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Featured An Agnostic Metaphor

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Straw Dog, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. Straw Dog

    Straw Dog Well-Known Member

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    I’m agnostic. Some think this means I’m a seeker. Others say I’m
    sitting on a fence with only two sides.

    I view it more as a wall, the limit of human knowledge. The wall reaches higher and stretches farther than any single individual can see. Every brick is data. Every section of the wall is information.

    An individual can only focus on very little information while needing to ignore most of it. Mostly focusing on the Biblical information will encourage a Biblical worldview. Focusing on the information in the Qu’ran will reinforce a more Islamic worldview. Besides any single book is an unfathomable amount of more information that will never be learned.

    If information overload wasn’t enough, beyond the wall are unlimited possibilities only constrained by the limitations of human imagination. To take a leap of religious faith beyond the wall of knowledge means identifying exclusively with only one possibility at the expense of all others.

    So I’m agnostic because of the limitations of knowledge, the vastness of information, and the infinite possibilities beyond. I suppose this metaphor is somewhat similar to the blind men and the elephant.

    How does your faith treat agnosticism and the limitations of human knowledge? Is it important to discern between what we know, what we don’t know, and what we merely believe to be so?
     
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  2. rational experiences

    rational experiences Well-Known Member

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    What is science without a machine?

    Is a machine black mass or space holes?

    Science.
     
  3. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    My faith doubts reality. It views this reality as impermanent and changeable and as something which ought to be transformed. This has implications for your question, but there are a couple of other things I want to mention: While you observe that there are limits to human knowledge there are other reasons a person can be agnostic, too. Aside from doubting reality, aside from observing limitations we can also doubt our own perception. I've noticed my perception changes when I have a crush or when I'm angry. Obviously I am changeable and variable in what I perceive to be real.
     
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  4. IAMinyou

    IAMinyou Active Member

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    Amos 8
    11: "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord GOD, "when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.
    12: They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.
     
  5. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Agnosticism is the result of honesty and humility. Two very important traits to cultivate in oneself. And that determine the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
     
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  6. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    By agnostic, do you mean undecided, withholding belief pending evidence, or a belief that the existence of God cannot be known?
     
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  7. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    People are people and all have different beliefs or non beliefs as the case may be. Agnosticism seems honest to me and is akin to doubt which is common in most people.
    I think it is a good thing to discern between what we know and what we don't know and what we merely believe. Doing that can show us that we have mere beliefs that may have looked like knowledge to us.
    It is interesting to consider knowledge and how we gain it. Imo a lot of our knowledge can start off with certain presuppositions of assumptions and so evidence can takes us down a preordained path to a place where we think our conclusions are actually knowledge but really are mere beliefs. Iow we can take leaps of faith in one direction or the other without realising it. So where we are now in our knowledge can be the result of leaps of faith we did not realise we were taking.
     
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  8. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I used to identify as agnostic. I gave that up for a couple reasons, but I only want to highlight one of them.

    It's a given that human capacity for knowing is limited. This applies to everything, whether it is a theological question or not.

    It is also a given that we have to live our lives under these limits. At some point, we have to settle on some stories to tell ourselves as we cannot function without doing so. It's not a "leap of faith" to recognize that, it's simply practical and necessary. And keeping to your own narratives doesn't have to mean doing so at the expense of other stories either. You can still have your stories and acknowledge the validity of other people's stories. You can be honest with yourself about your experiences - take a gnostic approach - while also acknowledging the limits of your own knowledge. Agnosticism procrastinates doing the work of being discerning. I trust myself to be discerning, and thus I abandoned agnosticism.
     
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  9. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    While directed to someone else, let me answer for me:

    I am undecided, am personally withholding belief or disbelief pending evidence of God or Gods. There's a whole discussion to be had about what kind of evidence would be sufficient, also dependent on the definition of the deity/deities being evidenced or not.

    I am skeptical of the human ability to know anything significant about deity. Pragmatically (and again, depending on the definitions used and the evidence under consideration), it is possible that some evidence could be advanced that could be understood only through a concept of deity, but I am doubtful it would be anything near complete knowledge about such a deity.
     
  10. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I remain agnostic because I am capable of doing both: of relying on the "story" of the moment to help me negotiate reality, AND understanding that what I'm calling "reality" is just a story. We humans are capable of holding more than one conceptual paradigm at a time, even when they contradict.
     
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  11. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    humans are capable; unfortunately, I find that very few actually do, or even try.
     
  12. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Or worse, they do it, but they remain blissfully unaware of their doing it, so that they can avoid having to live with so many contradictions. :)
     
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  13. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    yeah, that too! I just try to be aware of mine...:cool::eek::oops:
     
  14. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    That's pretty much what I do, I just eschewed the agnostic label. It felt more honest with myself to acknowledge that yes, I have really had these experiences and I know I have had these experiences (short of delving in to the most absurd bowels of philosophical skepticism, which I find neither practical nor productive most of the time).

    Paradigm shifting is fun. It confuses a lot of folks, though. I get confused by their confusion... haha.
     
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  15. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    Knowledge about God would really have to come from the God, but even then it would not be complete.
    That requires belief in the existence of a God and belief in a particular revelation.
     
  16. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    ...And that they're OK. It's not a crime to hold contradictory points of view relative to varying contexts. It comes with being a non-omniscient human.
     
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  17. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Hence my skepticism about a human ability to know anything about deity...
     
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  18. columbus

    columbus yawn <ignore> yawn

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    But that never happens.
    It's always some human claiming to be God's Spokesman.
    And one thing I'm very sure of is that humans are very prone to delusion.

    No, it requires a belief in human authority.
    I don't find humans all that trustworthy, by and large.
    Tom
     
  19. MNoBody

    MNoBody Well-Known Member

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    one must get out of their head to get into their heart.
    which is what meditation is useful for, or, it can be...depends on the individual, results do vary.
    the conscious mind we grew to be so dependent on, and "in" is the very thorn one must excise, so to speak.
    the component the metaphor of the devil is used to depict, which we all "sell our soul" to when we turn our exclusive trust over to.
    yet it is the smallest part of our consciousness.....a great servant, but a wicked devious master.
     
  20. Straw Dog

    Straw Dog Well-Known Member

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    Yes, both knowledge and perceptions are tentative and dependent upon a changing context. We have reasons to doubt reality though rather than just doubting for the sake of it.
     
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