to detect it. I'm just kind of assuming that it'll be rather obvious when we detect a god, but maybe not. Since we haven't detected it yet, I see no reason to think that there is a physical manifestation of god. That could all change tomorrow, but it's the way it is now.

I'm not claiming to have the gold standard here and am certainly willing to listen to other ideas about god. However, I think we're going to wind up back at two types of people: those that just believe, and those that need some form of evidence to believe.

How about you? You said earlier that you were at a loss for a criteria. About god, about existence, about both?
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WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Jan, 2005 06:51 am
Perusing the thread, I see there seems to be a fixation with the perceived lack of physical interaction between God and humans. Now, just what would be the minimum acceptable amount of physical interaction for the modern-day atheist/Ptolemaist thinking man? Blazing comets at pre-set times? A late night appearance with Jay or David? Periodic e-mails (G-mails?) to discuss the condition of our condition?

Someone refresh my memory on how you folks write off the miracles performed by Christ. Lessee ... water into wine never really wowed me either ... blind men seeing and lame men walking were probably just a few losers bribed with a couple of shekels, right? Lepers healed ... nahhh ... old disease, no longer of interest ... feeding the multitudes with the fish & loaves ... like who really eats fish and bread ... okay ... let's talk about Lazarus. Dead for days in that hot cave, bloated, maggot-infested no doubt. Physically healed. Walking and talking ... pretty physical. Viewed by scores ... does that still count or do you guys need to see Johnny Carson revived, too? What? You want Johnny Carson and JFK?

And then there's that pesky matter of the physical appearances of JC to all those people long after he was crucified and buried ... I know, I know ... unreliable accounts ... written a hundred years after the fact.

But somebody, please, how is it again you folks explain away the unexplainable?
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sunlover
 
  2  
Reply Sun 30 Jan, 2005 09:51 am
Whoodathunk, I don't write off those miracles performed by Christ as not being evidence of God - especially when Jesus said it was not he who "did the work" but the father within him, God, or the Holy Spirit.

God has never quit providing "evidence" of his/her existence. Depends on where a person is looking, but most people who God speaks to put the rather profound information into books. I think, also, that God is present in any and all 12-step programs, the only organization that has ever worked on this planet, that is, to convince people to change themselves, rid themselves of negative behavior that either kills them or causes them to kill, main or psychologically destroy others.

Some people on these threads continue to refer back to the negative diatribes of the O.T. But, since God is only positive it has become almost impossible for me to believe that was actually "God" (if it don't quack like a duck, can it be a duck?) speaking but instead men, or at least the manner in which men understood.

Frankly, I don't see that our planet operates on the simple lessons of Christ. It's still "an eye for an eye" in the collective mind, isn't it? It's true also that we change our "morals" as we see fit because of the continueing belief in this old negative God concept, which will never, ever bring about "peace and harmony we all hope for. Seems to me peace and harmony may emerge in the world only after people begin to change beliefs instead of behavior. Behavior can't be changed until the underlying beliefs are changed. Behavior results from beliefs. In short, we act according to our thoughts.

The Unity church teaches these concepts.

The Unity church teaches a more healthy approach to spirituality
WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Jan, 2005 11:09 am
sunlover wrote:
God has never quit providing "evidence" of his/her existence. Depends on where a person is looking ...


Yes, I agree with your post, but especially the above.

When I have spoken of arrogance earlier, I've never meant individual acts of arrogance (although there have been more than a few in these types of threads.) Rather, the agnostic/atheist frame of thought has a foundation of arrogance: "Because I have not found evidence of God, then there is none and there is no God."

As Snood (I think) mentioned earlier, this smacks of the spoiled adolescent mentality. They think because they have not found what they seek, or worse, they don't even seek what others have sought and have found, then it simply was never there to be found.

That's a self-centered idea that belongs on the trash heap.
0 Replies
 
physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Jan, 2005 12:52 pm
WhoodaThuck wrote:
Quote:
Perusing the thread, I see there seems to be a fixation with the perceived lack of physical interaction between God and humans. Now, just what would be the minimum acceptable amount of physical interaction for the modern-day atheist/Ptolemaist thinking man?


Well, yes. However, that's probably because it's my way of thinking and I seem to be asking the most questions lately... As I said, I don't really know the minimum amount of physical evidence; however, I would assume that it would be fairly obvious when we've detected Him... You cite a number of "miracles" as proof. Okay, can you offer me evidence that they really happened? Sure, the cities existed and probably the people. "Verification" of the ordinary aspects of a story doesn't verify the supernatural aspects... Otherwise, we would have to believe the epic of Gilgamesh in it's fragmented entirity along with a number of other religions that claim miracles.

Also, I'm not asking for a miracle, a conversation would be good enough. Actually, a conversation with the appropriate equipment to show that the person was actually interacting with something else would be a great place to begin an investigation.

Quote:
"Because I have not found evidence of God, then there is none and there is no God."


I must of missed that post; it's the same bad reasoning that supporters of intelligent design use. Who has said that?

Oh, my vote goes for Marilyn Monroe way before JFK or Carson! :wink:
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WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Jan, 2005 06:15 pm
physics_guru1981 wrote:
You cite a number of "miracles" as proof. Okay, can you offer me evidence that they really happened? Sure, the cities existed and probably the people. "Verification" of the ordinary aspects of a story doesn't verify the supernatural aspects...


There's quite a crowd refuting The Holocaust using this same argument, PG.

No, of course there are no photographs, etc., but one must ask oneself if the adulation heaped on Christ (Are we accepting the existence of the Palm Sunday events?) was merely due to his stirring speeches and personal appeal ... or ... was the message backed up by the miracles.

BTW, are you familiar with the story of Doubting Thomas?
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physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Jan, 2005 11:55 pm
I should correct myself; I should have asked for compelling reasons to think that the miracles happened as recorded rather than "proof." I was in a rush and got careless; sorry about that. Embarrassed Oh, and this one's probably going to be a little long...

As for the Holocaust, I have heard that before, but I think the argument isn't quite the same. The Holocaust didn't involve anything supernatural, so verifying that people and particularly places actually exist is compelling reason to believe the history, I think. If the story was that the Nazis were throwing the Jews into the biblical Hell, then more compelling evidence would be needed than just the existence of the deathcamps. That being said, all the verification in the world doesn't prove that it really happened the way most of us think rather than being a massive government conspiracy with the CIA using mind controlling drugs and what not. It all comes back to compelling reasons to believe; in general, I think ordinary verification, i.e. places and documents exist and aren't thought to be fakes by 'experts', is sufficient for human events. However, if we're talking about supernatural things; ghosts, UFO's, god, etc; I think I'm justified in asking for something more.

Quote:
No, of course there are no photographs, etc., but one must ask oneself if the adulation heaped on Christ (Are we accepting the existence of the Palm Sunday events?) was merely due to his stirring speeches and personal appeal ... or ... was the message backed up by the miracles.


Sorry, I'm too tired to look it up at the moment, but you mean Jesus riding in to Jerusalem(?) with the people lined up on both sides, laying palm leaves on the path to the city? Um...sure, that or something similar to it (stories can grow in the telling, so to speak) could reasonably have happened.

The Greeks and Romans worshipped imaginary gods, from both of our points of view I think, because of their ability to perform miracles. The priests and oracles of those gods were very respected. The Greeks, at least, went so far as to form mystery cults to gain personal salvation from the gods, rather than just favor for their city.

The Egyptians built to pyramids because somewhere along the way they became convinced that the pharaoh actually was god.

People did and do strange and amazing things because of what they believe to be true. However, that does not mean that they have good cause to hold their beliefs. Think about UFO's today.

Quote:
BTW, are you familiar with the story of Doubting Thomas?

Just so you know, I attended church extraordiarly regularly (almost every Sunday and some Wednesdays) for 7 years (ending last August), and I've read most of the Bible, so I'm reasonably familiar with the major characters and mainstream beliefs. I live in Alabama (the heart of the Bible belt in the US). I've been an atheist for the last 6 years (I didn't think about it much prior to that). Last but not least, my first name is Thomas. Oh yeah, I've heard. I haven't gotten to touch the nail scared hands though. Actually, if I'm wrong, that might be just a little too much proof. I might leave A2K for a nice padded cell at that point... :wink:
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Jan, 2005 11:56 pm
Miracles are cool.

I really like the miraculous helmet that Pallas Athena gave to Diomedes at Troy, making it blaze with tireless flames.
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WhoodaThunk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2005 04:06 am
I've always found it curious when you folks dissect the religion (or religions) piecemeal ... yes, this could have happened, but the reason was ... that probably didn't happen because ... this other may have happened but the ancient Plastikdytes worshipped Tupperware, too ... etc.

The bottom line is when the entire course of Christian history is put together and then paired with personal experiences of today, you have quite another experience.

The older I get, the more amazed I am of how little I knew when I thought I knew everything. Maybe you atheists are different ... :wink:

As I've said before, I wish you well in your spiritual (?) journeys. When it's all said and done, we'll each take our own personal beliefs to the bank.

God speed ... errrr Embarrassed ... Void speed ... uhhhh ... if you speed, wear your seatbelt, I guess.
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physics guru1981
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2005 09:53 am
Quote:
The older I get, the more amazed I am of how little I knew when I thought I knew everything. Maybe you atheists are different ...


No, not at all. However, I can't put forth ideas based on an understanding that I don't have. I'm stuck with what I know and understand at the time of writing. Smile

Ludicrous Speed, Colonel Sanders!
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TSAO
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 05:45 am
It is true that only God can reveal the existence of God. Why God chooses to reveal to some and not to others. I do not know. I was an agnostic at age 17. I pleaded with God to reveal. God did. I cannot prove the existence of God, but I know God exists. Bobby
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TSAO
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 05:50 am
@Einherjar,
I appreciate your reply and understand. It is like saying nothing outside the universe exists within the universe and that if something is not tangible then it does not exist as tangible. Thanks for the reply...TSAO
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TSAO
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:04 am
@Einherjar,
Again , Thank-you....You are a person of logic and reason. Something that you might consider, God is the Old English word for Good. We could have the same discussion about whether Good existed. Your argument is that Good does not exist and or if it does exist that Good is not germane to your life.--Tsao ????
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TSAO
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:14 am
@sunlover,
Interesting post. I am Catholic. When Jesus stated it was not him but the father within him. I translate it to mean it was not the temporal flesh that those around him saw but rather the eternal spirit within him. He spoke in terms those present might understand. God through Jesus did away with the old covenant of eye for an eye. He brought a new covenant. The word became temporal flesh. The creator became the created....TSAO
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edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 07:29 am
The atheist does not have to prove there is no god. Since the believers invented the concept out of their imaginations, with no evidence at all, so the atheist may correctly dismiss that notion, without a qualm. Certainly, if by the greatest stretch of fortune imagineable, proof of a god could be offered, this atheist is open to receive that evidence. A2k has a long running thread, in which the believers are invited to display even an iota of proof of a god, but, after hundreds of posts, not one iota has been offered.

.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Sep, 2008 02:27 pm
@edgarblythe,
The well known logical flaw in agnosticism is that in saying it does not know it allows for the possibilty of a God and when 80 years of living off the fat of the land is set against eternity it makes no sense to not to try keeping in His good graces and especially considering how easy it is.

Only those who find it difficult are likely to think otherwise I should have thought.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Sep, 2008 03:09 pm
@spendius,
Which explains why everybody, nearly, behaves in public in a manner which our culture has deemed over the centuries to be likely to have His approval. The 11th commandment is not one of God's.
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