Letting go of religion

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Re: Letting go of religion

Postby Carrie » Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:01 pm

Sorry for being defensive. What are your confusions? Do you have any questions? I can direct you to a specific topic if you want.
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Re: Letting go of religion

Postby Purplevision » Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:15 pm

It's hard to know where to begin, or even to articulate what exactly my hang-ups are. I'm still trying to be free from a fundamentalist mindset (I still have fears of Hell and the after-life in particular)

There are gaps I can't fill in both the theist and atheist perspective. If there is a God why does he allow suffering and evil, and what the heck is the meaning of life?. If there is no God, how could something come out of nothing, and where did consciousness come from (p.s I've read bits and pieces in the thread on consciousness).
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Re: Letting go of religion

Postby Carrie » Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:03 pm

Good question about suffering and evil. I have no idea about that one. Maybe it's all about learning certain lessons and what seems horribly painful will pass and not be so painful later in another life? That's my opinion.
As far as the question about hell goes I struggle with that too, because of my upbringing. There are some interesting conversations about that in the Deism, Theism, Atheism, God talk section. It's hard to imagine an all powerful and infinitely intelligent deity being less forgiving than humans in my opinion though.
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Re: Letting go of religion

Postby Purplevision » Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:41 am

Thanks, I'll look into those conversations. To be honest, I don't even know what I am seeking for, or hoping to find.
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Re: Letting go of religion

Postby Bill » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:10 am

In my view, agnosticism is not a matter of faith, it is a way of looking at things = considering the evidence, logic and probability and coming to a view whether the thing under examination gets a tick in the "true" column. If I told you that last night I watched television, it would take very little persuading to get you to accept that that is what I did. On the other hand, if I told you that I had dinner with some extra terrestrials, you might want a ton of supporting documentation.

Asking people if they believe in agnosticism is akin to asking them if they believe in the color blue. You might go down some interesting semantic byways in the banter back and forth over what "the color blue" means, but you are not often going to be told "No, I do not believe in the color blue".

On the other hand, theist and atheist alike - from different base positions - take on belief systems that are faith based. And putting a method of thinking between two methods of not thinking is bound to cause some disconnects. The theist may opine "if you are not a believer, then you are an atheist", which, surprisingly, is the exact same argument that the atheist uses to show that we belong in their camp. (Both camps seem to be very dualistic when it comes to all things godly).

The thing we agnostics seem to suffer from most, is a lack of understanding about why we tend to reject religion, but not deism. Or more accurately, why we reject religion out of hand, but allow for the possibility of deism being a "true" state of affairs.

If you face antagonism about being an agnostic, it is probably because you no longer accept the religion of your family as being "the one true faith". And for many of us, avoiding such possible antagonism is why we spend a life time carefully hiding our agnosticism from public scrutiny.

The tide is turning - but that is a double edged sword. As more an more Americans find they are able to declare their agnostic, or atheistic, belief system without their world collapsing, more and more of us have no problem is telling the truth. And as their numbers dwindle, those of faith get more alarmed at the possible consequences. A recent pew poll showed that over 50% of those of faith want political office holders to be more involved in religion, and for religious leaders to be more involved in politics.

The thing is, as more and more people get to see that we agnostics tend to be fun people with sharp (ish) minds, the less dread they have of us.

And we sure seem to have far more fun than angry atheists or fundamentalist tub-thumpers. And if you do ever find yourself in a potential confrontation, you could make the case that everyone is agnostic when it comes to whether life exists on planets other than earth. We all have some agnosticism built into us - it is only a question of how much each of us has.
The only reality is the moment that we call "Now".
= = = =
We evolved to seek dinner, not to seek the truth - Mark Whatever
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Re: Letting go of religion

Postby Purplevision » Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:57 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bill.

I guess I'm not content with my agnosticism because, for one, I still have lingering fears of hell and after-life punishment. (I kind of lean towards a "purgatorial" view of hell which is kind of like spiritual rehab aimed more at healing, restoring and educating us).

And, secondly, I am absolutely distraught by the pain, suffering and injustice in this world, and, I hate to think that there is no chance for restoration, reconciliation, and healing in the next life.

I suppose if there is no hell in the after life, it sort of makes no difference, since life itself is as hellish as hell can get. That really bothers me, and I can't find a reason to live, if there is nothing beyond this life but the misery we experience here (even though I believe we are the prime cause our own misery)

I suppose I want to be hopeful that there is a God. A Good God --merciful, compassionate and loving who will redeem this mess that we have made of ourselves. I think there are some good reasons to hope that such a God exists. But, I've never experienced him, and don't quite know if there is any way to change to that. And, that's frustrating, too.
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Re: Letting go of religion

Postby Bill » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:03 pm

We might need to go off into a different thread - we don't normally have debates in the Introductions section... :)

The modern day view of hell fire damnation has very little theological support or divination to suggest that, for example, Gandhi - not being a born again Christian - now spends his time in screaming agony in hell fire damnation. If you want, we can look at how modern man made a mess of working out what God is said to have revealed to some of the ancients on this matter, and how transliteration has made a right fine mess of the whole deal.

If nothing else, if Yahweh has built a lake of hell fire, we can be just about 100% certain that not a soul ends up in it.

That might be some consolation...
The only reality is the moment that we call "Now".
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We evolved to seek dinner, not to seek the truth - Mark Whatever
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Re: Letting go of religion

Postby Purplevision » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:14 pm

The modern day view of hell fire damnation has very little theological support or divination to suggest that, for example, Gandhi - not being a born again Christian - now spends his time in screaming agony in hell fire damnation. If you want, we can look at how modern man made a mess of working out what God's is said to have revealed to some of the ancients on this matter, and how transliteration has made a right fine mess of the whole deal.


That sounds like a good idea. I'd like that.

We might need to go off into a different thread - we don't normally have debates in the Introductions section... :)


That's fine. I hope I didn't make it sound as though I was starting a debate.... did I? I really have no intentions of doing that. I don't really like the word "debate" either. I don't have a particular persuasion that I want to justify to others. I'm not here to put forward an argument about anything. I'm just hear to listen, learn, contemplate. A friendly discussion sounds much better to me :)
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Re: Letting go of religion

Postby Bill » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:22 pm

Sorry - I use the word "debate" in its loosest term to denote an exchange of ideas and not any kind of argument. I shall set us up a nook or cranny to get started, and I am fairly sure we shall attract comments from other interested parties.
The only reality is the moment that we call "Now".
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We evolved to seek dinner, not to seek the truth - Mark Whatever
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Re: Letting go of religion

Postby Purplevision » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:25 pm

Ah ok - no worries.

Sounds good to me.
Thanks, Bill.
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