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Am I Really Agnostic?


J.P.
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A couple weeks ago, I left Christianity. I had doubted for almost a year, and pretty much didn't believe in Christianity for several months, but finally came to admit I didn't believe earlier this month. When I first admitted to myself that there was no way I could remain a Christian, which was about a year ago, I figured I'd end up being a Deist or Agnostic. Then, as I did more research into the first-cause argument and the problems with it, I realized it'd have to be Agnosticism which I'd fall back on.

 

I began reading more into the major problems of Christianity, and came to the position that I couldn't believe God as described in the Bible could logically exist. So, I find myself in this odd situation, and I don't know how to properly label it, which I guess shouldn't matter, but I like to get my terminology right.

 

When it comes to God as described by Christianity (or any of the other three-O (omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent) versions of God), I believe such a God does not exist. However, I am open to the possibility that a Deistic-type non-interventionist God could potentially exist, and am agnostic to the possibility of that type of God existing, along with other constructions of God which I find less logically problematic and incoherent.

 

So, what would that make me? I'm agnostic about whether God exists, but it depends on what type of God we're talking about. I disbelieve the interventionist, three-O God of the Abrahamic religions.

 

Am I agnostic, who's an atheist about that God? Perhaps an agnostic atheist, because those other conceptions of God are more uncommon when talking about God? Or something else?

 

 

-J.P.

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These answers are very standard and you may or may not have come across them before, so forgive me if I'm missing something in your post ...

 

Agnosticism isn't a state of uncertainty like most people think. It's a statement of what can possibly be known, not a claim as to what you actually do or don't know. I say I don't believe in god, but I can't *know* that in the sense of being able to produce evidence. That makes me an agnostic atheist. As far as I understand it, an agnostic theist would believe that there is a god, in the sense of having an opinion but retaining that it's not something he knows or could know.

 

Atheism is not an active assertion; it is the absence of one. Matt Dillahunty on the Athiest Experience said, (might be paraphrasing just a bit) "If you are pretty darn sure that there is a god, congratulations, you're an atheist." If you cannot make the positive statement that yes, you do believe in god, whether it's the 3-O god or the deist god you described, then you are not a theist, hence an atheist.

 

In short, yes, you would be an agnostic atheist toward the deist god. You're an atheist concerning the Abrahamic god, but being agnostic depends on whether or not you think you know he doesn't exist.

 

Remember, the terms are not mutually exclusive.

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I sometimes describe myself as an atheist, sometimes as an agnostic - depending on the situation or the discussion. I'm 100% an atheist regarding the Judeo-Christian, Muslim god or any other gods of other religions I know of. So when I discuss Christianity, Islam, Judaism etc. I call myself an athetist. If the discussion is about what was "before" the Big Bang and someone brings a deistic type of god into the discussion, I'm an agnostic in that discussion. I'm still leaning towards atheism there though, but I admit there's no way to know at the moment, so I take the position of agnosticism there. I don't feel I necessarily have to apply one label to myself.

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I still go through the exact confusion. I know that I don't believe in the 'old gods' of the scriptures, but even if a 'power' of some kind existed before the big bang - 'it' is still not omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent..........so what would be the purpose of a god anyway??

I guess right now, I am beginning to consider myself an atheist, because I see absolutely no evidence for god.:shrug:

 

But - I am always hopeful and open to anything that makes sense to me.

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The words get fuddled a lot but most people use the terms this way:

 

Theist: There is a God.

 

Agnostic: I'm unsure either way and I'm a fence sitter.

 

Atheist: There is no God.

 

When in actuality, everyone is an agnostic (as flockoff already pointed out). So, a more accurate chart would be:

 

Strong Agnostic Theist

Weak Agnostic Theist

Weak Agnostic Atheist

Strong Agnostic Atheist

 

If you're not actively and currently believing in/worshipping any deities but you hold out for the possibility of some non Abrahamic deity existing, then I'd say you're a Weak Agnostic Atheist. A SAA would be someone like Dawkins, Harris or Hitchens. While I'm most accurately described as an atheist, I am open to the possibility of some kind of spiritual world existing; I just find it highly unlikely (i.e. I'm an SAA).

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Theist: There is a God.

 

Agnostic: I'm unsure either way and I'm a fence sitter.

 

Atheist: There is no God.

It seems that declaring 'there is a God' or' there is no God' is motivated by emotion. An agnostic doesn't seem to care about it enough to make a decision.

 

If an agnostic says 'no one can know if God exists or not', what do you call a person who says 'I don't know if we can know if God exists or not.. and I don't care'?

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Theist: There is a God.

 

Agnostic: I'm unsure either way and I'm a fence sitter.

 

Atheist: There is no God.

It seems that declaring 'there is a God' or' there is no God' is motivated by emotion. An agnostic doesn't seem to care about it enough to make a decision.

 

If an agnostic says 'no one can know if God exists or not', what do you call a person who says 'I don't know if we can know if God exists or not.. and I don't care'?

Ignosticism is kind of in that direction. Ignosticism states that you can't answer if God exists or not unless you can define what "God" means. Even the question is senseless without a proper definition, and, perhaps, there are no proper definitions.

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Tell your friends that you are a Barabbasian, after all he was the murderer was released so their precious lard and sayveeor would be crewseefyd for them.

 

They really cannot hate you for that as you are taking the safe route of being a murderer, thief, liar, cheat, fornicator, etc.

 

Oh phuck, I just described xians :twitch:

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There is a case to be made that those who are not theists can at best be labeled agnostic since, technically, anything is possible. It is possible that ancient aliens dropped fairy dust on our planet and humans came forth; you can't prove it didn't happen, but it is not a likely or probable scenario. If you stipulate that probability is a useful parameter and possibility is not, you are now able to conclude that due to lack of evidence for the claim of the existence of a god you are an atheist.

 

I agree that the definitions people currently use for the word "god" make the concept impossible to pin down. When a Baptist asks me if I believe in God, he means his god as he sees him portrayed in his Bible. Others imagine an unnamed god who created everything and then went on holiday. Yet others consider nature itself to be god. I find it rather useless to discuss the matter unless everyone who claims a belief in a god define their concept clearly.

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Ignosticism is kind of in that direction. Ignosticism states that you can't answer if God exists or not unless you can define what "God" means. Even the question is senseless without a proper definition, and perhaps, there are no proper definition.

 

Thanks! That's pretty much how I feel about it.

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Theist: There is a God.

 

Agnostic: I'm unsure either way and I'm a fence sitter.

 

Atheist: There is no God.

It seems that declaring 'there is a God' or' there is no God' is motivated by emotion. An agnostic doesn't seem to care about it enough to make a decision.

 

If an agnostic says 'no one can know if God exists or not', what do you call a person who says 'I don't know if we can know if God exists or not.. and I don't care'?

 

 

I care. I absolutely care. But after spending 20 years being completely positive that the god of the bible was real, I hesitate to make any kind of declaration without evidence. I'm also growing less and less fond of official labels, so I tend to call myself a heathen these days. :)

 

 

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I hold out the possibility that a being or beings so vastly intelligent, aware and capable of interacting with the universe in a much more powerful way than we do. I hold out the possibility that such a being might have an intelligence that we as humans could never understand. I just don't know if such a being exists. And, I don't know if such a being would be god. Because, as has been discussed above , we don't really know how to define a god or gods.

 

So, I guess I am an agnostic atheist. While I don't think we can know about a god or gods (agnosticism) i also don't believe in any gods. Not intellectually or emotionally. (Atheism)

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Personally, I would describe myself as a strong atheist, simply because I don't see any logical reason for God, and it seems like a contradictory concept (at least theistic Gods.) But even a deistic God seems highly unlikely to me. If such a God existed, what motivation would he have to create us as he's obviously not taking any interest in the universe. It's just a nonsensical concept.

 

All this being said, I am agnostic, because there is no way I could possibly know that the reality of the situation is that which I envision it to be.

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Who needs labels? I just don't care.

 

I agree and generally don't like labels. I like the label atheist though. Probably because it was hard-earned. The hardest thing I've ever earned considering the level of indoctrination I was exposed to throughout my childhood and the years and years of study and emotional baggage I had to shed to get rid of it all. I don't wish to impose the label on others or think poorly of them if they don't wish to adopt it, but for me it's meaningful. That, and it accurately describes my position when defined correctly.

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Who needs labels? I just don't care.

You're an alabelist.

LOL! Not bad.

 

The more distance and time I put between me and Christianity, the more willing I am to call myself an atheist, at least for all practical intents and purposes; however, words like atheist, heathen, unbeliever, apostate, pagan, even agnostic, are pretty loaded words with lots of baggage and negative connotation to many, so I tend to just avoid overt statements of position. I find that most people are actually more doubtful of their own beliefs than they care to admit, and are willing to function toward me on a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" basis. I will only explicitly discuss philosophical and religious matters with people who seriously ask me about it and appear to have an open enough mind to handle it. Other than that it's pretty much a waste of time. I've always preferred to plant "idea seeds" at a level of understanding people can cope with, and let them sprout on their own. This has always been true of me, even with more prosaic matters like best practices within my industry, which I am also somewhat contrarian about, politics, health and exercise, you name it. People think what they think and I think what I think and I see no reason to change anyone. If they have their own impulse toward change and I can contribute something useful to their thinking I will, otherwise, let's just have mutual respect and deference and cooperate and discuss on whatever common ground we can find.

 

--Bob

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Who needs labels? I just don't care.

You're an alabelist.

 

I am indeed. I guess I feel like putting any kind of label on myself with regards to what I believe is the same as hitching my cart to yet another fucked up horse whose proponents have no more idea than I do in all reality. I'd rather pull my own cart than surrender my brain to anyone else's way of thinking ever again.

 

When I sit down and think of how incredibly traumatised and damaged and violated I am by other people's ideas I just want to smack myself in the head for being stupid enough to let them into my head in the first place. I have no mechanism that says "hey, maybe these people are bullshitting you".

 

That has been the first post christian thing to go, the belief that most people are nice and have good motives - although my kid said to me yesterday "mum why do you still believe everything everyone tells you? Just because you don't tell people what they want to hear to get what you want, doesnt mean everyone else is like that. How can you be fifty and not know that?" Guess I still have a long way to go. Can I go live in a cave somewhere??

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