• VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    Dear thread,

    Atheists generally try to stake out the weak position of "lack of belief" instead of "belief in non-existence" because the former is defensible and clear while the latter is not. Hard atheism and soft atheism are fair distinctions.

    In my experience most atheists are soft atheists...

    The term "agnostic" implies soft atheism (if you don know either way, generally you lack belief but there are exceptions (i.e: i don't know but i believe because of faith)).

    Coloquially agnosticism has come to mean the exact same thing as soft atheism ("atheism" has never really been about proving the non-existence of god(s), if we're fair: it has been about rejection) which is that there is no belief either way.

    No belief is a tricky concept to behold for some people especially when ideas with emotions attached are at stake. Let me give you an unemotional example:

    I make the claim that there is a soccer-ball in my closet.

    You don't have access to my closet or any way to prove or disprove my claim.

    Maybe it's a basketball instead of a soccer-ball, or maybe there is no ball at all in my closet (maybe I don't even have a closet :gasp: ).

    Do you believe there is a soccer-ball in my closet? If not, do you then believe there is no soccer-ball in my closet?

    Why must you have a "belief" either way? If you're not forced to decide, why bother?

    This emotionally neutered analogy for the claim that god exists can be used to contextualize a wide gambit of these imperfect labels which we so ineffectually yet lovingly bandy and berate:

    Agnosticism used to mean that we cannot have knowledge or evidence about god either way (it was a claim about empirical and epistemic limits, not about belief) (no access to the god closet)

    Ignosticism goes further and says that arguing about the existence of god is incoherent because god might be any number of things (any kind of ball, or something jagged).

    Theological non-cognitivism goes even further and says that all this talk is incoherent and circular to begin with because we have no access to god's closet and the descriptions we do have are of arbitrary human origin and therefore circular.

    theser views are from whence the spaghetti monster came-a-flying and the claim that babies are not god believers was birthed. If you are dipped into its magical waters, you will gain the dem(a)i-go(gue)d like powers of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris...

    We should all take a grain of salt with these labels though. They're not perfect and we shouldn't expect the world to always to conform to neat and discrete categories that can be easily defined.

    If you ever find the delays which fussing over labels causes in a given discussion to be significant, why bother to use labels (a time saving device) in the first place?
  • Marcus de Brun
    450
    The 'three' positions appear to be

    There is a God
    There is not a God
    I don't know, there may be something?

    A particular type of 'having cake and eating it too' appears to apply to the 3rd agnostic option. It would appear that the 3rd option has the high moral ground. But that is only because the agnostic (rather selfishly IMOP) chooses not to engage constructively in the debate.

    The 'debate' as such is confined to those who wish to align themselves with either of the combatants.

    It might be argued that agnosticism is a form of intellectual cowardice or duplicity in that it occupies a duality of choice and permits the agnostic to create a personal and self serving God-reality AND a non-God reality. I think one MUST choose a side and validate ones decision in spite of the difficulties or the ferocity on the battlefield. The ferocity of the argument seems relative to the lack of definition as to what this 'God' thing actually might be, and I suspect that Spinoza has the most evolved and unappreciated concept of same.

    M
  • Wayfarer
    16.8k
    Another thing to notice is that many of these discussions, especially on Internet forums, are conducted as if there is simply no indication or evidence of what 'God' might be, other than something about which nothing can be known. So the debate is conducted as if none of the theistic traditions and the testimonies they contain exist, or had ever existed. Then the discussion proceeds having purportedly established that this mysterious God thing is something completely unknowable, like a 'soccer ball in the closet' or a flying teapot or spaghetti monster or whatever. And the question that raises for me is, what does it matter if such a purported entity exists or not?
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    And the question that raises for me is, what does it matter if such a purported entity exists or not?Wayfarer

    Indeed, but even if we could prove full blown Yaweh nothing would really change.

    And even if it's all an ultimately meaningless game of Jumanji that we play, there will always be a need for the kind of emotional catharsis that it can offer to the scorned on all sides of the fence, including those straddling the top, and also to those who have cognitively left the court.
  • Marcus de Brun
    450
    "And even if it's all an ultimately meaningless game of Jumanji..."

    For as long as we exist, or at least think that we exist 'meaningless jumanji" or meaninglessness is ultimately impossible.

    Thought exists and thought has meaning. If reality defies meaning to us personally we still cannot escape the meaningful nature of thought itself. Meaninglessness is only potentiated at ones death.

    Thought=Life= meaning.

    M
  • SherlockH
    73
    A lot of Athiests seem to think it means "rejects the idea of religion and worship science and figures against religion". Who believe worshipping science makes them scientists.
  • Fool
    66
    I debated an “agnostic atheist” at length some years ago. I ended up writing a full-on essay to educate him. I stopped some way through because it wasn’t worth my time. Still got the back-and-forth and the rough draft. Thesis was that any appeal to evidence commits you to a position.

    The most interesting topics addressed were the outdated empiricist assumptions behind typical atheism and the increasingly popular option to “not reject the null hypothesis.”
  • S
    11.8k
    Skimming through the first page of replies, I was struck by a part of your reply which stood out as more reasonable than other parts of your reply, and those of others. Atheism is better defined in terms of rejection of belief, which both makes sense and permits a broader range of positions.
  • S
    11.8k
    "atheism" has never really been about proving the non-existence of god(s), if we're fair: it has been about rejectionVagabondSpectre

    Ah, good. That's close enough to what I'd say. Gold star for you. It's not strictly about the former, and it's better defined in terms of the latter.

    That's the best place to start. However, from that point onwards, there are still traps to be avoided, like the confusion related to rejection and affirmation. Rejection allows for at least two distinct types of atheism, which we could call 'soft' and 'hard'. It doesn't force an atheist into the position of 'hard atheism': those who make that argument are being illogical.
  • S
    11.8k
    The 'three' positions appear to be

    There is a God
    There is not a God
    I don't know, there may be something?

    A particular type of 'having cake and eating it too' appears to apply to the 3rd agnostic option. It would appear that the 3rd option has the high moral ground. But that is only because the agnostic (rather selfishly IMOP) chooses not to engage constructively in the debate.

    The 'debate' as such is confined to those who wish to align themselves with either of the combatants.

    It might be argued that agnosticism is a form of intellectual cowardice or duplicity in that it occupies a duality of choice and permits the agnostic to create a personal and self serving God-reality AND a non-God reality. I think one MUST choose a side and validate ones decision in spite of the difficulties or the ferocity on the battlefield. The ferocity of the argument seems relative to the lack of definition as to what this 'God' thing actually might be, and I suspect that Spinoza has the most evolved and unappreciated concept of same.

    M
    Marcus de Brun

    There are those cases where I'd say that there's a God because of a trivial definition (e.g. God is love, God is the universe); those cases where I'd say that there's no God (e.g. where it's impossible); and those cases where I'd say that it's possible, yet there's not good enough grounds for belief either way.

    So, really, which category I fit is relative to- and dependent on- further detail. But broadly, without such detail, and if I had to pick an option, then I would pick the third option, which would actually be the most reasonable under those circumstances, in spite of your uncharitable and ill-considered judgement of it. But generally, I have found that the term 'agnostic' isn't as useful as the term 'atheist' for someone of my position, because, for one thing, it can give the wrong impression, as your reply attests. I'm hardly a fence sitter or shy away from debate on this topic. I've been called a staunch atheist. But also because, generally, I have found that it doesn't matter as much that I'm reasonable enough not to rule out that which is at least possible, and that what's of greater relevance is my rejection of the belief in God on the basis that it's unwarranted, and that these possibilities can be dismissed from serious consideration as implausible or incredible. It's not a shrugging of the shoulders, or seeing it as 50/50, like some agnostics do.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    always thought agnostic or your weak atheism was really just a non position, and as such has no seat at table of discussion. They are the tennis referee calling shots in our out, but not part of the game. And in general the players can call their own shots.

    Not a big fan of your soccer ball problem, it is just a conclusion with out a premise-

    If you said

    1 I own a soccer ball
    2 I keep my sporting equipment in a closet

    Therefore there is a soccer ball in the closet

    Then we may have a view if your conclusion is valid or not

    I think if you want a seat at the table, you should have a position that there is or is not a God.
  • S
    11.8k
    I think if you want a seat at the table, you should have a position that there is or is not a God.Rank Amateur

    Yeah, well, I think that those who have that simplistic attitude of, "You're either with us or you're against us", should go and sit somewhere else and make room for others with a more reasonable attitude.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    not what I am saying.

    What I am saying is, it is not a position to say proposition A may or may not be true, or this or that point in support or defense of proposition A may or may not be valid. It is way beyond reasonable. It is objectively true that there is or is not a God. It needs no discussion or defense. It also is not very helpful.
  • S
    11.8k
    not what I am saying.

    What I am saying is, it is not a position to say proposition A may or may not be true, or this or that point in support or defense of proposition A may or may not be valid. It is way beyond reasonable. It is objectively true that there is or is not a God. It needs no discussion or defense. It also is not very helpful.
    Rank Amateur

    But that's not the full extent of what the position is about. Positions on this topic - most topics even - don't tend to be taken based on mere possibility, so I don't agree with making that the focus, irrespective of whether or not I'm one of those who think that it may or may not be true, or even that we don't know either way. What's relevant is not so black and white. What's of relevance is what a position has or has not got going for it, the pros and cons, things like evidence, arguments, logic, reason, plausibility, and explanatory power. These things can tip the scales for or against to some extent. It's just not true that my position must be that there's a God, or conversely, that there's no God, to be of relevance. That really does make you come across as someone who has very limited experience of such debates.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    there is no doubt that I am inexperienced- hence the name. However how does your point of what a position has going for it, pros cons, merits etc, apply when the position is, I have no position on the question?

    That does not mean that on any particular item in the argument an agnostic can not have a valid or helpful view. But at its core equivocation is not a position.

    If you will accept that an important part of what we believe to be true is how it effects what we do. How can agnosticism have any impact on what we do. Pray on tuesdays and thursdays? Accept absurdity on Monday Wednesday and friday?
  • Marcus de Brun
    450
    'God' is not really a topic that has any bearing upon Philosophy. He she or it's existence is a subject for religion, and the belief one might have or not have in some human-like intelligence that presides over mankind and the Universe with some interventionist or non-interventionist potential, is a subject for psychology and occasionally for psychiatry.

    The real question at hand (if one wishes to know or define a God) is How has the Cosmos been constructed and how does it function?

    Science has brought us a considerable way down this road, however this is a journey that can only be completed by Philosophy. I think a far more pertinent question is why Philosophy remains paralyzed whilst Science can clearly advance along this road. I have rasied this question on another thread and would be most appreciative of input to this question, as I feel it is the first to be asked, before an acceptable model of the Cosmos can be constructed.

    It might be stated with some confidence that Science has arrived at an impasse in respect of Quantum Mechanics. The current impasse is summarized in the truth or falsity of Bell's Theorem, which suggests that Science has arrived at the question of Determinism, in which case she (Science) can proceed no further until Philosophy gets the proverbial finger out.

    The world is waiting.

    M
  • S
    11.8k
    [T]here is no doubt that I am inexperienced- hence the name. However how does your point of what a position has going for it, pros cons, merits etc, apply when the position is, I have no position on the question?Rank Amateur

    That isn't the position, as I interpret it. Having a different position to the two positions which you would count isn't the same as having no position on the question. It's not just black or white, there are shades of grey inbetween.

    That does not mean that on any particular item in the argument an agnostic can not have a valid or helpful view. But at its core equivocation is not a position.Rank Amateur

    If you mean to refer to my position, then whence the equivocation? What do you even mean by that? In many respects, my views are indistinguishable from those of your typical atheist. I consider myself to be an atheist. And I fit the definition of an atheist, so long as it's not defined too narrowly - although even then I fit the definition in some cases. I'm firmly more on one side than the other, I just don't take it beyond what I judge to be reasonable. Are you suggesting that I must do so in order to be of any relevance or to even have a position in the first place? Because that's how you're coming across to me. I find that absurd.

    If you will accept that an important part of what we believe to be true is how it effects what we do. How can agnosticism have any impact on what we do. Pray on tuesdays and thursdays? Accept absurdity on Monday Wednesday and friday?Rank Amateur

    I reject prayer, as do other atheists. That has an impact on what I do. You won't find me in church, praying to a god that I don't believe in, to intervene in ways that I don't believe stand any real chance of happening.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    there is no doubt that I am inexperienced- hence the name. However how does your point of what a position has going for it, pros cons, merits etc, apply when the position is, I have no position on the question?

    That does not mean that on any particular item in the argument an agnostic can not have a valid or helpful view. But at its core equivocation is not a position.
    Rank Amateur

    Another way of looking at this is that soft atheists take the position of rejection both ways. We reject theist claims and arguments and we reject hard-atheist claims and arguments. We maintain that we're ignorant of the truth (soft-atheism) usually because we believe the truth is inaccessible (agnosticism).

    Not a big fan of your soccer ball problem, it is just a conclusion with out a premise-Rank Amateur

    A conclusion without a premise huh? :)

    YOU'RE RIGHT! It's just a random claim out of nowhere for which you have exactly zero means of confirmation or disconfirmation. To boot, it's equally plausible that there is a soccer ball in my closet as it is plausible that there is not, so it's not as if any reliable appeal to opinion can be made. On top of this, the existence/non-existence of a soccer ball would change nothing for you, so any emotional pull you might feel toward affirming the existence of god should not apply in this hypothetical...

    But what is your answer to the soccer-ball query? Do you believe there is a soccer-ball? Do you believe there is no soccer-ball? Or do you lack belief?

    From my perspective, god claims (for and against) are generally unsupported, just like a conclusion without a satisfactory premise (evidence). The tables I'm unfit to dine at are in the evidence-allergy section I assure you ;)
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    there either is, or is not an uncreated creator. There are no other options. That was called being black or white earlier, call it what you like, but it is a true statement. One can, chose by reason to believe either argument. If one finds the question important, one should work to answer it.

    Which leads me back to your soccer ball.

    My answer is, I don't care if there is or is not a soccer ball in your closet. The question has no importance to me.

    If however you said if you guess correctly, I will give you 5,000 dollars I would work to try and answer correctly.

    If you said, if you guess there is a ball, and you are right, you get 100 million dollars, if you guess there is not a ball, and you are right you get 35 cents. I guess there is a ball.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    Ladies and gentlemen, Pascal has entered the building! :grin:

    there either is, or is not an uncreated creator. There are no other options. That was called being black or white earlier, call it what you like, but it is a true statement. One can, chose by reason to believe either argument.Rank Amateur

    I agree that there either is or is not an uncreated creator, but I must ask by which form of "reason" one can establish a quality argument for or against the existence of uncreated creator? We can choose to believe whatever we like, but what logical or rational reasons are there to do so?

    The problem that I'm facing is that the original claims theists make are broad, ambiguous, and unsubstantiated. From my perspective it's not a choice between black and white, it's a choice between green with yellow polka-dots or NOT green with yellow polka-dots; and when a Buddhist feeds me their claims it's mauve with lime stripes, or not. Uncreated creators, self-created creators, created creators, interactive creators, indifferent creators, loving creators, one creator, many creators, jealous creators, forgiving creators, vengeful creators, ambivalent creators, et cetra, et certa. White is actually is an amalgam of many colors; it's ill defined.

    My answer is, I don't care if there is or is not a soccer ball in your closet. The question has no importance to me.Rank Amateur

    That's why the hypothetical uses a soccer-ball and not something you might have emotional stake in. If your answer to the soccer-ball question is that you don't care, how do you feel about the existence of Zeus (a non-deist deity to be precise)? Surely you care to take a position on the existence of leprechauns though, don't you want to get their pots of gold? I'm joshing but this does illustrate my take on your dichotomy. You can say it's either X or not X and therefore 50-50 or easy to address, but you would also be negating the rest of the overgrown theist alphabet.

    If however you said if you guess correctly, I will give you 5,000 dollars I would work to try and answer correctly. If you said, if you guess there is a ball, and you are right, you get 100 million dollars, if you guess there is not a ball, and you are right you get 35 cents. I guess there is a ball.Rank Amateur

    If we're going to truly embrace the dice, I wish to point out that guesses aren't exactly free: we spend time, influence, energy, and freedom by choosing beliefs with sweeping ramifications in so many areas of life. With that in mind, welcome to Babylon's Casino!

    Here we use monté-mono-theist-carlo rules, so you really only have enough resources to place one bet, so choose wisely! Have a seat at the roulette wheel! You could bet on red or black and address the broad question, but nobody knows what the odds pay for that and everybody knows betting on hard atheism actually pays out nothing. Alternatively you could bet on one of the many numbers of the roulette wheel. Making such a precise prediction from a guess is obviously more difficult than playing red or black and so the pay-outs are rumored to be better, but oddly the pay-outs are number specific so be careful what you bet for.

    So you only get one bet from a sea of options in an ocean of games, and everything is a wrong answer but one, and there isn't always a consolation prize for getting it wrong...

    What do you get for not playing?

    You become free of the confounding influence of arbitrary beliefs that have no basis in reality, for better or for worse...

    But if you absolutely must place a bet, do it somewhere where they actually comp you regardless in the form of something like community support or financial assistance (in this life).
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    "I agree that there either is or is not an uncreated creator, but I must ask by which form of "reason" one can establish a quality argument for or against the existence of uncreated creator? We can choose to believe whatever we like, but what logical or rational reasons are there to do so?"

    there are a few reasonable arguments for there being at one time an un-created - creator. I understand there are challenges. And I have acknowledged that the counter position is not un-reasonable. But the assertion that a theistic belief is un-reasonable is more rooted in a particular prejudice than in argument.

    and the addition of Pascal is not really for the mechanics of the wager, but for the need to bet.
    The game is on, whether one acknowledges it or not. There either is or is not a God.

    But my real objection to agnostic or soft atheism - is, it is really a semantic hedge - disguised as reason. If our actions are the manifestations of our beliefs - most/all agnostics - are practicing atheists - just holding on to a hedge. Or as above - conversely - umpires in the argument - calling different positions in or out while sitting comfortably in the chair above the court, indifferent as to the outcome of the match.
  • S
    11.8k
    So, first you suggest that we haven't worked to answer the question, and now you're calling us indifferent umpires. These are merely ad hominems.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    asserting that if a dichotomous question has meaning to you, is worth effort to arrive at 1 of the 2 possible answers, and an analogy of evaluating others positions without taking one, are not ad hominids in my understanding or the term. But I guess we could into the weeds of if the ad hominid is in the eye of the sender or receiver.

    What I can say - without equivocation, is none was intended.
  • S
    11.8k
    The question is worth investigation and reasoned analysis. It's not worth transcending the bounds of reason in order to reach one of those two conclusions. It's worth taking the right position, rather than being pushed into the wrong one. I refuse to play by your rules. I travel a different path: one which you're trying in vain to close off.
  • chatterbears
    416
    Simply, I do not believe that no gods exist and I do not believe that some god exists.Jerry

    Then you are an Atheist. There are two propositions.

    1. I believe god exists.
    2. I believe god does not exist.

    If you do not accept #1 as true, you're an Atheist. It doesn't matter what your answer is to #2, as that would be the difference between weak and strong Atheism. If you accept #2, you would be a Strong Atheist (or Gnostic Atheist), but if you reject #2, you would be a Weak Atheist (or Agnostic Atheist).

    It gets frustrating when people try to be in the middle, and call themselves Agnostic. That is completely irrelevant to the question of belief. Agnostic & Gnostic are about Knowledge, while Theism & Atheism are about Belief. So when someone says, "Do you believe a God exists?", you're answer should pertain to belief, not knowledge. The question was NOT "Do you know a God exists?". To that question, you could say you're Agnostic, meaning "I don't know." - But to the first question of, "Do you believe a God exists?" - If you're answer is anything other than yes, then you are an Atheist. If your answer is "I don't know" or "I'm not sure" or "I am not convinced", then you clearly lack the belief that a God exists, which makes you an Atheist.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    there are a few reasonable arguments for there being at one time an un-created - creator. I understand there are challenges. And I have acknowledged that the counter position is not un-reasonable. But the assertion that a theistic belief is un-reasonable is more rooted in a particular prejudice than in argument.Rank Amateur

    In my view, both the theist and hard-atheist views are unreasonable. In the past I've searched extensively for proofs of god (for and against) and I've never come across a clear and satisfactorily reasonable one. If you wish up to take up some such argument, I welcome you to do so, and it will be my pleasure to attack it should it prove less than reasonable.

    and the addition of Pascal is not really for the mechanics of the wager, but for the need to bet.

    The game is on, whether one acknowledges it or not. There either is or is not a God.
    Rank Amateur

    And why is there a need to place a bet exactly? Because if we don't God might hold our abstinence against us? What if the real test is to not hold unreasonable beliefs, and by making presumptions about god, you will actually be losing the bet?

    I think you feel that there is a very large need to take a position with respect to your own beliefs because they encompass so much of your world-view (I don't mean this in a disparaging way, you seem like a nice person). But a Bhuddist feels a similar sense of urgency with respect to deciding whether or not reincarnation is real because similarly it encompasses much else in their belief structure.

    There either is or is not flying spaghetti monster deity. The Pastafarians who worshship him will tell you that you must take an actual position on its existence, that you must take a position whether you want to or not.

    Like the soccer-ball question, you would probably say that you simply don't care and that nothing seems to actually be at stake. For me, having emancipated myself from religion and theistic belief so long ago, there re almost no remaining god-shaped holes that I haven't already filled with something else. Whether or not god exists changes nothing for me as it very clearly does not reveal itself in this life, and presuming that god-belief is important for the next life is a presumption that comes out of nowhere and has no rational advantage over its rejection or negation.

    I keep giving you comparisons which contrast with how you might honestly approach the actual question, and I'm only doing so to try and convey what the dichotomy looks like from a position where nothing other than the truth is at stake. I could claim that this life is actually a video-game, and that getting a high score is therefore the most important thing in existence... It's all either a video-game or not a video game and score either means everything or it does not mean everything. The game of deciding to believe this or believe it's negation is on whether one acknowledges it or not.

    There a million and one such games. I would rather just play them by not playing instead of going through each one and making claims that require effort to substantiate. There is a very big difference between choosing to believe in the non-existence of something (broad) and rejecting belief in something specific (or likewise, broad).

    But my real objection to agnostic or soft atheism - is, it is really a semantic hedge - disguised as reason. If our actions are the manifestations of our beliefs - most/all agnostics - are practicing atheists - just holding on to a hedge. Or as above - conversely - umpires in the argument - calling different positions in or out while sitting comfortably in the chair above the court, indifferent as to the outcome of the match.Rank Amateur

    Umpires exist because impartiality correlates with making accurate judgments. I'm not exactly impartial, but I'm not an umpire. It's more like a basketball court: you keep trying to sink a basket and we keep blocking you, but we don't care to carry the ball to the other end of the court for a basket of our own.

    If we don't know the truth of something, there is nothing demanding that we take up beliefs in regards to said truth. If someone puts a gun to our heads and forces us to guess, so be it, but nobody is doing this. It's a humility; we don't have access to god-knowledge.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    Like the soccer-ball question, you would probably say that you simply don't care and that nothing seems to actually be at stake. For me, having emancipated myself from religion and theistic belief so long ago, there re almost no remaining god-shaped holes that I haven't already filled with something else. Whether or not god exists changes nothing for me as it very clearly does not reveal itself in this life, and presuming that god-belief is important for the next life is a presumption that comes out of nowhere and has no rational advantage over its rejection or negationVagabondSpectre

    Thanks for all - appreciate the comments. All due respect - this statement certainly sounds like you have taken a position - in your actions and in your thoughts. All that really remains is to acknowledge it as such. I would also assume you arrived at this position from reason, which is in conflict with your statement:

    " In my view, both the theist and hard-atheist views are unreasonable"

    maybe we just have a difference on assumptions of truth. I believe one can believe something to be true, and act accordingly, by fact, reason, or faith. And make no value judgement of which is "more true"

    I read into your comment that your definition of truth seems to lie only in what is fact. And reasoned beliefs of truth have less weight.

    That to me is a very different position than indifference - which I would have no argument against. Although I am skeptical that any thoughtful person is truly indifferent to the question - Which returns me to my view that the agnostic is not a reasoned position - or even an absence of reasoned position - it is a hedge against the position of your beliefs and actions.

    I have no issue that my world view impacts my position - as I think yours and others does as well.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    Thanks for all - appreciate the comments. All due respect - this statement certainly sounds like you have taken a position - in your actions and in your thoughts. All that really remains is to acknowledge it as such. I would also assume you arrived at this position from reason, which is in conflict with your statement:Rank Amateur

    If you can convince me I've taken a hard position I'll happily fess up, but it's been years and years since I've done so (been foolish enough to take a hard position). Since I lack belief in god I have had to replace my moral and existential frameworks with things that aren't founded in theism. I lack belief, and so naturally I lack the religious intellectual paraphernalia that comes with it, but this does not equate to hard atheism.

    I don't wear a diving cap because I'm not a diver, but to abstain from wearing a diving cap doesn't mean I'm a hard-anti-diver. I don't need to justify my irreligion with a hard claim, else everyone with their own religious narrative would demand a proper rebuke.

    I'm waiting for a proper proof first.

    I read into your comment that your definition of truth seems to lie only in what is fact. And reasoned beliefs of truth have less weight.

    That to me is a very different position than indifference - which I would have no argument against. Although I am skeptical that any thoughtful person is truly indifferent to the question - Which returns me to my view that the agnostic is not a reasoned position - or even an absence of reasoned position - it is a hedge against the position of your beliefs and actions.
    Rank Amateur

    Some beliefs can be more rational than others, especially when they're supported by evidence. Holding positive beliefs about the existence or non-existence of god is unreasonable because there is no satisfactory evidence either way. Reason is a form of evidence; "reasoned beliefs" can be fine, depending on the quality of the reasons.

    You say that my hard position (which I am telling you I do not occupy) is a hedge against my beliefs and actions...

    Why? What actions are you imagining me carry out? What beliefs are you referring to?

    Are you envisioning the immoral life of a hedonistic sinner who forces himself into hard atheism to counter his divine guilt?

    In the same way that you are likely indifferent to the question of whether or not aliens exist out there in the universe, or whether Zeus existed, I have grown likewise indifferent to the broad (and vague) question of god's existence entirely. I no longer see it as an important question because there's no reliable way to answer it and I no longer gain anything by believing that god exists. Why should I bother?

    I have no issue that my world view impacts my position - as I think yours and others does as well.Rank Amateur

    By virtue of not seeing a god anywhere, I don't therefore incorporate whichever doctrine I believe corresponds to ultimate truth into my behavior and decisions. But believe it or not, I do leave room in my worldview to be proven wrong. I don't know what's going on outside the observable universe (let alone everything within it), what came before it, what might come after it, or why.

    I do believe things like: a big bang happened about 13.75 billion years ago which gave rise to space-time and matter, and that a slow evolution of complexity in the hierarchies and goings-on of matter eventually lead to stars, heavier elements, planets, water, proto-?RNA?-replicators, cellular life, multi-cellular life, complex biological organisms, complex learning brains, and us.

    I believe these well reasoned and evidenced beliefs because my brain is one that prefers evidence-based modeling of reality (because it gives more reliable predictive power and hence greater power to maintain and increase the emergent complexity that we are inexorably a part of).

    These beliefs really do impact my actions and subsequent beliefs. That I lack god-belief and its consequences is the wrong detail to focus on to try and understand my position. The list of things and gods which I lack belief in are unending, you'll never understand me that way.

    I have no issue that my world view impacts my position - as I think yours and others does as well.Rank Amateur

    As a non-Buddhist my position is impacted by not believing in the God-Head, not believing in reincarnation, and not regularly reciting any number of mantras with supposedly mystical qualities. In the same sense with reference to Christianity, I don't pray to Jesus, I don't look to the bible to establish right and wrong, and the sabbath is for personal veneration, not papal.

    ...Everyone was so shocked to see the emperor without any clothes on. The fool should have bade everyone else get naked too, then to them he would have seemed regular and normal...
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