I joined Think Atheist a few days ago at the suggestion of one of my friends. Throughout my life, i have been an atheist, never questioning my lack of belief in God. After going to Northern Ireland and talking with some people, I now consider myself to be agnostic. I have a bunch of questions which I wrote down about Christianity and am still leaning towards atheism but do not feel that I have a definitive answer as to whether or not God exists or not.

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You welcome!! I feel that religion blind your brain and stop you to appreciate the truth beauty of nature. So, i want that everybody share the same awe for the universe and the same love for sciences and knowledge that i have. I hope that you find the right path in your journey of understanding.

By the way, there is a sciences festival in Manhattan,NYC. Its from june 2 to june 6. I invited you in fb to the june 4 event, but there are more days and more events. So, if you desire to take a look, the weekend is gonna be awesome too(june 5,6).
Yeah, I got that. I put myself down as maybe but I will look at the other days too and see what it is all about.
My policy is to question EVERYTHING....and after that.. Keep questioning. The deeper you dig into it the better off you are. The problem that many people have is that they quit digging and questioning when they get to the edge of their comfort zone. DON"T STOP THERE. Ask the hard questions..and then ask the HARDER questions.

Very few people can get past a couple of 'what does that mean' to their pat responces because they haven't really ever questioned these 'answers' that they have been given.
Hi Tracy. I'd like to throw in my two cents. You said that you believed in the usefulness of the scientific method. I agree. I think it's the very best way to figuring out all our big questions about ourselves and the world around us. Faith and feelings are not a part of this method, nor are they proven to give us any accurate answers about anything. So why not focus your search for answers on science rather than religion? Why look to religions at all? Isn't the very fact that there are so many of them that preach such different beliefs proof enough that the methods used to come up with those beliefs aren't reliable? I think it's great to learn about different religions in order to have a greater understanding of what people believe and why they do the things they do, but I don't see how one could determine that any religion is "correct" when none of them base their beliefs on provable, testable evidence.

Also, someone recommended "Misquoting Jesus." I highly recommend this book - it helped me understand why Christianity wasn't a logical option.
Even though people have said to ignore Christianity completely looking for answers, it is only reaffirming my atheism. I'm not trying to show a religion is correct, or pick one, or be converted. i get your point but I still feel as though the way that I'm going about this is the most helpful for me. And I want to focus on both science and religion even if most people don't understand why.

I think I have 'Misquoting Jesus' in my email inbox; it is on my to-read list.
Sigh.
Atheism and Agnosticism are answers to two different questions. They are not mutually exclusive.
Atheism is about belief. Agnosticism is about knowledge. When are people going to finally get this through their heads?

'A' = Without, absent, lack of
'Theism' = Belief in a diety
'Gnosticism' = Knowledge

Question 1: Do you believe in God?
If yes: Theist
If no: Atheist

Question 2: Do you think you can know that God does or does not exist?
If yes: Gnostic
If no: Agnostic

Agnostic Atheist:
- Does not believe in God
- Does not claim to know whether God exists or not

Gnostic Atheist:
- Does not believe in God
- Claims to know God does not exist

Agnostic Theist:
- Believes in God
- Does not claim to know whether God exists or not

Gnotic Theist:
- Believes in God
- Claims to know God exists

(Note: You can be agnostic about ANYTHING, the word is not specifically about God. I could be agnostic about whether fairies exist. If that were true, then I wouldn't claim to KNOW whether they do or not. Knowledge and belief are two different things.)
Same war drum I have been beating, only simplified. Thanks for the break down.

And one further point of semantics to throw about; is there such a thing as a "gnostic" anything? Thinking you know and actually knowing are not the same, right? I point this out because often when belief in god comes up, people rush to explain that they are an agnostic atheist, eager to show they are not claiming an absolute knowledge. But in other areas, the thought of claiming agnosticism never crosses their mind and a certain level of certainty is quite acceptable in passing as knowledge. Borrowing your example, no one declares they're agnostic about fairies, although they are in the same way they are about a god. No one apologizes for their non-belief over fairies in that manner, yet they do so over the question of God or gods.
Sorry for the slow reply, my internet keeps disconnecting. It's very frustrating.

First of all, with your point about Gnoticism.
It is not about whether they actually know or not, its just about whether they claim to know.

As for your point about Agnosticism regarding things such as fairies.
The reason many people do not claim to be agnostic regarding such things is usually either;
1) because they do not understand induction and think they can know things like fairies do not exist, or
2) because they do not understand what the term agnostic really means and think it specifically applies to God.

The reality is that due to the inductive nature of the way we gain such knowledge we can almost never know for certain that something does not exist. This includes God, fairies, unicorns etc.
For example you could even make up a creature like 'the flying spaghetti monster' and I could not know that it does not exist. As such I would not claim to know and I would be agnostic about its existence. However, and this is important; the possibility of somethings existence is not evidence for its existence. The fact that God, or the flying spaghetti monster could exist, is not reason to believe that they do. The burden of proof is on whoever asserts to know, or makes a claim to knowledge, that something does or does not exist.

Also, the reason people don't make a big deal about the fact that they lack belief in something like fairies and terms such as 'A-fairie-ist' don't exist, is because it is not significant when someone does not believe in fairies. This is because the overwhelming majority don't. However, if most people or a large portion of people did believe in fairies, then such a word might emerge because it would become significant if you did not believe in them.
You are preaching to the choir, good sir!
wow, that was a really great post. Thanks for that.

I had only looked at agnosticism as only dealing with religion, but your points make sense.
Thank you, I'm glad.
I probably could have explained it better though.
Feel free to ask me any questions you have.

As I said in my post introducing myself to the forum, after my holiday starts next week I will write and post a guide/FAQ about this kind of stuff I think people will find helpful.
I like how your explained it; it's nice and concise.

And I'll look forward to that guide. I've learned a lot from this community so far, but thee is probably still much that I don't know. I don't have any questions right now but will see if that changes after your guide is posted.

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