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Aquila King's Blog

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My Newfound Agnosticism

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Aquila King

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When I first came to this forum, I would've described myself as a 'Spiritualist.' Someone who absolutely does believe there's some sort of 'spiritual' aspect to reality, but beyond that I didn't really know. Now I'm not so sure I know anything anymore...

First let me give you some background info.

I was born into a fundamentalist Christian home, indoctrinated in it from birth, and later became extremely devout in my teenage years. It wasn't until a year or so after high school that I slowly began to realize that the religion that I had devoted my entire life to up to that point was a huge lie. It wasn't an 'all of a sudden' thing. It was somewhat more gradual. I'd say it happened sorta fast, like a week or two. But it didn't just SNAP happen with some sort of 'epiphany'. It was a clear understanding of why exactly my religion was wrong. It wasn't that I discovered scientifically that 'there is no God/afterlife/soul/etc.' but that I discovered my religion was false. I know that this doesn't automatically mean the default position from there is atheism, but I did go from devout Christian to atheist, an here's why.

My doubt came from reading a slightly more obscure atheist book, that took down Christianity by exposing the blatantly immoral and atrocious Bible passages that for some reason I failed to see while Christian. They also presented 10 reasons why they didn't believe God exists, and then upon going back and reading some other atheist blogs online, and watching some segments of the Atheist Experience on YouTube, I finally felt comfortable calling myself an atheist. I felt incredibly cheated for all of those wasted years of Christianity being wasted on a lie, and because of it I made a personal vow to always think independently and never just believe whatever I was told. To form my own opinions on things, and not just regurgitate whatever talking points were being fed to me from 'my side'. I made a vow to NEVER be conned again. Of course, it's nearly impossible for anyone to truly make that promise, given that we're all subject to being fooled at some point or another. But regardless, I just want you to understand where I'm coming from here. This is why I started to research the laws of logic and critical thinking skills, I read up on skepticism, and despite reading all of the most prominent New Atheist writings (the books by Sam Harris were my personal favorite) and keeping up with all of the most prominent atheist arguments on YouTube and various blogs, I still kept a certain degree of skepticism towards everything that I was reading myself.

What I encountered, was the fact that there wasn't a single universal consensus amongst atheists on a multitude of issues. Even amongst the 'four horsemen' of New Atheism as they were dubbed (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris). So in other words, it was up to me to research and study each and every individual issue itself, and form my own conclusions. So I started examining the individual claims made by many prominent atheists themselves, and trying to find out if their arguments were inherently sound.

Now look... I'll admit, I'm not the most brilliant human being on the planet. I'm just an average dude who got average grades in school, with an overall average intelligence. If someone wants to mock and belittle me for it and call me 'stupid', then so be it. I'm just not gonna lie to myself and others and pretend to be some super-intelligent being who has it all figured out. I'm just an average human. So when I started spiraling down the rabbit hole here, things just got deeper and deeper and more and more complex; each somewhat answer bringing up a million more questions, etc. etc. I don't know complex philosophy, I don't understand complex astrophysics, I certainly don't understand quantum mechanics, neuroscience always leaves me with more questions than answers, and every attempt I've made at trying to understand this stuff has left me mentally exhausted with me no further closer any answers of my own. At the end of the day, I'm just not some brilliant Ph. D level scientist, and so I can't do as I promised myself and 'think independently' on every issue. I just don't understand this stuff, and even when I do understand it, I can't help but feel like there might be some other important details that I might be missing.

All of this searching and trying to form my own opinions on such things, just left me exhausted, until I finally started to realize that if I as a regular atheist dude don't understand this stuff, then what's the likelihood that other atheists truly understand this stuff as well? What if the overwhelming majority of atheists out there simply think they know the answers to these questions just like I thought I knew when I was a Christian? What if these big shot atheist 'intellectuals' and scientists could be wrong on most of what they say? After all, there are many other scientists who aren't atheists and who have the same credentials as them, as well as many atheist scientists themselves who disagree on certain things amongst each other. I essentially learned skepticism from my atheism, but then I applied that very skepticism towards atheism itself. I didn't want my newfound atheism to become a substitute Christianity, where I end up having to rely on the words of scientists being correct in the same way that I had to rely on some pastor being correct.

So I started venturing off from that point into other concepts I hadn't explored before, such as the paranormal etc. I was finally being able to fulfill the promise I made to myself by 'forming my own opinions' on things and thinking independently. I didn't belong to any particular specific 'group' or mindset. I thought for myself. And for a while there I had actually convinced myself that there most likely was indeed something spiritual to this reality (despite not having a single clue what that is) and so I called myself a 'Spiritualist'. Essentially, I was saying "there's most likely something more to the world, then any of us truly know or comprehend, even the most intelligent among us." I still hold to that philosophy now to some extent, but now days I'm just not quite sure about that either... Now days, I'm simply an agnostic. I've come to terms with the fact that I just don't know. And I'm content with that. That doesn't mean that I don't find Christianity and every other religion out there to be objectively false, because I do. In fact that's one thing I am indeed sure of since it's easy to disprove it as absolute bunk. However, I've heard and read arguments and seen evidence on both sides in regards to whether or not there's any sort of afterlife, whether we have souls, whether 'spirits' exist, etc. and I don't think those things are on the same level as fairies and unicorns. That just appears to be a dogmatic dismissal to me, since I don't see or understand how science has definitively proven such things to be false.

You guys can argue that "I just don't understand the science of it" and that might very well be a fair assessment. I don't understand it. I've tried to. I really have. I just honestly don't understand enough about cognitive neuroscience to be able to determine that there ABSOLUTELY is no such thing as the human soul. I don't understand enough about the complexities of the universe to be able to determine without a shadow of a doubt that there ABSOLUTELY is no afterlife like 'realm', or that there is no conscious supreme 'entity' like thing out there somewhere. There's no way for me to determine that without simply trusting the words of some Ph. D level scientist, which may very well be correct on the topic, but may also be incredibly wrong. I don't know, because I can't validate their findings for myself and do their work for them to find out. I'm just not that smart. And y'know, maybe this is all just beyond my intellectual ability to comprehend. Again, make fun of me if you want, but I'm just trying to humbly express my honest and sincere struggles with attempting to understand the nature of the universe. If someone reading this does understand it, then I commend you. Really, I do. But as for me, I just don't. I've spent years and years pouring out countless hours of study to comprehend this stuff, but I just don't. I'm like a gerbil trying to comprehend advanced calculus. It's just beyond my intellectual capacity to understand. And that's okay. The gerbil can't help it, and neither can I.

In summary: I've heard and read the arguments for and against almost every issue, and have studied these issues in-depth with a fine-toothed comb, and am no more closer to understanding the truth then I was to begin with. So now I'm an Agnostic. And quite frankly, this whole topic just wears me out now to the point where I just don't care anymore. I don't know, and I don't care. I'm an Agnostic Apatheist. Take it or leave it.

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Brother_Spirit

Posted

'' That doesn't mean that I don't find Christianity and every other religion out there to be objectively false, because I do. In fact that's one thing I am indeed sure of since it's easy to disprove it as absolute bunk. ''

I am not convinced by that statement. If it's so easy to disprove than do it.

 

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Brother_Spirit

Posted (edited)

*Snip*

Edited by Brother_Spirit

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XenoFish

Posted

12 hours ago, Brother_Spirit said:

If it's so easy to disprove than do it

I guess you don't read the forums much do you.

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Aquila King

Posted

15 hours ago, Brother_Spirit said:

'' That doesn't mean that I don't find Christianity and every other religion out there to be objectively false, because I do. In fact that's one thing I am indeed sure of since it's easy to disprove it as absolute bunk. ''

I am not convinced by that statement. If it's so easy to disprove than do it.

Allow me to issue a challenge to you.

Since you're so willing to read through entire books on apologetics, then there shouldn't be any reason why you wouldn't be able to read through this: https://godisimaginary.com/

If you refuse to actually genuinely sit down, read the arguments presented in this website, and think things through for yourself with an open mind, then the only conclusion one could draw from you is that you're only interested in reading material that helps to validate your pre-existing beliefs. If you're so confident that Christianity is indeed true, then there's no reason why you should be afraid to read through something that actually proves the exact opposite. In essence, your willingness to actually sit down and read through the entirety of this website will speak volumes to your sincerity, and how important objective truth actually is to you.

If you do indeed read through it though and your convictions still stand, then while I certainly would disagree with your assessment, I will at the very least respect the fact that you at least considered alternative positions.

It's your move.

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AK, I’ll take it.  You have the right to view the world the way you wish, to believe and do as you think best.  Also, remember that even if you are of “average intelligence” - which I think you are not - then you’re smarter than half the people on the planet.  FWIW.  I also give you credit for seeing both extremes, atheism and fundamentalism....plus checking that which is between.

I’m really not far from your position in ways, but I still believe in something.  I just don’t know what it is that I believe in.  So, kinda like where you were when you first came here.

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XenoFish

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1 hour ago, Guyver said:

I still believe in something.  I just don’t know what it is that I believe in.  

Why not just believe in the "Mystery". That great unknown that cannot be defined. I mean, even I acknowledge that I just don't know anything for certain, especially the how and why things got started. 

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Marcus Aurelius

Posted

Aquila King,

I appreciated reading this post and I respect your intellectual journey. Ironically, I can somewhat relate to your experiences, but my own journey led me to very different conclusions. I was once a pretty militant philosophical atheist who ended up becoming a theist, a Christian, and eventually a pastor and a theologian. But I didn't come here to debate.

I actually just wanted to say that even as a Christian, I have the utmost respect for the agnostic worldview. It is an intellectually honest position and you have clearly devoted much time, effort, and study coming to this point, and I for one applaud that. In the end, you think in questions...and I believe that's a place where all of us should be, regardless of the roads these questions may take us down.

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Aquila King

Posted

8 hours ago, Marcus Aurelius said:

Aquila King,

I appreciated reading this post and I respect your intellectual journey. Ironically, I can somewhat relate to your experiences, but my own journey led me to very different conclusions. I was once a pretty militant philosophical atheist who ended up becoming a theist, a Christian, and eventually a pastor and a theologian. But I didn't come here to debate.

I actually just wanted to say that even as a Christian, I have the utmost respect for the agnostic worldview. It is an intellectually honest position and you have clearly devoted much time, effort, and study coming to this point, and I for one applaud that. In the end, you think in questions...and I believe that's a place where all of us should be, regardless of the roads these questions may take us down.

Thank you, I appreciate that. ^_^

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