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Agnostic Anyone?


Spirituality & Religious Beliefs Contemplate your place and purpose in the universe.

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Old 24th July 2017, 8:53 PM   #16
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I was raised Catholic but no longer practice it for a truck load of reasons I won't get into here.

I spent many years searching for another fit only to realize that I don't need to identify with any one single religion to be happy and to be a kind, generous, loving person.

These days I define myself as spiritual rather than religious. I have come to believe that organized religions in general are dangerous as too many leaders often have their own personal agendas they're trying to promote rather than that of God's or whatever you want to call it.

And don't get me started on the rampant hypocrisy among self proclaimed Christians! I'm continually gobsmacked at how judgmental they can be despite their own closet full of skeletons.

My religion? Live and let live. Live a good life. Be a good person. Do good things. Love with all your heart. The rest of it is non of your damn business
Interesting that we both reject the mainstream "attendance" of religion, but for the exact opposite reason. For me, I simply feel very little obligation to be kind, loving, or generous to the world at large. I have no reason to go out of my way to be rude or hurtful, but I have no desire to be charitable either. I tend to giggle at atheists/agnostics who strive to be loving and kind, as they really seem to be striving to live like Christians profess to live, just without God to help them. It's almost some kind of postmodern chic to be charitable, altruistic, or whatever.

I have a hard time identifying with the devout religious Christians because my code of life is just so different. For me, family and friends are number one - I am fiercely loyal and protective, and I act exclusively for the best interest of me and mine. If others outside my circle benefit from my actions, or if others get hurt by my actions, it is what it is. Christianity as professed in modern America doesn't seem to have a place for this.... like we're all supposed to be sacrificial and go on mission trips to the third world or something. I don't hide who I am or make apologies for the necessary choices I've made, and the devout religious folks tend to have a problem with that.

What irritates me is when people act like I do (or much worse) and then pretend to be holier-than-thou and persecute others. Atheists, agnostics, and religious all seem to be guilty of that. In my worldview, I just call it part of the human condition. I've seen persecution of Christians, as well as persecution of the non-religious. Human beings are really a lot closer to the animals than we'd like to admit.
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Old 25th July 2017, 5:51 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by major_merrick View Post
Interesting that we both reject the mainstream "attendance" of religion, but for the exact opposite reason. For me, I simply feel very little obligation to be kind, loving, or generous to the world at large. I have no reason to go out of my way to be rude or hurtful, but I have no desire to be charitable either. I tend to giggle at atheists/agnostics who strive to be loving and kind, as they really seem to be striving to live like Christians profess to live, just without God to help them. It's almost some kind of postmodern chic to be charitable, altruistic, or whatever.

I have a hard time identifying with the devout religious Christians because my code of life is just so different. For me, family and friends are number one - I am fiercely loyal and protective, and I act exclusively for the best interest of me and mine. If others outside my circle benefit from my actions, or if others get hurt by my actions, it is what it is. Christianity as professed in modern America doesn't seem to have a place for this.... like we're all supposed to be sacrificial and go on mission trips to the third world or something. I don't hide who I am or make apologies for the necessary choices I've made, and the devout religious folks tend to have a problem with that.

What irritates me is when people act like I do (or much worse) and then pretend to be holier-than-thou and persecute others. Atheists, agnostics, and religious all seem to be guilty of that. In my worldview, I just call it part of the human condition. I've seen persecution of Christians, as well as persecution of the non-religious. Human beings are really a lot closer to the animals than we'd like to admit.
I try and be kind to people because I think it's the right thing to do. I have been hurt in my life ( we all have) and how can a gripe about being hurt and then turn around and knowingly hurt someone else?

That would make me a hypocrite.

Closer to animals? We already are animals.
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Old 25th July 2017, 4:26 PM   #18
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I'm an agnostic atheist and have never felt any kind of persecution for it. That being said, I think agnostics are probably the majority where I live and definitely were the majority when it came to friends and family.

As far as being kind to others, most people will acknowledge that one of the keys to happiness really is getting out of the "me first" way of thinking. Once you realize everybody is equally important, and everybody is just trying to be happy, putting some effort into their happiness becomes a joyful experience.
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Old 25th July 2017, 5:55 PM   #19
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I've been an agnostic for a long time, and to be honest ( and I know this is going to sound really stupid) it irritates the hell out of me. I don't like it when I can't make sense of things. I really wish I could just let go and indulge in a little blind faith.

This was cemented for me when my mom died from terminal cancer. She was a woman who had spent her whole life caring for people, and was a geriatric nurse even before that was a "thing". If there was ever a neighbor in need, she was the first person to try and help. She traveled the world, kept her home spotless, had a beautiful garden and always had a positive thing to say about just about everyone.

She developed end stage lung cancer from the radiation she'd had to treat breast cancer years ago. She had chemo, but it caused her to have a small stroke that resulted in damage to a part of her brain and left her feeling nauseous all the time. Nothing helped, and she started palliative care.

In the end, the cancer spread to her shoulder, spine and bowel ( it spread really quickly) and she essentially starved to death doped up on so much morphine she was hallucinating and still in incredible pain. I never saw my mom cry until the day before she died...she was crying from the pain.

Quite frankly, I I don't want to know the mind of a god that could allow that to happen.

I just don't understand it at all.
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Old 25th July 2017, 5:57 PM   #20
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Sadly true. I like to call them rotary clubs with a dash of religion. LOL

Honestly, being an agnostic makes sense to be if you aren't religious. Of course, we believers cannot prove that God exists. Neither can it be proven that no god exists.

So if one doesn't want to practice a faith, it would seem being an agnostic would be the most intelligent and logical choice.
Athiests don't have the need to prove the absence of something which doesn't exist.

Regarding agnosticism being more intelligent and logical, this is the type of comment which really gets up my nose. I think it's very rude to say that one person's religious choice is more intelligent and logical than another person's choice. If my children said something like this, they'd receive quite a talking to.
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Old 25th July 2017, 6:02 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by major_merrick View Post
I tend to giggle at atheists/agnostics who strive to be loving and kind, as they really seem to be striving to live like Christians profess to live, just without God to help them. It's almost some kind of postmodern chic to be charitable, altruistic, or whatever.
I find it terribly sad that you giggle at people who actively work to be good humans. What is funny about being thoughtful and kind?
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Old 25th July 2017, 6:19 PM   #22
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I find it terribly sad that you giggle at people who actively work to be good humans. What is funny about being thoughtful and kind?
Absolutely nothing at all.

Who knows, maybe in the end, it does count for something. If this is really all there is, then at least it will mean the person had a posit effect on the world. If we do go on, maybe it will earn some brownie points
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Old 25th July 2017, 8:54 PM   #23
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I find it terribly sad that you giggle at people who actively work to be good humans. What is funny about being thoughtful and kind?
I think you misunderstand my comment. I'm not laughing specifically at people because they are kind, I laugh because of the irony of the situation! You have Christians, whose religion is focused on being thoughtful and kind... and many of them fail at it so miserably. Then you have atheists/agnostics, who often focus on kindness or charity - they can make it such a part of their life that they might as well be religious. And then there are plenty of people who are charitable, but because of selfish reasons (they enjoy the praise of others, or a warm fuzzy feeling, whatever).

For me, my road seems to be the one less traveled by.... and it amuses me greatly, because I can receive flak from the religious and the non-religious alike. I believe in God, but I also have little reason to hide my motivations, or to try to appear to be something better than I am.
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Old 25th July 2017, 8:55 PM   #24
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I think you misunderstand my comment. I'm not laughing specifically at people because they are kind, I laugh because of the irony of the situation! You have Christians, whose religion is focused on being thoughtful and kind... and many of them fail at it so miserably. Then you have atheists/agnostics, who often focus on kindness or charity - they can make it such a part of their life that they might as well be religious. And then there are plenty of people who are charitable, but because of selfish reasons (they enjoy the praise of others, or a warm fuzzy feeling, whatever).

For me, my road seems to be the one less traveled by.... and it amuses me greatly, because I can receive flak from the religious and the non-religious alike. I believe in God, but I also have little reason to hide my motivations, or to try to appear to be something better than I am.
Ah yes, now it all makes sense.

I think that kindness and charity has a place in everyone's life - religious or not.
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Old 25th July 2017, 9:05 PM   #25
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I do believe in a higher power but who or what it is I don't know. I have no issue with religion in and of itself but I don't like it has been hijacked for political purposes. As for treating people kind I always treat people the way I would want them to treat me but try and wrong me and you will see my kindness is not a weakness.
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Old 25th July 2017, 9:07 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by wmacbride View Post
I've been an agnostic for a long time, and to be honest ( and I know this is going to sound really stupid) it irritates the hell out of me. I don't like it when I can't make sense of things. I really wish I could just let go and indulge in a little blind faith.

This was cemented for me when my mom died from terminal cancer. She was a woman who had spent her whole life caring for people, and was a geriatric nurse even before that was a "thing". If there was ever a neighbor in need, she was the first person to try and help. She traveled the world, kept her home spotless, had a beautiful garden and always had a positive thing to say about just about everyone.

She developed end stage lung cancer from the radiation she'd had to treat breast cancer years ago. She had chemo, but it caused her to have a small stroke that resulted in damage to a part of her brain and left her feeling nauseous all the time. Nothing helped, and she started palliative care.

In the end, the cancer spread to her shoulder, spine and bowel ( it spread really quickly) and she essentially starved to death doped up on so much morphine she was hallucinating and still in incredible pain. I never saw my mom cry until the day before she died...she was crying from the pain.

Quite frankly, I I don't want to know the mind of a god that could allow that to happen.

I just don't understand it at all.
Having suffered in my own life (non-medical) and having known others who have suffered from medical conditions, I thought this post deserved a separate response.

The issue of "bad things happening to good people" is a big reason that people have trouble with faith. There are different explanations, and different ways that people deal with it. Some Christians have given it the name "The Problem of Evil" and there are extensive writings on the topic. Most of it relates to the idea of free will, and whether a God who is loving could preserve free will and yet intervene. You can look up and read some of that kind of material, and see if any of it answers your questions or gives you some comfort.

In my life, I grew up in a bad home. I raised my sister because my mother didn't want her. My father beat me, my mother abused me. We nearly starved, and I almost died from violence before I graduated high school. I asked God why, never got an answer. My take on it is this - the things that happen in this world are mostly not part of God's plan, and not part of God's will. The world is messed up, along with everything in it, and it is a bit late to assign blame. It's up to us to pick our way through it, and wait for either our death or for the end of time when everything gets fixed. After reading some of Friedrich Nietzsche, I grabbed onto the idea that "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Obviously that concept is limited, but for me it meant that assigning blame for the way life is was a pointless exercise. I can't control the world, I can't control God. I CAN control ME, and with some effort the situations (and even people) around me. If I can do that, and God controls the hereafter, then that is enough. I hope you can find an answer that gives you some peace.
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Old 26th July 2017, 8:29 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by basil67 View Post
Athiests don't have the need to prove the absence of something which doesn't exist.

Regarding agnosticism being more intelligent and logical, this is the type of comment which really gets up my nose. I think it's very rude to say that one person's religious choice is more intelligent and logical than another person's choice. If my children said something like this, they'd receive quite a talking to.
This assumption is quite unscientific.

And since atheism is not a religion (or at least that is what is consistently proclaimed), then I am not denigrating anyone's religious choice. Besides, I get called any manner of unintelligent and illogical for choosing to have faith, so if it isn't right for me to say it, it isn't right for someone else to say it to me, correct? Because one of people's main complaints about religion is the hypocrisy involved. I simply find agnosticism less hypocritical from a scientific thinking point of view.

The topic is agnosticism, and I merely expressed my opinion that agnosticism makes more logical sense to be than atheism.
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Old 26th July 2017, 7:44 PM   #28
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If you are agnostic, how do you feel others treat you if and when they find out?
Most people misuse the word 'agnostic'.

Agnosticism does not mean 'I'm fifty-fifty on whether or not there's a god'.
To say 'I am agnostic (to the existence of a god)' is to say 'No one can know (whether or not there's a god)'.

At this point you can still be either a believer (atheist) or a non-believer (theist). Non-believers are agnostic, obviously, and even many believers are agnostic. Many people say they believe in god, but don't claim to have absolute knowledge and certainty of his existence.

I assume that the OP is asking atheist agnostics about their experience primarily.

I can't say that I have many very negative reactions, but I live in a generally areligious society and in an international, urban environment. Unfortunately most people who would have reason to object shy away from a debate. I think a lot of people are married to their worldview and are very unwilling to have it challenged. It doesn't surprise me therefore that strong believers, probably gnostics, are offended by other theist beliefs.

Last edited by umirano; 26th July 2017 at 7:46 PM.. Reason: structure
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Old 26th July 2017, 8:07 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by major_merrick View Post
Some Christians have given it the name "The Problem of Evil" and there are extensive writings on the topic. Most of it relates to the idea of free will, and whether a God who is loving could preserve free will and yet intervene. You can look up and read some of that kind of material, and see if any of it answers your questions or gives you some comfort.
It was not 'some christians' who gave it a name. It was the christian apologist who attributed it to the greek philosopher Epicurus, but it was probably some less known skeptical greek philosopher who formulated it first, in its logical form anyway. The so called evidential form was presented by a philosophy professor named William L. Rowe.

Also, free will does really have much to do with it. To illustrate my point I quote the two different versions below:

Logical Form

Quote:
  1. If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then evil does not.
  2. There is evil in the world.
  3. Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god does not exist.
Evidential Form (quoted from here)

Quote:
  1. There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
  2. An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
  3. (Therefore) There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.
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Old 26th July 2017, 8:13 PM   #30
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The topic is agnosticism, and I merely expressed my opinion that agnosticism makes more logical sense to be than atheism.
This statement makes no sense. Agnosticism qualifies a given intellectual position. Specifically it speaks about whether the assertion of that position can be known. Any intellectual position. Therefore it cannot be mutually exclusive with atheism or 'make more logical sense', as your statement suggests.
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