Relationship of agnosticism to theist/atheism

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by James R, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Hence my clarification in post #17.
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  3. mathman Valued Senior Member

    Much of the discussion to be whether or not god exists. There are other points of view, such as many gods or a place where souls go without any deities.
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  5. Dennis Tate Valued Senior Member


    An exceptionally polite Atheist once told me that my beliefs in Theistic Evolutionary Theory were actually a legitimate branch of Atheism... by definition.....
    I believe that our Creator in a sense "evolved" and / or learned over infinite time in the past and got better and better and better at creations.....
    and our ancestors were in a sense invented?!
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  7. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

    All this depends on a mental idea of how God or god is viewed personally. It's a mental construct that varies between all sorts of different types of people, so Agnostic Atheist is about as self identifying as a super hero villain in disguise association might be.

    I identify as a theist, both monotheist and polytheist, which places me in about the same category as super hero villain in disguise or an agnostic atheist.

    I guess the details might offer some clarity.

    If God exists, how would you view him/her/it or whatever you envision God to be as an Agnostic Atheist?
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Those two concepts are unrelated.

    Theistic Evolutionary Theory, in a nutshell, asserts that God (who is outside Creation) directs the material universe and all life within and that evolution is a natural prcoess wirthin that.

    There's is nothing in there about God being alive, or being subject to life-based evolutionary mechanisms. And "learning" is not related to life-based evolution.

    Just because two word-salads use a similar set of words deos not make them the same salad.
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    You're not saying that God is a mental construct, are you?

    I assume you think that the God or gods you believe in are actually real, in that they exist outside your head. They don't just exist for you, but also for everybody else - including people like me who aren't convinced they are real.

    I don't understand your point about identifying as an agnostic atheist is like being a villain in disguise. What are you trying to say? Are you accusing me of telling a lie when I say I believe that it is conceivable that a god could exist, but I'm not currently convinced that any god exists? Are you accusing me of telling a lie when I say I care about whether there's evidence for a god?

    Is it your claim that, in reality, I actually hold the positive belief that there is no God, and I'm just pretending that my position is more nuanced than that in order to try to make myself seem more reasonable?

    Meanwhile, there you are, telling everybody, in effect, that you are completely convinced that your god(s) are 100% real, and you couldn't possibly be wrong about that. Is that a reasonable position?
    That's a contradiction in terms. By definition, a monotheist believes there is only one god, while a polytheist believes there are at least two gods.

    I suppose you could blur the lines if your single God has some kind of multiple-personal disorder, such that the god has various avatars which act as if they are completely different entities. But I'd say that's effectively polytheism.

    Which particular gods do you believe in (if I may ask)?
    It would depend very much on which God exists and what the characteristics of that God are, like I said.

    Do you have any particular Gods in mind? There are lots to choose from.
  10. geordief Valued Senior Member

    Have I misunderstood what you are saying?

    Wouldn't an agnostic theist be someone who believes a god exists but is open to the possibility of being mistaken?

    Is that what you were saying?

    Personally I am a very bolshie atheist but I am wrong in most things and am just as likely to be wrong about that too.
  11. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    I don't think I even thought about any of that stuff, terms and definitions when I ditched the notion of god.
    I was raised Christian and wanted to know if the claims were true or not.
    By the time I came to reject all the claims I realised I would now be called an atheist.
    I found out later that agnostic did not mean someone on the fence, this was more to do with knowledge.
    I still think the term is superfluous, everyone is truly ignorant of god.
    How could we possibly know? Perhaps Yhwh did his stuff got bored and now resides in Andromeda?
    I don't think that, but claiming to know or being conscious of not knowing really does not bring much else to the table.
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I'm not aware there is any such thing as a theistic evolutionary "theory". I suspect that - long gone- poster made that up.

    But certainly my understanding is that the position of most mainstream western Christianity is more or less that God works through the laws of nature, so science can explain nature without the need to invoke supernatural intervention. There is thus no quarrel with the scientific accounts of the origin of the cosmos, life etc. I suspect liberal Judaism and Islam may have a similar view. These religions know they are on a hiding to nothing trying to contradict science.
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I Googled it to confirm first, though I did not verify the source. It's a thing*.

    * simply that at least two people that evinced the idea, and at least one of them has a keyboard and an internet connection

    "Theistic evolutionists believe that there is a God, that God is the creator of the material universe and (by consequence) all life within, and that biological evolution is a natural process within that creation. Evolution, according to this view, is simply a tool that God employed to develop human life."
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2023
  14. geordief Valued Senior Member

    I wonder do any theists posit that the "god" changes over time?

    As an example ,with Christianity did that god have any "feelings" as he/she /it/other sent their only(?)son to the Earth?

    Did those feelings change the God and in what way?

    "Glad to be rid of that bugger.About time he got a proper job"

    Or,"Make me proud son.I knew you had it in ya"

    Or "Don't knock anybody up.We can't taint a virgin civilization"

    Or is that God entirely dispassionate?No favourites in this kingdom of the elite.
  15. Halc Registered Senior Member

    Since this 2-year old topic has been resurrected, it seems I can reply to the OP.

    Agree here. Atheism = ~theism.

    I cannot agree with your definition of agnosticism. The word fundamentally means "don't know" or "not sure", and here you are defining it to mean the opposite, that there is sufficient evident to support the belief. The term agnistic has nothing to do with theism of course. I can be agnostic about the current weather in Paris. I hold no belief about whether it is currently raining there or not because I don't know. I could know if I bothered to check, but for some things, there is simply no evidence to be had. I am agnostic about the current existence of life outside our solar system but within a 100 LY radius. The word means "insufficient evidence, so I can't know for sure".

    Now you've gone and changed 'belief' to 'certainty', a stronger word. There is sort of a continuum going from suspicion, opinion, belief, certainty, with probably some more words between. 'Certainty' is a dangerous thing, and I've gone out of my way to not be certain of anything, including some obvious stuff like 2+2=4. But at least that one manages to get on the 'belief' list for me.

    As for belief in Theism, most formal organizations encourage faith, belief despite lack of hard evidence. Any schlep can believe in the moon, which is sort of hard not to notice. But belief in God requires more of you, which I suppose is part of

    You mean like the Christian trinity? A blurry line if I ever saw one. Is it one or three? I hear prayers to 'dear Lord', 'hey God', 'we ax you baby Jesus' (my favorite), and also to saints if you're RC. Nobody seems to address their prayers to the holy spirit, despite it having the supposed best people skills necessary for the typical prayer request.
  16. Zero Point Native Registered Member

    What would you call a person that doesn't believe in anything? Or what would you call a person that believes in everything?
  17. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    We have already defined those terms.
    A belief in God = theism
    No belief in a god = atheism
  18. Zero Point Native Registered Member

    That still didn't answer my question. Theists believe there is a god. Atheists believe there is no god. Both are beliefs. So again, my question is what do you call a person that has no beliefs?
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    This is not true.

    Many atheists do not believe 'there is no God', they simply aren't convinced there is one.

    There's a difference.
  20. Zero Point Native Registered Member

    So one can be an atheist and still believe in the existence of god?
  21. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    Sure there could be one, we (atheists) just are not convinced there is one.
  22. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Yes it’s the word theory I would quibble with in this context. What you and I are describing is a theological position. It does not claim to be a theory, at least certainly not in any scientific sense.

    It is thus unlike the pseudoscientific claims of “intelligent design”, say, or some other varieties of creationism, which pretend there is scientific evidence for their beliefs.
  23. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    There is quite a good analogy that Matt Dillahunty uses. In a court of law you are not found "innocent," you are found "not guilty."

    You could be innocent of course but the point is the case provided by the prosecution is to convince the jury you are guilty, it is not the job of the defence to prove you innocent.
    If the jury is not convinced by the arguments then the verdict is not guilty.
    I am not convinced by the arguments for god, I used to be but once I challenged them I came to reject my own arguments and my own beliefs for Yhwh at least, at that time.
    I became unconvinced of all the other stories too, other gods over time.
    If brand new evidence came to light I would consider it.

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