Agnosticism and Me

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ArchAngel
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Agnosticism and Me

Postby ArchAngel » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:21 pm

So, I'm willing to assume that some of our have already guessed this, but I have crossed over into legit Agnosticism, having originated from fundamentalist, conservative Christianity. So yes, you guys saw it happen right here, and for those who knew me longer, probably can recognize the change.

I grew up as a poster child in the church. I knew the bible better than anyone else in Sunday school, and even taught some myself. But things slowly changed. I stepped outside the inerrancy of the Bible, I accept the scientific explanations for the natural world instead of the Bibles, and more. Now, these things obviously won't destroy one's religion, but there were steps on a path for me. I have always been a very avid lover of science from a young age, reading up as much as I can on dinosaurs and space. I have always been passionate about a logical and rational understanding of the world, but my faith has always been important to me as well.

But one particular question asked by a friend really pushed the issue. This question wasn't even addressed towards me, but rather just mentioned in a conversation and the importance of it and it's ramifications really struck me. Why do you believe what you believe? Like most things, I wish to answer it with saying that it's simply most reflected by observation and logic, but I couldn't do that about God. I believed in God because of faith, not evidence. There is no real evidence for the existence of God, I knew this. I claimed spiritual experience to be my own personal evidence, inadmissible to others, of course.

But the question kept ringing in my head, and I realized I believed in God because I wanted to. I liked the idea that I could pray to him and that after I die, there were more adventures to be had. I didn't want to say good bye to a friend or to eternity. But my mind wasn't settled. I am compelled to a rational understanding of the universe, and the belief in God ceased to be rational. Spiritual experiences are unsubstantiated and explainable by natural and psychological phenomena, and if not, I still had to answer for all the other religions, which I couldn't. As I kept going, the more I talked about God, the more I felt I was lying.

So, as of recently, I had to be honest with myself and others and just admit that I'm agnostic. I have been for a while, but I don't know how long. While I hoped that there is a God who cares, and that there is a sweet afterlife, I can't even begin to know if there is and believing in it would be irrational and dishonest for me to do so. Instead, I get to be free.
So, if there is a God, and if he's truly one who values truth and the search of it, he'll understand.

Anyhow, I spent a while talking about myself and I'm sure it's somewhat of a boring subject. The reason I posted this here is that I'm curious of any questions or responses the rest of you have to this anti-conversion.
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Lazarus
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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby Lazarus » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:45 pm

Have any Christians that you know personally become hostile after finding out you no longer believe?

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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby ccgr » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:49 pm

Well thanks for officially coming out. I can't say I'm totally shocked to be honest. It seems to be a trend with many "old guard" members here. While it saddens me, I hope everyone still feels welcome regardless and I hope to be planting seeds and hope to be doing more good than harm for the kingdom of God.

As for questions...where do you stand on Jesus Christ walking this earth, dying and rising again? Surely archaeology has backed that up and provides evidence that stands out from other religions whose spiritual leaders died and remained that way.

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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby ArchAngel » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:53 pm

Laz, no, but not many know. My wife, for one, has been very supportive of me, even though she disagrees with it.

I'm curious to see if anybody here would have a big problem with it, but I suspect not. It might be fun to have someone tell me that I'm going to hell or something.

Thanks, CCGR. Doing more good than harm is certainly a noble cause. :)
As for Jesus, I do believe he existed, and died in a crucifiction, but did not rise again. As for the evidence, I doubt the sources as credible.
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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby ccgr » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:57 pm

Have you and your wife talked about plans for raising your kids? I know from experience that being mixed in a relationship makes that aspect difficult.

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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby ArchAngel » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:09 pm

Right, it is and we have and probably will continue to do so. I'm not so strung out and anti-religious as many are, and I have seen religion work positively in people's lives, regardless if I think it's true or not. The consensus so far is that she will teach our children about God and take them to church, and this is something I will not undermine, but at the same time, I will be honest with them about where I stand and only encourage them to think rationally and inquisitively. I wouldn't mind at all if they became Christian, it's just important to me that they use that brilliant mind of theirs that they are inheriting from me. I want them to come to their own decisions using their own mind. Christian and curious > Agnostic and idiotic.
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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:31 pm

It might be fun to have someone tell me that I'm going to hell or something.
YOU'RE GONNA ROAST IN HELL FOR ETERNITY YOU HERETIC $*@^#(*@^%#!!!

>>

<<

:mrgreen:

Joking aside, one thing I'd urge you to keep in mind is that figuring life out (and where we come from) is more than a mere exercise in logic and reason. Logic, reason, science, faith, intuition, etc. are all tools in our toolbox. Don't exclude any of them. My biggest pet peeve when people insist on using only a couple of those tools are that they fall victim to the old adage "When you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Not every question about the Universe is fully answerable using science alone (Maybe it's because as a species, we continue to improve upon our ability to reason things out scientifically... so if we haven't become perfect at it yet, how can we expect to answer the biggest questions of all with it?) For that matter, faith alone won't answer those questions either, at least, not correctly.

When I was a mechanic, I used at least 6 different tools to perform a brake job. How can one figure out the universe using only one or two?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby ArchAngel » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:54 pm

Right, and that's part of the struggle for me. Science won't cover everything, but every tool I'm going to use I'm going to have to understand what it is, what it does, it's strengths and it's weaknesses. Over time, it became exceedingly clear to me that faith wasn't reliable.
Will I change my stance one day? Perhaps, I don't see it now, but I'm always open to hearing new evidence and new arguments.
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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby Bruce_Campbell » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:12 pm

Welcome to the heathens club! Here's your pentagram T-shirt (just kidding).
My wife, for one, has been very supportive of me, even though she disagrees with it.
I'm pretty much in the same boat. My wife is sorta Catholic, (she doesn't really practice, but she certainly fits in the theist category). She's been pretty supportive of me through my long, drawn out crisis of faith. I've talked to a lot of people on other forums whose marriages have fallen apart because they left the church and their spouse couldn't handle it. Having a spouse who supports you no matter what is a real blessing.
A vegan atheist walks into a bar. Bartender says "Hey, are you a vegan atheist? Just kidding, you've mentioned it like eight times already."

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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby ArchAngel » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:53 pm

Yeah, definitely! I wouldn't have been that understanding in my earlier years.
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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:02 pm

Welcome to the heathens club! Here's your pentagram T-shirt (just kidding).
Heh I wear a pentagram as a necklace. Can I be an honorary member?
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby Nate DaZombie » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:53 pm

I suppose my only question is, what does this change? I understand that agnosticism is a much more reasonable stance, but how much do you still consider truth? Is there such a thing as morality (black and white)? Is the Bible just a good history book? Other questions I'm too lazy to write?

I'll be honest, I almost lean towards agnosticism myself, but that's because I disagree with much of what the mainstream church has to say. The older I get, the more I despise the church's idea of God. HOWEVER, this is your day, and my story is for another day.

tl;dr: I applaud your bravery, but please keep a balanced mindset.

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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby ChickenSoup » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:25 pm

Heck, I believe in eternal security, so I'm of the opinion that I'll be seeing Arch and Bruce regardless.

I've always respected you, Arch, and you post the most flippin awesome astronomy-related posts So... yeah. :P my opinion of you doesn't change in the least, and this doesn't really surprise me. Good luck in your personal journey, friend. When I'm not a junior higher anymore, we will have to internet-toast with our wines of choice and MIDI files of clinking glass :P
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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby CountKrazy » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:30 pm

I guess I'm about as close to being agnostic without being actually agnostic as you can get. I won't be surprised if I wake up one day and feel the complete crossover, though. Heck, it might have already happened. I guess that's just the way it works.

You've been a big inspiration for me since I came back to this site, man, and I can't even begin to say how much just reading your posts has helped me out. Luckily you seem to be surrouned by understanding and loving people, but it hasn't been entirely the same for me. You set a standard for keeping one's calm despite all the passion that goes into one's own convictions. I'm still trying to learn how to do that... with much difficulty.

Perhaps here is the most applicable place for one of my favorite quotes of all time, thanks to Ben Gibbard:

"I don’t want to falsely believe in something solely so I can jump to the front of the line for whatever this awesome place is we go after we die. The vastness of that idea is so beyond my comprehension that I feel like if there was a God, then that God would accept me saying I’m not able to believe because it’s so outside of my ability to understand it. I understand that’s where faith comes into play."
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Re: Agnosticism and Me

Postby Sstavix » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:50 am

Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
The question that haunts you ArchAngel, "Why do you believe what you believe?" is a very valid one. In my opinion, it's something that all of us - everyone - needs to ask. It's all part of the personal journey that we all travel on our lives. We may get different answers to the same questions, and quite often, the answers we receive are not the ones we wanted or anticipated. Just keep asking and keep learning - or as Joseph Campbell famously said, "follow your bliss."


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