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Modern Koans – Militant Agnostics?

By Andrew Furst @a_furst
CosmologyModern Koans is an ongoing series that recognizes that good questions are often more important then their answers.

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. ― G.K. Chesterton


Militant Agnostics?

@ellozen – the curator of zen things on Ello (a new ad -less social network I’m dabbling in) made this nice remark on my posting about Atheism and whether it causes despair.

Agnosticism I understand. It’s like a Buddhist claiming “I don’t know” — a realistic position given that humans are limited tools of understanding. Atheism I don’t understand, because to me it appears rooted in human hubris (a certainty about all of existence based on lack of evidence and/or lack of spiritual experience). On the other side of this, the most I can do is tell someone I’ve had spiritual experiences. I can’t give those experiences to anyone or make them believe it.

Spirit comes through the door of self. If that door is closed, the universe looks like a spirit-less place. If that door is open, then a human can have a range of beliefs and experiences, from agnosticism to full spirituality.

I responded: 

I have an on again off again romance with atheism. I’m more of a militant agnostic – I don’t know and you don’t know either!

@ellozen responded – But it’s ok to be agnostic without declaring that everyone else be agnostic. Because I’m not actually agnostic

This is such a personal topic!

I responded:   “Militant” agnostics probably don’t want everyone to be agnostic. They want people to recognize that they are welcome to their beliefs, but if they want to make claims of knowledge or facts, that belief is not a leg to stand on. Facts are shared confirmable experience. Beliefs are not. Spiritual experiences are individual experiences. They lie in how we experience the world and are linked to our worldview. Those worldviews are unique as snowflakes. Beautiful in their novelty and transience. Utterly impossible to share or demonstrate directly with others.

So?  How productive are these conversations between theists, atheists, and agnostics?  Are they just eternally divisive hot topics? Should we agree to disagree?  Can we stop with a statement that declares that beliefs are welcome but cannot form the basis of social conventions (laws, etc)?

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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