The Way of the Agnostic
Posted in the Christian Forum
Since: Sep 08
#1 Jan 23, 2013
To evaluate a religion, we need to distinguish the three great human needs religions typically claim to satisfy: love, understanding, and knowledge. Doing so lets us appreciate religious love and understanding, even if we remain agnostic regarding religious knowledge.(For those with concerns about talking of knowledge here: I’m using “knowledge” to mean believing, with appropriate justification, what is true. Knowledge in this sense may be highly probable but not certain; and faith—e.g., belief on reliable testimony—may provide appropriate justification.)
A religion offers a community in which we are loved by others and in turn learn to love them. Often this love is understood, at least partly, in terms of a moral code that guides all aspects of a believer’s life. Religious understanding offers a way of making sense of the world as a whole and our lives in particular. Among other things, it typically helps believers make sense of the group’s moral code. Religious knowledge offers a metaphysical and/or historical account of supernatural realities that, if true, shows the operation of a benevolent power in the universe. The account is thought to provide a causal explanation of how the religion came to exist and, at the same time, a foundation for its morality and system of understanding.
There are serious moral objections to aspects of some religions. But many believers rightly judge that their religion has great moral value for them, that it gives them access to a rich and fulfilling life of love. What is not justified is an exclusivist or infallibilist reading of this belief, implying that the life of a given religion is the only or the best way toward moral fulfillment for everyone, or that there is no room for criticism of the religion’s moral stances.
Critics of a religion — and of religion in general — usually focus on knowledge claims. This is understandable since the claims are often quite extraordinary, of a sort for which we naturally require a great deal of evidence — which is seldom forthcoming. They are not entirely without evidential support. But the evidence for religious claims — metaphysical arguments from plausible but disputable premises, intermittent and often vague experiences of the divine, historical arguments from limited data, even the moral and intellectual fruitfulness of a religious life — typically does not meet ordinary (common-sense or scientific) standards for postulating an explanatory cause. Believers often say that their religious life gives them a special access (the insight of “faith”) to religious knowledge. But believers in very different religions can claim such access, and it’s hard to see what believers in one religion can, in general, say against the contradictory claims of believers in others.
Does religion offer something for the individual? If so,what? If not,why?
#2 Jan 23, 2013
More plagiarism courtesy of the krooks.
“The Topix Legend of GS!”
Since: Sep 10
#3 Jan 23, 2013
agree 100 percent Jack
Keep in mind the threads go up when the Kook has her sociopathic internet meltdowns.
“Atheism is the right choice”
Since: Jun 12
#4 Jan 24, 2013
More blah blah blah
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