Posts tagged ‘nature’

February 1, 2012

We’re all agnostic

It’s true. Everyone is, by definition, an agnostic. A small percentage of us admit to it but it’s true for all. If you consider yourself religious and chances are great that you do, whether you like it or not, again, by definition you are agnostic. Great, now that it’s settled we can all get along.

Allow me to explain

Theism is the belief in one god. Atheism rejects the concept of god(s). Agnosticism follows the gospel of ‘I don’t know.’ It sees shades of gray. It is a nuanced term which requires a more complex explanation but can be summed up within three major categories of thought.
1) The Pragmatic or apathetic agnostic, as Bill Maher often describes his view: (a) there is no credible evidence that proves or disproves a deity and (b) if there is an omnipotent creator it is not affecting the natural order of life so the question is pointless. 2) Agnostic atheists do not believe in a deity but are not certain one does not exist. 3) The agnostic theist admits to a belief in a higher power but it’s not necessarily the God as defined in popular religious texts.

One thing binds us all

People have faith or belief in God but no matter how strong the faith, how certain the belief it’s not a knowledge of God. They do not know. The only difference in the agnostic theist and theist is one defines their views honestly. What’s so difficult in admitting you don’t know? You don’t, you know. Atheists don’t know either. All atheists will admit they don’t know for certain whether or not a very broadly defined alien entity beyond our comprehension (call it God) lives in the expansive universe. Lack of absolute certainty is universal and total.

The payoff

Theists receive the ultimate reward for their loyalty, an eternal afterlife in paradise. Some might reinforce their belief with Pascal’s Wager, the ‘what if you’re wrong’ argument aka hedging your spiritual bets, nothing to lose but everything to win. It’s a selfish reason to adopt a selfless philosophy but let’s not quibble about motive. What if non-believers are wrong? That we cannot say but we do understand the ill effects of faith.

The truth and its consequences

To properly embrace faith a person must suspend logic and rational thought. According to ancient texts of the Abrahamic religions the Sun revolves around a flat Earth. There are those who can do this and those who cannot. The two live in separate realities given what we perceive to be true is our reality, a circumstance that leads to misunderstandings and unintended consequences. Those who are comfortable with accepting the preposterous, unlikely and unverified to be true and indisputable make very poor decisions which ultimately affect us all.

I cannot know if a deity exists and neither can you

Is there a God and what role does He play if any? Is there an afterlife and what is the correct path to get there? If you answer this question honestly, that you are uncertain then you qualify as an agnostic theist at least. If you answered dishonestly and according to your faith then what good is your faith to you or society if it’s rooted in dishonesty? Agnostics distinguish themselves with three little words ‘I don’t know.’ It’s true of everyone. We are all agnostic.

Religion does three things quite effectively: divides people, controls people and deludes people.

~ Carlspie McKinney

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