Anyone Else Agnostic?

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jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 04:42 pm
@TurboLung,
This is part of the point that is being made here I think.

In answer to your question, the gnostics whom the early Christian church battled, believed in a very different 'God' to 'Jehovah'. Basically they believed that the entire material realm was evil and ruled over by an evil demiurge (kind of a demi-god) whom many of them identified with the Jehovah of the Old Testament.

They identified 'The Father' that Christ referred to as an altogether transcendent being above and beyond material or worldly concerns - totally 'other' to the world and everything in it.

So it was a very dualistic outlook with a strict division between matter and spirit. However there were many different varieties even within this movement, and some elements have been preserved through the lineage which became the Cathars and the Albigensians in medieval Europe and indeed until the present day.

Current knowledge of the gnostic traditions was greatly enriched by the discovery of the Nag Hammadi scrpitures in Egypt in the 20th Century. These included many original Gnostic 'gospels' which had been lost to history. They paint a different picture again. They put a much greater emphasis on 'wisdom-knowledge' that is very similar to the approach in Eastern Mysticism. The Gospel of Thomas is a good example which has been discussed previously on the Forum.

But there is also 'gnosticism' in a much more general sense. This is the claim that there is a genuine 'higher knowledge' as distinct from just 'belief' about spiritual matters. Not all of the Indian spiritual traditions are theistic, but many of them still claim there is a higher knowledge. Such movements include Buddhist (as discussed) Jain, and Samkhya. None of them believe in a 'creator-God' but all of them point to a spiritual plane of reality. Within Greek philosophy, a very similar type of attitude is characteristic of Neo-platonism. Although the neo-platonists distinguished themselves very sharply from the gnostics they too taught 'the ascent of consciousness'.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 04:26 pm
@TurboLung,
Do Agnostics put their faith in doubt? ---This is coming from an agnostic who doubts that man can live without faith in something.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 05:00 pm
@TurboLung,
Usually in these conversations about whether 'God exists' or not, one will make a decision either 'I believe' or 'I don't believe'. To live deeply with the un-knowable-ness of that question is another thing again. It is a kind of deep agnosticism.

Deep agnosticism ain't that different to the position of the original skeptics - not the pseudo-skeptics who doubt 'everything except science'. So it is a kind of suspension of judgement, a willingness to question everything.

Perhaps this is one meaning of a particular understanding in Zen Buddhism known as 'the Great Doubt'

Quote:
Doubt generally inhibits your ability to act-react spontaneously. An instant of uncertainty, for example, causes an athlete to miss a chance to score or a performer to lose an opportunity to demonstrate great mastery.

But doubt need not be just a source of nervous anxiety. Rather, it can lead to a profound reflection that serves to elevate self-understanding. An experience that is instrumental in spiritual attainment is known in Zen as the Great Doubt, which examines in a thoroughgoing way all assumptions and presuppositions... The Great Doubt takes nothing for granted and questions every outlook, and when applied to personal development it helps you act-react fully within - rather than half a step behind - This present moment. In contrast, unproductive doubt is preoccupied with second-guessing and revels in uncertainty."

"When you reach the median between acceptance, or not resisting what cannot be changed, and nonacceptance, which continually presses for reform, you realize that, The greater the doubt, the greater the enlightenment" Source


I think this is referring to the cognitive act of epoche that the skeptics sought out and that this is nearer the real aim of original skepticism than the nihilism that actually often resulted from it.

Also have a look at Mark Vernon

He has some interesting things to say about agnosticism.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 05:08 pm
@TurboLung,
Good post, Jeeprs. Any skepticism that doesn't gratify our quest for meaning is suspect. Why should we not doubt our doubt? And why should we think humans would adopt a viewpoint that did not in someway scratch an itch?

In younger years, I used skepticism as a weapon against a more primitive concept of religion, one that had been imposed on me. Doubt was a sword that freed me from the bondage of sin and hell and all that primitive mumbo jumbo.

But I came around to see the value in religious traditions. Also I started to look into the motives of belief. Nihilism is Romantic. It's Byronic, Satanic, etc. Solitary meaningless me against the big bad absurdity of the world. And one realizes that this absurdity is just a substitute for the cross, and that the Christ myth is at the bottom of it.
 
TurboLung
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 09:29 am
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;108136 wrote:
You say that you believe in Darwinism, yet you posit a "strangeness" that is calculated and designed. Will you elaborate on how this works?

do you think that natural selection can only be accidental? the idea behind natural selection is briliant. So brilliant in fact that it almost smells designed.

think about how natural selection works, choosing species who are more compatible with their environment. if you remove the accident bit from your line of thought, it wouldn't be hard to imagine natural selection as a mechanism designed to be so. have aliens planted us here to grow just as we plant seeds and watch flowers bloom? who knows? not me.

Also, why is it difficult to believe that our existence is pure accident?

to me, the sheer complexities of quantum mechanics, chemistry, natural selection, the forces of nature, biology and the insane and vast universe we live in makes me think that believing it is all an accdent is almost stupid.

of course, there is the part of me that would place a bet on our universe being just a nothing, a mistake and a waste of time. That said, how could a mistake just happen?

And, by "strange" do you simply mean beyond our ability to understand?

more or less. probably more the fact that i always have had a feeling that there is something happening in the background. maybe we will wake up when we die and realise we were in a dream or video game/program or whatnot and life will just make perfect sense. that wouldn't suprise me at all.

I would suppose that the inability to grasp how the complexities of life fell together to be more of a failure of our own intelligence rather than evidence of some sort of higher power or divine creator.

that's just a lazy way out. we are intelligent enough to be self aware and question our existence so i don't think we are that stupid to understand that the complexities of life seem designed.

But that could just be me. I've never believed that we humans held any special place in the universe.

i don't think we do either. i believe that if there were a designer, she/he wouldn't even know if we were wiped out.

TTM


................
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 07:55 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109337 wrote:
Do Agnostics put their faith in doubt? ---This is coming from an agnostic who doubts that man can live without faith in something.


Without any wide-ranging survey (statistical information), I'm not convinced that this question could conclusively be answered. At the same time, I am yet not sure if the question is a right question to ask.

What might be the emotional intention enshrined in the word 'faith,' there? Might it be a lingering article of history once served its purpose, and now more pragmatically worthy of being set upon the shelf among the social-caused-culturally-developed medicinal systems?

In a mere guess--a shot in the dark--I'd say that most of those who hold agnostic positions, do not doubt the common emotional/habitual matter of having, or putting, faith in something. However, a matter's having been provisionally demonstrated, over the wider and more thorough sample space of event and time, to be worthy of one's putting common faith in, is the point of concern. In that this specific term, agnostic, had been coined in relation to, more specifically, the Judeo-Christian belief-system, we can very fairly, and exhaustively, demonstrate that the wider and more thorough sample space of event and time have given very proper room for claiming that those models are not worthy of putting, or having, faith in. The same can be said for every other model as well, however.

Thus in short, we can very fairly demonstrate that the better position to acknowledge as being more thinkable, at this point in the increment of empirically obtained knowledge over the course of human development, is that we do not know of any being as deity, as the common English usage of that word has defined it.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 08:02 pm
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;110399 wrote:
. Thus in short, we can very fairly demonstrate that the better position to acknowledge as being more thinkable, at this point in the increment of empirically obtained knowledge over the course of human development, is that we do not know of any being as deity, as the common English usage of that word has defined it.


Unless you are one of those who have encountered such a deity. They might have a different view of the matter.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 08:10 pm
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;110399 wrote:

What might be the emotional intention enshrined in the word 'faith,' there? Might it be a lingering article of history once served its purpose, and now more pragmatically worthy of being set upon the shelf among the social-caused-culturally-developed medicinal systems?


The greatest trick superstition ever played was convincing us we were beyond it. I think "faith in doubt?" is a good question, however uncomfortable for those who identify with reason.

And this is not to say that God is superstition. The word "God" is used by many many people, and we should differentiate. I sympathize with Kant's attempt to do honor both to science and religion.
 
hadad
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 02:54 pm
@TurboLung,
I am an agnostic, though I was a pagan prior, and a fundamentalist baptist still prior. I may become atheist if I see a way to know a deity doesn't exist. As for the easter bunny and all that, why can't their be bunnies on easter? lol.

On a more serious note, we don't know for sure if any mythological creatures do or don't exist, what we can say is that it's highly unlikely that it does.
 
babyblu129
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 04:56 am
@TurboLung,
I love how honest and vulnerable some of you members have been about the subject of God, creation, this topic of evangelism. Even those of you who doubt the existence of God, I commend you of your opinions and thoughts. I know that the existence of God is hard to fathom, but He does indeed exist. That is why I am so grateful for a tool such as evangelism. Those of us who question, there IS indeed a reason for everything, and so therefore, that is why we have the unique opportunity to explore who God is when we come across someone who is able to evangelize or teach us more about Him.

My question to those of you who doubt God or are just simply turned off to the thought of someone having a civil conversation about God with you, have you truly thought about if there really was a God? How can you say that there is no God when the
planet you live on as SO many amazing features and things in it that there HAS to be Someone out there greater than any human who made it all? Have you taken time to study or read the Bible, which tells the story of who God is?

Have you ever taken the time to think about nature? The seasons? The many bodies of water? The mass varieties of species we have on this planet? The stars and planets, and everything else we cannot even see out in our galaxy? What about where we came from? How did one man and woman come into existence to produce the human generation? I know there is huge controversy between Darwinists and Christians because essentially, the argument is that one party argues human came as descendants of apes and the other, from the creation of God. Now even as a Christian, I know that even until the day I die, I will never be able to comprehend everything in the Bible or understand everything that is preached in church. There will be many things that God will not have me experience even after life! But can you honestly tell me that even though you would have many questions to come to a conclusion as to whether you will believe and follow this God, that you would rather play it safe and "believe" we came from apes?

What kind of confidence is that in yourselves and of our human kind? How can we have possessed the brains and knowledge we have. The skills and critical thinking that we have, from apes? How could apes have had the power to create us all equal in the matter of us all being human and moral, and yet have given us each different abilities and such to make us all unique from one another? I would never put my trust and hope in such an idea. If apes were our "God," what a pity it would be to live a life revolving how to please, honor, and live my life fullest in being an example of my "God" who is an ape.

You are honestly not giving your own existence enough credit. Or even everything that is created on this earth or even among the planets and skies. God is powerful enough, SMART enough to know what He was doing. How He wanted the planets to align the way they do. The placement of every star you see or don't see in the sky. The weather and seasons to be the way they are. For the many creatures to be in existence when there are many that are just plain weird and wonder what their role in nature is. I firmly believe that my God, OUR God, gave me the gifts that He did for many reasons, some that I cannot define on my own. I know that when I pray, I am trusting in a faithful God who will do His part in showing me why things happen the way they do and in reminding me constantly, there is no such thing as a "trial-free life." I just have to roll with the punches, but be able to still have a joy in knowing that everything that happens, I, myself, have no full control over.

Sure, there may be some things that I can actually control. But that will be in the moment. In the long run, I know that there is no way I would enjoy living that kind of existence for very long. Being in control, and always being in constant worry when things are not going my way, would be a terrible way to live. So I'd rather give my life over to God, who created me, knows every fiber of my being, and every thought, speech, and move I have ever made and will make.
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 05:13 am
@babyblu129,
Wonderful wonderful alleluia brother,alleluia. Now are you ready to debate or is your mission to preach and for your faith never to be examined?
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:57 am
@babyblu129,
babyblu129;111159 wrote:
I love how honest and vulnerable some of you members have been about the subject of God, creation, this topic of evangelism. Even those of you who doubt the existence of God, I commend you of your opinions and thoughts. I know that the existence of God is hard to fathom, but He does indeed exist. That is why I am so grateful for a tool such as evangelism. Those of us who question, there IS indeed a reason for everything, and so therefore, that is why we have the unique opportunity to explore who God is when we come across someone who is able to evangelize or teach us more about Him.

My question to those of you who doubt God or are just simply turned off to the thought of someone having a civil conversation about God with you, have you truly thought about if there really was a God? How can you say that there is no God when the
planet you live on as SO many amazing features and things in it that there HAS to be Someone out there greater than any human who made it all? Have you taken time to study or read the Bible, which tells the story of who God is?

Have you ever taken the time to think about nature? The seasons? The many bodies of water? The mass varieties of species we have on this planet? The stars and planets, and everything else we cannot even see out in our galaxy? What about where we came from? How did one man and woman come into existence to produce the human generation? I know there is huge controversy between Darwinists and Christians because essentially, the argument is that one party argues human came as descendants of apes and the other, from the creation of God. Now even as a Christian, I know that even until the day I die, I will never be able to comprehend everything in the Bible or understand everything that is preached in church. There will be many things that God will not have me experience even after life! But can you honestly tell me that even though you would have many questions to come to a conclusion as to whether you will believe and follow this God, that you would rather play it safe and "believe" we came from apes?

What kind of confidence is that in yourselves and of our human kind? How can we have possessed the brains and knowledge we have. The skills and critical thinking that we have, from apes? How could apes have had the power to create us all equal in the matter of us all being human and moral, and yet have given us each different abilities and such to make us all unique from one another? I would never put my trust and hope in such an idea. If apes were our "God," what a pity it would be to live a life revolving how to please, honor, and live my life fullest in being an example of my "God" who is an ape.

You are honestly not giving your own existence enough credit. Or even everything that is created on this earth or even among the planets and skies. God is powerful enough, SMART enough to know what He was doing. How He wanted the planets to align the way they do. The placement of every star you see or don't see in the sky. The weather and seasons to be the way they are. For the many creatures to be in existence when there are many that are just plain weird and wonder what their role in nature is. I firmly believe that my God, OUR God, gave me the gifts that He did for many reasons, some that I cannot define on my own. I know that when I pray, I am trusting in a faithful God who will do His part in showing me why things happen the way they do and in reminding me constantly, there is no such thing as a "trial-free life." I just have to roll with the punches, but be able to still have a joy in knowing that everything that happens, I, myself, have no full control over.

Sure, there may be some things that I can actually control. But that will be in the moment. In the long run, I know that there is no way I would enjoy living that kind of existence for very long. Being in control, and always being in constant worry when things are not going my way, would be a terrible way to live. So I'd rather give my life over to God, who created me, knows every fiber of my being, and every thought, speech, and move I have ever made and will make.

He does, indeed, exist...Two conclusion in one sentence, and no proof ever. Since existence, like God is an infinite we can only know the near side of them...Your conclusion is taken on faith in the testimony of people never met whose character is never considered...Give your self to God, and some devil acting in the name of God will make you a victim... Faith is not just faith...Faith is an intelligence test...
 
manored
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:05 pm
@Fido,
Im agnostic too.

My view is that the universe is infinite, and, consequently, our world is both located and the location of an infinite number of other worlds. So it is a must that at one of the worlds "above" there is a god that looked down into a set of worlds "bellow" and gave then shape. it is also a must that the world this god inhabits, itself, was created by an even greater god, and so on. I also believe that the same can apply to us: When we run a computer simulation, arent we, in a sense, playing god? That will be even more clear when we build simulations that remind us of real, thinking and emotive beings. Such simulations are not so far away of being true, actually. (Creature Labs)



babyblu129;111159 wrote:
I love how honest and vulnerable some of you members have been about the subject of God, creation, this topic of evangelism. Even those of you who doubt the existence of God, I commend you of your opinions and thoughts. I know that the existence of God is hard to fathom, but He does indeed exist. That is why I am so grateful for a tool such as evangelism. Those of us who question, there IS indeed a reason for everything, and so therefore, that is why we have the unique opportunity to explore who God is when we come across someone who is able to evangelize or teach us more about Him.
The existence of god is easy to fathom, it is not for something such as incapacity that people choose to not believe on it.

babyblu129;111159 wrote:

My question to those of you who doubt God or are just simply turned off to the thought of someone having a civil conversation about God with you, have you truly thought about if there really was a God? How can you say that there is no God when the
planet you live on as SO many amazing features and things in it that there HAS to be Someone out there greater than any human who made it all? Have you taken time to study or read the Bible, which tells the story of who God is?
We evolved to be able to make us of those features, thats why they seem so awesome. As DNA said (you can find a comment about that in the end of the site in the end of this post) its like the water in a pond thinking that the hole it is sitting in must have been made by god, because it suits it perfectly.

I have read the bible.

babyblu129;111159 wrote:

Have you ever taken the time to think about nature? The seasons? The many bodies of water? The mass varieties of species we have on this planet? The stars and planets, and everything else we cannot even see out in our galaxy? What about where we came from?
Off course

babyblu129;111159 wrote:

How did one man and woman come into existence to produce the human generation?
Sexuality came to be way before humans, what I wonder more is how it got started, that whole thing about a being that splits itself in two suddently being able to combine a piece of itself with a piece of another member of the species in order to achieve a mixture of dnas. [/QUOTE]

babyblu129;111159 wrote:

But can you honestly tell me that even though you would have many questions to come to a conclusion as to whether you will believe and follow this God, that you would rather play it safe and "believe" we came from apes?
It seens to me you dont believe that one person can trully believe we came from apes, and then I have to remind you that people can trully believe all sorts of absurd things, though I personally dont think believing we came from apes is absurd.

babyblu129;111159 wrote:

What kind of confidence is that in yourselves and of our human kind? How can we have possessed the brains and knowledge we have. The skills and critical thinking that we have, from apes?
Evolution.

babyblu129;111159 wrote:

How could apes have had the power to create us all equal in the matter of us all being human and moral, and yet have given us each different abilities and such to make us all unique from one another? I would never put my trust and hope in such an idea. If apes were our "God," what a pity it would be to live a life revolving how to please, honor, and live my life fullest in being an example of my "God" who is an ape.
Apes didnt create us, they evolved into us. What keeps us human yet different from each other is dna. and we DONT have to workship our origins, that is an stupid idea.

babyblu129;111159 wrote:

You are honestly not giving your own existence enough credit. Or even everything that is created on this earth or even among the planets and skies. God is powerful enough, SMART enough to know what He was doing. How He wanted the planets to align the way they do. The placement of every star you see or don't see in the sky. The weather and seasons to be the way they are. For the many creatures to be in existence when there are many that are just plain weird and wonder what their role in nature is. I firmly believe that my God, OUR God, gave me the gifts that He did for many reasons, some that I cannot define on my own. I know that when I pray, I am trusting in a faithful God who will do His part in showing me why things happen the way they do and in reminding me constantly, there is no such thing as a "trial-free life." I just have to roll with the punches, but be able to still have a joy in knowing that everything that happens, I, myself, have no full control over.
Not really any arguments in here, just emotiveness.

babyblu129;111159 wrote:

Sure, there may be some things that I can actually control. But that will be in the moment. In the long run, I know that there is no way I would enjoy living that kind of existence for very long. Being in control, and always being in constant worry when things are not going my way, would be a terrible way to live. So I'd rather give my life over to God, who created me, knows every fiber of my being, and every thought, speech, and move I have ever made and will make.
You dont need to believe in a god to let yourself be lead by life. Ever heard of taoism, for instance? Give a look into it.

You are mostly being emotive here, it seens your main argument for believing things X is that things Y are hard to believe, so you prefer to believe thing X. Not a good argument, that.


I think this site is of interest in this discussion... and has a lot of quotes from DNA =) The last one is especially interesting:

Positive Atheism's Big List of Douglas Adams Quotations
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2009 01:29 pm
@manored,
This news story, somewhat related.....
Sumerians Look On In Confusion As Christian God Creates World | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2009 07:13 pm
@Fido,
Fido;111271 wrote:
.Give your self to God, and some devil acting in the name of God will make you a victim... Faith is not just faith...Faith is an intelligence test...



But we should consider those who have intense emotional experiences who feel that the word "God" is useful in the description of these experiences. Perhaps religion is a two-headed beast.
 
Fido
 
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2009 10:24 pm
@TurboLung,
Religion is a search for God, which you point out, is a mystical experience... When people think they have found God they build a dogma and church around their captive... For the those, the spiritual experience is clearly secondary to the material...
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2009 11:04 pm
@TurboLung,
Krishnamurti told a story, in his landmark speech in 1929, when he dissolved the religious organisation that had been built around him and declared truth 'a pathless land'. God and the Devil were walking along having a conversation when they noticed someone on earth had discovered a piece of the truth. 'Trouble for you' said God. 'They've found a bit of the truth'. 'No problems at all' said the devil. "I'll let them organise it'.
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 09:03 am
@TurboLung,
The problem of God can only be solved if one tries and solve the problem of Mind.
 
manored
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 01:57 pm
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Jackofalltrades;112098 wrote:
The problem of God can only be solved if one tries and solve the problem of Mind.
I dont think we can solve either =)
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 02:18 pm
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Jackofalltrades;112098 wrote:
The problem of God can only be solved if one tries and solve the problem of Mind.

The Scandinavian god wish, was the father of all the gods...God is another name for all we desire, and that is not only a problem of mind, but of mankind...Because we see the future we wish to see ourselves in it secure...

---------- Post added 12-17-2009 at 03:20 PM ----------

manored;112172 wrote:
I dont think we can solve either =)

Mind ought to be easy...It takes one to know one...
 
 

 
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