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Doc_Daneeka
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12 Aug 2009, 9:05 pm

awmperry wrote:
So yeah. Agnostic, bordering on atheist.


It's not really a continuum. Sounds to me as though you are an agnostic atheist.


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awmperry
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12 Aug 2009, 9:20 pm

Atheist in observance, agnostic in inclination. ;)

I prefer to think of myself as a don'tgiveatossist. :D



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13 Aug 2009, 9:48 pm

awmperry wrote:
Atheist in observance, agnostic in inclination. ;)

I prefer to think of myself as a don'tgiveatossist. :D


Exactly. From what you've said, you are an atheist. Your epistemological position happens to be agnostic.

Do you actively believe that there is/are god(s) out there? If not, you are an atheist.

Do you claim to have some sort of positive knowledge as to whether there are any god(s) out there? If not, you are agnostic.

The term 'agnostic' doesn't really say anything about belief. It merely indicates your epistemological position. For example, I am an agnostic atheist. I do not in any way believe in a god, but i also state that the entire idea of god(s) is by definition beyond evidence or reason, and therefor I don't worry about it in my day to day life. This makes me agnostic, in the sense that Huxley originally intended.

My only point was that '(a)theist' and '(a)gnostic' do not represent two points on a continuum. They are orthogonal to each other.


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awmperry
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13 Aug 2009, 10:14 pm

Not to be picky, but an atheist specifically believes that there is no god; an agnostic just considers that it's not possible to know. A mere absence of belief is, I would say, the very broadest definition possible of atheism.

Positive knowledge is irrelevant, because - of course - there's no such thing. There's just belief. And there are essentially three categories:

Theist - Believes a god or gods exist
Agnostic - Believes it's impossible to know either way
Atheist - Believes no god or gods exist

Epistemology doesn't really enter into it, I'm afraid.



lau
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14 Aug 2009, 6:53 am

OED wrote:
Agnostic. A. n. One who holds that the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena is unknown and (so far as can be judged) unknowable, and especially that a First Cause and an unseen world are subjects of which we know nothing.
[Suggested by Prof. Huxley at a party held previous to the formation of the now defunct Metaphysical Society, at Mr. James Knowles's house on Clapham Common, one evening in 1869, in my hearing. He took it from St. Paul's mention of the altar to ‘the Unknown God.’R. H. H UTTON in letter 13 Mar. 1881.]


The term has nothing to do with belief in god(s).


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sheppeyescapee
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14 Aug 2009, 7:46 am

I know a few aspies that have no religious affiliation



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14 Aug 2009, 8:04 am

Lau, the term has everything to do with belief in gods - indeed, the word itself comes from the Greek for "without gods". I'm not quite sure why we've so spectacularly derailed the thread on a frankly rather unnecessary semantic point, but...

Quote:
"in general, the critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or spiritual beings. As such, it is usually distinguished from theism, which affirms the reality of the divine and often seeks to demonstrate its existence. Atheism is also distinguished from agnosticism, which leaves open the question whether there is a god or not, professing to find the questions unanswered or unanswerable."

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/40634/atheism

The Random House dictionary defines it thus:
Quote:
a⋅the⋅ism  /ˈeɪθiˌɪzəm/
–noun 1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.


The American Heritage Dictionary - and I realise one word in particular there may disqualify it as an authority on English :P - says this:
Quote:
n.
Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
The doctrine that there is no God or gods.


Anyway, even if Doc_Daneeka were correct, the definitions I was working on are the accepted meanings in common parlance. Was this whole incorrectly nitpicky diversion really necessary?



lau
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14 Aug 2009, 9:13 am

awmperry wrote:
Lau, the term has everything to do with belief in gods - indeed, the word itself comes from the Greek for "without gods". ...

No. It does not.


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awmperry
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14 Aug 2009, 9:50 am

At the risk of sounding like a panto, yes it does. "A-" = without, "theos" = gods. Just as "agnostic", literally translated, means "without knowledge"; in this case, that it's impossible to know.

Or did you mean something else?

EDIT: Aaah, you were talking about agnosticism. Then yes.



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14 Aug 2009, 2:36 pm

I was born this way. God made me this way. This is what I believe. And no, I cannot be cured, because I don't WANT to be cured. I would be someone else entirely. I don't want to lose who I am. My husband loves me this way.



Doc_Daneeka
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16 Aug 2009, 1:20 am

awmperry wrote:
Not to be picky, but an atheist specifically believes that there is no god; an agnostic just considers that it's not possible to know. A mere absence of belief is, I would say, the very broadest definition possible of atheism.

Positive knowledge is irrelevant, because - of course - there's no such thing. There's just belief. And there are essentially three categories:

Theist - Believes a god or gods exist
Agnostic - Believes it's impossible to know either way
Atheist - Believes no god or gods exist

Epistemology doesn't really enter into it, I'm afraid.


It matters not whether one disbelieves in god(s) or simply lacks belief in any god(s). Such a person is by definition an atheist. You are quite right that the latter is a rather broad definition, but atheism is a fairly broad concept. It's worth noting that your citation of the Random House dictionary supports my view. 'Disbelief,' after all, means a lack of belief:

The Random House Dictionary wrote:
1. the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true.


Do click on that. I embedded a link in the header of a quote, so I wasn't sure if if the link would be easily visible.

As for agnosticism, I should have used the phrase "claimed positive knowledge." With that slight modification, my point stands.

As for the word 'agnostic', let us look at what Huxley meant by the term. He meant it to describe a person who feels that the idea of a god is beyond any evidence, and thus not worth any sort of consideration in one's life. It is simply beyond knowledge. If you want to read some sort of (non)faith-based position into agnosticism, that's your business.

The terms '(a)gnostic' and '(a)theist' are orthogonal to each other. Thus, I describe myself as an agnostic atheist.


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Sarafina7
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16 Aug 2009, 7:22 pm

Aspiewriter wrote:
I was born this way. God made me this way. This is what I believe. And no, I cannot be cured, because I don't WANT to be cured. I would be someone else entirely. I don't want to lose who I am. My husband loves me this way.

I completely agree with the above (except I don't have a husband :) ).



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18 Aug 2009, 2:11 am

timeisdead wrote:
How does the existence of horrid events disprove a creator? Who says God is responsible for every possible event?Are you denying the existence of free will? The alternative would be for God to create us as us programmed to do whatever he pleases. Most importantly, how can He test us without giving us free will? If anything, atheism is injustice. Those who have committed evil acts while causing anguish, pain, and suffering will have no punishment in the afterlife (as they stop existing) under the atheistic worldview. Justice is knowing that all who have caused you pain will face the wrath of God on judgment day.


Ditto and I'll add this: Just because the pains of this life pisses off Mankind does not mean that an all-knowing God did it for that reason, because to assume you know how God thinks and towards what purpose, and by what measure of fairness and justice is STUPID.

And any of you who might think that being born with AS is a curse in the sense that God is punishing you (or you are/became Atheist because you doubt that a loving God could do this, hence refute His divinity on cruelty grounds), I suggest you consider the following thought: we are IMPORTANT to the survival of the species, just like those who were far-sighted among our ancient ancestors must have helped our "tribes" deal with a tiger that was out of the average person's view, to help us to escape. A necessary design flaw for the good of all.

BTW some personal stuff in my life: I had an only child who had some serious health issues (resulting in her death at the age of 2) and about 4-5 months before her death My (ex)-wife and I were each, separately, visited by "beings", me in an auditory message, which sounded like thousands of voices in unison, and to the ex, in a vision of many angels in the clouds holding our soon-to-be-dead daughter, explicitly telling us she would die and that she was a bodhisattva sent to this world to help heal our (co-dependent) families, and that the name we had chosen for her was all wrong and told us, each, separately, at two different times, to call her Sandra, which we did. We only shared these experiences later, after she died.

I swear to you it felt emotionally just like the Biblical account of Moses and the Burning Bush must have felt. I was awestruck and dumbfounded.

Just like NTs and Aspies have certain ways to communicate, which differ from each other, God most likely uses telepathy and ways unknowable by us mere humans.

I have no problem seeing the world thru God/Scientist eyes; it all fits perfectly to me. BTW Darwin was religious, and did not see the conflict either.

This board needs to calm down a bit, nobody has anything to "prove" about their beliefs.

We all should respect each other, no matter what our religious beliefs or lack thereof may be.

Peace to you all



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18 Aug 2009, 8:24 pm

polymathpoolplayer wrote:
BTW some personal stuff in my life: I had an only child who had some serious health issues (resulting in her death at the age of 2)


My most sincere condolences. I have a son, and wouldn't wish to imagine the sheer horror of losing him forever.

Quote:
BTW Darwin was religious, and did not see the conflict either.


Actually, he was not. He was agnostic (in the sense originally meant by Huxley), and not religious at all, except as a youth. His family and friends (and his own letters) were quite clear on this point. I only mention it because there are a lot of myths about Darwin's views on religion.

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Peace to you all


And peace to you.


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18 Aug 2009, 11:07 pm

Bekkles wrote:
"AS doesn't have a physical grounding - God made me this way!"

I don't hold to a strictly literal understanding of the phrase "God {he himself by specific personal action} made me this way"
There's enough chance probability in the combinations of genes, environment, and who knows what else, that it can happen as the result of normal processes in the way life works.
Now, I do believe those processes exist as the result of the action of the systems God set up for the universe to function by.

To my way of thinking, I'm more comfortable with "God can use me this way" - meaning that somewhere, somehow, there's something he wants you to do that you are the best person to do. Who knows when; who knows where; who knows for whom. Who knows if it will come in your pleasant times or come in your hard times.

Who knows if you'll even realize it when it happens.

And, I wager there's more than one time in life you will be the right person for whatever God's purpose is.

I'd like if one could say "Hey God, however it is I came to have AS, give me things to do only someone with AS can do for the good of people. And show me how to get it right!"

:arrow: to address the being "religious" question:
Using the understanding that 'religious' means the following of gatherings, rituals, formalities, and so forth; no, I've had my fill of 'religion', please and thank you.

As for me, I see the whole point of the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus as knocking "religion" out of the picture - people now have a direct way to reach God without legalistic rules of men's creation jacking up your head.

My take on the thing is that the point is to live by faith, not by religion.
I have found this living by faith thing to not be a 'crutch', but rather to be some bloody hard work at times.
I want to control it all! I want to be in charge all the time!
Well, guess what, "I", you don't know everything; you don't have all the information; you don't see all the "behind the scenes" factors influencing what's going on.

Do what you can with what you have and trust for the rest.
"But I don't wanna "trust", I wanna know!"


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19 Aug 2009, 2:47 am

Doc_Daneeka wrote:
polymathpoolplayer wrote:
BTW some personal stuff in my life: I had an only child who had some serious health issues (resulting in her death at the age of 2)


My most sincere condolences. I have a son, and wouldn't wish to imagine the sheer horror of losing him forever.

Quote:
BTW Darwin was religious, and did not see the conflict either.


Actually, he was not. He was agnostic (in the sense originally meant by Huxley), and not religious at all, except as a youth. His family and friends (and his own letters) were quite clear on this point. I only mention it because there are a lot of myths about Darwin's views on religion.

Quote:
Peace to you all


And peace to you.


OK we disagree: this from wikipedia on Darwin's religion:

Darwin’s family tradition was nonconformist Unitarianism, while his father and grandfather were freethinkers, and his baptism and boarding school were Church of England.[15] When going to Cambridge to become an Anglican clergyman, he did not doubt the literal truth of the Bible.[20] He learnt John Herschel's science which, like William Paley’s natural theology, sought explanations in laws of nature rather than miracles and saw adaptation of species as evidence of design.[22][23] On board the Beagle, Darwin was quite orthodox and would quote the Bible as an authority on morality.[142] He looked for "centres of creation" to explain distribution,[43] and related the antlion found near kangaroos to distinct "periods of Creation".[45]

By his return he was critical of the Bible as history, and wondered why all religions should not be equally valid.[142] In the next few years, while intensively speculating on geology and transmutation of species, he gave much thought to religion and openly discussed this with Emma, whose beliefs also came from intensive study and questioning.[78] The theodicy of Paley and Thomas Malthus vindicated evils such as starvation as a result of a benevolent creator's laws which had an overall good effect. To Darwin, natural selection produced the good of adaptation but removed the need for design,[143] and he could not see the work of an omnipotent deity in all the pain and suffering such as the ichneumon wasp paralysing caterpillars as live food for its eggs.[120] He still viewed organisms as perfectly adapted, and On the Origin of Species reflects theological views. Though he thought of religion as a tribal survival strategy, Darwin still believed that God was the ultimate lawgiver.[144][145]

Darwin continued to play a leading part in the parish work of the local church,[146] but from around 1849 would go for a walk on Sundays while his family attended church.[136] Though reticent about his religious views, in 1879 he responded that he had never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God, and that generally “an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind.”[78]

Hence while postulating his theories he was a believer; whether he was near death is irrelevant.