I just don't feel comfortable picking a side yet and i want to experiences more in life and learn before i decide what i am i am even unsure if that label would work with me being i "Don't think" there's a god and don't know if there is but if i was to be an atheists i would still believe in a afterlife but not heaven hell or a god. but i feel so lost and alone athiest seem just to HATE or dislike people like agnostics...or it feels like that. I Don't think all do though. but why are "some" people like this?
Cara- If agnostic is the middle ground between theism and atheism then where the hell does gnostic fit it? Gnostic/agnostic is on a different axis to theism/atheism. One deals with what you claim to know while the other deals with what you claim to believe.
I guess you didn't read my first response at the top of the discussion. I am well aware of the definitions.
My claim here is that it isn't black or white, you either do or don't believe. While you're between belief and non-belief, the only option is that you don't know and have not formed an opinion. It is, most certainly, possible to have not reached a conclusion.
Treating belief as though it is a math equation ignores the nuance. Beliefs and opinions are not neat and tidy like math is. Belief/non-belief and knowledge are not equal to x and y. Life would be so much easier if it were that simple. But it's not that simple, so it isn't remotely helpful to claim belief and knowledge are on separate axises. They are inextricably intertwined, along with experience and perspective and willingness to learn.
Gnosticism doesn't fit in here, as it turns out. You may claim to know there is no god, but you don't know that. You and I both strongly believe there is not a god, and we don't waste any of our time entertaining the "what if" since it strikes us as the most implausible explanation for life. We're still agnostic. And you should have a little understanding for those who have not yet settled the question in their mind. You cannot possibly know what a "hard agnostic" has experienced to hold them back from deciding they definitely do or do not believe there's a god or gods.
Given Matt's definitions of agnosticism and atheism, agnosticism is not really the middle ground between belief and non-belief. Agnosticism only has to do with what you know. Atheism has to do with what you actually believe.
He has an analogy dealing with a jar full of some sort of candy. The question is how many pieces are there. Someone tells you that they KNOW there are X pieces. Do you believe it? Do you know it? They are different questions. You can believe it, maybe because you trust the person making the claim. But you might not be willing to say that you KNOW the actual number. I know it may seem like a subtle difference, but I think it's there. And admitting that you don't actually know the number of candies is not really a middle ground between believing it and not believing the claim.
Hmm, so would Matt have a problem with the Dawkin's scale? 1 = I believe there's a god. 4 = I have no idea. 5 = I believe there is no god. I'm not sure. I don't think he'd have a problem with it, but he'd have to field that question. I don't revere the guy, I just like a lot of what he says. I think he'd probably say as long as don't say you believe, then you're an atheist.
So does answering, "I don't don't know if I believe or not" make someone an atheist? Maybe, since they're not willing to say they believe.
Ooops the high end of the Dawkin's scale is 7, not 5.
This could be a question of 'confidence'. We did this as an extra-credit problem in a JH science class once.
I understood a little about bone-head statistics at the time so I made a procedure to determine the number of pento beans in a 1000ml flask. I measured progressivly larger volumes of beans in other smaller containers, and was able to do a rough approximation for a much larger volume. I made my estimate and submitted it for evaluation. I won with an error of 127 beans, too few.
In the context of the existence of 'God', it seems unclear if simple 'bean counting' is going to be of any help. I expect that the honest test of a long list of 'reasonable' hypothesis. might be the best way, but how many 'positive/negative' results would be enough for a decision? I expect that for a theist, the 'decision' is already made, but for an atheist, a multi-generational scientific program would a waste of time. I expect that a agnostic could, with honesty, search the emerging literature, and at some future point in time, claim that the answer is 'God', or '42' depending on how well the human sense of humor survives....
In the context of the existence of 'God', it seems unclear if simple 'bean counting' is going to be of any help.
I think that's a relevant observation wrt science vs faith. Faith is more "all or nothing" commitment, while science is more alert to the in between alternatives. There's science in approximations and probabilities, necessary for launches and moon landings, for calculating the probability of gene interactions in diseases or probabilities of outcomes of cancer treatment.
So people are mostly comfortable to committing to one opinion or another, rather than intentionally leaving room for doubt. The faither's stuck with a simple answer like "the death in my family was God's will", vs the doctors/scientists "shit, we need to keep improving medicine and treatments for this disease".
What if someone goes back and forth to Agnostic atheist to agnostic theist
If you are a hard agnostic, in the way you come across in discussions, then i can perfectly understand why you would draw ire from both groups.I am not joking when i say that most hard agnostics annoy me worse than soft theists.
I don't think anyone should annoy you unless there telling you what to think about something.