Well, it's late and I'm a tired of this subject for today. Thanks everyone for the interesting conversation! Friend me if you think I'm as awesome as I think I am ;) I'll leave everyone with this, because I enjoyed reading it immensely.
Agnostic views are as old as philosophical skepticism, but the terms agnostic and agnosticism were created by Huxley to sum up his thoughts on contemporary developments of metaphysics about the "unconditioned" (Hamilton) and the "unknowable" (Herbert Spencer). It is important, therefore, to discover Huxley's own views on the matter. Though Huxley began to use the term "agnostic" in 1869, his opinions had taken shape some time before that date. In a letter of September 23, 1860, to Charles Kingsley, Huxley discussed his views extensively:
I neither affirm nor deny the immortality of man. I see no reason for believing it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving it. I have no a priori objections to the doctrine. No man who has to deal daily and hourly with nature can trouble himself about a prioridifficulties. Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing in anything else, and I will believe that. Why should I not? It is not half so wonderful as the conservation of force or the indestructibility of matter...
It is no use to talk to me of analogies and probabilities. I know what I mean when I say I believe in the law of the inverse squares, and I will not rest my life and my hopes upon weaker convictions...That my personality is the surest thing I know may be true. But the attempt to conceive what it is leads me into mere verbal subtleties. I have champed up all that chaff about the ego and the non-ego, noumena and phenomena, and all the rest of it, too often not to know that in attempting even to think of these questions, the human intellect flounders at once out of its depth.
And again, to the same correspondent, May 6, 1863:
I have never had the least sympathy with the a priori reasons against orthodoxy, and I have by nature and disposition the greatest possible antipathy to all the atheistic and infidel school. Nevertheless I know that I am, in spite of myself, exactly what the Christian would call, and, so far as I can see, is justified in calling, atheist and infidel. I cannot see one shadow or tittle of evidence that the great unknown underlying the phenomenon of the universe stands to us in the relation of a Father [who] loves us and cares for us as Christianity asserts. So with regard to the other great Christian dogmas, immortality of soul and future state of rewards and punishments, what possible objection can I—who am compelled perforce to believe in the immortality of what we call Matter and Force, and in a very unmistakable present state of rewards and punishments for our deeds—have to these doctrines? Give me a scintilla of evidence, and I am ready to jump at them.
Of the origin of the name agnostic to describe this attitude, Huxley gave the following account:When I reached intellectual maturity and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; Christian or a freethinker; I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until, at last, I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure they had attained a certain "gnosis,"–had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of "agnostic." It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the "gnostic" of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. To my great satisfaction the term took.
Huxley's agnosticism is believed to be a natural consequence of the intellectual and philosophical conditions of the 1860s, when clerical intolerance was trying to suppress scientific discoveries which appeared to clash with a literal reading of the Book of Genesis and other established Jewish and Christian doctrines. Agnosticism should not, however, be confused with natural theology, deism, pantheism, or other forms of theism.
By way of clarification, Huxley states, "In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable" (Huxley, Agnosticism, 1889). Although A. W. Momerie has noted that this is nothing but a definition of honesty, Huxley's usual definition goes beyond mere honesty to insist that these metaphysical issues are fundamentally unknowable.
Well I asked my dog this question he said, "woof." Then I asked him if he was absolutely sure there are no supernatural phenomena he said, "woof." He then tuned around and started "cleaning" his...
Then I asked my fundamentalist neighbor and he said "Yes there is and would I like to hear the glory of his word."
I asked him, "Is that word woof?"
Then this question popped into my mind, "Am I 100% certain that even I exist?"
Think it this way that even if there are god/gods (by whatever percentage of believe-ability) which every culture seem to have produced, they are but HUMAN CREATIONS!
we, us human beings produced the gods and just like money same become too powerful over us...
"God created man, and man being a gentleman returned the favor" - Voltaire
Now that we free ourselves from this tyranny of religion, we can explore thoughts, actions, and feelings without a lot of extra baggage.
James, the theistic beliefs of the masses are easier to dismiss than the ephemeral monsters of Timbuktu or Portland, Oregon for that matter. Why? Cuz we know our fatuous forebears lived in a state of fear and without benefit of natural explanation for the seasons, weather, crops etc. We also know about the power of ritual and the tendency of the strong to dominate the weak. Further we know how creation myths and the attendent superstition were adopted by later cultures. Endless copying. We also know of the biologically supported tendency of children to indoctrination. Born a muslim in a muslim country you are overwhelmingly likely to be a muslim. Reiterating a lie trillions of times does not increase its reliability or credibibility.
The monster of Timbuktu has only one proponent who speaks with a verisimilitude and quiet confidence. Ya gotta investigate. Just like ufo claims. Now god is a construct that cannot be investigated. And it is silly to think we have to investigate a known and self serving lie which is contrary to nature and impossible by virtue of its nonexistent characteristics.
Absolute skepticism is not only a blatant contradiction, but renders language fundamentally arbitrary. We should be skeptical of a claim in the presence of contradiction but not when we have contextual noncontradictory knowledge, especially when the acceptance of which is necessary for reason and logic to function.
It is not simply tautology when it is based on objective reality. The fundamentals are self evident. Existence exists and has concrete identity. Any belief that this may not be true is arbitrary, incorrect and not able to be defended rationally. And your religious conflation is tired.
Your position is tautological if it comes from ONLY an "objective reality" takes precedence over "subjective reality" approach. What you call "self-evident" will always come from the perspective of an individual requiring recognition and approval of others - the same thing others do in churches. Can you create a system approach to convert the religious by an extremist position? I ask you and anyone else purporting your consistent absolutist perspective. Remember: I stand staring, steadfast and speechless, with those religious extremist so codified in their rancor that they put me in a position to have to physically defend myself. Their "objective reality" precedence, in not even trying to investigate ontological "subjective reality", opens the door for some to go terrorist. Those extremists do it out of belief. And if the likes of you and others continue going down this same road, you put me in the position of having to also stand staring, steadfast and speechless, wondering which one of you are going to make a move causing me to have to physically defend myself regardless if your motive is based on knowledge. I ask you to please consider leaving off this tautological, absolute only T or F (100% vs 99.99999%) mindset as to not marginalize yourself in the whole Non-Theist group. The subset of religious groups which become terrorists are the codified absolutists. The subset of our group (Non-Theists) are the same - codified absolutists. No, I'm not calling you a terrorist. But your sermons (and others with the same extremist position) are quite dangerous.