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Atheism / Agnosticism


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She presents major philosophical systems in a few short sentences. That she is more than thirteen years old, and that she has more than dogmatic assertions on which to base her statements, are two things I am not sure of. Saying "I love you all" when she has no idea who will watch her video, and throwing kisses at an unseen and unknown audience, seems rather juvenile to me--and that's okay for a little girl. I think we should realize that we are listening to a little girl and take it as such. She's doing a really good presentation for such a young person.

 

When I read The Secular Web/Internet Infidels or Austin Cline on About.com, I don't get such clear-cut and simplistic answers about agnosticism and atheism. When she grows up she might find that her answers were just fine for adolescents but adults need more complex answers for more complex brains and life situations. The answers she has today may still apply but qualifiers may be needed to sort out the gray areas. Also, in my opinion, it doesn't matter what we call ourselves--atheist, agnostic, humanist, exChristian, or just my own name.

 

The way I understand it is that officially agnostic and atheist are two different categories of "things," but most of us don't use it that way. Instead, we often think of them as two different points on the spectrum of unbelief regarding the supernatural. We do this because it is so important to religion to profess belief in a supernatural entity. In the Muslim world you can get killed for not believing and in the Christian world you can get kicked out of home, church, and job. Yet when it really comes down to brass tacks, there's a major difference between these two statements:

  1. "I don't believe in god."
  2. "God does not exist."

What many people these days--religious and otherwise--don't realize is that No. 1 includes both atheists and agnostics so long as they don't believe in the supernatural. Some Christians will argue vehemently against this definition. Let them bark into the wind. Few atheists these days will take the position of No. 2. However, Christians seem to really want us to take that position. It's difficult for them to defend their argument that atheists have just as much faith as Christians if we don't claim that God does not exist. If we don't claim to know anything, we don't have to prove anything. And that's somewhat of a problem, esp. if we are holding them against the wall for evidence of their god.

 

Many of us say we were agnostic when we first deconverted but after a while we became atheist. We are talking about different stages of unbelief regarding God's existence. Originally, the word agnostic did not mean that and could not be used that way. I think that is what the girl in the video is trying to hammer home. However, so many people are using it this way; the only people who are fighting it are the strong atheists. Words mean what the people using them intend them to mean. I personally am getting tired of fighting it. Besides, I can't get my head around what it actually did mean originally.

 

I've had it explained to me so often and I can't seem to make head or tails of it. It's supposed to mean we can't know and that's what the agnostics say--they don't know if God exists. I personally think I've proven that god does not exist and no Christian has yet been able to prove otherwise. They can't even get their heads around the arguments I make, so they make their standard accusation that I never was a real Christian. Yeah right, whatever.

 

If someone can do a better job at defining agnostic for nighflight, welcome to it.

 

~Ruby

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Blah blah blah blah blah. God, that chick just wouldn't shut up!

 

Okay, I understand the use of labels for personal reasons, but overall it really doesn't matter THAT much.

 

...at least I don't think so...

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