Archive for the ‘agnosticism’ Category

Never before has the world been so desperately asking for answers to crucial questions, and never before has the world been so frantically committed to the idea that no answers are possible

December 28, 2009

When a reporter for Time Magazine asked novelist Ayn Rand, “What’s wrong with the modern world?” she replied, “Never before has the world been so desperately asking for answers to crucial questions, and never before has the world been so frantically committed to the idea that no answers are possible.

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And what it all boils down to, is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet

November 14, 2009

And what it all boils down to
Is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet

Alanis Morissette – Hand In My Pocket

It’s one thing to say, ‘I haven’t got it all figured out just yet’ but quite another to say ‘no one’s really got it figured out just yet’. The former is humble ignorance, the latter is arrogant ignorance.To say, ‘I have no idea about quantum physics’ is one thing, but to say, ‘No one knows about quantum physics,’ ian s arrogant claim to know what others do or could possibly know. How could Alanis Morissette know that ‘no one’s really got it figured out just yet’?

The eternal problem of the basis of morality

September 10, 2009

The universe is not absurd in itself, any more than it is yellow or sugary: it simply is. Life and the world have a meaning for the believer who has a code of conduct in the Gospels based on the word of Christ. Camus’ anguish came from the fact that no morality was imposed by an atheist or agnostic’s world…For Camus, truth existed in the sciences, but not a single truth…Both (Sartre and Camus) confronted the eternal problem of the basis of morality if one does not believe in God.

Camus’ biographer, Olivier Todd, pp.145, 156

Needless to say, neither found that basis and no one ever will.

Religious Pluralism leads to agnosticism

August 24, 2009

Thus it (The ‘Real’ an sich [as it is in itself]) cannot be said to be one or many, person or thing, conscious or unconscious, purposive or non-purposive, substance or process, good or evil, loving or hating. None of the descriptive terms that apply within the realm of human experience can apply literally to the unexperienceable reality that underlies that realm.

John Hick, An Interpretation of Religion, 194.

Religion is different responses to one divine Reality, embodying different perceptions which have been formed in different historical and cultural circumstances.

ibid., 294

If all roads lead to the top of the mountain then no road is correct – nor is any statement about the top of the mountain either. In fact, we cannot even say there is a mountain nor how or even whether to climb it. If religions contradict each other, nothing certain can be said of the god of whom they claim to speak.

The more Hick et. al. try to embrace all traditions they tend towards the impersonal, rather than the personal, the unknown, rather than the known. This is precisely the opposite direction Biblical theism leads.

Note also the implicit claim. Hick claims he knows that the Real an sich is unknowable. How does he know that claims (by others) to know God are using only mythological language? Can his language also be relegated to the realm of the mythological? Can his elativism be relativised? He will, of course, want an exception for his own claims. Such is the inconsistency of the pluralist who can only strenuously (and in irritated tones, once it is pointed out to them) deny the force of this criticism. Their protestations are hollow.

Moby’s Postmodernism

August 23, 2009

Fundamentalism (of any kind) troubles me. The world is too big and too intricate to conform to our ideas of what it should be like. In my experience I’ve found that most fundamentalists aren’t so much attached to their professed ideologies as they are to the way in which these ideologies try to make sense of a confusing world. But the world is confusing, and just because we invent myths and theories to explain away the chaos we’re still going to live in a world that’s older and more complicated than we’ll ever understand. So many religious and political and scientific and social systems fail in that they try to impose a rigid structure onto what is an inherently ambiguous world. I’m not suggesting that we stop trying to understand things. Trying to understand the world can be fun and, at times, helpful. But if we base our belief systems on the humble assumption that the complexities of the world are ontologically beyond our understanding, then maybe our belief systems will make more sense and end up causing less suffering.

Moby’s essay from his CD “Play”

Where to begin: 1. ‘fundamentalism’ is so ambiguously used by seemingly everyone nowadays as to mean almost nothing except ‘people I disagree with’. 2. He doesn’t like others having definite views (‘ideas of what the world should be like’) , but, like all postmoderns, makes a notable exception – himself. 3. ‘The world is too complicated to understand’ – he understands that much of course! 4. All beliefs are ‘myths’ and attempts to make sense of a confusing world – only agnostics such as himself have, implicitly, the wisdom and/or honesty to admit this – excpet Moby wouldn’t like to put it that way because he wants, like a good postmodern, to appear ‘humble’ 5. Throwing in the adverb, ‘ontologically’ may impress some people but it remains semantically and metaphysically vacuous (irony intended) in this last sentence which plays the classic postmodern card: suffering is caused by certainty. Which is unproven at best and can be shown to be false in many cases.

I like the music Moby – stick to it!

Agnosticism

July 30, 2009

I’m an agnostic. I think it’s arrogant for anyone to know for sure which religion is true or even if there is a God or what God is like. But if belief in him gives you some comfort then fine.

Tom, twenty-something, UK, 2003

A non-academic definition of agnosticism.

Baptism

July 28, 2009

“I definitely want Brooklyn to be christened, but I don’t know into what religion yet” – David Beckham (Quoted in The Mirror)


Agnosticism is Practical Atheism

July 14, 2009

What difference does not being an atheist make in your life?

Jim Gourlay

Agnosticism – Practical Atheism

July 4, 2009

In religion above all things the only thing of use is an objective truth. The only God that is of use is a being who is personal, supreme, and good, and whose existence is as certain as ‘2+2=4’. I cannot penetrate the mystery. I remain an agnostic, and the practical outcome of agnosticism is that you act as though God did not exist.”

Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up