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 A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC

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Aaron
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PostSubject: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Fri Nov 09, 2007 6:22 pm

I just came acrossed this essay and thought I'd share it here.

Quote :
A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC

Recently I met a young man who called himself an agnostic. He said, "I am completely disinterested in God. I have no proof that a God exists, and the idea of some super-Being watching over me and the world is somehow rather ludicrous in light of the world situation. "Besides that," he continued, "the blatant hypocrisy of 'religious men' is enough to turn my stomach."

This statement rather sums up the opinions of many frustrated people, young and old alike. "And another thing," he added, "how can anything ever be understood when even the oldest religious leaders, with years of study behind them, are at loggerheads with one another and apparently unable to solve the world's problems? All these things suggest to me that God is the invention of frustrated people wishing for something above and beyond themselves to solve all their problems."

Many hold these ideas in this day and time. The ranks of the disillusioned are growing in number, and they come especially from the disenchanted within the religious organizations of the world. People are wondering increasingly about the correctness of their particular brands of religion. Old ideas once accepted as fact seem foolish and superstitious in light of the world's new technological dimension. The break with old theological concepts seems, to these people, to be a break with God. The arguments against old practices become their arguments against the existence of what they term 'God'. . . It must be pointed out that these are not valid arguments against the existence of God but are, rather, arguments against old concepts of God, old ideas about God and old practices that pervade all organized religions today.

I am yet to meet an agnostic or atheist who cannot accept the existence and presence of God once we agree on just what Reality is.

Usually, atheists deny and agnostics doubt the actuality of God as they understand and define God. They are quite right, because God as they define Him could not possibly exist. But God as God is, is neither doubted nor denied by a single person on this earth and never has been. God, as God is, is accepted without question, even without resistance, by everyone because God is the very basis of being, the fact of real existence.Why, God is Life itself. Show me an atheist who will deny he is alive! .

The doubters and deniers are invariably throwing rocks at their own misconceptions of God, at the usual definitions of God, or at the generally accepted idea of what God can do.

I am quick to agree that the popular idea of God is incorrect and that such a God does not exist--and never has. But God, as God is, does exist as a very present Reality and as undeniable basis of Existence.

Truth, Reality, Fact exists. This is all that really does exist right here, right now.

I think the author does a good job of describing what we deists have to deal with quite a bit.

The rest of the essay can be found here...
http://www.williamsamuel.com/agnosticsa.htm

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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Fri Nov 09, 2007 6:24 pm

P.S. I thought you'd appreciate that last line Stew. Wink

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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:22 am

Aaron wrote:
P.S. I thought you'd appreciate that last line Stew. Wink
Yes, I did. But the definition of agnosticism with which he argues is bogus: "I am completely disinterested in God. I have no proof that a God exists, and the idea of some super-Being watching over me and the world is somehow rather ludicrous in light of the world situation."

He's entitled to his opinion, but it's illogical. Why would God create the universe and then walk away? In any case I think he's a closet atheist.
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:49 am

I think he was quoting the words of an Agnostic (large A) that he's had discussions with.

Quote :
He's entitled to his opinion, but it's illogical. Why would God create the universe and then walk away? In any case I think he's a closet atheist.

I don't know where you got that impression from? I don't think that was what he was arguing at all. scratch

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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sat Nov 10, 2007 2:03 pm

If God didn't walk away then where is it? It obviously has no interests in the lives of human beings - we are still at the whim of chance in the universe.
Besides, why would an omnipotent being create a universe that required constant attention and maintenance to function properly? Here on earth nature is full symbiotic systems, ecosystems are based around their ability to find balance, wouldn't the universe - on a grand scale - be much the same?
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sat Nov 10, 2007 2:46 pm

Quote :
If God didn't walk away then where is it?

Well Uriah, you can't logically conclude that because God walked away he abandoned us.

I mean I also can't prove he didn't abandon us.

But he may have walked away for a reason.

To steal Paineful's line (I can see the lawyer's letter for plagarizing already) Wink perhaps to allow us free will!
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:07 am

Uriah wrote:
If God didn't walk away then where is it? It obviously has no interests in the lives of human beings - we are still at the whim of chance in the universe.

You're thinking in terms brought on by revealed religions. Just because He (It?) doesn't interfere by no means implies that He has no interest in us, just the opposite. "If you love something set it free." Any intervention, as Helium so correctly points out, would override our free will. Yes we are at the mercy of chance, but that's the price we must pay for our freedom in a reasonable environment. And in the big scheme of things, what's threescore and ten against all eternity? Every case of seemingly "senseless" death or suffering is a monument to God's commitment to our free will. The revealed religions still cannot answer that question without a lot of tap dancing.


Quote :
Besides, why would an omnipotent being create a universe that required constant attention and maintenance to function properly? Here on earth nature is full symbiotic systems, ecosystems are based around their ability to find balance, wouldn't the universe - on a grand scale - be much the same?

Who suggested that the universe required constant attention? Certainly the revealed religions could subscribe to such a version of Intelligent Design, but how could a deist? God may subsume it, but I don't see any reason or evidence that He would have to make any adjustments.
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:45 pm

Quote :
The revealed religions still cannot answer that question without a lot of tap dancing.

And indeed, those unsavoury fundy televangelist types really, really have a lot of explaining to do. To me it's a fundamental position of why I am deist.

The logic behind god healing someone in an auditorium.
I mean if you talked to the televangelist, he would probably agree that

A) God knows everything (which by the way I don't, but that's antoher discussion we've had and could have again)

So surely God didn't need anyone to tell him about an audience members "sickness"

And then what can we logically derive from a God that somehow needs prayers to go into action. I mean he knows the person is sick. NOt only that but he knows how "good" the sick person is.

And so what is the always "ambiguous" role of the televangelist other than reaping in alot of money and living in a big house on the hill. He's somehow a channel or conduit to God?

So let's take 9-11 which is so iconic.

How come he couldn't help anyone on the top floors even though they had cell phones to say goodbye to their families, and even though they were good people and even though they had a whole lot of people praying for them. HOw come he couldn't help them? How come he seems to specialize in miracles (i.e. of the medical kind) that are ambiguous, undocumentable, perpetrated by shady figures who end up with a lot of money, end up sinning like the rest or us, then saying, 'the devil made me do it.'

And what does it say if someone comes to a televangelist with, say, troubles breathing and receives help, in whatever mysterious way. But say the person has smoked all their life. Well God can't change that fact.

Anyway, I guess this whole ramble is preaching to the converted in a deist forum. Oh well that's never stopped me before. lol!
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sun Nov 11, 2007 6:56 pm

Quote :
If God didn't walk away then where is it?

I called myself an Agnostic for about 30 years. I was generally familiar with the absentee-Creator concept commonly attributed to Deism, but that semi-existentialist rationale never made any sense to me. Only when I realized that the Creator might have good reasons for being invisible-but-omni-present did I conclude that Deism might possibly be a sensible worldview.

If the deadbeat-Dad image of G*d was the best I could come up with, I'd have to remain an Agnostic. My current Deity-definition is closer to an unwed-Mother metaphor. But even that is a weak caricature of a wholistic phenomenon that pushes the envelope of fragmented human understanding.

In answer to the question: G*d is everywhere.


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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:03 pm

Quote :
we are still at the whim of chance in the universe.

On the other hand, Chance is the mechanism that gives us the opportunity to exercise our whims. No Chance, no change. No change, no options. No options, no choice. No choice, no freewill.
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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:57 pm

Quote :
If the deadbeat-Dad image of G*d was the best I could come up with ...

Again I still have a hard time with this logic.

We do not document the work of the supernatural in the universe.

Therefore

God has "abandoned" us.

If I were a lawyer I would argue that "abandoned" is a perjorative remark!

It might very well be that he lost interest in his creation and abandoned it. It might be that he has very good reasons for the way it's set up.

Then again, maybe you and Aaron are correct, and in the panendeistic model god hasn't gone anywhere 'cause he's everywhere.

Unfortunaty I think there's only one way to find out, and I'm not looking forward to it. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:18 pm

Helium wrote:
Quote :
If the deadbeat-Dad image of G*d was the best I could come up with ...

Unfortunaty I think there's only one way to find out, and I'm not looking forward to it. Laughing

I sort of am. Either I'll know for sure, or I won't know that this is all just pointless and will never know the difference.
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:32 pm

Just a thought: maybe the GodForce (my word, not yours) didn't create the universe... maybe (the) God(Force) is both the creator & the creation... each interacting with the other. I personally "believe" (don't like that word, but what can I do) that all is "God," including the natural laws that govern and move (and arrest) the universe. I don't know if that is panendeism, but it's what I know.

"May You Walk the Way of the Wolf;
Balance is the key ..."

Reverend Shaun K. Hunter
Lykos Temple ULC
North Hollywood, CA
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:02 pm

Lykos Minister wrote:
Just a thought: maybe the GodForce (my word, not yours) didn't create the universe... maybe (the) God(Force) is both the creator & the creation... each interacting with the other. I personally "believe" (don't like that word, but what can I do) that all is "God," including the natural laws that govern and move (and arrest) the universe. I don't know if that is panendeism, but it's what I know.

"May You Walk the Way of the Wolf;
Balance is the key ..."

Reverend Shaun K. Hunter
Lykos Temple ULC
North Hollywood, CA
818-301-4476

Yes, I agree.

Welcome. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:38 am

Uriah wrote:
If God didn't walk away then where is it?

That's the wrong question!

Ask "Where isn't it?".

As I have said before, if nothing existed before God created the universe (or before the Big Bang) except God, what did God use for building materials? Everything is composed of God!

And God could not "walk away from" himself. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:04 am

"...agnostics doubt the actuality of God..."

Doubt and belief are two different things. I doubt the big bang but I believe it happened because it makes sense and all the evidence I have supports it. Likewise I doubt the existence of God but I believe God exists to the same degree of certainty I do the big bang for the same reasons.
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:53 pm

Paul Anthony wrote:
Uriah wrote:
If God didn't walk away then where is it?

That's the wrong question!

Ask "Where isn't it?".

As I have said before, if nothing existed before God created the universe (or before the Big Bang) except God, what did God use for building materials? Everything is composed of God!

And God could not "walk away from" himself. Smile

The question makes perfect sense when people stop anthropomorphizing God.

The problem I have with many of the God concepts is that the envision this God as a being, separate and distinct from creation. So, in essence, I agree with you. "Where isn't God?" - God is everywhere, everything.

Logos
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:22 am

Quote :
if nothing existed before God created the universe (or before the Big Bang) except God, what did God use for building materials?

God could have created the building materials.

In that scenario, your statement would have to be slightly modifed in that all things are OF God.

As opposed to all things are God (i.e., panenDEISM).

Either way, the salient point is probably that it doesn't make too much difference whether the constituent physical components of my body are OF God or are made of the panendeist's so-called God-material, the probably more salient consideration is the mind.

The mind is not God.

"I" am not God.

"I" am Helium.

If I was God, why would God have to separate a part of himself in order for that part to return.
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:07 am

Helium wrote:
"I" am not God.

No, but as the theory goes you are a part of god, just as you are a part of the earth, and the earth is a part of the solar system, and the solar system is a part of the Milky Way galaxy and so on and so forth. God is a holistic concept just as "Helium" is a holistic concept.

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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:58 am

Yes, but to reiterate, whether the components of my body or the components of all matter, including stars and planets, are made OF God-material or simply BY God is immaterial.

The exciting question is spirit. Who breathed in the spirit in sentient beings.

Certainly atheists would suggest that nothing breathed in the spirit and that nothing transcends the material world.

We are nothing but material that has become aware of itself.

And after we strut and fret our hour upon the stage, we will be hear from no more, so the atheists say.

And, indeed, it has to be accepted as a possibility.

Interestingly deism and agnosticism are apparently not mutually exclusive.
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:35 am

Technically, I'm a Deist - and I don't believe in an afterlife, and I don't believe in the "consciousness" of spirit either. I think that when we die we are gone for good. You only get one ride on the Merry-Go-Round.
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:39 am

Helium wrote:
Yes, but to reiterate, whether the components of my body or the components of all matter, including stars and planets, are made OF God-material or simply BY God is immaterial.

The exciting question is spirit. Who breathed in the spirit in sentient beings.

Certainly atheists would suggest that nothing breathed in the spirit and that nothing transcends the material world.

We are nothing but material that has become aware of itself.

And after we strut and fret our hour upon the stage, we will be hear from no more, so the atheists say.

And, indeed, it has to be accepted as a possibility.

Interestingly deism and agnosticism are apparently not mutually exclusive.

The funny thing is I don't necassarily disagree with the atheist point of view. I think I just define the word "nothing" differently then they do.

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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:41 am

Uriah wrote:
Technically, I'm a Deist - and I don't believe in an afterlife, and I don't believe in the "consciousness" of spirit either. I think that when we die we are gone for good. You only get one ride on the Merry-Go-Round.

I think that spirit may be conscious but not in any way that we would recognize and certainly not in an egoic sense.

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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:30 am

Helium wrote:

We are nothing but material that has become aware of itself.


I have recently been thinking that it isn't our self-awareness that is important, but our awareness of our connection to the Cosmic Mind.

Self-awareness is (perhaps) the first step to enlightenment. If one stops there, one risks becoming too self-aware, and blind to the oneness of all.
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PostSubject: Re: A WORD TO THE AGNOSTIC   Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:34 am

Quote :
Technically, I'm a Deist - and I don't believe in an afterlife, and I don't believe in the "consciousness" of spirit either. I think that when we die we are gone for good. You only get one ride on the Merry-Go-Round.

Sounds like how I would categorize an atheist. Not that it matters. You abviously have highly articulated and thoughtful insight, whatever label is put on it.

Quote :
The funny thing is I don't necassarily disagree with the atheist point of view. I think I just define the word "nothing" differently then they do.

Well I think we've long agreed that deists are generally atheists as far as this universe goes, i.e., no dividine intervention. Deists, I suppose, by default, however, believe there is something more than the brief presence of life forms in this universe, whether that be in a panendeistic model where the collective conscious will resolve itself or in my more traditional model where the individual is preserved beyond death, whether that be intact or at least as a distinct memory in the collective conscious.

My bottom line is that this life matters.

Quote :
I have recently been thinking that it isn't our self-awareness that is important, but our awareness of our connection to the Cosmic Mind.

Self-awareness is (perhaps) the first step to enlightenment. If one stops there, one risks becoming too self-aware, and blind to the oneness of all.
Certainly we are all as important as the next person, which immediately brings guilt pangs to me that we should be doing more to help the millions in this world who desparately need our help.

Maybe we should start a deist charity?
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