Why I must be Agnostic and not Atheist.

by OnTheWayOut 19 Replies latest jw friends

  • jaguarbass

    Summary, there are three classes:

    I believe in god. _ Theist.

    I don't believe in god. _ Atheist.

    What's a god? _ Agnostic.

    And those titles aren't etched in stone, you are allowed to change your mind whenever you need to. You can be a theist and say "I think god exists, but I'm not sure." Likewise you can be an atheist and say "I don't think god exists but I'm not sure

    Why don't you use an english dictionary? Agnostic is not What's a god. Agnostic is you dont know whether there is a God or not.

    If you use an english dictionary you cant be a theist and say, I think God exist, but I'm not sure. When you are not sure you are an agnostic when you are sure there is a God you are a theist. When you are sure there is no God you are an Atheist. If you do not use an English dictionary its all mumbo jumbo.

    Go to dictionary dot.com. Agnostic is not "Whats a God." Agnostic is you don't know whether there is a God or not.

    There are 3 posibilities positve, negative and neutral. Agnostic is neutral. Is english your native tounge?

  • OnTheWayOut

    While I don't believe the most simple definition of Agnostic is "What's a god?"
    let's even use that simple definition.

    I deny the divine author of the Bible- it is man's literature.
    God is not the personage recorded in the Hebrew and Greek text of the scriptures.
    God could be the personage of some religious belief, I just doubt it.

    I do not believe he has revealed himself to men, but he may have done so.
    Therefore, when asked if I believe in God, I can say "What's a god?"
    or similarly, "What god are you asking about?"

    If God wants them to believe, let him come within their world so that they can number,
    measure and weigh his words by the light of their own mind.

    I am not quite at the point where I insist that God reveal himself to me before I accept his
    existence. I am satisfied to say, "I don't know for sure."
    I will say, however, that I was sure God had revealed his will to me at one time, and I
    wind up in a mind-control cult for years, so now- if God wants me to do his will, he will have to
    personally tell me what that will is.

  • Leolaia

    On what agnosticism and atheism are:



    Atheism is the disbelief [1] in the existence of any deities. [2] It is commonly defined as the positive assertion that deities do not exist. [3] [4] [5] However, others—including most atheistic philosophers and groups—define atheism as the simple absence of belief in deities [6] [7] [8] (cf. nontheism), thereby designating many agnostics, and people who have never heard of gods, such as newborn children, as atheists as well. [9] [10] In recent years, some atheists have adopted the terms strong and weak atheism to clarify whether they consider their stance one of positive belief (strong atheism) or the mere absence of belief (weak atheism).

    The semantics are interesting...the term "non-theism" does not have the connotation of a postive assertion against a belief in God, whereas atheism in common parlance does (hence the search for alternative terms like "agnosticism" by those who do not express what is otherwise called strong atheism). Yet, compositionally, atheism is exactly "non-theism", and the neutral connotation that is missing in atheism (thanks to common usage) is present in other a- negated terms like amoral (as opposed to the non-neutral immoral).

  • OnTheWayOut

    If it helps, I am trying to use common understanding, not technical definitions.
    I could rename the thread: Why I must be a doubter and not a confirmed
    unbeliever in the existence of God.

    That doesn't mean to stop posting definitions. You all reveal something in
    the understandings and semantics, and you tell something of your beliefs
    when you post them.

  • nicolaou

    We had a big discussion about this not so long ago; There is no such thing as Agonsticism. Agnostics do not exist!

  • OnTheWayOut

    Then I could define myself as an agnostic atheist. The point is that I can
    read and meditate on God, I can research and join think tanks, we can
    banter about, but nothing 100% convinces me that we can know who or
    what God is, and whether he is there.

    I don't want to say I am a total unbeliever (atheist). God may be a
    powerful force in the universe, or there may be many such forces.
    God may be advanced life, or pure energy. The god of man just
    seems to be a god of our imaginations. Our imaginations are limited.

  • yaddayadda

    Whatever labels you want to put on it, it takes just as much faith (more in fact) to believe that all life in the universe is the result of blind chance than to believe in a great mind behind it all. Atheists are keen to argue that there is no evidence for God's existence (using simplistic analogies with unicorns and fairies) but equally, there is not the slightest shred of evidence to support the crazy notion that everything came from nothing.

    To hold to the belief that chance, through a process of random shuffling, brought about our world, is just as much in the realm of 'metaphysics' than objective science. The problem is particularly acute in respect to the beginnings of life itself.

    Belief in a personal God or belief in impersonal forces of blind chance: they're both articles of faith. You choose based on the available evidence. I personally believe, based on the evidence, it is only a small step to believe in a creator, not a giant leap. It takes a much bigger leap of faith, across a giant chasm of improbability, to put your faith in the astronomically odds associated with blind chance as an explanation for everything.

    It is mindlessness, more aking to rank credulity rather than faith even, to assert that amino acids just randomly strung themselves together to form the protein chain, to take just one example. Our tightly-knit and intelligible universe is simply not sufficiently explained by a random chance process. Whatever the alternatives are, that simply doesn't cut it.

    I recommend you read "The Quantum World" by Theoretical physicist John Polkinghorne to learn more about alternatives to the unsatisfactory explanations of naturalistic atheism . Polkinghorne is a colleague of Stephen Hawking and the former president of Queen's College, Cambridge, and has been at the forefront of high energy physics for over thirty years. Interestingly, even Stephen Hawking, at the end of his book "A Brief History of Time" humbly acknowledges that science can only describe the "what" of human observations and that only God can answer the "why."

  • OnTheWayOut

    Do you see how we go full circle? One advises that I can't find
    truth in a book. The last person recommends a good book that
    I should read. My method of searching for ultimate truth includes
    books. Apparently I have to read several differing opinions.

    I have learned not to scoff at different opinions or beliefs. I just
    have to examine what I used to believe, and now I never belittle
    the Christian or the Muslem or the Scientist.

    Life is magnificent. I suppose it is a faith to believe in chance,
    but there are magnificent non-living forces all around the earth.
    We have chemical reactions, seismic and volcanic releases of
    energy. We have the sun and the occasional comets. I have
    seen programs that try to explain the unique factors on earth,
    and the vast amounts of water here. Don't sell short the
    random act of sudden accidental life.

  • JWdaughter

    OTWO said "I don't want to say I am a total unbeliever (atheist). God may be a powerful force in the universe, or there may be many such forces. God may be advanced life, or pure energy. The god of man just seems to be a god of our imaginations. Our imaginations are limited."

    My feeling about this has done some rapid revision once I allowed myself to be honest with myself. (40 years old before I let THAT happen, how sad!) I am unconvinced of their being a God. I am fairly well convinced that if there is a God then God is nothing like any religion has pictured.

    I was talking to someone the other day, saying what kind of God I would make if *I* were the one starting the God myth (if indeed it is mythical). My God would be nice. My theology would be kind. It was pointed out to me that the reasons that God was created by man is to take control over other men. If Noah, Moses, Jesus, Paul, John, etc are the ones claiming "revelation and inspiration" from God, then they use qualities which will help them control their people, or that will give them the results that they desire. The God of the Bible seems kind of psycho sometimes-perhaps his multiple personality disorder is more a result of his different 'creators' than because there is really a God out there that says one thing to the nation of Israel and another to Jews who have reform of their 'system' of things in mind. Those who take control of religion-how many remain in a humble position? How many end up capitalizing on it if they have a chance or opportunity? Some are obvious in their control, some are more subtle and in the background. But they have power over the lives of people, and even if it doesn't bring them money-power over people is what religion seems to be about. Control. Not just JWs, but all religion.

  • Borgia

    @ Yadda:
    Why does someone have to choose from 2 things, the old either / or -position. (lack of triskele)

    To me, excercising open mindedness, is part of the deal. I can totally sympathise with people who are theist. Who look in wonder at a rose and say: they smell and look lovely. Truly an example of Gods creation. But at the same time I do sympathise with the people who point at bacteria, parasites, the whole shebang and thus pointing out how these do affect life on this earth; and sure: someone dying from it, is very lucky to have such a loving creator.......

    These things of opposite sides of the spectrum and all that is in between do not rhyme when the knowledge we currently have is applied. This should not suggest people of either confiction can be perfectly happy.

    If I have to weigh the evidence I am inclined to say the balance is just right to be "a gnostic":

    a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable;
    broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god

    The buzz words here are : not committed to believing....and ....probably unknowable.

    This leaves the mind perfectly open to any future discovery.

    May be it is time to update my profile....



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