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Posts Tagged ‘Agnosticism

By Vincent Bugliosi in the “Divinity of Doubt”

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Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in ...

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Once more twitter leads me to a gem:

Being as helpless and impotent as we are in understanding the meaning of our existence, the majority of mankind turns to organized religion for answers, while a much smaller number of humans turn to learned religious writers and theologians. But all we ever get from any of these sources is unintelligible and/or absurd answers to insoluble mysteries. God, if there is a God, would have all the answers. But he is waiting for us, if at all, outside the reach of our minds — our finite minds cannot comprehend that which is infinite (or as Einstein put it, “The problem is too vast for our limited minds”) — and that is why the effort of religion and theology to define and explain God is inherently futile. Thus, my agnosticism.

Is the conclusion of agnosticism no more than an intellectual exercise? Can it have any value to the human condition? Perhaps. I believe there is an ethical dimension to agnosticism that has the potential, to the degree it is embraced, to make man more honest. We know that untruthfulness, dishonesty, deceit, hypocrisy, and pretense are so much a part of life that we almost expect these things in our daily living and find it refreshing when we see their absence. And it’s not too likely this will ever change. But if man can ever at least hope to reduce the level of dishonesty in his existence, there perhaps is no better place to start than in his relationship with God.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2011/05/15 at 17:02

Religious faith and what I believe!

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Cults and new religious movements in literatur...
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There are so many things I like about NY Times,  or maybe you haven’t noticed that it’s my main feed! This morning I found this nugget that reminds me of my non-religious beliefs and a sound reason for them.

Yes, I am an agnostic and that’s the position that most philosophers accept as the most tenable one for human bein’s. But I beg your indulgence and say that I am no philosopher, even with my agnostic thinking. Though it’s true that I like to philosophize.

Here’s the quote from this morning’s piece about philosophy:

In these popular debates about God’s existence, the winners are neither theists nor atheists, but agnostics — the neglected step-children of religious controversy, who rightly point out that neither side in the debate has made its case.   This is the position supported by the consensus of expert philosophical opinion.

So, I feel better in my conscious mind about my agnostic beliefs because the nonsense of an all powerful caring God Father in this universe of such immensity, violent beginnings and endings of star systems et al is just too obvious. I accept many of the moral teachings of Jesus, but God Incarnate, gimme a break!

Here’s the view of another agnostic who blogs at 3 Quarks:

Having recently spent two weeks in Cambridge (the one in the United Kingdom) on a Templeton-Cambridge Fellowship, being lectured to by believers and nonbelievers, I found myself feeling more than anything unconvinced by certainties on either side. And feeling the need for solidarity and identity with other doubters. Thus my call for a revivified agnosticism. Our T-shirt will read: I just don’t know.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/08/01 at 15:27

Religion, the key to “good self-control!

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A sadhu performing namaste in Madurai, India.
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I guess that I’m like John Tierney, who writes in the Science section of NY Times, a heathen.

I certainly believe that I am an agnostic about belief in religion, the personal God and about the power of faith. I think that those human values can be destructive and lead to all kinds mayhem and unhappiness in living.

So how do I deal with this kind of thinking:

So what’s a heathen to do in 2009? Dr. McCullough’s advice is to try replicating some of the religious mechanisms that seem to improve self-control, like private meditation or public involvement with an organization that has strong ideals.

Religious people, he said, are self-controlled not simply because they fear God’s wrath, but because they’ve absorbed the ideals of their religion into their own system of values, and have thereby given their personal goals an aura of sacredness. He suggested that nonbelievers try a secular version of that strategy.

“People can have sacred values that aren’t religious values,” he said. “Self-reliance might be a sacred value to you that’s relevant to saving money. Concern for others might be a sacred value that’s relevant to taking time to do volunteer work. You can spend time thinking about what values are sacred to you and making New Year’s resolutions that are consistent with them.”

Of course, it requires some self-control to carry out that exercise — and maybe more effort than it takes to go to church.

“Sacred values come prefabricated for religious believers,” Dr. McCullough said. “The belief that God has preferences for how you behave and the goals you set for yourself has to be the granddaddy of all psychological devices for encouraging people to follow through with their goals. That may help to explain why belief in God has been so persistent through the ages.”

Certainly sounds good and useful to me. But how to do it in my own case!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/12/30 at 07:16