Atheists are just like the religious folks in so many ways that they would mostly deny but are true.  All these people (religious folks and atheists) are so caught up in their own ideas about the world.  They have to be "right"!  They ARE right!!  And everyone else is wrong.  The existence of god can neither be proven nor disproven...that is a fact.  So start with the facts and go from there which is what I do.  I'm an agnostic which is the ultimate religion.  The only true one.  I know this is strong wording and I'm coming off like those I was just making fun of (I'm right I tell ya! LOL)  I believe in agnosticism because nobody knows what the hell happens when we die.   Anyone that might be able to tell us is dead.  So my suggestion is for people to stop being so worried about defending your position and just take a look at the world around you.   It's full of questions but very lacking in answers which is more fun than if it were the other way around. 

ReformedAutomaton ReformedAutomaton
41-45, M
75 Responses Feb 8, 2008

Atheism is the LACK of the belief in god, whereas ANTItheism is the the belief there is no god; they are different. Agostisism and gnostisism are degrees of certainty. An agnostic theist would believe in god but not claim to know for certain, while a gnostic theist would claim to know for certain a god exists. An agnostic atheist does not believe in god but doesn't claim to know for certain, while a gnostic atheist doesn't believe in god and claims to know for certain (which some consider to be closely related with antitheism).

I don't think you're coming off like athiests/religious ppl by saying agnostic is the only true way to go. The difference is, they're saying you're wrong if you don't jump to a conclusion (THEIR conclusion). you are saying you CAN'T be wrong if you DON'T assume something thats impossible to know, which, even they have to admit, is a PLAIN AND SIMPLE TRUE FACT THAT IS PROVEN IN EVERY DAY LIFE!!

You obviously don't understand the concept. I don't state whether there is a god or not. I don't know whether there is a god or not, don't claim to. Therefore I'm agnostic. Period. Sh#t ain't that hard.<br />
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Here are several definitions I found when I googled "define:agnostic". 1) Someone who is doubtful or noncommittal about something 2) A person who claims that they cannot have true knowledge about the existence of God (but does not deny that God might exist) 3)uncertain of all claims to knowledge <br />
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Here's a definition from Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism<br />
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Agnosticism (Greek: α- a-, without + γνώσις gnōsis, knowledge; after Gnosticism) is the philosophical view that the true value of certain claims — particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of deities, spiritual beings, or even ultimate reality — are unknown or, in some forms of agnosticism, unknowable.[1] It is not a religious declaration in itself, and an agnostic may also be a theist or an atheist.[2]This definition is clearly in agreement with my claims. And agnostic may also be a theist or an atheist.<br />
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Perhaps if you think about this for a bit you may be able to understand my view a little bit. Oh and yes you have had any number of personal attacks on me and my beliefs. Like this one:"I don't mind if you're an agnostic, but having no opinion about something is not an attribute to be celebrated, surely?"<br />
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Firstly I couldn't care less if you mind whether I'm agnostic. You directly say that I have no opinion and that it's not a good thing. You also obviously have no ability to respond to my arguments either. You should read what other people have to say before you respond.

MG! just to instigate a bit please correctly provide me with the one and only definition of the word **** lol. I think i understand the point of atheism from all the time i've spent with you gus, its not that y'all are trying to disprove anything. its just that you all find it hard to believe in something you can't prove which is understandable.<br />
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RA! <br />
Atheism doesn't live in fantasy, they live in the realm of what they can visibly see and study hands on and unfortunately you can't do that that God, its all faith. And superior? my pride wants to say yes but seriously we're just different, because to even have a chance at a rank we would have to have a unified belief which would no longer make us agnostic and then we would have to have the nerve to call ourselves superior and then fight and fight trying to prove it and then i'll have to come up with a word for me because I'm not down for any of that. Its too much work being superior, it attracts too much bad press and short german guys with funny mustaches and grown *** men wearing bed sheets.

wow man...I happen to be very committed to my beliefs. And I'm committed to a realistic provable belief while you are not. I'm not wishy washy. I just don't set mental traps for myself by claiming that the world is a certain way when it could very well not be the way I believe. I have many beliefs but they are maleable as we live in a world of constant discovery, change, flux, etc. In response to your claim of my lack of opinions, I have many opinions and a long history of studying religion, philosophy, metaphysics. Read some of my other posts/comments in the rest of the story.<br />
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Going back to your original post you say "An agnostic has no belief. He is either apathetic to the whole concept, or simply has not made a commitment either way. An agnostic simply has no view on the subject. If he develops a belief one way or the other, he ceases to be agnostic."<br />
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I am far from apathetic to the whole concept of theism and atheism. Did you think about how I wrote this and have been talking on this subject for the last 75 posts or whatever there is on this story? I am not apathetic and as I explained before, I am committed to my belief which is realistic and open to the world. Yours is a closed fundamentally limited unprovable belief. I am very far from having no view on the subject. You should choose your words more carefully and realistically.<br />
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So, in your argument you claim that atheists are committed to their belief. You are committed to your belief that nothing exists past this earth. It is a negation of the possibility....you are committed to this idea. Which is a belief in nothing which you claim agnosticism to be. <br />
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The entire reason I wrote this story, I repeat the entire reason I wrote this story, was to point out how ridiculous the arguments are between atheists and theists. What I was saying is not that proving or disproving the existence of god is the whole point of atheism or theism. Just that agnosticism is SUPERIOR because it works within an observable fr<x>amework. You are working within a fantasy, an unprovable assumption. <br />
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Dictionaries give very limited parameters to the meaning of words. Especially when someone like you gives a single definition which best represents their own view. Agnosticism does not have to apply "any particular question" a person may have. I feel particularly agnostic in terms of religion and politics but not in every area of my understanding as your definition insinuates. <br />
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I happen to be a pretty spiritual person. I lean towards there being a meaning to life. I read a lot of buddhist literature, I meditate. I am interested by the ideas and history of many religions. I simply don't believe any of them have THE answer. I maintain that although I feel a spirit in myself, it could just as easily be that you are correct and all existence ceases at the time of death. I just don't know. That is fundamentally a agnostic point of view.

you're right about its a belief system although it has about as much structure as silly putty, and yes your words have a lot of merit.

For once I feel like a dictionary has a good definition. I consider myself a political agnostic as well as a number of other things. Nationalism and religion are both very deadly things and everybody has their own "answer" and they all fall short in one way another. I think the problem lies within ideology and it's inherent shortcomings.

I wish I understood. I did call agnosticism a religion. That wasn't my intention. It is a belief system though. Not the same as religion but the point of the story was not even remotely that agnosticism is a religion. I think many of my other words in the post have merit.

<p>Mentalgent I equally believe that you are way off ba<x>se. You are applying ob<x>jective definitions of these various belief systems when it is a subjective matter. Who are you to say what agnostics as a whole believe? Agnostics are not necessarily nihilists as you suggest. As I said, agnostics in general are people who understand there is no way to prove nor disprove the existence of god. It doesn't mean they can't have any beliefs or opinions. You read too much into what I wrote and put words in my mouth. <br />
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In your definition of a theist you said exactly what I sais, they believe in god with no evidence (hence faith exists). And an atheist believes with no evidence of either. It doesn't matter whether they have to prove anything to themselves or others. My point is that what matters to them and creates many heated arguments (which caused me to write this in the first place) is that their belief is right. And their beliefs are unprovable. Agnosticism is not unprovable because it doesn't claim to have any allegiance and doesn't claim to be an "answer". It doesn't mean you believe in nothing, just that you don't have to posit an ob<x>jective metaphysical belief or it's antithesis because to do so is pointless. I believe in many things but not that anyone knows what happen after we die. I can have personal beliefs without thinking they are the ob<x>jective answer, it's just my own hunch. All the world is not black and white. Many shades my friend.</p>

and see every time we cross paths I learn something. I thought the lazy popular belief was the actual definition but whatever, I think people have been referring to me personally as a theist so whatever that title sounds cool

R Auto-great post I just have a slight problem with you calling agnosticism a religion, thats a very poor choice of words man. We agnostics are called such because we don't subscribe to a religion. <br />
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MG- you totally have the wrong view on agnostics. we are people who believe in a higher being and then either just leave it at that or try to find their own way because I know you can agree that religion is kind of ****** up. Its the biggest thing you atheists and I have in common, we both think religion is bullshit which is why I and other people are agnostic. Its not that we don't have beliefs (because then we'd be atheist) its just that we don't agree with the main belief's out there. I know i sure as hell don't agree with Christianity or Muslim or Jewish or whatever and I know I don't agree with Atheists.

As for you Mr dedre...of course we agree to disagree and respect is always there but I must respectfully disagree on a few points. My last super long post about our "advanced" culture and how rationality and logic are limited and potentially dangerous to humans as we use it now...that whole post was basically aimed at your previous comments....particularly these comments:<br />
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"We had the Dark Ages, The Bronze Age, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance. All ages of history and all took many many years, even decades, to move on to the next age. Now fast forward to the 20th century. We enter the Industrial Age, and within just several years instead of decades, on to the Atomic Age, and then the transistor was well-received and relatively overnight we dove into the Computer or Techno Age, which gradually became the Information Age. New world-changing ideas and solutions are coming and going at comparably break-neck speeds when compared to humanity just a few centuries ago. Will it come to a time in our world when you will call in sick, and *boom* too bad you weren't around, you just missed the Nanotech Age!"<br />
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But back to the agnostic vs. athiest vs. religious, or whatnot.<br />
I'll just say what I always say: Proof denies faith; Us as individual humans have the cognitive capacity to use logic and rationality as our tools of furthering our existence, and to me, the idea of believing in a big dude in the clouds, to believe in that asks us to deny our gifts of rationality and logic."<br />
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You say that proof denies faith but my whole argument is "WHERE'S the PROOF?". The thing I said from the beginning with the story is that there is not proof either way...show me God or show me nothing otherwise there is no proof. And the whole deal about rationality and logic being the saving grace of humans I find to be ridiculous...you'll have to read my last post if you want to see my argument for this belief cause I'm not gonna cross that bridge again.<br />
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And again the belief in no deities and the belief in the absence of deities means the same thing, absolutely. What is the difference between saying "there are no deities" and saying "there is an absence of deities"? One is a negation and the other says they are absent. If you are absent at school, you are not there....there's no maybe, no question. It's the same thing as saying there's no such thing, just different wording.<br />
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And for one last shot, you contradict yourself when you say "...what if you just don't believe, period?". And then in the next sentence you say "... I just don't have that category of faith to be able to religiously "share" the woes and joys of life with something that I cannot at all BELIEVE exists". Obviously you have a belief in something if you say you "cannot at all believe exists"<br />
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I see what you're saying for sure and I have similar views and experiences when it comes down to it but as for this discussion, I must refute your argument. Good day to you sir and I look forward to future buttings of heads!

Vendetta...I believe completely in the shades of grey idea....there is little to no black and white in this world. I think the 6's and 7's deal has much validity but my only point it that it's outside of this discussion. <br />
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I first wrote this story cause I was reading through comments from some christians story and these atheists all came in with venom to argue. The chrisians certainly had a lot of venom as well. That's why I said the arguments are pointless, cause neither side will ever agree. Those kinds of people do have a fixed view of what is RIGHT and what is WRONG. You and I seem to not have such rigid views which I think is healthy. <br />
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I've had this type of discussion before with other people and it never works out. It's basically an argument over semantics. A defintition to me is a label that does not necessarily fit most people, but to apply this idea to oneself means that you accept certain things as true. I just think we're basically two hard headed people who aren't quite talking about the same thing. Anyway, I'm done with this one for now but I agree we probably have much more to discuss and I'll look forward to it.

*dips in*<br />
Ok ok, I do not want to continuously butt heads in this post much more than I have (hell comparatively we've both shown we can easily agree to disagree), RA. But you said to be an atheist you must believe in no deities, or in v's words believe in the absence of deities...<br />
...what if you just don't believe, period? I regularly just console myself in the fact that I just don't have that category of faith to be able to religiously "share" the woes and joys of life with something that I cannot at all believe exists; even growing up and going to church before I really got old enough to question it, I felt like I was just "doing the motions" because it's what everyone did. I realized once I was old enough, that even if there is a God, he'd probably be more pissed at me as a human being if I went through life pretending to believe in him when in fact the whole thing constantly made me feel fake and uncomfortable.<br />
Jesus might've been the son of God, I can accept that I might be wrong, but I won't believe it.<br />
Anyone could attain what Buddha did, I could be wrong but I won't believe it.<br />
etc etc etc<br />
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Heh, and though I jovially agree the idea of truth is subject; my truth is not subjective at all to me, and...well...there's no way to say it without sounding like a *****, but my truth is what matters in my world.<br />
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And I agree with Vendetta, good discussion; carry on! *dips back out*

The numbers are just a convenience, a way of looking at and measuring people's beliefs against each other. They don't 'mean' anything, so I agree with you that there are no 6's or 7's, etc. I see more gray in the world and less black and white, and this applies to religions and faith. <br />
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Good discussion, though. I'm going to add you to my friends because I'm not done with you yet :) We've got other things that need discussion.

Well you refuse to see my point that to call yourself a member of any religion, sect, belief, philosphy, etc there are certain criteria you must adhere to. There are no 6's, 7's, or whatever when it comes to being a follower. Individuals of course can make their own beliefs, as you and I obviously do. But let me say TO BE A CHRISTIAN YOU MUST BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE LORD AND SAVIOR....THERE'S NO GETTING AWAY FROM THAT. TO BE A BUDDHIST YOU MUST BELIEVE THE BUDDHA ATTAINED ENLIGHTENMENT AND THAT ALL PEOPLE HAVE THE ABILITY TO ATTAIN BUDDHAHOOD. IF YOU'RE AN ATHEIST YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE THEIR ARE NO DEITIES, OR IN YOUR WORDS BELIEVE IN THE ABSENCE OF DIETIES (WHICH IS AN ob<x>jectIVE STATEMENT, THERE'S NOTHING IN THERE THAT SAYS MAYBE!!!). AND TO BE AN AGNOSTIC YOU HAVE TO SAY YOU DON'T KNOW.<BR><BR>SO, YOU ARE AN AGNOSTIC AND SO IS DAWKINS.....FACE IT!!!!! DEAL WITH IT!!!!!!

If there actually were an almighty creator, then why would he have such a bad case of multiple personality disorder? They make drugs to treat that, you'd think "it" would know that. <br><br />
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You and I will have to agree to disagree on our conceptions of atheist and agnostic. In your world I guess all of us "6" atheists (including Dawkins) aren't atheists at all, just agnostics. In your mind only the crazy "7's" are atheists.

5 C's I think if you read my whole story you would see that I have my own beliefs but they are subject to change. Therefore I only sit in the middle as a logical and public stance. I have my own beliefs and I have a faith of my own. But as I was raised a die hard Catholic, and fully believed in it, then became a full blown nihilistic atheist, then came around to buddhism, and now I'm tying together my beliefs. I can say that I find no true path in any of them but collectively they point toward a larger mystery in the world that is fascinating. <br />
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Truth is subjective. I find there to be no such thing as truth. What is true to one person is a lie to another. Do you think there is one true religion out there and all the other 1000's of religions are incorrect? Don't you think your god almighty, the creator of heaven and earth, created all these other religions? If you believe in an almighty creator it could not possibly be any other way. Now that is the truth!! :)

I don't think of it as a rut, 5C.<br />
I actually find it very liberating and exciting.<br />
Looking for a "truth" at the end of the each day, <br />
that sounds like a horrible place to live.

Your comments even better!

Very good, RA.<br />
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"Babies are not atheists."<br />
"They are my beliefs and subject to change, cause you never know."<br />
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I think your story is brilliant.

Mr Vendetta....you are obviously a very bright fellow and I see where you're coming from. Dawkins makes so very relevant points but as I said in this previous post...certain religions and/or beliefs have core truths. There might as well be no such word as atheist if they leave open the possibility of there being a god...that would be an agnostic!

Well I haven't read any of the new comments...I will but I'm gonna make one last long post and then I'll be just chilling out on the advice of one of my favorite EP'ers.<BR><BR>Let's all have a big laugh first! HAHAAHAHAAHHAA!!!<BR><BR>Okay....So what is it that our "advanced and progressive" society brings to us. What is our clear advantage over ancient and modern native cultures? Is it George Bush and the millions of highly educated people that voted for him (or those tens of millions that were ready to potentially have Sarah Palin as the president)? I heard mention of nuclear energy....is it our newfound ability to destroy all human life on earth? Are we superior in that we fight wars and kill millions over resources/ideology? <BR><BR>Is our greatness reflected in our destruction of our living space, deforestation, destruction of our rainforests, global warming, the spread of invasive species, genetic engineering, monoculture farming, destruction of wetlands, over fishing, mountain topping, air/noise/light pollution, urband sprawl, overconsumption...shall I go on? <BR><BR>Our advanced culture is destroying our living space for the sake of short term profit. Mental illness and pharmaceutical drugs/companies are running rampant. Communicable diseases for which we have no cure or control are taking hold and our advanced technology has no answer.<BR><BR>Are we superior to ancient/small scale native culture and their view of deities in nature? Has our science made us better and more functional than them?<BR><BR>As an aside, babies are not atheists. They would have to have a concept of god in order to refute that concept. They are not religious or agnostic either. They exist without asking why as do many native and/or ancient peoples. And as for the argument about having so many different kinds of atheists, split off groups, etc...I say that each religion or belief has certain beliefs fundamental to it or it's something else, not the religion or belief. To be Christian you have to believe in the lord Jesus Christ as your saviour. To be a buddhist you have to believe in the buddha and the ability of all people to attain buddhahood. For atheists you must believe that deities do not exist and for agnostics you must say "I do not know". Anything else is a derivation.<BR><BR>You seem even seem to believe that ancient religion is less rational than modern religion with it's beliefs in gods of the mountains, thunder, sea, etc. Which is more rational, the belief in deities that express themselves through natural phenomena or the belief in heaven/hell/nirvana/buddha/devil/monotheistic god? At least the ancients were using things that could be seen here on earth for their worship rather than making up fairy tales about something that can never be seen.<BR><BR>Your beliefs are based on the idea that man has surpassed nature, that technology is our saving grace and it's exponential expansion is progress here on earth. This type of belief says that technology will always overcome anything we have to deal with.<BR><BR>Western science/medicine has certainly made a lot of progress but the useful aspects are almost entirely good for fixing pre-existing conditions, not for creating conditions that will help prevent future problems. It is irrational to think that technology will always overcome what nature throws at us b/c we are currently very far behind many of the problems that are causing much death and misery throughout the world.<BR><BR>The absolute certain belief in or against deities is irrational in that neither are provable. I am beating a dead horse with a broken record....Show me god (for you religious folks) or show me nothing (for you atheists). Otherwise please leave me alone :) Talk to someone else about your propoganda.<BR><BR>I have my own opinions that I would share with others. They are my beliefs but they are elastic and subject to change (cause you never know!). I would not represent them as facts.<BR><BR>In fact I believe that modern man is far less rational than the ancient or modern native cultures. They lived closer to nature and lack/ed the need to question everything. Why ask why? During the southeast asian tsunami, who lived and who died? The fools who were so busy with their "advanced"culture died b/c they were too busy to notice or understand that the ocean had receded. Who lived? The native people and the animals who ran for high ground when they OBSERVED what happened.<BR><BR>My question is can we westerners just stop to see the beauty/darkness/happiness/misery/life/death/the human condition in our limited moments here on earth? We break things into parts and compartments that never come together if we don't stop and look. Our minds and perceptions and therefore our world will remain insane..forever incomplete if we don't see the forest instead of perpetually looking deeper and deeper into the trees.

Yes, there's plenty of worms to go around! <br><br />
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RA- I'm obviously not making myself clear to you, but no one likes a quitter so I'll try again! hehe You say that there's no difference between the first part and 2nd part of the definition of atheism I gave, but I see a world of difference. Just because you lack a belief in something doesn't mean that you know for a fact that it is wrong. <br><br />
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I brought up Dawkins for many reasons, but one of the major ones is that even though he is widely considered the world's most famous atheist, even he isn't running around saying that he has proof that God doesn't exist. Look at his quote that he provides after the spectrum of belief. If the world's most 'strident' and famous atheist admits that we will never be able to prove that God doesn't exist, then only an uninformed idiot would try to make such a claim. <br><br />
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On a side note many religious organizations have seized upon his words just to re-label him as an agnostic and not an atheist. It's like they're trying to use him as an example: "See? Even your Mr. Smarty pants evolutionary biologist captain atheist leader admits he can't PROVE there's no God! He's admitting there MIGHT be a god of some sort. Ergo- my God exists!" It's absurd. <br><br />
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But it also points out the similarities between agnosticism and atheism. There is much more overlap between atheists and agnostics than there is between agnostics and theists. Agnosticism is not necessarily the 50-yard line you seem to think it is. To me, an atheist is an agnostic who has considered the arguments on both sides and sees no logical reason to give the god theory the "50/50 maybe there is maybe there isn't" treatment.<br />
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Ok, I'll go sit in the corner for a bit and let you guys discuss this stuff :)

So you say what would the implications of an endless number of questions....what significance would that have in terms of the probablility of a spiritual universe? Well, what it speaks to is the infinite...which is the most spritual thing that exists in nature. Modern quantum physics is finding much scientific/mathematical evidence for, not proof of, infinite universes, possiblities...the idea that nothing is known outside of participant observation (ie no such thing as ob<x>jectivity, only subjectivity). Whelp...gotta go again...more later :)

Well sh#t....we've got a serious can of worms going here now. I want to respond to most of these comments here but it's gonna take time and will probably be piecemeal. So....<BR><BR>Firstly I want to agree to disagree...but not without a kicking and screaming fight :) Also I do respect all the peoples comments here...I'm enjoying this thread for sure...it's funny!!!<BR><BR>Mr Vendetta...don't ever shrug at me again or I'll send God to come get you :) Maybe I did miss some of your point but I feel like I didn't. You said I "provided a caricature of a type of fundamental atheist that thinks there's definitive proof that no gods exist". And then you gave a definition that exactly matches what I said. It said "deities do not exist...rejects theism. In the broadest sense, it is the absence of belief in the existence of deities." <BR><BR>So...you really contradict yourself there. Even with all the different strains and whatnot of atheism/agnosticism, there is a fundamental difference, as I said before. If a person is an atheist....they believe ob<x>jectively that "deities" (god or gods) do not exist, by your own definition. Agnostics, fundamentally, believe that it is unknown, it's an open question as to whether deities exist or not. Any person or strain of thought that diverges from these basic beliefs becomes something different than atheism/agnosticism and is therefore outside the range of this conversation.<BR><BR>In my original story I state that religious people/atheists both have a belief that "They ARE right!! And everyone else is wrong". That is true as the basic core premise of the acceptance of atheism or theism. We are not discussing the various personal beliefs, blended religions, etc in which people as individuals may make up their own form of belief eg a "split off" religion. If someone claims to be an atheist they make a definitive statement and anything that falls outside of the definition becomes something other than atheism. Same thing for agnostics.<BR><BR>There is no first part/second part. Both parts of the definition provided say the same thing in reference to our conversation here. <BR><BR>I find Dawkins material to be very interesting...I find myself to be likely a 3 but I would use a different definition than one that includes the word God. I am agnostic but lean towards believing that there are larger forces at work and great mystey in this world that will never be fully described, or known.<BR><BR>As I said earlier...to make definitive ob<x>jective statements as to the existence or lack thereof of deities requires that there be proof...ob<x>jective belief requires data that proves the hypothesis and must be reproducable. Otherwise it's just theory, or in other words agnosticism (not sure). Well, I've got more on the way but gotta go for now.

I very much agree with you. I love to watch the point/counterpoint video exchanges on YouTube. Very comical frothing at the mouth speeches. I wind up laughing my butt off at both sides of the issue.

Separation of church and state, that's a great idea, Krypton.

I am enjoying this story and the comments. I am a 6. I feel no need to convince people one way or the other. The only thing I ask is that my government is not ruled by religion in any of its decisions.

On that note, I'd say I'm 6; though I do often entertain the idea that he does exist to help plod through certain thought process like the following:<br />
I would be surprised to kick the bucket and suddenly "Oh ******* you do exist...I mean...errr...HEY!...I led a good, nice life and all, but damn I got some questions for your little screw-up down there, ya big *******!!"<br />
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Anyone ever read "Job: a comedy of justice", by...I think it was Heinlein, it was hilarious!

Cool. About as I expected :) We're just a couple of de factos.

I would say i feel like 2 most of the time, but i have exprienced 1 as you know.

There's all different 'strengths' and 'flavors' of agnosticism and atheism and Christianity, etc. That's probably where most of these disagreements take place is over semantics and definitions. I don't want to be labeled a 'militant' atheist anymore than your average Christian would want to be labeled a 'fundamentalist' Christian. <br />
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But if we step back and look at this entire story in general terms and see the big picture, we'll see that everyone has made valid points and distinctions. <br />
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I'd invite everyone to rate themselves on the spectrum of belief that I posted here. I'm a solid 6, not very close to 5 or 7.

i agree with noratrent, but isn't agnostic different than atheism because they do believe there is afterlife and spiritual type things and atheist i thought believe there is no God or religion that is correct, so that is different. To me agnostic's believe it is possible, but they don't know, I can relate to that more than atheist. but anyways, i knew id see you here vendetta...you make some very valid points but still if i had to choose atheist or agnostic im pretty sure i would feel more agnostic and understand their views better.

LOL, i can totally agree with that.

I thought Nora brought up a valid point, that this story was destined to generate the very thing it is ridiculing. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with RA starting a discussion that he finds funny. On the other other hand I thought the last line of Nora's post was funny as well. On the other other other hand.... I'm running out of hands here. <br />
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No one wants a flame war. Let's disagree agreeably.

Man I am diggin this story, and especially the comments.<br />
Well RA, you definitely must have an idea where I stand; though I do hesitantly agree with you saying "It can't be proven one way or the other", I still recall in my youth the days of having 'Christian group' families coming over, playing all nicey-nice, all to try to convince my family to attend church more often (and I seldom went even then, heck no, Exo-Squad was on during church time!!!).<br />
But that's neither here nor there with your post.<br />
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By the way I agree with what Vendetta said above, we don't have all the answer now, but could/would we at some point? There's a good philosophical argument that examines if you could take one person, one moment in that persons existence, with all that is at that moment going through his thoughts, his body, his emotions, etc etc etc...and if you could copy it down, like take an "existence snapshot" if you will, and then if we came to a point where we were capable of mimicking that exact person down to the atomic level from that 'snapshot', would it be a perfect copy? Right down to the thoughts, emotions, etc? <br />
Also, have you ever watched the Richard Linklater movie "Waking Life"? If not, there was a conversation in it where a professor-esque person is talking to the protagonist and he rants basically in an argument like this:<br />
(I'm highly paraphrasing, so bear with me) "We had the Dark Ages, The Bronze Age, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance. All ages of history and all took many many years, even decades, to move on to the next age. Now fast forward to the 20th century. We enter the Industrial Age, and within just several years instead of decades, on to the Atomic Age, and then the transistor was well-received and relatively overnight we dove into the Computer or Techno Age, which gradually became the Information Age. New world-changing ideas and solutions are coming and going at comparably break-neck speeds when compared to humanity just a few centuries ago. Will it come to a time in our world when you will call in sick, and *boom* too bad you weren't around, you just missed the Nanotech Age!"<br />
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But back to the agnostic vs. athiest vs. religious, or whatnot.<br />
I'll just say what I always say: Proof denies faith; Us as individual humans have the cognitive capacity to use logic and rationality as our tools of furthering our existence, and to me, the idea of believing in a big dude in the clouds, to believe in that asks us to deny our gifts of rationality and logic.

*shrugs* RA - I think you missed my point. Hence, this will be a long post :)<br />
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You provided a caricature of a type of fundamental atheist that thinks there's definitive proof that no gods exist. While there are undoubtedly that type of person running around, it would be like me describing all Christians as fire and brimstone fundies. You're attacking atheism as if it's another religion, but it's not...it's the lack of religion. And since newborns do not have any knowledge of any Gods when they're born, of course they cannot believe in any particular god. They're not even brainwashed yet, their brains are empty sponges, waiting for their parents to program them to believe in all sorts of invisible things such as Santa Claus and God. <br />
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Here's a definition: <br />
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Atheism: the philosophical position that deities do not exist, or that rejects theism. In the broadest sense, it is the absence of belief in the existence of deities.<br />
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So you focus on the first part and I focus on the 2nd part :) Six of one, 1/2 dozen of the other. <br />
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Richard Dawkins is the world's most famous atheist, and even he describes himself in the following way:<br />
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Dawkins posits that "the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other." He goes on to propose a continuous "spectrum of probabilities" between two extremes of opposite certainty, which can be represented by seven "milestones". Dawkins suggests definitive statements to summarize one's place along the spectrum of theistic probability. These "milestones" are:[2]<br />
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1. Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung, 'I do not believe, I know.'<br />
2. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. De facto theist. 'I cannot know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.'<br />
3. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. Technically agnostic but leaning towards theism. 'I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.'<br />
4. Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial agnostic. 'God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.'<br />
5. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism. 'I do not know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical.'<br />
6. Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.'<br />
7. Strong atheist. 'I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung "knows" there is one.'<br />
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Dawkins notes that he would be "surprised to meet many people in category 7." Dawkins calls himself "about a 6, but leaning towards 7 - I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden."<br />
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I think that the amount of things we don't know or understand is always shrinking. I don't know how close we'll get to explaining everything in the universe. Look how much progress we've made in 200 years. If an average person were to time travel back to the beginning of America they would possess an astounding level of knowledge that would shame luminaries of that time. There has been a constant and relentless discovery of processes. Maybe there will always be unknowns, but that's hardly reason to start believing what ancient people had to say about mysteries. The people who wrote the Bible and the Qur'an thought the Earth was flat and that witchcraft was real. They didn't know what stars were or why the seasons worked the way they do. What sense does it make to listen to what they have to say about what happens when we die? It doesn't. <br />
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I manage to live my life as a de facto atheist along with my agnostic wife, and somehow we're able to live happily without superstition and without depression or madness. Maybe we're remarkable, but I don't think so. As Carl Sagan says: "It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Well we could start one...I gotta run but if you start one I'll join next time I'm on....just send me a message if you do :)

As you rock too! This greatness can sometimes be a burden, RA. I hope they have a Guru support group.

Thanks Lilt! I have to make you a guru too with your introduction to me of a new theoretical perspective. You rock!

I just created a logo for this group...I like it! It has circles of Truth and Beliefs with the overlapping area of Knowledge.

haha...I will Lilt...I don't think my friends would understand. Plus none of them know what EP is and I wanna keep it that way :) But I'd be glad to spread the word amongst your family. Just give me an email list and I'll get started :)

My ears were burning...You calling me brilliant, RA??<br />
I'm bumping you up to Guru status....tell all your friends and followers about my brilliant mind. Then come share it with my family.

awwwwwww <br />
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also Jung is awesome

Underneath I'm glad you pointed out Lilt's perspective...I dig it! Trying to understand what it is 'to be' all the while knowing you'll never completely understand it. Brilliant!<BR><BR>Nora I always respect your opinions but I would tell you the same thing I told that guy on comment # 27 or so....there is no PROOF....only evidence pointing...show me God godammit or shut the hell up LOL (please don't take that personally Nora)<BR><BR><BR>Vendetta I would encourage you to read Carl Jung's book Man and His Symbols if you're wondering how the beliefs of the Greeks relate to modern religion. Of course all the religions contradict one another and have endless contradictions in their own content as well. Just as all humans have many contradictions, the world is full of contradictions. It's a part of the condition of earth if not the entire universe. And no we are not all born atheists. I don't know where you get that idea. Atheism is entirely different from agnosticism. Atheists say there is NO god...they have proof of it so they believe. If you say that you don't know whether there is a god or not it is not close to the same as affirming there is no god. Nor is it the same as claiming that god certainly exists. Agnosticism is not a lack of belief in either of them because we maintain that both or neither could be true. Your belief is a solid ob<x>jective one while mine is a subjective one. <BR><BR>If you read that book by Jung, you will see that he says in fact agnostics and atheists tend to be the most unbalanced of people....the ones with the most contradictions, mental illness, suffering, etc. People from the past and those that currently believe fully in their religion without question (which are people living in small scale society who are baffled by the question "why do you believe what you believe?"). Our history of the western ideal of science and ob<x>jective reasoning carries us into the nihilistic today (by that I mean religious people, atheists, agnostics...anyone who always has to analyze and have reasons for their beliefs) where people suffer because their beliefs can never be without contradiction b/c there is great mystery on this earth...lots of things that can't be explained by rationality/logic. <br />
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Synchronicity is a great example of this, something that Jung talks about a lot. My question to you would be, if this earth is ob<x>jective and everything can be explained rationally, that would require that at some point "knowledge" would run out b/c we would know everything....there would be that day that we figured out the last mystery and would be free!! Do you truly think this day will come? If you realize that this day will not come I would suggest that you begin looking into the mysteries of this world and, like Noratrent and Caska among others said, find your own beliefs. Having non-belief in a world of mystery is alienating and ultimately miserable. You'll never find your way out of your own contradictory beliefs.

Caska you seem to always such have a great perspective. Everyone on EP could take a lesson or two from you.

In a very limited sense agnosticism is fine, because you're correct that we can never know FOR SURE, but on the other hand not all possibilities are equally likely. Given the multitudes of religions the chances of one of them being correct is very remote, and to pick the right one to believe in and having it turn out true is like winning the God lottery. <br />
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An agnostic must confront unknowable things in terms of probability and on the sort of evidence available. Given these parameters, an agnostic must admit that we cannot disprove Zeus, either, but no one is running around demanding respect for believing in Zeus like they used to. Why? What happened? When did we all collectively decide that Zeus was ridiculous but that Islam and Jesus were different? Because of the Bible and Qur'an? But they contradict each other. <br />
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The terms agnostic and atheist are almost interchangeable because atheism merely means a lack of belief in god, which also describes agnostics. For that reason, we are all born atheists. That should be obvious.

Lilt's Agnostic Existentialism... I like that a lot. RA, I agree with you totally. Arguing about the existence of the unknown is like repeatedly bashing your head against the wall, just not as fun.

hehe best action to take most of the time. Mostly I'm to "lazy" to really spend a lot of time on what others believe about spirituality. It isn't relevant to me or my beliefs after all. Though i enjoy discussing it with people who aren't all "arrr, my way is always right no matter what"

yeah I agree Caska...I guess I could fall into that category somewhat cause I strongly believe that agnosticism is the only sane way to look at the issue. Those who believe in god or atheism are denying reality to some degree, in my opinion. I generally try to keep my opinions to myself though unless someone opens the 'can of worms'.

a diffrent comment for the same story *LOL* I think some people are unsure of what they believe and they think they will feel better about it if people believe what they do-- so they can feel more secure in it... one of those quantity vs. Quality gigs i guess....

Well that would be fine but there is equally clear evidence that the existence of god is unprovable. If you can let me chat with someone who's dead or have god come pay me a visit to verify his existence let me know. Otherwise I'm not too interested in getting into this. As I said in this story, there's plenty of evidence on either side but no absolute proof. This is an age old problem so unless you're some kind of prophet here to show the world who god is I highly doubt you're gonna convince me.

word someothername...WORD!!!

The only thing we can know for certain is that we can never know anything for certain. [Side note: this doesn't stop me from arguing with Creationists, homophobes, and closed-minded individuals in general.]

LOL...yeah I was kidding anyway. I was called an idealist by my dad for years but now he calls me a cynic. I'm a little of both. I tend to think the world is in shambles now which makes me a cynic but I believe in a better future which makes me optimistic :)

I think you're right Agreene! <br />
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WhenIgrowup I didn't know you were one of those dangerous optimists. I'll have to rethink the way I feel about you LOL

RA -- I think it's possible that some of the more evolved gods have such a great sense of humor that they lay low, not wanting to kill us with one of their jokes.

haha, thanks MrGreene, and Lilt too! <BR><BR>I think if there is a god/god's that they are MORE powerful and cool than those depicted in the bible, Koran, etc. Just think about the universe, quantum mechanics, really hilarious comedians, and the amazing diversity (biological, social, political, etc.) in our world. If there is an underlying structure eg. GOD, then it has made an interesting universe for certain. Much more interesting than the boring-*** world the bible depicts with its angry gods, rules and regulations, and all that other jazz. Thanks for making me think as you always do Agreene :)

I think agnostics and atheists need to have more heated arguments. I used to be an agnostic, but gradually drifted towards atheism, but I can't really tell you why. Just feels like a better fit for what I experience.<br />
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I think if there are gods, they are a lot less powerful and cool than those depicted in books.

Very good story, Reformed.<br />
I have always considered myself an agnostic existentialist.<br />
Go figure.

LOL...thanks Dracena...I feel the same way :)

It's kind of like logical people arguing with insane people... I have to stop arguing with insane people, it makes me look crazy.

hehe Thank you ;-)

Wow, you leave the greatest comments Caska, I always appreciate your input. I agree that people should look within themselves and stop seeking agreement from others. Just live your own philosophy.

I think debating religion or "truth" about God and such as amusing too. <br />
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I know that i am not equipped to understand the nature of God- and because of that its easier i think for me to not argue it- cuz i could be wrong. <br />
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I can only do what i feel is right and expect others to do the same. <br />
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It's to bad people have to argue instead of just seeking the answers to their questions and filing it according to their own understanding.

THAT is true!! LOL

"Truth is Subjectivity"

well it is kinda funny that I used the word religion, which it is not...I was only making a point

you have a terrific point here. I feel a distaste for vicious Atheists just as much as militant Christians. oh and it's amusing that you said that agnosticism is the only true religion. not that i think you are wrong, but its just funny.

LOL sasxiv!!

I just like starting the arguements between other people then bowing out of them quickly and watching the fireworks from a distance......I am so bad sometimes......(evil laugh).....

haha...thats bad

I just like arguing with people. If most people were atheists, I would become a theist and argue from the other side.

thanks antiyou, I'm generalizing here but I've seen these arguments here on EP and elsewhere over and over...I just wish people would get over their own egos and try to really see the world, not just try to make it what they wish it to be (yes an atheist often does have a nihilistic view and they like it that way)

i kinda know what you mean....i think people want to convert others. but i'm not caught up on anything [this is the only place i even discuss religion, and its basically because people lump all atheists into this group of blindly disbelieving the 'truth]. i have to always remind them that they know no more than me....as of now, i am an atheist.....until further notice