• In total there are 0 users online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 0 guests (based on users active over the past 60 minutes)
    Most users ever online was 616 on Thu Jan 18, 2024 7:47 pm

I need help concerning the word Agnostic

Engage in conversations about worldwide religions, cults, philosophy, atheism, freethought, critical thinking, and skepticism in this forum.
Forum rules
Do not promote books in this forum. Instead, promote your books in either Authors: Tell us about your FICTION book! or Authors: Tell us about your NON-FICTION book!.

All other Community Rules apply in this and all other forums.
User avatar
Mr. P

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3826
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
19
Location: NJ
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 137 times
Gender:
United States of America

Re: I need help concerning the word Agnostic

Unread post

Getting back to the point of this thread, I refer you all to this:Semantics on X-theism and XgnosticsIn this thread, Chris posted a nice chart in hopes of helping classify the differences in (non)belief...I was looking for this and finally found it!Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of PainHEY! Is that a ball in your court? - Mr. PI came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
User avatar
Dissident Heart

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
I dumpster dive for books!
Posts: 1790
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:01 am
20
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: reply

Unread post

Eric,I know you've called yourself a Christian, but when I examine the the values you support and the kind of world you think we should work towards...I can't for the life of me see anything Christian about it.Well, actually, I see a great deal of what Cornel West calls "Constantinian Christianity" in what you say, but very little of the "Prophetic Christianity" that got Jesus, Paul, Peter, the early Christians executed by the dominant military and economic power of the day.This refers back to a comment I made describing your God as an "Imperial God", as opposed to the "Crucified Revolutionary" that serves as the way, truth and life for Christians.You still worship at the Altar of Constantine, of an Imperial Church, where what matters is economic dominance, military prowess, and political hierarchy...light years away from the Rabbi in Nazareth who washed the feet of his disciples, gave bread and fish freely to the masses, highlighted the sacrifices of poor widows over the donations of wealthy dignitaries, blessed the peace makers, the impoverished, the meek, and promised a great feast for those who hunger and thirst for justice. Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 11/22/04 2:03 pm
Eric Hagelin

quick reply to DH

Unread post

All I can say in response to this is:Some hunger and thrist for righteousness and justice, but do nothing. Some hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice, and act.Some of us act in ways that others don't agree with. If I understand you correctly, you see "economic dominance, military prowess, and political hierarchy" as evils in our world. On a purely theoretical Christian level, so do I, and wish that things were different. On a very concrete, adult, rational level, I recognize that the world has never been without those evils and never will be, at least until God intervenes. So with that in mind, I am left to pick and choose between conflicts in ideology, philosophy, culture, etc. Because, as the good book says, we are in the world, but not of it. Since I'm here, I have to, in some ways, react to it. Inaction can be equally as evil as some actions. James 4:17 comes to mind.I see some benefits to living in (and raising a family in) a society that has:a) a stronger, more advanced protective military force than any other - (and one that's not afraid to act with aggression in the face of danger, or act with aggression to secure its "leverage" on a hostile geopolitical level);b) a strong heritage (comparatively speaking) of promoting peace, equality and justice for its people - notwithstanding that it has made its share of mistakes; and that it has made and continues to make progress in those areas, albeit slower than many would like;c) an economic system which rewards one's labor and effort;d) a healthy respect for indivduality......etc. I could think of a few more, I'm sure, but it's not necessary.And trust me, I see *plenty* of wrongs in American politics and society. It's not all rosy, from where I sit. But you and I disagree on the problems and the problem-makers, that's for sure.But we're off-topic. They'll have to give us our own little corner to 'scrap' in, if we're not careful."War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Milledited to add: Dissident, I find it very revealing that you cannot make a judgment call concerning ideologies, but you're pretty quick to make a judgment call on my faith. I suspect it's because, in both areas, your view is ignorant, in the literal definition of that word. There. Now you can add "ignorant" to the ongoing assessment I've made of your views - cowardly, leftist-drivel, etc. I will relent in one regard... I genuinely think that you mean well. Your heart's in the right place. I just think you're naive.Can we call impasse and polite truce at this point? "...I beg of You to take away my freedom to displease You..." ~ St. Therese of Lisieux ~Edited by: Eric Hagelin at: 11/22/04 2:53 pm
User avatar
Dissident Heart

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
I dumpster dive for books!
Posts: 1790
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:01 am
20
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 18 times

One Christian Approach

Unread post

Calling me a cowardly naive ignorant deliverer of leftist drivel is not anyway to call a truce.I don't see the value in drawing distinctions between "which is terror is worse- ours or theirs?", nor do I recognize much of the Gospel in what you call Christian faith.I think the first issue is tantamount to debating which is worse: rape or incest?; and I think the second issue is a valid challenge to what you mean by Christian faith. Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 11/22/04 5:33 pm
MadArchitect

1E - BANNED
The Pope of Literature
Posts: 2553
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 4:24 am
19
Location: decentralized

Re: clarification

Unread post

Interbane: Knowing something subjectively is the only alternative, and you'd ask: How else can you truly know anything if that's the case? I'd say again to place subjective knowledge on a true/false spectrum. That mental device seems related to the statement of there being degrees of objectivity, in the sense that you can come closer to knowing certain things than others.If you posit that all human knowledge is ultimately subjective (and there's no way to derive any other conclusion without an a priori assumption of ultimate knowledge of at least one thing), then there's no way to simultaneously maintain any degree of objectivity. A true/false scale is, at best, inaccurately named: what you're left with is really a scale of relative certainty, where certainty is related to intensity of belief. To some degree, intensity of belief is bolstered by the faculty of logic, in that a strict adherence to logic makes it difficult to comprehend certain potential beliefs (we can't really imagine 2+2=5, for instance). But even that certainty begins with the a priori assumption that the human faculty for logic corresponds to the consistent functioning of reality.Eric Hagelin: To the left of my computer keyboard is a glass coffee cup, about 3/4 full of black coffee.Sheesh. Anecdote.The cup moved, just as I explained it above. That is the objective truth. That truth is not subjective, because it did indeed happen, just the way I described it.The only assurance we have that it's an objective truth is an appeal to your authority. But that hardly matters. Even if we had seen the event ourselves, we could only call it an objective truth within the degree of certainty that we accord to the correspondence of our own senses to the actual state of reality.The Atheist is either right or wrong.The Christian is either right or wrong.The Muslim is either right or wrong.The Jew is either right or wrong.All four are unlikely. It's more likely that all or some are right to some degree, and wrong to some degree, all in different proportions.The agnostic has no chance of ever being right, because he's unwilling to give credence to, or step into, the realm of mystery.Actually, the agnostic is correct in precisely the degree that he or she maintains an inability to confirm or disconfirm the existence of God via the senses.Eric Hagelin: 1. 2 + 2 = 4.There. One small instance of objective truth. If one's subjective view is different, I suspect they will not hold an accounting job for very long.Please verify this objectively.Point in fact, the only way you can do so is by an appeal to logic, which is a human faculty, and which we may only appreciate subjectively. Therefore, it is beyond our ability to prove the objectivity of any mathematical "truth".2. If you step out off of the sidewalk and in front of a fast-moving bus, you will be seriously hurt and most likely killed.This is a particularly weak example for the simply reason that there may easily have been people who have been hit by buses without serious injury. It's not common perhaps, but it may well happen. I personally have been hit in the jaw with a baseball bat, and came away little more than stunned. I also know a middle-aged man of no impressive physical stature who lifted the back end of a car long enough to pull his son out from under the wheel.A more effective example would have been something approaching the clearer statement of physical law: something like Newton's "bodies in motion tend to stay in motion." That, still, does not constitute an undeniable instance of objective truth because it requires a) logic, which I dealt with in the previous example, and b) observation, which is dependent on the senses, which may only be confirmed as an accurate means of guaging objective reality if it may be proved that the impressions they receive correspond directly to the objects from which those impressions originate, and that said objects constitute instances of objective reality.3. God exists, loves you, and wants to reveal Himself to you inwardly through faith.... most (who believe it) would probably agree that it gives them an often clearly-defined purpose, joy and hope in their lives that wasn't there before, not to mention a source of divine help in times trial and suffering.Feelings are the least reliable indicator of objective reality available -- their very nature is, in fact, subjective, so you can hardly expect others to take them as proof of something that they themselves do not experience.Purpose, joy, hope, help... these things are a lot more appreciable than intellectually-stimulating theorizing about the nature of the universe.Nevermind that the instances of purpose, joy, hope and help that you mention arise from a particular claim made about the nature of the universe.People spend years studying Hebrew, 1st century Koine Greek, Hermeneutics, Theology, History, Missiology, Philosophy, etc. in Bible colleges and end up with spirits drier than dust.On the other hand, other Christians put absolutely no effort into such matters, and never get any closer to the basis of the religion they've staked so much on.Dissident Heart: As I see it, discussions about the existence of God are garbled nonsense and irrelevant opinion when they are detatched from the actual living of real people in genuine distress and misery.While the question of God's existence probably does weigh pretty heavily on matters of the oppressed and miserable, I suspect that it weighs just as heavily on matters related the the affluent, happy and intellectually and morally curious as well.Likewise, I see little value in probing the ontological veracity of the statement "God exists" unless the goal involves a heightening of joy and living exhuberantly.That seems bizarrely close to the idea of faith arising out of a form of moral hedonism.Eric Hagelin: the truth's existence isn't reliant on the perception of it.In light of objective reality, no, it doesn't particular rely on our perception. That has little to do with my point, and I don't think it has much to do with Interbane's either. The question we've raised is that of, how much does objective reality have to do with our perceptions, and the only logical answer is that we can't know, only assume.Much like the idea of Plato's forms - a perfect ideal (or idea) apart from, but known by, the imperfect.Plato's idea of the forms is a bit more complicated than that. The gist is that the form exists independently of the instance. Our souls, according to Plato's Socrates, ascend to the level of being where they may apprehend the forms, but only in the interval between death and birth. During the whole of our lives, we're left only knowing the instances, which are not, in the Platonic scheme, "truth", but rather instances roughly approximating truth.On a purely theoretical Christian level, so do I, and wish that things were different. On a very concrete, adult, rational level, I recognize that the world has never been without those evils and never will be, at least until God intervenes.I doubt you meant to do so, but you do realize that you just contrasted theoretical Christianity with "adult, rational" behavior?I see some benefits to living in (and raising a family in) a society that...Benefits, of course, but morality? That seems to be the issue.
User avatar
Dissident Heart

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
I dumpster dive for books!
Posts: 1790
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:01 am
20
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 18 times

What do I love, when I say I love....

Unread post

MA: While the question of God's existence probably does weigh pretty heavily on matters of the oppressed and miserable, I suspect that it weighs just as heavily on matters related the the affluent, happy and intellectually and morally curious as well.Considering the amount of resources devoted to legal pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and other illegal substances, or legal substances taken illegally...the affluent are hardly a happy lot- they are an incredibly depressed crowd, with their own share of drunks and addicts seeking escape from an existence they can neither bear nor shrug off. The structures of injustice do not serve their best interests either, even if it does keep them stuffed and nested. As for the intellectually and morally curious simply wanting to know about God for the sake of knowing, for the pleasure of learning and discovering new information about the ways the world wags, I wager there is a deeper motivation at work in their machinations of wonder. There is a hunger for justice and will to joy that mobilizes the intellectual juices, and will not rest until it finds its goal...following Augustine's dictum "Our hearts are restless and will not rest until they rest in thee". And the 'thee' there is not an it, or a thing, but the God of love.Then, the question becomes, "What is it I love when I say I love God?"Asking the same of the morally and intellectually curious "What is it you love when you say you love knowledge, or truth, or wisdom?"And, following this route of questioning, the issue of God is brought to what is most precious and valuable in your life...something you will not, cannot, simply examine objectively- as something separate, apart, in a test tube, or in neat order along ledgers of costs and revenues.
User avatar
Interbane

1G - SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 7203
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2004 12:59 am
19
Location: Da U.P.
Has thanked: 1105 times
Been thanked: 2166 times
United States of America

Re: clarification

Unread post

Eric:1. 2 + 2 = 4.There. One small instance of objective truth. If one's subjective view is different, I suspect they will not hold an accounting job for very long. I see that as an objective truth, though between us and that truth there is a curtain that allows for subjectivity. My mother grew up in Africa and was taught English in every aspect except for written numbers. Her whole life, she kept getting the numbers 2 and 3 mixed up. Yet even then would not the examination allow the trump of logic, which is subjective?2. If you step out off of the sidewalk and in front of a fast-moving bus, you will be seriously hurt and most likely killed. Not if you're wearing furutistic armor, or a one in a billion scenario plays out to where you leave uninjured. That's a slightly weaker example.3. God exists, loves you, and wants to reveal Himself to you inwardly through faith. Don't be absurd, even the notion that this is objective is ridiculous, even without the word love.I'm not disagreeing that there are objective truths, just that many cases of 'claimed' objective truth are too quickly labeled. Yet our experiences I believe to be subjective... as our senses are distanced from reality.Dissident: "Garble and nonsense, purely opinion means directing the question of God's existence towards issues that matter in a world ripe with injSo aside from whether or not God exists, you must consider justice. Why? I'll refrain from calling your response nonsense, and I apologize for doing so earlier.Dissident: "As I see it, discussions about the existence of God are garbled nonsense and irrelevant opinion when they are detatched from the actual living of real people in genuine distress and misery."What is distress and misery? It is surely not being alleviated by the existance of God. Objective reality cares nothing for distress and misery, those are human faculties. Don't get me wrong, I'd pursue the erasure of distress and misery with on earth with all my heart if I could do more than cause myself distress and misery in the process. Yet basing a belief on the necessity for immersion into faculties so rampant with emotions makes that belief less certain - the belief is then more subjective, as emotions are very subjective.MadArchitect: "If you posit that all human knowledge is ultimately subjective..." I don't, yet the practice of all experience being subject to the spectrum before considering it a truth keeps me from believing in things due to emotional attachment. What is the distinction between an idea such as belief in God and 2+2=4? I understand it on a fundamental level, yet can't seem to find a middle ground of any clarity to categorize this thought.MadArchitect: "A true/false scale is, at best, inaccurately named: what you're left with is really a scale of relative certainty, where certainty is related to intensity of belief."Sure, with some things being certain enough that I will may anchor other faculties, thoughts, and knowledge to. Then is the base of my 'subjective pyramid' subject to subjectivity? Might be a subject for another thread.Dissident: "Considering the amount of resources devoted to legal pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and other illegal substances, or legal substances taken illegally...the affluent are hardly a happy lot- they are an incredibly depressed crowd, with their own share of drunks and addicts seeking escape from an existence they can neither bear nor shrug off."I personally did drugs because the feeling was euphoric. I'm neither depressed, nor on drugs any longer. Dissident: "Asking the same of the morally and intellectually curious "What is it you love when you say you love knowledge, or truth, or wisdom?""We're back to loving things that aren't human. Why is there any need to love these things? I value them greatly, but I do not love them. I also value my emotions, yet I do not love them. I think loving love would be acceptable, but isn't it just an echo of the original love?
User avatar
Dissident Heart

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
I dumpster dive for books!
Posts: 1790
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:01 am
20
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Joy

Unread post

Interbane: "So aside from whether or not God exists, you must consider justice. Why?"This is key: Loving God is acting justly, or, seeking justice is serving God. Simply making the case for whether God exists or not has very little to do with loving or serving God. And, as I see it, loving and serving God is not the same as simply entertaining a thought provoking or compelling argument regarding God's existence. When lovers of God seek justice, those who join in, share the burden and sacrifice, engage the risk and danger- then, they will have all the proof they need. They'll see it in their new lives, the lives they touch, and the change in the world where they employ their love.The methodology is not sitting and pondering the logic of an argument, althought that is part of the process...the key is to give up the denial, stop minimizing the real threats, let go of my tiny ideal of happiness, and seek the joy I am meant to embody.And, this Joy is not simply pleasure: it is loving that which most needs loving in life.Interbane: "I also value my emotions, yet I do not love them."How is it that you are not your emotions? This betrays a strange compartamentalism: over here are my thoughts- there, my emotions- there my feelings- there my attitudes- here, my agendas- there my allegiences; and here am I in the middle of it all, directing, dictating, and deciding what goes where and when. I think this compartamentalism of your internal Psyche from your propertied Physique gets played out in your fervent efforts to keep Persons and Things completely separate. In other words, your inability to see emotions as what you are, keeps you from relating to external objects as worthy of love?
Eric Hagelin

reply

Unread post

MA types: "Even if we had seen the event ourselves, we could only call it an objective truth within the degree of certainty that we accord to the correspondence of our own senses to the actual state of reality."And that would be pretty darned certain, wouldn't it?MA types: "Point in fact, the only way you can do so is by an appeal to logic, which is a human faculty, and which we may only appreciate subjectively. Therefore, it is beyond our ability to prove the objectivity of any mathematical "truth"."Nonsense. I have two apples and you have two apples. Add 'em together and there's four apples.This is the rational, common-sense world were dealing with, here - not some boundary-less intellectual free-for-all where 2+2=3. Logic is indeed a human faculty, but its rules apply across the board to all humans, regardless of any human who tries to argue that it doesn't. To ask me to "verify 2+2=4 objectively" is nonsense. It is verified in and of itself. A=A; the fundamental premise of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy, and one in which I think can be found much merit.MA types: "This is a particularly weak example for the simply reason that there may easily have been people who have been hit by buses without serious injury. It's not common perhaps, but it may well happen."It's not a weak example at all. I picked it, in fact, because of its potential for irregularity. Would any sane person care to test it out to see how weak it is? No way, Jose.MA types: "On the other hand, other Christians put absolutely no effort into such matters, and never get any closer to the basis of the religion they've staked so much on."True enough. Do you think they need to?MA types: "Feelings are the least reliable indicator of objective reality available -- their very nature is, in fact, subjective, so you can hardly expect others to take them as proof of something that they themselves do not experience."I've tried to respond to this starting from a number of different points, and can't quite decide what to do with it. Suffice it to say that I don't "expect" others to take them as "proof".MA types: "Nevermind that the instances of purpose, joy, hope and help that you mention arise from a particular claim made about the nature of the universe."I'm glad you pointed this out. I hope everybody reading this thread pays particular attention to your observation. You are absolutely right. "Making a claim" about the nature of the universe. Yes. I think it is crucial that we do so. To simply state "I don't have enough info to make a claim" is, in my opinion, a faint-hearted, lacklustre way to live.I know that people can let their feelings and emotions get the better of them. But the coldly-intellectual can make the reciprocal mistake. There needs to be a healthy balance.MA types: "The question we've raised is that of, how much does objective reality have to do with our perceptions, and the only logical answer is that we can't know, only assume."MadArchitect, I would be interested in your critique/opinion of the following essay (it is in 3 parts) - if you are willing to take some time to read it:freedom.orlingrabbe.com/l...anity1.htmfreedom.orlingrabbe.com/l...anity2.htmfreedom.orlingrabbe.com/l...anity3.htmThank you.MA types: "Plato's idea of the forms is a bit more complicated than that. The gist is that the form exists independently of the instance. Our souls, according to Plato's Socrates, ascend to the level of being where they may apprehend the forms, but only in the interval between death and birth. During the whole of our lives, we're left only knowing the instances, which are not, in the Platonic scheme, "truth", but rather instances roughly approximating truth."Yes, good assessment. I did indeed oversimplify the notion. My only point was that the form didn't depend on the perception, but existed apart from it. You acknowledge this (if I am understanding you correctly), but then affirm that we can't know it to be true, only assume it to be true. Have I correctly understood you?MA types: "I doubt you meant to do so, but you do realize that you just contrasted theoretical Christianity with "adult, rational" behavior?"Good point. You're right, I didn't mean to do so, but it brings up a wholly different set of issues concerning the frame of mind we, as Christians, should have. Should it be one of worldly wisdom, or of child-like trust in God? And, as Christians, can we ever be free from worldly perspectives, ways of thinking, reliance on the physical and observable, etc.? The Bible claims that the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God; what does that mean in terms of our responses to God and to each other? But these questions are not relevant to the current discussion, and doubtless holds no interest to atheistic or agnostic freethinkers.I personally think it is a polarized way to be. Heck, I don't think it, I know it. Because I live it. Reason vs. Faith... "reasonable" Faith... Reason combined with Faith... I think there will always be some irreconcilable areas.I hope this was not too disjointed of a post. I haven't had my full quota of coffee this morning. I'm about to remedy that, though! "...I beg of You to take away my freedom to displease You..." ~ St. Therese of Lisieux ~
Niall001
Stupendously Brilliant
Posts: 706
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2003 4:00 am
20

Re: reply

Unread post

Just as what I consider to be an interesting aside to this discussion, did you know that the Indian tribe known as the Hopi had a sophisticated language that did not differentiate between past, present and future. I don't know about you, but I can't really imagine what it would be like to think in terms like that. Even concepts which seem timeless and universal have some sort of history. Let us agree, there is no one single reality. Not upon this stage, not in this world, all is in the mind... imagination is the only truth. Because it cannot be contradicted except by other imaginations - Richard MathesonThere are no conclusive indications by which waking life can be distinguished from sleep - Rene Descartes
Post Reply

Return to “Religion & Philosophy”