agnosticism

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by IowaGuy, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    From another thread, moving upon request of the OP:



     
  2. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Why is a "questioning" or "skeptical" framework of thinking such a threat to your belief system?

    I would not characterize agnosticism as coming from an idle mind. Blind faith seems more of an idle-minded activity to me than approaching life with a healthy dose of skepticism. Skepticism requires more thought and therefore a more active mind.

    Why do you believe what you do? Do you question anything you have been taught in life?
     
  3. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    And look who has come to play! ;)


    Proverbs 14:6 A mocker seeks wisdom and doesn't find it,
    but knowledge [comes] easily to the perceptive.
     
  4. Edward Palamar

    Edward Palamar Interfaith Forums

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    It wasn't a request - so that is a lie, an untruth, a falsehood.

    For me to write so against agnosticim and its lying arguments is a conviction against its practice. Agnosticism, like the devil, is heretical from the start, as are any arguments in its defense.

    The Spirit of Truth convicts the ungodly.
     
  5. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Ahem....
    Perhaps you would like to withdraw your accusation of falsehood, Edward Palamar?
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Thanx SG, you are correct it was a request, by the OP, and by me.
    So lets have at it! A much better forum for this discussion, thanx IG for facilitating the move.

    I am a Christian. A follower of the teachings of Jesus. But as far as I can see, Agnosticism seems to be the most intelligent and logical path.

    I've run into agnostic Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Quakers, UUs and on and on..... And I think they make a lot of sense.

    They have their beliefs, but actually know they are beliefs. Like I believe the stock market will go up, but I am not putting all my money on the pass line, I'm diversified, I've got money in stocks and bonds, and real estate and the bank and gold and under my bed....

    But as to Heaven and Hell and G!d....I'm not dead, I haven't connected with my past lives or sat at the foot of G!d. I don't know. I believe...but I don't Know. It isn't hedging your bets, it is honesty.

    Have I had experiences that I attribute to connections with G!d, with hearing direction from G!d...yup. But I don't know if they aren't some anomoly or even normalcy with brain activity.

    Haven't we seen enough optical illusions and magic shows to know that your mind can be lead down pretty much any path someone would like it to?

    I honor the path of the Agnostic....

    Now the Atheist, the 100% dyed in the wool Atheist, I can't wrap my head around that anymore than an abortion clinic bomber who thinks he's Christian or a suicide bomber who thinks he's Muslim.
     
  7. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    I would have to stop you here. An agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves there is a God, whereas an atheist disbelieves there is a God.

    This is the difference between belief and knowledge. Furthermore, the existence of a god or a devil is an unproven theory at best. Therefore, to remain agnostic towards these unproven theories is what a rational mind would do.

    And furthermore, your perception of the devil as heretic seems to be limited to your christian indoctrination towards this misunderstood archetype.
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    dang Etu, you say it sooo much better and in a lot fewer words!
     
  9. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Reminds me of another topic that was considered heretical in its day:

    The Church says that the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round. For I have seen the shadow on the moon and I have more faith in the Shadow than in the Church.
    - Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521)​

    There is controversy regarding whether Magellan actually ever said that, but the concept still applies: there is value in being skeptical and open-minded regarding the unknown. Especially if someone else claims to be the authority of knowledge regarding that unknown.​

    Edward - do you think the sun revolves around the earth or that the earth revolves around the sun and why? Is someone who claims the earth revolves around the sun also a heretic?​

    Do you think other non-theistic belief systems (such as Buddhism) are also heretical?​
     
  10. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    **Wanders off to the Old Fart's Corral to munch on the soft pretzels and green chili brownies. (Goes so well with vaudeville.) I'll keep the Guinness Stout cold for ya'll.**
     
  11. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Thomas Huxley coined the term and he defined it thus:

    'Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle... Positively the principle may be expressed as in matters of intellect, do not pretend conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable.'

    Personally I think this is an eminently sensible approach to life. But then I don't start with the answer and work backwards.
     
  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Yeah they determined the circumferance of a spherical earth half a millenium before they cannonized the bible....amazing eh?

    So how could what was known since 240 BC be heretical in the 1500's?

    Dang dark ages....
     
  13. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    The whole point is encapsulated in epistemology... what do we know and how do we know it? What one knows id what one experiences (this includes comptemplative thought, reading, "mental stuff"). If a belief or an idea (hence the term ideology) does not pass the experience muster, then it is flase.

    The turth is "Any idea upon which we can ride …; any idea that will carry us prosperously from any one part of our experience to any other part, linking things satisfactorily, working securely, saving labor; is true for just so much, true in so far forth, true instrumentally." William James

    Agnosticism: Though there are a couple of references in The Oxford English Dictionary to earlier occurrences of the word ‘agnostic’, it seems (perhaps independently) to have been introduced by T. H. Huxley at a party in London to found the Metaphysical Society, which flourished for over a decade and to which belonged notable thinkers and leaders of opinion. Huxley thought that as many of these people liked to describe themselves as adherents of various ‘isms’ he would invent one for himself. He took it from a description in Acts 17:23 of an altar inscribed ‘to an unknown God’. Huxley thought that we would never be able to know about the ultimate origin and causes of the universe.

    That is what fueled the original term "agnostic": a lack of knowledge about ultimates. This is the basic intellectual stance of all modern and scientific thought. We only know what we can prove (or at least not falsify) by direct experience.

    For most people experience is limited to the five senses. If one includes reflexion (comptemplation), the term experience begins to include things not directly percieved. The point? I experience the Divine, and belief in it, but do not know ultimately... therefore I am agnostic about it.

    Pax et amore omnia vincunt.
     
  14. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    I think our own experience provides us with subjective truth, with which we construct our world- view. For objective truth one has to look to inter-subjective consensus. This is inquiry-driven, is testable, and within the public domain. It is simply not feasible to only accept as 'truth' that which we have experienced ourselves. 

    From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy website: 

    A rational man is one who makes a proper use of reason: and this implies, among other things, that he correctly estimates the strength of evidence.
       —Ayer, Probability and Evidence

    Insofar as we are rational in our beliefs, the intensity of belief will tend to correspond to the firmness of the available evidence. Insofar as we are rational, we will drop a belief when we have tried in vain to find evidence for it.
       —Quine and Ullian, The Web of Belief

    A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.
       —David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

    What is creditable … is not the mere belief in this or that, but the having arrived at it by a process which, had the evidence been different, would have carried one with equal readiness to a contrary belief.
       —Blanshard, Reason and Belief.
     
  15. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    The word belief is etymologically related to the word beloved, so it would seem that we are faced with the challenge of being able to love impartially, or at the very least, rationally. :eek:
     
  16. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Perhaps the challenge of the Bodhisattva?
     
  17. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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  18. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    Agnosticism is perhaps the most honest of all the belief systems... theists rarely actually experience anything of God, and the atheist is completely adamant that God simply doesn't exist. Agnosticism is the only healthy way to look at religion, but of course he is perfectly right that this creates a problem. With a yes or no, it is easy to dispute, but when they are open to both how can you convert such a person? It becomes impossible to create an emotion out of the debate, and that is exactly what the conversion targets.

    I know there to be something higher than the human being, but most people do not even know what God is so their belief is not meaningful at all. Provided there is a great motivation to know what that higher something is, there is no problem at all. Simply pursue how you can come into contact with God, and drop everything which doesn't permit that meeting. This is true religion, faith just leaves you a slave to a faith system. So I am completely in agreement with him as well, the conviction that you can't know is very dangerous too. That, for me, isn't agnosticism, for me agnosticism ought to be the foundation for the genuine search for God, an utterly open pursuit into that. I just don't think that signing up for Christianity blindly is going to help either... although, of course, Christ says such an ignorance is a blessing. Perhaps the worst line in any scripture on earth, but there it is. Christianity is actually the single most lazy line of thinking, you believe you already know there is a God, you accept words in a book on the matter - utterly naivety.
     
  19. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    I rather favor its opposite, gnosticism, though I use the lower-case to distinguish it from the so called heresies which arose during the first Christian century. When I was a student, some years ago, I remember watching the Swiss psychologist and son of a Lutheran Minister, C. G. Jung, interviewed. In that interview, he was asked whether he believed in God. I found a brief clip of that interview on youtube. Here is his instructive answer, and I think it is an illustrative answer of a gnostic, or of one who knows. In it, he answers that he doesn't need to believe, [because] he knows:

    Carl Jung

    The latter part of your statement seems harsh. I don’t know your reference. Could you please cite the specific scripture? I don’t recall Jesus ever having encouraged ignorance. On the contrary, he spoke of truth setting people free and faced martyrdom in the process.
     
  20. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    Agnosticism is the only way to actually know, once you know you can call it gnosticism perfectly well. It is very egotistical to say you know when you do not, and agnosticism simply means exactly that: I don't know.

    Gnosticism means "I know", now you are finished looking.

    I suggest you look into how many of Jung's "patients" committed suicide, it will make you think twice about accepting anything the man has to say. He is a complete moron, his whole approach is utterly stupid and proven harmful to those that go into it.

    It is exactly because of what I just said... except now the knowledge is borrowed, you think you are done looking but nothing at all has become available to you in reality. You have merely memorized a book, you have not experienced anything of the real.
     

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