Discussion Forums - Freethinkers, Atheism, Agnosticism

Topic: Curiosity

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Subject: Curiosity
Date Posted: 12/8/2010 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2010
Posts: 28
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I propose a poll of sorts. How many of you would identify as atheists, how many as agnostics? Or other religions for that matter?

Last Edited on: 12/8/10 7:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/9/2010 12:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 915
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I consider myself an atheist (just like Spock who says nothing unreal exists)

My husband considers himself an agnostic (he believes there is something greater out there, but is not the gods we are taught to pray to)

So: One point each for both atheist and agnostic.

Date Posted: 12/10/2010 8:10 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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I consider myself an atheist.

Date Posted: 12/11/2010 12:02 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Agnostic, because to say that a higher power does or does not exist requires an assumption based on no evidence. It its pretty much like declaring the existence or non existence of extra terrestrial life. You can't do either one because there is no evidence to prove either one. Or as I tell my uber Christian father in law, I do not disbelieve  the existence of a higher power any more than I believe in it.

Date Posted: 12/12/2010 12:01 AM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Hey, James G., you forgot to offer "Humanist" as one more possibility     . . . . . . .and maybe you shoulda included "pagan" and "pantheist" and a few other like labels?

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 12/12/2010 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Date Posted: 12/13/2010 7:48 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2010
Posts: 28
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Bonnie, I think those fall under other religions.

Date Posted: 12/14/2010 6:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2006
Posts: 11,071
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Last Edited on: 5/20/11 1:45 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/15/2010 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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James G.   Hon, I really wish you'd take a look at a book such as Greg Epstein's Good Without God:  What a Billion Non-Religious People Do Believe, in which he explains the terms "atheist", "agnostic", and "humanist" . . . . . . and the author himself is a Humanist chaplain at Harvard U.  (and yes, he does put a capital H on "Humanist", but does NOT call it a 'religion')

Date Posted: 12/16/2010 12:43 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2010
Posts: 28
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I understand what all of these things are, I am in fact a card carrying member of The Brights Movement. I also understand that they are not literally religions. It is simply easier to refer to them as such when in casual conversation about actual religions. If you really want to argue semantics though, I didn't include humanism because it is not a belief regarding religion, like atheism or agnosticism. Secular humanism maybe, but not humanism by itself.

Date Posted: 12/17/2010 10:16 AM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 188
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Agnostic. My personal take on it is that it really does not matter whether god exists or not, as there's no evidence that any higher power has a direct effect on human beings' daily lives. My philosophy is that it simply doesn't matter one way or the other - the existence of a higher power is, at least at this stage in our evolution, wholly unknowable.

Date Posted: 12/18/2010 11:22 AM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2009
Posts: 194
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Secular Humanist here  =-)

Date Posted: 1/9/2011 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2010
Posts: 7
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I consider myself an atheist.

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 1/11/2011 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Naturalistic Panthiest

Date Posted: 1/13/2011 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2009
Posts: 12
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I don't believe in any god(s).  So, I guess you can put me down as an atheist.

Date Posted: 3/5/2011 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2011
Posts: 420
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Date Posted: 3/8/2011 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2006
Posts: 1,443
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Agnostic.  Lack of evidence is not evidence to me...



erdoc -
Date Posted: 3/10/2011 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 32
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Apathetic agnostic with leanings to secular buddhism more as a philosophy/ psychology  of life than anything. 

My husband is a die hard atheist despite having a minor in theology.  I've told him that I think of atheism in the way it is used today as just as opinionated or "black and white" as the mono-theists who are positive their God is the only god and the only Way. 

I think the word atheist is generally misused, as strictly NOT BELIEVING in a God as opposed to what the word in my mind should mean as a nontheist or someone WITHOUT a god.  But that may just be semantics.

My background is checkered when it comes to religion. I grew up in the muslim middle east. My father's family is strict muslim. My mother's is Orthodox Christian. (They eloped.) My sister converted to Christian Orthodox, married a Catholic and goes every Sunday to Baptist Church (what's that all about).  My brother married a muslim. My first husband was a baptist missionary's son whose family thought I was heathen despite his drug and alcohol use and dropping out of college and my going on to get a medical degree. Go figure.  They were always so nice to my face. 

Date Posted: 3/10/2011 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2009
Posts: 12
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erdoc said,

"I think the word atheist is generally misused, as strictly NOT BELIEVING in a God as opposed to what the word in my mind should mean as a nontheist or someone WITHOUT a god.  But that may just be semantics."

I have to agree with you here, the term "atheist" has really got twisted around these days.

The terms "athiest" and "agnostic" have certainly suffered a lot of misuse and the resulting confusion is always evident in threads like this where people use the words to identify their position on the questions of the existence of god(s).

"Agnostic" has become a term used a lot by those who don't like the negative connotations associated with the term "atheist".  "Agnostic" sounds more open minded and tolerant and is viewed as a kind of middle ground between "atheist" and "believer", but that isn't what it really means. 

Agnostic is best understood when held up to its antonym, gnostic. A gnostic claims to have knowledge of a deity. They "know". An agnostic does not claim such knowledge, or in other words, they do not claim a knowledge of a deity, but they could potentially be an theist or an atheist nontheless.  Theism and atheism have to do with belief, gnosticism and agnosticism have to know with knowledge. It's possible to be an agnostic atheist, or an agnositc theist.

A person either has belief in deities or they don't. If they do not, they are atheists. Some people seem to want to leave the question of god(s) open to further inquiry and want to use "agnostic" as an open minded alternative to the more decisive sounding "atheist".  I can understand this habit, as the term "atheist" is taking a beating these days, but I think it just muddies the already muddied waters. I hope this didn't sound "preachy", I just think it bears discussing in order to try and clear up the waters a little. smiley

You sure have an interesting religious background, I can imagine that holiday gatherings can be pretty wild.


Last Edited on: 3/10/11 8:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/24/2011 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 3/12/2009
Posts: 24
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We are a family of atheists, although my kids are too young to really understand.

Date Posted: 3/28/2011 4:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2006
Posts: 11,071
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Last Edited on: 5/20/11 1:25 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
K. A. (nyxki) - ,
Date Posted: 3/30/2011 1:06 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2010
Posts: 313
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I consider myself an agnostic atheist.  I do not believe in any currently or historically proposed god/s, but I do not claim to know absolutely that any deist type figure could not exist in the entirety of the universe.  That being said, I consider the odds of such a being existing to be astronomically low, but I would be willing to be persuaded to the existence of such a being if presented with sufficient, verifiable, testable, repeatable evidence.  On the Dawkins scale, I consider myself a 6.5. 

I was raised in a family of agnostic atheists.  My Mom had a very rigid Catholic upbringing, but my Dad's family was fairly apathetic about religion - his own Father was an atheist. 

Last Edited on: 3/30/11 1:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/6/2011 3:42 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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 Hell if I know... I don't believe in a "higher power" but I do believe in love, beauty, nature, science..... 



Don Hirschberg


"Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color."


Subject: Well I have been
Date Posted: 2/22/2012 6:18 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 1,076
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A believer in Scientific proof (Questioning the existence of god) until I was in my mid 30's then I began reading books on near death experiences,(small children are the most convincing as they have no reason to lie), reincarnation stories from Hypnotic regression , psychics books and a variety of other books that the same information was being told by many different authors.. . Also my granddaughter is psychic and has told us stuff that she would have not had any access to about my husbans mother (Wll call her Grandma).My Granddaughter says she can see Grandma making a specific type of cookie that grandma likes. Also we were looking for a key to a cabinet after Grandmas death and my husband said come on mom help us find it and the radio came on and we looked at it and the key was on the antenna. So I guess I would say i believe in an afterlife & God but still would like to hear or see the proof myself.

Date Posted: 2/22/2012 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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Actually, the closest to what I am is what Bill Maher describes as an apatheist (apathetic + atheist).  Basically, I don't believe in a god and I don't consider the question worthy of that much thought.  Or as Epicurus said,

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?