A post is missing!

But only because I took it down. In my previous post I stated that I have begun to come to terms with the fact that by general definition, I am something of an atheist. Tonight I spoke with some friends about this whole thing further, and one friend (hey roomie!) sent me a link to a blog that includes one explanation of other possible beliefs. The post is titled Atheism is So Misunderstood, and I think it has some good points.

Belief or disbelief in a god cannot be a black or white decision anymore. Maybe in the Dark Ages that could be said, but these days we have made so many advances in science that it is plausible for one to think that nothing about this subject can be proven beyond a doubt. A person cannot prove that God exists or vice versa, because there will always be something that will disprove it.

In case you’re too busy read the linked post, allow me to include an explanation of four possible ideas of belief:

“Agnostic Theism: belief in a god without claiming to know for sure that the god exists.

Gnostic Theism: belief in a god while being certain that this god exists.

Agnostic Atheism: disbelief in gods without claiming to know for sure that none exist.

Gnostic Atheism: disbelief in gods while being certain that none (can or do) exist.”

While you may not agree that these are good definitions, I’d be willing to bet that you can fit into one of those catagories.

According to this, I would fall into the Agnostic Atheism. Which I feel fits me better than simply saying “Athiest.” I don’t think I can know if there is a higher being, but I can’t know if there isn’t either. I choose not to belive in a god because I find the reasons to not belive to be more sound to me. But again, I don’t know for sure. How can anyone?

The other friend involved in the discussion tonight thinks that human nature forces humans to have to worship something, and in most atheists (not all, he was quick to say) that turns into themselves. This could be true of some. I think that sometimes this can be a true of some extreme theists as well, since they think of themselves as being much better than non-believers (or believers of a different religion). But I wonder if we’re all programmed to have to worship something. Maybe so. If I were forced to think of something I thought I worshipped right now, it’d probably be the planet we’re living on. Mainly because we wouldn’t be here if this planet wasn’t here. And have you watched the Discovery Channel? There is some awesome shit on this planet. Yet I don’t know for sure how this planet got here. So my worshipping would end there.

In my overanalytical ways I’ve let this thought ramble on too long. I’ve discussed it with people and found that at this point I am choosing not to believe while acknowledging that there’s no way to know. I told a friend earlier that I need to become comfortable saying these things out loud instead of just thinking about them all the time. So here I am. I promise that I won’t continue this and that my next post will be decidedly lighter in feeling.

Thanks for reading and letting me ramble. Please don’t be scared away by the topic; if you’ve got a comment, comment away!

Advertisements

14 Responses

  1. Ever wonder why Ethics – the right way to live – is the same across all cultures and religions?

    It’s because the “right way to live” has been wired into each of us by millions of years of evolution, and that Ethic is reflected in our religions. The “right way to live” is more efficient at producing offspring and is therefore more efficient in an evolutionary sense.

    The more we conform to what is wired into us by evolution, the happier we will be. So I do NOT mean that you will go to hell, but I DO mean that you will be less happy in this life by not conforming to the universal Ethics.

    Some may say that things are different today. They’re not. A few score of years does not change millions of years of evolution.

    ALL religions, yes ALL, reflect the Ethics wired into us by evolution. The more we conform to whatever religion we pick, the happier we will be.

    As you and I and everyone continues on the path to greater emotional health, we will more fully understand what Aristotle tells us in his book the “Ethics”.

    He tells us that resisting temptation is good, but there is an even better way. An emotionally healthy person chooses the right thing because it is more attractive to him/her. There is no battle.

    So, as we cure our own internal dysfunctions, choosing the right thing will be our natural instinct, and will conform to the Ethics wired into us by evolution.

    Richard Dawkins on God:

  2. Your friends believe in God for two reasons.

    First, they’re trying to explain existence so they come up with the “God” answer. I don’t see how that follows. I prefer to say we just don’t know.

    The other reason is Fear of Death. They don’t want to accept that this is all there is and that they will die.

  3. 1. Atheism often seems like a question of “Do you believe in God the way that a particular group of people describe Him?” If that is the question, than I can understand why many athiests pick that road, even though I find it reactionary.

    We’re all entitled to our beliefs, but I do feel that athiests are often out to prove a negative: if you say that God does not exist, it’s a problem, because the definition of “God” is so fluid as to be impossible to pin down. “God” isn’t the bearded guy in the Sistine Chapel? No problem! A non-caporeal force. “God” isn’t active in our world? No problem! Theology can accomodate.

    2. Which God is it in which you do not believe? The Hindu concept of the atman is a good demonstration of what I was just saying. It encompasses so much that to say “I do not believe in God” is to say “I do not believe in the very fact of existence.”

    3. Seneca: I don’t think there is any kind of universal ethics across cultures. There are evolutionary tendencies (Food good! Sex good! Must eat more.) but those are not the same as ethics. Ethics is more like explaining altruism, and anthropology has had a devil of a time trying to work that one out.

    4. The only thing I encourage in my athiest friends is that they take a step back from a proof-driven culture and observe that there are elements of our lives we cannot fully explain. (The intense emotional connections between some individuals but not others upon first meeting, for ex.) Perhaps ruminate on those, and do let me know what you come up with. It will be a fascinating conversation in which I’m sure we’ll both learn something.

  4. Seneca – Thanks for visiting and commenting. I appreciate your taking the time to do so.

    I’m not sure I agree that I will be unhappy if I don’t pick a religion and conform to it. We’ll just have to see. I certainly don’t want to conform to anything just to be “happy”. Why can’t I be happy with my life and those I choose to surround myself with? Besides, believing in a higher being does not automatically make someone happy.

    I also don’t think that my friends who believe in a higher being do so because of your two reasons. They’d have to confirm that, of course. I don’t presume to know what they think.

    I am planning on purchasing Richard Dawkins’ book in the future; I’ll watch your link when I’m safe at home.

  5. Elizabeth – Sorry! Was writing my first response when you wrote yours.

    I don’t presume to say that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there isn’t a higher being out there. I don’t think it can be proven, but it also can’t be proven that there is NOT a god. So I’m not trying to say “There is no God.” And I’m not trying to say “There is a God.” Because basically I’m of the opinion that I can never really know.

    For all intents and purposes I refer to a Christian being. I plan on studying other beliefs as well in the future, but for now that’s the only one I have any kind of knowledge of.

    I’ve been thinking about this for many years now, and through that time I haven’t ruled anything out completely. I do acknowledge that there are things about this world and about our lives that are unexplainable. But I’d prefer to leave it at that. It’s not that I don’t want to take the time to try and explain these things in some way, I just prefer to say “I have no idea how this happened, but I’m happy/sad/excited/whatever-emotion that it did.”

    It’s good to have both the science and the religious side available to us (and all “sides” in between). I like that I can have these thoughts and you can have your thoughts and we can discuss them. I almost hope that no one ever proves one way to be ultimately true, because where’s the fun in that?

  6. Will you repost the post you took down? I’d love to see it.

    Also, in regards to your last comment, I don’t find science and religion incompatible (although I don’t think that was what you meant either, but you did call them “sides”).

  7. Yeah, I don’t know how else to put it, because most find them to be different “sides.”

    I agree with you though, Marci.

  8. I might let you see it. I’ll give you the gist of it first, then we can go from there. 🙂

  9. Ye gads. I was coming by only to read how excited you are about Monday.

    Thanks for diagnosing me. It seems, if your definitions can be trusted (heh) that I am an agnostic theist. Agnostheist. I believe God exists but I’m not going to refute you if you say he/she doesn’t. No one really knows, some can only hope.

    I also believe in Lance Berkman. Lancenogtheist.

  10. Fringes – And I shall not refute you if you say he/she does. Thanks for being an understanding and accepting person.

    I am a Craignogtheist. We should be friends.

  11. To iheartheastros:

    When I say “pick any religion, I mean none is bad. My own religion is cultural evolution, which explains everything in a manner that’s satisfactory to me.

    If you want a guide to life, as I do, the cultural evolutionists provide it. In my opinion, the ancient Greeks expressed cultural evolution in their ethics, and their work is beautiful.

    To Elizabeth:

    I don’t think you have read much about evolution, because it does explain human conduct and the conduct of societies.

    For example, the cultural evolutionists demand monogamy on the part of the wife, and demand that the husband stick around to provide and protect. This is wired into us by evolution and is required by ALL religions.

    They also explain conflict between cultures, allowing us to use their work to make war less likely.

    As an example, I give you De Waal:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,druck-433327,00.html

  12. I agree with everybody who says religion and science aren’t mutually exclusive. However, if you go to religion looking for the same kind of answers that science provides, you’ll come up frustrated. (It’s why I strongly believe that creationism has no place in public schools.) They address some of the same questions in very different manners.

    Well, Seneca… No, I have read a pretty fair amount on evolution.

    At what point are you judging that “ALL religions” are a particular way (monogomist)? Are you making that call right now? If so, then it suggests that cultures are evolving to a particular point, and that they have been inferior until now. Evolution does not support a model in which life is evolving toward a particular end goal of superiority. It only supports a model in which life reacts to changing environments. This epoch, it is cold, therefore I need thick fur like a polar bear. In the next epoch, it will be hot, and having no fur is a better option. Neither is superior; the environment dictates which is better.

    Also, some examples of non-monogamist religions: Mormons only went monogomist in order to joint the Union. Many Muslims are still polygamist, even if mainstream Muslims are not. Plenty of smaller, indigenous cultural groups remain polygamist.

    The ancient Hebrews had lots of wives. It’s been suggested (I forget by whom) that pologyamy arises in time of war or other huge cultural stresses, when the women will vastly outnumber the men, and you have to continue the society somehow. (That’s social evolutionary theory.)

    To reiterate: not all religions or cultures enforce or have enforced monogamy.

    I’m only addressing a small angle of your larger argument. What I would like to get across is that some of your supports aren’t as strong as they might be.

  13. To all who visit this post:

    I will allow a discussion to continue if you’d like, but please be aware that I will no longer take part. I’ve put in my two (or four, or six) cents, and am now ready to move on. However, I will not deny others from continuing this discussion.

    I only ask that, above all, you keep it respectful; otherwise, I will close comments. Thanks.

  14. Elizabeth,

    You didn’t read my post.

    My statement, and the link, states that monogamy is required on the part of the wife.

    I’m out of here too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: