How are long-time agnostists made?


#1

Holding agnostism believes for a long time looks incredible to me, are most of them cradle-agnostists or ex-theists half converted by atheists or ex-atheists half converted by theists?


#2

I’ve been an agnostic for about 8 years now. I was raised Mormon, became a (traditional) Christian when I was a teenager, and became an agnostic in college. Why do you think it is incredible that someone would be an agnostic for a long time? It was nice to believe in a benevolent God, in many ways my life was better when I did. But honesty was part of my faith, and I finally had to admit that I didn’t have a good reason to be a theist.


#3

My understanding of an “Agnostic” is someone who believes there is a God, but God just doesn’t care about what happens. Is that what your philosophy is ?

Given your mormon background, I could understand why you may pitch it all. (I’m referring to the multiple wife families and so other questionable ideas). Was it things or practices that did not make sense to you that moved you to becoming Agnostic ? or did you just not see any evidence or reason to continue believing that God cares.

Why I ask is a personal one, as a couple of my kids are headed in the same direction.

You say you believe that you may be better off if you were not agnostic, in what way ? Is it simply because some folks take a dim view of ‘non-believers’ or is it because you think believing answers some questions of doubts about your current ideas.

30 years ago, I was almost in your same situation. I would not call myslf an agnostic but I was pretty close. It took me 10 years to come out of the stupor, and I’m glad I did. I hated not knowing what direction to take and, it took a major wake up called to get me out of the doldrums. Let’s just say, at one point I was not even sure IF I was dead or alive.

Just thinking that you are dead and have failed in life (and jeopardized your immortal soul) is quite an eye opener. I was diagnosed with depression, which I didn’t think I had, BUT after thinking I had died and gone ‘below’ THAT was a major downer. If I wasn’t depressed before I was certainly depressed then !

I liken my experience, to the old adage : there are no atheists in foxholes.

regards, wc


#4

[quote=wcknight]I liken my experience, to the old adage : there are no atheists in foxholes.
[/quote]

And if there were a god, there wouldn’t be any foxholes in the first place.


#5

Wcknight

You write:

My understanding of an “Agnostic” is someone who believes there is a God, but God just doesn’t care about what happens. Is that what your philosophy is ?

Actually, what you are describing sounds like Deism. An agnostic is someone who reserves judgment as to whether God exists or not. There are “strong agnostics” who also claim that we can’t know that God does or does not exist, and weak agnostics, like myself, who simply take no position on the matter, but grant that it may be reasonable to be an atheist and/or a theist.

*Given your mormon background, I could understand why you may pitch it all. (I’m referring to the multiple wife families and so other questionable ideas). Was it things or practices that did not make sense to you that moved you to becoming *Agnostic ? or did you just not see any evidence or reason to continue believing that God cares.

Why I ask is a personal one, as a couple of my kids are headed in the same direction.

Well, I converted to traditional (protestant) Christianity as a teenager, because I was shown that Mormon doctrine isn’t consistent; so I didn’t pitch it all right away. In fact, I became a very devout Christian. Eventually though, I realized that I didn’t have good grounds to believe in Christianity or even God. As I see it, merciless honesty has compelled me to stop being a theist. It may be that one day I will discover that God does in fact exist. On the other hand, I might conclude that he almost certainly does not, and become an atheist. Or I might just sit on the fence for the rest of my life. I just need to do my best to put all desires aside when I make judgments about reality.

*You say you believe that you may be better off if you were not *agnostic, in what way ? Is it simply because some folks take a dim view of ‘non-believers’ or is it because you think believing answers some questions of doubts about your current ideas.

Well, when I believed there was a God who loved me, I had a good deal more joy in my life then I do now. I valued myself and (I must admit) others more when I thought we were all going to live forever, and there was really something to hope for in the long run. My life is barely worth living now, frankly. (I don’t want to slander non-believers here. This is MY experience of non-theism and it would be unfair for anyone to attribute it to all or even most non-theists.)

cont…


#6

*30 years ago, I was almost in your same situation. I would not call myslf an agnostic but I was pretty close. It took me 10 years to come out of the stupor, and I’m glad I did. I hated not knowing what direction to take and, it took a major wake up called to get me out of the doldrums. Let’s just say, at one point I was not even sure IF I was dead or alive.

Just thinking that you are dead and have failed in life (and jeopardized your immortal soul) is quite an eye opener. I was diagnosed with depression, which I didn’t think I had, BUT after thinking I had died and gone ‘below’ THAT was a major downer. If I wasn’t depressed before I was certainly depressed then !*

I’m not sure if I understand, did you have a near-death experience, or are you just speaking metaphorically? I can sympathize to some degree. I’m usually dealing with (mild) depression, I think.

I liken my experience, to the old adage : there are no atheists in foxholes.

Even if that is so, it is no argument for theism. No doubt that it would be wonderful if there were a benevolent, powerful being ready to take care of us in this life and the next. It may even be the case that if there is no such being, most of us will still lead more satisfying lives if we believe that there is. But that doesn’t make it more likely that theism is true, nor does it make it honorable to believe it is true without good evidence.

My favorite author, as a Christian and to this day, is C.S. Lewis. I quote him:

“…Christianity is not a patent medicine. Christianity claims to give an account of the facts—to tell you what the real universe is like. Its account of the universe may be true, or it may not, and once the question is really before you, then your natural inquisitiveness must make you want to know the answer. If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be: if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.”

Thank you for your questions and comments!


#7

Some thoughts at random, if that’s OK with the

participants.

-I’ve endured significant depression for 40 years, and
was severly depressed for 3 years [part of it is
just the neurotransmitter situation, which is purely
biological.]
Many, many times I ask myself if God exists. You
know what? I trust that He does, even when it
doesn’t seem to “make sense” in the midst of
the terrible suffering that depression brings in it’s
wake.
The other thing that buoys my belief is something
called Intelligent Design, which mentions the
massive statistical improbabilty of neo-Darwinism.
Life is just not an "accident."
To endure any serious medical condition year after
year after year is to acquire the stamina of a
long-distance runner. Depression often robs
me of any sense of beauty in the world, any sense
of “what am I doing here in the first place?” any
sense of meaning…which is the hardest to bear.
[any “noetic” sense].
Agnosticism is an attractive option for me, on
occassion. But on the days when just getting a
grocery list together seems unachievable, I pray
to the God that I’m not sure is there and I say:
“God, I cannot get done what needs to get done
today unless you help me.” More times than I
can count, He does.
reen12


#8

[quote=reen12] The other thing that buoys my belief is something called Intelligent Design, which mentions the
massive statistical improbabilty of neo-Darwinism.
Life is just not an “accident.”
[/quote]

If God is greater than his creatures, his existence seems to cry out even louder for an explanation than theirs does.

Even allowing that there is some thing, X, that is responsible for the creation and organization of the universe, why assume that X is conscious? Perhaps X has no other attributes than the power and tendency to create this universe as it is. Why would it need to think or desire as well?

[quote=reen12] But on the days when just getting a
grocery list together seems unachievable, I pray
to the God that I’m not sure is there and I say:
“God, I cannot get done what needs to get done
today unless you help me.” More times than I
can count, He does.
reen12
[/quote]

[font=‘Times New Roman’]It doesn’t hurt for us to hope. I pray too sometimes. Good luck to you.[/font]


#9

[quote=reen12] The other thing that buoys my belief is something called Intelligent Design, which mentions the
massive statistical improbabilty of neo-Darwinism.
Life is just not an “accident.”
[/quote]

If God is greater than his creatures, his existence seems to cry out even louder for an explanation than theirs does.

Even allowing that there is some thing, X, that is responsible for the creation and organization of the universe, why assume that X is conscious? Perhaps X has no other attributes than the power and tendency to create this universe as it is. Why would it need to think or desire as well?

[quote=reen12] But on the days when just getting a
grocery list together seems unachievable, I pray
to the God that I’m not sure is there and I say:
“God, I cannot get done what needs to get done
today unless you help me.” More times than I
can count, He does.
reen12
[/quote]

[font=‘Times New Roman’]It doesn’t hurt for us to hope. I pray too sometimes. Good luck to you.[/font]


#10

Hello.
The one thing I ask myself is: How could a "power"
give to the created qualities that the "power"
does not posses? Intelligence, humor, self-
consciousness?
I mean, to me, it’s truly reaching to posit a
humorless power creating a basset hound.
It would seem more feasible, just on the grounds
of logic, to be an atheist.
I read somewhere that there are 15,000 varieties
or orchid in South America. At least I could
posit that the “power” was lavsih in…what?..
“it’s” creation.
Thanks for your kind words,
reen12


#11

intellectual laziness

that is the difference between someone like reen and the true agnostic (one who holds that it is impossible to know whether or not God exists). Reen puts intellect, will, memory and understanding to bear and is the most blessed, “one of those who believes even when one has not seen.”


#12

Dear puzzleannie,

Thank you for your kind words. I have often recalled
the saying of Jesus that you quoted. I have spent
40 years of my life thinking, reading and praying.
Some days it’s so hard to believe, but I know my
Redeemer lives, and I ask Him for His mercy.

So you know “where I’m coming from”, my father
had schizophrenia, and I oversaw his care from
age 19 to age 44. Not long after he died, my
mother was diagnosed with Altzheimer’s, and is
now in a nursing home. I have suffered from
lifelong depression which God has made tolerable
for me by making me intellectually “gifted” and
by making it possible for me to have had a first
rate education in philosophy and theology. I
then spent 35 years reading psychology in depth.
I have tried to use a life full of psychological pain
to reach out in empathy, not sympathy, to those
around me. You cannot imagine how grateful
I am for your kind words.
God be with you, puzzleannie,
reen12


#13

Dear puzzleannie,

Thank you for your kind words. I have often recalled
the saying of Jesus that you quoted. I have spent
40 years of my life thinking, reading and praying.
Some days it’s so hard to believe, but I know my
Redeemer lives, and I ask Him for His mercy.

So you know “where I’m coming from”, my father
had schizophrenia, and I oversaw his care from
age 19 to age 44. Not long after he died, my
mother was diagnosed with Altzheimer’s, and is
now in a nursing home. I have suffered from
lifelong depression which God has made tolerable
for me by making me intellectually “gifted” and
by making it possible for me to have had a first
rate education in philosophy and theology. I
then spent 35 years reading psychology in depth.
I have tried to use a life full of psychological pain
to reach out in empathy, not sympathy, to those
around me. You cannot imagine how grateful
I am for your kind words.
God be with you, puzzleannie,
reen12


#14

[quote=wolpertinger]And if there were a god, there wouldn’t be any foxholes in the first place.
[/quote]

Wow… talk about taking the easy way out!


#15

[quote=wolpertinger]And if there were a god, there wouldn’t be any foxholes in the first place.
[/quote]

Non-sequitor ridiculous statement. Are you in 7th grade?


#16

It may be ridiculous…but it hardly qualifies as being a “non-sequitor”…to qualify as a Non Seq…it would have to have absolutely nothing to to do with the topic…correct? … The guy said there are no atheists in foxholes…as evidence of man’s want for God…and he replied that if there were a god …then etc… - I think it ties in?..

[quote=Scott_Lafrance]Non-sequitor ridiculous statement. Are you in 7th grade?
[/quote]


#17

[quote=Scott_Lafrance]Non-sequitor ridiculous statement. Are you in 7th grade?
[/quote]

The problem of theodicy deserves a more thoughtful answer than a personal attack.


#18

non se·qui·tur cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/JPG/pron.jpg ( P ) Pronunciation Key (nhttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/GIF/obreve.gifn shttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/GIF/ebreve.gifkhttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/GIF/prime.gifwhttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/GIF/ibreve.gif-thttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/GIF/schwa.gifr, -thttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/GIF/oobreve.gifrhttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/GIF/lprime.gif)
n.

[list=1]
*]An inference or conclusion that does not follow from the premises or evidence.
*]A statement that does not follow logically from what preceded it.
[/list]
OK…So it’s close to be a non-sequitur…hehehehehheehee


#19

[quote=wolpertinger]The problem of theodicy deserves a more thoughtful answer than a personal attack.
[/quote]

I agree, that is why I asked him a question. I wanted to ensure that I was communicating at an appropriate level.


#20

[quote=Scott_Lafrance]I agree, that is why I asked him a question. I wanted to ensure that I was communicating at an appropriate level.
[/quote]

And with this reply, you failed the test.


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