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BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic

GUEST,punkfolkrocker 29 Jan 05 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,heric 29 Jan 05 - 03:16 PM
fat B****rd 29 Jan 05 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Com Seangan 29 Jan 05 - 03:21 PM
Amos 29 Jan 05 - 03:22 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Jan 05 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,heric 29 Jan 05 - 03:53 PM
Jim Tailor 29 Jan 05 - 03:54 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 04:07 PM
dianavan 29 Jan 05 - 04:08 PM
Bert 29 Jan 05 - 04:13 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,heric 29 Jan 05 - 04:15 PM
Amos 29 Jan 05 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,heric 29 Jan 05 - 04:25 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 04:25 PM
Amos 29 Jan 05 - 04:36 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 04:38 PM
CarolC 29 Jan 05 - 04:53 PM
Greg F. 29 Jan 05 - 05:08 PM
Uncle_DaveO 29 Jan 05 - 05:08 PM
dianavan 29 Jan 05 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 29 Jan 05 - 09:07 PM
toadfrog 29 Jan 05 - 09:22 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 09:47 PM
Bill D 29 Jan 05 - 10:07 PM
Sorcha 29 Jan 05 - 11:05 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 05 - 11:40 PM
open mike 30 Jan 05 - 03:51 AM
John MacKenzie 30 Jan 05 - 06:42 AM
catlova 30 Jan 05 - 06:58 AM
Uncle_DaveO 30 Jan 05 - 10:18 AM
Bobert 30 Jan 05 - 11:17 AM
Little Hawk 30 Jan 05 - 11:20 AM
Amos 30 Jan 05 - 11:47 AM
Stilly River Sage 30 Jan 05 - 12:02 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jan 05 - 12:06 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 30 Jan 05 - 12:30 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Jan 05 - 12:45 PM
Uncle_DaveO 30 Jan 05 - 02:26 PM
dianavan 30 Jan 05 - 02:54 PM
Little Hawk 30 Jan 05 - 04:23 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Jan 05 - 05:27 PM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 05 - 05:33 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Jan 05 - 05:45 PM
shepherdlass 30 Jan 05 - 06:08 PM
dianavan 30 Jan 05 - 07:10 PM
Little Hawk 31 Jan 05 - 12:55 AM
Peace 31 Jan 05 - 01:00 AM
Peace 31 Jan 05 - 01:27 AM
GUEST,Mrr 31 Jan 05 - 09:56 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Feb 05 - 12:19 AM
Little Hawk 01 Feb 05 - 12:26 AM
42 01 Feb 05 - 07:24 AM
Wolfgang 01 Feb 05 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Frank 01 Feb 05 - 05:48 PM
Little Hawk 01 Feb 05 - 06:35 PM
Bunnahabhain 01 Feb 05 - 08:04 PM
Little Hawk 01 Feb 05 - 08:26 PM
GUEST 02 Feb 05 - 10:29 AM
Blissfully Ignorant 03 Feb 05 - 09:32 AM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Feb 05 - 10:35 AM
Wolfgang 03 Feb 05 - 12:40 PM
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Little Hawk 03 Feb 05 - 02:06 PM

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Subject: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:09 PM

i'm enjoying reading some stimulating threads here at the moment,
so thought i'd see what results if certain issues are approached
from this angle..


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:16 PM

agnostic is the way to be. agnostic is the life for me. I can't help but believe that most religious arguments are unwittingly arguments over definitions, semantics, allegorical inferences and implications, symbology.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: fat B****rd
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:16 PM

I.m not sure.......


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: GUEST,Com Seangan
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:21 PM

I haven't learned much from the thread so far. For my own part, I used to be indecisive; now I'm not so sure.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:22 PM

May I suggest that if you don't know something the strength of saying so is an admirable trait.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:46 PM

One of my sons is an Agnostic. I admire him in that he is not going to say that he believes something unless he does. At the same time, he thinks it is as dogmatic to say that God doesn't exist as it is to say that he does. He's just keeping an open mind and being honest about it. I respect that.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:53 PM

"Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise."
-Martin Luther


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:54 PM

A mudcat agnostic is one who isn't sure if there is a god...

...but is damn certain that you don't know either!!

*BG*


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:07 PM

No, I don't think it's wrong or weak at all to be agnostic. I think it's an intermediate stage between primitive religious belief (gleaned from organized religions) and more advanced spiritual awareness (going way beyond organized religions).

Agnosticism is a step on the road to enlightenment. For many people it is a necessary and a very valuable step on that road.

It implies open-mindedness, as opposed to the kind of fanatical, rigid certainty adhered to by members of fundamentalist religious faiths.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: dianavan
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:08 PM

Isn't everyone an agnostic until they become a true believer or an atheist?


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Bert
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:13 PM

no


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:14 PM

Elegant answer, Bert. :-) I concur.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:15 PM

I have faith in the words of St. Augustine: "God is not what you think you understand. If you understand, you have failed."


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:19 PM

I have thought about that a bit, heric, and I conclude, with no disrespect to your honored self, that Saint Augustine was a jerk.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:25 PM

ha!


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:25 PM

No, Amos...on the level at which he is saying that statement, St. Augustine is absolutely correct. God cannot be understood with the mind, because what is finite (you or me) cannot understand what is limitless. We can talk about it, we can talk all around it, we can intellectualize it as a concept, but we cannot understand it.

You can, however, BE it. And I have heard that that is really something, to put it mildly...after that happens, all bets are off. You don't have to understand anymore, once you ARE.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:36 PM

No, Little Hawk; on the level at which I am reading that statement, Saint Augustine is a jerk. Understanding is only of the mind in the tiniest percentage, and his own teacher knew it and so should he have known it. God can be understood plainly enough by the Being which the sole seat of understanding anyway. That's what understanding truly IS. The mind is just some sort of tricky smoke-and-mirrors servomechanisn.

Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:38 PM

Welll....okay then, Amos. You're description of the mind is accurate. Maybe you're right about St Augustine too... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: CarolC
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:53 PM

We can understand some of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Greg F.
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 05:08 PM

When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer.
Superstition ain't the way.
     -Stevie Wonder


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 05:08 PM

Agnosticism, to my mind, is a position which takes strength.

I'm terribly tempted to relax and say, "Aww, F-- it, there is no god!" And it would be emotionally satisfying (and IS emotionally satisfying when I slip into that position), to take a position of rest, so to speak, by making what amounts to a flat, stable position, where I would no longer have to question.

But when I am able to get myself together and look at what I really know, I realize that the intellectually honest position is that "I don't know, and I don't think there even is a way to know, but I'll take a respectful look at any new arguments or facts that come down the pike" (if any new ones ever do). That's, to my mind at least, a hard position to maintain. But I try to do that.

Allowing my mind to take the easy way out, to deny what seems false but for which I do not and I think cannot have evidence, is the weak answer.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: dianavan
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 05:37 PM

I don't think you can ever know God intellectually.

The only way to know God, is to have faith.

If you aren't one of the faithful, you are probably agnostic or atheist.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 09:07 PM

Posts so far seem to assume "faithful," "agnostic" and "atheist" in contemporary American Christian terms.

There are Buddhists who don't concern themselves with God. And some Taoists don't.

I knew a Kootenai, Martin Andrew, who believed in both the God of the Catholics and N'pika and was terribly troubled because he couldn't reconcile them. -- N'pika could accept God, but God wouldn''t allow N'pika. Martin wasn't the only one, but maybe the most troubled I knew.

It's not so simple, setting up categories to fit thought into.

clint

N'pika/nepeeka being approximately Spirit or spirits.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: toadfrog
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 09:22 PM

Sometimes it's wrong.

            Other times, it is weak.

Most of the time, it's o.k., though. Does that answer yr. question?


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 09:47 PM

Greg - It's not a question of believing, it's a question of knowing. You don't have to believe in apples once you have encountered them and eaten them. You have arrived at the position where you know what an apple is.

I am not suggesting that people believe anything...I am suggesting that they experience it directly. Then they will KNOW, and belief will not be an issue any longer. This is why organized religions aren't much use to me...they ask me to believe in something which I have not experienced. I don't want to believe, I want to KNOW, and the only way I can is from direct experience.

Clint - Good point about the Buddhists and the Taoists. Belief in God (or a god or gods or goddesses, etc.) is not a necessary requirement of following the spiritual path.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 10:07 PM

good plan, Little Hawk...I have experienced ambivalence directly, and I recommend it. ;>)


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 11:05 PM

Never ever wrong to admit you don't know. Faith isn't for all of us. I think I have 'faith' that the sun will rise tomorrow, and it will get dark again tomorrow evening. Oh, and since it's winter, it will probably be cold...but that is not a given either.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 11:40 PM

I feel very comfortable with agnostics. They tend to be honest, and tolerant. They're likely to accept and respect me for what I believe, and not pigeonhole me into some category based on their misunderstanding of what I do or do not believe.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: open mike
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 03:51 AM

i have heard human's ability to comprehend the divine as
something like being able to only touch the hem of the garment
in otherwords we are not able to "grok" the entire being of the
great spirit, only glimpses. I think that is what being agnostic
means...that we cannot know the whole deal. it is like the blind men
with the elephant...some people and some schools of thought can
define or describe some small portion of the greater whole,
but no one is able to perceive "divine being" "suprreme energy"
or what ever name you give God, the Great Spirit, etc. in entirety.
and event thought eh descriptions are different, it is reaqlly the same thing we are trying to define. it is way wierder to pretend you can
comletely understand this vast subject.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 06:42 AM

You can't prove there is a god, and I can't prove there isn't. What I can prove though is that hypocrisy would seem to be the order of the day in all religions. Just look at the cover ups that have gone on in the Catholic Church regarding child abuse. The rule book in that case is the bible, and if you can't keep to the rules don't join the club. All that seems to happen is that theologians keep reinterpreting the rules, whether in the bible of the Koran, and in the end most folks just stick to the rules that suit them.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: catlova
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 06:58 AM

The problem with the idea of "intermediate stages" "paths" etc is that they judge and identify people as "other" than the attributes that a person of group decides are religious, spiritual, whatever.
Classifying views as between primitive religious belief and more advanced spiritual awareness is what holds a particular brand of dogmatism together.

The fact is that people anywhere can be very spiritual, whether they are a Mormon, a Buddhist, an athiest, a rationalist, a builder's labourer or a Sun Worshipper.

And that quality of attribute that elevates them or makes them admirable, may have to do with things like how honest they are, how brave they are, and how much good they do.

One of the good things about agnosticism is that agnostics are humble. They never pretend to know.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 10:18 AM

The fact is that people anywhere can be very spiritual, whether they are a Mormon, a Buddhist, an athiest, a rationalist, a builder's labourer or a Sun Worshipper.

I suppose that's true, but it's not a very helpful observation.

What does "spiritual" mean? I have no idea. It's thrown around a great deal, and it seems to have emotional connections, but that's as far as I can follow it.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 11:17 AM

I am speaking from strickly a personal basis here, but agnosticism is part of my Faith.

(That's incongruent, Bobert...)

Well, not really. I think of agnosticism as those tests of Faith were something happens so bad that you're system is shaken and at that moment you are thinking, "Wow, if there is Higher Being then how did He let this happen?" It's that "if", even if it is just lasts a second or two that is, IMO, the test of Faith. But for me ir is just that one second and then God fills me up again and I'm fine...

I have heard other people of Faith admit to having these moments and have actually heard minsters incorporate this theme in sermons but for me, it are these tests, and momentary doubts, that make my Faith yet even stronger each time I get beyond them...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 11:20 AM

Giok, you are quite right that hypocrisy is common in organized religions. It is also common in other organized forms of human activity...like politics! :-) I think it's people that are the problem, not religion per se.


Dave - Here's what it means to me...

Spiritual means: seeking the inner meaning of Life by any means possible, and finding a way to live by Love rather than Fear in the process of doing that.

Religious means: adhering to the holy books, beliefs, and rules and requirements of an organized religion...in a way exclusive TO that religion...and practicing the various rites and forms set out in those holy books and rules, and worshipping the holy figure(s) you are told to worship in that religion.

Those are two very different processes. The first requires a great deal more self-development and free thinking, in my opinion. Some genuinely spiritual people, however, may be found within the ranks of ANY organized religion, although they are probably in the minority. Spirituality does not require membership in a religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 11:47 AM

Spiritual, Uncle Dave? Obviously, relating to, or focussed on, or centered on the side of human nature that we call the spirit.

Well, you can well ask, what the hell is that?

Well, it's the you that you were before you had to have something to be.

It's the you that can view the fact that you are viewing, and the self that gives imagination a good name, the creative emanation of unlimited dimension and no location.

That's who. There's no "what" to it although it can be anything at all.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 12:02 PM

There are many types of religions. In previous threads I've discussed "Industrial Religions," the term used by philosophers to categorize the big ones (christianity, judaism, islam, to name the largest three we see in the West, but there are more, and big sub-sets. I can't speak to or about Eastern religions) that have sophisticated relationships with the running of nations, have large hierarchys and huge investments. They span the globe and they're big business. Part of what they do is influence what individuals believe and while they're at it, they collect lots of money and they don't pay taxes. Sounds like a pretty good business to be in if you can live with the dogma and reach a position of influence--whether you are an ardent believer or not.

There are many minor (for lack of a more potent term to describe them) religions around the world that also have hierarchys, but they are on a local, social level. They are what the big religions have tried to wipe out as fast as they can. The advancement into colonized regions was often first accomplished by the religious folks, and it's grievous to see the damage they did to the natural world and to the autochthonous religions they smashed along the way. In many New World areas there was a merging of the religions (I'll illustrate this by mentioning Mexico, where many big-C Catholics have incorporated some local deities as saints and built in local beliefs in large ceremonial ways).

Those small autochthonous religions I mentioned are what the big three once were, before they overgrew their boundaries, worked to justify their existence, and to build their power bases. I don't think it is the nature of all religions to proseletize, but those that do seem bound to become juggernauts on the landscape. When the big three left behind the regions from which they sprung, they lost much of their connection to the earth, and to the ceremonial micromanagement of specific regions. They have rototilled the rest of the world religions in their path.

Religion may or may not have anything to do with "spirituality." Readers of this thread may or may not claim affiliation with an organized religion, but when they look around their world, they can see evidence of conscious choices they have made regarding what in the world they choose to honor, respect, revere, or put above all else. That is the answer I would give DaveO who said What does "spiritual" mean? I have no idea. It's thrown around a great deal, and it seems to have emotional connections, but that's as far as I can follow it.

Other remarks I would respond to follow:

Little Hawk said I think it's an intermediate stage between primitive religious belief (gleaned from organized religions) and more advanced spiritual awareness (going way beyond organized religions).

This implies that agnostics will eventually end up as participants in primative religions or highly organized ones, or that they're in a vertical tug-of-war between the two positions. I would prefer to see this "I don't know" position on a horizontal sliding scale, but with other directions to travel, allowing an ecclectic accumulation of beliefs as they feel right, and not a choice of just two destinations. I don't think you meant your remark to sound that way, but it jumped out at me in that way as I read.

dianavan said The only way to know God, is to have faith.
If you aren't one of the faithful, you are probably agnostic or atheist.


Of course the dogma was bound to appear. dianavan tells us that "faith," that blind acceptance of the whole of the Big God story, is the only way to be connected.

Giok said What I can prove though is that hypocrisy would seem to be the order of the day in all religions.

We'll put dianavan and Giok together to hash this out. Check all weapons at the door.

As a helpful definition of faith is here. Scan down the page to it.

    faith: a rational attitude towards a potential object of knowledge which arises when we are subjectively certain it is true even though we are unable to gain theoretical or objective certainty. By contrast, knowledge implies objective and subjective certainty, while opinion is the state of having neither objective nor subjective certainty. Kant encouraged a more humble approach to philosophy by claiming to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith-i.e., by distinguishing between what we can know empirically and what is transcendent, which we can approach only by means of faith.

In posting this definition of faith, I need to acknowledge that it came from a Kantian page, which is why I am leaving in his view of how faith and knowledge relate to religion. He allows for setting aside knowledge to make room for faith, and this is what many of those autochthonous religions do in today's sophisticated automated scientific world. I think the degree and political intent the the knowledge being set aside needs to be considered if one chooses to follow his line of reasoning. (How that setting aside impacts others' freedom and choices).

I'm not posting this in order to tie it all together with a tidy bow and place everyone into compartments, but to illustrate some points and to suggest that the expedient religious statements are working against those who would insert them into this thread. They help define the point, rather than dismiss the discussion.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 12:06 PM

News flash:

Hypocrisy is common. Period. The minute they allowed people into church, they brought in hypocrisy, judgment, dishonesty, jealousy, envy and every other lousy quality us human-types have.

You think Atheists aren't hypocritical? Or me? It's something we all have to fight. Better to look into our own hearts and keep an eye out for hypocrisy than point fingers at some other group of people.

We all got plenty to work on in ourselves.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 12:30 PM

Just my take...

Spirit is the part of us that is intimately connected to the ground of all being. To be spiritual is to acknowledge that such a connection exists and to make an effort to directly discover the nature of that connection.

As pointed out above, referring to Buddhist and Taoist practices, it is not necessary to attempt to define or assign a set of attributes to the ground of all being itself. Neither Buddhism nor Taoism adheres to the concept of a defined "supreme being". It is sufficient to merely admit to the existence of something that transcends our understanding. In fact, most true spiritualists who come from a conventional western religious background (ie Thomas Merton, Martin Buber) eventually adopt a far more metaphysical concept of "God" than generally held by others of their faith.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 12:45 PM

Jerry I don't think that atheists hold themselves up to be the one and only path, or have a 'book of rules' like the Bible or the Koran. Nor do they run schools or any other organisation indoctrinating people. They don't turn the other cheek, but then again neither do many christian believers. I know hypocrisy is all denominational, covering believers and unbelievers equally, but in general atheists do not see themselves as morally superior to non atheists.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 02:26 PM

Stilly River Sage told us, among other things in a long, well-thought-out post:

faith: a rational attitude towards a potential object of knowledge which arises when we are subjectively certain it is true even though we are unable to gain theoretical or objective certainty.

If that is the case (and I'm prepared to accept it as a good definition), then I guess by faith I am an atheist. But intellectually I quite often question that faith's basis.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: dianavan
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 02:54 PM

SRS - My post above was a condensed version of what you quoted from Kant. Why would you say that it was dogmatic? And why do you think that I would have difficulty with a post that says, "What I can prove though is that hypocrisy would seem to be the order of the day in all religions"

I can't really figure out why you singled me out?

My opinion is that there is no empirical evidence of God but that Knowledge of God transcends rational thought. Sort of like love.

I totally agree that hypocrisy is prevalent in most organized religions.

Sounds to me like you're trying to pick a fight.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 04:23 PM

Stilly - No, I meant that being an agnostic is usually a step up in intelligence and awareness from being a rote "believer" in a fundamentalist or primitive traditional religion. The agnostic thinks for himself. The adherent to primitive religion lets someone else do the thinking for him...or lets a book do the thinking for him. He at least attempst to act on faith, not experience. The agnostic develops faith from experience...a wise procedure.

Beyond that, there is inquiry into further subtleties of inner awareness, which can lead toward spirituality. That's why I regard agnosticism as an intermediate stage in human development.

Traditional religion is like primary school
Agnosticism is like high school
The path to Enlightenment is like University

Does that make my idea clear?

Dianavan - How does one provide empirical evidence of All That Is? Everything is empirical evidence of the Infinite. God is not something that you can set on one side, apart from you, and say, "Now, there is God." You are yuorself included in the Infinite that is God.

It is an error to apply the concept of duality to the Infinite. The Infinite is inclusive of that concept (and all other concepts), but is not subject to it.

You are clearly not going to find the separated "evidence" you would wish to find about God... :-) because that which is termed "God" is NOT separate from anything.

Giok - I've met atheists who hold themselves (meaning their beliefs) up as the one and only path. I even met a couple who were former born-again Christians, newly born yet again as militant atheists...and MAN, what a pain they were! (at either stage...)


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 05:27 PM

A closed mind is like the pupil of your eye, the more light you throw on it the tighter it closes!
Not aimed at anybody just a thought.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 05:33 PM

I have to agree with Little Hawk on that one, Giok. I've met a few atheists who are every bit as self-righteous as the strictest fundamentalist Christian. That's why I feel more comfortable with agnostics. A little self-doubt is a healthy thing.
Am I right?
Well, I'm not sure, but....
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 05:45 PM

Yes as defence mechanism perhaps but were they prosyletising [Sp?], did they knock on your door and ask you to meeting?
Giok:~)


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: shepherdlass
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 06:08 PM

There's one thing in favour of agnosticism (and I'm proud to be one of the order of bet-hedgers) - you don't often see someone strap a bomb to themselves to defend their right to sit on the fence.

As the great Dave Allen (Irish comedian - whatever happened to him?) used to say - may YOUR god go with you (whoever that is).


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: dianavan
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 07:10 PM

LH - I didn't mention dualism and I don't know what you are talking about. If I experience God, I know God but I cannot give evidence of God. Because I have no evidence, I can see no reason to believe that my experience would mean anything to anybody but me.

It doesn't mean I'm Godless and it doesn't mean I'm faithful. It just means that I am not going to sell my soul to organized religion and agree to what others have decided is the right path.

I'm an agnostic. I find my own path based on individual experiences. To thine ownself be true.

...and don't hurt anybody while you're on the journey.

To believe in an infinite God requires faith. Do you also believe that it is all an illusion?


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 12:55 AM

Hmmm. No, I don't think it's an illusion at all. I think people have great difficulty expressing it in such a way that others understand what they mean, though. I, like you, find my own path based on individual experiences, rather than through a religion. At this point, I find everything to be evidence of God. Everything. But people won't get what I mean by that unless they know what I mean by the word "God". And that's a huge thing to have to explain.

Anyway, sounds to me like you are on a very good path, Dianavan. As you say, "If I experience God, I know God, but I cannot give evidence of God." Exactly. You have to experience to know.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Peace
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:00 AM

What people give as evidence is not evidence at all. It is their opinion and a declaration of a belief they have arrived at. I would never argue with that.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Peace
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:27 AM

. . . and I wouldn't necessarily agree with it, either.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 09:56 AM

I was an agnostic for a long time. Didn't become an atheist till my Quaker, conscientiously objecting father was killed by radical islamic terrorists. Didn't become a fundamentalist atheist till 9/11.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 12:19 AM

dianavan, when I picked up that definition of "Faith" I managed to contradict myself somewhat. I'd moved beyond one point and was considering another by the time I added it. I used the whole thing to keep the context intact, and it is probably a definition that many would accept, whether others agree with them on what constitutes a "rational attitude." It's all too common down here where I live in the Bible Belt to encounter the blind faith that dismisses any other considerations. I selected several remarks to comment on, not just yours, but I selected yours in part because it was so brief and it appeared to be suggesting that the only way to know god was through [blind] faith, and I think that's entirely wrong. One first has to define "god," and decide how many of them and where they reside. Many Agnostics, atheists, and Unitarians have come to recognize that humans created god to answer questions and make connections we are unable to answer for ourselves yet. I consider it a position of strength to recognize that if there isn't a god, or a universal god (maybe just a kitchen god and a garden god and compost heap god and a chevy silverado god) that we need to take more responsibility for our actions in this world.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 12:26 AM

And if there is the kind of God that I believe in, Stilly, then people have to take total responsibility for their actions in this World or beyond it, cos God is not gonna do it for them. :-)

You're right, though, that the first problem in discussing "God" is reaching agreement or understanding on what the word "God" means when a specific person uses it. That's already far more thinking than the average church goer OR atheist is prepared to do. They usually figure that the one simple idea they've already got about what "God" means is the only one possible! And that's funny!


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: 42
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 07:24 AM

'ever' is such a long time!

j


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Wolfgang
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 02:05 PM

Being agnostic is not for the weak, as Dave O has said.
The weak in my eyes are those who 'know', be they atheists, believers of a traditional faith or free floating thinkers. Their 'know'ledge sounds quite condescending to me.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:48 PM

Weakness is an obstinate and unwavering view of the world never influenced by changing events or allowing for personal growth. It's the "lemming virus".

Agnosticism and Secularism have a history in America. Check Susan Jacobi's book.

Agnosticism is a kind of humility that says that no one knows everything. Faith is useful if it is tempered by tolerance, questioning, and an open mind. An open mind doesn't mean a lack of conviction as some would say. It just means that mankind is an adaptable creature and that's why we've survived.
Changing your mind is part of the process. Believing in something that seems right and true, also.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:35 PM

Well said, Frank.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 08:04 PM

Faith can only be defined as belief without proof.
I chose to believe, but I keep an open mind, and respect anyone who thinks about what they belive, or do not belive in. Well said indeed Frank.

Bunnahbhain

and as DNA said.

The arguement goes something like this: 'I refuse to prove I exist' says God, 'for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'
'But' says man, 'the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguements, you don't'
'Oh dear,' says God, and proptly vanishes in puff of logic.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 08:26 PM

"Faith can only be defined as belief without proof."

No, I don't think so. Faith can also be defined as belief based upon repeated worldly experience and observation. Example: I have known a specific person for many years. I have found them to be honest and reliable. I have lent them money and time, and they have always returned both in full measure. They have proven to be thoughtful, caring, and trustworthy. Accordingly...I have great faith in that person, based on my actual experience...which IS proof for me.

In a similar way, God can be found to exist, not through faith-based religious books or church-based authority structures...but through the actual experience of living Life and finding out in the process that something greater than oneself helps one out in times of trial and answers one's questions and meets one's deepest needs.

All of the above experiences can be readily had without once belonging to ANY organized religion. In fact, I think organized religion often gets very much in the way of it!


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 10:29 AM

It may be useful here to point out a distinction, between "God" and "god".

"God", with the capital G, in our culture is likely to be a reference to the Judaeo-Christian god figure. Or at least is likely to be taken as such a reference. In this sense, "God" is, if not a name, at least a name-substitute for YWH, whereas "god" is a word that may relate to any number of entities, some of which are conceived to be sort of supernatural persons and some not.

In my opinion it's much better in a discussion such as this to avoid the capital G unless one is referring to that concept. This helps keep logical order in a rather indefinite and intellectually messy arena of discussion.

Just a small suggestion.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 09:32 AM

Isn't everyone agnostic, whether they admit it or not? I mean, nobody knows for certain that there is a god, and nobody knows for certain that there isn't....it all comes down to what the individual chooses to believe.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 10:35 AM

Blissfully Ignorant:

No, not everybody is agnostic. Maybe they should be, but many are not.

There are many who consider that they know the existence and probably the nature of God (capital G), on the basis of Biblical revelation. And it is in the "consider that they know" or "will assert that they know" that the distinction lies.

The philospher who coined the term "agnostic" for this purpose (and I'm embarrassed that I can't think of his name right now) as I recall made clear that he personally believed in the existence of God, but that he found that the question was incapable of proof one way or the other.

Thus, one can be either a believer or an unbeliever and at the same time an agnostic, that is, conscious that one is believing without the ability to prove. And that's all right.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Wolfgang
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 12:40 PM

conscious that one is believing without the ability to prove

I like that line and I like the thought behind it.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 12:52 PM

I thought Little Hawk might give me some grief about mentioning a chevy silverado god--pointing out, perhaps, that it should be a non-denominational pickup truck god.


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Subject: RE: BS: is it ever wrong or weak to be agnostic
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 02:06 PM

Chevy Silverados are merely a pleasant illusion, Stilly, whereas pickup trucks are a more generic illusion. Pick whichever one suits your taste best. :-) I think a Chevy Silverado version of god would probably be more fun.


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