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Labels: Why I'm an Agnostic

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posted on Jul, 9 2016 @ 11:47 PM
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Neil deGrasse Tyson - Why I'm an Agnostic

It seemed a good idea to consider labels that people use for themselves or other people. I found this video(just a picture with audio actually) in which Tyson explains why he prefers Agnostic over Atheist as a label, actually he would prefer no label.

Here's a quote toward the end: "I don't have the time, the energy, or the interest to fight it[intelligent design]."

I was surprised that his definition for atheist was totally different from my definition.

The topic is labels, not intelligent design. I don't want the thread moved to that other sub forum to remain unlabeled, we know what it is though.
edit on 9-7-2016 by pthena because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 12:19 AM
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What is your definition of Atheist if it differs from NdGT?



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 12:24 AM
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a reply to: zazzafrazz


What is your definition of Atheist if it differs from NdGT?

What I was using as a definition was no reference to a god in one's life.

The person just doesn't have a niche in their thinking to place a god. So that would be closer to what Tyson calls agnostic.



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 12:26 AM
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I think he's denouncing his ties with atheism because it's (at least in the last few years) become its own movement, rather then simply a position. He doesn't want to be part of any religion and that's essentially what Atheism has become recently. If you listen to him talk, it's clear he doesn't believe in God, which IS in fact atheism (he alludes to religious people being ignorant). Agnosticism is a decision to not have an opinion one way or the other.

TBH, I agree with him. It should not be about labels, it should be about understanding. Like he said, as soon as we begin the labels, everything said henceforth loses its potential nuance.

TLDR; He is an Atheist, but he doesn't want to be associated with what Atheism has become.
edit on 10-7-2016 by Aedaeum because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 12:45 AM
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a reply to: Aedaeum



TBH, I agree with him. It should not be about labels, it should be about understanding. Like he said, as soon as we begin the labels, everything said henceforth loses its potential nuance.

That's what I was getting from it to. If he would prefer no label, then perhaps we should respect that and let him do what he wants to do - science, and the presentation of findings.



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 01:07 AM
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Here's a story:

Anon (Anonymous) is someone I often converse with. She was in the habit of characterizing herself as "not religious but spiritual". She seemed quite content with that.

One day I inquired what that actually meant to her. What she described was empathetic behavior towards others with the ability to use god in conversation, but the word god was an empty placeholder.

So I said, "Then you are an atheist?" She thought about it and replied "I guess I am".

Anon had been in the habit of sometimes going with her mother to a Southern Baptist Church that her mother was a member of. She had no problem singing the hymns, kneeling in prayer, etc. It was social behavior.

One day she told her mother that she was an Atheist. A barrier instantly formed between them. When Anon accompanied her mother to church next, she felt bad singing the hymns and praying. She felt like she was being a hypocrite. A feeling new to her. She therefore quit going to church with her mother.

The only thing which had changed was the public application of a label. Without the label, there would not have been the barrier.

I am a the villain of the story. By providing a label, I took her innocence.
edit on 10-7-2016 by pthena because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 01:45 AM
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a reply to: pthena

I think most of us would say that it was inevitable to come to that realization at some point. Her mom would have found out that she didn't believe in God and was simply going through the motions. She, herself, would have realized it as well at a certain point.

The questions you have to ask are, was it being an Atheist that caused her to change, or the fact that she didn't believe in God and felt uncomfortable doing things that are only befitting someone who believes in a God?

If an idea segregates you before understanding, then it's a label. If the understanding of the idea segregates you, then it's your philosophy which segregates you, not a label. It's my opinion in this particular instance that it wasn't the label that segregated her, but the revelation that she was being insincere with her mom by using the church as a social experience, rather than a spiritual one.

All that being said, you did take her innocence away. Sadly there's no place for innocence in the real world, except to get beaten out of you. If we want to live in this world, the way it exists today, we lose. Now, obviously it shouldn't be that way and I'm sure in certain parts of the world, there are tribes where innocence is free. Living in modern society though...not so much.

Again, all that being said, you shouldn't beat yourself up too hard over it, as it was inevitable. I know your care for her won't let you feel better, regardless how good the justification, but it's a damn good justification. I've taken the innocence away from someone I cared about as well, so you're not alone.

On multiple occasions I've had my own innocence ripped away from me by people I cared about...It's very difficult no matter which side your'e on.
edit on 10-7-2016 by Aedaeum because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 02:10 AM
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a reply to: Aedaeum


was it being an Atheist that caused her to change, or the fact that she didn't believe in God and felt uncomfortable doing things that are only befitting someone who believes in a God?

The way she described it was that since one person knew and no one else knew then she was being a hypocrite as far as the others were concerned. So I would still say that the labeling of herself to her mother was a deciding factor.

But in a general way, is it wrong to allow people to assume that you are "one of them" if you act like them, talk like them, look like them? Must people share their private selves? Is the church damaged in any way if a person with ambivalence is present? Just someone in the pews; not an elder, or deacon, or choir director, or officer of any sort, just a quiet human being?

-- I'm going to have to go to bed now, I'll check back in in about 8 hrs. -- Thank you for participating. No big rush on answers required.



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 03:47 AM
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a reply to: Aedaeum

He's stated that he associates atheists as actively trying to disprove god. He doesn't actively try to denounce santa etc etc . As stated here he doesn't have the energy of will to belittle someone's belief system.

He's right on so many things. My favourite thing he has stated " if you believe in God than you are no good to me in the lab. As soon as the final conclusion is god did it you are of no help to me or science " (along those lines)



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 08:59 AM
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a reply to: GemmyMcGemJew

Yes. Well summarized. Thank you.

He does not fit his definition of atheist based upon his observation of how people so labeling themselves behave.

The first responder ("you mean, like a fireman or policeman?") ("no, to the thread") asked what my definition of Atheist was. I gave a partial answer. The second part is this.

What Doctor ("is he doctor"?) ("I don't know. Does it matter?") Tyson describes as what he would label atheist, is what, and understand I use what may sound like a bad name to some but I use it simply for lack of knowledge of a more fitting term, "god hater".

By which I mean, in contrast to Anon in the story I wrote earlier, the god in their speech is not an empty placeholder. For the "god hater" the word god is full of content. The content is the "god hater's" mental image of what he (or she, I'm not implying that all man are male, wait, what? mankind, hopefully I haven't offended anyone) understands god to mean to the other person.

Edit to add:

I just looked it up. He can be called Dr. Tyson. I'm glad because I have a hard time remembering how to spell the first part of his name.

He gets to work at the same place where he first got interested in Astronomy. How cool is that?


edit on 10-7-2016 by pthena because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 10:58 AM
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a reply to: pthena


Is the church damaged in any way if a person with ambivalence is present?

Quoting Aedaeum:


If an idea segregates you before understanding, then it's a label. If the understanding of the idea segregates you, then it's your philosophy which segregates you, not a label.

Segregation then:
An idea or philosophy is internal (subjective) and a label is external (not exactly objective, something like identifying marker)

To take the abstract idea and make it flesh, let's allow Anon to remain Anon and make a fictional character Fi.Anon. But she prefers Phiona.

Remember Phiona is an empathetic person. Phiona states it this way:
As long as the question of god was not an issue, there was nothing to segregate me from the members of the church. I knew that if it became an issue then the members would have thought of me as "god hater". They would have been asking themselves "what is a god hater doing here? Has she no shame?" To save them and me from that I simply chose not to go there any more.

So outside the church she was of pure mind. But inside the church she was "god hater" according to both her definition and their's (from her understanding). As long as the members didn't know, they would not have been harmed (in my opinion), but if they did know they would have been harmed.

I was given a tour of a church building once, "over here is this, which means this. And over here is that..." The most striking feature was the Inquirer's Gallery, a section separate from the rest of the pews, wherein the not baptized, not full members, would sit, honored visitors. But if they were so honored then why were they furthest from the action(the holiest place of the sanctuary)?
edit on 10-7-2016 by pthena because: spelling



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 11:48 AM
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dr tyson raises an excellent point. atheism is a manner of regard. agnosticism is the absence of regard. one cares about theism, the other does not. and good on him for deciding that his time and energy are better spent on other matters, particularly since his time and energy is worth money. its not a matter of belief, its a matter of relevance, and his comments nail it. as for the concern of labels, every word is a label. every language is a symphony of labels. the problem is that people are irresponsible with language. the problem has always been that people are irresponsible.


I was given a tour of a church building once, "over here is this, which means this. And over here is that..." The most striking feature was the Inquirer's Gallery, a section separate from the rest of the pews, wherein the not baptized, not full members, would sit, honored visitors. But if they were so honored then why were they furthest from the action(the holiest place of the sanctuary)?


i have always wondered why no one prays for satan. surely of all the people in existence who need saving, its him? and yet we have given up on him. how many times is it said that every sinner has a future, and every saint a past, and yet even as priests and popes encourage every soul to seek the light no matter how far they have strayed from it, there is no hope at all for satan. i saw this movie a while ago called "strange magic" which sort of takes a leaf from the frozen movie in that the bad guy turns out to be a very lonely person who was burned by the very things that made him good, so he stopped being good. then everyone wanted to destroy him, but a mildly charming sequence of musical shenanigans revealed he never really stopped being good deep down, he just needed someone to show him how not to get burned. makes me wonder what really happened with satan all those years ago.


but anyway, back to the topic.
edit on 10-7-2016 by TzarChasm because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 12:15 PM
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a reply to: TzarChasm


i have always wondered why no one prays for satan. surely of all the people in existence who need saving, its him? and yet we have given up on him

I'm not so sure that no one is praying for satan. But then again, satan is also a concept in people's mind. The concepts change according to theological construct (worldview), and historic usage. One person's satan may not be another person's satan. But then prayer itself needs definition. Is it empty time or time full of intent and energy?

Yes, better stay on topic.
ETA
I've seen that movie about 3 times.
edit on 10-7-2016 by pthena because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 01:53 PM
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a reply to: pthena

If the case is that she became "God hater" because of the label Atheist, then obviously it was a case of labeling that caused the segregation. It's sad that Atheist now means "God hater" when it simply means no belief in theology. That, in my opinion, is a perversion of Atheism. A new term should be invented for those who want to wear the mantle of "God hater".

As far as your rhetorical question about where those "honored" visitors were sitting. 90% of all Christian churches practice hypocrisy as their way of life. It's no surprise that they invent sections that are holy or reserved based on their own presuppositions about divine hierarchy. "I art holier than thou" is what they live, no-fault grace is what they preach.

Practice != Preach

Anyway, I digress from the OP.



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 01:56 PM
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a reply to: TzarChasm




...the problem has always been that people are irresponsible.


Nail meet hammer, because you nailed it. An even greater issue is that irresponsibility is perpetuated by inept parents and teachers. We are sowing a society of invalids, who are not infirm in their members, but their minds.
edit on 10-7-2016 by Aedaeum because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 02:24 PM
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Labels are inevitable dispute causing obsessions and both divide and unite, positively and negatively.

If you choose to label yourself, fine.

But nobody should force you to forsake one for the other.

And most labels do.



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 02:27 PM
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a reply to: TzarChasm

Because satan never did anything that Yahveh didn't approve of.

So it would be like saying "God, do a better job."



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 02:38 PM
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a reply to: pthena

which movie? frozen or strange magic?



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 02:40 PM
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originally posted by: DaathSader
a reply to: TzarChasm

Because satan never did anything that Yahveh didn't approve of.

So it would be like saying "God, do a better job."


yeah, remember that time god basically dared satan to make a dude lose faith? and if satans little pranks had actually succeeded in making job turn his back on god, god wouldnt have hesitated to sentence him to the lake of fire. funny how that works.



posted on Jul, 10 2016 @ 03:14 PM
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a reply to: TzarChasm

He even (god) enticed his creation satan by saying "What about my faithful servant Job?"

So Satan says well look at how much you have given him, take it away and then you will see.

Satan in the book of Job has an altogether different personality and character in Christianity because of people who didn't understand the Old Testament role of Satan because of a misinterpreted a passage in Isaiah.

And now the world is stuck with it, refuses to acknowledge that it was a mistake and let go of the ridiculous belief in the"fallen angel" satan.

But it never happened (fall of satan).




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