on faith and un-faith

Some of my posts bring up the question of faith, religion and god quite a bit. A few comments from other readers got me thinking, what do I actually believe in the core of my heart? Would it be something that I would be willing to stand up for and/or defend with the backing of rational thought and analysis behind it?

There are quite a few people out there who call themselves atheists or agnostics or spiritual but not religious or some combination of the above.

This article partially quoted below is very similar to my line of thinking.

I thought it best to point to the entire writeup than quote it here in it’s entirety.

Agnosticism (from the Greek – a (without) gnosis (knowledge)) is a claim concerning itself with knowledge, or more put more aptly, the lack of knowledge. One can be agnostic about a great number of things: the number of jelly beans in the jar, the number of cars on the road at a given time, or the true rationale for war with Iraq. In these circles, however, agnosticism usually refers to the existence of God. Someone who claims that they are agnostic when it comes to God is simply stating that they don’t know. Could be. Could not be. More specifically, many agnostics (myself included) hold that it is actually impossible to know whether or not God exists.

While agnosticism makes a claim regarding knowledge, atheism makes a claim regarding belief – namely, I don’t believe God exists (or you can put it into the affirmative if you prefer, e.g. I believe God doesn’t exist). However you want to sexy it up, you’re basically saying the same thing: we’re godless creatures in a godless universe.

The key difference between these two notions is the difference between knowledge and belief. Belief is a sort of substitute for knowledge with respect to things that are not yet known or are inherently unknowable. In other words, one can believe something without having knowledge. For example, I can believe that there are one-hundred fifty four jelly beans in the jar, or that there are two point six billion cars on the road, or that the real rationale for war with Iraq was to feed the military-industrial complex.


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