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Offline OccamsRazor

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Re: Hello
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2015, 10:04:12 PM »
Welcome MisterPine, I hope you enjoy your stay.
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Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity;
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Offline MisterPine

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Re: Hello
« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2015, 10:35:08 PM »
Welcome MisterPine, I hope you enjoy your stay.

Thank you, hoping my stay is more like a permanent residence!
"It ain't supposed to make sense -  it's faith.  Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe."  - Archie Bunker

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Hello
« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2015, 09:11:30 AM »
As I understand it, theism deals with belief and gnosticism deals with knowledge.  I think you can be one of four things:  Agnostic theist, agnostic atheist, gnostic theist, or gnostic atheist.

My feeling is that this isn't an area where it's possible to "know", so I have problems with two of the above right off the bat:  the two labelled "gnostic."  No matter how strong your theism is, you can't be a gnostic theist.  And no matter how strong your atheism is, you can't be a gnostic atheist.  People will disagree I'm sure and that's fine.  It's just how I look at it.

I see myself as agnostic.  Not because I can't make up my mind (which lots of people mistakenly think what agnosticism is).  It means I don't think the truth is possible to know.  I'm probably exactly borderline between agnostic theist and agnostic atheist.

Do you think it's possible to be borderline between 'possessing an apple' and 'not possessing an apple'?

I guess I'm just trying to figure out what being in between 'having belief that god exists' and 'not having belief that god exists' means.  To me, that's a bit incoherent.  I mean, even if you reject that the word 'god' is meaningful, that would still mean that you do not have a belief that god exists, yes?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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Offline MisterPine

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Re: Hello
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2015, 09:30:09 AM »

Do you think it's possible to be borderline between 'possessing an apple' and 'not possessing an apple'?

I guess I'm just trying to figure out what being in between 'having belief that god exists' and 'not having belief that god exists' means.  To me, that's a bit incoherent.  I mean, even if you reject that the word 'god' is meaningful, that would still mean that you do not have a belief that god exists, yes?

Sorry if it's incoherent, I guess possibly that in that area I really am incapable of making my mind up about what I believe.  I sort of balk at calling myself agnostic atheist or agnostic theist so I remain on the fence.  Does that make more sense?
"It ain't supposed to make sense -  it's faith.  Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe."  - Archie Bunker

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Hello
« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2015, 09:50:07 AM »
Sorry if it's incoherent, I guess possibly that in that area I really am incapable of making my mind up about what I believe.  I sort of balk at calling myself agnostic atheist or agnostic theist so I remain on the fence.  Does that make more sense?

Why do you feel the need to 'remain on the fence'?  Do you think that calling yourself an atheists means that you're less amenable to changing your mind vs. not calling yourself an atheist?

Do you believe that god exists?  If your answer is not yes, and seeing as how you can't make up your mind I think that would be valid, I believe that qualifies as 'not having a belief that god exists', and I believe that makes it appropriate to associate with the label 'atheist'.  Obviously, it's your choice as to how you self-identify, so if you don't want that label you don't have to accept it.  I just can't help but think that the word 'atheist' means something different to you than the rest of us.

Edit: grammar fix
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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http://deepaksducttape.wordpress.com/

Offline MisterPine

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Re: Hello
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2015, 10:19:23 AM »

Why do you feel the need to 'remain on the fence'?

Well, because I don't know.  Remember, we're talking about belief, not knowledge.

Do you think that calling yourself an atheists means that you're less amenable to changing your mind vs. not calling yourself an atheist?

No, calling myself an atheist suggests that I've come to a conclusion though, which I haven't.  Because I'm unsure I have to remain open about some things.

Do you believe that god exists?  If your answer is not yes, and seeing as how you can't make up your mind I think that would be valid, I believe that qualifies as 'not having a belief that god exists', and I believe that makes it appropriate to associate with the label 'atheist'.  Obviously, it's your choice as to how you self-identify, so if you don't want that label you don't have to accept it.  I just can't help but think that the word 'atheist' means something different to you than the rest of us.

Edit: grammar fix

My best guess, with a gun held to my head, would be that yes, there's some kind of creative force, but I wouldn't begin to make any guesses beyond that as to what form it took, etc.
"It ain't supposed to make sense -  it's faith.  Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe."  - Archie Bunker

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Hello
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2015, 10:34:55 AM »
No, calling myself an atheist suggests that I've come to a conclusion though, which I haven't.

It suggests that to you, and to some other people.  It doesn't suggest that to everyone, though, including a lot of the folks on this forum.

Because I'm unsure I have to remain open about some things.

Coming to a conclusion about something, and remaining open about that thing, are not mutually exclusive.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Hello
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2015, 11:21:37 AM »
My best guess, with a gun held to my head, would be that yes, there's some kind of creative force, but I wouldn't begin to make any guesses beyond that as to what form it took, etc.

All you need is instability and everything will inevitably form itself. Stephen Hawking in his book The Grand Design can tell you that a god is not necessary to form a universe.

You can rule out a god from its characteristics. Your "creative force" would necessarily imply another universe, so not a god in any usual sense of the word. This is why claiming too much for a god actually rules him out.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Hello
« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2015, 11:35:47 AM »
Honestly, to me, it sounds like you come closer to agnostic deism than anything right now, which is okay.  Also, keep in mind that you aren't limited to the common terms.  For example, I consider myself to be an agnostic apatheist - I don't know whether gods exist and I don't care either.
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Offline Defiance

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Re: Hello
« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2015, 02:47:25 PM »
Agnostic atheist?

Let me make you less agnostic.

If you look at science, look at how it is used to observe and predict outcomes of nature. Look at that and see how there's no need to call for gods. They were there to fill in where fears left voids.

Surely, you must acknowledge that we don't nee to invoke ridiculous fictional characters when we can and have been using science to find out what is reality.

Now, to T = 0 (we call it the Big Bang).

We only know what happened after T = 0. Saying "before" doesn't make any sense, as time and matter only existed after T = 0, according to what we do know.

That is it. I don't need to leave room for gods or be "agnostic". There is no need to make up stories. Just call your self an atheist, and say "I don't know" to things you truly don't know. Then, use science and start blasting away at the holes in our knowledge. In time, the fact that you feel the need to call yourself "agnostic" will feel silly, simply because such a being/thing/concept violates what we DO know in science. We don't need to leave room for its existence.
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Offline Jag

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Re: Hello
« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2015, 04:13:44 PM »
Honestly, to me, it sounds like you come closer to agnostic deism than anything right now, which is okay. 

That's what I thought as well.

Since we're all jumping in and sharing our perspectives MisterPine  ;), here's mine: I call myself an atheist here, and in some parts of my offline life, but certainly not all of them. I'm not open and public with my position for a lot of reasons, but I'm not fully closeted either - I'm just selective about who I share that particular detail with.

I reject the biblical God, along with any other god I've ever heard describe with specific attributes, with no hesitation. If there's no evidence of such an entity I see no reason to accept it's potential existence. I don't believe in a participating/interventionist god of any sort - no evidence, no need to concern myself over it. Until and unless I'm presented with unambiguous proof, I'm comfortable living as though there's no such thing. If such a being exists and wants everyone to know of it's existence, we would all KNOW of it's existence.

At the same time, I'm open to the idea of a non-participating/non-interventionist creator being of some sort. I can stretch my imagination far enough to allow for that pretty easily - kind of like a scientist conducting an experiment, to put it in perspective. No evidence for that either, but what evidence would there be of such a thing? I also admit that my openness to the idea is as much about the fact that I find the idea both amusing and interesting as it is that I have no idea how to rule it out entirely. I think that's deism in a nutshell.

Because I disbelieve in every god described to me thus far due at least in part to a lack of evidence[1], yet admit that I can't reject a deist type of "god"[2], if I were identifying myself accurately, I'm an agnostic atheist. I rarely bother, because among atheists, the general idea is widely understood, and with most theists, they don't understand the distinction and it actually confuses them.

Of course, you are welcome to choose whatever identity, position, label, or whatever that you wish, we're all just random strangers on the internet.  ;)

Edit: misplaced comma
 1. implied in this is the willingness to change my mind upon a change in evidence
 2. and don't really want to because I find the idea appealing in a weird sort of way. Probably because I find science oddly comforting, even when new information makes me reconsider things I thought I "knew".
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 04:16:31 PM by Jag »
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Offline MisterPine

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Re: Hello
« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2015, 05:07:54 PM »
Thanks everybody.  Things are getting a little more involved in an introduction than I had in mind but I am sure all these things will be addressed on the main discussion boards eventually...just getting a little overwhelmed at all the things to respond to in this welcome thread alone.

I will address ONE thing though - Defiance, I don't consider "God" to be a "ridiculous fictional character" because my conception of "God" is pretty vague to start with.  It's been many, many years since I thought God was the bearded thundering maniac from the Bible.  God to me is just conceptual and very abstract and no, I'm not sure it's even there at all.
"It ain't supposed to make sense -  it's faith.  Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe."  - Archie Bunker

Offline One Above All

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Re: Hello
« Reply #41 on: March 20, 2015, 05:11:43 PM »

Why do you feel the need to 'remain on the fence'?

Well, because I don't know.  Remember, we're talking about belief, not knowledge.

Why don't you know?
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Offline MisterPine

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Re: Hello
« Reply #42 on: March 20, 2015, 05:56:31 PM »
Why don't you know?

Probably because it's such an abstract.
"It ain't supposed to make sense -  it's faith.  Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe."  - Archie Bunker

Offline One Above All

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Re: Hello
« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2015, 03:24:12 AM »
Why don't you know?

Probably because it's such an abstract.

What do you mean?
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Offline Nam

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Re: Hello
« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2015, 07:08:54 AM »
I doubt even he[1] knows because of all the abstraction.

;)

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 1. he/him for the people who don't get I am addressing MisterPine
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Offline MisterPine

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Re: Hello
« Reply #45 on: March 21, 2015, 08:43:18 AM »

What do you mean?

It's a very complex thing to imagine.  Like I said earlier, how do you define God?
"It ain't supposed to make sense -  it's faith.  Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe."  - Archie Bunker

Offline One Above All

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Re: Hello
« Reply #46 on: March 21, 2015, 09:05:36 AM »
It's a very complex thing to imagine.

Have you ever imagined what occurs when an electron goes from one orbital to another? QM says it disappears and reappears, almost like magic. What about a black hole? It bends space and time to the point that both become irrelevant.

Like I said earlier, how do you define God?

If the issue is that the term has too many definitions to conclude that they're all false, then you must, by this logic, become a pantheist. Pantheists worship the universe itself, which clearly exists - their god exists.
If the issue is that the term is too loosely-defined to be coherent, then (agnostic) atheism is the only sensible option.
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Offline Defiance

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Re: Hello
« Reply #47 on: March 21, 2015, 01:38:52 PM »
Wouldn't it be ignostic?
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Hello
« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2015, 01:42:31 PM »
Wouldn't it be ignostic?

I was speaking of my own opinion on that one, but sure.
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Offline OccamsRazor

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Re: Hello
« Reply #49 on: March 21, 2015, 11:28:56 PM »
I wanted to talk about agnosticism too, but was thinking that the introduction section isn't supposed to be used for debate?
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Hello
« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2015, 04:03:15 AM »
I wanted to talk about agnosticism too, but was thinking that the introduction section isn't supposed to be used for debate?

Good point. I just get pissed at "more open-minded than thou"-type "agnostics".
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Offline MisterPine

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Re: Hello
« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2015, 09:11:36 AM »
Good point. I just get pissed at "more open-minded than thou"-type "agnostics".

Is that what I was doing?  I wasn't sneering at anyone.  Lots of what I believe isn't from open-mindedness as much as much as the fact that I just don't know very much.  I take it that's where my -1 came from.  Not a very successful introduction then.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Hello
« Reply #52 on: March 22, 2015, 09:24:01 AM »
Good point. I just get pissed at "more open-minded than thou"-type "agnostics".

Is that what I was doing?

That's what you implied. Since we can't debate in the Introductions board, I'll give you the usual informative speech I give all self-proclaimed agnostics:

"Agnostic" is a meaningless term on its own. It refers to a claim of knowledge, but without a qualifier like "atheist" or "theist", all you're saying is "I don't know". The question is not whether or not you know, but whether or not you believe. Here's what it looks like from outside your head:
Me: Do you believe in one or more deities?
You: I'm not sure if deities exist (I'm an "agnostic").
Me: That's great and all, but I want to know if you believe or not; not if you're sure deities exist.
You: I just told you, I'm not sure if they exist (I'm an "agnostic").

An agnostic atheist lacks belief in deities, but does not claim absolute knowledge of their non-existence (in other words, an agnostic atheist claims uncertainty of their position). Similarly, an agnostic theist believes, but does not claim absolute knowledge of their deity's (or deities') existence.
A gnostic atheist lacks belief in deities and claims absolute knowledge (certainty) of the non-existence of deities. A gnostic theist believes and claims absolute knowledge of the existence of their deity (or deities).

There is no "fence-sitting" on this issue. It's a two-sided coin. You either believe, or you don't. There's no position of "non-belief" and "non-non-belief"; you can't "not believe" and also "not not believe". It's an oxymoron.

Finally, refusing to state an opinion does not make you more open-minded, just like stating it doesn't make you less open-minded. I'm a gnostic atheist - I'm 100% sure deities do not exist. Moreover, I'm 100% certain deities are impossible. However, if evidence comes my way that shows the opposite is true, I'll change my mind. Likewise, I'm 100% sure I'll be having steak in a few minutes. However, if evidence comes my way showing the opposite, like, say, no steak, I'll change my mind.
Having an opinion doesn't make you close-minded. Refusing to change your mind does.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Hello
« Reply #53 on: March 22, 2015, 09:55:07 AM »
^^ I would add that the word "agnostic" on its own can appropriately be applied to someone who claims not to have any knowledge about anything whatsoever.  That person would be a general agnostic.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Hello
« Reply #54 on: March 22, 2015, 10:00:33 AM »
^^ I would add that the word "agnostic" on its own can appropriately be applied to someone who claims not to have any knowledge about anything whatsoever.  That person would be a general agnostic.

I wanted to keep it simple.
Yes, technically one can claim to not have any knowledge whatsoever, but one would have to be an idiot (and a liar) to do so. It's also somewhat irrelevant in this context, wouldn't you say?
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Offline lectricpharaoh

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Re: Hello
« Reply #55 on: March 22, 2015, 05:36:29 PM »
Welcome to the forums, MisterPine.  I've seen from some of your other posts that you're Canadian; we just need to hit critical mass here, and we can commandeer the forums.  ;)

As I understand it, theism deals with belief and gnosticism deals with knowledge.  I think you can be one of four things:  Agnostic theist, agnostic atheist, gnostic theist, or gnostic atheist.

My feeling is that this isn't an area where it's possible to "know", so I have problems with two of the above right off the bat:  the two labelled "gnostic."  No matter how strong your theism is, you can't be a gnostic theist.  And no matter how strong your atheism is, you can't be a gnostic atheist.  People will disagree I'm sure and that's fine.  It's just how I look at it.

I see myself as agnostic.  Not because I can't make up my mind (which lots of people mistakenly think what agnosticism is).  It means I don't think the truth is possible to know.  I'm probably exactly borderline between agnostic theist and agnostic atheist.
This is a valid viewpoint, but consider where it leads.  If you dismiss something because you can't be 100% sure about your knowledge, then how do you know you have any knowledge at all?

About the only things we can have 100% certainty of are tautologies, like '1 = 1' or 'a cat is a cat', and none of these actually give us knowledge; they are ways of stating implicitly true things.  I don't even need to know what a cat is in order to understand that 'a cat is a cat' is a necessarily true statement[1].  Anything else will depend on our senses, which could be deceived, malfunctioning, or outright fabricated (think 'The Matrix' or a 'brain in a vat' scenario).  Likewise, our memories could, in theory, be changed without our knowledge. 

As soon as we go down this road, then we can't be certain about anything, and we can either become mired in the quicksand of solipsism, or choose to function as if our senses and memories were generally (though certainly not 100%) reliable.

Well, because I don't know.  Remember, we're talking about belief, not knowledge.
However, you just said that theism/atheism concerns belief, while gnosticism/agnosticism concerns knowledge.  You don't need to have certainty of knowledge to identify as either theist or atheist.  It's only when making a statement like 'I know God exists' or 'I know God does not exist' that it is a knowledge issue.

I choose to function as if my faculties are generally reliable, so I know (admittedly, not with perfect certainty) that the external world exists, and functions more or less according to my understanding, at least on a macroscopic level.  I would describe myself as a strong atheist, meaning that not only do I 'not believe gods exist', but I also 'believe gods do not exist'.  The difference is subtle, and while the latter necessarily encompasses the former, the reverse isn't true.  It's also still a statement of belief; I don't claim to know gods don't exist.
 1. Actually, even in cases like this, it depends on our definitions, such as '=' and the words 'a' and 'is'.
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Offline MisterPine

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Re: Hello
« Reply #56 on: March 22, 2015, 06:07:11 PM »
Since we can't debate in the Introductions board, I'll give you the usual informative speech I give all self-proclaimed agnostics:

Sorry that we are off on the wrong foot, but to keep it from getting any wronger, let's understand each other on a few points.  First of all, I'm really not interested in debate on this subject.  This is a simple introduction page where I stated what I believe.  You seem to want to grill me on those beliefs, and I'm not quite certain why.  I stated in the simplest terms what I believe and was instantly raked over the coals.  Don't get me wrong, I'm used to that, just not from the atheists whom I normally side with.  Usually I get that from fundamentalists demanding that I give them my reasoning for not believing in the Abrahamic God.

Not knowing fully what I believe is valid, and it doesn't make me weak or lacking in any way.  In fact, I usually have much more interesting and productive conversations with people who are looking for answers rather than people who claim to have them, whether atheist or theist. 

Either way, pouncing on a newcomer isn't really conducive to longevity on this forum.  So if you could call off the dogs I'd appreciate it while I get settled here.

The following is offered in terms of clarification, not debate.

"Agnostic" is a meaningless term on its own. It refers to a claim of knowledge, but without a qualifier like "atheist" or "theist", all you're saying is "I don't know".

Precisely.  I don't,  And where do I sit in terms of labeling myself if accept that there might be a God and that there might not be, but I have no strong feelings either way?  And for that matter, why is it even necessary to?  I can't call myself a theist if I don't particularly feel there's no God and I can't call myself an atheist if I don't particularly feel there IS one.

The question is not whether or not you know, but whether or not you believe. Here's what it looks like from outside your head:
Me: Do you believe in one or more deities?
You: I'm not sure if deities exist (I'm an "agnostic").
Me: That's great and all, but I want to know if you believe or not; not if you're sure deities exist.
You: I just told you, I'm not sure if they exist (I'm an "agnostic").

Do you have a problem with someone who says they don't know and also that they don't know what they believe?  That's what I said, that's what you've outlined above, and I still see no problem with it.  It's a pretty accurate description of where I'm at.

An agnostic atheist lacks belief in deities, but does not claim absolute knowledge of their non-existence (in other words, an agnostic atheist claims uncertainty of their position). Similarly, an agnostic theist believes, but does not claim absolute knowledge of their deity's (or deities') existence.
A gnostic atheist lacks belief in deities and claims absolute knowledge (certainty) of the non-existence of deities. A gnostic theist believes and claims absolute knowledge of the existence of their deity (or deities).

I feel that I don't know one way or the other and don't believe one way or the other.

There is no "fence-sitting" on this issue. It's a two-sided coin. You either believe, or you don't. There's no position of "non-belief" and "non-non-belief"; you can't "not believe" and also "not not believe". It's an oxymoron.

Clearly we disagree, however I'm OK with disagreeing - are you?  And I'm not looking to be challenged. 

Finally, refusing to state an opinion does not make you more open-minded, just like stating it doesn't make you less open-minded.

I'm not interested in being more or less open minded than anyone else.  I just happen to have no predominant feeling on the matter.

Having an opinion doesn't make you close-minded. Refusing to change your mind does.

I change my mind all the time.  I might conclusively decide tomorrow that I'm an atheist.  That hasn't happened for a long time though.  But I'm not gonig to be upset if it does.
"It ain't supposed to make sense -  it's faith.  Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe."  - Archie Bunker

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Re: Hello
« Reply #57 on: March 22, 2015, 06:49:53 PM »
I'll finish this with a few points:

MisterPine, being an atheist or a newcomer doesn't exempt you from scrutiny. Unless you're younger than four, you're already a sentient being, capable of recognizing when you're wrong (to some degree).

Furthermore, what you're saying now is not what you said earlier in this thread (or even what you say within post above). You said you wanted to be open-minded, which is why you were an "agnostic" (whatever the hell that means). You also said you had stated your beliefs, but, if you're a true agnostic, then you've stated no such thing.

Additionally, if you say you're not looking to be challenged immediately after asking a question, what it sounds like you're saying is "I'm not looking to hear disagreements" - the trademark of a close-minded person. I'm fairly certain that's not what you meant, however.

Finally, don't project your perceptions[1] onto me. If you want my opinions, ask. If not, don't assume, project, or otherwise pull them out of thin air.
 1. "[Not knowing what you believe] doesn't make [you] weak or lacking in any way"
My names are many, yet I am One.
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