I found this site through the "Atheist/Agnostic" category on stumbleupon.com, and when I first saw it, I was truly intrigued. As I poked around a bit, I was astonished at what I found: an online community where rational, logical discussion can be had about religious, social, and political issues - with no fear of the Bible being thrown in my face. After a couple of days of viewing discussions and looking at the photos - some general research, I guess you could call it - I have finally decided to join the community.
That being said, I suppose I should actually introduce myself.
I am an 18 year-old woman who considers herself to be, at this point in time, an agnostic anti-theist of sorts. If you have any questions about that, feel free to ask me. I have noticed, however, that I am starting to lean towards the atheist end of the spectrum, but am currently still questioning things.
As I have just graduated high school this past May, I am still living in a household with my father, stepmother, brother, and step-siblings, who are all actively involved in a local church, which I am still forced to attend on the Sundays I find myself with my father and not at my job. I have yet to approach the topic about my lack of religion with him, and I have no idea how to without getting myself kicked out of my house. If anyone has any ideas, I'd really appreciative, but I'm not hopeful. As for now, my plan is to wait until I leave for college this August.
I look forward to participating in discussions soon.
Thanks! It's nice to be here!
While I don't know your situation, it will (in all likelihood) profoundly change your family dynamic if you tell your dad that your agnostic. So, think hard about whether or not you want to.
An Atheist IS an agnostic. God is simply very, very, very improbable. If I told you that there was a pink teapot the size of a planet 1.5 light years from the earth, you'd say "BS!". God is a super-intellect that exists outside of the confines of space and time. Both notions are apparent nonsense. But, hey, if there is proof.... That said, a Scriptural God can be definitively dismissed (due to the paper trail).
I'm crashing after writing this and won't respond tonight. Sorry
Of course it might be very safe to assert that there is such a planet at 1.5 LY out, if you do fail to mention its location. The 'truth' of the assertion might take sometime before the disconfirmation. It is unclear if the present deep sky surveys can determine 'shape' at present state of the art. Asking researchers to start looking for 'tea pots', might be meet with, 'Wow we never thought of that!'. Discounting it because it seems absurd, might be ok. If memory serves, I think there are some asteroids that have strange shapes, but please do not qoute me..LOL.
Would the 'tea pot' shape be an indication of 'intelligence'?
Sure, the "teapot" thing is a metaphor for an absurd statement. God is a super-intellect that exists outside of the confines of space and time. And, that is inherently absurd. It could be proven true: I'm not holding my breath.
I keep thinking that this point was made in the 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'.
Nope. Bertrand Russel said that there is a china teapot orbiting the sun somewhere between Mars and Earth. Due to the size of a china teapot, it would be impossible to detect if it was moving at a speed capable of maintaining orbit for something so small, somewhere around the speed of sound or higher. It could be there, or it might not. We have no way of knowing.
Carl Sagan provided another one that might stand the test of time better than Russel's teapot. Sagan said that he had an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon that spits heat-less flames living in his garage.
Both of these claims are called Unfalsifiable Hypothesis. They are phrased in a way that they sound like fact, but there is absolutely no way to design an experiment to test them, so they can't be disproven. The thing about unfalsifiable claims is that they can't be proven either.
Theists take things that can't be disproven and assume that that means they must be true, where Atheists take things that can't be proven or disproven, and simply put them to one side until some actual evidence turns up, essentially saying, this is false until proven true.
Just as a side note... the orbital speed for something in an orbit between Mars and Earth wouldn't depend at all on the size of the object. It depends on the mass of the sun (quite close to constant) and the size of the orbit, which is defined as half of the major (long) axis of the ellipse (or, if it's a perfectly circular orbit, the orbit's radius).
It ends up being faster than Mars' velocity and slower than Earth's, depending on just where that object is orbiting. Which makes sense if you think about it because they are in (nearly) circular orbits about the sun, why shouldn't their speeds "bracket" the speed of a hypothetical body with an orbit between theirs? Whatever it is though, it's nowhere near the speed of sound as you seem to think it might be, but rather much, MUCH higher. Somewhere between 15 and 18.5 miles per second, relative to the sun. Sound moves, depending on atmospheric conditions--which is why it's hard to pin people down on how fast Mach 1 is--something like 0.2 miles per second. Quite a difference!
Other than that minor detail you are spot on, particularly with your larger point--with the caveat that some people will take things that can't be proven or disproven and classify them as "not even wrong," i.e, not even rising to the level of a wrong statement.
Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown or unknowable. Agnosticism can be defined in various ways, and is sometimes used to indicate doubt or a skeptical approach to questions. In some senses, agnosticism is a stance about the difference between belief and knowledge, rather than about any specific claim or belief. In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who is undecided about the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively. In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify the belief that deities either do or do not exist. Within agnosticism there are agnostic atheists (who do not believe any deity exists, but do not deny it as a possibility) and agnostic theists (who believe a deity exists but do not claim it as personal knowledge).
Types of agnosticism
Agnosticism can be subdivided into several categories, some of which may be disputed. Variations include:
Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not have belief in the existence of any deity, and agnostic because they do not claim to know that a deity does not exist.
The view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence.
The view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of any deity, but since any deity that may exist appears unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic.
The view that a coherent definition of a deity must be put forward before the question of the existence of a deity can be meaningfully discussed. If the chosen definition is not coherent, the ignostic holds the noncognitivist view that the existence of a deity is meaningless or empirically untestable.
A.J. Ayer, Theodore Drange, and other philosophers see both atheism and agnosticism as incompatible with ignosticism on the grounds that atheism and agnosticism accept "a deity exists" as a meaningful proposition which can be argued for or against.
Strong agnosticism (also called "hard," "closed," "strict," or "permanent agnosticism")
The view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities, and the nature of ultimate reality is unknowable by reason of our natural inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience. A strong agnostic would say, "I cannot know whether a deity exists or not, and neither can you."
Weak agnosticism (also called "soft," "open," "empirical," or "temporal agnosticism")
The view that the existence or nonexistence of any deities is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable; therefore, one will withhold judgment until/if any evidence is available. A weak agnostic would say, "I don't know whether any deities exist or not, but maybe one day, when there is evidence, we can find something out."
The view that universal ethics and love can guide actions more effectively than questioning the existence of deities. A spiritual agnostic would say "It doesn't matter which religion you might follow, nor does it matter whether or not you believe in God. What matters is what you do, not what you believe."
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.
Ignosticism or igtheism is the theological position that every other theological position (including agnosticism and atheism) assumes too much about the concept of God and many other theological concepts.
It can be defined as encompassing two related views about the existence of God:
Some philosophers have seen ignosticism as a variation of agnosticism or atheism, while others have considered it to be distinct. An ignostic maintains that they cannot even say whether they are a theist or an atheist until a sufficient definition of theism is put forth.
Personally, I would encourage you to wait. However, how are you managing college? Are your parents helping pay for college? If so, there might still be an issue. As many in The Clergy Project have found, the consequences of "coming out" can be significant and wide reaching. It is really each individual who has to make a decision based on their own circumstances, whether they can risk it. There is a lot to be said for the courage to come out and being willing to sacrifice for the cause of secularism in the US, but in the end it is your own precious life that you must consider.
You should have a backup plan to deal with the possible fall out.
Welcome to Think Atheist Kelsey. I agree. This community is amazing!
You could just wait till you are ready to leave home, but I understand that that could be hard. Both my parents were educated at catholic schools, but my mother was well read and had suffered severly from several family deaths, my father was not well read and just mostly repeated what he was taught.
It is unclear how each of us come to our realizations. I expect that it is rather individualized. For me, is was my science interest, deaths in our family, family violence, and watching the lives of others.