What It Means To Me

I was raised in an evangelical, pentecostal christian household, and took it pretty seriously as a kid. No, seriously, I believed what I was told, and had deep feelings about how I and others should behave accordingly.

Over time, reality imposed itself. I learned that not everything people told me was true, not even those that sincerely believed what they were telling me. I didn't just suddenly decide to be agnostic -- I struggled with this reconciliation for years, and still do to some extent.

Science and technology was always interesting to me, even as a kid. I found that there were Christian perspectives that differed considerably from the mysticism of Calvinist theology. I read works by R.B.Fuller, himself a bit of a mystic but also someone who challenged himself and others to focus on technical remedies rather than on passing judgement upon those whose perspectives differed from their own. I also learned from Chaitin's study of Omega, that there is no "Theory of Everything". Most of the universe is unknowable.

That is what agnosticism means to me. To paraphrase the physicist (and atheist) Richard Feynman's remarks about some religious belief, it is more interesting to live not known than to hold as fast truths answers that are quite likely wrong.
7thmaster 7thmaster
46-50, M
1 Response Mar 17, 2013

Seeing as how you’re such a fan of the sciences, perhaps you might consider a more intellectual and less perfunctory study of nature, science and the universe?

"A little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God." - Francis Bacon

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

“In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious interpretation of the world. Although I am now convinced that scientific truth is unassailable in its own field, I have never found it possible to dismiss the content of religious thinking as simply part of an outmoded phase in the consciousness of mankind, a part we shall have to give up from now on. Thus in the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought, for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”

–Werner Heisenberg, who was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science).

“Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.”

–Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics.

“I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.”

“If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God.”

–Lord William Kelvin, who was noted for his theoretical work on thermodynamics, the concept of absolute zero and the Kelvin temperature scale based upon it.

“Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

–Physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell, who is credited with formulating classical electromagnetic theory and whose contributions to science are considered to be of the same magnitude to those of Einstein and Newton.

Oh and, btw, did you know that, according to a recent Pew survey, 51% of scientists abjure the philosophy of Atheism? (http://www.pewforum.org/Science-and-Bioethics/Scientists-and-Belief.aspx) Go figure! :)