A "New Agnosticism" - Coming Soon?

Aug 3, 2010 Full story: Crosswalk 266

No one seems quite sure what to do with agnostics. In a sense, they are the odd cousins at the theological family reunion.

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“frequently laughing”

Since: Apr 09

Hotel California

#1 Aug 4, 2010
Interesting.

Since: Feb 08

Tampa, FL

#2 Aug 4, 2010
What to do with them is to remind them that they are still either theists or atheists. It is not a third, intermediate position.

“frequently laughing”

Since: Apr 09

Hotel California

#3 Aug 4, 2010
Drew Smith wrote:
What to do with them is to remind them that they are still either theists or atheists. It is not a third, intermediate position.
Why not?

Since: Feb 08

Tampa, FL

#4 Aug 4, 2010
Always Wary wrote:
Why not?
Because agnosticism is not a statement as to whether or not one believes in a god (a theist believes in a god, and an atheist does not), but a statement as to whether or not one claims to know the truth about one's position. One can be an agnostic theist (I believe in a god, but I don't claim to know that there is one) or an agnostic atheist (I lack a belief in a god, but I don't claim to know that there isn't one).

Put simply, if asked the question: "Do you believe in a god?", a yes response indicates a theist, and any other response indicates an atheist.

“frequently laughing”

Since: Apr 09

Hotel California

#5 Aug 4, 2010
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>
Because agnosticism is not a statement as to whether or not one believes in a god (a theist believes in a god, and an atheist does not), but a statement as to whether or not one claims to know the truth about one's position. One can be an agnostic theist (I believe in a god, but I don't claim to know that there is one) or an agnostic atheist (I lack a belief in a god, but I don't claim to know that there isn't one).
Put simply, if asked the question: "Do you believe in a god?", a yes response indicates a theist, and any other response indicates an atheist.
I would label myself as an agnostic. I was raised to believe but am not certain there is god. I would like to believe there is but the realist in me feels that when you die you are worm food. I am still on the fence. There is more but I have to run. Any comment you leave I would be happy to read tomorrow.
progressive

Lamoni, IA

#6 Aug 4, 2010
Drew Smith wrote:
What to do with them is to remind them that they are still either theists or atheists. It is not a third, intermediate position.
it is not an intermediate position, nor does it claim to be. it is a position regarding another issue entirely - the issue of what can know. theism and atheism are about what one believes or does not believe. one can be both agnostic and theist, and agnostic and atheist. just as in the most strict sense, someone can be both gnostic (claiming knowledge) and theist, and gnostic and atheist. There are types some call gnostic atheists - claiming to know there is no god. and types one can call agnostic believers, theists who do not claim to know, but nonetheless believe.

I think that more agnostics are also atheists in the sense of not believing. and I think that most theists claim to know in some way or other. but I do not think anyone has taken a poll, or even defined the terms clearly enough - either academically, based on the greek roots and classical definitions, or to the masses, who do not understand much about it.
progressive

Lamoni, IA

#7 Aug 4, 2010
of what human beings can know. though it would be interesting to know what can know - can a machine know? can an animal know? what do we mean by know?
progressive

Lamoni, IA

#8 Aug 4, 2010
agnosticism means not knowing, and not claiming to know. period. anything else is another additional matter. bells and whistles. not essential.
progressive

Lamoni, IA

#9 Aug 4, 2010
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>
Because agnosticism is not a statement as to whether or not one believes in a god (a theist believes in a god, and an atheist does not), but a statement as to whether or not one claims to know the truth about one's position. One can be an agnostic theist (I believe in a god, but I don't claim to know that there is one) or an agnostic atheist (I lack a belief in a god, but I don't claim to know that there isn't one).
Put simply, if asked the question: "Do you believe in a god?", a yes response indicates a theist, and any other response indicates an atheist.
thank you for clarifying what you meant. I agree with that.
progressive

Lamoni, IA

#10 Aug 4, 2010
Always Wary wrote:
<quoted text>I would label myself as an agnostic. I was raised to believe but am not certain there is god. I would like to believe there is but the realist in me feels that when you die you are worm food. I am still on the fence. There is more but I have to run. Any comment you leave I would be happy to read tomorrow.
agnostic - meaning not knowing - can apply to more issues than that of whether or not there is some sort of god. it can also apply to whether there is an afterlife, whether there was a big bang, whether the universe will always expand, or sometime contract, etc. one can be agnostic about religious claims, scientific claims, even commonplace claims. it is a smart position to begin from, in order not to make a dumb mistake. sometimes it is a smart position to stick with, in order not to make a dumb mistake.
progressive

Lamoni, IA

#11 Aug 4, 2010
remember that the article was written by a christian apologist, and cannot be trusted to even state the views of others properly. each view should be stated by those who believe in it.
progressive

Lamoni, IA

#12 Aug 4, 2010
I am perfectly comfortable being agnostic about lots of things. I stronlgy recommend it.

Since: Feb 08

Tampa, FL

#13 Aug 4, 2010
progressive wrote:
<quoted text> thank you for clarifying what you meant. I agree with that.
You're welcome (although I felt that I was pretty clear the first time).

“frequently laughing”

Since: Apr 09

Hotel California

#14 Aug 5, 2010
progressive wrote:
<quoted text> agnostic - meaning not knowing - can apply to more issues than that of whether or not there is some sort of god. it can also apply to whether there is an afterlife, whether there was a big bang, whether the universe will always expand, or sometime contract, etc. one can be agnostic about religious claims, scientific claims, even commonplace claims. it is a smart position to begin from, in order not to make a dumb mistake. sometimes it is a smart position to stick with, in order not to make a dumb mistake.
Perhaps I read more into the article than was meant. The meaning I took was a belief in a Christian god. I have also done limited reading on several other religions. I find them all interesting but not wholly believable. I find more Christians to be hypocritical and antagonistic than helpful. I have always found the bible more questionable than truthful. Perhaps I am to literal for religious beliefs.
progressive

Lamoni, IA

#15 Aug 5, 2010
Always Wary wrote:
<quoted text>Perhaps I read more into the article than was meant. The meaning I took was a belief in a Christian god. I have also done limited reading on several other religions. I find them all interesting but not wholly believable. I find more Christians to be hypocritical and antagonistic than helpful. I have always found the bible more questionable than truthful. Perhaps I am to literal for religious beliefs.
there are folks who take the bible literally, and you definately are correct in not believing that. those who come up with all sorts of interesting revisionist views, should be commended sometimes, if they manage to improve the Christian religion sufficiently - which would not leave much of it, however.
progressive

Lamoni, IA

#16 Aug 5, 2010
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>
You're welcome (although I felt that I was pretty clear the first time).
not entirely clear the first time, excellent the second time. really really good way of phrasing and explaining it.
MaryT

London, UK

#17 Aug 6, 2010
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>
Because agnosticism is not a statement as to whether or not one believes in a god (a theist believes in a god, and an atheist does not), but a statement as to whether or not one claims to know the truth about one's position. One can be an agnostic theist (I believe in a god, but I don't claim to know that there is one) or an agnostic atheist (I lack a belief in a god, but I don't claim to know that there isn't one).
Put simply, if asked the question: "Do you believe in a god?", a yes response indicates a theist, and any other response indicates an atheist.
here we go with definitions and labels again...
lol..,..
Are you implying that a person cannot be an agnostic , that there is no third position.. well I guess there is no need for 'don'tknowists' to have a label (there, ive just given myself one ! haha)..
I think the word 'faith' is a more useful term to use..ie 'belief in' rather than 'belief about'...
eg: I believe there may be a god, I also believe there may not be..
As for faith, I do not have faith in a god or higher being, because i'm not satisfied that there is one..
Another way of defining a Theist could be seeing it as a person who has faith in a God..ie' belief in' a god..
If lack of that faith makes me an Atheist, maybe i am one.. but i dont accept that i'm an Atheist because i don't reject the possibility of a God.. there is as likely to be one as not..
Now , i wonder, is there anyone who believes there is a God and also rejects that god.. apart from the devil himself ?!

Do you think that considering these definitions helps a person to clarify what it is they believe ? hm, maybe it does..
be careful tho', we'll get Bill on here in a minute and he will argue the toss on definitions 'til the cows come home ...and beyond !
MaryT

London, UK

#18 Aug 6, 2010
Always Wary wrote:
<quoted text>I would label myself as an agnostic. I was raised to believe but am not certain there is god. I would like to believe there is but the realist in me feels that when you die you are worm food. I am still on the fence. There is more but I have to run. Any comment you leave I would be happy to read tomorrow.
Hi A.W., I think we share the same position.. I sometimes wonder if its partly the fear of damnation that stops me from becoming a fully fledged Athiest.. lol!.. only partly tongue in cheek.. childhood lessons die hard..
ScienceRules

Plainfield, VT

#19 Aug 6, 2010
MaryT wrote:
<quoted text>
Hi A.W., I think we share the same position.. I sometimes wonder if its partly the fear of damnation that stops me from becoming a fully fledged Athiest.. lol!.. only partly tongue in cheek.. childhood lessons die hard..
What most of us on these threads say is that agnosticism is not a third position between atheism and theism. Either you believe or you do not. If you want to believe but don't, you are an atheist. Any honest person is agnostic. Atheists are agnostic in that they recognize it not possible to disprove all possible deities (even thought they may be virtually sure there is not a particular god) and theists are agnostic in that they only have faith in, not knowledge, of any deity. Of course there are extremists at either end but they are simply unreasonable. If there is another category it may be people who claim they 'can't decide' which imo is simply intellectual laziness and fear of commitment.

“frequently laughing”

Since: Apr 09

Hotel California

#20 Aug 6, 2010
progressive wrote:
<quoted text> there are folks who take the bible literally, and you definately are correct in not believing that. those who come up with all sorts of interesting revisionist views, should be commended sometimes, if they manage to improve the Christian religion sufficiently - which would not leave much of it, however.
The older I get the less I find appealing about Christianity.

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