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The Problem With Agnostics!

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Randip Singh, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    The problem with agnostics I have read is they are neither Theists or Atheists. They sit on the fence and agree with everyone, thus creating a muddle and confusing themselves and everyone else. Anyone else have any views on this?
     
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  3. BhagatSingh

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    lol, the problem is that you think that agnostics agree with everyone.

    Agnosticism (Greek: α- a-, without + γνώσις gnōsis, knowledge; after Gnosticism) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims — particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of deities, spiritual beings, or even ultimate reality — are unknown or, in some forms of agnosticism, unknowable.[1] It is not a religious declaration in itself, and an agnostic may also be a theist or an atheist.[2]
     
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  4. spnadmin

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    Bhagat ji

    Excellent point. I will think about it.
     
  5. Randip Singh

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    They keep mentioning Truth, but what is truth to them? Their definition of Truth, has not made Agnosticism a religion in itself?

    Sikhs think "higher than truth is truthful living".
    :confused:
     
  6. Sinister

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    Yes of coarse!

    It’s the moderate voices in society who are the ones that make a ‘muddle of things’ and ‘confuse’ everyone. But the ones screaming from minarets, ringing large bells from steeples, and playing small melodious chime instruments to stimulate and appease stone deities have it all figured and sorted out.

    Last time I checked, objective examination of every stripe of culture and philosophy has never led to any confusion...but simply a greater understanding of the interactions of society and functioning of reality.

    The language you use is through and through. There is no “them” or "they", sadly it's only "us". A human is boundless and contradictory yet routinely mistaken to be categorical and consistent in their beliefs.

    I cannot tell you what "their" truth is, but I can tell you what i think of this world and yonder...that is if you permit me and in turn obligate yourself to litsen and comprehend.

    Sikhs all over the world think alot of things at any given time. I bet a hardy majority of them also think Harbhajjan Mann a grand actor.

    Now,
    everyone is entitled to be stupid, but lets not abuse the priveledge. So i will conclude with a relatively true statement; Harbhajjan Mann does indeed suck.

    and that is the truth for us... but may not be for them
     
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  7. BhagatSingh

    BhagatSingh Canada
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    Truth = a fact that has been verified
    I don't know how that could make anything a religion :confused:...unless you totally make it up and claim to be right, which agnotics don't do.

    Um... Is truthful living higher than God (truth for sikhs)?

    Sinister ji
    I nominate your post as the best post ever! :D
    :wah:
     
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  8. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    Perhaps I am misunderstanding or misinterpreting, but I'm afraid I must take issue with the statement statement.

    It has actually been proven (deductively!) - that there are truths that cannot be verified. Goedel's First Incompleteness Theorem states that in any complete arithmetical system, there are true statements that cannot be proved. To be exact,

    I will not bore the good members here with any of the mathematics. The point is that there are truths that cannot be verified. It seems this is true in life, as well as in mathematics.

    I must admit to a certain grudging respect for agnostics. There is a sort of intellectual honesty in coming to the conclusion that it's impossible to know.

    But they miss out on so much! I know that in my life, my beliefs has given my life meaning, purpose and joy. Who would want to live without those?

    SICL :ice:
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    Mai ji

    I am so glad that you posted this. Truths and facts are not synonymous. Truths are deduced, sometimes from a priori assumptions that themselves may not be verifiable. A truth may be logical, mathematical, scientific, pragmatic, relational, semantic or subjective. That is the short list. Philosophers look at the nature of truth in many different ways. In the field of epistemology (the study of the nature of knowledge) three types of truth are explored: logical (by deduction), ontological (according to purpose or motive), and moral. According to Leibnitz truth may be either necessary (a logical outcome from a series of propositions) or it may be contingent (as a matter of fact).

    Truth statements do not even have to be related to anything real or actual. As in the syllogism: All snorks are bollywoggles, Lulu is a snork, therefore Lulu is a bollywoggle. A fun kind of logic game that kids play in 5th grade. :)

    Link related to epistemology http://www.radicalacademy.com/prcminicourseepistemology1.htm
    Link related to Leibnitz http://www.angelhaunt.net/leibniz/truth.html
     
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  10. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    Narayanjot ji,

    Yeah, lol.

    An oft overlooked part of the explanation of deductive logic says that "Deductive logic, correctly applied, always yields a true result, if the premises are true. Of course, there goes the fun. I think it's better for 5th graders to enjoy their game. Enough time for logic and "matters of consequence" later in life.

    I think my single favourite scene in the whole of the Christian Bible takes place during the trial of Jesus when Pontius Pilate, who is quite an interesting, complicated character, washes his hands and asks, "What is truth?"

    SICL :ice:
     
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  11. Sinister

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    And there lies the rub, where the atheist would argue the exact opposite of what you have stated and just be as right or valid in their statement about vague and subjective words such as 'meaning', 'purpose' and best of all 'joy'.

    Does a person need to establish a belief in god to bring meaning, purpose and joy to their lives?

    And if so; how is a belief or non-belief in god justifiable on those self-serving grounds?

    The answer is...nobody. And I dont think any human being on this planet exists without some purpose, joy, and meaning in their lives...and that is a truth.
     
  12. spnadmin

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    Sinister ji

    Did Mai ji say that? Where? She said "my beliefs..." bring her joy. Belief in God happens for more reasons that the self-serving ones you have listed. Though I am sure that somewhere some one has said so.

    A good thread topic actually. Why Do People Believe in God?
     
  13. harbansj24

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    But then Maiji, are not true Sikhs also truly agnostics? Because while believing in God no true Sikh claims to know the ultimate truth. Or he never claims to understand God in His entirety or rather even a infinitesimal fraction of it!
     
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  14. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    Strange thing. I have never felt the need to justify my belief in a Supreme Being. It has always been a presence in my life, always there, rather like one can feel the sun's warmth while in a darkened room.

    If others believe or disbelieve, that is their thing and I wish them well, as long as they don't try to coerce me to believe as they do. I have found Theists who are coercive; I have found Atheists who are coercive; off-hand, I don't think I have found any Agnostics who are coercive. Score one for the Agnostics.
     
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  15. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    I think it boils down to which definition of agnostic you're using. I have found two that have quite different meanings.

    The first:

    And the second:

    The first concerns the existence of God, which I think Sikhi does not dispute. We leave that to the Buddhists and the Jains.

    The second concerns the knowability of God, and I would agree that we believe that God, in Its totality, cannot be known by us in our present form.

    I would not call myself an agnostic, however, because of the confusion. I think most people accept the first definition. I am certain of the existence of Akaal Purakh and of certain of its characteristics (Mool Mantar, for example); I do not, of course, claim to know It in Its totality. I admit that sometimes I get beyond myself, but my hubris does not extend that far!
     
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  16. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Mai ji

    The second definition is I believe the one that philosophers use in discourses on topics related to the nature of God. The idea of stipulating a powerful but unknowable entity is usually the kick-off before discussing a specific issues, such as arguments for monotheism. In this context, agnosticism is not a personal position as theism would be. Rather it is a neutral starting point for weighing arguments for/against monotheism, or panthesism, etc. Thanks for the mental stimulation -- even though it is after midnight and I can barely type my name, let alone participate.
     
  17. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    And don't forget panentheism, one of my newer vocabulary words (still unknown to my spellchecker, too.) which seems to describe Sikhi.

    Narayanjot ji, what you say absolutely true. I think ordinary people, not being philosophers, tend to use the first.

    But it really doesn't matter as long as all in the discussion are clear about which definition they are using - and stick to it.

    Certainly the second gives rise to more interesting discussions.

    Now, dear ji, please go to bed and get some sleep. I promise that SPN and this thread will still be here in the morning, even if you get some rest.
     
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    #16 Mai Harinder Kaur, Sep 30, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
  18. Sinister

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    Rude comment deleted Narayanjot Kaur

    but now that you have asked me a question I feel obligated to answer: why do people believe in god

    maybe because they are weak and cannot accept the uncertainty of their situation or accept the limits of their rationality. maybe they seek and pine for control figures and leadership. maybe they want to fit in a community and have a sense of belonging and religion provides that but with preconditions. maybe they are fiscally profiting from such a belief. just gullible?. maybe they like to play dress up? they adhere to theistic beliefs for social reasons...dont want to be an outcaste? a sense of security? maybe they want answers? maybe they are sick of guessing/pondering and want to put their minds to rest? closure? a need for 'communion'? maybe they are distressed and desperate believing a higher power can change them on a personal level. ignorant? fear of death? fear of aging? maybe they just want to help others and believe the best way to do such is through religious organization? maybe religion is an avenue to make them more humble? maybe it improves them morally? maybe they were told to do so by an authoritative figure in their life and it has become ingrained as a norm? maybe it makes them happier people? maybe they hallucinated and encountred an extraterristereal event, maybe it makes them stronger somehow? maybe they believe in god cause the chicken crossed the road.

    agnostics can be of two kinds
    i) i dont know what to think about god
    ii) i dont care about the subject and will avoid it.

    and everyone is an agnostic
     
  19. spnadmin

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    Sinister ji

    I have deleted one post by you and another by me in order to return the conversation to topic. It is always more effective to discuss issues. That is true for both you and me. I trust that you will continue to discuss agnosticism without resorting to personal slurs.
     
  20. Randip Singh

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    BTW

    This is not my view on Agnostics, just what I picked up on a link and blogs.;)

    but the view on Harbhajan Mannis my own. :p
     
  21. harbansj24

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    Mai ji & Narayan jot ji,

    What I meant by saying that true Sikhs are Agnostics is that Sikhs though firm believers in God and the qualities described in Mool Mantar do admit that they do not and cannot never acquire the capability to know their creator anywhere near its entirety.

    Anyway we can on along that path infinitely and still not get to the ultimate post. But we have to carry on because the progress achieved by mankind so far has been because of this continuous quest!
     

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