30th September 2013

“Agnostics are those who want to retain the social acceptability of religion, while purporting to be free-thinking people, accepting only that which is evidence-based.”

Crawford Mackie

4 Responses to “30th September 2013”

  1. Will Says:

    I don’t believe we agnostics (and atheists) “want” to retain the social acceptability of religion – I believe we are ambivalent about the social acceptability of religion. But we don’t see religion as irrelevant – most of us accept that religion provides comfort, hope and meaning to people, and respect it as part of the social fabric. The trend of secularization is demonstrating that religion is diminishing in social importance.

  2. The Heretic Says:

    Atheist means lack of belief. Agnostic means lack of knowledge. If you don’t know whether something is true or not (and one cannot prove a negative), then the best position would be the status quo. That being said, I contend that an honest theist would also be agnostic. He believes but does not know. I also contend that if you run across someone who believes and knows – he is selling something. Run away as fast as you can.

  3. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    “provides comfort, hope and meaning to people” is a qualifier of the culturally religious. As in the culturally Christian who doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the literal letter of the faith and all of its metaphysical/supernatural silliness but say goes for “the fellowship”.

    We see this all the time among Jews, who very often identify as nonbelieverss in the whole supernatural thing but consider themselves “culturally Jewish”. Muslims too.

    BTW: He might try bowling for fellowship.

    As for the “comfort, hope and meaning to people” why say it is religion that provides that when in fact were it not for the people present no such “comfort, hope and meaning” would be there? It would just be an empty building.

    Perhaps the realization is that it is the people who are socially important, not the religion?

  4. Will Says:

    I think you diminished your objectivity and credibility when you said, “We see this all the time among Jews.” Religion loses relevance as secular society evolves – so why waste time and creative energy criticizing it? I live in Florida, in a peaceful neighborhood of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Christians and atheists. It’s no longer a part of “the bible belt”, but a blend of harmonious, tolerant neighbors. None of us feel marginalized, angry, militant, or the need to defend our faith/nonfaith. Krishnamurti said, “The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.” I submit that the constant asssertion of nonbelief is also an indication of fear.

    As a Marine and atheist for 24 years, I personally benefited from the empathy and compassion I received from chaplains. The anxiety of wounded troops was also significantly alleviated by the calming, comforting presence of clergy.
    As a hospice patient/family counselor (LCSW) for 13 years, I worked with clergy who respected and supported the faith and beliefs of dying patients. This was comforting to them, and respectful of their diverse values and cultures. Indeed, clergy support was an essential aspect of pain management. We hospice staff (along the entire belief continuum) respected and supported the religious beliefs of dying patients and their families.

    In my 72 years, I’ve watched church attendance dwindle, and churches, mosques and temples sold. I’m not smug, nor do I gloat about this. It simply means that people are discovering their own new truths, and losing faith in their old mythologies. I’m a fascinated observer of the process.