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Agnosticism- The Sibling of Moderation.

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posted on Sep, 22 2009 @ 03:57 AM
I am posting this in this forum because I find the questions of agnostic **non**beliefs neither answerable in religious terms or traditional scientific terms.

Many here think they understand what being agnostic means, but by some of the statements and assumptions I have read I think there should be a thread to clear up some of the confusion. So, here we are.

By no means is it any kind of religion. There are no particular beliefs you must adhere to to be agnostic. There are no traditions or doctrine to follow to call yourself an agnostic. No literature or holy text. There are no leaders, heirarchy and certainly no agnostic churches. Other than maybe the unofficial official drink- **gin & tonic**
(this may vary from person to person)...there is nothing that plays a role to get you to think one way or another about 'God'.

But at the same time. Being agnostic does not necessarily equate to being athiest. In fact many times, there are agnostic people who will go to church or are very spiritual and give credit to certain aspects of religion that should play a role in a human beings life.

So, what is the definition of agnosticism?

Here is wikis definition:

Agnosticism (Greek: α- a-, without + γνώσις gnōsis, knowledge; after Gnosticism) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims — particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of deities, spiritual beings, or even ultimate reality — are unknown or, in some forms of agnosticism, unknowable.[1] It is not a religious declaration in itself, and an agnostic may also be a theist or an atheist.[2]

However there are different versions of agnostic views.

Again from that same link:

Types of agnosticism
Agnosticism can be subdivided into several subcategories. Recently suggested variations include:

Strong agnosticism (also called "hard," "closed," "strict," or "permanent agnosticism")
the view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities and the nature of ultimate reality is unknowable by reason of our natural inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience. A strong agnostic would say, "I cannot know whether a deity exists or not, and neither can you."
Weak agnosticism (also called "soft," "open," "empirical," or "temporal agnosticism")
the view that the existence or nonexistence of any deities is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable, therefore one will withhold judgment until/if any evidence is available. A weak agnostic would say, "I don't know whether any deities exist or not, but maybe one day when there is evidence we can find something out."
Apathetic agnosticism (also called Pragmatic agnosticism)
the view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of any deity, but since any deity that may exist appears unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic.[citation needed]
Agnostic atheism
the view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, and do not believe in any.[12]
Agnostic theism (also called "spiritual agnosticism")
the view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence. Søren Kierkegaard believed that knowledge of any deity is impossible, and because of that people who want to be theists must believe: "If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe." (See Knowledge vs. Beliefs.)
the view that a coherent definition of a deity must be put forward before the question of the existence of a deity can be meaningfully discussed. If the chosen definition isn't coherent, the ignostic holds the noncognitivist view that the existence of a deity is meaningless or empirically untestable. A.J. Ayer, Theodore Drange, and other philosophers see both atheism and agnosticism as incompatible with ignosticism on the grounds that atheism and agnosticism accept "a deity exists" as a meaningful proposition which can be argued for or against. An ignostic cannot even say whether he/she is a theist or a nontheist until a better definition of theism is put forth.[13][dubious – discuss]
Religious agnosticism
the view that the agnostic principle can be mixed either with at least some minimum of affirmative doctrine, or with the type of religiousness that makes no very substantial doctrinal demands.

In essence what it boils down to is you are a fence sitter of sorts. Many people look at this as someone who doesnt take a stance on things, and wont stand up for what is right or someone that will allow something to happen without standing up for yourself. Not hardly, in my opinion...
I try to live life in moderation and I see my beliefs about the "unknowable" a great example of openmindedness, but still, at the same time, susceptible to fault just as the religious extremist on the right are.

If you can not look at something and see both sides to the equation or think you have it all figured out, then you may as well quit while you are so far ahead of the rest of the pack. You got no more to learn and are headed straight into geniusville...
...If your world looks black and white with no transitional gray then heck life is as simple as apple pie and vanilla ice cream. Gotta say, there are times I am a little jealous of those who hav ethings so clearly figured out. Must be nice. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days whn life was so simplistic.

Unfortunately, reality and its philosophical messages it constantly delivers us vary so widely it is very difficult (for me at least) to cement the conclusions I feel I may have come to. Maybe with age and subsequent wisdom can one be more sure of their views.

But it doesnt mean you don't have morals, or convictions and standards. It doesn't mean there isn't black and ther isn't white. No. It means you are not going to write off an opposing view just because it differs from your own. Moderation should be applied to all aspects of life. Including religion or anti-religious setiment. Hate and love. Politics and leisure. Work and play. I find agnosticism tied closely with my view of moderation in the world. Doesn't mean I'm always good at doing things in moderation though! Certainly theres times where stubborness and desire drown out my sense of reason!

Anyway, just thought I would share these kinds of thoughts and get a take from those of us who see things a little more defined...

What I like to say to some of the more staunchly vocal proponents of their own beliefs is this:

It may be well worth your time to use those two flaps on the side of your head a little more than that hole that emits noise in the middle of your face...You just might learn something!

I will leave you with a few of my favorite agnostic quotes:

"It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

- Thomas Jefferson

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

- Albert Einstein

“I know I don't believe in atheism, but agnosticism is something I've never been too sure about”

~ Mark Twain

God has always been hard on the poor.

Jean Paul Marat

On the other hand, the Bible contains much that is relevant today, like Noah taking 40 days to find a place to park.
Curtis McDougall

It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.

Thomas Jefferson

Be moderate in everything, including moderation.

Horace Porter

If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.


The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom.


And of course the only joke I can ever find about agnosticism...

Q: Did you hear about the dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac?
A: He lay awake at night wondering if there really was a dog.

hope this helped...

posted on Sep, 22 2009 @ 04:14 AM
You quoted a lot of atheist though?

I can't but wonder, what an agnostic is?

Someone who says the jury is out?

Well, if you were brought up a christian, the jury surely isn't out, burn in hell for eternity.

An agnostic, is someone that, really doesn't want to choose a side, but more or less, wants to be a bisexual, but merely in pleasing religion, and atheism.

They want to 'bat for both teams" so to speak.

They want to make sure that any religious views known, tatke them, by not going against them for fear, and to be ok with atheist, since they just don't know

Although I do try to appease the god of pluto, BUT I do not say he doesn't exist! Just that I don't know, he may, and when He considers my servitude toward him, hopefully i'll get in by saying I did belive in something! And if not, well I was an atheist apart from that, and I was cool

lol hannah montana the best of both worlds!

posted on Sep, 22 2009 @ 04:17 AM
Said and put.

You are either,




The only reason that agnostic need be put hyphenated, is that there is absolutely no way in proving or disproving, and invisible being!

Just as so, I cannot prove that a 'invisible' teapot is orbiting mars, I cannot disprove god.

And am therefore forced to be a ateapotist-agnostic

posted on Sep, 22 2009 @ 05:36 AM
I'm an agnostic. I resist making things complicated.

Consider three possible beliefs:

[1] I believe in some god.
[2] I believe there is no god.
[3]I don't believe in any god.

[1] excludes both [2] and [3]. [2] implies [3], but [3] does not imply [2]. So far, that's just how the English language works. Most people need a moment to think through that [2] and [3] are not the same, especially if they haven't thought much about the difference before now.

In everyday or casual speech, the difference may not always matter. To verify that there is a difference, it may help to change the subject to something less emotional than religion, and to provide a little more flesh about how [2] and [3] are different.

Example I believe that the price of gold will rise. I believe that the price of gold will not rise. I don't have a belief about the future price of gold.

Back to the religious three. The possible consistent combinations of beliefs are

[1], and neither [2] nor [3]. Call that the theist position. I believe in some god.
[2], and therefore [3], and not [1]. Call that the atheist position. I believe there is no god. I don't need to say that I don't believe in any god, and I don't, if I am an atheist.

and, finally

[3], and therefore not [1], but as is possible even though not necessary, not [2], either. I don't believe in any god, without deciding against the possibility that there is some god.

Thomas Huxley believed that, along with much else. He coined a word which originally meant "to believe just as I do." He died generations ago. The word has survived. It stopped meaning to believe as a particular dead guy used to believe about things, but only to believe what he believed about the "yes-or-no" question of god, [3], and neither [1] nor [2].

The word is agnostic. That's it. Everything else is elective.

If you want to be a hyphenated agnostic, then it is because you wish to convey additional information about yourself besides how you'd answer the question "Do you believe in a god?" For example, I'm an American-agnostic.

Any word can be used figuratively. "I'm agnostic about the price of gold". Not really, but you know what I mean when I say it. Besides, it sounds much better than what it means, "Beats me what's up with the price of gold."

Among the figures of speech are oxymorons, like "agnostic atheist." The meanings of figures of speech say nothing about the meanings of the words they comprise. A figure has meaning (or failing that, some effect on the reader) that is different from the "sum of its parts."

We can agree to define an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp, just as we can agree to define any other noun phrase. But I would look for another way to express whatever additional information you wish to convey beyond someone's answer to the yes-or-no question of god.

[edit on 22-9-2009 by eight bits]

posted on Sep, 22 2009 @ 06:55 AM
I consider myself Agnostic.

I think the question 'Does God exist' as irrelevant.

There is insufficient evidence either way to prove his existence, so why worry about it?

There are a basic set of laws that govern man's relationship to his fellow men.
These weren't divinely dictated to us.
They just are.

I don't need any set of Dogmatic rules and regualtions to tell me that it is wrong to kill another human being.

I try to live my life by a moral code I have set myself that I believe treats others with due respect and offers no harm to anyone unless harm is threatened to me.
That I frequently fail just proves my humanity.

If there is some sort of afterlife then I won't know for definate until I die.
And if there is some sort of omniescent, omnipotent being then I doubt that he would be so arrogant that he would demand that I spend half my human existence worrying about if the chicken I had just ate was killed correctly or if i'd observed Lent etc.
I am sure he will judge me on how I have lived my life.
Acts and deeds rather than dogmatic obedience.

Anf if there is no God, then I have spent my life at least attempting not to harm people.
Surely not a bad thing in itself.

God's existence is irrelevant.

However, I do enjoy discussing spiritual and religious matters, unfortunately no longer on ATS as I find the vast majority on here have far too entrenched opinions to enable constructive and enlightening discourse.
A shame as once over I really enjoyed it.

posted on Sep, 22 2009 @ 07:03 AM
Not sure how this fits in with the thread, but I used to be Athiest in views, then agnostic (as i thought athiesm was too hard line for me) And once I told myself that i would be open to some sort of higher power if I had the proof, it was shown to me, and I became spiritual.

That is all

Love to you all, from an ex agnostic

posted on Sep, 22 2009 @ 11:10 AM
reply to post by Republican08

You quoted a lot of atheist though?

maybe, weak agnostics...haha...

I can't but wonder, what an agnostic is?

really? somehow i thought the definition would help those who struggle to understand it...

i think it is simple. its about not being arrogant. i cant sit here and tell you there is a god...especially the way some religious texts depict him (it)...

but i also can not sit here with 100% confidence and tell you there is no such thing as God or a creator. after all... i am here... my son is family is here and there is no real scientific explanation as to why or how we got here...

we know cells duplicate. but how and why do they perform there actions?...

i absolutely do not believe in divine intervention or miracles but the process' that have created life and the infrastructure that supports life is an amazingly interconnected thing and is an indication of a seriously intelligent "design"...

Someone who says the jury is out?

sure...thats a way to put it.

Well, if you were brought up a christian, the jury surely isn't out, burn in hell for eternity.

indeed. i was brought up christian. not all christians share this belief...i did for the first 15 years of my life..until my sophomore religious teacher explained adam and eve story was allegorical in nature...blew my doors off! couldnt believe i heard what it was i just had heard...

so i can understand why people are so resistant to other interpretations about their beliefs...its a hard pill to swallow when you think you have been lied to...especially if you were indoctrinated at such a young age...

and at the same time, when people who have figured out the way they were raised may not have been completely 100% black and white truth they turn into stone when it comes to religion and want to lambast it any way possible...

in my opinion agnosticism is the balance between those polar views...

i think religion can and has played a positive role in some peoples life... helping them chgange for the best..and at the same time has (obviously) been the anti thesis of the very thing it preaches about (comlpetely hypocritical)...

An agnostic, is someone that, really doesn't want to choose a side, but more or less, wants to be a bisexual, but merely in pleasing religion, and atheism.

negative. no sides are chosen as the basic argument is that there are "no sides"..

but if you wish to view it that way that is your definition...but its not an accurate one.

They want to make sure that any religious views known, tatke them, by not going against them for fear, and to be ok with atheist, since they just don't know

has nothing to do with fear. i would think more athiests are fearful because they are so scared that the religious people are right...i dont think it is such a stretch to just admit that you dont cant be known with the present facts and non facts im not going to be arrogant as to tell someone else what and how they got here.

for instance lets say the big bang theory is correct....they still do not know how it began...what about before the big bang? whats beyond the edge of the universe? these are only questions...but thinking about them only has one right answer...and for a human that answer is simply it can not be known at this point in time...who knows...maybe we will one day come across the absolute truth...but then again, who knows if there is an absolute truth?

do you?

posted on Sep, 22 2009 @ 11:31 AM
reply to post by Freeborn

you know, in regards to afterlife I *think* somehow it is not for everybody...

i dont think your actions really dictate whether or not you experience one...i think it is closer to the nirvana style meditation one can achieve through some of the buddhist and holistic philosophies..

i certainly dont believe there is some god keeping track of every single act you have ever committed while you were alive...heaven and hell are so contorted to todays religions i cant imagine they are anything close to how they are percieved by todays christians...

but there seems to be some accountings of interactions with the "spirit" is difficult for me to completely write off the afterlife altogether...

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