Archive for the 'Agnostic' Category

Good Agnostics Go To Church - Top Ten Reasons Why

“Our Father Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name….” Creeds, costumes, smells and bells. While I don’t believe in any of the creeds nor think that any of the costumes and smells have applicable meaning to Christians today… I still think it is a good thing for Agnostics to go to church. Why? Well here are my Top Ten Reasons why Agnostics should go to church…

#10. You would just sleep in on Sunday anyway, so why not.

#9. You can enjoy learning about the latest on-the-edge Christian perspectives…(I go to a very liberal Episcopal church that likes to shake people up with out-of-the-box theologians, but if you want to learn about a conservative point of view there is probably a conservative church right around the corner.)

#8. The food… You never get donuts for breakfast except on Sundays!

#7. The church is probably on the way to something. (For me it is close to the farmers market… and I like to shop there.)

#6. Networking… You can meet so many people there! If you have your own business or if you are in sales church is a must do! ( I meet so many people that just want a trust worthy website developer, and that I am!)

#5 You will inevitably grow stronger in your agnosticism by evaluating their sermons and creeds. But if you do convert, then tell us agnostics how that happened… I know I would be curious.

#4 As an agnostic we essentially are claiming “We Don’t Know” about the existence of God and other things that lack empirical evidence. Therefore,to maintain integrity it is imperative to consistently explore both sides with an open mind.

#3 The music is incredible! It is like going to a concert every Sunday, and this is good for my “SOUL”! (I choose the Episcopal church which has a large choir and sings classical music. It is so heavenly!)

#2 You will hear about current events and social justice issues, not to mention you will now have a group to join if you support the cause.

#1 Community… unfortunately I have not found anything that replaces the community aspect of church. People really do care for you.

On the Existence of Love and God

While enjoying great food and friends a conversation arose…. about the proof of God’s existence, and after a bit of back and forth debate, I (being the only one defending the agnostic position) was asked this question:

Do I believe that love exists? The obvious follow up question was: How can I prove it? This was in effort to say:

“if I believe in love I should also have reason to believe, that without empirical evidence. things exist, like GOD.”

Well, it was a good question and one that I was not prepared to answer, and therefore made a feeble, on the fly attempt to explain what I was trying to say. Then as the conversation progressed it came down to me wavering back and forth between believing that love exists and not believing it was provable….and even further down to demeaning my relationship with my wife to a sociological convenience. Well, even though that was all in good fun and I know that all who were there know that my relationship with my wife runs deeper that just that. Nevertheless, I was compelled by the philosophical ideas that were presented and needed to spend time thinking about how I can answer that question of LOVE.

So here goes:

DISCLAIMER: I reserve the right to change my beliefs, as a matter of fact, I have done so many times and that is why I am always willing to engage in conversations about GOD, the UNIVERSE and EVERYTHING at anytime. While honestly, trying to be open minded, I truly make an honest attempt at not judging anyone in their beliefs, even though it may seem as though my arguments seem judgmental.

Here is a quote that could solve a lot of problems if people lived by it:
‘You are so young, my son(and daughter), and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as judge of the highest matters.’ PLATO

_________________
BLB On LOVE and GOD:

How can one prove that love exists? For that matter how can one prove that any emotion, or feelings exists? Compassion, hate, fear, calm, excitement, joy, amazement, fortunate, pleased, angry, irritated, hostile, mad, violent, skeptical, lost, and the list goes on! As far as PROVING any of these, NO - you cannot. The question really should be: “Is it RATIONAL to believe that you LOVE someone or that someone LOVES you? And I would say that the answer for me is a resounding YES. It is very rational.

Love is shown in so many ways. A wink, a smile a look, a hug, a kiss, and if you love someone more than average, it may be shown through selfless acts, sacrificial compromises, lifelong commitments, in marriage, or as a parent raising their child. This is evidential basis for a rational belief that love exists. However, evidence is open for debate and can be wrong, but in the end I believe the existence of LOVE is rational.

Now, if we apply this same logic to the existence of God it doesn’t work (at least in my mind).

A good example would be something that Sam Harris mentions in one of his talks, (his story is somewhat customized to make a different point)

If you were in a room with 20 other people and I came running in and yelled and screamed that the building is on fire. Most likely everyone would believe that it was true and scramble to the exit as fast as they could. Everyone has just experienced FEAR. Something that is not provable. Now of course we DO know that because of the mere words “The building is on Fire,” if you were to measure everyones physiological levels… heart rate, adrenalin levels, breathing patterns, etc… it is PROVABLE that those words had an effect on each and every person regardless if they were true or not.

This is the same way I see the existence of God. We have experiences that are induced because of mere words (or music or actions [raising hands, crying, on your knees, crowds at the alter]). But there is no evidential basis of an actual encounter with God, the HOLY Spirit or Jesus. I remember some of my first awareness at the effects of this. While in college (a conservative Christian college, for the most part) I was a front row chapel person…. no kidding … everyday I would be in the front row for daily chapel and did so for over a year and half. I had some incredible spiritual experiences in that front row, but I soon became picky about which worship leaders I liked and which ones I didn’t. Why? Well it was pretty simple really… the ones who played the guitar without flaw and sang like angels, and had just the right order and selection of music to move me directly into a posture and mentality of Worship… were the ones I liked. The others… the ones that just were not together… or didn’t sing so well… or the off key singer trying to harmonize complete ruined the mood… and mostly, if they couldn’t eloquently speak and guide me into a worshipful mindset in between songs… I didn’t like. Without a doubt there was rarely a spiritual moment for anybody in the entire chapel on the later.

So my conclusion is that just because someone has a spiritual experience doesn’t mean that it is because of God, the Holy Spirit or Jesus. In short the building really isn’t on fire… but until everyone runs outside and looks for themselves… they will believe that it is. But the difference is GOD, the Holy Spirit and Jesus is not a building and cannot be easily investigated to prove one way or another. Therefore, I cannot prove that a persons claim that they had a spiritual experience wasn’t truly from God. But is it rational? I personally believe it is not rational and that conversation is cut short because of something called Faith.

What about Faith? Does that count for anything. Of coarse it does. I will never be able to disprove God to a man/women of Faith (nor anyone for that matter). That is why I don’t engage in these conversations too often, because they come to a stand still when faith comes into the conversation (however, I am always willing to if there is an openness and respect). I see faith as a roadblock to logical discourse, and I also understand that logical discourse doesn’t matter to most who have Faith or the other side of that (for the more fundamentalist’s type) is they try to prove that the Bible is true because the Bible claims that it is true(circular argument).
Ex:
[I wrote a book the other day called “the book of CATS” inspired by God, it says that all CATS are going to heaven and everything else is going to purgatory forever, this is absolute truth because it was inspired by God and no one can add anything to it or subtract anything from it.
[there are hundreds of pages about why CATS are holy and what heaven will be like for cats, you know…. yarn and stuff… galore…]

Or if you want historical books of great prophets try the Koran… it adamantly claims that it is most certainly the only way…

Faith disregards any evidential type of conversation. Prove that “The Book of CAT” is not true. Prove that a CAT doesn’t have faith in it.

What does it come down to then if I can’t prove that God doesn’t exists or prove that he does? It means that for each person we must choose between a few options about the beginnings of time. (there may be more that just a few options but these are the main ones…)

1. That God exists

2. That God doesn’t exist

3. That you don’t know.

I personally believe that no one knows for sure, the Atheists cannot prove that God doesn’t exist and the Theists cannot prove that he does. Therefore, for me I lean towards a path that is very humble in opinion. A path of “I don’t know”, or agnostic. I find that to be a place of integrity for me, it is the most honest I can be with myself. Now this obviously brings up a ton of other questions… but that part can be for later.

I look forward to hearing your response if you would be so kind.

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