I apologize if this has been discussed before on the forum, but I attempted a search and couldnt find much, so, I'm taking a chance.

I, as many others, am confused over the EXACT differences between Agnostics and Atheists. I consider myself an Agnostic, which I believe to mean that I do not believe in deity, but I do indeed believe in the supernatural; such as spirits, reincarnation and other planes or "worlds". How do my beliefs compare to those of the Atheists? I too, love science and feel that there is a very fine line between Science and The Mystical.

Forgive my naivety, as I am relatively new to change in attitude. I am also a Witch, I started out in worshipping the "Goddess", then as my studies grew and thru research and soul searching, I found the idea and/or concept of a gender specific deity.....ridiculous. Now, one would have to know the definiton of a Witch to understand why it's almost impossible to be an Atheist Witch, but Agnostic..not as impossible. However, that said....I still have to occasionally "defend" my Agnostisim + Witchcraft, as many dont feel that a Witch can even be an Agnostic...not that I give a shit what others think of me or my beliefs, but instead of searching the internet for the answers....I wanted to get the answers from those that live it...daily.

Thank you in advance..
Alayna

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Alayna, I know enough to know that I don't know what I don't know. I am an agnostic atheist. Science has not explained everything, nor will it likely ever.

 

Some atheists are far more dogmatic than some theists. Keep an open mind, keep exploring, ask questions, try some experiments. Ignore the condescending know-it-alls and blowhards. They are usually clueless, fearful parrots.

 

If you ask a legitimate question and people respond by getting in your face, I think "piss off" is a pretty appropriate, if not overly mellow, response. Keep at it. Get out of your comfort zone and read some of the hard stuff that requires keeping a good dictionary handy.

 

About.com - Atheism actually has some very good definitions and is a good place to get started.

 

I have had many experiences that I cannot explain away. I've heard my whole life that scientists say we only use a small part of the brain. With that limitation, who is to say with complete certainty what is truly natural or supernatural?

The only problem with such a belief are the times throughout history scientists have realized that they've gotten it ass-backwards wrong, such as the Piltdown man, or when they've realized that even though our current theories are good, there might be a better one, such as special relativity. We think we know so much more than we did 60 or 100 years ago - and we do- but we will think the exact same thing in another 100 years.

I think as important it is to trust the current theories are correct, is to keep the door open just wide enough to accept that they might not be.

thanks to everyone...much appreciated.

@Cass...right.  I haven't "debated" much on this topic..because I find myself in the land of confusion.  I'm obsessed with finding answers, and when the answers that I do find..and try out for myself, don't work, I look elsewhere.  The reason debating is difficult for me at this point, is that my experiences with Witchcraft are just that..."experiences"...not "fact"....therein lies the crux of my dilemna..my heart pulls me in one direction, my head...in another...turmoil...which I have struggled with since I was a child.  I am an extremely opened minded person, so even though I have had experiences, I'm I am ALWAYS open to someones take on it.  There's nothing better than an "aha moment"...when someone says something that is a polar opposite of what u've always thought, and it.....makes sense...encouraging you to explore this futher...isnt that what living is about....learning new things?

I'm certainly not expecting alot of ppl to understand my way of "thinking" which obviously can be outside of the damn box....it's hard to go from...a god, to a goddess, to a god and a goddess...to none at all...even though in your head..u know it just has "to be that way"..cause it's the only thing that makes sense.  On one hand..I'm a witch..and love it...I love owning my own power....on the other hand....I love science....see the internal struggle??

Perhaps you are correct Cass, in saying that past supernatural explanations are more "natural phenomena...I think alot of us WANT to see or experience things we cant' explain, esp when we loose those we love...u know?  remember me just saying about having a light bulb moment?  Your line:

"Supernatural beliefs traumatize people, causing them emotional and logical harm"...made me think..(see?!)  That's true...because it gives us connection to something...I dunno..greater?  Supreme?

And this...is where I am....studying things like Quantum Phy...reading ppl like Thomas Paine, Einstein, Mark Twain, Nietzsche.

I simply ask for time and patience, so that I may learn what it is I feel I need to...without support, that may be a difficult task..

Thank you all again.

Alayna

 

Good reading choices! I'd also highly recommend Carl Sagan's "A Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark'. It's
Thanks for the suggestion Dave G...will do!  Is Sagan a difficult read?
Here are two of my favorite youtube clips -  Pale Blue Dot and A Universe Not Made For Us as examples of Sagan's writing. I second reading Demon Haunted World. It's fantastic. The only difficult thing about reading Sagan is how frequently your mind will be blown.
Thanks Jewelz...I started reading on Sagan last night...fascinating man..brillant mind..and that was only on his bio!
Not at all! Sagan had an absolute gift for communication. If you have not seen his TV series 'Cosmos', I highly recommend it.

I also see that Ning cut off half of my reply. I was going to say that it is an essential work for those who are interested in thinking critically about the world and separating fact from fiction, despite the propensity of the human mind to deceive itself.

Honestly, I think the Dawkins scale that was posted here is B.S.  Belief isn't a switch that can be turned on or off.

 

I think you got the wrong message from that post with the "belief" scale. Never once is it even implied that someone can choose to believe. After having read his books and countless interviews and seen numerous speeches of his, I'd say that he and I both agree with you. Belief in gods is not a choice (which is what makes Pascal's argument weak, not to mention dishonest).

 

It's hard for me to imagine anyone who is truly atheist actually believing there is any possibility of an absurd concept called "god" ever existing, even if they know the possibility exists according to modern (lack of) evidence.

 

Well, being a logical thinker I can say that there is almost certainly no god. I do not believe a god exists, and the likelihood of one existing is incredibly low. But, being that a negative cannot be proven, I cannot honestly say I know there is no god. Yet I still identify as atheist. The burden of proof lies with the believers, and until they can provide I'll just keep on not believing, but my mind is open.

I don't personally believe in agnostics. Agnostics are just weak Atheists. To be directly in the middle is senseless. You either are inclined to believe in God or aren't. Andif he was real, fence sitting wouldn't keep you out of hell. Anyway, people like that I've always referred to as Spiritualists, which means an alternative sense of the supernatural. Like people who believe in a soul but no God, demons and angels and ghosts but no God, etc.Witches don't have to believe in a deity. They can be spiritualists (a weak subdivision that can be weak Theist or weak Atheist). God isn't required to make witchcraft or Wicca necessarily work in theory.

I've never understood the "spiritual, but not religious" argument. From what I've witnessed, pretty much all people who do not believe in gods have the same reasons: gods are illogical, and the lack of evidence for their existence is overwhelming.

 

So how can they still bring themselves to believe in souls, ghosts, et cetera, the evidence for which is just as lacking as that for gods?

Those things can be tied to the existence of beings who once were alive.  Interacting with living people definitely gives one the sense that one is interacting with something other than a mere conglomeration of molecules.  And, I say that even though I don't believe in spirits or ghosts.  Non-living things, no matter how beautiful, do not give one that same feeling--or, at least, not nearly to the same extent.

 

We need to be patient with non-believers who believe in things that science rejects.  Most people don't embrace a purely empirical view of the universe all at once.  It can take years or even decades--if it happens at all.  The important thing is to get rid of the evil that is religion, especially organized religion.

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