Hey guys I was wondering if any of you were Agnostic before you became a Atheist. Me personally I was brought up a Pentecostal, when I stop believing it i was consider a Agnostic, I still believe there was something out there that control or made the universe. I came out as a Atheist after a few years of being a Agnostic (College Biology help)lol.I just want to know if everyone that was a Theist was a Agnostic before they became a Atheist. It seems like a lot of ex-theist have cross the Agnostic field before declaring themselves as Atheist. Well let me know what you guys think.
Or we could view it on a continuum...from highly religious (orthodox) to not religious at all (atheist).
It is often a matter of degree. How strongly do you believe in a, b, or c?
Possibility and probability should be distinguished (read this for a better understanding: http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/probable.html ...it helps explain the difference)
Asking: "Is it possible for a supernatural force to exist beyond human understanding is different from "What is the probability of a supernatural deity taking a personal interest in human life events and judging worthiness or unworthiness?" We have no physical, material evidence of a god or gods but the human brain can imagine the possibility of such a 'being'. We can imagine heaven and hell and angels and satan's minions but they seem highly improbable!
Thank you, mojo. The site you cited (pun intended) clarifies the explanations I hear from xians. I long ago concluded that xians, in their unhappiness, need explanations for events about which they lack knowledge.
Way back when I was a Catholic teenager, I felt that unhappiness and accepted the explanations I heard from nuns and priests. When I saw Catholicism's requirements as causing me future unhappiness, I began my departure.
The religiously inclined are not the only people who need explanations. For instance, in the big bang explanation of the origin of the universe I have long heard only possibilities for events about which we will never have knowledge: what existed before the bang. I read recently that a Catholic priest-turned-mathematician concocted the big bang hypothesis and understood: he needed an explanation compatible with the Genesis account of creation from nothing.
I like to answer both xians and cosmologists with "Knowing the answer won't help me pay the mortgage or buy food."
A lot of people aren't satisfied with "fill the gap (of knowledge) with Jesus/God/Supernatural mumbo jumbo." I certainly agree that people can sit around in a circle with like-minded people and find comfort in wishful thinking...but that doesn't mean people outside the circle should feel obligated to join the echo chamber!
I find myself impatient with people that are 'spiritual' and, as I get older, I struggle to maintain compassionate. I am currently having a Facebook discussion with somebody that thinks that 'astral projection' is an effective means to cure the common cold and this guy is reasonable and intelligent in so many other ways that I have to really refrain myself from 'mocking' and injuring his feelings on this particular subject. I think I will start a thread of discussion on AN to see how other people deal with non-believers that remain 'spiritual' people. Seeking supernatural explanations seems along the same lines as saying 'god did it' when a perfectly rational explanation exists or will someday be discovered with scientifically based research!
"...how other people deal with non-believers that remain 'spiritual' people."
Some of the folks who post here seem to believe the way to deal with non-believers that remain spiritual is to drive them away. As self-defense, it works. As political tactic, it's self-defeating.
I completely agree with the 'self-defeating' aspect you mention. If I only had friends who were atheists I'd have a pretty small social circle! (Not including the many friendly relations I have on AN, of course).
When it comes to being an atheist, I'm not willing to be that militant about it....especially with the folks that remain 'spiritual' without being overbearing about it. I usually come to every potential friendship with the assumption that the person is NOT an atheist because the odds are against it. It certainly hasn't been my litmus test for friendship or association. What is challenging is to find folks who can debate without getting into 'personal attack mode'. And this transcends religious discussions. Miss Manners aside, I like to talk about politics and religion but realize it's a risky thing sometimes.
I was raised christian congregationalist and was at least semi-active in that until I went off to college something over 40 years ago. I had been confirmed in our church, but there was nothing experientially to back up all the yap from the pulpit, no lab to go with the lecture. As I entered my adult life, religion more or less fell away from me, though I was less agnostic than I was apatheist - indifferent to the whole idea of a god.
My first wife was probably about the same, though when she proposed meekly that our daughter be baptized, I found myself dropping the hammer - NO, NOT gonna happen - and indeed, our daughter was raised for the large part without religion, other than the occasional visit to my father-in-law's church for Xmas.
I suppose what has gotten me more squarely into the atheist camp than anything else has been my participation in discussion boards since being laid off in 2008. It's been an education for me, especially in some of the real evil done by the catholic and evangelical churches and particularly the threat of the dominionist movement. That has resonated in me to the point where I can say that There Are NO Gods, FULL STOP ... and if someone wants to assert otherwise, they can either pull out the goods or shut the fuck up.
Loren, I haven't checked my OED, but until I do (and find it there) I thank you for adding a most useful word to the language.
I too have occasionally dropped a hammer when an event stirred memories of the consequences of an earlier related event. That I dropped the hammer without thinking tells me that doing so was important to my well being. One such time was after one too many nuns (in the Catholic schools my dad sent me to) had told me to turn the other cheek. I realized that I had only two cheeks.
I would have sworn I found "apatheist" on dictionary.com, but apparently not. It DOES appear in the Urban Dictionary, though ... and I still think it characterizes where I was at that time. Maybe Merriam-Webster will come up to speed later on!
This is an area of much confusion for people:
The topic still makes sense though, because a gnostic theist could technically become an agnostic theist before becoming an agnostic atheist. However, this is unlikely to happen from people who don't understand that both agnostic theists and atheists exist, but the topic can still technically make sense. I'll explain.
Realistically, since atheism is the lack of an active belief in deities, when people start doubting the existence of deities, they already no longer actively hold a positive belief in deities, which means they are already atheist. This topic then becomes about labels. When you became atheist, how long as it before you identified as one, and did you identify as agnostic first (even if it wasn't the proper usage)?
But Jonah, your story is different. You described losing your religion but continuing to believe in a deity, this is neither becoming atheist nor necessarily becoming agnostic, although you could easily have become agnostic too, if you took the stance that "there is no way to know if there is or isn't a god" at the same time you lost your religion. And in that case, since you "were" agnostic, you would now feel that you do know for sure that deities positively don't exist (vs merely lacking a belief in them). If that distinction is also confusing, there's a great video that explains all of this clearly:
Thank you, Tenken; this info will make a terrific speech for my Toastmasters club.
I long ago told them I'm an atheist and am okay with knowing that I will become a few chemicals in the ground. The only explicit reaction came from a member who told me that as I near death I will reconsider. None of the several right wing xians has said anything to my face, probably because they know I will give them some heat and they aren't strong enough to take it.