Questions to an agnostic

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Greta
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Greta » April 15th, 2018, 11:13 pm

Eduk wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 6:31 pm
Greta I don't understand what you mean. But I'll guess.
As I lean over an ant it is true, to the ant, that the light dims. But I myself am somewhat more than a dimmer of light.
Count. A few agnostics, like Greta, seem to be agnostic only to one God. Not all Gods. Other agnostics seem to be saying all Gods are the same God which is the same as saying there is only one God. I'm not saying they are right to do this, only that they appear to do this.
Heh, I'm not at all sure what I'm agnostic about. I see gaps where various obscure notions of what a deity might be like could be inserted, and it's not ridiculous like many conceptions. It's not easy to gain much perspective or understanding while waddling around the surface of one planet and it's amazing that we know as much as we do.

If a deity is posited to infuse all of reality, and most of reality consists of stars and black holes, then most of the deity is not something we can relate to. Try telling your troubles to the Sun and you'll find it an aloof correspondent :) However, as is claimed, there may be a bit of the deity infused through us, within us, and it's that tiny human part that is communicable (since it is essentially oneself), and thus the deity is so often posited to be humanesque in nature. Often this abstract god of the gaps is posited to be the present - the visceral and elusive present moment - or, rather, the deity is thought to BE you in that finely sliced now. I think :)

Your ant idea was fun, though. To ants we are living mobile mountains - not so godlike that they won't bite :)

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Eduk » April 16th, 2018, 2:52 am

Greta I have a simpler explanation for the anthropomorphism of God. We are human.
Count God is normally defined by what God isn't. For example non physical. If God was non physical and in front of me I would have no way to identify God.
Or let me put it another way. God is said to be our creator. The process of creation is unknown. If I was showed the process I would be unable to identify it. Indeed I think the word process is not helpful and I imagine bears no useful resemblance to reality.
Oh and just because I say a word might not be useful doesn't mean that there is a useful word. In this scenario I am the monkey and just because there is a word for literature for humans doesn't mean there is a word for literature for monkeys or any useful alternative.
Your key problem with the monkey problem seems one of intent. It still holds up. Just because someone says they know God doesn't mean that they do or are making any useful attempt to do so.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Greta » April 16th, 2018, 3:23 am

Eduk wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 2:52 am
Greta I have a simpler explanation for the anthropomorphism of God. We are human.
Then again, Egyptian, Hindu and indigenous polytheism posited non-human gods. Perhaps the shift to a single humanoid deity reflects humanity's increasing separation from the rest of nature?

This does make some metaphorical sense. For the ancients, other species performed extraordinary physical feats that humans could not hope to emulate. They were limited in their repertoire, but excellent in their speciality, akin to appliances, eg. a fridge is great at cooling and, a mower is great at cutting grass but they are not much use for anything else. By contrast, humans and their technology are akin to the PCs of the animal world - now about to outrun cheetahs in cars, outflying eagles with planes, out-jumping kangaroos, making bigger dams than beavers and more luxuriant multi-storey dwellings than termites and ants.

So almost all of the obvious capacities of the "apps" (other species) are effectively bundled up into humans and their technology. This, the attributes of polytheistic deities were seemingly bundled up into one humanoid deity with unlimited capacities.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Count Lucanor » April 16th, 2018, 3:00 pm

Eduk wrote:Count God is normally defined by what God isn't. For example non physical. If God was non physical and in front of me I would have no way to identify God.
You're still faced with the problem that at least a minimum of properties are asserted about an entity, otherwise it would not be identifiable as an entity (a god entity in this case). So it ends up being just another definition of god. Now, if absolutely no properties could be asserted about an entity, then there would be no entity to consider at all, which is the same as saying that it's not real.
Eduk wrote: Or let me put it another way. God is said to be our creator. The process of creation is unknown. If I was showed the process I would be unable to identify it. Indeed I think the word process is not helpful and I imagine bears no useful resemblance to reality.
You're confusing two things. You either reject or embrace the concept of the god-creator as belonging to a real entity, but that has nothing to do with your understanding of any actions carried out by this entity. Actually, you want to say that the details of the process of creation are unknown, but still you will know what the concept of creation entails in essence.
Eduk wrote: Just because someone says they know God doesn't mean that they do or are making any useful attempt to do so.
But there are two issues to deal with. First is to reach the description that satisfies the requirements of the theoretical model. In other words, to agree on the definition of a given entity, which will identify it as A, B, C, D, etc. Then, the key issue is whether one asserts or not the reality of that entity, which will make you a theist, an atheist or an agnostic.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Felix » May 2nd, 2018, 2:56 pm

Eduk: "1. Which God? By which I mean various religious claim to know specific mutually exclusive Gods. Which God are you being agnostic about and does it matter?"

The exoteric religious descriptions of God are imaginative and thus tend to vary widely but the mystical descriptions of the Godhead tend to agree. The existence of the exoteric God is founded on belief, the existence of the esoteric god, the god of the mystics, is founded on direct experience. In the absence of such experience, only mental rumination/speculation and a patchwork of beliefs remain.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Eduk » May 2nd, 2018, 4:53 pm

What are the mystical descriptions of the Godhead?

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Felix » May 2nd, 2018, 10:22 pm

Eduk wrote:
May 2nd, 2018, 4:53 pm
What are the mystical descriptions of the Godhead?
Pardon me, I misspoke, I meant to say that descriptions of mystical insight or realization are similar, labeling such realization an experience of God tends to drag it into the realm of religious dogma, unless one is defining God in a nondualistic way as in Advaita Vedanta.

"The difficulty of the Western mind in getting the finite "out of" the infinite without resorting to pantheism is the result of putting the two in contrast or opposition. Only equals can be contrasted, only finite things can be opposed to one another. The problem is the result of the mind's inevitable tendency to conceive of the infinite in finite terms, as 'embracing' the finite like space, as 'underlying' it like a passive ground, as 'preceding' it like something which is first a void, and then a void containing forms. The infinite is in no way separate from the finite, for the very idea of separation constitutes a limitation. The very contrast of the undetermined infinite on the one hand and the determined finite on the other puts the two on an equal basis which denies the transcendence of the infinite." - Alan Watts from The Supreme Identity
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Pelegrin_1 » June 4th, 2018, 12:58 pm

Something that really kind of bothers me are the various popular interpretations of what Agnosticism needs to or should mean.

Agnostic is a truly valid stance or position that people can, and I think even should hold with respect to the existence of some universal god. We are Not gods, in any sense of the word; we are mere human beings, simply the most advanced species on this planet. That doesn't give us, as human beings, the capacity to truly be certain, to truly know or understand, or not be deceived, about whether there may exist some universal god that created everything or was responsible for the eventual creation of everything. Even if some vastly superior entity or being were to communicate to us, some day, that it is that "God" we've always believed in, there is still no way that we as mere human beings could ever really know that it's in fact true. Oh sure, the entity could have the ability to make us believe that it is what says it is (if it were to say such), but that's not us knowing, that's us being manipulated to believe that we know. Or it could show us all of its great powers, but again simply because something that appears to us and has such powers still in itself isn't proof that that entity would in fact be the one and only supreme universal god. It would only mean that we've encountered something far more advanced than we are.

As mere human beings, if we don't treat our human capacities and specialness with so much arrogance, anthropocentrism, we should realize that the only reasonable stance to take with respect to the question of the existence of a universal god is that we simply cannot know with any degree of certainty. Being agnostic is the only sensible position. Now of course we can have certain leanings, as to say I believe there are reasons to think that there may well be a universal god or that such a thing is totally unnecessary and almost certainly therefore does not exist. Those options are fine, I suppose, to either be an Atheistic Agnost or a Deistic Agnost. In that regard, I personally would certainly call myself an Atheistic Agnost, as I see nor imagine absolutely no need or reason for the existence of a universal god; and if there's no need for such then there's no logic or real reason for thinking that there is or would be such a thing.

Until we are something much more than human, and then we will no longer be "we" as we are today, we cannot reasonably be anything more than Agnostics with respect to God(s) which we are not and don't truly have the tools to undoubtedly identify.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Pelegrin_1 » June 4th, 2018, 5:42 pm

Eduk wrote:
April 12th, 2018, 9:29 am
1. Which God? By which I mean various religious claim to know specific mutually exclusive Gods. Which God are you being agnostic about and does it matter?
2. How do your actions change, with practical examples, if you are agnostic.
3. If you are agnostic, as defined above, then is it exactly 50/50 whether or not God exists. And does that matter
OK, well I know that what Agnostic means to me isn't exactly what the OP was referring to, but I think it's only right that I should give my answers to your questions.

1A. With respect to "which god",... I think that answering that I can even give further clarification to what I wrote about my personal stance with respect to being an Atheistic Agnost. In fact that isn't exactly correct. It would be more appropriate to say that I'm an Adeistic Agnost in that I seriously doubt that there exists any universal god. But with respect to theistic gods, I'm a full on Atheist. No humanly identified god exists; they're all conjured up creations of the human imagination. So I am only Agnostic with respect to the idea of there possibly being some universal god that we, as humans, are unaware of. I'm an Atheist in all other respects.

2A. "How do my actions change"... What the heck is that supposed to mean actually? I've been an Adeistic Agnost my whole life, or at least as far back as I can remember, so nothing about being that changes my actions. If you're asking how I think I'd change my actions if I were to suddenly not be Agnostic (and I assume not being a straight up Adeist/Atheist), well put simply, I can't imagine not being an Agnostic (for the reasons I explained in my previous response), so it's a change that I can't give any credence to consideration other than the possibility that I might have lost my mind. I guess losing my mind could effect or "change" a whole lot of my actions, if that were to transpire.

3A. Already answered (mostly in my previous post).

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Pelegrin_1 » June 4th, 2018, 5:46 pm

OK, I'll give a percentage: With respect to the possible existence of a universal god, I'm probably pretty close to 99% in thinking that no such thing exists. But to be totally honest, what does it really matter since such an entity, even if it were to exist, has nothing directly to do with our existence. We are happenstance in one corner of Its universe.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Eduk » June 5th, 2018, 3:48 am

The question of how do your actions change is more levelled at those who say you shouldn't be an atheist but you should be an agnostic. If the distinction is important then what changes. In what scenarios does an atheist act differently than an agnostic.
For me the key to theism, athiesm and agnosticism is how each individual defines God. It is often said that a theist only believes in one more God than an atheist. I would say, from people's responses that an agnostic is only agnostic about one more God than atheists.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Pelegrin_1 » June 5th, 2018, 10:39 pm

Eduk wrote:
June 5th, 2018, 3:48 am
The question of how do your actions change is more levelled at those who say you shouldn't be an atheist but you should be an agnostic. If the distinction is important then what changes. In what scenarios does an atheist act differently than an agnostic.
For me the key to theism, athiesm and agnosticism is how each individual defines God. It is often said that a theist only believes in one more God than an atheist. I would say, from people's responses that an agnostic is only agnostic about one more God than atheists.
Sincerely, I don't see how anything would change for me to be an pure Atheist rather than an Agnostic. My Agnosticism is so close to Atheist that I'm only not an Atheist because I know I simply can never have the knowledge to declare that no universal god exists (it's just immensely unlikely). And on the other side, even if somehow it were possible to prove that a universal god exists, then it still wouldn't influence how I live because I don't believe and can't imagine that any true universal god would bother with how humans on this planet are living their individual lives.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Felix » June 7th, 2018, 2:13 pm

Eduk: In what scenarios does an atheist act differently than an agnostic?
In those scenarios where intellectual arrogance is counterproductive, the agnostic has the advantage.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Eduk » June 7th, 2018, 2:28 pm

That was a joke right? Along the lines of 'humility is my best feature's?

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Belindi » June 7th, 2018, 3:15 pm

Eduk. I have just read through this thread, and one theme recurred about three times in your posts.

I wondered if you would like me to remind you of the question of whether or not the god is ,or is not, mind dependent.

Nameless (I trust that Iremembered right)wrote that what the god is , is the sum of all ideas of what the god is. This would be the mind dependent
god.

However perhaps the god would exist even if there was never ever any concept of a god or, if you like, if there were never any mind/brains to conceptualise a god. If so, then this would be the mind independent god.

Greta is rather different from both of the above, in her partiality to Spinoza's god. According to Spinoza's god which is the same as nature, it is necessarily the case that consciousnesses came to be, and that concepts of god came to be. Spinoza is a determinist. So according to Spinoza ,nature, i.e. what is the case, (i.e. god/ nature) axiomatically exists and also all concepts of god (concepts are things of nature) necessarily exist. This leaves Spinoza's god/nature as mind independent, and concepts of god as mind dependent.

Physics has developed to such an extent since Spinoza that we now have to ask Is There Any Order in Nature At All? Or is nature a great random coincidence? If the latter there isn't any case for its being an axiom that god/nature exists .

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