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Old 11-26-2007, 10:43 PM   #1
psyadam
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the raving agnostic

It's been a while, folks, but the raving agnostic is back with a vengeance! So here's today's topic: agnosticism. The question of the day is, what should I consider myself, an atheist, or an agnostic? I'll tell you what I think about the whole God thing, and you can decide.

First, I like Kai Nielson's view that the concept of God is basically incoherent. This is because I think the idea of an entity being "perfect" is logically contradictory (I can explain this in more detail if you wish), and also I think the idea that he is also somehow like a "father" to us is nonsense (although I'm not exactly sure why). If I die and it turns out that God is an ok guy than I won't be too upset, but that would suck if I disagree with a guy that is "perfect" and he basically tells me something like "I hate gays, and I'm not going to give you a logical reason why, just I said so"

In other words, I'm mostly with you guys on the whole "God" thing.

The issue that keeps me from telling other people I'm "atheist" (whatever that means) is mostly because I really would like to believe there is an afterlife. I've never had anything in this reality that remotely points to there actually being one, but I don't see why you guys seem so sure there isn't. I used to think no afterlife was really crappy, but then I realized that living forever would be significantly more crappy. Anyway, that's it for my rant.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:46 PM   #2
Professor Chaos
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psyadam wrote View Post

The issue that keeps me from telling other people I'm "atheist" (whatever that means) is mostly because I really would like to believe there is an afterlife.
I "really would like to believe" there is a sack of millions of dollars being held by a hot blonde chick snorting coke on my couch, but alas, there is no evidence to suggest it is such.

I will grieve. Grief is not a theistic concept. ~ Sternwallow
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:50 PM   #3
psyadam
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Professor Chaos wrote View Post
I "really would like to believe" there is a sack of millions of dollars being held by a hot blonde chick snorting coke on my couch, but alas, there is no evidence to suggest it is such.
ha! point taken.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:54 PM   #4
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I guess it's just this human life span that gets to me. The number of years you can actually enjoy sex in this life really isn't long at all.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:27 PM   #5
anthonyjfuchs
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psyadam wrote
...what should I consider myself, an atheist, or an agnostic?
A/theism concerns what you do or don't believe.

Agnosticism concerns what you can or cannot know.

For instance: one can be an agnostic theist, if one believes a given set of religious claims while acknowleding that one cannot know if they are objectively true. Or one can be an agnostic atheist, if one does not believe any sets of religious claims because one acknowledges that one cannot know if any of them are objectively true.

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psyadam wrote
The issue that keeps me from telling other people I'm "atheist" (whatever that means) is mostly because I really would like to believe there is an afterlife.
Seems that would make you a wishful atheist, since wanting to believe necessitates that you don't believe. No harm in being wishful, so long as you don't allow yourself to believe that what you wish were true is actually true on the basis that you wish it were true.

The desire for something to be true, after all, is not evidence that something is true.

atheist (n): one who remains unconvinced.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:47 PM   #6
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psyadam wrote View Post
I guess it's just this human life span that gets to me. The number of years you can actually enjoy sex in this life really isn't long at all.
If there is such a thing as heaven, who says you're even going to sexually gratified there?
Why do people even assume such things about a possible existence of which they know nothing? Which leads me to this assertion:
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psyadam wrote
I've never had anything in this reality that remotely points to there actually being one, but I don't see why you guys seem so sure there isn't.
I'm not sure what the hell happens to one's consciousness after one has died. It seems reasonable to me that it ceases to exist, much like it does when one has been anesthetized for surgery, only it's permanent. But how is it possible to know for absolute certain beyond what science presently can tell us about the "nuts and bolts" of consciousness?

However, I'm firmly convinced that anything religious folks have to say about a possible post mortem existence is just pure speculation and wishful thinking on their part, and it doesn't take any special knowledge or talent to wish and speculate. You're certainly free to do it, too, if it pleases you but, on the question, it's not really anything you or I could know.

And like anthony said, your desire for an afterlife probably makes you a wishful atheist.

"So many gods, so many creeds! So many paths that wind and wind, when just the art of being kind is all this sad world needs."
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:03 AM   #7
Philboid Studge
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AJF wrote
A/theism concerns what you do or don't believe.

Agnosticism concerns what you can or cannot know.
Thanks, AJF. I've been preaching this since jamboree. As such, everyone -- whether you're a Dawkins or a Ratzinger -- is truly agnostic, re beliefs.

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Old 11-27-2007, 07:55 AM   #8
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Philboid Studge wrote View Post
Thanks, AJF. I've been preaching this since jamboree. As such, everyone -- whether you're a Dawkins or a Ratzinger -- is truly agnostic, re beliefs.
yes, but since it applies equally to Gods and pasta based entities etc, agnosticism is in general an irrelevent position, wouldn't you say?

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Old 11-27-2007, 08:06 AM   #9
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yes, but since it applies equally to Gods and pasta based entities etc, agnosticism is in general an irrelevent position, wouldn't you say?
Mostly, yes, I would say so, as a practical matter. I may have agnosticism as an epistemological position, but I live my life as if there's no doubt.

The shred of relevance -- or at least the reason we should make a distinction -- is to point out that people really do believe in Superjew inter alia, whereas flying spaghetti and orbiting teapots are admitted spoofs.

Dawkins, for one, rates himself a 6 on his scale of belief of 1 to 7, where 1 is certitude that God exists and 7 is certitude that God does not exist: “I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”

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Old 11-27-2007, 08:14 AM   #10
psyadam
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Thanks guys, for your input. Choobus could have chimed in and said that I want to consider myself an agnostic, because I'm a coward, and that wouldn't have been completely untrue. I guess it takes guts to be an atheist. Well, ttyl guys.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:11 AM   #11
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As the great philosopher Stephen Colbert said "Agnostics are just atheists without balls."

Note: Not sure if he is the originator.

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
George Bernard Shaw
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:18 AM   #12
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The only thing I can say is that while I read that entire opening post I heard it being read aloud in my head by someone standing in a large empty room...it was very echo---y? That's all
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:52 AM   #13
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psyadam wrote View Post
Thanks guys, for your input. Choobus could have chimed in and said that I want to consider myself an agnostic, because I'm a coward, and that wouldn't have been completely untrue. I guess it takes guts to be an atheist. Well, ttyl guys.
wait, now you're complaining because I didn't call you a pussy?

Jesus H Christ.

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Old 11-27-2007, 10:53 AM   #14
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Well, I've always thought of agnosticism as a subdivision of atheism which claims, regardless of belief, that it is possible that a god exists (or impossible to truthfully declare otherwise). Of course, the term "agnostic" has been polluted by an endless number of semi-theistic wankers looking to claim some sort of intellectual credibility, so most people interpret it to mean something other than what I've described—as though it were some sort of compromise between atheism and theism, or simply "diet" atheism.

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Bighead wrote View Post
The only thing I can say is that while I read that entire opening post I heard it being read aloud in my head by someone standing in a large empty room...it was very echo---y? That's all
Maybe it's echoing in your big head.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:59 AM   #15
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Philboid Studge wrote View Post
The shred of relevance -- or at least the reason we should make a distinction -- is to point out that people really do believe in Superjew inter alia, whereas flying spaghetti and orbiting teapots are admitted spoofs.
True enough, but there seems to be a continuum between firmly held belief systems (Christology, Jizzlam etc) to obvious spaghetti-like spoofs via mormonism and scientology and such, which seem to have a significant overlap on both sides. Is a jewish zombie less absurd than magic underwear and thetans? I can't really tell the difference. And I expect that those who believe in shapeshifting lizards from mars who live in the center of the earth (and are planning on taking over the world) are just as sincere as their christ-punching neighbours or beard wearing, 5 times a day praying jizzlamicists. It seems to me that the only real difference between a spoof and a religion is the intellectual honesty of its adherents.

You can always turn tricks for a few extra bucks. If looks are an issue, there's the glory hole option, but don't expect more than ... tips.
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