Monday, March 05, 2007

Opinion: Structured

So yesterday I was sitting and watching the news with my grandfather. We ended up watching ABC because there was nothing good on PBS (which is weird because there usually is) and on came a segment about atheists “attacking” the American religious complex. Though I saw the point of view of the atheists that were presented to be almost as extreme as the fundamentalists themselves, I.E.- blatantly referring to religion as superstition, I could understand where they’re coming from. The separation between church and state is needed in order to have not just a balanced judicial system but also a fair executive branch. Well, back to what I was talking about before. I lost some respect for ABC on this report because of their sloppy polling, like placing atheists in the same margin as agnostics when they differ greatly. An agnostic isn’t sure what to believe, whether or not there is a higher power or deity, or if they do believe in such a thing it doesn’t follow the mold of major religion and highly respect that because it takes a lot more thought and self-analysis to come up with your own philosophy than to regurgitate what someone else told you and no matter what you believe or think, so long as you came about these beliefs this way nobody can rightly call you wrong or ignorant.

“Religion is the opium of the masses.”
-Karl Marx


Ziggy*Blu said...

That sounds terrible. The news should present both sides equally.

athan-Nay said...

You know over the past few months I have come to the realization that I am not in fact an atheist but an agnostic deep down. And I happen to believe that my previous reasons for believing that I was otherwise were because of listening to fundamentalist Christians as a child talk about religion and atheism. To them it seemed that anyone who didn’t worship or believe in anyone was an atheist and anyone who didn’t believe in God was wrong. This caused me to disrespect the church a lot more than I should have and for a while I was nearly intolerable during discussions about such things. In the past few years I have really started to sell myself on the idea that; “You know nobody knows who’s out there pulling the strings, if anyone.” And in my experiences I have really come to respect those who choose to believe in anything.

Now as far as being put in the same group as atheists, as an agnostic I can’t really say that I am offended as much as I am puzzled. I think a lot of fundamentalists believe that atheism is a cult or actual full-blown religion. Which is kind of the exact opposite of what it stands for, isn’t it? I really think that these people need to work on building bridges rather than destroying them with this altruistic holier-than-thou behavior. If anything it only disappoints me that more and more Christians are acting out this extreme and re-enforcing if not completely fulfilling the negative stereotypes surrounding the religion.

Nice Marx quote. That is basically how I see it. Yet another thing me and him have in common.

Mr. K said...

News has become entertainment. That's a given and a sad reflection on our culture today. We've become a nation that needs immediate gratification and needs things given to us in neat little packages so we don't have to think and form opinions and debate. Time seems to be the one thing that we're not willing to devote to becoming responsible, informed citizens. That's disappointing to me. It just demonstrates the great disconnect many feel between our government and their lives.

As for religion, it's a personal and private thing that should be respected and yet, it's not. It seems to me, tolerance should be the cornerstone of faith, and yet, it's the one thing that seems to be in short supply these days.

I think there are many people who have faith but not religion. They feel as those there is a greater power that gives them solice and comfort and a sense of peace, but they don't practice that belief in a traditionally religious kind of way. Maybe because they feel that the church is out of touch, I can't say for sure.

Religion can be a polarizing force across culture. That's evident in the news. I wish people would put less importance on being right, on thinking that the answers they have are the right ones, on believing that there's only one true way to live life, on embracing ideas without thought, and more importance on building bridges and appreciating points of view other than their own, on reaching out with respect and tolerance, and understanding that maybe, just maybe, they can learn something from someone who has an opinion other than their own.

That doesn't seem so much to ask. Why then, is it so difficult?

MHanson said...

I think some of the confusion about where to place agnostics is related to the fact that agnostics can't agree on what agnosticism is. I found this on Wikipidea (I know, not the most reliably sound source) on different categories of agnostics:

Strong agnosticism (also called hard agnosticism, closed agnosticism, strict agnosticism, absolute agnosticism)—the view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of god(s) are unknowable by nature or that human beings are ill-equipped to judge the evidence.

Weak agnosticism (also called soft agnosticism, open agnosticism, empirical agnosticism, temporal agnosticism)—the view that the existence or nonexistence of God(s) is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable, therefore one will withhold judgment until/if more evidence is available.

Apathetic agnosticism—the view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of God(s), but since any God(s) that may exist appear unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic anyway.

Non-practicing agnosticism—the view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of God(s), and that it's meaningless to care.

Ignosticism—the view that the concept of God(s) as a being is meaningless because it has no verifiable consequences, therefore it cannot be usefully discussed as having existence or nonexistence.

Model agnosticism—the view that philosophical and metaphysical questions are not ultimately verifiable but that a model of malleable assumption should be built upon rational thought. This branch of agnosticism does not focus on a deity's existence.

Agnostic theism (also called religious agnosticism)—the view of those who do not claim to know existence of God(s), but still believe in such an existence. (See Knowledge vs. Beliefs)

Agnostic spiritualism—the view that there may or may not be a God(s), while maintaining a general personal belief in a spiritual aspect of reality, particularly without distinct religious basis, or adherence to any established doctrine or dogma.

Relative agnosticism—similar to Agnostic spiritualism, but with the added view that if it was empirically proven that God(s) do or do not exist, it would not affect the beliefs of the Relative Agnostic.

Agnostic atheism—the view of those who do not know of the existence or nonexistence of god(s), and do not believe in god(s).[2]

Anyway, I thought I would try and clear up that matter by throwing some mud in the water.

I agree with you 100% that it takes a lot more thought and self-analysis to come up with your own philosophy than to regurgitate what someone else told you. I know I have been searching for my version of the "the truth" for some years now and I probably couldn't tell you my philosophy in succinct terms.

I will leave you with another Ghandi quote. He said something like: "All religions are right." What is meant by that is that whatever theism you believe in, it will work for you. Physicists will tell you that we create our own reality. In experiements, researchers affect whether light is seen as a particle or a wave by deciding what they wanted to see.

In other words, if you look for salvation through Jesus, you will find it there. If you look for it in Buddha, Krishna, the earth, science, or angels, you will find it there. We need to stop worrying about what is different about our beliefs and worry about using our beliefs to treat others in a respectable manner.

Conserative Jake said...

I think that there ABC was right. after all an Agnostic is just an Athiest without balls. If you question your faith then your not a true Christian.

Just like questioning your government.

Remember you can't spell America without Jesus cause' e is a vowel an so is a and... oh, nevermind, if I wanted an education I woulda listened in school.