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Source: (consider it) Thread: Agnostic and Church Attendance
Stoic29
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Are many shipmates here agnostic and still attend church services? How do you reconcile a lack of faith and still receive the Eucharist, engage in the life of the parish, etc?

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irreverend tod
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If you feel your church is a force for your view of social good, then supporting its activities and continuance is a good reason to attend.

Not sure about Eucharist - we do have people attend who like the service, but don't come up to the rail for communion. One chap keeps an eye on vising dogs while the owner goes forward though.

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Gamaliel
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I suspect those who are agnostic aren't generally agnostic about absolutely everything.

You can be a believer and be agnostic over particular aspects. Besides, it can wax and wane just like convictions and certainties can.

But it would be interesting to hear from avowed agnostics. I know people with no discernible faith whatsoever who attend church, but I think that's increasingly rare these days.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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May I define things differently? At time god has seemed to be agnostic of me and my family. Which has left me at those times with finding comfort where it can be had. This has resulted in attending church and going the through the motions, not because I believed anything just then, but because it (a) brought me comfort, (b) was a place where I could ponder things. I have periods of hostile agnosticism and periods of sad agnosticism. I am continuing to learn patience about it and other big things. And to take myself less seriously. I do like some of the people at church, and sometimes it's enough.

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leo
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Surely we are all agnostic - it means we don't KNOW. Faith is not knowledge.

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agingjb
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I'd say I was agnostic, earning contempt from the atheists and sadness from the believers among my acquaintance.

The Quakers accept me uncritically as a (silent) attender at their meetings, which suits me.

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Schroedinger's cat

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I can see that people who are agnostic about the details of faith still find spiritual meaning in Eucharist.

In fact, there is an argument that this is all it is ever about for most attendees. I suspect that taking Eucharist is, for many, part of being a member of hte community, part of the spiritual exercise of being in a church. Not a clearly defined part of their belief system.

Of course, for many, their belief system includes being a part of a church fully as a necessary part of being a Christian. I suspect for many it is pretty much the heart of their faith.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Why should agnostic mean that the provisional position taken is atheism? Why can one not be agnostic but identify as Christian in the hope that this turns out to be true, even if one does not believe 100% that it is?

Isn't everyone in this position to a certain extent? Is anyone really 100% sure?

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Jengie jon

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A while ago I came across an article about people who were Religious but not spiritual. Maybe someone on the ship can find it but by google foo is poor tonight and the closest I have got is this article. Basically, it looks at people who belong to a Church community but would not classify themselves as Christian. Their belonging included attendance at worship and I think at least some of those in the article would have classified themselves as Atheist. Such people do exist for much the same reason as the Sunday Assembly exists

Jengie

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Huia
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Why should agnostic mean that the provisional position taken is atheism? Why can one not be agnostic but identify as Christian in the hope that this turns out to be true, even if one does not believe 100% that it is?

Isn't everyone in this position to a certain extent? Is anyone really 100% sure?

Thanks Karl - that captures what I wanted to say, but more clearly than I could today.

I was thinking of the words in the committal "In sure and certain hope..." That's probably as far I get, not certainty as such, but with the hope of certainty.

There have been, and probably will again be, times when hope is hard to hear - but then it would be harder not to hear.

While we were waiting for our new Minister to be called we had a variety of ordained clergy filling in. The ones who sounded absolutely certain offered me the least hope.

Huia

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Net Spinster
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I note I'm a church going atheist though sometimes it is to a local Unitarian Universalist church and usually to a small local mainline Christian church. The UUs of course have fair number of atheists (of the humanist variety). At the mainline Christian church I don't hide but nor do I shout what I am. They have a fairly active social justice program and also quite intellectual (it draws from a university community) both in the sciences and in theology) though some members avoid theological discussions. I don't take communion nor am I a member. I will note that many of the mainline churches around here tend to be quite progressive.

There are local humanist groups that meet regularly. Sometimes within the shadow of a UU congregation, sometimes as Sunday Assemblies, Ethical Culture, or standalone humanist groups though the last tend to be low on ritual.

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Albertus
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Very happy to have agnostics in church. I think it's good for the church (ballast against Enthusiasm & fundamentalism) and good for society (the Church as a social institution) that people who don't necessarily Believe still want to Belong.

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Stoic29:
Are many shipmates here agnostic and still attend church services? How do you reconcile a lack of faith and still receive the Eucharist, engage in the life of the parish, etc?

I'm pretty close to agnostic these days 'tho I have the occasional flash of what may be called faith.

I go to Church, I don't say anything about my lack of belief. I'm honest when asked, but I'm very rarely asked.

I'm no longer a Worship Leader. When I gave up I explained to the minister that it was wrong for me to lead worship when I'm not worshiping myself.

I prepare the visuals and work the sound desk and AV, this keeps me out of trouble and busy. The GD puppy comes too
as 'settling while Mum is working' is a big part of a GDs job.

All my friends are at Church and I still enjoy a good Methodist 'clart' (rousing singing) in Church.

In other words I still go for what used to be called 'fellowship'. God almost never intrudes.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Why can one not be agnostic but identify as Christian in the hope that this turns out to be true, even if one does not believe 100% that it is?

That is exactly me. The Bible talks about hope as well as faith, and I often find it easier to use the word "hope" rather than "faith". But they are clearly linked concepts.

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Gramps49
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I will admit most of the time I am more agnostic than I am a believer. I have been this way for a long time. I go back and forth on this.

I find a couple of quotes that help me through this.

One is an old AA saying "Fake it until you make it"

The other is from Paul Tillich: "The enemy of faith is not doubt, it is certitude."

I believe, O Lord, help my unbelief.

Taking the Eucharist is still a spiritual event for me even in my times of deep doubt. I realize when I am taking it, I am participating in something much bigger than myself. Something that goes back to the last supper of the Lord to the end of the church on earth.

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Ethne Alba
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IMHO, faith can be as a mustard seed. Which in that rabbi's 2,000 year old tale means "extremely small".

On a bad day and sometimes for Many bad days too, my faith can be minuscule.
But my lack of faith or belief does not stop me from presenting myself at the communion rail. I am there in the full and certain knowledge that it's about God.

Not me; not what i can do/ can believe / can have the faith for.
Goodness if it was That the show would be over.

There's something about belonging and leaving the rest to God.


At other times, well maybe it's better to be around people than not? Last time i looked... my church anyway... vows that it's there for the parish. Not the congregation.

Not all churches are the same though. So maybe i should be grateful for small mercies!
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[ 21. August 2017, 19:30: Message edited by: Ethne Alba ]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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So we are in good company here, away from the fanatics and the evangelicals, whom, I wonder if they are not fanatical because they're over-compensating for doubt.

Christianity is also mythology, poetic mythology, often set to good music (we hope it is good): I think when we abandon the poetry of religion, we also abandon the sublime. Why can't an agnostic experience the sublime? Mightn't religion have explanatory power beyond the mere ideas and beliefs?

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simontoad
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I'm a Christian but I find it hard to attend my local services because I'm also a slack bastard. I also find talking to people at church difficult, because I often find myself saying the most stupid things for reasons that escape me. I still regularly berate myself for something awful that I said about 7 years ago in response to a compliment about my job outside one of my churches. I also attend both Catholic and Anglican churches, something that definitely raises eyebrows in Catholic settings, less so these days in Anglican ones. So I have a long list of reasons to be a slack bastard, but the truth is that I would go weekly to the 9am Anglican service if I could just gather the will to get out of bed. I'm about 2 weeks off a tablet that made me drowsy, so here's hoping.

My main Mick Mass is at St Francis in the city. I'll be there this Friday all being well. I go about once a month when I meet my mate from Mornington in the city. Mass there is fantastic. Everyone's a stranger, there's a large diversity in ethnicity, and the evangelical (there's a better word) Catholics do amusing things. Last time the Priest had a bee in his bonnet about mobile phones and actually stopped in the middle of his sermon to identify and shame the owner of a buzzing mobile. I laughed and laughed and laughed. It was so Father Ted. Then a few months ago, another Priest gave a stern talk to the congregation about inventing new mysteries. He reckoned he had seen people jumping from one communion queue to the other so they could get their wafer from the Priest instead of the lay server. He insisted that they had all been subjected to the same treatment and the hand didn't matter. I might have snorted. Now THIS is worship!

When my wife has finally had enough of me and I've lost my job, I'm going to be one of those people who attend mass daily and mumble aggressively at those who try to speak to them, unless they are nuns.

Edit: I was going to make this relevant to the thread, but it would have been too long.

[ 22. August 2017, 01:16: Message edited by: simontoad ]

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Barnabas62
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It was Baptist Trainfan, I think, who quoted a minister of his acquaintance saying "I believe fewer things than I used to, but I believe more deeply the things I do believe in".

It's an odd, journey, the journey of faith. When you've been on the road a long time, doctrinal and dogmatic certainties seem to lead at best to paradoxes. Using some Orthodox language, kataphatic and apophatic theology meet head on, often leading to headaches! "What is truth" we ask ourselves, echoing Pilate. Or more simply "you know what, I'm confused!".

I think we learn to take our ignorance seriously. Which can make us seem quite wafty, malleable and compromised to the more certain. But, mostly, they learn in time that faith is not so simple when you take it seriously.

[ 22. August 2017, 08:49: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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Did I? I don't recall it. But I agree with the post.
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quetzalcoatl
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I spent quite a long time as a non-realist Christian. Ironically, there is nothing to reconcile, since going to church, the Eucharist, and so on, make perfect sense in a non-realist way. I suppose there is a tension with Christians who are realists, i.e. actually believe that Christ was/is God in an objective way, but I never got into fights over it.

But the symbols began to fade for me. Maybe this is the fate of non-realism, to fade away into realism!

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Augustine the Aleut
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I only know two regular churchgoers who have told me that they identify as agnostics. Both of them are evensong-attenders, and one of them told me that he sees no point in attending a eucharist as he is not sufficiently engaged to participate at any level and, as he is musically inclined, there is much more spoken text than music than at evensong. The other told me that she was an introvert and that people left her alone at evensong, so she could focus on the service.
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Ethne Alba
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Talking with someone recently on this very topic, they came out with the phrase " I'm not going to bother trying to work it all out anymore, i'm just going to listen for the wind and go with it."


Can't remember the last time i lost sleep over truth, belief and anything remotely like the importance of all that.
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+ another one here who could happily become a daily communicant!
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rolyn
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I have never believed in God in the traditional sense and wasn't brought up in a church going family. Nevertheless I had the big, so-called, Born again hit aged 40, having been laid low by a couple of life crisis', and attended church regularly for several years.

The Christian Faith and the Bible are largely baffling to me, apart a few bits and pieces. Consequently I still identify as agnostic, one who would probably be better off practicing yoga, meditation, or something similar.
Despite all this I still occasionally attend a small rural church, read at the lectern and take communion. And, for some strange reason, (because most of my previous euphoria has ebbed), I can feel spiritually lifted even after the driest Church service. Mixing with other folk does seem to be part of it.

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wild haggis
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What exactly do we mean by "agnostic"?

Surely we are all agnostic to a certain extent because we can never be sure about absolutely everything.

Isn't that what faith is about? It's not certainty. If it was certainty it would not be faith.

So therefore there are elements of agnosticism within faith by its very definition.

It's finding your way through the forest of doubts and questions and perhaps never finding the answers to all your questions.

That's faith to me.

Surely as Christian churches we should be welcoming people with doubt?

Look at doubting Peter! He wasn't excluded by Jesus. The opposite in fact.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
What exactly do we mean by "agnostic"?

Surely we are all agnostic to a certain extent because we can never be sure about absolutely everything.

Isn't that what faith is about? It's not certainty. If it was certainty it would not be faith.

So therefore there are elements of agnosticism within faith by its very definition.

It's finding your way through the forest of doubts and questions and perhaps never finding the answers to all your questions.

That's faith to me.

Surely as Christian churches we should be welcoming people with doubt?

Look at doubting Peter! He wasn't excluded by Jesus. The opposite in fact.

So it seems to me, but there are certainly people who while not sure on all the details, seem absolutely convinced that God exists and loves them, and that Christianity is essentially true. They feel his presence, know he's there. They have a personal relationship with him, although I've never really understood what that means.

There was a time when I claimed to be one of them. I had "numinous" experiences. I heard the voice of God. But then I realised I had no means of telling these experiences and hearing God with working myself up into an emotional state or hearing my own imagination. Since that is so, I cannot know that anything I experience without external corroboration is anything but self-generated. So I do not know. I don't even think it likely that many of these experiences were actually of God. Indeed, the one I felt very keenly and now know about was not God, not unless God gets things done by misleading and deceiving us.

I think that the OP is more about Christians like me and thee who acknowledge that we hope and even dare to want to try to believe, but do not know.

[ 31. August 2017, 11:03: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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"...hearing God with working myself..." -> "...hearing God from working myself..."

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Amika
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I would definitely describe myself as an atheist, and that means, in my case, that I cannot believe in any god as thus far envisaged by humans. The Christian God, as described in the Bible, isn't credible to me.

All the same, I have always been drawn to Christianity for unknown reasons - I'm beginning to wonder about ancestry, because many of my ancestors were devout Christians. Anyway, I like going to church and I have no idea why. I haven't been lately due to a change of rector and that whole uncomfortable thing about being a non-believer and obviously not taking communion or going up for a blessing (I couldn't take it that far!). The previous rector knew I was an atheist.

As someone else mentioned earlier on, Evensong is easier. There's no communion, no 'passing of the peace' and pretty much no need for any interaction. Sadly my little village church only does one Evensong per year and that has always been very poorly attended with maybe 10 people present.

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Caissa
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It is getting increasingly difficult for me to say the Creeds without crossing my fingers.
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Clutch
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No offense to those that declared themselves agnotstic or atheist in the posts above but my question would be. If that's the case, why not just sleep in on Sundays like a sensible person?

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Clutch:
No offense to those that declared themselves agnotstic or atheist in the posts above but my question would be. If that's the case, why not just sleep in on Sundays like a sensible person?

Because church isn't until lunchtime

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Caissa
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Fellowship and community, Clutch. As well, our oldest son runs the sound board and our youngest son is a server and choir member.
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Clutch
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quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
Fellowship and community, Clutch. As well, our oldest son runs the sound board and our youngest son is a server and choir member.

Which is great and all, and I'm certainly not knocking it. I just find it personally speaking to be a sort of mental gymnastics one would have to do.

I can't personally do that. I've got to be committed to what get involved with otherwise for me, I might as well be fishing in a dry riverbed.

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Clutch:
quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
Fellowship and community, Clutch. As well, our oldest son runs the sound board and our youngest son is a server and choir member.

Which is great and all, and I'm certainly not knocking it. I just find it personally speaking to be a sort of mental gymnastics one would have to do.

I can't personally do that. I've got to be committed to what get involved with otherwise for me, I might as well be fishing in a dry riverbed.

It's not, for me, about 'getting involved'. It's about already being involved.

I've been going to my Church for 40 years now, all my friends are there and I run the sound/AV. My faith has gone from dramatic conversion (June 6th 1990) to GLE to now, almost agnostic.

I choose the visuals for the PP really carefully and every week people say they are blessed by them. God can use anyone, even the faithless? (I should be preparing this Sunday's instead of messing about aboard the Ship)

I don't do any mental gymnastics. Where the words don't agree with what I believe - I simply acknowledge to myself 'I don't believe that' and spend a little time thinking what I do now believe about that bit. If anyone asks, I tell them. Few ask - they don't want to know my doubts much as they love me. The new minister tried for a while, giving me books etc. She's given up now, but I'm sure prays fervently for this lost sheep [Biased]

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Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 12679 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Clutch:
No offense to those that declared themselves agnotstic or atheist in the posts above but my question would be. If that's the case, why not just sleep in on Sundays like a sensible person?

I don't sleep in any day, I raise puppies!


[Big Grin]

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Garden. Room. Walk

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I suspect those who are agnostic aren't
>generally agnostic about absolutely everything.
<snip>
But it would be interesting to hear from avowed agnostics. I know people with no discernible faith whatsoever who attend church, but I think that's increasingly rare these days.

I am an agnostic, but only because it is scientifically or pedantically correct to be so. There must always be the faint possibility - however vanishingly small that might be - for a God to be objectively proved one day.
Too often though agnostic is taken to mean a sort of 50-50 stance between belief and non-belief.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Posts: 2945 | From: UK | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
I'd say I was agnostic, earning contempt from the atheists and sadness from the believers among my acquaintance.

The Quakers accept me uncritically as a (silent) attender at their meetings, which suits me.

I'm sorry to hear that some atheists you know treat your agnosticism with contempt. I cannot think of any reasonable excuse for this.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Posts: 2945 | From: UK | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Clutch
Apprentice
# 18827

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
I'd say I was agnostic, earning contempt from the atheists and sadness from the believers among my acquaintance.

The Quakers accept me uncritically as a (silent) attender at their meetings, which suits me.

I'm sorry to hear that some atheists you know treat your agnosticism with contempt. I cannot think of any reasonable excuse for this.
Maybe it's the same type of fundamentalist zeal that infuses a growing proprotion of atheists/agnostics these days causes some of the contempt. Treating the irreligion they profess as a new one as vocally and as uncompromisingly as the religious right does with it's narrow version of Christianity?

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Proud liberal socialist,proud progressive Anglo-Catholic and proud to be a conservative's bane.

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Clutch
Apprentice
# 18827

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
I am an agnostic, but only because it is scientifically or pedantically correct to be so.

This notion always baffles me. Why is it against scientific reasoning to have faith or Vice versa? This makes no sense to me personally. I'm a perfectly orthodox Christian that just happenes to think Scince and Faith go together quite well.

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Proud liberal socialist,proud progressive Anglo-Catholic and proud to be a conservative's bane.

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
It is getting increasingly difficult for me to say the Creeds without crossing my fingers.

Ah, yes! One of the many reasons I stopped attending vchurch, even though I loved being a choir member, because I had already erased the idea of God from the small space it occupied in my brain! [Smile]

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Clutch:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
I am an agnostic, but only because it is scientifically or pedantically correct to be so.

This notion always baffles me. Why is it against scientific reasoning to have faith or Vice versa? This makes no sense to me personally. I'm a perfectly orthodox Christian that just happenes to think Scince and Faith go together quite well.
Do you 100% know God exists? If not, you're an agnostic. If you do, how do you know that?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17624 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Clutch
Apprentice
# 18827

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Clutch:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
I am an agnostic, but only because it is scientifically or pedantically correct to be so.

This notion always baffles me. Why is it against scientific reasoning to have faith or Vice versa? This makes no sense to me personally. I'm a perfectly orthodox Christian that just happenes to think Scince and Faith go together quite well.
Do you 100% know God exists? If not, you're an agnostic. If you do, how do you know that?
Chicken before the egg question right there.

Faith is believe without seeing. And don't scientist act on faith in the sense "There is something more to this particular question...therefore I must search to find it."

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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This isn't about science and faith. This is about not knowing = agnosticism, by definition. I'm agnostic with a provisional working model of God existing. Why would I either pretend to have knowledge, or conversely stay im bed on a Sunday?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17624 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Clutch
Apprentice
# 18827

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I still don't see how this is not still a chicken before the egg type of circular logic. Faith requires no conventional proofs to exist.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Clutch:
I still don't see how this is not still a chicken before the egg type of circular logic. Faith requires no conventional proofs to exist.

Then faith is a form of agnosticism, unless you have some other non-conventional means of knowing. If that is so, what is that non-conventional means?

I do not contrast faith with agnosticism. I contrast knowing and believing.

[ 31. August 2017, 17:22: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17624 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by Clutch:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
I am an agnostic, but only because it is scientifically or pedantically correct to be so.

This notion always baffles me. Why is it against scientific reasoning to have faith or Vice versa? This makes no sense to me personally. I'm a perfectly orthodoxChristian that just happenes to think Scince and Faith go together quite well.
It is not, as far as I know, absolutely against scientific reasoning to have faith, but all the things I have faith in have objective facts to back them up, even if those facts are not complete. Science does not ever claim to have proved something 100%, does it. There is always the chance that a new fact might emerge which will show the Theory to be incorrect, or, as most often, needs an updating. With a 100% faith belief, there are no observations that can be made to form a question in the first place, let alone one which can be tested. As I understand itt there is a minority of scientists who have a faith belief and they are found in the Psychology, Psychiatry fields of Science where they can compartmentalise science and faith. They are not in the biology, chemistry and physics fields, unless someone can show this not to be so!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Posts: 2945 | From: UK | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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Well, there is our own Alan Cresswell, SD

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17624 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr Clingford
Shipmate
# 7961

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by Clutch:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
I am an agnostic, but only because it is scientifically or pedantically correct to be so.

This notion always baffles me. Why is it against scientific reasoning to have faith or Vice versa? This makes no sense to me personally. I'm a perfectly orthodoxChristian that just happenes to think Scince and Faith go together quite well.
It is not, as far as I know, absolutely against scientific reasoning to have faith, but all the things I have faith in have objective facts to back them up, even if those facts are not complete. Science does not ever claim to have proved something 100%, does it. There is always the chance that a new fact might emerge which will show the Theory to be incorrect, or, as most often, needs an updating. With a 100% faith belief, there are no observations that can be made to form a question in the first place, let alone one which can be tested. As I understand itt there is a minority of scientists who have a faith belief and they are found in the Psychology, Psychiatry fields of Science where they can compartmentalise science and faith. They are not in the biology, chemistry and physics fields, unless someone can show this not to be so!
Susan, meet John Polkinghorne

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Ne'er cast a clout till May be out.

If only.

Posts: 1649 | From: A Fleeting moment | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Clutch
Apprentice
# 18827

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Clutch:
I still don't see how this is not still a chicken before the egg type of circular logic. Faith requires no conventional proofs to exist.

Then faith is a form of agnosticism, unless you have some other non-conventional means of knowing. If that is so, what is that non-conventional means?

I do not contrast faith with agnosticism. I contrast knowing and believing.

Merriam-Webster defins agonsitic as the following:

1
: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god

2
: a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something political agnostics


Unconventional does not equal agnostic. Therefore I'm not sure what you are trying to get across.


And Susan, you are misconstruing conventional applications of religion into a context surrounding a question of faith. Can we fully prove that the events in the NT happened as recorded and therefore are actual events? No. Does that mean I can't believe that they might be as concrete and real as the law of thermodynamics. Of course. How though. My truth in that depends on what evidence other then words compiled in a book written in the first century of the common era? I can't prove it behind a feeling, which is what faith ultimately boils down to.

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Proud liberal socialist,proud progressive Anglo-Catholic and proud to be a conservative's bane.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
Shipmate
# 38

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SusanDoris wrote:
quote:
As I understand itt there is a minority of scientists who have a faith belief and they are found in the Psychology, Psychiatry fields of Science where they can compartmentalise science and faith. They are not in the biology, chemistry and physics fields, unless someone can show this not to be so!
Actually, it is the other way around. The two disciplines (sciences only here) that show the lowest levels of religious belief are biology and psychology. There's more than one study that looked at this (Gross and Simmons in a survey of "College and University Professors" and Stirrat and Cornwell in a survey of Fellows of the Royal Society).

On the subject of compartmentalisation, I suspect that depends on the religious belief and also to a degree the levels of belief in other things. Clearly a young-earth creationist working as an evolutionary biologist is going to suffer chronic cognitive dissonance if s/he does not compartmentalise. But I doubt there are many YEC scientists in the UK. In the USA where that sort of thing has more currency, it's notable that of scientists who are religious believers, far fewer declare themselves to be evangelicals that would be expected from the rest of the population (2009 Pew Research Survey.) I don't think most scientists would otherwise need to compartmentalise their thinking, which is not to say they may not think about these things at different times.

Incidentally, the same Pew Research Survey in 2009 found that belief in God or some higher power was about half as prevalent amongst scientists as compared to the rest of the population. Whilst that was a US figure, I can't find a UK study that looks at the broad incidence of belief, but I'm not sure I would necessarily expect the ratio to be wildly different in the UK.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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