Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Is there a god? What is the meaning of life?
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Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by occasional thoughts »

I call myself an agnostic. I have done so for a number of years after being brought up in a fundamentalist-evangelical church in Canada, professing salvation and being baptized in water. Over time, I came to believe that salvation, the will of god, "god's plan for my life", and heaven, hell, angels and the whole gamut were not real. I once coined the expression for my own understanding and usefulness, "Man has created "god" in his/her own (human) image."

The online etymology dictionary describes agnostic as follows:

"1870, "one who professes that the existence of a First Cause and the essential nature of things are not and cannot be known" [Klein]; coined by T.H. Huxley, supposedly in September 1869, from Greek agnostos "unknown, unknowable," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + gnōstos "(to be) known," from PIE root *gno- "to know." Sometimes said to be a reference to Paul's mention of the altar to "the Unknown God" in Acts, but according to Huxley it was coined with reference to the early Church movement known as Gnosticism (see Gnostic). The adjective also is first recorded 1870."

Despite challenging myself from time to time, I cannot take the final step and call myself atheist. I do believe in the natural evolution of things upon Origin. But evolution does not explain Origin. The Big Bang Theory? Ridiculous. Something out of nothing? I believe a fundamental law of science holds that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. So I wonder how we got here and I call myself an agnostic.

Elucidate! Are you an agnostic? Why have you joined our "congregation"
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by 1nick »

I reject the claim by anyone that they know god exists. They have no more information than I and in no way can prove it to be so.
So with that I’m an anti-theist.

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Antitheism
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Grand Pooh-bah
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by occasional thoughts »

Interesting, thank you. I can see how this discussion can quickly spin out of control. I don't believe that any religion is valid, including the "popular" ones like Bahai or any. To me, the problem goes beyond religion and right to religiosity, the propensity of humans now and over the eons to postulate religious answers for life's mysteries. For that reason I eschew and detest "spiritualism" which is just religion by another name.

I've browsed the link you provided and my head spins, being (myself here) a purported wordsmith, how that approach to life becomes "antiatheistic". It seems to say that some atheists WISH there was a god (& etc.) and so are as dangerous as those of faith. But unless one defines the word atheist in a certain way to serve one's own ends, I certainly do not believe that all "atheists" are closet theists. Ultimately, it is an etymological problem, not a belief problem.

One last thing: you touch as does any discussion like this must, on "know". The problem with faith people is that they start equating "believe" with "know" and away they go. Let's take the issues of after life or heaven; the only ones who "know" are those who are one instant past temporarl death. And they can't communicate with us, unless one believes in magic and like stuff which is, humbly, garbage. Of course, some religious charlatans and spiritualistic types say they can communicate with the dead. Bleep on that.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by capleton »

I don't see see how a god could exist, there is no reason to believe in the empty claims of so called holy books, pastors/priests and imans. So far science has corrected what religion has previously claimed like there being a global flood or that weather and volcanoes are caused by gods.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by bb49 »

Atheist here.

I was raised in a protestant church but never really got into it. There was nothing about the religion that excited or interested me.

For many years I never gave religion much thought, then in the early '70s, near the end of the Vietnam war, which I was a supporter of, I started reading about the atrocities that were taking place there, by both sides. Then I started reading more about all the atrocities in WW2, then all the others throughout history.
How could any god allow these to happen? So many innocent people, victims of their fellow humans. And so often these atrocities were done in the name of religion.

So for me in my life, religion has no use. If others need it, so be it, just don't push it on me. I will respect your wishes to a point.

But above all, what I see in the people I know, the "Christians", the "Muslims",or the "whatevers", is the hypocrisy. So often they are simply going through the motions of being a religious person. One day they drinking, fornicating with another married person, swearing, or even committing crimes, but every so often, it's off to church they go. All because they are a good, god-fearing person and that one visit to the church allows them to be forgiven and then they can start all over again. What a bunch of B. S.

Me, I'll take the science end of it any day.

So to all those so-called believers, it's time to pray or get off the pot.
February 14, 2022. The day Democracy died in Canada.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by occasional thoughts »

I started the thread to address, in essence, the difference between an agnostic and an atheist, to try to explain why I am an agnostic, and to see whether there are fellow travellers out there.

For me, science answers many but not all questions, religion answers almost none. Science has not answered to my satisfaction the wonder of our Origin. When I was young, it was "evolution". But evolution presumes a starting point. Christians call it Creation, I simply and more neutrally call it Origin. Nowadays, if I'm not mistaken, science attributes Origin to "the Big Bang Theory". Whence the fuel, the ignition, for the bang? Until that is answered, I'm an agnostic.

There might be a "god". Hell, it might even be the God of the Bible, even if Christians and others are corrupt to the core or fooling themselves or are in it for the money (where are you Jim and Tammy) and have it all wrong. I detest religiosity. The act of attributing godly explanations to fortuitous occurrences, coincidences, the good but not the bad. EVERYTHING is God's will. Bleep.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by youjustcomplain »

For me, I agree with Sam Harris's conclusion/definition of theism, atheism and agnosticism.

The Theist and Atheist rely on belief or the lack there of.
The agnostic though deals with knowledge.

Theists use belief to support a god hyposthesis
Atheists do not use belief, thus, don't support a god hypothesis
Agnostics don't know, so they try to keep one foot in both doors.

The problem with agnosticism for me is that nobody can actually know if god/gods exist. Whether you're a theist, atheist or agnostic, you can't know one way or another. So, since nobody KNOWS if god exists, I don't see why we have a category specific to the knowledge of god. Doesn't everyone fit that criteria?

I say, choose. Lots of flavours of both Theism and Atheism available.

I choose Atheism, but if I had to pick a flavour, it would be apatheism. I don't actually care about the potential for a god to exist. It seems, to me, that the world turns without one. Whether of not I believe in a god doesn't seem to have any bearing on anything as I'm happy, successful and enjoying a great life, without the need for any religious baggage.


As for the comments around science refuting things from the bible that I've read numerous times.. It doesn't. Sure, there are some claims made in the bible that are refutable through modern science, but for the most part, the bible talks about things that we can't disprove through science. Therefor, there is no sense in attempting to use science to disprove it. Just accept the story as fact, as a metaphor or reject it based on whatever criteria you use, but no atheist should expect anyone to agree with their arguments around the bible if they're attempting to use proof as their claim since no atheist can disprove the things mentioned either.
Believers will continue to believe and will not be swayed by an atheist, so although I like to explore how the theist thinks, I'm not interesting in trying to prove them wrong. I'll just get caught doing the same thing they do; try to prove the unprovable.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by capleton »

youjustcomplain wrote:For me, I agree with Sam Harris's conclusion/definition of theism, atheism and agnosticism.

The Theist and Atheist rely on belief or the lack there of.
The agnostic though deals with knowledge.

Theists use belief to support a god hyposthesis
Atheists do not use belief, thus, don't support a god hypothesis
Agnostics don't know, so they try to keep one foot in both doors.

The problem with agnosticism for me is that nobody can actually know if god/gods exist. Whether you're a theist, atheist or agnostic, you can't know one way or another. So, since nobody KNOWS if god exists, I don't see why we have a category specific to the knowledge of god. Doesn't everyone fit that criteria?

I say, choose. Lots of flavours of both Theism and Atheism available.

I choose Atheism, but if I had to pick a flavour, it would be apatheism. I don't actually care about the potential for a god to exist. It seems, to me, that the world turns without one. Whether of not I believe in a god doesn't seem to have any bearing on anything as I'm happy, successful and enjoying a great life, without the need for any religious baggage.


As for the comments around science refuting things from the bible that I've read numerous times.. It doesn't. Sure, there are some claims made in the bible that are refutable through modern science, but for the most part, the bible talks about things that we can't disprove through science. Therefor, there is no sense in attempting to use science to disprove it. Just accept the story as fact, as a metaphor or reject it based on whatever criteria you use, but no atheist should expect anyone to agree with their arguments around the bible if they're attempting to use proof as their claim since no atheist can disprove the things mentioned either.
Believers will continue to believe and will not be swayed by an atheist, so although I like to explore how the theist thinks, I'm not interesting in trying to prove them wrong. I'll just get caught doing the same thing they do; try to prove the unprovable.


Actually, all you have to do is read the Bible to see how unscientific and superstitious it is. reading it made me an atheist in the first place. Everything from Jesus claiming that the mustard seed is the smallest seed to the claim that donkeys and serpents can talk, to the Firmament is not scientific.
The claims in the Bible are absurd like zombies wandering around the streets of Jerusalem or the rotting corpse of Jesus flying away to the sky so plenty of things in the Bible can be disproved by science. You do know that in the 19th century geologists proved there was no global flood right? Archaeologists have discovered that there was no Exodus and Biologists have shown that no human could stay in a whale's stomach for 3 days.
You claim that no believer will be convinced but that is not true, most of my friends including myself were hardcore Christians until we actually started to read the Bible and study science and logic, you don't seem to know how the burden of proof works, no one has to disprove the claims of the Bible but rather the believer, if they insist on proselytizing as commanded in the Bible has to show the claims of the Bible are correct.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by occasional thoughts »

Interesting all. My head is swimming . . .

I "believe" - lol that religion is dying a slow death, has been for several centuries. I also believe that it will be a slow death because of what I choose to call "religiosity" or mankind's propensity to look for or create - another lol religious answers to things. I'm thinking we're looking at maybe 5 centuries until there are only vestiges of religion left. And that's only Christian religion(s). We have a whole world of religious zealots in the Moslem world, many of them only emerging from intellectual and scientific dark ages It is a capital crime to leave that "faith" or convert to another in some countries (Afghanistan; Iran).

The intermediate step is independence, make your own church in your head, and spiritualism, believing that there are still spirits afoot in our world. I don't believe there are other non-human "spirits" out there, running around, doing good deeds, taking pity on some of us, whatever.

I do fear that loss of religion gives SOME people a loss of moral compass. And it sure takes away the comfort that a lot of people have about a better life to come. But that's the big delusion. And as we know, being a Christian is no guarantee that every one of them gains a moral compass. I only look at some of the red states in the U.S., and most televangelists. Jimmy Swaggart are you listening.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by occasional thoughts »

Just re-reading today's posts, I'd like to clarify, as an agnostic, I'm not searching for something. Nada. Science will keep on making discoveries and eventually we'll know more. I'm not trying to find a believable god. That spiritualism which I detest. I suspect there's no god, I marvel at "Origin" and I wonder how we got here. If someday an honest to goodness god reveals himself/herself/itself to us, we'll know. I'm not expecting it, and I haven't experienced it to date.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by Hmmm »

There is only one truth. if you look everywhere but there, you won't find it. People like to argue and say thats not true and theres no such thing as absolute truth, but there is.. The biggest reason people don't find it is because the lack of sincerity and proper motive. People just do what they want no matter what even if they know its a lie. These ones will never know the real truth. God does reveal this truth to ones who are honest, humble and truly want to know and will actually do something about it. The world is filled with people who practice very clear lies. The pope (purposely not capped out of disrespect) is one such person. Millions of devout Catholics support the church which is very clearly corrupt and the lie that the popes are perfect (infallible) is clearly wrong to any thinking person. The very bad history of evil popes testifies to this.

This is one example of people that prefer lies. it is also a reason so many think there is no such thing as absolute truth because they see something so many people believe and say its true when it is clearly not. They give up and assume there is no truth. But there is and it too is very clearly seen, logical and provable.

If you or anyone else truly has the right heart and will accept the truth even if it goes against your own personal desires, then you will find it. God will make it known to you and you won't have any doubts. You will also be much happier, because we actually don't make the best decisions apart from his guidance. I am not a fanatic, but I do have a very clear and explainable belief system that is logic based and also Biblical.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by 1nick »

See? This is the deal with the religious, they believe they have the “truth” and the rest of us are just fumbling about in the dark.
They have absolutely no way of knowing if their “truth” is real or not. They just accept the “truth” by those who raised them or by their own capitulation and disregard of logic.
Keep it to yourself and out of public policy.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by youjustcomplain »

Hmmm wrote:There is only one truth. if you look everywhere but there, you won't find it. People like to argue and say thats not true and theres no such thing as absolute truth, but there is.. The biggest reason people don't find it is because the lack of sincerity and proper motive. People just do what they want no matter what even if they know its a lie. These ones will never know the real truth. God does reveal this truth to ones who are honest, humble and truly want to know and will actually do something about it. The world is filled with people who practice very clear lies. The pope (purposely not capped out of disrespect) is one such person. Millions of devout Catholics support the church which is very clearly corrupt and the lie that the popes are perfect (infallible) is clearly wrong to any thinking person. The very bad history of evil popes testifies to this.

This is one example of people that prefer lies. it is also a reason so many think there is no such thing as absolute truth because they see something so many people believe and say its true when it is clearly not. They give up and assume there is no truth. But there is and it too is very clearly seen, logical and provable.

If you or anyone else truly has the right heart and will accept the truth even if it goes against your own personal desires, then you will find it. God will make it known to you and you won't have any doubts. You will also be much happier, because we actually don't make the best decisions apart from his guidance. I am not a fanatic, but I do have a very clear and explainable belief system that is logic based and also Biblical.


But isn't that just the problem? God will reveal himself to you but only if you believe in him first, but for him to reveal himself you must also be "honest, humble and truly want to know". So what if I believe with all my heart, like so many have, and still don't have a god revealed to you? Does that mean that you weren't honest, humble or didn't truly want to know?
It's a way of telling people that they must believe harder, preach more, spread the faith more, donate more time/money to the church to earn this gift from god. Eventually when you want something so bad, you may start to make things up and then god has revealed himself in a delusion that you fail to perceive as yourself.
There are reasons why hard core believers abandon their faith. Not because they weren't sincere or humble.

Absolute truth doesn't exist. Believe it all you want. On one hand, believers say that god is everywhere. If so, how come atheists see no evidence of him? Can't tell me I'm not looking. It's everywhere right?


Capelton:
I will not read the bible. I don't need to in order to not believe in a god. My point isn't that the bible is full of scientific theories that are valid. Far from it. It's that they make claims that science can't dispute. Science can very easily state that there is no evidence for a world wide flood through the geological record; sure. But that's not proof of something not happening. That's showing that there is no good reason to believe it happened. This is why I don't believe it happened.

And I do understand the burden of proof. But what is the point of attacking people who believe something different from you? You use science to back your claims, but they don't. They don't owe you a burden. They are welcome to believe whatever they want, just as you are.

What? You were a "hard core Christian" without having read the bible? How does that work? Like, you wanted heaven and hell to be true and for god to love you, but never read the book so had no basis for this belief? What, in your definition, made you "hard core", yet so easily converted?
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by Hmmm »

That is not the case. You cannot believe in him to much of a degree until he does reveal himself to you. I agree and again this is logical. He reads hearts and he knows if someone is humble and honest and truly would like to not only find him and believe in him but would live their life in a way he asks from these ones. People do what they want and don’t care who God is and what he asks from them. My example I gave is just such a people. This is true of the group but individuals do leave that evil religion and some actually do find the true God. If you want to know if you have that type of heart than ask yourself if you truly are willing to learn about him and if you would be willing to except his ways above your own AFTER you find out he really does exist. If your answer is, I’m not willing to consider it or look into it apart from social media or this forum, then you have your answer and you won’t find him for sure.

PS; the Bible says he draws or attracts these honest and humble ones to him. Also it says he isn’t far off from us but we need to search for him and he will make himself be found.

I hope I’ve helped in some way to your questions.
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Re: Agnostics, atheists and other non-believers

Post by youjustcomplain »

Hmmm wrote:PS; the Bible says he draws or attracts these honest and humble ones to him. Also it says he isn’t far off from us but we need to search for him and he will make himself be found.

I hope I’ve helped in some way to your questions.


I think that about the only thing we can agree on is that we don't need religion to lead a good life. Beyond that, you're telling me what you've been told. You can hear preachers in churches spouting the same things you are saying. Does that make it true? The bible has lots of things in it, that we know to be completely false, but this one comment you've attached yourself to isn't? How can you know?

I'm not trying to be just be argumentative. I'm really curious how you can think that you know the will and mind of god. And I'm not sure how you get to judge who doesn't. Just because I don't know the mind and will of god, you feel that I haven't searched or opened my mind/heart to him. whatever opening your heart is. God is said to be everywhere. And yet, I can't see him. I can't see that he's male. I can't see him telling me that I'll go to hell for not believing in him. I can't, and nor can any other atheist, agnostic and a lot of believers.

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