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Conspirologist

Theism and Atheism Vs Agnosticism

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Mr Walker
2 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

IMO, if we don't have enough data to determine fact then the most beneficial thing we can do is say "I don't know' and stay with the uncertainty for as long as it takes for it to inform us ... instead of manufacturing or reaching for a culturally conditioned belief and imposing it onto what we are perceiving but not yet clearly processing. Which brings me back to ... belief is a reactive comforting obscuration used to avoid uncertainty, even in the absence of evidence ... even contrary to evidence. 

"I dont know" is an honest expression of ignorance but does not help the human mind at all in coping with all the hings it does not know, yet NEEDS (psychologically) to have an explanation for.

It is also a dead end statement leading to no further examination or imagination of what is not known   Look at beliefs as hypotheses based on faith and need;  yet to be proven, but worth using and working on. 

These are NOT culturally conditioned beliefs at heart.  They are basic human needs caused by the self aware nature of human cognition, which once it becomes aware of self and self's relationship to non self ,and things like the nature of permanency   death, life time  etc REQUIRES answers to questions raised by the mind 

I agree that if one believes, where one has knowldge based on fact which contradicts  that belief, then this is not logical

But belief cannot exist, either, where we KNOW something to be factual Eg the question,  " Do you believe you had a mother?"  is illogical and belief is not possible in that situation.

Belief is not just comforting. Many forms of belief are actually critical for human survival and for us to have the confidence to move forward where we lack knowledge Becsue we cannot have certain foreknowledge of the future yet are aware of the future and are constantly planning for its approach we must construct beliefs to allow us to act. Eg I believe i will get safely to work today  I believe i will get paid this week I believe the power will work when i turn on the lights.  I believe my partner will remain faithful to me Religious beliefs are a minor subset of the totality of beliefs we employ to survive and move forward.   

One might argue that belief enubilates your obscurations :) 

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Sherapy
46 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

"I dont know" is an honest expression of ignorance but does not help the human mind at all in coping with all the hings it does not know, yet NEEDS (psychologically) to have an explanation for.

It is also a dead end statement leading to no further examination or imagination of what is not known   Look at beliefs as hypotheses based on faith and need;  yet to be proven, but worth using and working on. 

These are NOT culturally conditioned beliefs at heart.  They are basic human needs caused by the self aware nature of human cognition, which once it becomes aware of self and self's relationship to non self ,and things like the nature of permanency   death, life time  etc REQUIRES answers to questions raised by the mind 

I agree that if one believes, where one has knowldge based on fact which contradicts  that belief, then this is not logical

But belief cannot exist, either, where we KNOW something to be factual Eg the question,  " Do you believe you had a mother?"  is illogical and belief is not possible in that situation.

Belief is not just comforting. Many forms of belief are actually critical for human survival and for us to have the confidence to move forward where we lack knowledge Becsue we cannot have certain foreknowledge of the future yet are aware of the future and are constantly planning for its approach we must construct beliefs to allow us to act. Eg I believe i will get safely to work today  I believe i will get paid this week I believe the power will work when i turn on the lights.  I believe my partner will remain faithful to me Religious beliefs are a minor subset of the totality of beliefs we employ to survive and move forward.   

One might argue that belief enubilates your obscurations :) 

Your mental script sounds exhausting to me. 

I think of I don't know as a spring board to possibility, not as a dead end.

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Hammerclaw
10 minutes ago, Sherapy said:

Your mental script sounds exhausting to me. 

I think of I don't know as a spring board to possibility, not as a dead end.

Belief is a lovely abstract expression of the Soul's  heart best left unsullied and pristine from worldly rationalizations.

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Sherapy
15 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

Belief is a lovely abstract expression of the Soul's  heart best left unsullied and pristine from worldly rationalizations.

Amen:wub:

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Frank Merton

My view of "belief" is that it is a different phenomenon from just firm opinion.  I have the firm opinion that the sun rises every 24 hours (on the average) but I don't "believe" it.  Opinions come from evidence, and the evidence seems to be that the sun does as described, since never in my life has it done otherwise.

Beliefs, on the other hand, come from indoctrination, generally as children.  No doubt which I was young I was told about the sun and no doubt I believed it.  So, in this case, the two views coincide and I have no way to separate what of my view is opinion and what is belief.  So I take a look at the evidence, adopt it as my opinion, and reject it as my belief.

When I was a child in Vietnam I was told all about the dead person known as a "horror" (the usual translation is "hungry ghost") but "horror" is in my mind a more accurate translation.  These are evil people who have died and because of their bad karma are unable to be reborn and wander the area of their death unable to experience anything physical (hence the "hungry") and are driven by the desire to be physical again.  Sooner or later they find rebirth, but in a low state.

I call this a "belief" because lots of people believe it.  I see it as nonsense, and when I go places reportedly haunted I never experience anything untoward, in spite of dire warnings, so the evidence supports my opinion.  It is a belief unsupported by evidence and hence should be rooted out and gotten rid of.  People don't.  They hold onto their beliefs, and even rationalize them almost to death.  This is of course the basis of an awful lot of religion and politics and other sources of trouble and misery.

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markdohle
13 hours ago, XenoFish said:

L88mBul.jpg

 

Poor kid, hope that old guy flosses and brushes his teeth LOL.

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markdohle
On 5/6/2017 at 2:20 PM, switchopens said:

You're referring to Pascal's wager in which which one would appease the deity in case his/her better judgment be wrong.
What a miserable way to live as if a man would not step outside his house for fears that he may be eaten by a tiger, thereby missing out on everything else that life has to offer.

"Atheism" - I love the word since I don't think there is another word that causes so much confusion usually derived from the fundamental interpretations of the definitions of the words that describe it.
I subscribe to either the 'Seth Andrews' short form which describes a person who doesn't believe in "theism", but has not evidence to rule out the possibility of some kind of deistic entity.
Then there is the Richard Dawkins way which in "The God Delusion" describes a probability scale from '1' being an solid pillar of a theistic God of 100% belief, to '7' describing an individual who holds fast to the idea that there is 0 god(s) period.  A '4' on this scale indicates a 50/50 split, or agnostic. 
Dawkins describes himself as a 6, which is a very low probability of a god, but leaning towards 7 where he states "I am agnostic on to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden." which I interpret as a tongue in cheek as a stomp to theism, being that all religious documents used to validate a God is fallible.

4

Actually, Paschal was not addressing atheist on this matter since they 'know', or think they do, and the wager would be nonsense.  It was addressed to agnostic's, those who are seeking answers. So in that light, it is a rational proposition. 

A mystery is not about something that is unknowable but about a reality that can be known at ever deeper levels.  We are still very young I believe, in our ability to understand the actual nature of our existence.  I do think that the Christian mystery, what Jesus, presented to us and his resurrection, is still something that needs further study as well as the experience of what that means.  I do believe that Jesus did rise on his own accord, he brought the idea of 'Agape' into the world, a love different that all others, and said that God, or the Infinite intelligence, is simply what we long for at our deepest point, that I believe is to be seen totally, and yet to still be loved.  Sounds simplistic I know, but we seem to be crazy until we find that. 

If you want to talk about Dawkins scale, I am not a 10, but an 8 or 9.  We all have some agnostic in us, to deny that is perhaps one reason we can at times be so rigid and defensive when we 'debate'. 

Below is something I wrote on Agape.  As a Christian, I know that my starting point is much different than many or most on this site, but my faith is not just an intellectual surety, but also based on personal experience, and yes emotion.

Agape is a Greek word ( ἀγάπη, agápē) used to describe God’s love for us. Jesus shows us what this love of God is by his teaching and commandments. For instance, human love is, for the most part, conditional, because it is based either on instinct or on need. We love another because we need them; we also want them to respond to us. If there is no response the relationship will most likely die, or turn into an obsession.

Parental love is the closest love to being unconditional that you can get. A child can hurt their parents, reject them, disrespect them and be contemptuous, yet the parent will still love the child. I think that goes beyond instinct, but is a love that will pour itself out for the wellbeing of the child. However, being human, finite, it is possible for there to be a time when that love can end if the pain and hurt become too great. It happens, though if the parent is a good parent, this is rare. We have our limits if left to ourselves.

What about a love that never stops, protects itself, or becomes enraged over how one responds. For me, that is beyond comprehension, yet the term Agape does point to that kind of love. Jesus tried to get us to understand by his teaching, as well as how he related to others. For the most part, he was gentle, kind, and compassionate with others. He was told the truth and never misled others. He constantly called others to conversion, to turn away from what destroys their lives, their sin.

Our lives if spent failing to love others the way God wants us to only leads to more pain, death, and destruction. He wants us to try another way. For instance, the way he taught us how we should deal with anger:


Peace
mark

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Stubbly_Dooright
On 5/4/2017 at 7:28 PM, Conspirologist said:

Why people need theism or atheism, when there is agnosticism? Theists believe that gods exist, atheists believe that gods don't exist. Agnostics know that there is no proof for both sides, therefore get busy with something useful, instead of wasting time by talking about gods.

You know what, I think I see something here that resonates with me and my belief. I often feel that in my belief, in fact, feel that there is a lot we're not suppose to know for a fact in this plane of existence. I consider this some part of reflection. :) 

On 5/4/2017 at 11:18 PM, davros of skaro said:

Why have Chocolate, and Vanilla ice cream when you have Strawberry.?

You know, :P davros Sweetie, ;)  There are some who hate strawberries, and fully appreciate the the chocolate and Vanilla, even mixed in together. :D   (no, seriously, I don't like strawberries. :o ) 

On 5/5/2017 at 5:14 AM, third_eye said:

I think I am gonna try my hand at being a chocolate covered God ... hope I don't melt before the devotees arrive ...

~

As a chocolate loving groupie, (well I did have the 'great wall of chocolate' to worship in another board ((and dimension)) which was a play off a Star Trek term. ((I think)). ) ...........................where was I? 

Oh yeah, I prefer my higher power hand me chocolate every day. :D  :w00t: I have issues eating a chocolate cover higher power. I see that as kind of ......................................................weird. :blink: 

;) 

On 5/5/2017 at 6:07 AM, XenoFish said:
On 5/5/2017 at 2:20 AM, eight bits said:

That's interesting. Why wouldn't an atheist be just as likely not to give a damn as an agnostic? Who says they can't?

The position I'm going from is that I don't know, I don't care it is not a hard stance. Which is kind of the opposite of an agnostic, because maybe is a part of there belief. Most atheist are NO! there is no god. You could very well just tag on Indifferent to both Atheism and Agnosticism to get the same effect. One of those would mean, there is no god and the question of it's existence doesn't matter, or there might be a god but it's existence doesn't matter. The problem is the definition of a "god". Which tosses us into the playground of Ignosticism. Since we can not truly define god any discussion of it's existence is trivial. 

I often feel that way with all beliefs and religions. 

On 5/5/2017 at 0:07 PM, eight bits said:

Chaos

Funny vid.

I like "Joseph Campbell's Thanksgiving Prayer."

Don't thank God for the turkey; thank the turkey.

I'm not sure the turkey is feeling very welcoming about it, though. ;)    :P    :w00t: 

(sorry, I couldn't help myself :blush: )

On 5/5/2017 at 1:22 PM, XenoFish said:

This thread made me think of something that hadn't hit my mind in a while. I've heard some christians say that even if god doesn't exist, it's best to be safe. Which made me wonder, What if their god is the wrong one? And the real god is looking at them like WTF?????

Exactly. Which is my reasoning or wish to say or ask to those who say that, do they feel that way about all the other religions who say the same thing?

TruthSeeker:

Quote

Agnosticism suggest to me ignorance. Hence, I can only conclude that the material cosmos is ignorance-causing. Why? That's where the gnostics have a solution. The material cosmos is the result of a primordial error on the part of a supra-cosmic, supremely divine being. That ignorant emanation trapped us all here in an imperfect Universe.

I'm having a hard time in seeing how you conclude this. And how can one conclude ignorance towards some's thinking of not knowing all is not there. You have to have proof in the all, to have ignorance of it to exist. If you don't have proof of what's not there, then more than likely there is nothing there to be ignorant of. 

And how did you link the reasoning by the way the cosmos is? 

On 5/5/2017 at 8:28 PM, Sherapy said:

I am an agnostic, to me it is the equivalence of saying I don't know one way or the other, but. I am open to all takes on the subject, but I am still not going to be able to say I know anything. There isn't an answer to the god question at this point and I am okay with it. 

I think this is a better way to describe it. :yes: 

On 5/5/2017 at 8:58 PM, ChaosRose said:

I loved the South Park episode on that, too. Apparently, the correct religion was Mormon, and everyone went awwwww. It was just a great illustration of how arbitrary it would be if salvation depended on guessing correctly. 

 

Exactly!

On 5/5/2017 at 9:05 PM, TruthSeeker_ said:

I'm not okay with it.

Because we may well be trapped in a simulated reality. A cosmic prison. How do we get out, in the end?

Knowledge, gnosis.

So, who is it you're not ok with? 

 

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Liquid Gardens
13 hours ago, TruthSeeker_ said:

The world is clearly imperfect. Both the theists and atheists have their own explanation for that. The gnostic's explanation is that it's creator (demiurge) is also imperfect. Therefore it stands to reason and intuition that the simulated reality cannot be impenetrable or inescapable. There's most certainly a way to inject information into this reality, gnosis or knowledge of the heart which serves to awake one to it's true origin.

I guess it partly depends on what is meant by 'imperfect' as far as the state of the 'world', but regardless an imperfect creator just compounds the problem.  Not only do we have the issue of determining in a simulated reality which knowledge is just simulated and which is 'true'.  Now it also stands to reason that even if we could determine which gnosis/knowledge of the heart is not a product of the simulation and is coming from 'outside', this 'knowledge' originates from an imperfect creator, which then adds the problem of determining which of this outside knowledge is imperfect and which isn't.  The bars of the simulated cosmic prison are looking sturdier all the time.

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Stubbly_Dooright
7 hours ago, markdohle said:

Actually, Paschal was not addressing atheist on this matter since they 'know', or think they do, and the wager would be nonsense.  It was addressed to agnostic's, those who are seeking answers. So in that light, it is a rational proposition. 

A mystery is not about something that is unknowable but about a reality that can be known at ever deeper levels.  We are still very young I believe, in our ability to understand the actual nature of our existence.  I do think that the Christian mystery, what Jesus, presented to us and his resurrection, is still something that needs further study as well as the experience of what that means.  I do believe that Jesus did rise on his own accord, he brought the idea of 'Agape' into the world, a love different that all others, and said that God, or the Infinite intelligence, is simply what we long for at our deepest point, that I believe is to be seen totally, and yet to still be loved.  Sounds simplistic I know, but we seem to be crazy until we find that. 

If you want to talk about Dawkins scale, I am not a 10, but an 8 or 9.  We all have some agnostic in us, to deny that is perhaps one reason we can at times be so rigid and defensive when we 'debate'. 

Below is something I wrote on Agape.  As a Christian, I know that my starting point is much different than many or most on this site, but my faith is not just an intellectual surety, but also based on personal experience, and yes emotion.

Agape is a Greek word ( ἀγάπη, agápē) used to describe God’s love for us. Jesus shows us what this love of God is by his teaching and commandments. For instance, human love is, for the most part, conditional, because it is based either on instinct or on need. We love another because we need them; we also want them to respond to us. If there is no response the relationship will most likely die, or turn into an obsession.

Parental love is the closest love to being unconditional that you can get. A child can hurt their parents, reject them, disrespect them and be contemptuous, yet the parent will still love the child. I think that goes beyond instinct, but is a love that will pour itself out for the wellbeing of the child. However, being human, finite, it is possible for there to be a time when that love can end if the pain and hurt become too great. It happens, though if the parent is a good parent, this is rare. We have our limits if left to ourselves.

What about a love that never stops, protects itself, or becomes enraged over how one responds. For me, that is beyond comprehension, yet the term Agape does point to that kind of love. Jesus tried to get us to understand by his teaching, as well as how he related to others. For the most part, he was gentle, kind, and compassionate with others. He was told the truth and never misled others. He constantly called others to conversion, to turn away from what destroys their lives, their sin.

Our lives if spent failing to love others the way God wants us to only leads to more pain, death, and destruction. He wants us to try another way. For instance, the way he taught us how we should deal with anger:


Peace
mark

I love your take on this. :)  :blush:

 

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markdohle
45 minutes ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

I love your take on this. :)  :blush:

 

 

Thank you.....very much

Peace
Mark

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XenoFish
10 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

I often feel that way with all beliefs and religions.

I often wonder why I even post an argument on things anymore. Seems on some deeper level pointless.

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Grandpa Greenman
21 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

I often wonder why I even post an argument on things anymore. Seems on some deeper level pointless.

That is because you don't care whether or not there is a god, so it becomes a pointless argument.  My thing is, I want to know how it all works and how it all came in to being.  To say god did it is just to simple, plue if there is a high power running the show he must be one first class dick to let people suffer like they do sometimes. It is much easier for me to believe there isn't a higher power running the show or one that is aware of us anymore, than we are aware of our gut bacteria. 

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XenoFish
2 minutes ago, Grandpa Greenman said:

That is because you don't care whether or not there is a god, so it becomes a pointless argument.  My thing is, I want to know how it all works and how it all came in to being.  To say god did it is just to simple, plue if there is a high power running the show he must be one first class dick to let people suffer like they do sometimes. It is much easier for me to believe there isn't a higher power running the show or one that is aware of us anymore, than we are aware of our gut bacteria. 

I want to know how it all came to be but I just can't use the god excuse. Even if there is a higher power running the show it might not even be sentient. Something that doesn't play favorites or chooses only one select group of "special people". That part has never made any sense to me. 

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Grandpa Greenman
1 minute ago, XenoFish said:

I want to know how it all came to be but I just can't use the god excuse. Even if there is a higher power running the show it might not even be sentient. Something that doesn't play favorites or chooses only one select group of "special people". That part has never made any sense to me. 

Exactly the universe be the equivalent to a cow in a field, just one of many. In that case it wouldn't be running the show.  

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XenoFish
3 minutes ago, Grandpa Greenman said:

Exactly the universe be the equivalent to a cow in a field, just one of many. In that case it wouldn't be running the show.  

I can understand the uplifting aspects of religion from a therapeutic perspective. As a stress reliever, a way to focus the mind, and as a means of feeling a part of something, but there is a very thin line between belief and fanaticism. My problem is people abusing others because of their religious beliefs. I honestly could careless what someone believes on a spiritual level it's that I don't want people harmed because of it. Religion is a lot like a gun. A gun can be used to kill for food or to take a life. Choice is always yours.

Also consider how I never go after pagans on here. There's a reason for that.

Edited by XenoFish
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Nuclear Wessel

I actually identify as an agnostic atheist. Atheist in that I lack a belief in a god or gods, yet I acknowledge that there is ultimately no way to know that a god exists/does not exist... I simply lack belief.

Edited by Nuclear Wessel
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Frank Merton
2 minutes ago, Nuclear Wessel said:

I actually identify as an agnostic atheist. Atheist in that I lack a belief in a god or gods, yet I acknowledge that there is ultimately no way to know that a god exists/does not exist... I simply lack belief.

This is rational; it has the problem however of sounding wishy-washy, like you are trying to soften the blow of being an atheist.

Personally I think there is good evidence there is no God anywhere near us, based on history and science (bad behavior of regions and the fact that there is no need for such a hypothesis and hence vie Occam's razor we reject it.  Most important is the existence of suffering.  Therefore I consider myself a somewhat harder atheist, but I would not say any of this is proof, just good and convincing evidence.  In fact it is generally not possible to "prove" anything and so this is an unreasonable thing to expect.

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Frank Merton
2 hours ago, XenoFish said:

I can understand the uplifting aspects of religion from a therapeutic perspective. As a stress reliever, a way to focus the mind, and as a means of feeling a part of something, but there is a very thin line between belief and fanaticism. My problem is people abusing others because of their religious beliefs. I honestly could careless what someone believes on a spiritual level it's that I don't want people harmed because of it. Religion is a lot like a gun. A gun can be used to kill for food or to take a life. Choice is always yours.

Also consider how I never go after pagans on here. There's a reason for that.

I find nothing uplifting about religion.  Most serious religions are bigoted, closed-minded, self-righteous and judgmental types.  Now there is something very uplifting about the idea of a beneficent God, but that is a different question than religion.

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Nuclear Wessel
2 hours ago, Frank Merton said:

This is rational; it has the problem however of sounding wishy-washy, like you are trying to soften the blow of being an atheist.

Interesting. Why do you perceive it as seeming like I am trying to "soften the blow of being an atheist"? That is certainly not my intention; I just accept that I cannot know one way or another that a god or gods exist(s), though in the absence of evidence in support of a god or gods I lack belief. 

Quote

Personally I think there is good evidence there is no God anywhere near us, based on history and science (bad behavior of regions and the fact that there is no need for such a hypothesis and hence vie Occam's razor we reject it.  

I agree with you. Based on what we know so far about the universe it does appear to be finite (thus no infinite possibilities), and based on our current understanding of science a God need not (and very likely does not) exist. 

:)

Quote

Most important is the existence of suffering.  

The existence of suffering, you say... that is fascinating. Why do you find that this is good evidence that there is no God near us? What if there is a God "near" us and it is simply indifferent to our suffering? Could an emotionally detached God not exist "near us"?

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eight bits

NW

This was addressed to Frank, but openly to the community as well, and so I'd like to say a word

Quote

Interesting. Why do you perceive it as seeming like I am trying to "soften the blow of being an atheist"?

I don't share Frank's reaction. What blow?

What I wonder is why anybody lards up a simple statement (what their opinion about gods happens to be) with an added "explanation" of something that I already know: that their opinion is an opinion, not something they know for a fact.

I'll bet they each have a navel, too. "My navel is on my belly!" Wow, that's special; thanks for sharing.

Vacuous words are not neutral. In this case, they erode the substantive Huxleyan term "agnosticism" to the wishy-washy (nice use of idiom, Frank) "I am not absolutely certain that my opinion is correct."

I understand somebody getting agitated when somebody else expresses a contrary opinion. What I don't get is how PO'd some people become when I tell them that I don't profess any opinion at all. What's the problem with that?

Atheist: somebody who holds or professes a respectable opinion about an uncertain state of affairs.

Agnostic: somebody who doesn't hold and profess any opinion about that uncertain state of affairs.

Atheist-agnostic: an atheist who needs an editor. Hey, all writers do; no offense meant to any athie-aggies out there.

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Mr Walker
On 08/05/2017 at 2:02 PM, Sherapy said:

Your mental script sounds exhausting to me. 

I think of I don't know as a spring board to possibility, not as a dead end.

BY itself, " I dont know"  is a dead end,  which produces nothing constructive, and no way forward. It then requires a further thought of imagination or creativity to move past accepting that you do not know, to look for answers. If there IS no data to provide              knowledge, then only imagination,  creativity, logic, and extrapolation remain

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Frank Merton
1 hour ago, Nuclear Wessel said:

Interesti

22 minutes ago, eight bits said:

NW

This was addressed to Frank, but openly to the community as well, and so I'd like to say a word

I don't share Frank's reaction. What blow?

What I wonder is why anybody lards up a simple statement (what their opinion about gods happens to be) with an added "explanation" of something that I already know: that their opinion is an opinion, not something they know for a fact.

I'll bet they each have a navel, too. "My navel is on my belly!" Wow, that's special; thanks for sharing.

Vacuous words are not neutral. In this case, they erode the substantive Huxleyan term "agnosticism" to the wishy-washy (nice use of idiom, Frank) "I am not absolutely certain that my opinion is correct."

I understand somebody getting agitated when somebody else expresses a contrary opinion. What I don't get is how PO'd some people become when I tell them that I don't profess any opinion at all. What's the problem with that?

Atheist: somebody who holds or professes a respectable opinion about an uncertain state of affairs.

Agnostic: somebody who doesn't hold and profess any opinion about that uncertain state of affairs.

Atheist-agnostic: an atheist who needs an editor. Hey, all writers do; no offense meant to any athie-aggies out there.

The existence of suffering, you say... that is fascinating. Why do you find that this is good evidence that there is no God near us? What if there is a God "near" us and it is simply indifferent to our suffering? Could an emotionally detached God not exist "near us"?

Part of the definition of God seems to me beneficent, loving.  If you assume something evil or not caring, it is not God.  The suffering objection doesn't apply to such beings, but they are brains, not God.  Of what interest to us is whether or not such a being is floating about except maybe as a datum of scientific interest.

The entire history of the religions that contain Gods (Buddhism is not one of them and doesn't have the problem of dealing with suffering since it starts with the premise that existence is suffering) is that this God is a source of comfort and that all will be well in the end -- but still the suffering continues -- i.e., such a God is not.

 

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Frank Merton
6 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

BY itself, " I dont know"  is a dead end,  which produces nothing constructive, and no way forward. It then requires a further thought of imagination or creativity to move past accepting that you do not know, to look for answers. If there IS no data to provide              knowledge, then only imagination,  creativity, logic, and extrapolation remain

I don't know is not and never will be a dead end.  It is a starting place.  If one assumes one knows, then one is at the dead end.

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Mr Walker
On 08/05/2017 at 2:31 PM, Frank Merton said:

My view of "belief" is that it is a different phenomenon from just firm opinion.  I have the firm opinion that the sun rises every 24 hours (on the average) but I don't "believe" it.  Opinions come from evidence, and the evidence seems to be that the sun does as described, since never in my life has it done otherwise.

Beliefs, on the other hand, come from indoctrination, generally as children.  No doubt which I was young I was told about the sun and no doubt I believed it.  So, in this case, the two views coincide and I have no way to separate what of my view is opinion and what is belief.  So I take a look at the evidence, adopt it as my opinion, and reject it as my belief.

When I was a child in Vietnam I was told all about the dead person known as a "horror" (the usual translation is "hungry ghost") but "horror" is in my mind a more accurate translation.  These are evil people who have died and because of their bad karma are unable to be reborn and wander the area of their death unable to experience anything physical (hence the "hungry") and are driven by the desire to be physical again.  Sooner or later they find rebirth, but in a low state.

I call this a "belief" because lots of people believe it.  I see it as nonsense, and when I go places reportedly haunted I never experience anything untoward, in spite of dire warnings, so the evidence supports my opinion.  It is a belief unsupported by evidence and hence should be rooted out and gotten rid of.  People don't.  They hold onto their beliefs, and even rationalize them almost to death.  This is of course the basis of an awful lot of religion and politics and other sources of trouble and misery.

Think of the whole movie industry which would be destroyed if humans rooted out their desire/ need/ capacity, for belief  If no one was scared by the IDEA of ghosts, zombies, evil leprechauns, living dolls, were wolves etc , then  storytellers and movie makers would be out of a job. :)

Entire groups of  world views and belief systems, like that of indigenous Australians  (And buddhism)  would be gone for ever.  And so, then, would be the lifestyles based upon the values and beliefs of people who held to those beliefs. . 

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