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5 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2010 - 8:32PM #1
Intotheblue
Posts: 265

So how many of you think agnosticism is the most humble approach to religion?

Namaste.

.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

"It is not our differences that divide us, but our inability to accept and celebrate those differences."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2010 - 10:33PM #2
Jonathanelliot
Posts: 55

Interesting question.


First of all, it perhaps implies that humility is a *good* ?  :-)  However, I won't argue with that, as I happen to believe humilty is a good thing.


I came to the point of view that humility is simply "to tell the truth about oneself".  For example, if I am the olympic gold medal skiing champion, it would not be proud to say "I am the best skiier in the world."  It's simply the truth.  It would not be humble to say "I am the best skiier in the world and that makes me a better person than you."


 This is why, for example Y'shua could claim to be "equal with G-d" (www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joh...)  and yet also be spoken of as humble. 


Coming to the question of agnosticsm being the most humble approach to religion, I think what is prior is whether agnosticism is true.  If (say) Islam is true, then agnosicism is not true, and therefore not humble.  It is, in fact, foolish.  (On these assumptions.)


I can't help feeling that something in what I've said is flawed, however.  I shall ponder, or please feel free to correct me :-)


Jonathan  (spritzophrenia.wordpress.com )

http://spritzophrenia.wordpress.com
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 12, 2010 - 6:48PM #3
Intotheblue
Posts: 265

Jonathan,


That was an interesting and unexpected response! I'd never heard anyone define humble that way.


I'm sure you probably know what I was getting at with my question, but I'll say it anyway, for those who might not...


We have no evidence for or against the existence of a god (or gods), a particular kind of afterlife, etc. So to me, atheism (saying "there definitely is no god") and theism (saying "there definitely is a god") both assume we can know such a thing, even though we have no way of knowing, at least not at this point. It's like if someone said there's a purple ball of fluff on a planet 50 million light years away and it likes to sing opera. How the heck can we know such a thing? It might sound unlikely, but really we can't disprove it - or prove it. I think to assume we can know the existence (let alone exact nature) of a divine being is a bit presumptuous. (And that's also one reason I'm agnostic - there are a lot of things I think are better to spend my time and energy on, than trying to figure out an abstract question I can never figure out in this lifetime).


People don't like not knowing something, especially something they think is extremely important, so admitting "I don't know for sure either way" when it comes to God does take some humility, I think.


Your reasoning is flawed though. You say agnosticism is wrong if Islam is right. That's not accurate, if you define agnosticism as "not knowing." If Islam is right, Buddhism is wrong. If Christianity is right, atheists are wrong. That's because each of those groups believe firmly that they know the answer, and everyone else is wrong. They're all playing the same game, and there can only be one winner. Agnostics aren't even playing that game, so they can be neither winners nor losers. Their stance isn't Yes or No, but Unknown. That's an entirely different answer, so the results of Yes and No don't apply. If Islam turns out to be true, okay fine, I never claimed it wasn't, so I can't be wrong. I never claimed it was either, so I can't be right. I never claimed to know either way. See the difference?

Namaste.

.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

"It is not our differences that divide us, but our inability to accept and celebrate those differences."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2010 - 8:38PM #4
Jonathanelliot
Posts: 55

Yes, I think you're correct in your last paragraph.  My reasoning was flawed there.


"I think to assume we can know the existence (let alone exact nature) of a divine being is a bit presumptuous."


Doesn't this argument work both ways?  ie To assume we can NOT know is also presumptuous?


Perhaps it's better to leave the whole question of humility and presumption to one side.  Humility in intellectual questions is talking about *how* one undertakes the debate.  It really has no bearing on the question itself.


I think we can agree that humilty is a desirable trait for anyone in the *manner* we think and debate.  However, what really matters is the answer itself.


Not sure if this makes sense.


ie is it better to be humbly wrong, or arrogantly right?

http://spritzophrenia.wordpress.com
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2010 - 10:04AM #5
Intotheblue
Posts: 265

In my opinion, it's better to be humbly wrong.


That aside, though, no I don't think the same argument applies. We don't think we can know the answer to god's existence because we don't have any real evidence either way.


But I see what you're getting at, so never mind. :)

Namaste.

.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

"It is not our differences that divide us, but our inability to accept and celebrate those differences."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 16, 2010 - 11:49PM #6
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,565

It is better to be humbly correct and correctly humble, what do you think?


To be in accord with reality is to perceive and respect truth. Being humble is being open and accepting of that which is true. The whole is always greater than a part.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2010 - 1:15AM #7
Jonathanelliot
Posts: 55

Jan 14, 2010 -- 10:04AM, Intotheblue wrote:


In my opinion, it's better to be humbly wrong.




Here's where I differ:


I think it's better to be right.  So if the only option is to be arrogantly right, that is still better than being wrong.


For example, if Islam is true and I die a good muslim, then I will go to paradise.  So even if I am arrogant in my belief that Islam is true, at least I go to paradise instead of perdition.


However, the above dichotomy is a bit unpleasant.  It's even better to be humbly right :-)

http://spritzophrenia.wordpress.com
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2010 - 1:43PM #8
Intotheblue
Posts: 265

Jan 17, 2010 -- 1:15AM, Jonathanelliot wrote:


Jan 14, 2010 -- 10:04AM, Intotheblue wrote:


In my opinion, it's better to be humbly wrong.




Here's where I differ:


I think it's better to be right.  So if the only option is to be arrogantly right, that is still better than being wrong.


For example, if Islam is true and I die a good muslim, then I will go to paradise.  So even if I am arrogant in my belief that Islam is true, at least I go to paradise instead of perdition.


However, the above dichotomy is a bit unpleasant.  It's even better to be humbly right :-)




Except we have no way of knowing which, if any, of the world's religions are "true," so how can we be right when it comes to this? Since we have no way of knowing for sure, the only way to be "right" that I can see is to admit that we have no way of knowing! So I guess humbly right is in fact the best way to put it...

Namaste.

.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

"It is not our differences that divide us, but our inability to accept and celebrate those differences."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 18, 2010 - 3:30AM #9
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,565

Dear Intotheblue,


"Except we have no way of knowing which, if any, of the world's religions are "true," so how can we be right when it comes to this?"


Have you considered that many of them are true? Buddhism confirms Hinduism. Christianity confirms Judaism. Islam confirms both Christianity and Judaism. The Bahá'í Faith confirms all these, Sabaeanism, Zoroastrianism and the Bábí Faith.


" Since we have no way of knowing for sure, the only way to be "right" that I can see is to admit that we have no way of knowing! So I guess humbly right is in fact the best way to put it..."


O thou seeker of the True One!


If thou wishest the divine knowledge and recognition, purify thy heart from all beside God, be wholly attracted to the ideal, beloved One; search for and choose Him and apply thyself to rational and authoritative arguments. For arguments are a guide to the path and by this the heart will be turned unto the Sun of Truth. And when the heart is turned unto the Sun, then the eye will be opened and will recognize the Sun through the Sun itself. Then (man) will be in no need of arguments (or proofs), for the Sun is altogether independent, and absolute independence is in need of nothing, and proofs are one of the things (of which absolute independence has no need).


 (Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v1, p. 168)

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 18, 2010 - 4:40AM #10
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,565

Speaking of humility,


Two famous clergy, legends in their own days, meet on the steps of a house of worship. One bows and says "I am nothing" and so does the other.


A few feet away a dishevelled, raggedly dressed soul looks up with tears on the cheeks and says the same thing.


Then one well-dressed, well-off congregant elbows another, motions to the latter and says "Look who thinks he's nothing now!"

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