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August 27, 2018

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Atheism is a rotten system of philosophy today as modern physics negates atheism and conforms theism, one unlimited source of unending energy manifesting in this universe and atomic structures. Anyone promoting atheism should be tried under penal code.

Quote Osho in Brian's post above:

"He does not say, "Therefore there is no god." Rather he says "there might be" but there is no reason or evidence to support the belief that there is a god."" end quote.

** I'm splitting hairs here. The issue is not really important to me, but that sounds more like agnostic rather than atheist because there is some element of doubt even if it is very small. An agnostic just doesn't know.

To me, an atheist is one who says, "There is no God, period. " To me, an atheist thinks they know there is no God. They don't see it, therefore, they think, it must not be. To them, that opinion is absolute. If it isn't. If there is some smidgen of doubt, that there is even the slightest, remotest chance that there is God, then they are agnostic. They don't know. So, in most cases atheism is dishonest. Perhaps there are a few atheists who somehow, absolutely know there is no God in the same way there may be some who know absolutely there is a God. I don't know about that.

All this begs the question, "What do you mean by 'God'? There are so many things God could be. Things maybe we never even thought of or are capable of thinking or conceiving. I think the term 'God' trips people up. It carries so much baggage and religious conceptuality.

To me, as best as I can explain it, is that God is not a noun but a verb. It is not a thing that can be known as such because its appearance is always moving and changing. As what it is, it isn't.. as any sort of thing. It is dynamic, intrinsic, formless and yet all forms. It escapes compression and boundaries and is eternal for the very reason that the moment, the instant which it is, is gone as soon as it is conceived. God is no time for all time, present but unattainable because that which would be attained cannot be held in time. God is always that which is looking and never that which is seen. That which is seen is its reflection to itself like an image in a mirror opposite another mirror reflecting itself to itself in a perpetual infinite regression. That's what you and I are. That's what God is.. neither this nor that but something in between that is not a thing at all and everything at the same time.

Say what???

Blogger Brian:

How then is atheism different from agnosticism?

You have just given the exact definition of agnosticism and now called it atheism.

All of that is beside the point anyway unless you are going to answer what you believe happens after the death of your body.
Don't know? Agnosticism.
Forever unconscious nonexistence? Atheism
Being forever? Theism

Quote Osho Robbins : Example: when a person is accused of a crime and is before the court, the verdicts are either GUILTY or NOT GUILTY. There is no verdict called INNOCENT. --- Here's why: GUILTY verdict means: There is enough evidence to determine the accused is guilty. NOT GUILTY means: There is NOT enough evidence to determine the accused is guilty.


Lovely analogy, Osho Robbins. Brings out the nuance perfectly!

Quote Tucson : To me, an atheist is one who says, "There is no God, period. " To me, an atheist thinks they know there is no God. They don't see it, therefore, they think, it must not be. To them, that opinion is absolute. If it isn't. If there is some smidgen of doubt, that there is even the slightest, remotest chance that there is God, then they are agnostic.


You're thinking of the so-called 'hard atheist'.

The soft atheist makes no claim, and does not take on the burden of evidence. As Osho Robbins clearly clarifies. The hard atheist, on the other hand, does make a claim, and does carry a burden of evidence (that he cannot, in fact, supply).

I think this disagreement is basically linguistic, more than anything else. In most cases, the context makes clear in which sense one is using the word 'atheist'. However, there are times when it is best to spell it out, since in practice, the etymology notwithstanding, the word 'atheist' carries these two separate connotations. Brian uses the word in the soft sense ; while you use it in the hard sense ; and neither of you clarify what you mean (unlike Osho Robbins, who does clarify this in his comment).

When the two of you speak, should Brian take the trouble to say "soft atheist", and you take the trouble to say "hard atheist", then I think you'll find you don't disagree at all.


Quote : They don't know. So, in most cases atheism is dishonest.


Sometimes, no doubt. But not always.

The "don't know" of agnosticism would refer to knowing God, not to knowing whether one is sure one believes in God. So that you may well have an agnostic theist (that is, a fideist).

Like 'atheism', the word 'agnosticism' also, despite its etymology, carries two different connotations. Again, usually the meaning is clear basis the context. But when it isn't, it may be better to clearly spell it out.

One use of the word 'agnosticism' is its etymologically derived meaning, which speaks to knowledge (of God, since we're speaking of God here), and not to belief per se. But in the sense that Huxley -- the man who coined that term -- used that word, it does carry the meaning that you ascribe to it.

So, this sense of the word 'agnosticism' is synonymous with 'soft atheism'.


Quote : All this begs the question, "What do you mean by 'God'? There are so many things God could be.


True. So it is possible to be soft atheistic about one God, and hard atheistic about another (and, indeed, theistic about yet another).

The Christian, for instance, is in most instances atheistic (as in 'hard atheistic') about Zeus, while remaining theistic about the God of the Bible.

You're right, when one speaks of faith in God, then, if precision is important to the discussion, then it may be wise to clarify which God one is referring to.


Quote : To me, as best as I can explain it, is that God is not a noun but a verb. ...


I'm afraid I did not fully follow that paragraph. But what little I did, I enjoyed. It sounds both poetic and, just perhaps, hints at truth. (Or not ?!!) :-)

Quote 287daysleft : Blogger Brian: --- How then is atheism different from agnosticism? --- You have just given the exact definition of agnosticism and now called it atheism.


287daysleft, if you'll permit me to step in here to attempt to answer your query to Brian :

See my comment addressed to Tucson, above. The words atheism and agnosticism, their etymology notwithstanding, each carry two separate de facto connotations (that are often not spelt out, since the context clarifies that distinction, but sometimes do need to spelt out clearly to prevent misunderstanding).

Yes, the definition of 'soft atheism' is more or less synonymous with one usage of the word 'agnosticism'.


Quote : All of that is beside the point anyway unless you are going to answer what you believe happens after the death of your body.


Not at all. You don't necessarily carry the burden to present a hypothesis of your own, if you end up rejecting someone else's hypothesis.


No one thus far has been able, in secular scientific terms, to present concrete hypotheses (that are not simply unverifiable speculations) about what preceded the Big Bang.

Suppose I claim that I have in my garage an invisible pink elephant that is immortal and that, every twenty five billion years, farts out a big bang and a fresh universe, only to consume it at the end of twenty five billion years. The fact that you are not able to present a scientifically coherent explanation for the antecedents of the Big Bang does not mean that this validates my particular explanation!


Quote :
Don't know? Agnosticism.
Forever unconscious nonexistence? Atheism
Being forever? Theism


Your first two definitions are perfectly correct, except you must remember that they only refer to one particular usage (of two possible valid and distinct usages) of each of those two words.

As for your last definition, I'm afraid I don't agree. It is possible to posit an eternal universe without necessarily invoking some deity, and without invoking even some supernatural cause for this eternal universe.

If you insist on asking, "What caused this eternal universe?", then a simple "I don't know, for all I know it is acausal and eternal, or not" works. After all, that is the exact answer that theists give, ultimately, to the question "What caused your God?"

On re-reading, 287daysleft, perhaps when you say "Being forever? Theism", you mean a conscious "being" forever?

If that was your meaning, then I grant you, that definition would comport with theism (and with deism as well), and go in the face of strict materialism.

In any case, that's only speculation, and applying the correct label for the speculation. Does not take us at all closer to actually arriving at the truth.

Appreciative Reader.. I appreciate your breaking down my comment above. I agree the subject is a sea of semantics. To me, though, the definitions are simple. This is just my take:

atheist = no God.

agnostic= doesn't know

Appreciative reader wrote: "I'm afraid I did not fully follow that (last) paragraph. But what little I did, I enjoyed. It sounds both poetic and, just perhaps, hints at truth. (Or not ?!!) :-)"

-- You understood it perfectly well.


This is just my take:
atheist = no God
agnostic= doesn't know

I agree. The "agnostic" meaning has been co-opted by this
new-fangled "soft" atheist. He's mugged an innocent word in
broad daylight. Even the "hard" atheist will declare him "guilty".
Most of the jurors lean toward that verdict too but have
decided to remain agnostic and wait for final arguments.

Brain - you have gone from believer (and even writing books...) to non believer. Like a pendulum.

Next stop I guess will be the middle ground when old age hits you 😀

Arjuna, going from a believer to an unbeliever isn't like a pendulum, it is like an elevator.

You go from a lower level of reality to a higher level, because you've realized that there is no evidence for God, so almost certainly God doesn't exist.

Finding more truth is a good thing. Leaving falsehoods behind is a good thing. Becoming an atheist, or more accurately, discarding religious dogma, is a good thing.

Brian called "IT" . . . "EXISTENCE" A FEW CHAPTERS AGO

Best conclusion when you can't find any cullusion

It's Yourself, Sir
and 'for_the_time_being' ( what 'n expression )
you installed the app " know_it_not "

How else could you love Laura the way you do

ALL THAT FOR LOVE

777


-


A)
An agnost is just not interested
SHe takes no time to reflect

B)
God or "existence" is NEVER THE FORMLESS", . . . . NEVER
SHE CHANGES ALL THE TIME
I am there

777

each 7 chakra system can be there
when You Love to do it
Love it and it eats you

This 7-CH system is so rare, that billions are around this earth
flabbergasted, . . . it prevents them destroying us . . . they want it too

destroying . . we will do ourselves ( youtube 666, 5th Avenue )

@ Brian - yes agree that leaving falsehoods is a good thing.

However you and I are still were we started out - I can console my mind in that I know there may be nothing out there. And wonder on the wonders of this universe. But how do we get 100 per cent proof 😀.

Say if there is something behind this curtain of reality and it was not nice.

But I get where you are coming from.

@Arjuna regarding the Sikh “Image” appearng to you on the Battlefield when your legs were broken, and hauled you away by your shoulder leaving burn marks and gave you water. Astral bodis that mske contact wth physcal bodies of others, can burn flesh, because of being a much higher electrical/magnetic Spiritual Vibration.

Since you could not identify him, in his white clothng and Turban as Gurinder, my conjecture is, the Spirit Entity must have been the Astral Body of a former Soldier doing Seva in the Astral Plane , helping Marked souls to stay in their bodies , at last long enough to either be initiated, or to make enough progress while in a human body to burn enough Karmas to balance the Causal Body of the Marked soul to escape Transmigration back in to a lower specie , before wasting another human birth. ( As Charan did for me, while in his Astral Body.)

Now think about it. Who better to serve a wounded Sat Mat Marked Soldier than a former Marked Sant Mat Soldier?

I think it very well mght have been the Astral Body of Fakir Chand that helped you. He helped other Soldiers on he Battlefield before, using his Astral Body!

We still have Jobs to do, in the Astral Planes, during, presently, and after we leave our physical bodies.

Regards,
Jim Sutherland

@ Jim - that has freaked me out about and let me digest and I will respond .

Much respect as always

Let's take the word apathy.
Etymology: (apathēs, "without feeling" from a- ("without, not") and pathos ("emotion"))

pathos means feeling .... a- means (without, not)

Thus someone with apathy is someone without feeling. It is not someone who just doesn't have a belief in feelings.

Similarly a-theist is someone without theism. In otherwords for them there is no (a-) God. It doesn't mean they just don't have a belief in God. It means for them there is no God.

If you want to describe yourself as someone without beliefs perhaps abeliever... that would mean someone without beliefs if there was such a word. Or a-gnostic someone without gnosis or knowledge.

WHO is GOD?

From my Blog, ..................

GOD??

IF we make a careful and unbiased study of the Sacred Books of the world we discover that the
concept of God among the ancient Chinese was similar in many respects to that of the Hindus, Buddhists and Zoroastrians. The God of the ancient Egyp­tians is not opposed to the Christian's idea of the Great First Cause. One is astounded at the numerous points of agree­ment.


Surely, the time has arrived to cast aside the points of disagreement-to open our eyes and realize that we all are worshiping the same God, since there is but one God to worship.

The following is a composite, condensed definition of God-a summary of the wisdom of the ages; and the student must agree that it is not only wonderfully complete but inspiring-and naturally so, since the wise men of old who wrote the Sacred Books were themselves inspired.


From the standpoint of the absolute, or in the absolute sense, God is beyond what is known and manifested, being unsearchable, changeless, perfect, neither seen nor heard, and eternally unconditioned and undivided. God is beginningless and endless, without form and devoid of passions; He, or rather It, is too great to be fully defined by any combination of words, and for that reason is self-described.


All the Sacred Books declare that God is One; the First and the Last; from which nothing can be excluded, and to which nothing can be added.


God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, our Father and our Mother. God as Mother is the Primal Substance and the Seed of all things-yes, existence itself.


God is Breath of Breath, Spirit, Primeval Fire, Creator or Generator; and being the one great Universal, Supreme Eternally creation of all differentiation, which never changes its nature and is as unmoved as a waveless ocean, eternally uncondi­tioned and undivided."
-RAJA YOGA PHILOSOPHY,
Shrimat Shankaracharya's
Crest Jewel o f 1.llisdoyn, p. 136.


Changeless Soul, all things are threaded on God like pearls on a string. The universe is spread in God's vast Form; and the Infinite One is an Ocean into which all things flow-the Supreme Treasure House.


God is Lord of Heaven; and, being omniscient (all­ knowledge) Mind, of necessity, is of God's very Essence. This Mind is One Mind, since God is One; the All-Conserv­ing Mind, the Creative Mind, Mind of Mind.


God is not only Life, but Life of Life, Light, Truth, Love and Good.
We cannot conceive of a universe without a Law to gov­ern it; and this Law is the Good Law, the Royal Law, the Perfect Law of Liberty, the Law of Love, the Law of the Spirit of Life-an Originating and All-comprehending, Eternal Principle.


There is no variableness in God since He is eternal, im­mortal and infinite; nevertheless He is that from which every transformation arises.


The following is a digest, of a few ex­cerpts from various Sacred Books which describe the Attributes of God, yet in differnt wording.


"And also the Strength of Israel will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent."
-I SAMUEL 15:29.
"Forever, 0 Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.
"Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast
established the earth, and it abideth.
"They continue this day according to thine ordinances:
for all are thy servants."
-PSALMS 119:89-91.


"The Tao, considered as unchanging, has no name."
-THE TEXTS OF TAOISM,
The Tao Teh King, Part I, p. 74.
"Immovable [is] God alone, and rightly [He] alone; for He Himself is in Himself, and by Himself, and round Himself, completely full and perfect.
"God, then, hath [ever] been unchanging, and ever, in like fashion, with Himself bath the Eternity consisted,­having within itself Cosmos ingenerate, which we correctly call [God] Sensible.
"Of that [transcendent] Deity this Image bath been made,-Cosmos, the imitator of Eternity."
-THRICE-GREATEST HERMES,
The Perfect Sermon, Vol. II, p. 368.


"We do not recognize (Brahma as any thing percept­ible); therefore we do not know how to teach him (his nature to a disciple). It is even different from what is known (from the manifested universe; if you then say, it must be the unmanifested universe, no) it is also beyond what is not known (to the senses, it is beyond the unmanifested universe)."
-THE KENA OR TALAVAKARA UPANISHAD OF THE SAMA VEDA, pp. 668-9.


"I am the Lord, I change not."
-MALACHI 3:6.


"Was that which was produced before Heaven and Earth a thing? That which made things and gave to each its char­acter was not itself a thing."
-THE TEXTS OF TAOISM,
The Writings o f Kwang-Tze, Part II, p. 72.


"And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning halt laid the foun­dation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
"They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
"And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall
not fail." -HEBREWS 1:10-12.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." -ISAIAH 55:8, 9.
"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable." -PSALMS 145:3.
"0 Lord that dwellest eternally, whose are the highest heavens, whose chambers are in the air, whose throne is beyond imagination, whose glory inconceivable;
Hear the voice of thy servant, give ear to thy creature's petition, and attend to my words!"


-THE APOCRYPHA AND PSEUDEPIGRAPHA OF THE OLD TESTAMENT,
IV EZRA 8:20, 21, 24.
Vol. II, pp. 594-5.
"No man hath seen God at any time."
-I JOHN 4:12.
'The Tao cannot be heard; what can be heard is not It. The Tao cannot be seen; what can be seen is not It. The Tao cannot be expressed in words; what can be expressed in words is not It. Do we know the Formless which gives form to form? In the same way the Tao does not admit of
being named.' "
-THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST, VOL. XL.
The Texts of Taoism.
The Writings o f Kwang-Tze, Part II, p. 69.


"Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and back­ward, but I cannot perceive him:
"On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I can­not see him." -JOB 23:8, 9.
"The King of kings, and Lord of lords;
"`Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen." -I TIMOTHY 6:15, 16.


"Not in the sight abides his form, none beholds him by the eye. Those who know him dwelling in the heart Unsearchable "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
"It is as high as heaven
"The measure thereof is larger broader than the sea."
than the earth, and
-JoB 11:7-9.
(ether of the heart) by the heart (pure intellect) and mind, become immortal."
-,SWETASWATARA UPANISHAD, p. 396.
"But verily thou art not able to behold Me with these throe eyes; the divine eye I give unto thee."
-THE Bhagavad-Gita, p. 113.
" `The Perfect Tao is very recondite, and by nothing else but Itself can it be described. Since ye wish to hear about it, ye cannot do so by the hearing of the ear:-that which eludes both the ears and eyes is the True Tao; what can be heard and seen perishes, and only this survives. There is (much) that you have not yet learned, and especially you have not acquired this! Till you have learned what the ears do not hear, how can the Tao be spoken about at all?"'
-THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST, Vol. XL.
The Texts o f Taoism. Yu Shu King,
or the Classic o f the Pivot o f Jade, Part II, p. 266.
"As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him." -PSALMS 18:30.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God."
-PSALMS 90:2.
"Our God is a living God.
"His power fills the universe. He was before the world saw light. He will be when the world exists no more. He formed thee; with His Spirit thou breathest.


"Lao the Master said, The Great Tao has no bodily form, but It produced and nourishes heaven and earth. The Great Tao has no passions' , but It causes the sun and moon to revolve as they do.
"The Great Tao has no name, but It effects the growth and maintenance of all things.
"I do not know its name, but I make an effort, and call It the Tao."
-THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST, Vol. XL.
The Texts o f Taoism.
Khing Kang King, or the Classic o f Purity, Part II, p. 249.

"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: bath he said, and shall he not do it? or bath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"
-NUMBERS 23:19.

"And the Father himself, which bath sent me, bath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape."
"One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
-EPHESIANS 4:6.

"Know that the Lord he is God; there is none else be­side him."
-DEUTERONOMY 4:35.

"There is but one Brahma which is Truth's self. It is from ignorance of that One that god-heads have been con­ceived to be diverse."
-MAHABHARATA,
Udyoga Parva, Vol. III, p. 145.
"''Passions', that is, feelings, affections, as in the first of the thirty-nine Articles,"
F. 2s(1.
His bow is of fire. His arrows are of flame."
-THE TALMUD.
Without Form Devoid of Passions Per feet, if-described beginningless " `There is no end or beginning to the Tao.' "

The Texts o f Taoism,
-THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST, Vol. XXXIX.
The Writings of Kwang-Tze, Part I, p. 382.
-JOHN 5:37.


"The Atman, which is the substratum of the ego in man, is one: and therefore different from the physical bodies which on the other hand are many. How can this body then be the Atman?"
-RAJA YOGA PHILOSOPHY, Shrimat Shankaracharya's Aprokshanubhuti, p. 8.
"As the sun, manifesting all parts of space, above, be­tween, and below, shines resplendent, so over-rules the all­glorious adorable God, one alone, all that exists in likeness with its cause."


-~WETASWATARA UPANISHAD, pp. 397-8.
"The Oneness being Source and Root of all, is in all things as Root and Source. `'Without [this] Source is naught; whereas the Source [Itself] is from naught but Itself."
-THRICE-GREATEST HERMES,
Corpus Hermeticum IV (V),
The Cup or Monad, Vol. II, p. 90.
"When he perceiveth the diversified existence of beings as rooted in One, and spreading forth from it, then he reacheth the eternal."
-THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, p. 139.


"Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God."
-ISAIAH 44:6.
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
"In the essence of Suchness (God), there is neither any­thing which has to be excluded, nor anything which has to be added."
-THE AWAKENING OF FAITH, p. 57.
"The Lord God omnipotent reigneth." -REVELATION 19:16.
"I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect."
-GENESIS 17:1.
"Holy art Thou, more powerful than all power. Holy art Thou, transcending all pre-eminence."
-THRICE-GREATEST HERMES,
Poemandres, the Shepherd o f Men, Vol. II, p. 19.
"The energy of God is Power that naught can e'er sur­pass, a Power with which no one can make comparison of any human thing at all, or any thing divine."
-THRICE-GREATEST HERMES,
Mind Unto Hermes, Vol. II, p. 178.
"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
"If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
"Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."
-PSALMS 139:7-10.
Omni
The First and the Last
"That they should seek the Lord, if happily they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us."
-ACTS 17:27.


-REVELATION 1:8.
Nothing 11. "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for Excluded, Nothing Added ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it." -ECCLESIASTES 3:4.


"May the one God, who, like the spider, through his own nature, encases himself with many threads, which are produced by the first (cause, Pradhana, nature), grant us identity with Brahma,­
"The one God, who is concealed in all beings, who per­vades all, who is the inner soul of all beings, the ruler of all actions, who dwells in all beings, the witness, who is mere thinking, and without qualities."
-SwETASWATARA UPANISHAD, p. 401.


"Whoever knows the God who is without commence­ment, without end, who within this impervious (world) is the creator of the universe, who is of an infinite form, the one penetrates of the universe, becomes liberated from all bonds."
-SWETAS`WATARA UPANISHAD, p. 399.


Omniscient 14. "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
-COLOSSIANS 2:3.


"Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known."
-MATTHEW 10:26.

"0 Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
"Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it."
-PSALMS 139:1, 2, 6.
"The Master said, `The Tao does not exhaust itself in what is greatest, nor is it ever absent from what is least; and therefore it is to be found complete and diffused in all things. How wide is its universal comprehension! How deep is its unfathomableness! The embodiment of its attri­
butes in benevolence and righteousness is but a small result of its spirit-like (working); but it is only the perfect man who can determine this. The perfect man has (the charge of) the world;-is not the charge great?"'
-THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST, `7Ol. XXXIX,
The Texts of Taoism.
The Writings o f Kwang-Tze, Part I, p. 342.
"So there is nothing that cannot be perceived by it, [that is, the world of relativity is submerged in the oneness of Suchness] (God). Thence we assign to Suchness this quality, the universal illumination of the universe."
-ACVAGHOSHA'S AWAKENING OF FAITH, p. 97.
"Helping and guarding, guarding behind and guarding in front, Mithra, the lord of wide pastures, proves an and un­ceivable spy and watcher for the man to whom he comes to help with all the strength of his soul, he of the ten thousand spies, the powerful, all-knowing, undeceivable god."

"But I think thus in my heart:
" `Should the evil thoughts of the earthly man be a hun­dred times worse, they would not rise so high as the good thoughts of the heavenly Mithra;
. " `Should the heavenly wisdom in the earthly man be a hundred times greater, it would not rise so high as the heavenly wisdom in the heavenly Mithra."'
-THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST, Vol. XXIII,
The Zend-Avesta.
The Yasts and SiYOZahs, Part II, pp. 131 and 146-7.
"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."
-MATTHEW 6:9.
"Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, 0 Lord,
Mother
Trinity
art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting." -ISAIAH 63:16.

"This is the Monad which is incomprehensible or un­knowable; this it is which has no Seal (or Mark), in which are all Seals; which is blessed for ever and ever. This is the eternal Father; this the ineffable, unthinkable, incompre­hensible, untranscendible Father; this it is in which the All become joyous."
-FRAGMENTS OF A FAITH FORGOTTEN) Codex Brucianus, pp. 549, 550.
"I the Father of this universe, the Mother, the Sup­porter, the Grandsire, the Holy One to be known, the Word of Power."
-THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, p. 98.
"Thus it is that the Tao produces (all things), nourishes them, brings them to their full growth, nurses them, com­pletes them, matures them, maintains them, and overspreads them."
-THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST, Vol. XXXIX, The Texts o f Taoism.
The Tao Teh King, Part I, p. 94.
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
-I JOHN 5:7.
"The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two pro­duced Three; Three produced All things."
-THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST, Vol. XXXIX.
The Texts of Taoism.
The Tao Te1a King, Part I, p. 85.
" `Hail, My brethren and My children. Let there be with you the peace of My Father, which is thine, which I received from My Father, so that I might make it to remain with you for all time.' And He breathed on their faces and said, `Receive ye the Holy Spirit.' "
-COPTIC APOCRYPHA,
The Book o f the Resurrection o f Jesus Christ,
By Bartholomew the Apostle, p. 205.
"They are even father, mother and child; mind is even the father, speech the mother, and life the child." -BRIHAD ARANYAKA UPANISHAD, p. 222.
"The Mahayana has a triple significance. "The first is the greatness of quintessence. "The second is the greatness of attributes. "The third is the greatness of activity."
-AgVAGHOSHA'S AWAKENING OF FAITH, pp. 53-4.
"The Mind of the Father uttered [the Word] that all should be divided [or cut] into three. His Will nodded assent, and at once all things were so divided.

"He who governs all things with the Mind of the eternal.
"In every cosmos there shineth [or is manifested] a Triad, of which a Monad is source.
"All things are served in the Gulphs of the Triad. "From this Triad the Father mixed every spirit.
"Arming both mind and soul with triple Might." -ECHOES FROM THE GNOSIS,
The ChaldrPan Oracles, Vol. VIII, pp. 51-54.

Seed of All Things
"From Him is the seed of all things, and it is He that upholds the Earth with all her mobile and immobile creatures."
-MAHABHARATA,
Canti Parva, Vol. VIII, p. 883.
"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bear­ing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."
-GENESIS 1:29.
"For he will finish the work, and cut it short in right­eousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
"And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha."
-ROMANS 9:28, 29.
("Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minis­ter bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; )
"Being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God."
-II CORINTHIANS 9:10, 11.
"The Atman is permanent, eternal and therefore exis­tence itself."
-RAJA YOGA PHILOSOPHY,
Shrimat Shankaracharya's Aprokshanubhuti, p. 6.
"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
"Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things."


"All is the effect of all, one universal Essence."
-BRIHAD ARANYAKA UPANISHAD, p. 208.


"This soul is Brahma, and stands as the soul and sub­stance of the universe."
-RAJA YOGA PHILOSOPHY,
Shrimat Shankaracharya's AProkshanubhuti, p. 13.
"I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
"My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and
my revenue than choice silver.
"I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the
paths of judgment:
"That I may cause those that love me to inherit sub­
stance; and I will fill their treasures."
-PROVERBS 8:12, 19-21.
22-23. "0 Primal Origin of my origination; Thou Primal Primal Substance of my substance; First Breath of breath, the substance breath that is in me." Breath of
-ECHOES FROM THE GNOSIS, Breath
A Mithriac Ritual, Vol. VI, Pp. 18, 19.
"The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones.
"Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
"And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
"Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, pro­phesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord
Universal Essence
Substance Existence Itself
-ACTS 17:24, 25.
God; Come from the four winds, 0 breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
"So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army."
-EZEKIEL 37:1, 5, 6, 9, 10.


"But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; ... and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, bast thou not glorified."
-DANIEL 5:23.


"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must wor­ship him in spirit and in truth."
"Of this same Spirit, of which I have already spoken many times, all things have need; for that it raises up all things, each in its own degree, and makes them live, and gives them nourishment."
-THRICE-GREATEST HERMES,
Cyril o f Alexandria,
Fragment XVIIZ, p. 259.
"The Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem."
-ISAIAH 31:9.
"But who may abide the day of his coming~ and who shall stand when he appeareth% for he is like refiner's fire, and like fullers' sope."
-MALACHI 3:2.
"The Third Utterance (Logos)
"Hear me, give ear to me - ... Creator of the Light; 0 Holder of the Keys; Inbreather of the Fire; Fire-hearted
One, whose Breath gives Light; ... 0 Lord of Light, whose Body is of Fire."


"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
"I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded."
"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him."
"For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that mak­eth the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high place of the earth, The Lord, The God of hosts, is his name."
-AMOS 4:13.
"Indeed, I have no hope that the Creator of the whole o Greatness, the Father and the Lord of all the things (tha are), could ever have one name. He who cannot b named, or rather He who can be called by every name.
"For He, indeed, is One and All.
"He, then, alone, yet all-complete in the fertility c either sex, ever with child of His own Will, doth ever brie to birth whatever He bath willed to procreate.
"His Will is the All-goodness, which also is the Goon ness of all things, born from the nature of His ova Divinity."
-THRICE-GREATEST HERMES,
The Perfect SeYynon, Vol. II, p. 344.
-ECHOES FROM THE GNOSIS,
A Mithriac Ritual, Vol. VI, p. 25.
-JOHN 1:3.
-ISAIAH 45:12.
Spirit
-JOHN 4:24.
-COLOSSIANS 1:16.
Fire

Generator
"His being is conceiving of all things and making (them). He ever makes all things, in heaven, in air, in earth, in deep, in all of cosmos, in every part that is and that is not of everything. For there is naught in all the world that is not He."
-THRICE-GREATEST HERMES,
Corpus Hermeticum V. (VI.) Though Unmani f est God is Most Manifest.
Vol. II, p. 104.
"l am the Generator of all; all evolves from Me." -THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, P. 104.
bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow." -DEUTERONOMY 28:12.
"He hath made the earth by his power, he hath estab­lished the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
"When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures."
-JEREMIAH 10:12, 13.
Threaded on

"There is naught whatsoever higher than I.... All this

"Just as the rivers of all lands, God Like Pearls on a String is threaded on Me, as rows of pearls on a string."

Into the ocean find their way,
May gods and men from every world

-THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, p. 82.
Universe Spread

"First of the Gods, most ancient Man Thou art,

Approach and find their way to thee."
-BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS,
in God's Form

Supreme receptacle of all that lives;
Knower and known, the dwelling-place on high;
In Thy vast Form the universe is spread.

Jataka, p. 31.
"To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him."
Supreme Treasure-House
"In power boundless, measureless in strength, Thou holdest all: then Thou Thyself art All." -THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, pp. 122-3.
"Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord bath wrought this?
"In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind."
-JOB 12:9, 10.


"Lofty, beyond all thought, unperishing,
Thou treasure-house supreme, all-immanent." -THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, p. 116.
"The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to
-CORINTHIANS 8:6.

"All this universe has the (Supreme) Deity for its life. Univer. That Deity is Truth. He is the Universal Soul....
"That particle which is the Soul of all this is Truth; it is the Universal Soul."
-CHHANDOGYA UPANISHAD, pp. 593, 595.

"God is as a soul and the world as a body." -MASNAVI I MA'NAVI, p. 29.

"The Supreme Soul hath another name, viz, Pure Knowledge."
-MaHABHARATA,
Udyoga Parva, Vol. III, p. 162.
Supren


Lord of
GOD??

Jim Sutherland

" That's what God is.. neither this nor that but something in between that is not a thing at all and everything at the same time."

----God would be the Non-knowable. Beyond Atheism and Belief ......

For centuries the word atheism means you believe there is no God.
To now say atheism means you don't have a belief about it one way or another is like an 8th grade kid who sews an abercrombie fitch label into his walmart shirt in order to fit in with the cool kids.

<3 Lovely posts ...

Quote 287daysleft : Let's take the word apathy. --- Etymology: (apathēs, "without feeling" from a- ("without, not") and pathos ("emotion")) --- pathos means feeling .... a- means (without, not) --- Thus someone with apathy is someone without feeling. It is not someone who just doesn't have a belief in feelings. --- Similarly a-theist is someone without theism. In otherwords for them there is no (a-) God. It doesn't mean they just don't have a belief in God. It means for them there is no God. --- If you want to describe yourself as someone without beliefs perhaps abeliever... that would mean someone without beliefs if there was such a word. Or a-gnostic someone without gnosis or knowledge.


Heh! Your attempts at trying to arrive at word meanings via word roots are … shall we say, interesting! I commend your effort, 287daysleft, but no cigar!

At least in English, you don’t get to trace word roots, whether via Latin, or Greek, or Old English, or Gaelic, or French, or Hindoostani, or whatever, and then claim to have arrived at what the ‘correct’ meaning for a word is! That sort of thing may work, to an extent, with the dead languages like Latin and Sanskrit, and even with some modern but closely controlled languages like French, but not at all with English, I’m afraid. Yes, etymologists do trace word roots, but in doing this they try to trace the actual -- that is, de facto -- development of the meanings and nuances of some word : this process is descriptive, not prescriptive (unlike what you’re attempting here).

Yes, studying the etymology of words can be fascinating, especially in a language as rich as English. In fact, it is something of a hobby of mine. But it is important to realize that to trace a word’s etymology, at least in English, is akin to tracing a human being’s personal and ancestral history : it is a fascinating exercise if that is where one’s interests lie, and it throws insights about the particular development of that person (or word), and suggests nuances, but this exercise does not really help us to arrive at what the end result ‘should’ be. The end result, it is what it is. It may happen to comport with this history, and especially with the word roots, or it may not. The background does not dictate a person’s actual state, nor a word’s actual meaning. Only usage does that.

The actual meaning of the word ‘atheism’ can very easily be looked up, in this day and age of the interwebs. You can start with rationalwiki ( link : https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Atheism ), but feel free to expand your reference range, as long as you keep in mind that no single reference can be definitive (not even the rationalwiki link I myself supplied just now).

You can follow the same exercise for the word ‘agnosticism’ as well. One hint : ‘agnosticism’ isn’t the literal antonym of ‘gnosticism’, like you try to make out in your comment. In fact, it is very well documented that that word was literally invented, coined fresh from the mint of his imagination, some 150 years ago by a scientist called Thomas Huxley, in order to clearly express his particular position about God, given that in his day and age the word atheism carried a distinctly ‘hard’ connotation. If this subject interests you, I recommend that you look up Thomas Huxley’s original writings on this subject (very easily available online with a few minutes’ search -- should you be interested, but find yourself unable to access them yourself, then I will be happy to point out some links to you if you ask me).

While both these words carry a whole range of nuances, broadly speaking ‘atheism’ and ‘agnosticism’ each carry two major senses or meanings. (This is my own summarizing, made in my own words, but if you’re interested in a more detailed semantic discussion, we can easily present our respective evidence for and against what I’m saying here. You can easily check what I’m saying yourself, with some clicks online.)

  1. Atheism, meaning 1 (also referred to as ‘soft atheism’) : a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. (And that is exactly what Brian quotes in his main opening post here.)

  2. Atheism, meaning 2 (also referred to as ‘hard atheism’) : the claim that God (either a particular God, or God in general) does not exist. (And that is the sense that you yourself seem to favor.)

  3. Agnosticism, meaning 1 : The position that -- when it comes to the God question -- one clearly acknowledges what one does not know, and makes no claim that is not backed by rationally defensible evidence. (This is the particular sense that Huxley favored. Unless I am mistaken, you yourself seem to favor this particular sense for this word.)

  4. Agnosticism, meaning 2 : A lack of knowledge (and, indeed, based on this lack of knowledge, a lack of any kind of opinion, either way, that is, sitting perfectly at the center-point of the fence on some issue). This sense can be applied to anything at all, including God.


Each of these senses, each of these meanings, connotations, they are all equally valid. (And yes, there are plenty of words in English which similarly carry two, or more, meanings and connotations.) The context usually makes clear which sense we're using, so that we need not tag on these descriptors every time ; but when the context does not make this clear, obviously a clarification is necessary, to prevent unnecessary confusion over semantics.


Like I said in my earlier comment, in brief and without these lengthy explanations, #1 and #3 above (that is, ‘soft atheism’ and Huxley’s sense of the word ‘agnosticism’) are more or less synonymous. That is the answer that I gave, in brief, to the particular question you had originally asked in this thread.

Keep in mind that Huxley himself was no theist. So his brand of agnosticism (which you cannot help but take seriously, even if not necessarily exclusively, given that it was he who actually coined that word, and relatively recently at that, so that his intent is very clearly documented) does not let theistic mumbo jumbo in by the back door. But nor does it outright reject the possibility of some kinds of God ideas, provided one is able to come with convincing evidence for such.


.


And with that, one returns to Osho Robbins’s original comments addressed to you in that other thread. He was able, very succinctly and very clearly, to present the exact nuance of these words to you, via that lovely analogy of his, of the ‘not guilty’ verdict (as opposed to claiming someone’s actual innocence).


.


Quote 287daysleft again : For centuries the word atheism means you believe there is no God. (…)


You realize you're yourself now contradicting your earlier claim that atheism means 'without God', and not "without belief in God', don't you?


But that amusing contradiction apart :


You’re perfectly right there, 287daysleft. I agree with you fully when you say that. Indeed, we have documented evidence that right till the time of Huxley the word atheism did carry primarily this “hard” connotation that you refer to. That is precisely why Huxley had to coin his new word, ‘agnosticism’. That much is clearly documented.

But full one-and-a-half centuries have passed since then. We no longer speak the English that Chaucer spoke and wrote, nor Shakespeare, after all! The accepted grammatical structure of English has changed a great deal over the last few centuries. Words change too, they too evolve. Sometimes their meanings change entirely. Sometimes, as here, the original meaning stays, but additional nuances and connotations get added to the word as well. Think of the word ‘post’ : Could your grandfather, in his youth, ever have imagined that that word would take on, in addition to its original meaning (and, arguably, superseding that original meaning), the sense in which we use it today, when we “post” comments to this blog, or when Brian uploads a blog "post" here?

This sort of thing happens all the time. Especially with this word, ‘atheism’, that this should have happened is no surprise, surely, since even during Huxley’s time, atheism was a decidedly minority and iconoclastic view ; today, on the other hand, atheism is far more mainstream ; and a great deal more of thought has gone into this atheism business over the last 150 years, since Huxley’s time, than has in the 1500 years or so preceding the nineteenth century.

Meanings of words tend to evolve and change over time. Why should that occasion any surprise at all?

Let's together and definitly conclude
that Brian
believes in > " E X I S T E N C E " <

as he said in a chapter of the same name, some months ago

Not knowing what that is makes you not a atheist
and totally not an agnosticus

777

No panick , each soul sees the existance partly when passaging back though his chakra_tunnels

The biggest confusion in these terms is that people naturally think that an atheist is stating there is no God.
I am not sure whether this used to be the case in the past, but it is not the case now.
There are two factors. KNOWLEDGE and BELIEF.

If anyone claims to have KNOWLEDGE – they are making a claim. And it requires proof.
So there are people who claim to KNOW there IS a god. They are known as THEISTS.
Doesn’t matter what type of God, as long as they claim to KNOW – they are a THEIST.
And to justify their position – they need to prove that what they say is true.
The soft atheist says “I don’t believe you!” That does not mean he is making the opposite assertion that there is NO GOD! He is saying perhaps there is, perhaps there isn’t.
The hard atheist (also called an Anti-Theist) says he KNOWS there is no God. Which is a claim and therefore carries the burden of proof.
Anyone who claims to KNOW has the burden of proof to prove his claim.

This video explains it well
https://youtu.be/qeFjLcQNqV0

It my be that many atheists mean : There is no design at Big Bang time

This might be true in the sense
that one of the properties of the Almighty is :

No failure is possible
Every quark will return to Him/Her loaded with Love

I mean there is no other place to go
Nothing is not God

777

Isn't it beautiful to participate
Makes me again think of Sean Penn in "A thin Red Line" ( movie for Arjuna + everybody )
the last 5 minutes

and most people say "How in heaven s sake can He say what he's saying in the middle of the battle, while so many die ?"


( the double negative is by purpose )

Osho wrote: "The soft atheist says “I don’t believe you!” That does not mean he is making the opposite assertion that there is NO GOD! He is saying perhaps there is, perhaps there isn’t."

-- That sounds like agnostic to me.. doesn't know.

To most people 'atheist' simply means someone who does not believe in God. That's all. Nothing complicated. Easy to understand.

But if you get down to it, atheists don't KNOW there is God or not, but they BELIEVE there is no God. So, they are BELIEVERS in NO GOD while the faithful or the religious BELIEVE in GOD. It seems to me they are both believers but in opposite things. Ultimately, NEITHER of them KNOWS. They just BELIEVE their belief is correct.

Of course the religious have more at stake if their belief turns out to be false.. "Oh no! There is no God! Now what am I going to do?"

If the atheist discovers there is God they might say, "Wow! What a surprise! Cool, I guess." (depending on whether or not this God they discover to be real is benign or not.)

Anyway, the agnostic simply has no set belief and admits they don't know. This seems more honest to me.

In the past an atheist was one who rejects the existence of God.

Now days there are weak atheists, strong atheists, positive atheists, negative atheists, agnostic atheists, pragmatic atheists, practical atheists, implicit atheists, explicit atheists. There are now so many types of atheists no one knows what anyone even means by the word.

Unless someone is going to talk about what they think happens after physical death the word is now totally meaningless really.


But if you get down to it, atheists don't KNOW there is God or not, but they BELIEVE there is no God. So, they are BELIEVERS in NO GOD while the faithful or the religious BELIEVE in GOD. It seems to me they are both believers but in opposite things. Ultimately, NEITHER of them KNOWS. They just BELIEVE their belief is correct.

Except religion only dangles hope of knowledge whereas the advanced
mystic alleges there's a path to KNOW completely while alive and kicking.
As you mentioned so memorably however, there are no "moon rocks" the
mystic can whip out of his pocket for a "show and tell".

As 287daysleft says, the swamp is full of the variants of belief/non-belief.
Wading in and sorting through them may be fun for a while but ultimately
is wearying and meaningless.


But if you get down to it, atheists don't KNOW there is God or not, but they BELIEVE there is no God. So, they are BELIEVERS in NO GOD while the faithful or the religious BELIEVE in GOD. It seems to me they are both believers but in opposite things. Ultimately, NEITHER of them KNOWS. They just BELIEVE their belief is correct.

Except religion only dangles hope of knowledge whereas the advanced
mystic alleges there's a path to KNOW completely while alive and kicking.
As you mentioned so memorably however, there are no "moon rocks" the
mystic can whip out of his pocket for a "show and tell".

As 287daysleft says, the swamp is full of the variants of belief/non-belief.
Wading in and sorting through them may be fun for a while but ultimately
is wearying and meaningless.


But if you get down to it, atheists don't KNOW there is God or not, but they BELIEVE there is no God. So, they are BELIEVERS in NO GOD while the faithful or the religious BELIEVE in GOD. It seems to me they are both believers but in opposite things. Ultimately, NEITHER of them KNOWS. They just BELIEVE their belief is correct.

Except religion only dangles hope of knowledge whereas the advanced
mystic alleges there's a path to KNOW completely while alive and kicking.
As you mentioned so memorably however, there are no "moon rocks" the
mystic can whip out of his pocket for a "show and tell".

As 287daysleft says, the swamp is full of the variants of belief/non-belief.
Wading in and sorting through them may be fun for a while but ultimately
is wearying and meaningless.

this video explains what the soft athiest is saying.

most people for some strange reason cannot grasp the simple notion that the soft athiest is not saying that there is no god

https://youtu.be/yICsS8CX4wQ

Dungeness wrote: "As you mentioned so memorably however, there are no "moon rocks" the
mystic can whip out of his pocket for a "show and tell".

-- I like that line but it wasn't mine. Nobody has any "moon rocks" to show and imo never will. That doesn't mean there isn't 'Something' but I don't think it is anything you can bring home in a bag. So, the atheists will always 'win' because they want a bag full of rocks. Most atheists are from Missouri, the "show me" state. "Where's the rocks! Show me the goddamn rocks!!" I don't know how you show them their own face. No mirrors allowed.

An atheist, soft or hard, flabby or firm, (this is not a Viagra discussion) does not see any evidence of God, so he/she doesn't believe in God. But, if an atheist is honest they would admit they don't know for certain there is no God. Therefore, they are agnostic. They don't know. Based on that, atheists don't really exist. I don't believe in atheists. I see no evidence of their actual existence. I am an a-atheist.

Look, I don't care if people call themselves atheists. I understand. I know what they mean. I just don't see why atheists make a big deal out of a non-belief and have T-shirts and clubs and meetings and radio programs. Do they need this to affirm their own doubts? Anyway atheists, go for it. Whatever floats your boat.

This is about terminology and definitions
which are important so everyone uses the same words to describe the same thing.

this website explains it clearly:

https://www.thoughtco.com/atheist-vs-agnostic-whats-the-difference-248040

Gnosticism & Agnosticism is about KNOWLEDGE (to KNOW or NOT KNOW)

Theism & Atheism is about BELIEF. ("i BELIEVE" or "I DON'T BELIEVE")

An "Agnostic Athiest" is someone who lacks a belief in god and makes no claim of knowing

A "Gnostic Athiest" on the other hand lacks a belief in god and also says that he KNOWS there is no god.

So Gnostic and Agnostic are both subsets of the larger set called "Athiests"

Theists are also divided the same way into Agnostic and Gnostic.

Osho Robbins:

Blogger Brian is on record of saying the thinks there is about a 50/50 chance his existence will continue after death. (hope I got that right).

What is your opinion on your continued existence after physical death?

Some athiests make a big deal of being athiests for the same reason that some theists make a big deal of being theists.

followers of sant mat are Theists as they believe in God (whatever type)

Some just have a belief and don't claim to know as they are still waiting to experience the shabd.

Others have a belief and also claim to KNOW, not because they have an experience, but are just convinced. They are really liars and deluded.

Then there are those who DO have some experiences and therefore claim to KNOW.

They are more honest because at least they have a basis for their knowing.

However they are convinced that their experience has a certain meaning and proves they are right, when in fact it means nothing.

If someone sees a vision (or radiant form) of say, Baba Gurinder, in their meditation, what does it mean? Do they now KNOW that Baba Gurinder is God?

It is just an interpretation of what the vision means. Actually it means nothing


What about the people who have gone into Nirvana and come out of Nirvana? They have no beliefs, they know what they know.
Until someone has an experience of a timeless realm their most realistic truth is they don't know.

Once they have experienced something, like Buddha, Jesus, or 80% of the LSD explorers they know more. That may be no help to someone who has not themselves experienced it, but someone without the experience cannot know Buddha was deluded.

They just don't know one way or another.

How do i know i will continue awareness after death? One way is logic.

1. Nonexistence does not exist. It cannot happen. There can be no moment from which awareness is absent. Awareness' absence is the moments absence.

2. Since nonexistence doesn't exist no one can go into it. You can't go into something that isn't there.

3. If you could go into nonexistence, how did you ever get out of nonexistence? Nonexistence has no properties. Nonexistence cannot give rise to anything.

4. An existing nothing has properties.

5. We are nothing right now, an existing nothing. So it is not just that we may go into nothing at death. We are nothing right now.

6. No one can say, well nonexistence is just the eternal state of the universe. Why? Because we exist, immediately disproving that possible theory.

7. We can say, existence is the eternal state of the universe. Why? Because we exist and so there is nothing known that contradicts that.

8. Since we exist, to suggest existence can be snuffed out and go into nonexistence it would have to be suggested how any of us ever got out of nonexistence to begin with. And since nonexistence has no properties and nothing can emerge from nonexistence, no solution to that is possible.

9. So if existence just happens to be the condition of the universe, can time and space emerge out of it? Yes.

10. If nonexistence happens to be the condition of the universe, can time and space emerge out of it? No.

11. Does existence exist? Do time and space exist? Yes.

12. Does nonexistence exist? Can nonexistence give rise to time and space? No.

13. Is there even a remote possibility our fate will be eternal nonexistence? Logically it is not even a remote possibility.

Scientists are a confused lot. They always start with something like... "there was a tiny subatomic quark and it exploded and gave rise to the universe."

Where did the subatomic quark come from? They think by making it so small we won't notice that they started from the point that something existed.

Where did the something come from? It either always was, or it came out of nonexistence. And since nothing can come out of nonexistence and they can't admit that something always was... they do this "tiny" act like oh it was so small... subatomic quark... so small you hardly notice it and that's why we don't have to explain how it got there.


If someone sees a vision (or radiant form) of say, Baba Gurinder, in their meditation, what does it mean? Do they now KNOW that Baba Gurinder is God?

It is just an interpretation of what the vision means. Actually it means nothing

I agree it's only an experience. It's not quite nothing though.
However transient, the mystic would say it's deepened awareness.
With ongoing meditative practice, the vision becomes repeatable,
awareness continues to heighten, and ultimately becomes intuitive
knowing.

That's when it becomes ineffable. How do you describe what's
experienced if it's beyond time/space. You don't. But, no matter.
We fearless blog denizens wade right in.

Discussions quickly reduce into interpretations of what was seen,
meander off in speculation, get lost in taxonomy, or devolve
into attacks on the experiencer himself, or those in his orbit.

To me this is the real substance of "nothing". As Shakespeare
opined:

"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying
nothing."


If someone sees a vision (or radiant form) of say, Baba Gurinder, in their meditation, what does it mean? Do they now KNOW that Baba Gurinder is God?

It is just an interpretation of what the vision means. Actually it means nothing

I agree it's only an experience. It's not quite nothing though.
However transient, the mystic would say it's deepened awareness.
With ongoing meditative practice, the vision becomes repeatable,
awareness continues to heighten, and ultimately becomes intuitive
knowing.

That's when it becomes ineffable. How do you describe what's
experienced if it's beyond time/space. You don't. But, no matter.
We fearless blog denizens wade right in.

Discussions quickly reduce into interpretations of what was seen,
meander off in speculation, get lost in taxonomy, or devolve
into attacks on the experiencer himself, or those in his orbit.

To me this is the real substance of "nothing". As Shakespeare
opined:

"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying
nothing."

One reason atheists are confused is because they think they know something they do not know. They know they are atheists.

In reality the only thing someone can know for sure is that they exist. Anything beyond that is speculation.

So the step beyond atheism is to not know if you are atheistic or not. That would be someone truly without beliefs. To not know if you are agnostic or not. To admit you don't know anything for certain except your existence.

.

It turns out atheists are riddled with beliefs. For example if you are an Atheist do you believe Deists are wrong? Yes? So you do have beliefs.

Even simpler. If you are an atheist do you believe there are other people? Obviously yes or you wouldn't have to distinguish your belief from others beliefs. So you do have beliefs.

@287days
You mis-understand.

Nobody said that the atheist denies all belief.

The theist says there is a god.

The atheist says”I don’t believe you, so prove it”

The atheist position is not “I have no beliefs about anything at all”

Not sure where you got that from.

I have never seen any definition that states atheists have no beliefs about anything

@287days
You wrote
“One reason atheists are confused is because they think they know something they do not know. They know they are atheists”

The “knowing” is about god not everything.

The strong atheist says “I KNOW there is no god”

The weak atheist takes the agnostic position that I don’t know if there is a god. There might be or might not.

In either case they are referring to knowing of the existence of god, not knowing in general.

Hi Osho,

I was more getting at Brian for putting down "true believers" while at the same time promoting an irrational belief system populated by some of the most fanatical believers in the world.

@dungeness

I didn't say it was nothing. I said it means nothing.

"The mystic would say it's deepened awareness"

The mystic or anyone can say whatever they want - doesn't make it true.

A man who claims he was jesus in a previous life would say a lot about the visions he has about his previous life. doesn;t make it true.

it's an interpretation. you add a meaning to the vision.

it's just a vision, just like you make have a dream - then you create a meaning from it.

the meaning is your creation.

the dream means noting. the meaning is what you added.

"With ongoing meditative practice, it becomes repeatable, awareness heightens, and ultimately becomes intuitive knowing"

Or does it become delusion?

So what if you can repeat a vision, or see light? It's still an experience. You create the meaning.

What does it mean "awareness heightens"?

It's all interpretation of a subjective experience. Because you want to believe - you do believe and it appears real to you because you want it to be so.

This is all food for the mind. Baba himself says "dont focus on what you see or experience"

He also says that the path is "Nirgun" (no attributes) not "Sargun".

Osho,

A good definition of God is "that which always is and always was."

So if you don't believe there is something that always is and always was, then you have to explain how you got here.

1. You came out of nonexistence, which is impossible.
2.


.


It's all interpretation of a subjective experience. Because you want to believe - you do believe and it appears real to you because you want it to be so.

No, pronouncing this "is all interpretation of a subjective experience" is an
intellectual judgment. The awareness becomes an intuitive knowing when
heightened.

It's ineffable, beyond time/space. Beyond intellect. Beyond taxonomy.
All the mystic can say is "Neti, neti". Not this, not this. He offers a metaphor.
a hyperbole to give a sense of what it is. To "know" what it is, intellect has
to be shed, the meditative practice must be followed, the experience
must be interalized and become your own.


It's all interpretation of a subjective experience. Because you want to believe - you do believe and it appears real to you because you want it to be so.

No, pronouncing this "is all interpretation of a subjective experience" is an
intellectual judgment. The awareness becomes an intuitive knowing when
heightened.

It's ineffable, beyond time/space. Beyond intellect. Beyond taxonomy.
All the mystic can say is "Neti, neti". Not this, not this. He offers a metaphor.
a hyperbole to give a sense of what it is. To "know" what it is, intellect has
to be shed, the meditative practice must be followed, the experience
must be interalized and become your own.


It's all interpretation of a subjective experience. Because you want to believe - you do believe and it appears real to you because you want it to be so.

No, pronouncing this "is all interpretation of a subjective experience" is an
intellectual judgment. The awareness becomes an intuitive knowing when
heightened.

It's ineffable, beyond time/space. Beyond intellect. Beyond taxonomy.
All the mystic can say is "Neti, neti". Not this, not this. He offers a metaphor.
a hyperbole to give a sense of what it is. To "know" what it is, intellect has
to be shed, the meditative practice must be followed, the experience
must be interalized and become your own.

287daysleft, your logic is flawed. True, something has always existed. It's simpler, and more believable, to assume that the physical cosmos has always existed. So our universe didn't come from non-existence. It came from existence, which has always existed.

This is part of the cosmology favored by many modern scientists. They consider that quantum fluctuations bring "bubble universes" into being, a process that may go on forever (it's called eternal inflation, inflation being the way something very small becomes something very big, a universe.

Introducing God just makes things more complex and less believable. Then one has to believe that (1) God has always existed and (2) God then made the cosmos, or creation, come into existence. Again, it is better to simply assume that the cosmos always has existed, and leave out God, who isn't necessary to believe in.

Where did the something come from?

Hi
The only good reasoning is that the all powerful something or
Brian's existence exists outside time
We cannot even say before , neither we can say after !
Before Abraham "I AM" . . . that's IT
for all of us

For instance : the alternative that Brian exists
requires a number of "random" happinings
from supernova and before until " it rained when mam received that sperm"

so many randoms,
that when you would write their total number with a pencil
the total carbon to use to write on paper surpasses a trillion galaxies in weight

just to write that number ! !

So every sentient and non- sentient being is the existence at "work"
from the beginning of time
There is no ultimate random

YOU ARE ALL GOD , A GIANT LOVE ACCUMULATOR
YOU ALWAYS ARE

For good understanding
at a lower layer however
Patanjali's " YOGA SUTRAS"
brilliantly put in english by
Christopher Isherwood
is an excellent superb read


777


AFTER that read, only "Stop ALL Thoughts" while awake will tell U all !
You can never explain that

I actually sort of "got' what 777 was saying above.

Anyway;

Blog host/boss Brian wrote: "This is part of the cosmology favored by many modern scientists. They consider that quantum fluctuations bring "bubble universes" into being, a process that may go on forever (it's called eternal inflation, inflation being the way something very small becomes something very big, a universe."

-- I remember reading an old book by a mystic who described almost exactly that in one of their visions. I can't remember the title or author. They didn't talk about "quantum fluctuations" or "eternal inflation" but he/she did mention universes appearing like bubbles, endlessly and infinitely arising.

Also, when there is nothing, how big is small and how large is big? It seems something very tiny could seem very large, if there were nothing else, and something very large could appear very tiny in the infinite expansion of nothing, depending on where you are looking from. What is small and what is large? The big bang may not have been very large at all. It may have been minute, almost nothing. Size doesn't matter in these discussions.

Boss Brian then wrote: "Introducing God just makes things more complex and less believable. Then one has to believe that (1) God has always existed and (2) God then made the cosmos, or creation, come into existence. Again, it is better to simply assume that the cosmos always has existed, and leave out God, who isn't necessary to believe in."

-- Perhaps God IS the process described, and not something 'other than' it. One possible problem with acceptance of "god" is our concept of God which makes it hard to believe in and such concepts are very limiting in our ability to perceive. They box us in. Again, what if it is Something Else?

It's just that what it is, if it is, may be something entirely incomprehensible or unknown to us like a computer to a mastodon. So, atheism seems a little limiting and, I'm sorry, a little arrogant, like science already knows the whole story and that's it, no God possible. But we just don't know yet.

So, again, agnostic seems to be a better word.

--

Blogger Brian:

That's what I mean ... if I told you there was a giant mountain and it exploded and that's how our universe started.... wouldn't you ask where the mountain came from?

So why do people think if they just make it extremely small (there was just a tiny subatomic quantum flutter) they can bypass that same question?

If you and I did not exist you would have won the atheist argument hands down. As it is we do exist... so how? There are not 500 possibilities, only 2. Either something always is and always was (the exact definition of God). Or we came out of nonexistence which is impossible.

287daysleft, actually what has always existed isn't the exact definition of God, since is considered to be a conscious being with creative powers. If existence has always existed, there is no need for God. Which is why I don't believe in God. There's evidence of existence all around us. There's no evidence of God.

Blogger Brian:

I guess we are in total agreement on everything then except the definition of God, which I guess no one can define adequately. I define God as existence, you do not. Cool.

amazing video I came across by chance.
4 min and 40 secs in it gets interesting.
A muslim, a christian and an athiest all meet god after they die
what happens to each one?
take a look

https://youtu.be/ttevamkS6gw

I'm into 287's "Existence" thing. I always wondered since I was a young kid at eye level to a door knob how my time to exist ever arrived. If there was sequential time going infinitely into the future, it would also go infinitely into the past even if there was no one around to conceptualize it. So, how did my time to exist ever arrive?

It seems there is just consciousness/existence that is outside of, or perpendicular to, time. Existence/consciousness does not require time to exist,. It is just an immediate isness within which movement occurs. Because of this movement time and space appear as reactions to this immediate appearance in order to be aware of and to conceive it. But the immediacy of existence is never actually captured because it actually IS NOT as an object to another object, But because Existence has become the subject of space and time, objects appear, duality manifests, a universe appears and apparent other entities.

If, in a moment, this process ceases, then time and space are no more, nor dualism, nor others, nor the universe. Then, there is just Existence but there is no 'me'. That's not really a bummer that I do not exist as such.. as a separate ego or "I' with all it's memories which form a personality and self.. because it never existed as anything real in the first place. What really is, is just this. This immediacy of consciousness/ existence which has been called 'bliss', 'void', 'nirvana' and other names, even God.

Well, the epoxy must be dry now. Back to the shop.

Whether one wants to consider atheism a belief or not is a matter of semantics and one could split hairs about it and never come to a conclusion. What is most certainly true is atheism is not in any way, shape, or form the same 'kind' of belief that a religion is.

"All of that is beside the point anyway unless you are going to answer what you believe happens after the death of your body.
Don't know? Agnosticism.
Forever unconscious nonexistence? Atheism
Being forever? Theism"

No. Atheism is the disbelief in god/gods. One can believe in life after death and still be an atheist. Atheism is not identical to a purely materialistic viewpoint, though the two often coincide. And one can disbelieve in life after death and still believe in a god (Some Deists, for example).

No one can show any evidence whatsoever that god exists (and no, personal spiritual experiences or psychic phenomena don't count). In fact, the concept of god is nonsense and contradictory. It just fulfills certain emotional needs of people who are too insecure to stand on their own.

"God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient,"

If god is omnipotent, can he do something he couldn't forsee? If he can, then he isn't omniscient. If he can't, he isn't omnipotent.

See how idiotic the whole god thing is?

@NaturallySelected

"Whether one wants to consider atheism a belief or not is a matter of semantics"

No.

Athiesm is NOT a belief. period. Just to make it clear, I am referring to the "weak athiest" position.

The theist says "I believe in a God"
The athiest says, "I lack that belief" so "prove to me that God exists"

The theist cannot respond by saying, "well you prove that god does not exist!"
because
the athiest will say, "I am not saying that god does not exist"
all he is saying is that he does not believe that he does exist.

This is not semantics.

watch this video at exactly 15:55 onwards

https://youtu.be/FGjWD0k35Sc


tucson

Enjoying your recent posts. A while back a good friend and I were discussing the quantum bubble ideas of universes etc in a New Scientist article. It’s interesting because we reckoned we had read something similar in an old book from a mystic, and we both thought the writer was Sawan Singh.

Also interesting is your comment regarding ‘getting’ what 777 was recently on about - such things as ‘I AM - that’s IT for all of us’, ‘Every sentient and non-sentient being is the existence at “work’’, ‘YOU ARE ALL GOD, A GIANT LOVE ACCUMULATOR YOU ALWAYS ARE’, cool ways of putting ‘it’ in my view, and guess what - not one mention of Sant Mat!

Further - 777, to ‘Stop ALL thoughts while awake’ - reminds me of a J Krishnamurti book. A sentence stated that he observed when moving quite some distance from point A to B, ‘Not one instant of thought’ (or something to that affect). Are you (777) referring to cessation of thoughts in meditation or all the time while awake? Wonder who this observer of no thought is?

This post is a discussion on atheism. Reflecting on what’s being said about beliefs on the existence/non-existence of god, reminds me of the importance and relevance to keep shedding light on the existence/non-existence of this thing called ‘I’.

Best wishes

Ye are all full of bullshit and that's not a belief. That's true knowledge. Fighting over a label, a meaning of some letters.
This is not about belief but about a label and sticking a belief (personal) on what the word atheist means or doesn't mean. Then changing the meaning to suit the means - a belief.
Ass fooling I call that. Or talking through asses. I should know

I must say that whatever name it's called, who cares, I'm more in the non believer camp.
I nearly can't believe I'm saying that! Belief nothing, doubt everything. Think for yourself.
Years and years I spent believing, lots of things, doesn't really matter what.
The main one was I believed there was a God and he knew (funny that, a he, the one with all the power. But that's another story) all and was watching all and would met out his rewards or punishment as he deemed fit. Thing is, everyone seemed to know what pleased him and were not so slow on letting me know that. I believed! A true believer!!

Then there was the belief in Santy Claus! Wow, be good, do as I say and you will get rewards, if not, he won't come with this gifts. Now there is a belief on top of belief.

It left me sensing that someone 'out there' was always watching me.
Even when alone and doing some naughty things I always felt I was been watched.
It left me feeling guilty inwardly. Proof that my belief in a God was right, right? Ha.
I could say this is how I 'knew' (believed) there was a God/Santy. The god damn feeling just cemented the belief! Which is what emotion does, gives juice to the belief and makes it appear real. Now the math added up!
So I did a lot of naughty things that no one knew of but me and this eh BELIEF which of course, following in line with the belief... I needed for a God to save me, to repent.

Now, I'm looking and seeing these beliefs - which is like doing a math algebra equation and coming to an answer, I'm questioning my answer not by adding more but working backwards through the equation to the beginning. Deleting as I go along. Seeing the equation was formed by a pack of lies. Beliefs.
My world of beliefs as I've known it to be, is not as solid as I had believed.

As has been said here on the board, all I know outside a belief is I exist.
I cannot say anymore than that.
If all I can say is I exist, and existence is all that can be known.
Who or what then is 'God' but existence.
Plus, existence can not exist, can change form but still exists despite the form.
So this body will die, what runs is will exist when this rental car of a body dies but existence will still exist. Death can swallow me up, lil olde me, but not life/existence itself.
So I, as I believe myself to be, doesn't exist.
Scary until I see this olde bundle of beliefs is all I take myself to be.
Fear (riled by beliefs) appearing real.
So I happen to like the word atheism meaning believe nought.

Onwards....

here is a article taken from
https://www.thoughtco.com/are-atheists-certain-that-god-doesnt-exist-248316

I have made key points BOLD

Question:
How can atheists be so certain that God doesn't exist?

Response:
When theists ask how and why atheists can be certain that no gods exist, they do so under the mistaken assumption that all atheists deny the existence or possible existence of any gods and that such denial is based upon certainty. Although this is true of some atheists, it is not true of all; indeed, it seems unlikely that it is true of most or even a significant minority of atheists.

Not all atheists deny the existence of all gods and not all of those who do claim absolute certainty.

So, the first thing to understand is that atheism is simply a matter of lacking belief in the existence of gods.

An atheist might go further and deny the existence of some, many, or all gods, but this isn't necessary for the "atheist" label to apply.

Whether or not an atheist does go that extra step with regards to any particular god depends upon how "god" is defined. Some definitions are too vague or incoherent to reasonably deny or affirm; others are clear enough that denial is not only possible, but necessary.

The same is true for whether or not an atheist claims to be certain in their denial of the existence of any gods. Certainty is a pretty big word and many atheists consciously model their approach to the existence of gods on the naturalistic, skeptical methodology of science where "certainty" is typically avoided except where it is unquestionably warranted.

In science, belief is proportioned to the evidence and every conclusion is considered basically provisional because new evidence in the future might, in theory, force us to change our beliefs.

If an atheist is going to claim certainty in their denial of the existence of gods, it will often be because there is no logically possible evidence that could force a change in their conclusions.


It may, however, also simply be a position based on probability: in the world outside of science, most people are willing to claim "certainty" if contrary evidence is extremely unlikely and not just impossible. Either way, though, the definition which a theist uses for "god" will play a critical role in what sorts of conclusions and certainty an atheist is likely to draw.


Some theists define their god in a way which is logically contradictory — much like claiming that their god is a "square circle." Square circles cannot exist because they are logically impossible. If a god is defined in a way which is logically impossible, then we can say "this god does not exist" with a great deal of certainty. There is no way that we will ever come across evidence which points to the reality of something that is logically impossible or impossible by definition.

Other people define their god in such a way that it is, quite frankly, impossible to understand. Terms used are too vague to pin down and concepts used don't seem to go anywhere. Indeed, sometimes this incomprehensibility is touted as a specific quality and maybe even as an advantage. In such situations, it just isn't possible to adopt a rational belief in such a god.

As defined, at least, such a god might be denied with some certainty because the chances of having evidence pointing to an incomprehensible god are pretty low. Most atheists, though, will simply refuse to believe or deny such gods.


So, how can atheists be certain that no gods exist? A person doesn't have to be certain of the nonexistence of gods in order to be an atheist, but just as important is the fact that most people aren't absolutely certain of many of the things they believe or disbelieve. We don't have perfect and irrefutable proof of most things in our lives, but that doesn't stop us from navigating the world as best we can.

A person doesn't need absolute and perfect certainty in order to be either an atheist or a theist. What should be required, however, are very good reasons for whatever direction a person goes.

For atheists, those reasons are at the very least the failure of theists to make a good enough case for either theism generally or any specific form of theism to warrant adoption.

Theists on the whole think that they have good reasons for their beliefs, but I have yet to encounter an alleged god which warrants my belief. I don't have to be certain that those claimed gods don't exist in order to be an atheist, all I need is to lack good reasons to bother believing. Perhaps someday that will change, but I've been at this long enough that I rather doubt it will.

Osho Robbins:

You: I don't believe there is such a thing as Canada.

Me: What evidence do you have that Canada is not real?

You: I see your confusion. You think that my denial of Canada is a belief. But it is simply a nonbelief so I don't need to give evidence for it. You see I am not making a claim of any kind. I merely reject your belief in Canada.


Me: The fact is a Canadian nonbeliever is making a claim. He is making a claim that his non-belief in Canada is true, which is a belief. He is making a claim and there are consequences to that claim.

.

Osho:

Yes, I listened to some of that program from 15 min. onward. The problem of course is defining terms. If you define God as Existence as I do then the whole conversation takes on a different slant.

Do you believe you exist? Yes? Then you believe in God.

But actually it is not even about belief. You know you exist, you don't believe you exist. So, since you don't believe in existence (God) but know it, then you are an atheist who continually experiences God.


.

the difference between an AGNOSTIC & an ATHIEST
taken from
https://www.thoughtco.com/atheist-vs-agnostic-whats-the-difference-248040

The Difference Between Atheists and Agnostics

The words atheist and agnostic conjure up a number of different perceptions and meanings. When it comes to questioning the existence of gods, the subject is a tricky one that is often misunderstood.


No matter what their reasons or how they approach the question, agnostics and atheists are fundamentally different, but also non-exclusive. Many people who adopt the label of agnostic simultaneously reject the label of atheist, even if it technically applies to them.


In addition, there's a common misconception that agnosticism is somehow a more “reasonable” position while atheism is more “dogmatic,” ultimately indistinguishable from theism except in the details. This is not a valid argument because it misrepresents or misunderstands everything involved: atheism, theism, agnosticism, and even the nature of belief itself.

Let's explore the differences between being an atheist and an agnostic and clear the air of any preconceptions or misinterpretations.


What Is an Atheist?
An atheist is anyone who doesn't believe in any gods. This is a very simple concept, but it's also widely misunderstood. For that reason, there are a variety of ways to state it.

Atheism is the lack of belief in gods; the absence of belief in gods; a disbelief in gods; or not believing in gods.

The most precise definition may be that an atheist is anyone who does not affirm the proposition "at least one god exists." This is not a proposition made by atheists. Being an atheist requires nothing active or even conscious on the part of the atheist. All that is required is not "affirming" a proposition made by others.

What Is an Agnostic?
An agnostic is anyone who doesn't claim to know whether any gods exist or not. This is also an uncomplicated idea, but it may be as misunderstood as atheism.

One major problem is that atheism and agnosticism both deal with questions regarding the existence of gods. Whereas atheism involves what a person does or does not believe, agnosticism involves what a person does or does not know. Belief and knowledge are related but nevertheless separate issues.

There's a simple test to tell if one is an agnostic or not. Do you know for sure if any gods exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic, but a theist.

Do you know for sure that gods do not or even cannot exist? If so, then you're not an agnostic, but an atheist.

Everyone who cannot answer "yes" to one of those questions is a person who may or may not believe in one or more gods. However, since they don't also claim to know for sure, they are agnostic. The only question then is whether they are an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.


Agnostic Atheist Vs. Agnostic Theist
An agnostic atheist doesn't believe in any gods while an agnostic theist believes in the existence of at least one god. However, both do not make the claim to have the knowledge to back up this belief. Fundamentally, there is still some question and that is why they're agnostic.

This seems contradictory and difficult, but it's actually quite easy and logical. Whether one believes or not, they can also be comfortable in not claiming to know for sure that it's either true or false. It occurs in many different topics as well because belief is not the same as direct knowledge.

Once it is understood that atheism is merely the absence of belief in any gods, it becomes clear that agnosticism is not, as many assume, a “third way” between atheism and theism. The presence of a belief in a god and the absence of a belief in a god does not exhaust all of the possibilities.

Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge. It was originally coined to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not. It was not meant to describe someone who somehow found an alternative between the presence and absence of some particular belief.

Yet, many people have the mistaken impression that agnosticism and atheism are mutually exclusive. But why? There's nothing about "I don't know" which logically excludes "I believe."

On the contrary, not only are knowledge and belief compatible, but they frequently appear together because not knowing is frequently a reason for not believing. It's often a very good idea to not accept that some proposition is true unless you have enough evidence that would qualify it as knowledge. Being a juror in a murder trial is a good parallel to this contradiction.

There Is No Agnostic Vs. Atheist
By now, the difference between being an atheist and an agnostic should be pretty clear and easy to remember. Atheism is about belief or, specifically, what you don't believe. Agnosticism is about knowledge or, specifically, about what you don't know.

An atheist doesn't believe in any gods. An agnostic doesn't know if any gods exist or not. These can be the exact same person, but need not be.

In the end, the fact of the matter is that a person is not faced with the necessity of only being either an atheist or an agnostic. Not only can a person be both, but it is, in fact, common for people to be both agnostics and atheists or agnostics and theists.

An agnostic atheist won’t claim to know for sure that nothing warranting the label “god” exists or that such cannot exist. And yet, they also don’t actively believe that such an entity does indeed exist.

The Prejudice Against Atheists
It is worth noting that there is a vicious double standard involved when theists claim that agnosticism is “better” than atheism because it is less dogmatic. If atheists are closed-minded because they are not agnostic, then so are theists.

Agnostics making this argument rarely state this explicitly. It's almost as if they are trying to curry favor with religious theists by attacking atheists, isn't it? On the other hand, if theists can be open-minded, then so can atheists.

Agnostics may sincerely believe that agnosticism is more rational and theists may sincerely reinforce that belief. However, it relies upon more than one misunderstanding about both atheism and agnosticism.

These misunderstandings are only exacerbated by continual social pressure and prejudice against atheism and atheists. People who are unafraid of stating that they indeed do not believe in any gods are still despised in many places, whereas “agnostic” is perceived as more respectable.

@287daysleft

you wrote
"You: I don't believe there is such a thing as Canada."

That is not the athiest position.

This is the athiest position:

You: I believe there is a place called Canada.
Athiest: Oh really? Well I don't accept your proposition - so prove it!

You cannot counter this with, "No, you prove there is no canada"

Do you understand why?

because if you don't then you are missing the whole point.

here's the reason why:
because the athiest is NOT saying that Canada does not exist!"

He is simply saying he does not believe YOUR CLAIM that is does!
He is not making the opposite claim - hence he has nothing to prove.

Canada MIGHT exist - or might not - he is unsure and makes no claim either way.
If you prove that canada DOES exist - then he will change his stance and agree with you.

So in the case of Canada, you CAN prove it - so he will agree.

In the case of God - the burden is on the Theist to prove god exists

you then go on....

"You: I see your confusion. You think that my denial of Canada is a belief. But it is simply a nonbelief so I don't need to give evidence for it. You see I am not making a claim of any kind. I merely reject your belief in Canada.

Me: The fact is a Canadian nonbeliever is making a claim. He is making a claim that his non-belief in Canada is true, which is a belief. He is making a claim and there are consequences to that claim."

Yes - there WOULD BE - but you need to understand clearly that the atheist in MAKING NO CLAIM AT ALL.
He is simply disbelieving your claim. Nothing more.

So in the Canada example - he is NOT making the assertion that "CANADA DOES NOT EXIST"

If he was, then you would be right, there IS a burden of proof attached to that position.

However, that is NOT his position.

For some strange reason, many people don't seem to understand this.

@287daysleft
you wrote:


Yes, I listened to some of that program from 15 min. onward. The problem of course is defining terms. If you define God as Existence as I do then the whole conversation takes on a different slant.

Do you believe you exist? Yes? Then you believe in God.

Existence of what?
If you say that everything is God, all that exists is God,
then you can say you KNOW god exists because things exist.

You have just re-defined the meaning of God.

I could say "my definition of God is an apple. An apple exists, therefore god exists"

No he doesn't. I have proven an apple exists and I have decided to call the apple God.

Using that logic I can prove anything.

You would have to prove that existence is god - not just define it that way


because the athiest is NOT saying that Canada does not exist!"
He is simply saying he does not believe YOUR CLAIM that is does!
He is not making the opposite claim - hence he has nothing to prove

Of course, you wake up after a dream and you're convinced
by golly, you exist and you're not still dreaming. You'd swear it
on a stack of, er, bibles.

Atheist: I don't believe your claim that you're really awake and
you exist. Note I don't claim it's a lie but you need to prove it.

You: Right. We need to examine the matter further. Since, I may
still be dreaming, how do I know you're not a creature of my dream.
I don't claim you're lying but you need to prove to me you actually
exist.

Atheist: C'mon, don't be a smart-ass. Some things are just intuitively
obvious.

You: [smile]


because the athiest is NOT saying that Canada does not exist!"
He is simply saying he does not believe YOUR CLAIM that is does!
He is not making the opposite claim - hence he has nothing to prove

Of course, you wake up after a dream and you're convinced
by golly, you exist and you're not still dreaming. You'd swear it
on a stack of, er, bibles.

Atheist: I don't believe your claim that you're really awake and
you exist. Note I don't claim it's a lie but you need to prove it.

You: Right. We need to examine the matter further. Since, I may
still be dreaming, how do I know you're not a creature of my dream.
I don't claim you're lying but you need to prove to me you actually
exist.

Atheist: C'mon, don't be a smart-ass. Some things are just intuitively
obvious.

You: [smile]

Osho:

First of all we are talking about formless things. Some people say love is god, others say emptiness is god, others say god is undefinable.

Whatever God may be it is not provable. Science is the domain of prove-able stuff. So you are saying we are only going by the rules of science in our discussion of god.

Do you see by making that claim you have already stated a very specific belief? Since you are stating a belief, prove to me that God only exists in the realm of things subject to prove-ability.


.

Osho:

Osho, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see.

They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Osho, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

God exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.


Faith, poetry, romance make delightful this existence. If we should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight and things provable, then the eternal light with which love fills the world would be extinguished.

The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see love, beauty, joy? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Osho, in all this world there is nothing else so real and abiding.


.

After reading Osho's rationale on this atheist business, I have come to agree with him about atheist terminology. I defer to him as a perfect living atheism explainer, and based on his enlightened perspective I have decided that "soft" atheist best describes Blogger Brian's (and some others') atheism and not the term 'agnostic'. Although I'm not sure it is best, in certain social situations, to be 'soft'.

However, I still feel as I stated earlier. I don't care if people call themselves atheists. I understand. I know what they mean. I get it. I just don't see why atheists make a big deal out of a non-belief and have T-shirts and clubs and meetings and radio programs. Do they need this to affirm their own doubts? More often, I think atheists feel offended and annoyed by unverifiable religious dogma, especially if it is used as a basis for forming public policy. Like, "God says gays are sinners so you don't have to bake a cake for them." Although you shouldn't have to bake them a cake if you don't feel like it. Personally, I think it is good business to bake cakes for everybody, even hard atheists.



--No.
Athiesm is NOT a belief. period. Just to make it clear, I am referring to the "weak athiest" position.
The theist says "I believe in a God"
The athiest says, "I lack that belief" so "prove to me that God exists"
The theist cannot respond by saying, "well you prove that god does not exist!"
because
the athiest will say, "I am not saying that god does not exist"
all he is saying is that he does not believe that he does exist.
This is not semantics.--


I didn't say THAT was semantics, did I? No. Read what I type, not what you THINK I typed.

An atheist position is rife with beliefs (sensible and sane ones, but still beliefs). For instance, in the atheist position of 'no-belief' you use is present sorts of beliefs. For instance one holds the belief that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That's a belief. It's a CREATION of the human mind that acts as a HEURISTIC device. Now, it happens to be incredibly sensible, but that doesn't alter the fact you can't actually prove that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence in either the sense of a mathematical equation (mathematical proof) or in the sense that if you jump off of a building, you will fall (undeniable empirical 'proof' up to now).


I believe much more that no hard atheist exists
your ( not mine) discussion is between :

1)
is this energy/existence interested in us
2)
not at all
3)
has some interest on a personal level

Would produce better answers

777

777, once again, you're being preachy in your comments, which is why I deleted a few.

Stick to the subject of a blog post, or put your comment in an Open Thread. Your constant preaching about "holy sound" and such is as unwelcome on this blog as a Christian saying "Praise Jesus" over and over again, or a Muslim repeatedly talking about how great Allah is.

Suggestion: living your spirituality is better than talking about it. I've found that people who constantly speak about how holy they are usually are the least holy -- in the sense of being a caring, compassionate human being.

777, you're really close to being banned from this blog. When I delete some of your comments because you're being preachy, you shouldn't post them again just to... why... I have no idea.

You seem to think that your mission on this blog is to be the Official RSSB Preacher. That's a no-no. This blog is for reasonable discussions, not preaching.

So keep on being preachy if you want to have all of your comments deleted. Otherwise, do what you're told by the Church of the Churchless blogger, moi. Obedience is a religious virtue, and you're a religious person.

I'm a nice guy, which is why your preachy commenting has been tolerated for so long on this blog. But I've got my limits.

@NaturallySelected
You wrote:
"Whether one wants to consider atheism a belief or not is a matter of semantics and one could split hairs about it and never come to a conclusion. What is most certainly true is atheism is not in any way, shape, or form the same 'kind' of belief that a religion is."

I then responded with:
"--No.
Athiesm is NOT a belief. period. Just to make it clear, I am referring to the "weak athiest" position. "

Followed by an explanation that athiesm is a "lack" of belief.
I said this is not semantics.

You said that I have mis-read your statement and that you did not say THAT was a matter of semantics.

Perhaps I am missing something.

It appears you are saying athiesm is a belief

I am saying it is not a belief, because the athiest is not saying "I believe there is no god"
and its not just smantics

@NaturallySeected
you wrote
"An atheist position is rife with beliefs (sensible and sane ones, but still beliefs). For instance, in the atheist position of 'no-belief' you use is present sorts of beliefs. For instance one holds the belief that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That's a belief."

The atheist says "I don't believe there is a God"
That's it. Nothing more.

He is not saying "I have no beliefs about anything at all"
which is what you appear to believe. Hence you are showing that he holds other beliefs.


It's a mis-conception to think that the athiest has no beliefs at all.

He has no belief regarding the existence of God. That's all.

Life after death is unrelated to that position.

The lack of belief in a God is unrelated to a belief or lack of belief in life after death. It is a separate topic. Each individual athiest will have their own opinion on that, unrelated to their athiest position

Hi Tucson,

by the way, I am not an athiest - I just commented on it for the hell of it as it appears many people (and I also used to) mis-understand the term.

You, at least now appear to understand the meaning. So we get a gold medal each.

anyways, you wrote
" I just don't see why atheists make a big deal out of a non-belief and have T-shirts and clubs and meetings and radio programs."

Well - I am not sure either. It appears Matt Dillahunty does it because he likes to debate and debates a lot of theists. He just wants to show people that when they believe in a God, there is no logical basis for that belief.

He shows them which logical falacy they are falling prey to when they try to explain why their belief has a basis in logic.

If they say they just have faith, he says, "Faith is not a reliable pathway to truth" meaning that you can use faith to believe in anything - true or false. So it's not a reliable way of finding the truth.

He says "I care about whether what I believe is true." and "If I find evidence that my belief is unfounded, I will drop that belief"

these are the logical fallacies that people often use in arguments

https://kreativcopywriting.com/10-logical-fallacies-know-spot/

'it's a mis-conception to think that the athiest has no beliefs at all.
He has no belief regarding the existence of God. That's all.'

What you describe as the 'no belief' of soft atheism is built on all sorts of beliefs, and would be impossible without those beliefs.

If your mental path towards the stance of soft atheism includes something like 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence', that's a belief you're holding. You can't prove extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That's just one example of the many, many beliefs upholding what you claim to be a "no-belief". Some of them are likely not even conscious.

Again, it's semantics- is something fairly labeled a 'no-belief' when the presupposition for its existence in a human brain is numerous other beliefs?


NatruallySelected2, you're missing some important points. Of course we all have beliefs. Those that are supported by demonstrable evidence come to be called "facts" or "truths." Those that can't be supported by evidence are "falsehoods."

Atheists like me look for demonstrable evidence that God or any other supernatural entity exists. Finding none, we conclude there is no evidence for God or any other supernatural entity. Thus we lack a belief in God. Likewise, I lack a belief that Trump is an honest, competent president. And I lack a belief that fairies in our garden make our plants grow.

You're making more of the word "belief" than is warranted. Most of the knowledge we have about the world is automatic, unconscious, instinctual. Like other animals, our human brains have evolved to obtain valid knowledge about the world. if this wasn't the case, our species wouldn't have survived. Conscious beliefs are a small part of our minds.

But as many neuroscientists and evolutionary psychologists point out, our brains also can fool us. For example, we have a "theory of mind" relating to our knowing that other people have minds like ours that think, feel, scheme, and such. This is helpful from an evolutionary standpoint, since it helps us figure out how to both cooperate and battle with each other.

However, that same theory of mind also makes most people wrongly believe that there is some divine being out there that also has a consciousness like ours -- and we can communicate with that being, just as that being can know what is in our mind. This likely is how religions started.

Now, though, we know better. At least, those of us who are scientifically literate know better. So the wisest among us have given up a belief in God, while others continue to be fooled by the unconscious workings of their brain.

@NaturallySelected2

Not sure which part of what I wrote you don't understand


The atheist says "I don't believe there is a God"
That's it. Nothing more.

He is not saying "I have no beliefs about anything at all"
which is what you appear to believe. Hence you are showing that he holds other beliefs.


It's a mis-conception to think that the athiest has no beliefs at all.

He has no belief regarding the existence of God. That's all.

You replied
"What you describe as the 'no belief' of soft atheism is built on all sorts of beliefs"

Not sure how you can make that statement if you understood what I wrote.

The athiest is not saying "I have no beliefs about anything"

Yet somehow - that is the meaning you get from this despite my clarification.

Please let me know if you understand that the athiest has beliefs about many things, he never claimed to have no beliefs about anything at all.

@NaturallySelected
I really don't know why you are trying to show that the atheist has many beliefs


The athiest says "I don't believe your claim about God" to the theist. That's it.
nothing more



He is not saying that no god exists
He is not saying "I have no beliefs in my life"

The problem with this old and repeated discussion is trying to fit at least four ideas into three labels (Believer, Agnostic, Atheist):

1. God may exist, but I have no personal knowledge or belief about any details, nor any conviction. Occasionally I may feel some inspiration to pray, or some elevating sentiments when I attend church or temple, but I don't see any personal need for a system of belief or any practice. Most of those appear to be inventions by organizations. And prayers asking for things strikes me actually as a lack of faith in God.

2. I believe God exists, I have a firm faith, and I have adopted a system of belief including detailed practices of worship and lifestyle around that, though I have no experience or evidence. Yet I feel a love for God in my heart, and for me that is enough. That is my evidence. When I see how others have gotten through hardships that seemed impossible and they are models of submission to God, and to their Faith to act for what is right, despite personal cost, my own convictions are confirmed and strengthened.

3. I cannot see any evidence for God, and the diversity of different beliefs convinces me that other's belief in God is culture bound, tradition bound, ritualistic, superstitious, and subject to fiction, legend and invention. It is a throw back to earlier pre-scientific times, where human beings simply did not think for themselves very well, and where tribal survival encouraged submission to the tribal leader and suppression of individual thinking and speech. It's out of date, rife with examples of exploitation, and actually threatens the survival of the human race.

4. God exists as the creator of the creator of this creation, which is all conscious and aware. God is all love. But these are not things that can be understood by the human mind, only through spiritual experience and evidence, which is not transferable. Therefore my 'faith' isn't actually faith, simply daily experience, and therefore I can neither communicate that truth (that would be speaking for God, which is impossible) without having to miss represent that Truth. And therefore I cannot expect anyone else to see or believe as I do, and must accept each person as equal in that we are all circumscribed by conditioning and experience so long as we function here through the limited and flawed sensory channels and cognitive pathways of this tiny biological organ of the human mind.

As you can see there is a lot of room for mix and match of different parts of the above : 1.b., 3.c., etc. As different and as similar as each of us.

To understand first, well, that requires an open mind.

I think atheists have no idea what its like to be living in fear. They can say God doesn't exist pfft !! and don't realise how lucky they are. I imagine how it is to be living in fear that I might have my throat slit in the night and even worse being raped and tortured which is happening to white South Africans.

I have in the past been called a 'racist' simply because I am white and was born in South Africa. The mind boggles because people don't realise they are the ones being racist, judging me by the colour of my skin and the country I was born in.

If I was still living in that country I probably would still be a devout satsangi and praying to the Master to keep me and my family safe. Some people need to have the belief in God or something spiritual and its only the very fortunate people living a fear free existence who can decide to be an atheist. Wish they didn't come across as being smug though ;(

Blogger:
'Atheists like me look for demonstrable evidence that God or any other supernatural entity exists. Finding none, we conclude there is no evidence for God or any other supernatural entity. Thus we lack a belief in God. Likewise, I lack a belief that Trump is an honest, competent president. And I lack a belief that fairies in our garden make our plants grow.'

But you can rephrase your lack of belief re Trump quite simply in another way- 'I believe Trump is dishonest and incompetent'. Just as you can say 'I believe fairies don't exist', or more affirmatively 'I believe only material beings exist'.

And the belief in the epistemology of demonstrable evidence IS A BELIEF. Two people can disagree on what is demonstrable evidence, esp in the case of god.

Neither of you are actually engaging with what I am typing. Once again, an atheist named Joe holds the following belief. If you feel it isn't a belief, go ahead and demonstrate it. You won't be able to-

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary belief".

(This claim is a belief. It can't be directly proven, it can only be surmised loosely based on each individual's experience of various kinds of evidence. Hence it's a heuristic device as I've said)

This 'extraordinary claims' belief along with many others leads him to a collection of thoughts in his brain that can be summed up as 'god doesn't exist'. Or phrased 'Joe does not believe in god.'

BB- "You're making more of the word "belief" than is warranted. "

Are you saying it's all semantics then? Well then you agreed with what I've been saying, without realizing it.

Once again, if you can't hold a viewpoint that god doesn't exist without a large number of beliefs supporting its existence (such as one's belief in methods of epistemology), that viewpoint could probably be fairly termed a belief itself.

The idea that one can hold a purely negative thought in isolation from other thoughts is ridiculous. Our hypothetical Joe-soft atheist is also saying "I believe in a purely materialistic universe'.

Let me rewrite this

'Once again, if you can't hold a viewpoint that god doesn't exist without a large number of beliefs supporting its existence (such as one's belief in methods of epistemology), that viewpoint could probably be fairly termed a belief itself. '

If it is impossible to hold a viewpoint that god doesn't exist without also holding a large number of beliefs (such as one's beliefs in methods of epistemology) that viewpoint could be fairly termed a belief itself

'I really don't know why you are trying to show that the atheist has many beliefs '

Then re-read the sentence I just gave you a few times and try and think about it.

Osho:

"Soft atheists" seem to refuse to say what God is nor offer any explanation for how we got here.


Maybe a subatomic quantum possibility fluttered then exploded and voila (science)... which leaves out answering where that subatomic whatever came from. (Science can't answer, so now philosophy).


Then they say they don't have to answer any more questions because having no belief requires no proof... thus adopting the scientific paradigm and leaving existence unexplained scientifically or philosophically.


1. First of all this whole consciousness, existence, God discussion is in a different realm than science. Science deals with objectively provable phenomenon. God, is not in that realm, so the "proof," argument is the first red herring.

2. Second, if you want to have an adult discussion on God, you must
(a) define God
(b) explain logically and philosophically your rationale for our existence, our consciousness, being, love without bringing in childish ideas of "scientific proof," which does not apply in philosophy.


To state a philosophical position "atheism," and then say you are only discussing it in terms of "science" (objectively provable phenomenon) renders any discussion about it meaningless.

.

Enjoyed going through all of this thread! Thanks, Brian, for initiating this thread and this discussion ; and thanks, Osho Robbins, 287daysleft, Tucson, NaturallySelected, Jen, and Spencer, for your posts and comments here! After quite a while, this thread got me to re-examine my own perspective on this issue. And re-thinking and re-examining one’s set opinions is always a good thing!


Here’s how, on reflection, I would personally would weigh in on this :

First, the terminology : While one definition of agnosticism does coincide, more or less, with soft atheism (as I’ve pointed out earlier upthread), nevertheless I suppose I’d use the word ‘soft atheism’ to signify a perspective a shade ‘harder’ than agnosticism. That’s purely my subjective basis for these terms.

And as for my actual position on this :

I suppose when I’m actually researching this issue, when I’m meditating, when I’m seeking, then I’m agnostic. Much as the scientist researching, say, the presence of life on meteors necessarily has to be agnostic when it comes to the particular issue that he’s experimenting on.

However, for the rest, I suppose I don’t even think about this at all. That would be apatheism, plain and simple.

And when badgered beyond endurance by the mindless and aggressive dogmatism of (some) theists -- and these are often hypocrites who basically are looking to line their own pockets, either directly or directly, via tithes or donations, or at least to bolster their ego and win confirmation for their pet dogma -- that is when my agnosticism hardens to the equally reasonable, equally rational, but distinctly ‘harder’ stance of ‘soft atheism’.

(To be clear : these “hypocrites” I refer to have nothing at all to do with anyone posting here. I’m referring to types that I have personally come across IRL. It is my own experience that there are some decent, truly spiritual types, who do not speak much, nor ever try to convert others. And there are hosts of others who, usually to further some transparently vested interests, are very eager to convert you to their way of thinking. I have nothing but contempt for these hypocrites. And I repeat : I’m not referring to anyone commenting here, nor accusing them of hypocrisy!)


So well, that’s the attitude that makes sense to me, personally (and as it applies to me) : At times agnostic, at times apatheistic, at times soft atheistic, and all times rational (to the best of my limited ability).


.

I did have some specific comments and/or questions for specific posters here :

.

@287daysleft :

Hello, @287daysleft. Pardon me, I seem to commenting against something you’ve said here, every time I put finger to keyboard, at least on this thread! But some of what you say seems distinctly off to me, as well as piquant enough to demand some kind of discussion, some kind of debate.

Despite your claim of channeling logic in arriving at your theism, I’m afraid I find many of the things you say entirely illogical. Here’s what appears to me to me the most egregious error : You’re finding fault with the explanation that science puts forward, and presumably positing in its stead your God-explanation. I believe you’re mistaken in finding the specific faults you present in the scientific view, but let’s leave that aside for now : even granting that you’re right on that score, nevertheless, simply sticking the label “God” on to phenomena explains nothing at all, and indeed raises more questions than it answers. This seems to me to a flagrant God-of-the-Gaps gambit.

Since you’re positing God as a presumably better explanation for phenomena, don’t you see that you’re called on now to explain -- complete with evidence -- not only the exact mechanism of how God gives rise to the universe, but also to explain (again with evidence) the whithers and the wherefores of this God itself? And if you’re content with a “I don’t know” or “He moves in mysterious ways” when it comes to God, I don’t see why you should then have a problem with a “I don’t know” or “Its mysteries are beyond us” when it comes to the universe itself?

I’m interested in your thoughts, if any, on this single focused question of mine around this pronounced inconsistency of yours, 287daysleft, as it appears to me.

.

And, as for defining God, which you speak of in your last comment here -- if you’ll permit me to squeeze in one more counter-question in brief here -- Shouldn’t the onus of that lie with those who’re claiming that they believe in such? How can someone possibly define the details of the beliefs of some other person?


.


@Tucson and @Dungeness :


Theism based on blind faith is obviously not rational.

However, agnosticism -- in the sense that Huxley conceived of this term (that is : make no claims to know what you do not know, and accept only that which can be backed by rationally valid evidence) -- can, I believe, lead to theism. If the mystic personally experiences God, and finds his own experiences compelling, then that can, per my lights, lead to a rationally acceptable position of theism.

However, only personal, first-hand mystical experience can be acceptable, because accepting anything else would be tantamount to blind faith.

Thus, the mystic’s theism can be rational, when based on personal experience ; however, at second hand (that is, to those who do not actually share in the mystic’s actual experience), the mystic can only be seen as a prophet : and to follow a prophet is the very definition of blind faith.

Given your ideas on mysticism, Tucson, Dungeness, I’d be very interested to know your views on this.


.


@Osho Robbins :


Reading your arguments in favor of atheism here, I did find myself wondering, basis our earlier discussion some months back, how it is that you call yourself an atheist, no matter how flaccid! :-)

I see you’ve gone and actually said, finally, that you’re no atheist at all. Actually I respect that : your straight and uncompromising defense of an idea that is not your pet personal ideology/position at all. :-)

But the point of (this portion of my) comment is : How exactly do you then explain and justify your theism? I suppose you’re basing your theism on first-hand mystical experience (of Oneness), is that right? That sounds perfectly rational to me, but my question is : How do you (personally) equate your personal experience with God?

I recognize that you aren’t demanding of others that they convert to your personal perspective, but still, when it comes to yourself, how do you justify your personal perspective even to yourself?

Love to know your considered view on this!

(And apologies if I’m putting words in your mouth. I’m assuming that the fact that you say you’re not atheistic necessarily means -- following the simple logic of semantics, and especially your own words here -- that you’re theistic. And I’m further assuming, again basis your own words that your theism is based not on faith but on your personal experience of Oneness. If this second assumption of mine is wrong, then obviously my question itself is meaningless : but in that case I’d like to know the actual basis for your theism.)


.


@Spencer :


Welcome back! You’re usually very articulate about your own POV, and I’d found myself wondering, actually – before you actually came in and commented here, I mean, given that you seemed to have taken a break from commenting here -- how you might respond to the discussion here! :-)

Re. your actual comment here : I don’t know if you’ve gone through the comments I addressed upthread to @287daysleft? I don’t think it’s a question of trying to fit in different ideas into three straitjacketed labels (of “believer”, “agnostic”, and “atheist”), at all!

In the last century or two, our thoughts around the god question (and around agnosticism and atheism) have become far more detailed, and far more nuanced, than in the last couple millennia. And it is this very explosion of nuances, that has resulted in this explosion of words available to describe the different positions one can take on this issue.

All of these words -- and there are way more types than you yourself list here, and God knows there are enough of these categories, enough of these labels, to confound most people! -- they aren’t just semantic juggling : they each represent (most of them, anyway) actual points of view, actual perspectives that had simply not been thought up (or at least, perspectives that hadn’t been at all mainstream) in times past.

I’d say what we’re arguing here is the exact opposite of what you’re saying here! (That is, the discussion on soft atheism is at something of a tangent from what you say here. And what you do say here actually makes the case not so much for theism per se, as for the plethora of distinct-but-sometimes-overlapping atheist-types that we speak of today.)


.


@NaturallySelected2 :


Absolutely, I agree with you -- if I understand you correctly -- that all of these arguments of ours are predicated on an implicitly accepted basis of rationalism, and of materialism, and, specifically, of empiricism / positivism, and broadly speaking, the scientific method (and everything that that represents).

That’s what you’re trying to highlight, right?

I guess I agree with you if that is what you’re saying. Except I don’t really see why you’re calling these things “beliefs”.

The scientifically inclined person does not “believe” in science and its discoveries in quite the same way as the theist “believes” in his God or the pronouncements of his pet prophet. We merely have found, via experience, that the scientific method is the best means we have of constructing a model that best explains the world to us. I don’t think science makes any grander claim than that (unlike religion, which does make that claim). It doesn’t really claim to some ultimate “truth”, only to the best explanation of specific observations, and only to putting up the most reliable model of the world.

This is why scientifically discovered knowledge constantly gets revised and refined. And this is also why the very methods of science are themselves open to revision and refinement.

I suppose if you’re really determined, then you can insist on interpreting this rationalist/scientific POV in words like these : ‘I “believe” that science is the best tool for us to draw a map of our territory’. Absolutely, you can do that. But we’re now using the word “believe” in a whole different sense than the “belief” of the theist, aren’t we?

Have I understood you correctly, and do my thoughts address what you were saying satisfactorily, @NaturallySelected2?


(TLDR summary of the portion of my comment addressed to @NaturallySelected2 : Yes, I agree that these arguments are based on rationality, and specifically on empiricism / positivism / the scientific method. But that still does not tantamount to “belief”, because the scientific method does not really make claims to ‘truth’ in some grand, absolute, philosophical sense, it only helps us fashion for ourselves a best-in-the-circumstances tentative working model of the world.)

AP:

You may note you have asked a rather big question. I am reading a rather interesting book that explains everything much better than I could hope to called "the God theory" by Bernard Haisch which you can get for free here:
http://library1.ga/_ads/2F4AA39424084CC8CE92ECFA4C0BCC5B

Bernard is a highly respected Astrophysicist Ph.d who worked at NASA, Lockheed, and Space Sciences Laboratory.

He says,
"The single difference between the theory I propose and the ideas current in modern astrophysics is that I assume that an infinite conscious intelligence preexists. You cannot get away from the preexistence of something, and whether that is an ensemble of physical laws generating infinite random universes or an infinite conscious intelligence is something present-day science cannot resolve, and indeed one view is not more rational than the other.

"One might argue that one view is supported by evidence and the other is not. I would agree one hundred percent. The evidence for the existence of an infinite conscious intelligence is abundant in the accounts of the mystics and the meditative, prayerful, and sometimes spontaneous exceptional experiences of human beings throughout history. The evidence for random universes is precisely zero. Most scientists will reject the former type of evidence as merely subjective, but that simply reduces the contest of views to a draw: zero on both sides."


.

Appreciative Reader
I read your comments.
My first response is this:
“I ain’t got a fucking clue.”
However, now that you’ve raised the subject, I will attempt to give a rational explanation.
I have never bother to categorize myself, but I’ll do it now – just for the hell of it.
I am just thinking aloud here and have no idea where this will lead me.

First thing: I don’t like the ‘God’ word – nothing personal – just in case she is reading this blog.
So I don’t fit into the theist category or the gnostic category.
I neither believe in god; nor do I know there is a God. (personal god)
The issue I have with “God” is the ideas and concepts attached to that word.
(An powerful, all knowing, guy who lives in Sach khand and hangs out with his two pals
Anami Purush and Agam – or I might have that wrong – whatever)
So I used to believe in a character called Sat Purush, many many years ago in the days when I used to follow Darshan and Thakar and charan. Back then I was definitely a Theist.
Then someone told me it’s all bullshit. My first reaction was that he just hasn’t meditated hard enough. But as I spent time with him, it became clear that he fucking knew what the fuck he’s talking about. Which is more than you could say about me at the time. All I had was grand ideas and concepts about the inner regions and about the man in the sky and I “knew” I would get there one day and have a good chat with him.
He showed me that I was a fucking lunatic. And I fucking listened – and one day I fucking agreed.
That day my life turned fucking around.
I still had one question that would not go away.
“What do I need to do next?”
“How will I realise this fucking oneness?”

He laughed at my silly questions. “You still don’t fucking get it, do you?”
I admitted the obvious.

Then he dropped the bombshell.

There is nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to attain.

“You mean I am already there?” I asked in disbelief.

“Where?” he asked

“Well, you know, in the ONENESS?”

He laughed. “Are you fucking kidding me? You never left because you’re not allowed to leave. Nobody is allowed to leave. Nobody leaves.”

“You mean, it’s like the Hotel California?”
“I can check out any time I like?”
But….. “I can never leave?”
I laughed too. “you mean everyone is trying to get back to where they never left?”
“Well fuck me!” were my last words before I left him that night.

Oneness – at least to me – has nothing to do with God.
There is only one thing that is real (the way I define real: changeless, formless etc)
The oneness cannot be seen or experienced. It just is. Everything I say about it will be a lie.
I could call it “nothingness” and it would be just as valid (or invalid) as calling it the ONE.
I don’t claim any mystical experience.
I don’t believe there is any such thing.
I believe the seekers make it out to be mystical because they don’t understand the simplicity of it.
It’s a very simple realization.

Actually it appears I might actually be an atheist after all.
The atheist says he doesn’t believe the theist claim of a God. Well – I don’t believe it.
Since I don’t have a belief in a personal God of any sort – including Sat Purush.

The hard atheist goes further and says “I know there is No God”
I would say the same when it comes to a personal God.
I now say categorically that there is no Sat Purush or Sach khand
And his pals, Alakh, Agam and Anami don’t exist either, except in the fertile minds of the seekers.

So it turns out I am actually a hard atheist – a far cry from the Theist I once was, many years ago.

Not sure where this leads – but at least it was entertaining to write about.

287daysleft asked about my views on mysticism. Right now, I think if I comment on that I'll put my foot in my mouth more often than usual. Generally, I think mysticism obfuscates clarity.

I'm on the same fucking page as Osho (above) except I think Alakh, Agam and Anami (if I remember their meanings correctly)are present as such, but not as separate entities or regions.

God is a loaded word. I don't believe in the general public's religious concept of God (the guy in the sky) or many mystical concepts of God.

God just means consciousness to me. Maybe someone else would use the word energy or presence or existence or awareness or something like that. 'Consciousness' works for me.

Hi Appreciative!
You used a term I really like..
'Apathism'
LOL!
Did you invent that?
Like, 'doesn't care enough either way..?'

Sorry, I think Appreciative Reader is the correct name of the person I responded to above, not 287daysleft.

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