I don't believe in agnostics

  (06 November 10)
  by Greg Spearritt

Atheist Malcolm Knox gives 10 reasons why he has his children involved in religion. They’re well worth considering.


Along the way, Knox makes the claim that


If you're unsure whether there's a God or not, it means either you are not living with belief in God, which means you are an atheist, or that you fear that there might be a God and want to leave that option open, in which case what you really are is a believer. There's no neutral position.


I’m inclined to agree. Agnosticism, in my view, is the only respectable philosophical position. In practice, however, either you are a fool (like me) who says in his heart that there is no God or your heart tells you there may indeed be God. If you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor, it’s a matter of what ‘rings true’ where the rubber hits the road. Deep down, away from the armchair musings, we believe or we don’t. (And it’s clearly not a matter of choice, as though you could decide at breakfast to be a believer or an atheist.)




Knox's argument makes sense only in a simplistic universe with a simplistic picture of God. Some may hold that picture but they are usually American evangelists or new atheists. These activists probably both want to define the subject that way because then they feel they might get more on "their" side. I must acknowledge there is a thing called God because so many public atheists talk about it. I certainly don't believe in that idea but what I do know of the universe is too small to mention so I won't be telling others what to believe. However I doubt there are many believers out there because they are scared of God. Though this argument does sound scarily similar to Climate Change doom and gloom so maybe the precautionary principle should apply and we should all believe in God.

Posted by Owen

I might just clarify my last point and add one further observation of humanity. I mentioned climate only because "climate denying" sceptics seem to call themselves sceptics and climate change evangelists call anyone who is truly sceptical or questionong "deniers". Perhaps we have a similar situation around belief and it is that very many people cannot live with the anxiety of not having an answer on any particular subject deemed to be of importance. One pay off for belief (in going either way) is to relieve the anxiety. There are people who can live with the unknowing and it is projection on the part of the others to say you must be one or the other because THEY can't be. In the case of God it really isn't an issue that affects any decision I have to make in my life. If I were at the Inquistion pragmatism may make me decide on belief but torture never gets honest answers.

Posted by Owen

Since the whole question of a god is completely unknowable - why should it even require discussion - who cares? George Bernard Shaw introduced me to the word agnostic when I was a young airman arriving in UK during the war - he convinced me and I remain convinced that agnosticism is the only sensible view - and it enables one to ignore the whole silly unknowable debate. People either decide to believe because all around them believe, or have belief thrust upon them when too young to decide. Myself when young did eagerly frequent Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument, About it and about, but evermore came out by the same door as in I went. With them the seeds of Wisdom did I sow, And with mine own hand laboured them to grow, And this is all the harvest that I reapt, I come like water and like wind I go And the next quatrain is even more revealing.

Posted by Glenorchy McBride

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