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Shaikoten

Atheist, Agnostic, or Religious?

Your stand on theism?  

88 members have voted

  1. 1. Your stand on theism?

    • Atheist
      50
    • Agnostic
      26
    • Religious
      12


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im just throwing this out there, but religion seems to be a concept that gives people comfort and reassurance, as it makes a person feel like they have a purpose and somewhere to look forward to going after death. alone, it sparks hopefulness and happiness, but when people get too much into it, bad things happen (jihad). im not saying religion is the best thing ever... but it just gives people a means of comfort. its only when people think about it too much and try to be overly scientific to disprove God, simply because they want to be contradictory or appear to be smart, or different, is when people fight.

uhh i hope some of that made sense and i hope i didnt contradict myself but im too tired to look somewhere time for sleep.

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Butts said:

im just throwing this out there, but religion seems to be a concept that gives people comfort and reassurance, as it makes a person feel like they have a purpose and somewhere to look forward to going after death. alone, it sparks hopefulness and happiness, but when people get too much into it, bad things happen (jihad). im not saying religion is the best thing ever... but it just gives people a means of comfort. its only when people think about it too much and try to be overly scientific to disprove God, simply because they want to be contradictory or appear to be smart, or different, is when people fight.

uhh i hope some of that made sense and i hope i didnt contradict myself but im too tired to look somewhere time for sleep.

You've actually kind of stated functionalist social theory.

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Jodwin said:
If after the clean slate (or "the default") you end up with an opinion or belief that there can not be any gods, you end up being atheist. But instead if you stick to that clean slate you'll stick to being an agnostic.

If like with science, you only consider what you truly encounter or learn as opposed to random hypotheses that don't seem to have any basis on fact or revelation, that may not be the case. In the end you're saying it's wrong to have a conviction, which is what kristus was referring to as agnostics being "wuss-atheists". In any case, you're going by the conviction that having a conviction in respect to a so-called God (whatever that may be) either way is faith. Thus, you're practicing faith yourself.

By "know" I mean to scientifically or in some other logical way to be proven absolutely true, not that you personally think it's true (it's in quotes for a reason).

According to some it's because it was revealed to them in a divine fashion, not just because they "think" it.

The same way as a die hard Christian would argue that there is no way their god could not exist even if provided real scientific evidence, a die hard atheist would argue that there is no way a god could exist, even with provided evidence.

And the die-hard agnostic would argue there is no way to know whether god exists or not regardless of such evidence.

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Richo Rosai said:

Nonsensical crap. Not believing in something is the default.

Disbelief is still part of a belief system. An individual's acceptance or rejection of a concept is largely dependant on their personality, upbringing and how well that concept fits into their world view. If we had a genetic predisposition to doubt everything I expect as a species we would have become extinct long ago.

For the record - atheist.

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myk said:

And the die-hard agnostic would argue there is no way to know whether god exists or not regardless of such evidence.



Well, that's the only standpoint I can accept.

Does a god exist? I have no idea.

So agnostic it is.

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GreyGhost said:

Disbelief is still part of a belief system.


I can't wrap my head around this "non-belief is a form of faith crap." If someone said a dragon lives in the sun, and told me I have a "belief system" in which I had "faith" that there was no dragon in the sun, what does that even mean? They're just complicating it to make themselves seem less ridiculous, which gets harder every generation.

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The word "disbelief" can be used to illustrate a situation where someone rejects some established belief, but not believing can also be an absence instead of an opposition.

One may be answering "No!" to a question about God's existence, while another says "What?". The No may be a negation, while the What means that the concept (God) is not of value. It is not relevant, valid or recognizable. The What person may have some some belief value system but it's not based on negating a God.

The No person might however base a lot of his actions or arguments on negating God. I think that happens more when the person handles the matter inasmuch as religion and faith challenge rationality and reduces the difference or conflict to that. This creates a duality between intuition or faith and reason or science, and thus a dogma barrier where religion cannot be dealt with much like when a religious zealot cannot handle science.

Assuming all those who do not believe are in the No category is a huge generalization and an error.

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There might or might not be a god. I'll default to not, until one presents itself. And if one did, I would think it's highly likely that it would be nothing like the gods of the major religions.

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Atheist, entirely.

No matter how you define god, this choice is obvious. Generally I find people who romanticize with agnosticism simply have not bothered to define god or refuse to.

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I'm a Christian; I believe in God, Christ, and the Bible (Old & New Testament). I do my best to follow it, but I have not been going to church lately.
Socially, I believe in natural rights and freedom so I do not care what others believe (that sounds a bit negative - by that I mean I do not get offended by differences).

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I'm an atheist, and as I think about this issue quite a bit, I could write all day about why. (In fact, I probably will - definitely TL;DR.) But, I can offer this as a quick summary statement: The odds of a god existing, with any of the attributes ordinarily associated with "gods," is so astronomically unlikely that I couldn't possibly base my life upon it.

At times I find myself verging into Myk's "No!" category of atheism, as I still face pressure from some people to be religious,* and I tend to be reactionary. But, I try to mediate myself and bring myself to a more neutral position. I try to accept that the religious beliefs of others can be respectable and beneficial to the world. I try to accept that that there remains a chance of the existence of a god (as there may be fairies in the garden). And, I try to define my beliefs in positive, purposeful terms instead of as the negation of the beliefs of others.

A poll such as this brings a question to mind. Most people on all sides of this issue tend to consider beliefs as willfully adopted. Like the fundamentalist conception of homosexuality, your own personal faith or lack thereof is a "lifestyle choice." But, here's my question: is this really the case? As I mentioned in the other thread, for many years I tried to believe in God and couldn't. It seems to me that you can't choose to believe in something that doesn't naturally fit your brain circuits. It's a massive source of cognitive dissonance.** If our own personal beliefs are cemented inside ourselves from birth, and the evidence says that they are, this makes admonishments like, "Abandon your former ways and believe in God!" completely senseless and fruitless. (And, of course, atheists who confront the religious in that same way will be equally unsuccessful.) If belief is a "lifestyle choice" then so is hair colour.


*I just attended a wedding yesterday, in which two people that I don't know were joined, one of whom exhibits tangential genetic connections to myself. One elderly female relative approached me during the evening, and her conversational thrusts and jabs guided the topic through this sequence, despite my best parries:

1. What are you doing this year?
2. Oh, you're not attending (Christian university) this year? Why not?
3. What do young people believe, nowadays?
4. I'm concerned about young people.
5. I'm concerned about you.
6. Your exact beliefs are not important, as long as you accept as central the love and teachings of our lord and saviour, Jesus Christ.

Ugh. Ironically, this wouldn't have been a problem if I had simply lied and professed faith in Jesus. In other words, it's more socially acceptable to be a lying atheist than an honest one. There is a time and a place to be a shit-disturber, so I did my best to give her pleasant half-truths and unfinished thoughts, but she wouldn't stop confronting them. The conversation took sour turns and surely ended with her planning to pray extra hard tonight.

Now, God-fearing great-aunts are part of everyone's life. But, in the car ride back to my apartment, when sharing these events with my spiritual sister, her atheist fiance, and my liberal Christian mother, all were amused, but my mom naturally had to verge into comments about my "faith journey," because atheism couldn't possibly be a destination in its own right. The conversation surely ended with her planning to pray extra hard tonight.


**I am Leon Festinger's biggest fan.

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Creaphis said:

If belief is a "lifestyle choice" then so is hair colour.

Actually it's more of a reasoning process, like the time I reasoned I'd look better with blond hair and had it bleached.

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Religious.

I can't prove or disprove the existence of higher powers, so to me both options are equal in terms of likelyhood. I do like to believe in some kind of higher power / higher state of existence, since it resolves the problem of evil and generally provides a lot to look forward to and find comfort in.

Even though I'm not sure about the existence of God, I'm pretty sure that some views are not true (like the previously mentioned 'fire-and-brimstone hell' and the notion that some people are chosen above others. Or that you should kill those who don't happen to believe what you believe.
I do know for sure (or at least find it very likely) that an open mind is a good thing, because narrowmindedness prevents you from developing.

@Creaphis: I agree that one's views of the world will depend on what the most likely answer is in his view. In that sense, beliefs depend on your personal outlook, influenced by your nature and upbringing. However, when you stumble upon something that has two equally likely options, logic would have you say: "I can't know". This is where beliefs make a difference: even though you know that both options are equal, you choose which one you like better.
Where logic ends, feeling takes over. In my personal outlook, logic ended with the question of the existence of God. Both options seem equally likely to me, so I choose the one that feels best to believe in. So even though I know that there could also be no God, I believe that he is there.

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I believe wuss-atheist is my new favorite definition. Awsome.

But yea, I'm atheist. Creaphis' journey through the moral-obligations-of-faith looking-glass is pretty much the same boat I'm in.

I actually got a lot of laughs from my friend's wedding I attended; she asked for a non "preachy, ya go God!" wedding which ended up with the minister giving almost the exact same speech as a normal wedding, only replacing "God" with "love". Not kidding, said it atleast a five times a minute for the entire thing, "we must cherish love, because love loves us", "without faith in love...", "seeing two people who love eachother and believe in love", and so forth. Horrific. I have to keep reminding the girlfriend that my only option for marriage is to have a matter-of-fact courtroom wedding. "You may now, sign the papers."

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Lüt said:

Actually it's more of a reasoning process, like the time I reasoned I'd look better with blond hair and had it bleached.


It's a reasoning process, yes, but your ability and style of reasoning is not chosen by you either. Some people have a predilection towards weighing evidence, thinking critically, and following arguments to their logical conclusions. Some people don't. Most people would consider the first "choice" as preferable, but then why do so few "choose" it?

Reasoning processes can change, but I would equate that with the gradual change in hair colour with age. A quick dye is equivalent to a quick attempt to grab onto some faith, by seizing onto some new phenomenon and saying, "Only the existence of God can explain this." This is fragile and temporary, because a person who does this is likely to be confronted with evidence that says, "Actually, this is easily explained without God," and their dyed hair will grow and be cut, returning their head to its previous colour.

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Terra-jin said:

...an open mind is a good thing, because narrowmindedness prevents you from developing.

Not actually in response to your beliefs or whatnot, but that line just reminded me of a church sign I pass on my way to work. The latest entry: "don't be so open minded, your brain might fall out". Always gives me a good laugh, since it can be taken in a good number of ways.

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@Darkfyre: yeah, that saying applies to people who can't differentiate between likely and unlikely things. Sure, you could be open to the suggestion that there's a flying spaghetti monster. Strictly speaking, there's a chance that there is. But this is just so unlikely that it should be at the bottom of your philosophical priority list. I approach most conspiracy theories and other outlandish views this way.

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I'm an atheist because I don't believe in the existance of gods. I'm agnostic because I don't believe anyone can really have all the answers. I'm religious because I have my own spiritual beliefs. I chose agnostic for the poll though, because it's kind of the middle ground. These days I often call myself a Unitarian-Universalist, though, since that was the church I attended when I was a kid and their beliefs are in line with mine.

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You know, I remember a section from Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time," that really drove home what bothers me about religion. He, and some other scientists, were in Rome for a conference or something, and the Pope gave them his blessings to seek out the truth about the origin of our world, provided they did not investigate the Big Bang. Hawking noted that, ironically, they were there specifically to discuss the Big Bang.

And it got me to thinking - the Catholic church is very progressive on that front, in that they openly embrace evolution and the Big Bang. However, here was the Pope saying, "But don't try to figure out where the Big Bang came from." I mean, what is that? At a certain point, you begin to realize that religion and science ultimately can't coexist, because there's a conflict of interests there.

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I picked religious because I believe that I am God. And because my first name is Christopher that technically makes me a Christian.

Well, maybe not. I'm more of an apathetic agnostic: I don't know and I don't care...

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Atheist.

While religious people often rely on the burden of proof, stating that you can't disprove the existence of a god, it's not difficult to find the many glaring inaccuracies in the "truth" of their respective holy texts. Not only can the major religions and lesser denominations of those religions not even agree on what the truth is, but the various beliefs they do have don't even make sense. Since they can't all be right, and since there are so many obvious fallacies in their beliefs, it's only logical to assume they're all wrong and that deities are simply a product of man's imagination. Religion is simply a collection of archaic myths and dogmatic fables.

Consider the many great civilisations which once had their own religions. Yet today no one follows them. History now looks back at Greek, Roman, Celtic, Norse, Mayan, Egyptian and other gods as nothing more than legend and folklore. Perhaps one day everyone will regard today's modern religions in the same way.

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I guess I'm religious, although I hate using that term. I'm a heathen. I give honor to the norse gods and spirits. I don't claim my path is the only one and I don't want everyone on my path. I rarely discuss my faith in the gods because people can be idiots when you get in to personal spirituality.

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Terra-jin said:

@Darkfyre: yeah, that saying applies to people who can't differentiate between likely and unlikely things. Sure, you could be open to the suggestion that there's a flying spaghetti monster. Strictly speaking, there's a chance that there is. But this is just so unlikely that it should be at the bottom of your philosophical priority list. I approach most conspiracy theories and other outlandish views this way.


The thing is, god is exactly like the flying spaghetti monster you've just mentioned, so effectively you've contradicted your claim of god's existence and non-existence being equally likely.

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when people say how much religion has changed or been disproven, they seem to forget how much science has changed and been disproven... i know this is a bad example but people once thought that the sun was the center of the universe and that the world was flat... that was the accepted science.

and when i think about it, how did a marble sized orb containing the entire universe, sitting in the middle of an infinite void suddenly come to be and even explode? for that sole reason, i believe something may have created it. although its not a very scientific explanation and is one of those "placeholder" explanations that is waiting to be disproved by science. don't know why? God, that's why... although im not one to suddenly jump to that answer, i actually think scientifically about things first, and im very interested in particular about the origins of the universe, a scientific reason how and why.

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Heh, bad example, more like worst possible example. Refining scientific theories according to new knowledge that becomes available through observation/experimentation doesn't compare on any level to arbitrary changes in religions and belief systems.

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flat earth/round earth does not need scientific instruments, only logical thinking.

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Logical thinking would still only provide you with a theory. Proving it with scientific methods is a different matter.

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Creaphis said:
A poll such as this brings a question to mind. Most people on all sides of this issue tend to consider beliefs as willfully adopted. Like the fundamentalist conception of homosexuality, your own personal faith or lack thereof is a "lifestyle choice." But, here's my question: is this really the case? As I mentioned in the other thread, for many years I tried to believe in God and couldn't. It seems to me that you can't choose to believe in something that doesn't naturally fit your brain circuits. It's a massive source of cognitive dissonance.** If our own personal beliefs are cemented inside ourselves from birth, and the evidence says that they are, this makes admonishments like, "Abandon your former ways and believe in God!" completely senseless and fruitless. (And, of course, atheists who confront the religious in that same way will be equally unsuccessful.) If belief is a "lifestyle choice" then so is hair colour.

Curiously, I touched on the same subject on the other thread in a reply to what you said there (I hadn't seen this). I'd say it's valid to speak of will in terms of our interacting with the environment. The mass of cells we are can be considered positively as being everything its context is not, and thus playing in as a factor in the interaction. While we each have a character dependent on out genetics and compositional attributes, that character is different in respect to where we are in time-space. You could end up "believing in God" in some way at one point of your life or after some hereto unforeseen experience. The will is life (that sort of organic activity). We may be more willful than earthworms due to the way we evolved, but they also have a degree of will provided by their organic systems.

It's like by "will" you'd be looking for the soul which is somehow not attached to the body, having some ultimate decisive ability that escapes the bounds of everything that surrounds your existence, and that seems to fail. It seems that reason and perception are tied up to seemingly alien passions and impulses, being another transient part of these animals we are that fuck, chew organic materials and fart.

Danarchy said:
I chose agnostic for the poll though, because it's kind of the middle ground.

I kind of felt closest to that too, but refrained from choosing it due to what I said to Jodwin and because I get the impression an understanding of the limitation of our perceptions does not necessarily need to have anything to do with the concept of divinity.

CODOR said:
And because my first name is Christopher that technically makes me a Christian.

You are the bearer of Christ.

DooMAD said:
Consider the many great civilisations which once had their own religions. Yet today no one follows them. History now looks back at Greek, Roman, Celtic, Norse, Mayan, Egyptian and other gods as nothing more than legend and folklore. Perhaps one day everyone will regard today's modern religions in the same way.

Certainly, but likewise these had their clothing fashions, which are mostly just in museums if they can still be found, but people still clothe themselves!

VileSlay said:
I rarely discuss my faith in the gods because people can be idiots when you get in to personal spirituality.

That seems decent; we don't generally discuss sexual habits or bathroom practices with just anyone either. I think shared religious practices have an issue where they carry personal values over to the public, which tends to make people very touchy about it.

Belial said:
The thing is, god is exactly like the flying spaghetti monster you've just mentioned, so effectively you've contradicted your claim of god's existence and non-existence being equally likely.

It's a parody of it (hence not the same), but unlike the spaghetti monster, traditional gods have a long history behind them. Religion is arbitrary because it's man-specific, as opposed to let's say, how gravity works, but it's also something that develops "naturally" with culture just like most human practices, practices which themselves give science a focus. Science itself is biased according to the needs we have.

It's true they can't be compared since science is all about being changed according to study, while religion will only change eventually after much deliberation as a result of various social changes. It tries to remain stable to produce a long term system of interaction, or at least to carry values in that system, even amid insanity (which it can even embrace) and alterations beyond reason. It's kind of stupid, but can be grasped through the ages more easily than complex science or other many other cultural trends, which are often very time dependent.

Religion is like art's sister. Their difference is that art has the outlook of a child, and religion of an elderly person. The child is more lovable and charming, and looks more avidly towards the future. And there may be something stale and worn out about the elderly, but we still cherish our elders because they came before us, were like us as we will be like them, and are not to blame for growing old.

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