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What's wrong with "I don't know"?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Ryan2065, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. Ryan2065

    Ryan2065 Well-Known Member

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    Now, this is going to be a huge generalization... but...

    Why can't a theist say "I don't know" ? Yes I know that you don't all have a problem with these three words... But when pressed about a topic, a theist seems to be more prone to give reason why their god did this or that instead of saying "Well he didn't quite inform me of why he did that."

    I just found this interesting because it is my belief that religion came about because people didn't like not knowing why things happened so instead of just living with it, they came up with false reasons of why things happen. Seeing how the theists respond to some questions makes me believe they have a hard time saying I don't know and it just strengthens my belief.
     
  2. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know.

    ;)
     
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  3. robtex

    robtex Veteran Member

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    It might be because faith is measured by conviction and "i don't know" is a statement of negative conviction.

    God is detected through revelation and enlightment according to most religions and "I don't know " is not a phrase of the enlighted or the revealed.

    Interesingly though is that the religions that do better with " i don't know" such as hinduism, (and deratives thereof) buddhism, UU and the like there is much less anger projected from those belief systems by the followers of it.

    Maybe in that sense, if those searching for God or pursueing religion are looking for inner peace and love, "I don't know" could be ironically their path to salvation.
     
  4. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Well said rob.... It is actually my experience that most theists use "I don't know" to a fault... the mystery and supernatural in my faith is usually the focus of mockery from many atheists.... I'm suprised that Ryan feels this way.:confused:
     
  5. Ryan2065

    Ryan2065 Well-Known Member

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    I feel this way because I have seen many people, when having to defend their views, will make stuff up. Usually along the lines of "Well, god probably made the coca plant because he wanted a good warm mocha and thats the reason everyone was made. So we could come up with the recipe for a mocha for him!" Thats an exaggerated view... but its along the same lines.
     
  6. robtex

    robtex Veteran Member

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    which is also interesting because we, as a species, will unlikely never know everything about our existance. It is a fun acheivement to learn but a silly goal to shoot for when measured in absolutes. Mystery, as a concept exists precisely because we don't know everything about our existance.

    If knowing everything was a prerequist for any path, atheism, or theism than noobody could quality to get into the club. :bonk:get it? Little yellow man is trying to get "into the club by banging it against his head? I make myself laugh ).
     
  7. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire
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    Hmmm, to quote Scott, I don't know. When I have the information, I will explain to the best of my abilities, however when knowledge escapes me I have no qualms with admitting ignorance.
     
  8. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Smart aleck!
     
  9. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I think it's because whenever we do, we open ourselves up to criticism. Nobody likes to be on the defensive, and on forums like this, one can end up being backed into a corner very quickly. Once there, it's hard to get out!

    I really admire people (theist and otherwise) who can say, "I don't know." I also really admire people who are willing to concede a point. That's even harder, I think, because as soon as you say, "Oh, my gosh! I didn't know that before," or "Hmmm. You've raised some valid points. I'll have to rethink my position," it seems to reflect negatively on your entire belief system. I know this is difficult for me. Since my convictions in my own beliefs are so strong, it's hard for me to admit that someone with a completely contradictory point of view could possibly be right. (But, hey, at least I know I'm not alone here!)

    It would really be good, I think, if we could all learn to admit that there are things we don't know and admit that other people's arguments have some validity. Unfortunately, as long as some people refuse to make the effort, those who would like to be able to are afraid to try.

    Kathryn
     
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  10. johnnys4life

    johnnys4life Pro-life Mommy

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    For me, it's fun to speculate. For others, I can't say. I can't speak for them. I think when a was just a baby newbie Christian I felt I HAD to defend every aspect of my faith, even to people who didn't really care, who were just out to try to twist things around and confuse me.

    I figured that out and I don't look at it the same now.
     
  11. Dinogrrl

    Dinogrrl peeb!

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    It's hard for me...because around my fellow dinosaur center employees, I hate answering religious questions with 'I don't know.' And, around fellow Christians, I hate answers scientific questions with 'I don't know.' Neither side seems to be willing to accept that one person can't know all the answers. And that's a very wrong attitude, imho. :/
     
  12. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a problem with "I don't know"....but I find that some non-theists want us to say "I don't know" even when we do know and try to back up our beliefs with the bible because they (the non-theists) don't view it as a legitimate source. :)
     
  13. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    to Know and have Faith are not the same.
    To Know inplies you can prove some thing
    To have Faith means you truly Believe some thing.
    To love is another corner of the same triangle.

    Terry
    __________________________________
    Blessed are those who bring peace, they shall be children of God
     
  14. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    As usual, I find myself agreeing with you Terry. As far as I am concerned I do not know what God is like - I can have no conception of him; I have faith in some of his attributes - such as 'Love', and the incredible complexity of Nature (His creation, now evolved).

    For me, there is no need to 'know' - I'll stick to my Faith...:D
     
  15. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    Well, we Orthodox actually say 'I don't know' or a variant, 'It's a Mystery', an awful lot. Given that we prefer apophatic theology to cataphatic (which means we emphasise how 'other' and therefore incomprehensible God is) you could almost say that saying 'I don't know' is the lynchpin of our theology.

    We simply don't go in for dogmatising everything like some Christians do. So, for instance, we do believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, but whereas the Lutherans explain their belief as consubstantiation and the RCs as transsubstantiation, if you ask an Orthodox Christian you're more likely to get an answer like. 'It's been revealed to us that Christ is present in the Eucharist but we haven't been told how. Why do you want to know? Just accept it as a Mystery.' It's not an attitude I came across amongst western Christians who do tend to be more rational and analytical (though by no means all of them are).

    I think that rather than directing your question at 'theists' it would be better off directed at 'westerners', because I see the same sort of attitude in many westerners re. non-religious subjects also. I'm one (except in the religious realm) I hate not knowing the answer to a question.

    James
     
  16. Ryan2065

    Ryan2065 Well-Known Member

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    Wow... everyone said they have no problem with saying I don't know. Yet I can't recall a time when a theist actually said I don't know. I've seen theists even proclaim that they know what god is thinking before saying I don't know.
     
  17. johnnys4life

    johnnys4life Pro-life Mommy

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    Okay, first off, I did say that. I said that for me it's fun to speculate. Secondly, I'm sorry you haven't seen that enough, but I have. There are people out there who are religious and aren't know-it-alls.
     
  18. fromthe heart

    fromthe heart Well-Known Member

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    I've never felt there was anyone who was afraid to say "I don't know" because none of us know everything or will EVER know everything.


    Perhaps the reason we theists(or anyone else for that matter), don't say I don't know is because this is a debate situation and if we don't know why respond to a post to just say "I don't know"...It would seem a little useless to just respond in that manner. Perhaps we all respond with I don't know by Not responding to a thread???:)
     
  19. Fluffy

    Fluffy A fool

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    I have no problem with saying I don't know :). In fact, I only know 2 things. That I exist and that the previous sentence is fact :).
     
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