Is agnosticism the only honest position?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by SolusCado, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. SolusCado Registered Senior Member

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    I think so. While I realize some atheists refuse to characterize their position as believing there is no god, the alternative seems to be the definition of agnosticism. So, since agnosticism is "an intellectual doctrine or attitude affirming the uncertainty of all claims to ultimate knowledge" and since no one can either prove or disprove the existence of a Creator God, it seems to me that anyone who claims they are not an agnostic is lying to themselves or others.
     
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  3. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    There are those who feel God has spoken to them and that they do have certainty of ultimate knowledge.

    As an agnostic, I feel they are probably delusional... But, what do I know? :shrug:
     
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  5. SolusCado Registered Senior Member

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    Delusional is one word. I was going to suggest that they are in fact being dishonest with themselves (referring back to the OP). But, what do I know indeed.

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  7. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    As an atheist, I disagree. I think the naturalistic processes that science has revealed preclude the necessity of a God to explain why things are the way they are.
     
  8. SolusCado Registered Senior Member

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    What exactly do you disagree with? Naturalistic processes may preclude the necessity of a God to explain things but it in no way proves or disproves the existence of one.
     
  9. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I said "probably".

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  10. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    I disagree that the intellectually honest position is agnosticism. If there is no necessity for a hypothesis, it may be dismissed. Occam's Razor and all that. There is an infinite number of things I cannot disprove, that doesn't mean it's reasonable to have faith that they are true.
     
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think so. I know honest atheists, honest Christians, and honest adherents of other religions. Their honesty doesn't mean that their beliefs have to be correct. But these people honestly and sincerely hold their beliefs for what they believe are good reasons.

    I do think that agnosticism regarding transcendental matters is probably the most philosophically justifiable position to hold.
     
  12. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Faith is not intellectually honest. It is a concept that doesn't even include any reason at all, that's what faith is in essence- belief in the absence of evidence or even in light of contradictory evidence.
     
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Faith basically means 'trust'. It doesn't necessarily exclude having reasons, even good reasons, for what is trusted. Each time I take a step, I have faith that the "law" of gravity hasn't been repealed. That doesn't mean that I don't have what I feel is good inductive reason for trusting gravity. It isn't 100% certainty and I can't really answer Hume's skepticism about the logical status of induction, but it's good enough for me in my daily life.

    Some people honestly think that the design argument is persuasive. (I don't.) Other people honestly trust their own religious experiences. Still others honestly insist that science contradicts and discredits supernaturalism.

    Lots of people believe lots of things for lots of different reasons. Their reasons might be very good or very bad, but even stupidity and credulity don't imply that people are lying.
     
  14. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Believing in something because it makes you feel good might be a good reason personally, but it isn't evidence. Faith is belief in the absence of evidence. It's trust in something for no reliable reason, and thus it's not intellectually honest. Intellectually honesty is not the same as honesty in regular life. I'm not suggesting they are lying, but they are being dishonest when they claim that science supports their faith.
     
  15. Psyche Registered Senior Member

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    The problem I have with agnosticism is that the agnostic position isn't held consistently across all matters. Why aren't there agnostics for murder suspects, or the planet Mars, or Santa Clause? It seems to me that the only difference is that there aren't very many people that get angry if you take the position that the truth of a proposition is unknowable in any other area but with theism. If there were armies of devout Capitan Crunch worshipers it might serve as a mechanism of fogging the brain up a little on that one issue, but its for no other reason than its unpleasant to be at odds with people whose entire identity and self-esteem rests on the reflected glory of their [imagined] savior.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  16. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    I call myself an agnostic. Others sometimes call me an atheist. But it's not like I live my life like there "might be a god". I don't really see how the moral baggage got tied to the same concept. :shrug:
     
  17. Yosef Registered Senior Member

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    Some interesting thoughts. We all have different life stories. We all are at certain points in our lives. I think people have to be open for possibilities. We should not let presumptions regarding certain people or religion itself draw us away from the Truth of God.

    Being a believer does not mean you don't use your brain. I have to say that to believe in God is like having a bright sun shining in your life. I am not saying most people are misguided or wrong. Humans do the best, based on what they know / have experience with, to improve their lives.

    This is what God says in the Holy Quran as He starts it, right after the opening chapter:

    "In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful (1) A(lif), L(am), M(eem). (2) That is the book! there is no doubt therein; a guide to the pious, (3) who believe in the unseen, and are steadfast in prayer, and of what we have given them expend in alms; (4) who believe in what is revealed to thee, and what was revealed before thee, and of the hereafter they are sure. (5) These are in guidance from their Lord, and these are the prosperous."
    The Heifer 2:1-5​

    Alif, Lam, Meem are the three Arabic letters A, L and M (pronounced - written, based on the the revelation, as letters).

    Original revealed text:

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    I will be around, with God's will.
     
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    And once again I am sure this thread will devolve into an argument of what it is to be an Agnostic compared to an Atheist.

    I consider myself an Agnostic Atheist.
    I don't consider the two mutually exclusive:

    I have zero direct knowledge of God, and am not convinced it is possible to know anything of God. I am therefore an Agnostic.
    As there is no evidence of God, I do not have a belief in the existence of God. I am therefore an Atheist.

    As for Agnosticism being an "honest" position - can you expand on what it is to be "honest"?


    I would hesitate to use the word "delusional" - as to me that word generally requires there to be evidence to the contrary of what is being believed. e.g. believing you will win the lottery is not delusional - but to do so when you have not bought a ticket would be.
     
  19. wsionynw Master Queef Valued Senior Member

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    Hmm, I'm not sure I agree with you here. Believing you will the lottery is basically HOPING you will win the lottery. You don't know if you will or not until the numbers come up. There is also a certain chance that you will win the lottery, even if you don't buy a ticket because you could find the winning ticket on the floor and for some reason nobody else claims it (long odds on that one

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    ).

    Regarding belief in a deity I think it could be considered delusional in the same way someone that is convinced werewolves and vampires are real could be considered delusional. The is nothing but anecdotal evidence to go on.

    In this sense we are all agnostic, none of us can be certain there is a God yet some of us choose to believe (although I would argue it is hope, not belief) there is one since that fits our upbringing, education, World view, etc. I don't believe in God, werewolves, vampires, celestial teapots, etc because there is no evidence and my view on the universe around us doesn't require that there ever would be evidence. Sure, if a werewolf attacked me I would change my mind pretty quickly.
     
  20. ejderha Exhausted Registered Senior Member

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    Isn't this just another form of expressing that there is possibly something so vast and omnipotent, only because of that it cannot be known in human terms?

    And instead of saying that, they claim it cannot be known.

    How is that honest?
     
  21. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

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    This question pops up every so often.

    Agnosticism as you are describing is an epistemological position rather than an ontological position. One can be an Agnostic Theist or an Agnostic Atheist. While one can certainly take the position that they are undecided as to the existence of god, this is not really an ontological position, it's the refusal to take a position.

    As to whether it's the only honest position, no it's not. It depends upon your epistemological methodology and your definition of god.

    ~Raithere
     
  22. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Solus, you need to have this discussion with Lori, because God speaks to her, or so she claims.

    But of course I am an agnostic myself. I am also an atheist. When I deny the existence of a deity described to me, it's because the logic and reasoning put forward to support it are fallacious. We falsify the hypothetical using logic, nothing more, we aren't making claims of absolute knowledge. Being an agnostic, it's kinda hard to take anybody seriously that claims absolute knowledge. But I prefer to refer myself as an atheist anyway, because too many see agnosticism as an apologetic faith based position, rather than a statement about knowledge.
     
  23. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    If you are allegedly an agnostic theist, just what does one believe in, exactly?

    You can't believe God is real, because you have admitted doubt, surely? I guess I don't understand faith, so can't get my head around the idea of holding a belief I can't justify. Your thoughts?
     

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