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atheism vs agnosticism

mattrodstrom
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10/23/2009 8:43:09 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I hold no religious/supernatural beliefs, on the basis that nothing I have ever experienced in any sense, seems to suggest or require positing a supernatural entity. I also very much believe that If there were such "supernatural" (outta this world) entities there would be no particular reason why I, in this world/existence, ought to be able to know anything whatsoever about the existence of another.

Thus I do not believe in any god, but don't think we can really state absolutely that there can be no such thing.

I understand that Atheism encompasses people of these beliefs, and I think that agnosticism is nothing more than these beliefs. So isn't Agnosticism just a specific type of atheism?
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
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10/23/2009 8:45:50 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
And please try to keep this forum upon the topic of the differences between atheism and agnosticism
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
tkubok
Posts: 5,044
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10/23/2009 9:04:27 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Depends.

I believe God exists, but i do not know god exists.

=

Theist

I believe god does not exist, but i do not know if he does not exist.

=

Atheist

The difference here is what you believe. Atheism and theism go to what you believe, while gnosticism and agnosticism, go to what you know, or claim to know. You can be an agnostic theist, agnostic atheist, gnostic theist, and gnostic atheist. You are an agnostic atheist.
brittwaller
Posts: 331
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10/23/2009 9:27:57 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Our beliefs are essentially the same. I always say that I'm an agnostic that errs to the side of atheism; in other words, I don't believe in any of the gods that have been suggested by man, so in that sense I am an atheist to all previously proposed gods.

However, a strong atheist, one that believes there is not only no evidence for any gods but goes a step further and says there definitely is no god, goes beyond your qualification that we cannot completely rule out all possible ideas of god or supernatural states of existence, and in doing so is an athiest only. The old joke among agnostics is that atheists make the same mistake as theists - they claim a definite knowledge of what can at most be an opinion.

Russell once said (I'm praraphrasing) that he thought all gods had the same probability of existence; to he and I and you this probability is not a high one. However one must also take into account the possibility of the "theistic agnostic." Where you and I would say "I don't know, and I cannot rule out the possiblility, however unlikely, that there might be something in the known or unknown universe that might meet some criteria for being 'god,' but nothing I have seen suggests the affirmative," to the question "Does god exist?" - the theistic agnostic would say "I don't know, and I cannot rule out the possibility, however unlikely, that there may be nothing in the known or unknown universe that meet some criteria for being 'god,' but everything I have seen suggests the affirmative" and would be, for all intents and purposes, a pantheist.
So, to answer your question: Sometimes.

Britt
Don't I take care of them all?
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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10/23/2009 3:09:24 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I think Spinoza's god is very interesting (he's often mistaken for a pantheist). The tricky thing about atheism is that in claiming to be an atheist, you're saying you don't believe in any supreme being(s) - including variations from the traditional monotheistic or polytheistic gods. A lot of people are hesitant to make that kind of assertion, and thus declare themselves agnostics. However, I'm pretty sure that agnostics also believe that knowledge is limited to human experience; an idea with which I do not agree (I'm a rationalist rather an an empiricist).
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I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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10/23/2009 3:13:55 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
If I say I see a flying pink unicorn in a room, they call me crazy and lock me in a mental asylum. Just because the majority see this flying pink unicorn doesn't mean it's right if they can't prove the invisible pink unicorn is, in fact, in the room. If they can I'll eat my hat and bow to the Flying Pink Unicorn.
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InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
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10/23/2009 3:17:53 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
My beliefs are kinda strange. While I don't believe in a higher power as most major religions do in one form or another, I do believe in things such as reincarnation. I believe that the soul and body are two separate entities and that after you die the body rots away while your soul leaves it and wanders. I use this theory to justify my belief in ghosts. The soul leaves the corpse and wanders around for awhile before being reincarnated into another body. This is why ghosts disappear after awhile I think although sometimes it can take hundreds of years. The soul just needs to find somewhere to go. Strange, I know.
I-am-a-panda
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10/23/2009 3:19:39 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/23/2009 3:17:53 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
My beliefs are kinda strange. While I don't believe in a higher power as most major religions do in one form or another, I do believe in things such as reincarnation. I believe that the soul and body are two separate entities and that after you die the body rots away while your soul leaves it and wanders. I use this theory to justify my belief in ghosts. The soul leaves the corpse and wanders around for awhile before being reincarnated into another body. This is why ghosts disappear after awhile I think although sometimes it can take hundreds of years. The soul just needs to find somewhere to go. Strange, I know.

Scientific proof kplzthx.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
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10/23/2009 3:21:38 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/23/2009 3:19:39 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:17:53 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
My beliefs are kinda strange. While I don't believe in a higher power as most major religions do in one form or another, I do believe in things such as reincarnation. I believe that the soul and body are two separate entities and that after you die the body rots away while your soul leaves it and wanders. I use this theory to justify my belief in ghosts. The soul leaves the corpse and wanders around for awhile before being reincarnated into another body. This is why ghosts disappear after awhile I think although sometimes it can take hundreds of years. The soul just needs to find somewhere to go. Strange, I know.

Scientific proof kplzthx.

What scientific proof? Since when did religion rely on scientific proof? ;)
I-am-a-panda
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10/23/2009 3:35:40 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/23/2009 3:21:38 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:19:39 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:17:53 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
My beliefs are kinda strange. While I don't believe in a higher power as most major religions do in one form or another, I do believe in things such as reincarnation. I believe that the soul and body are two separate entities and that after you die the body rots away while your soul leaves it and wanders. I use this theory to justify my belief in ghosts. The soul leaves the corpse and wanders around for awhile before being reincarnated into another body. This is why ghosts disappear after awhile I think although sometimes it can take hundreds of years. The soul just needs to find somewhere to go. Strange, I know.

Scientific proof kplzthx.

What scientific proof? Since when did religion rely on scientific proof? ;)

Hey-O!
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
JBlake
Posts: 4,634
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10/23/2009 4:01:07 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/23/2009 3:21:38 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:19:39 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:17:53 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
My beliefs are kinda strange. While I don't believe in a higher power as most major religions do in one form or another, I do believe in things such as reincarnation. I believe that the soul and body are two separate entities and that after you die the body rots away while your soul leaves it and wanders. I use this theory to justify my belief in ghosts. The soul leaves the corpse and wanders around for awhile before being reincarnated into another body. This is why ghosts disappear after awhile I think although sometimes it can take hundreds of years. The soul just needs to find somewhere to go. Strange, I know.

Scientific proof kplzthx.

What scientific proof? Since when did religion rely on scientific proof? ;)

Because you are making a claim about the natural world, you are going to need some proof.

I suppose you don't HAVE to provide evidence. But don't expect any to pay you any attention if you refuse to do so.

Also, Panda. Be nice to new members :P :)
I-am-a-panda
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10/23/2009 4:09:59 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/23/2009 4:01:07 PM, JBlake wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:21:38 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:19:39 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:17:53 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
My beliefs are kinda strange. While I don't believe in a higher power as most major religions do in one form or another, I do believe in things such as reincarnation. I believe that the soul and body are two separate entities and that after you die the body rots away while your soul leaves it and wanders. I use this theory to justify my belief in ghosts. The soul leaves the corpse and wanders around for awhile before being reincarnated into another body. This is why ghosts disappear after awhile I think although sometimes it can take hundreds of years. The soul just needs to find somewhere to go. Strange, I know.

Scientific proof kplzthx.

What scientific proof? Since when did religion rely on scientific proof? ;)

Because you are making a claim about the natural world, you are going to need some proof.

I suppose you don't HAVE to provide evidence. But don't expect any to pay you any attention if you refuse to do so.

Also, Panda. Be nice to new members :P :)

I generally ignore those who believe in Flying pink unicorns when it comes to Theology ;)

But okay.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
Vi_Veri
Posts: 4,487
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10/23/2009 4:10:49 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Belief/knowledge about god can be split by three catagories:

agnosticism
atheism
theism


The first portion of your belief system is your "belief." Do you believe (don't have to know, just believe) there is a god? Generally they go as:

If you do, you are a theist.
If you don't, you are an atheist.
If you don't know, you are agnostic.

The next step is a knowledge claim. Do you know if there is a god or not? Strong theists or Strong atheists are sure there is no god or there is a god. Strong Agnostics claim that there is no way that someone can know whether there is a god or not.

Knowledge claims go as follows...

Agnostic (meaning "no knowledge")
Gnostic (opposite)


You can have a weak form of Agnostic as well, though, which claims that you don't know, but it doesn't necessarily mean the knowledge can't be obtained.

So, then you put the terms together and get things like... (first term is your "belief" and second term is your "knowledge" claim):

Atheist Agnostic (a person who doesn't believe in god, but doesn't know if god exists or not)

Theist Agnostic (a person who believes in god, but doesn't know id god exists or not)

Etc, etc, you probably catch on to the combination.

Most people are not "Gnostic" in their knowledge claim. Those radicals are usually very naive in the realm of Epistemology. The bulk of people will be "Agnostic" in their knowledge claim. The belief systems, however, will vary a lot - and are usually what people are talking about when they refer to themselves as a "theist" or "atheist" or "agnostic." Any atheist who "knows" there is no god is considered a strong atheist. Any theist who "knows" there is a god is considered a strong theist. Any agnostic who "knows" you can't know if there is a god or not is considered a strong agnostic. So, you can also add "weak" or "strong" to the "knowledge" part of your claim.

As for me?

I use to be an atheist weak-agnostic, but have recently turned into an.... Agnostic weak-Agnostic.

I hope that helps : )
I could give a f about no haters as long as my ishes love me.
brittwaller
Posts: 331
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10/23/2009 5:12:44 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/23/2009 4:01:07 PM, JBlake wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:21:38 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:19:39 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
At 10/23/2009 3:17:53 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
My beliefs are kinda strange. While I don't believe in a higher power as most major religions do in one form or another, I do believe in things such as reincarnation. I believe that the soul and body are two separate entities and that after you die the body rots away while your soul leaves it and wanders. I use this theory to justify my belief in ghosts. The soul leaves the corpse and wanders around for awhile before being reincarnated into another body. This is why ghosts disappear after awhile I think although sometimes it can take hundreds of years. The soul just needs to find somewhere to go. Strange, I know.

Scientific proof kplzthx.

What scientific proof? Since when did religion rely on scientific proof? ;)

Because you are making a claim about the natural world, you are going to need some proof.

I suppose you don't HAVE to provide evidence. But don't expect any to pay you any attention if you refuse to do so.


Here I would have to disagree; Insert's answer was more appropriate concerning such a belief than if he had next attempted to form a proof, in my opinion. His belief is, of course, nonsense, but instead of looking silly and ignorant, he only looks silly.
I agree with the second part, though. Which tends to put theists on this site in an awkward position, one which is usually very easily exploited, as no doubt hundreds of debates will show...
Don't I take care of them all?
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
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10/23/2009 5:51:30 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Hey, I told everybody my beliefs are f*cked up. I don't really have any reasoning except that it just makes sense to me. It's kinda like other people choose religions based on what "makes sense" in their mind. Since it doesn't involve a deity I just consider myself atheist.

P.S- since when was I a "he"? ;)
Vi_Veri
Posts: 4,487
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10/23/2009 11:25:03 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/23/2009 5:00:50 PM, JBlake wrote:
Is there any reason that you turned into a strong agnostic?

Agnostic, weak-agnostic?

Now I'm far from desperation, but I had a pantheistic realization. Now it wasn't a temptation for salvation, but an admiration for formation - inspiration by my own appreciation.

In other words, it was divine revelation.

lol, Actually, an induced situation.
I could give a f about no haters as long as my ishes love me.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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10/24/2009 12:07:12 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I think both positions are missing the point. It's not about, is there evidence for a god or not.

As Alan Watts said in my signature: "The religious idea of God cannot do full duty for the metaphysical infinity."

.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
brittwaller
Posts: 331
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10/24/2009 8:34:06 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/24/2009 12:07:12 AM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I think both positions are missing the point. It's not about, is there evidence for a god or not.

As Alan Watts said in my signature: "The religious idea of God cannot do full duty for the metaphysical infinity."

.

Please define "the religious idea of god." If your definition is less ambiguous than "the metaphysical infinity," there is a small possibility that this statement is more than nonsense.
Don't I take care of them all?
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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10/24/2009 8:37:35 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/23/2009 11:25:03 PM, Vi_Veri wrote:
At 10/23/2009 5:00:50 PM, JBlake wrote:
Is there any reason that you turned into a strong agnostic?


Agnostic, weak-agnostic?

Now I'm far from desperation, but I had a pantheistic realization. Now it wasn't a temptation for salvation, but an admiration for formation - inspiration by my own appreciation.

In other words, it was divine revelation.


lol, Actually, an induced situation.

*Smiles*
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RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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10/24/2009 9:19:55 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/23/2009 3:17:53 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
... While I don't believe in a higher power as most major religions do in one form or another, I do believe in things such as reincarnation.

That's very close to Buddhism, at least some variations of Buddhism. There is no belief in gods. Reincarnation is viewed as just the way the world works -- mystical and religious, but not theist.
regebro
Posts: 1,152
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10/25/2009 6:10:12 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/23/2009 8:43:09 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
Thus I do not believe in any god, but don't think we can really state absolutely that there can be no such thing.

We can't state anything with 100% certainty, because reality could be an illusion. But isn't it then reasonably to say that something that is 100% true is it withing the illusion we call reality? Well, yes. And then we can state things, and we can look at the rules for determining truth.

And one of those rules turns out to be: If there is no indication that X exists, then we must assume X does not exists.

Therefore, we can state that god does not exist.
So prove me wrong, then.
Metallicker
Posts: 44
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10/25/2009 7:17:57 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I've recently come to the conclusion that by what the majority of people mean when they say they're agnostic is that they're atheists. Just not of the 'strong variety'.
Personally I haven't met an absolute atheist, just others who believe and live their lives by the belief that there is no god.
I use the terms interjecturaly depending on how I feel like describing myself at that period of time. Personally I see little difference
JBlake
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10/25/2009 11:51:48 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/25/2009 7:17:57 AM, Metallicker wrote:
I've recently come to the conclusion that by what the majority of people mean when they say they're agnostic is that they're atheists. Just not of the 'strong variety'.
Personally I haven't met an absolute atheist, just others who believe and live their lives by the belief that there is no god.
I use the terms interjecturaly depending on how I feel like describing myself at that period of time. Personally I see little difference

I also think that the majority of people that say they are 'Christians' really mean they are 'Deists'. That is just my observations from growing up in a liberal college town. It could very well be different everywhere else.
Vi_Veri
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10/25/2009 12:46:27 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
By Agnostic, I mean truly Agnostic. I don't believe or not believe in god - nor do I know, either way.

If I were pushed (and I mean life or death), at this very moment, I would side with a pantheistic or even deistic view.
I could give a f about no haters as long as my ishes love me.
JBlake
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10/25/2009 1:19:06 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/25/2009 12:46:27 PM, Vi_Veri wrote:
By Agnostic, I mean truly Agnostic. I don't believe or not believe in god - nor do I know, either way.

If I were pushed (and I mean life or death), at this very moment, I would side with a pantheistic or even deistic view.

*Push*

If you went with the deistic view, what attributes would this god/creator have, if any?
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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10/25/2009 4:34:36 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
In my opinion, the argument for the monotheistic God isn't any stronger than that of the theory that we're all living in a virtual reality or are just brains in vats. I think that a lot of religious texts were originally allegorical tales and explanations about some sort of pantheistic god, which have been manipulated and distorted over the years. I could claim to be an agnostic because I really don't know, but that usually implies being open to the idea of the monotheistic God (which I'm not).
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mongeese
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10/25/2009 4:40:02 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/25/2009 6:10:12 AM, regebro wrote:
And one of those rules turns out to be: If there is no indication that X exists, then we must assume X does not exists.
It would make more sense to say: If there is no indication that X exists, then we must assume that X may or may not exist.
Otherwise, we'd have stated photons don't exist long ago. And that wouldn't have seemed very smart.