Re: virus: Saints Re:atheism,agnosticism,&faith
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 15:47:45 -0500 (EST)

This is something that I used in the AOL atheism section. It relates to what
I was saying earlier about faith and agnosticism.

....Somebody earlier stated that without faith, some of the greater
achievements of humanity would not have taken place. I think there is some
merit to that sentiment, especially when it comes to goal setting.
I think that for faith to be useful it must be counseled by reason
and tempered by evidence if there is any available. Of course if there was
lots of evidence to support my faith, it would by definition no longer be
considered faith. If I wait for the the evidence of the feasibility of a
goal, the opportunity for action may be lost. When I set goals, faith can be
a good thing. I may not have evidence that the goals are actually attainable
because I am visualizing something in the future that has not yet been
attained. However if I should know that the goal is impossible or based on a
delusional premise, then I may set myself up for disappointment or even harm
myself or others trying to attain it. Faith without reason can be dangerous.
Reason without faith may keep us safe and level-headed, but usually doesn't
lead to human greatness.


This is another AOL Atheism piece that I think relates as well. It is an
evolving dialog that I have had with atheists, agnostics, and Christians, so
please be tolerant of nested or incomplete quotes and responses.


<< Hello...I am attached to your email list for athiests..thanxs (but btw I
am more of a agnostic ;) >>

In the strictest sense of the word I am an agnostic also. Actually I am
an agnostic atheist. Which means essentially that I do not claim that there
is no God. I only assert that I don't believe there is a God. I am not
claiming any special knowlege on the subject (hence "agnostic" or without
knowlege). I identify myself as an atheist, because those are my beliefs,
and so that Christians don't mistakenly think that I am "open" or "undecided"
on the issue.
It is possible to be an agnostic atheist, an agnostic Christian, an
agnostic anything, or an agnostic nothing. You just believe the thing to be
true, but recognize that there is no way to truly have knowlege of the thing.
I don't identify myself as an "agnostic" because that is much less
descriptive than "atheist". To describe my beliefs in terms of my lack of
knowlege does not really give much information. It would only serve to be
appear PC or unoffensive to other folks. This is a response I recently made
to a Christian friend on this topic. It may clarify this a little.

<< Well, let me start with this. You seem to think that my position is
that there is no God. If I were to make such an assertion you would be
right to expect me to support it with some evidence. That is not my
assertion. My position is that I do not believe there is a God. I cannot
prove there is no God any more than I can prove there are no undetectable,
invisible fairies watching over each of us constantly.
So what do I mean by "God", when I say that I don't believe there is a
God? I don't know. I don't have to know. I am not the one believing in
"God" so I don't have to come up with the definition. It is up to the
believer to give me the definition. There are quite a lot of them out there
and I am not about to guess which one I am dealing with.>>


Anyhow, by similar ways of thinking, I can imagine someone believing in some
"God" concept like Deism and remaining agnostic. In this way they would be
an agnostic/theist, and wouldn't be displaying "dogmatic faith", one of the
virian sins. However once again, I cannot think of any prominent individuals
right this minute that would fit the bill. But I would be interested in
hearing Marie's proposals.