Monday, June 14, 2010

Agnosticism

I think this is an interesting video about agnosticism. As an atheist I've come across a shit ton of people who have really no clue what "agnostic" means.



I agree with Tooltime's claim that essentially everyone is agnostic in the sense that there is always a measure of doubt in each belief we arrive at, but I think that should just be obvious to people. I also agree that there are definitely people who call themselves agnostic who are actually atheists. In fact, most atheists are agnostic-atheists (just as most theists are agnostic-theists - hence the faith). The only reason I don't label myself as such, even though my views about the metaphysical make it an accurate label, is because I feel like the term is too easily misunderstood.

And ultimately, as Tooltime says, telling someone you're "agnostic" doesn't really mean much. Agnosticism covers the entire spectrum of belief and I feel like whatever assumption you live your life on (whether god does or doesn't exist in this case) is what your religious identity should be. I know this seems like a silly thing to even bring up, but since there is such a big discrepancy between the amount of people hold atheistic view points and those who are willing to call themselves "atheist" I think this is an important issue.

If you are still unsure about agnosticism or would just like to know more, I would definitely recommend starting with the wikipedia page for agnosticism. It's one of the more informative ones I've read.

5 comments:

  1. I just sent this to my friend because we were talking about atheism vs. agnosticism today. She self-identifies as agnostic, yet is one of the few that actually knows what it means. Okay, I have a couple things:

    1) I often hear people use "agnostic" as "I believe in *a* god, or God himself, but not in organized religion." Which is so far off base and such a distortion of what it really means that it's laughable. I didn't hear him mention that use of it, so I thought I'd mention it here.

    2) As I said to my friend that I sent this to, you'd never see an intelligent, well thought out video like this from a theist. Ever. Mostly because their argument isn't based on intelligence and logic, so it consists of "you're wrong because god said so," which isn't even something you can argue with.

    3) I just started reading Sam Harris' The End of Faith, and am pretty fascinated by his debunking of religious moderates and how they're no better, or really different, than religious extremists. I'd never thought about that before. I'm only a chapter or so in, but I like it already. Have you read it?

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  2. I totally agree with your first point. I once got in a huge argument with a coworker, who was really religious, because he thought that being agnostic (this was in high school when I still identified as such) meant I believed in a god but didn't go to church. Not only did he completely ignore my objections to his "definition" of agnosticism, but it was also really annoying to be told what I believe by some random nutcase. I think it's hard for people to understand that if a person believes in a personal god that interferes with people's lives through pray and what not, even if they don't belong to a certain organized religion, they are still theists.

    About your friend, I do think there are some people out there who are genuine agnostics. But in the end, most people still live their day to day lives with the assumption that either god does or doesn't exist. That assumption is going to make you lean to the theist side or the atheist side, so it seems a bit silly to me. Then again, I do think agnosticism is the natural progression from theism to atheism. I just worry that concern of the negative connotations of being an atheist might be holding some people back. And that sucks.

    I haven't read The End of Faith but I'll have to look into it. I did read Letter To a Christian Nation by Harris though. It's like my go-to book recommendation for people who want to read more about atheism but aren't up for reading The God Delusion.

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  3. Oh and I agree about a theist never making a video like this. There is this one guy who calls himself the "atheist antidote" who is a perfect example of how bad theists crash and burn when they try to think too hard about these sorts of things.

    I might have shared some of videos before, but here is a link to his channel if you haven't seen any of stuff before:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAtheistAntidote#g/u

    I like to watch him when I'm bored and can use a good laugh. lol

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  4. We're all atheists!
    That's right, even the most pious among us does not believe in MOST GODS! ....minus, of course the one they do believe in.

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  5. Oh MAN. He has a video titled "Why I'm a Tea Party Conservative." Thanks, Alana! I have a feeling I will be watching many of his videos in total disbelief.

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