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  #1  
October 26th, 2006, 02:30 PM
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My DH has recently identified himself as agnostic and I must admit he has several valid points that make me question things.

I'm not sure I quite understand everything and would love your input. He says he definitely believes in God. He questions the authenticity of the Bible due to all the contradictions. He believes we all go to the same place when we die - heaven. He believes Jesus existed but really nothing further. A good point he made is "how do you know which religion is the right one? Each church puts their own spin on the Bible and teaches different things, yet all profess to teach the word of God."

As an agnostic, what do you believe? I'm confused. And I realize my convictions aren't as strong as I thought they were. Could I be agnostic? If so, how do we raise our children? This is really beating me up lately.

I've visited many churches over the past years but cannot find one I relate to. I also have no tolerance for the hippocracy and judgemental people who believe they are better than others just because they go to church every Sunday. They don't walk the walk when they leave church yet act holier than thou while in church.
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  #2  
October 26th, 2006, 03:01 PM
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I'm Atheist. I used to just call myself agnostic because growing up around christian communities, in christian america, you basically get the impression that "Atheist" is a bad word. But in all honesty, I just don't believe in the existence of a god. Certaintly not in since that it's some all-knowing being that created the universe, then created the earth and created humans and then goes about its existence watching and judging us. To me that just sounds rediculous.

If there was some sentient being that created life and the universe, I don't believe that it's paying a darn bit of attention to what we do with our daily lives.

In the grand scope of the universe, we're like amoebas. lol.

But my mom is agnostic, and I'd say that my DH is border-line agnostic with a logical side.
Agnostic is basically stating that you think it's possible, but there's no way to know. And there isn't. The bible was written by men. Then it was edited and revised by more men trying to use it to control the masses. Every religion that has ever existed was created by human beings in an attempt to explain the unexplainable. The problem with modern day religion is that it was created by people long ago to explain things that we can now explain with logic and science. A lot of science and provable facts totally contradict the teachings of religion. We've proven large portions of a lot of it totally inaccurate, and yet we still believe in the rest. I can't do that.

You can take some of the christian bible for moral lessons, but I honestly, wouldn't even do that. The bible is full of so many immoral and nasty things that I don't think it's a very good source for moral lessons. Sure some of it's fine and dandy, but I don't think you can just pick and choose the nice things and ignore all the bad things with something like that.

Gnostic is "to know" and agnostic is simply "not knowing". You don't know. You can't know. So you just live your life as best you can without the weight of religion to confuse and jumble things.

Just like Theist is to believe and Atheist is to Not Believe.

An Agnostic says they don't know if there is or is not ______, while an Atheist says they basically know that there isnt a ______.

Most people are Atheist to most every religion in the world, and a Theist to one. Christians are Atheists to the Zeus, Amaterasu, Ra, Siddhartha Gautama, Shiva, and Mohammed but Theists to Yahweh/Jehovah (God).


I just don't see a distinction between them. To me Yahweh is just as made up as Zeus. Both were created by men to make sense of the world.


By Agnostic standards, every religion has holy texts, and every one of those holy texts were written By People. Since people have no real way of knowing about gods, those holy texts are basically just written by people who didn't actually know anything for sure. They may have believe that they knew, but that doesn't make it real. So an agnostic says that they can not know that it's true.


The way I see it, Science has basically proven most religion is bunk. The reason we go on believing it is because we're indoctrined from our youth to believe it. Children are hard-wired to believe what they're told by their parents. They can't risk experimentation. If you tell your kid "don't walk off the cliff, you'll die" but the kid says "I can't know for sure if that's true, so I'm gonna experiment to judge for myself" so they walk off the cliff - dead kid. So they have to take whats told to them as truth.

If a kid is told that Santa exists and all the other kids believe that santa exists, the kid believes that santa exists. But later the same kid is told by other kids and by their parents that Santa is made up. The kid doesn't want to beleive it. The kid wants to belive that they've been believing in the truth. But eventually the kid finally accepts that they were lied to, and they realize the truth that Santa doesn't exist.

But what if no one ever told the kid "Oh, Santa is just made up, he doesn't exist!" They keep believe it. And if they grow up surrounded by other people who tell them on a weekly basis that "Yes! Santa Exists!" they'll go on believing it their entire life.

But if they go for a long time without ever being around other people telling them that Santa is real, they might stop and look at the world around them, and the proven facts of life and start to qestion for themself - "Could this Santa guy really exist? It sounds kind of silly when I think about it..."

And THAT is why so many of the people on this board say that they grew up without ever going to church or any of that. They haven't spent their Sundays surrounded by people telling them over and over that God is real. So they've had the opportunity to stand back and think for themselves "Hey, this sounds kind of goofy..."


That's the way I see it anyways.
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  #3  
October 26th, 2006, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for all of that insight, Athey. So, being an atheist (can I ask this question?) what do you believe happens to us when we die?

I believe that God created the earth, and humans, etc. And I believe in divine intervention. I also believe there's a heaven. However, I do not believe the Bible is God's word. I too think men have put their spin on it. If that were the case, we'd all be doomed to hell for the things we eat, etc. I could go on and on....

So, what does that make me? Would that be an agnostic?

ETA: Do you know of any good resources to help me on my quest in figuring out what the heck I am these days?
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  #4  
October 26th, 2006, 05:00 PM
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I'm more agnostic when it comes to death. I don't know, I don't claim to have any way of knowing.

To me, there are 2 possibilities that seem legitimately likely.

Possibility 1 - nothing. Death is the end. The brain dies and we're gone. Not the best idea to a lot of people. Most people like to believe that there is something after death, so they don't like this idea. Death scares us, so the idea of a heaven or an afterlife is comforting. Again - a valid reason why people created the idea of a heaven/afterlife in the first place. To explain death and try to make it less frightening.

In that regard, I prefer to live my life. This is the time that I know I get. I know this is here and now and I know that I should try to do it as best as I can.



Possibility 2 - Reincarnation. To me, the idea of each and every living person who has ever existed, all going somwhere after death, seems a little funky. I mean... the afterlife would get AWEFULLY CROWDED.
So lets say we have souls. A spirit that exists that is attached to our physical body after a certain point in cell division, and when the organic tissue of the body finally kicks the bucket and dies, that spirit is detached / released from the body.
My thing is that in this scenario the spirit would get reused. Some new bunch of cells dividing somewhere in the universe calls out in need of a soul, and when they meet up, they're attached until that body dies and this just cycles over and over.

Soul Recycling The natural universe is full of reuse. Energy can never be destroyed, and new energy is never created from nothing. Things can change and be transformed, but nothing comes from nothing, and nothing totally goes away.

Under this scenario, in my mind, some of the time when a miscarriage happens for no apparent reason is when the organic tissue and the soul don't attach very well, and become detached so the fetus cells die and get disolved back into the mothers body.

If a new soul was needed for each and every new life, there'd be a LOT of souls, and where ever it is that they go after the lifeform dies would get really really full.




I'd say you're bordering on agnostic. Same place a lot of people who were loosly raised christian are at. You grew up with a certain belief system, and now you are beginning to question some of it.


You should read up on Deism and Universal Unitarianism. You said you'd tried some churches but they made you feel judged and uncomfortable. If you're wanting to give church a go, you should check out a Unitarian Universalist church. It's basically people with some loose christian upbringing who've come to question the provablility of any of it. You get the community of church, but none of the preasure to believe the bible bunk.
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  #5  
October 26th, 2006, 05:40 PM
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Thought I'd throw this in since it sounds to me like it's probably a good resource for you to look into -

Some info on Unitarian Universalist:

Unitarian Universalism is a faith with no creedal requirements imposed on its members. It values religious pluralism and respects diverse traditions within the movement and often within the same congregration. Many see it as a syncretic religion, as personal beliefs and religious services draw from more than one faith tradition. Even when one faith tradition is primary within a particular setting, Unitarian Universalists are unlikely to assert that theirs is the "only" or even the "best" way possible to discern meaning or theological truths.

Many Unitarian Universalists consider themselves humanists, while others hold to Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, natural theist, atheist, agnostic, pantheist, or other beliefs. Some choose to attach no particular theological label to their own idiosyncratic combination of beliefs. This diversity of views is usually considered a strength by those in the Unitarian Universalist movement, since the emphasis is on the common search for meaning among its members rather than adherence to any particular doctrine. Many UU congregations have study groups that examine the traditions and spiritual practices of Neopaganism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and other faiths. At least one UU minister, the Reverend James Ishmael Ford, has been acknowledged as a Zen master. There are Buddhist meditation teachers, Sufi teachers, as well as gnostic and episcopi vagantes clerics. Some view their Jewish heritage as primary, and others see the concept of God as unhelpful in their personal spiritual journeys. While Sunday services in most congregations tend to espouse a christian-derived humanism, it is not unusual for a part of a church's membership to attend pagan, buddhist, or other spiritual study or worship groups as an alternative means of worship.


Unitarian Universalists believe in complete but responsible freedom of speech, thought, belief, faith, and disposition. They believe that each person is free to search for their own personal truth on issues like the meaning of life, deities, creation, and afterlife. UUs can come from any heritage, have any sexual disposition, and hold beliefs from other cultures and religions.

Concepts about deity are quite diverse among UUs. Some believe that there is no god, others believe in many gods. Some believe that God is everything. Some believe in a female God, a passive God, or that god is found in nature. Some UUs reject the idea of deities and instead speak of "universal spirit" or "reverence of life". Unitarian Universalists believe that individuals should be supported by their community in their personal search for truth about deity.

Principles and Purposes

Although lacking an official creed or dogma, Unitarian Universalist congregations typically respect the Principles and Purposes of the Unitarian Universalist Association. As with most actions in Unitarian Universalism, these were created in committee, and affirmed democratically by a vote of member congregations, proportional to their membership, taken at an annual General Assembly (a meeting of delegates from member congregations). The full Principles, Purposes and Sources can be found in the article on the Unitarian Universalist Association. The Principles are as follows.

1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Unitarian Universalism is often referred to by its members as a living tradition, and the principles and purposes have been modified over time to reflect changes in spiritual beliefs among the membership. Most recently, the last principle, adopted in 1985 and generally known as the Seventh Principle, "Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part", and a sixth source (adopted in 1995), "Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature" were added to explicitly include members with Neopagan, Native American, and other natural theist spiritualities.

Approach to Sacred Writings

A Unitarian Universalist approach to the Christian Bible and other sacred works is given in Our Unitarian Universalist Faith: Frequently Asked Questions, published by the UUA:

We do not, however, hold the Bible - or any other account of human experience - to be either an infallible guide or the exclusive source of truth. Much biblical material is mythical or legendary. Not that it should be discarded for that reason! Rather, it should be treasured for what it is. We believe that we should read the Bible as we read other books - with imagination and a critical eye. We also respect the sacred literature of other religions. Contemporary works of science, art, and social commentary are valued as well. We hold, in the words of an old liberal formulation, that "revelation is not sealed." Unitarian Universalists aspire to truth as wide as the world - we look to find truth anywhere, universally.





I got all this from wikipedia. There's more on the wikipedia page if you wanna keep reading up on it -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitarian_Universalist
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  #6  
October 26th, 2006, 07:29 PM
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Girl you've given me so much to ponder. I just got finished reading everything you posted to DH and I think we're about to have a long talk about it.

I'll get back to you...
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  #7  
November 1st, 2006, 09:25 PM
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It's really ironic but I had a dream the night we were discussing this. I'm not sure why I was confused before but I realize where my faith is.

This is not meant for debate, because I know how you guys feel & I understand why. However, in my dream I remember hearing "it's not for you to prove, it's for you to believe."

But thanks for taking the time to talk to me about this.
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  #8  
November 6th, 2006, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Possibility 1 - nothing. Death is the end. The brain dies and we're gone. Not the best idea to a lot of people. Most people like to believe that there is something after death, so they don't like this idea. Death scares us, so the idea of a heaven or an afterlife is comforting. Again - a valid reason why people created the idea of a heaven/afterlife in the first place. To explain death and try to make it less frightening.

In that regard, I prefer to live my life. This is the time that I know I get. I know this is here and now and I know that I should try to do it as best as I can.



Possibility 2 - Reincarnation. To me, the idea of each and every living person who has ever existed, all going somwhere after death, seems a little funky. I mean... the afterlife would get AWEFULLY CROWDED.
So lets say we have souls. A spirit that exists that is attached to our physical body after a certain point in cell division, and when the organic tissue of the body finally kicks the bucket and dies, that spirit is detached / released from the body.
My thing is that in this scenario the spirit would get reused. Some new bunch of cells dividing somewhere in the universe calls out in need of a soul, and when they meet up, they're attached until that body dies and this just cycles over and over.[/b]
We are discussing life after death in my world mythology and religion class, do you mind if I quote you on this to show my professor and other students in my class? I think you explained very well the 2 possibilities and I think some of the people in my class might like to read your point of view.
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  #9  
November 7th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
We are discussing life after death in my world mythology and religion class, do you mind if I quote you on this to show my professor and other students in my class? I think you explained very well the 2 possibilities and I think some of the people in my class might like to read your point of view.[/b]

lol - sure. That's fine.
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