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Agnostic vs. Non-Dogmatic, Knowledge, Your Fit Dinah

Posted by fachad on September 9, 2002, at 21:56:43

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question fachad, posted by Dinah on September 8, 2002, at 3:05:48


Thanks for the well thought out post. I think I might have been clearer if I had used "non-dogmatic" instead of "agnostic".

And as to where you fit in my conclusion, well, you fit into the non-dogmatic spiritual category.

Non-dogmatic because you thought it out and don't try to force one religion on everyone. And spiritual because you "believe in the Lord, my God, with all my heart, mind, and soul".

I really did mean agnostic, by your dictionary definition of agnostic, but only with a technical definition of "to know".

We use the word "know" pretty loosely in ordinary language. I know that it is raining outside. I know how to make scrambled eggs. I know Joe Blow, he's a great guy. I know that force equals mass times acceleration. I know that Led Zeppelin is better than Deep Purple.

Some of those uses of the verb "to know" are knowledge of matters of fact, ("know that"). Others are knowledge of technique, ("know how"). There is familiarity (know a person). And there is self knowledge of a personal preference.

And when I say I am agnostic, I mean I do not believe that knowledge of religious matters is possible; and I mean that in the very strict sense of knowledge of matters of fact.

Knowledge of matters of fact can be tested, and either verified of falsified. You can look out the window, and determine, "yes, it is in fact raining" or "no, you are mistaken, it is not raining."

You can design and conduct tests for any thing that can be known in that sense, and your hypothesis can be found true of false.

Now that is not to say that someone cannot have faith in God, even if they cannot have knowledge (in the technical sense) of God. This is, after all, the Faith Board, not the Knowledge Board.

So when someone says, "I know that my Redeemer Liveth", they could be just repeating dogma, but if they are sincere they are making a statement about how they relate to or experience the universe.

The real problem comes when people confuse "I know that God loves us and has a plan" type knowing with "I know that water boils at 100 degrees centigrade at sea level" knowledge. One is a matter of fact, and one is a personal experience.

That confusion, which may seem minor and pedantic, is what lights the torches and fuels the inquisition. That mistake has caused so much suffering and death throught human history, and that is why I feel so strongly about it.

> >
> > I honestly don't see how anyone can seriously consider this question, with an open mind and true self honesty, and come out anything other than agnostic. That's not to say they won't have faith or spirituality - just that they won't insist that it's the "only true religion".
> >
> Chuckle. Glad you clarified that. I assure you that I have seriously considered that question with an open mind and true self honesty, and while I went through a period of being agnostic, I am now definitely *not* agnostic.
> I wanted to make sure I had the definition of agnostic right so I checked Merriam-Webster on the internet and found this definition:
> : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and prob. unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
> I do not hold this view and so am not an agnostic. I believe in the Lord, my God, with all my heart, mind, and soul. And I see more than enough evidence in the workings of the universe to justify my belief.
> However, I would never insist on my religion (which I would categorize as a nonspecific Judeo-Christianity) as the "only true religion". So where does that leave me in your conclusion? :)




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