It's Agnostic, Not Atheist

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Ichigo, Mar 27, 2015.

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  1. So, I keep telling people, I'm agnostic, then when they ask what that is, I tell them it means I don't believe, nor disbelieve in god, gods, goddesses, prophets, etc. To an agnostic person, things are what they are, our existence is an overall grey area. How can anyone say, definitively, with concrete (I said concrete, not ancient texts or stories) evidence that God or Shiva exist? Everyone that I know keeps asking, "So, you believe that God doesn't exist?" Keep in mind that most of these people have known me for a long time or are related to me, and all of them have strong religious beliefs (not like any of them actually go to church) and were under the impression that I was Catholic like the rest of my family, this was what they thought for 17 years, before I said I'm agnostic.

    Now, I get, "You're an atheist!" from a lot of my relatives (even some of my teachers when I was in high school), my great-grandmother thinks that I am completely against God and believes he does not exist at all (this woman has spent almost 90 years going to church at 5 in the morning every single Sunday, still does, and has never had a job) and she keeps calling me atheist. I told her, "I have no idea whether he exists or not, so why should I even care? There is no possible way for me to know, so I should just live my life as I want to and enjoy it to the fullest."

    Even after a thorough explanation about agnosticism, people still say it's atheism. The two are completely different. If you ask an atheist about religion, they would say something along the lines of, "I don't believe in that, there is no God or higher power." If you ask an agnostic person like myself about religion, we would probably say, "I don't know, why are you asking me?" Unlike a lot of religions, or in atheism's case the lack of belief in religion, people who are agnostic kind just tell you to be you and live how you want. I see agnostic people, for the most part, as the people who just don't care and think people should be allowed to have their beliefs. Now, I know there are a lot of people in all religions that preach this, and there are people that are agnostic that complain a lot about religion and bash it, but we're talking about generalizations and stereotypes at the moment.

    People keep arguing about religion like it's this thing that has to be a single, unified idea, but people are different, cultures are different, why does all religion have to be the same. Religion is probably the main reason why most countries have the governments they do have, well...not dictatorships and stuff like that, at least not all of them, but you get the basic idea. I live in the United States, so I can tell you for certain, religion still has a huge impact on politics and how the country is run, as well as what bills and laws get passed.

    Also, on more thing, Confucianism, not a religion, at least not the kind of religion most people think of, not like Christianity or Judaism. Confucianism was originally meant to be a political ideology and way of life, it was meant mostly for politics and government, which was the reason for its creation. It is more of a ideology or philosophy rather than a religion.

    Well, now that all of that is out of my system, who else has an agnostic view or thinks people should just have their own beliefs and everyone just accept that? Please, do not argue about religion or start a flame war, those are not fun, but they are a little funny to read, but don't do it, let everyone have their own opinions. Feel free to rant here yourselves, or post about your dumbest arguments about religion.
     
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  2. I think it's to be expected that you would get this reaction. The kind of people you're dealing with don't really care what you are, just that you're not Christian.

    Even though I'm not Agnostic personally, I'm fully behind leaving people to believe in what they want to believe. I have no interest in fighting people that aren't coming after me or anyone else.

    EDIT: Damn embed codes.
     
  3. Don't think I've ever had it that bad, but that's because most of the people I know are okay so long as you believe in god, but they turn around and say that Islam is wrong, but Ala translates to God.
     
  4. Well, I'm agnostic so I know the struggle. Being confused with atheists 90% of the time gets really old really fast, and at one point you just stop giving a damn. I did go to church and sing in the church choir, but that was out of community rather than religion.

    While religion to me is a sort of sore subject (I'm queer so given the history, I don't trust the church), people should be allowed to have their beliefs, unless those beliefs end up hurting people or a specific group of people. I personally have no issue with religious people, as long as they don't spread hate "in the name of their God". I'm mostly thinking about those extreme cases of "God hates fags" and "abortion is sin".

    But, like, if people want to believe in a higher power, go for it. As long as they don't try to drag people with them or use it as a tool to gain power or spread negativity, I don't particularly care what they do. They could worship curtain gods for all I care.
     
  5. Not trying to start a flame war here, I'm just asking out of curiosity.

    Have you ever heard of the 'Agnostic <--> Fundamentalist/Gnostic' scale?
     
  6. I'm Catholic, myself, but I, too, hold the belief that people have every right to practice whatever religion (or lack thereof) that they so choose, so long as they're not inflicting hate towards anyone else.

    To most people I say this to, though, that seems to kind of blow their mind. It often feels like just about everyone equates Catholicism with Christian extremism, so, when people hear that I'm Catholic, they often find it hard to believe that I'm not offended by people expressing beliefs that differ from mine. *sigh*
     
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  7. Just be simple. Just say that Atheists (Like me) Disbelieves, and Agnostic has simply no grounds to believe in what they haven't seen? For some reason, I'm surprised people still mix the two.
     
  8. A good way to describe being agnostic to somebody is along the lines of 'I am open to the idea of the existence of God, and should I witness first hand evidence of God's existence, I'll gladly accept it.'

    I haven't had too many difficult conversations with people about me being agnostic, but I do like to point out that there's numerous faiths all claiming they are correct, and I would feel improper choosing one over another because it would be like saying that every faith but the one I choose is wrong but I respect anyone that is religious and enjoy talking to them about their faith.

    The way I look at things, there's no saying that any religion is wrong in the slightest, for all we know every god ever worshiped does exist, but presents itself differently for certain cultures because one size doesn't fit all kind of thing. Maybe ol' Valhalla's in the plane of existence next door to Catholic heaven or whatever. There's no way to know until we die, and personally, I'm not in any rush. Maybe before I die I'll witness something that I cannot deny was an act of God and find faith then. But for now, I'm comfortable entertaining the possibility that God may or may not exist, and I kind of hope He/She/It does, but until I see something that'll make me believe I'm just going to carry on like it's irrelevant.

    Making choices for yourself is one of the most important parts of life, and if someone can't be bothered to understand your own beliefs, then that's their problem. If they really gave a shit, they'd take the time to listen to what you had to say and accept your answer. Agnostic beliefs really are not a difficult concept to grasp.
     
  9. Having been raised Catholic myself, I've always found it odd that out of all branches it's the Catholics who got that paranoia. :/
    I mean I wasn't even exposed to religious extremists until I was 14 years old, when I took to the internet to question my own faith.
     
    #9 Gwazi Magnum, Mar 29, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  10. Aye. It's only on the internet that I seem to encounter such types -- and even then, not even too often. I don't think I've ever met a Catholic extremist or really even any sort of Christian extremist IRL who would fit the Catholic stereotype.
     
  11. The closest I met to a Christian extremist RL is actually a friend of mine, whose every facebook status is either thanking or praising God somewhere.
    And avoids some things like Magic the Gathering and Harry Potter.

    Nothing that would come across as hateful or intolerant though.
     
  12. Sorry to step in like this, but it is Allah and you are correct about it being God himself. We also have 99 names for Allah to!
     
  13. Agnostic<->Gnostic.
    Atheist<->Theist.

    Two different scales often taken out of context.

    Gnostic: You are certain. It is not faith (to you), but fact. Concrete, absolute fact. Often referred to as fundamentalism: It is, rather than it may be.
    Agnostic: You are uncertain. In the case of belief, it is on faith. In the case of disbelief, it is on skepticism.

    Theist: You have faith in a deity of some sort.
    Atheist: You have no faith in a deity of any sort.

    There are atheistic branches of Buddhism that adhere to spiritual beliefs without a deity. There are also theists who believe in a higher power, but subscribe to no world religion and make no claims as to who or what this "higher power" is. Ergo, there are four states.

    Gnostic Theist: "There is a God, and He is real. There is nothing that can ever sway me from His path."
    Agnostic Theist: "I believe there is a God, and I think He is real. I do not know, but I believe."
    Agnostic Atheist: "I do not believe there is a God, due to insubstantial evidence. I cannot disprove the existence of a God, and therefore leave in the possibility there is a God, should evidence come to light to sway my perspective."
    Gnostic Atheist: "There is no God, and no evidence could ever sway me otherwise."

    I've yet to meet a gnostic atheist, because the vast majority who become atheists, do so typically out of a crisis of faith that results in embracing some measure of skepticism about a higher power. Skepticism doesn't eliminate possibilities, it merely discounts them due to insubstantial evidence, ergo... "I do not believe there is a God, because there is a lack of evidence, however I cannot disprove the existence of a deity, due to insufficient knowledge of the universe." It's a false dichotomy to say you are agnostic or an atheist: They're on different scales, they measure different things.

    Gnostic vs Agnostic: Measures certainty in a belief. The more certain you are, the more gnostic you are. The less certain you are, the more agnostic you are.
    Theist vs Atheist: Is a simple yes/no question: Do you believe in a deity or higher power? If yes: Theist. If no: Atheist.

    That's it, really. It's made out to be far more complicated than it really is. Atheism doesn't mean that you hate all supernatural things and that you want to burn every bible you see and skullfuck the Pope: It just means you don't believe in a deity or higher power. That's it. Really, that's all there is to it. I should know, I am one. :ferret:
     
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  14. I was debating going here myself.
    Though since it was a Rant Thread I figured I should try to ease into it if possible.

    However, since you just came right out and said it I don't see any harm in doing the same now.

    Basically @Ichigo it's like Brovo described.
    At least in terms of what the words 'Atheist' and 'Agnostic' actually mean.
    So by what you've described you would fall under as "Agnostic Atheist".

    However, as also stated this is something that's often made out to be more complicated than it is.
    So those who pointed fingers at you and yelled "You're an atheist!" might not have understood the difference, they very well could have been confusing the meanings as well.
    But may they be using the correct, or incorrect definition of the words or not. As far as the English language is concerned anyone who does not believe in God yet is open to the idea of it via evidence (or simply takes a stance of "I don't know what's out there") is considered to be an Agnostic Atheist.
     
  15. I'm not very religious myself but I consider myself "spiritual" in a way that I think we all have souls (even Gingers) and we go to a higher plane of consciousness when we check out in this world. I think spiritualism and science should go hand in hand because they're both in search of truth and reasons whereas religion is a human institution to establish an "us and them" paradigm.

    As someone once told me an atheist does not believe in god while an agnostic is open to the thought god might exist but won't believe it until a lightning bolt strikes them in the ass. That's the backwoods way of deciphering the two anyway. :bsmile:

    Agnostics are open minded where as to them god may or may not exist and are indifferent to the point nothing is really lost or gained with them if either are the case. Whereas atheists seem to be more belligerent (in my experience) to any mention of god, higher power or anything remotely religious for they try to prove there is no god, only science. My beef with atheists they use a person's personal belief as a barometer to one's intelligence level where an agnostic is more passive and frankly could care less what another another believes so long as they don't force it down their throats.
     
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  16. :ferret: I am an atheist myself sir. I can politely inform you that fundamentalists come in all shapes and sizes, gnostics especially and probably exclusively. How much someone invests into their spiritual beliefs is totally irrelevant to how gnostic or agnostic they are: You'll just find more people casual about the subject who are agnostic by nature because it's pretty hard to fervently believe in something and then not give a shit about it.

    Gnostic atheism confuses me, because the nature by which one becomes an atheist is skepticism, but... Hey. Fundamentalists come in all flavours, shapes, and sizes.

    As for you, if you don't believe in a particular deity, but believe in spiritual stuff, you're probably an agnostic atheist too. Welcome to the club. :ferret:
     
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  17. I'm not an atheist, agnostic or a theist. No my friend, I am your classic deist. I believe in God but I'm not what you consider a "bible thumper" or these folks who believe the world is only a few thousand years old or some other fundamental belief that makes them a centerfold of mockery.

    I am certain God exists and I am certain an afterlife exists. I just don't get into the deep theological stuff like the fundamentalists do. I go into more of the laws of nature and mostly the spiritual aspects of it where I think modern Christianity has lost sight of. When push comes to shove I think the church has perverted the real teaching of Christ. I won't go on a whole tirade on it but it is the reason I'm no longer a Baptist or part of any denomination. The faith has become a ideological human institution called organized religion rather than a spiritual fraternization a man taught who was so influential we base the calendar after his death.

    I'm just wary and weary of the rancor I get from some of these militant atheists in my past forum experience who get in my face on how unintelligent or childish I am for "believing in fairy tales" or having no proof of God's existence. Why do I need proof? I believe because I can and want to.
     
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