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Theism, Atheism and Agnosticism

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Theism, Atheism and Agnosticism
Post by tlb   » Tue May 14, 2024 1:14 pm

tlb
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While wandering around the internet, I encountered an Atheist who claimed that "a belief in NO god" was not a correct definition and that atheism actually includes agnosticism: since lacking a firm belief in God, meant that an Agnostic cannot be a Theist. Why he thought that including Agnostics buttressed his position eludes me; since the Agnostics are likely stumbling around thinking "I do not understand, why am I here?".

I claim that both theism and atheism are united in having a strong conviction, while agnosticism is characterized by doubt. There may be a weak form of atheism that is nearly indistinguishable from agnosticism; but let's just call them Agnostics, since they cannot make their mind up (a key trait of agnosticism).

To make this clearer, let's consider a Schrödinger's cat type of thought experiment, where the metaphysical cat might be the "concept of godhood": we are presented with a box that we cannot open and told it contains this cat. What are the responses?

Theist: I believe that this box contains a cat that is alive.

Atheist: I believe that this box never contained a cat; but if it had, the cat is now dead.

Agnostic: I have no way of knowing the contents of this box at this time, so I cannot form an opinion.

There is a short spectrum of agnosticism that runs from weak (I do not know) to strong (I can not know). As Chidi Anagonye said in The Good Place: "I don't know, please don't ask me that, my stomach hurts".
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Re: Theism, Atheism and Agnosticism
Post by Daryl   » Wed May 15, 2024 3:08 am

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Interesting topic that may revive our debates.
I'm a qualified agnostic, in that I don't know, and by definition can't know. I do know that all religions can't be true. I do know that in my long life some of the worst (and some of the best) people I have met have been overt Christians.
If I have any beliefs it is in karma, in that most bad people that I have known may initially prosper, but eventually come undone.
Life would be simpler if I "just knew". And knew that my mum was waiting for me on the other side, but alas I doubt that.
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Re: Theism, Atheism and Agnosticism
Post by tlb   » Wed May 15, 2024 8:11 pm

tlb
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Daryl wrote:I'm a qualified agnostic, in that I don't know, and by definition can't know. I do know that all religions can't be true.

The Indian fable of the blind men and the elephant (a Buddhist text contains the earliest known version) is an attempt to explain how (and why) many religions have different approaches to the unknown.
Wikipedia wrote:The tale later became well known in Europe, with 19th-century American poet John Godfrey Saxe creating his own version as a poem, with a final verse that explains that the elephant is a metaphor for God, and the various blind men represent religions that disagree on something no one has fully experienced.
VIII.

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

MORAL.

So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
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