Jonathan H. B. Lobl

Agnostics, Atheists, Brights, Free Thinkers

Recommended Posts

18 hours ago, Dan56 said:

That's why I believe what I do, outside influence was not a factor in my decision.

The reason they are called outside influences is that they influence. If they are not a factor in your decisions, you are calling them the wrong thing. ;)

No one makes decisions in a vacuum.

Truth be told, none of us are truly free in our thinking. We are all shackled by our biases and chained to our conditioning.

It is both a bug and a feature. On the one hand, it can blind us to important truths. On the other hand, it can allow us to act with confidence in the face of objective uncertainty. 

Edited by mererdog
I'm fickle

Share this post


Link to post

I am sure that is true but if we talk about degrees some peoples position when faced with substantial evidence some of us change our cognative position. Others have their story but I have gone from fundamentalist to liberal Christian to agnostic and if I could see evidence to the contrary I would change all the way back if I could see substanciated evidence that was more than unsubstantiated myth. Whilst others hold their position no matter what.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Pete said:

I am sure that is true but if we talk about degrees some peoples position when faced with substantial evidence some of us change our cognative position. Others have their story but I have gone from fundamentalist to liberal Christian to agnostic and if I could see evidence to the contrary I would change all the way back if I could see substanciated evidence that was more than unsubstantiated myth. Whilst others hold their position no matter what.

 

Yes.  Waiting for evidence.  Some of us still care about external reality.     :thumbu:   When faith is not enough.  :mellow:

Share this post


Link to post
11 hours ago, Pete said:

this section is for none religions so please go away. 

 

8 hours ago, Pete said:

 I am pissed with his intervention. 

 

Somewhat rude! My opinion is not intervention... I am going away... By the same token, I'm sure that you and Jonathan will stay out of every Christian thread, or any topic dealing with God.  Neither of you are religious, nor do you believe in God,  so you really have no business wallowing or intervening in Christian topics, so please stay away. :)  Its a 2-sided fence.

Edited by Dan56

Share this post


Link to post

"Note: No group is excluded from posting a reply in any area. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate everywhere. Others who do not study the same practice are welcomed to add comments and questions to compare, contrast and learn."

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

Yes.  Waiting for evidence.  Some of us still care about external reality.     :thumbu:   When faith is not enough.  :mellow:

According to modern cognitive science, how we interpret evidence is largely determined by our preexisting biases. When we are preconditioned to believe something, it is very difficult to see anything as evidence that it is not so, but easy to see everything as evidence that it is. This means that it is entirely possible to continue waiting for evidence long after seeing evidence- to think we are looking for proof when we are really ignoring proof. It is a phenomenon that is usually easy to spot when it happens to others, but is usually impossible to spot when it happens to ourselves.

 

A very funny and very scary twist on this is that I may only believe the cognitive scientists about bias because I am biased to do so.

Edited by mererdog

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/29/2017 at 3:04 PM, Pete said:

I consider myself a agnostic and cognitively I know the biblical god is just rubbish to me. I feel embarrassed by what I am about to say but I find 50+ years of Christian indoctrination hard to shake off. I know you think this is stupid but it is a long term coping mechanism . I feel at odds with my cognative mind and my conditioned thoughts. I know I do not fit into any religious camp any more and I get cross with myself at times knowing my indoctrination  is just nonsense.  I wonder how others feel. I would be glad to here from other agnostics or atheists. 

 

Pete,

Thanks for opening the door to address feelings and not just beliefs.

I can intellectualize a great many things.   I can not always reconcile my feelings to my thinking.

 

You were told ...more than your earthly life ALL ETERNITY depended on YOU BELIEVING

....even death was not as important as this entire push carried beyond death.  It was more important

than life and death!   The worst thing you could ever do is NOT BELIEVE!   You could murder someone

(which is bad, evil and a sin) but there is a mechanism to still accept you.  You are accepted no matter

what you do if you repent.   Still today your doubt of faith can be washed away and you can be back in

the club if you just say:  I repent.  I am sorry.  I want back in......

Which is the safety net to make severing the relationship really tough.  YOU CAN NEVER get away

because we are here waiting for you to simply knock at the door and it will be opened to you.....

 

When you consider all  THAT - is it any wonder you are angry, hurt, and feeling conflicted about

everything told to you since infancy.    Important point:  YOU DID NOT HAVE A CHANCE TO CHOOSE.

You did not choose this path...someone else chose it FOR YOU.   That is a big deal. It was chosen

FOR YOU and any moment in time that you wondered about it or attempted to come to terms with 

the fact it wasn't working for you - - YOU WERE LETTING SOMEONE DOWN.  Self doubt pushed at 

you over time has made this an incredibly difficult journey.   

 

On the one hand I am sorry it had to be that way.   On the other - you gotta see you have done an

amazing thing to undertake the journey! 

 

I have said so often I am thankful my parents DID NOT insist on us waiting till we were older to 

choose a path.  I have remained thankful daily that my parents were not too pushy about believing

(or not believing much of anything.)  Each year of my life I have counted one of the greatest 

gifts they gave to us is that they allowed us to go where our natural curiosity took us. 

None of us grew up a-moral or unkind.   We had a very strong sense of right and wrong.  We 

were allowed to see the consequence of unkind and immoral and got to choose without any

guilt trips - which life would be best for us.  Only as an adult did I come to terms with what a

whale of a prize that was! 

 

 You did not blindly go through your entire life without making a choice for yourself.  

 Once the choice is made, by you - as an adult (which has happened) then I say congratulations.   

 

Whatever steps it took to get to here - - - were necessary to get to here. 

You could not be who you are now - in some part - without taking every one of those steps. 

 

Thanks for sharing so openly the mountain you had to climb.   And are still 

climbing.  It makes me respect the effort, the journey and yes too - even the current

struggle.   

 

Observation:  Sure seems to me you are getting way more right than you ever got wrong. 

And whatever happened in the past - remains in the past.   We all had to grow through stuff

to get to where we are now.  


The past does NOT define your present other than noting where you started. 

 

von

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

To each - their own.  I do respect Dan.

Dan has also made a choice.  

 

He is under no obligation to choose as I do.   Or as anyone else chooses.  

ULC is the one place we respect differences of belief. 

 

I truly appreciate that many have been hurt, frustrated, angered and way more than annoyed  over the years

by pushy, arrogant, demanding, politically active - hard ball driving fundamentalists of more than one religion.

Fanatical at times can be a charitable word.   What angers most of us is their inability to offer respect to any

belief different than THEIR CHOICE.  It is the lack of giving respect that infuriates.   That alone is a lesson

not to go there! 

 

ULC was founded upon tolerance with respect to all.   

 

BTW, Dan - I was not including YOU in the above notation...or any Christian per se.  

 

I realize i am not here for large blocks of time - so I surely may have missed something and will allow

a point to the contrary, if there is one. I have been around for more than a decade - and I cannot recall any

point in time where Dan has been, to me, a nonbeliever - anything but respectful.   How can I do less. 

 

LeopardBoy sent me a personal communications more than two years ago - which I printed out and 

take up above my desk and I regret I lost the original exact wording in my recent move.  

In a nutshell - LeopardBoy nailed it:     You get respect because you give it to others.   

 

von

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
9 hours ago, Pete said:

I am sure that is true but if we talk about degrees some peoples position when faced with substantial evidence some of us change our cognative position. Others have their story but I have gone from fundamentalist to liberal Christian to agnostic and if I could see evidence to the contrary I would change all the way back if I could see substanciated evidence that was more than unsubstantiated myth. Whilst others hold their position no matter what.

 

Bravo.   YOU STILL have an open mind!   You will go where evidence leads you. 

You have done some amazing healing!   

von

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, mererdog said:

"Note: No group is excluded from posting a reply in any area. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate everywhere. Others who do not study the same practice are welcomed to add comments and questions to compare, contrast and learn."

:clap2::clap2::clap2:

Share this post


Link to post

I apologise to the forum and Dan. It was an emotional outburst.  I wanted to speak to other agnostics and atheists because I hope someone could help me with my struggle with my own mind. Jonathan has been helpful but I did not want this as an excuse to discuss someone elses religious agenda and hence my emotional outburst. Perhaps in hind sight I would have best been served by an email but then I would have not have got the experience of others. I am sorry. 

Edited by Pete

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, mererdog said:

According to modern cognitive science, how we interpret evidence is largely determined by our preexisting biases. When we are preconditioned to believe something, it is very difficult to see anything as evidence that it is not so, but easy to see everything as evidence that it is. This means that it is entirely possible to continue waiting for evidence long after seeing evidence- to think we are looking for proof when we are really ignoring proof. It is a phenomenon that is usually easy to spot when it happens to others, but is usually impossible to spot when it happens to ourselves.

 

A very funny and very scary twist on this is that I may only believe the cognitive scientists about bias because I am biased to do so.

 

I'm going to split a hair with you.  The Agnostic who is waiting for evidence -- is waiting for evidence.  Yes, confirmation bias will still filter which evidence is acceptable, but there is still at least the idea, of possible evidence.  Evidence which is not yet available and must be awaited.  Contrast with the Fundamentalist position.  Nothing will change their mind.  Nothing.  If anything does, it will result in eternal damnation.  It's a different head.

 

Regarding your own confirmation bias:  Cognitive Science has produced interesting and useful results.  What has faith produced?

(Dan -- Songster --  etc.  You might want to take this one.)

 

:mellow:

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, VonNoble said:

To each - their own.  I do respect Dan.

Dan has also made a choice.  

 

He is under no obligation to choose as I do.   Or as anyone else chooses.  

ULC is the one place we respect differences of belief. 

 

I truly appreciate that many have been hurt, frustrated, angered and way more than annoyed  over the years

by pushy, arrogant, demanding, politically active - hard ball driving fundamentalists of more than one religion.

Fanatical at times can be a charitable word.   What angers most of us is their inability to offer respect to any

belief different than THEIR CHOICE.  It is the lack of giving respect that infuriates.   That alone is a lesson

not to go there! 

 

ULC was founded upon tolerance with respect to all.   

 

BTW, Dan - I was not including YOU in the above notation...or any Christian per se.  

 

I realize i am not here for large blocks of time - so I surely may have missed something and will allow

a point to the contrary, if there is one. I have been around for more than a decade - and I cannot recall any

point in time where Dan has been, to me, a nonbeliever - anything but respectful.   How can I do less. 

 

LeopardBoy sent me a personal communications more than two years ago - which I printed out and 

take up above my desk and I regret I lost the original exact wording in my recent move.  

In a nutshell - LeopardBoy nailed it:     You get respect because you give it to others.   

 

von

 

 

 

 

 

That sums it up well.  Good job.

 

:mellow:     :thumbu:

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Pete said:

I apologise to the forum and Dan. It was an emotional outburst.  I wanted to speak to other agnostics and atheists because I hope someone could help me with my struggle with my own mind. Jonathan has been helpful but I did not want this as an excuse to discuss someone elses religious agenda and hence my emotional outburst. Perhaps in hind sight I would have best been served by an email but then I would have not have got the experience of others. I am sorry. 

 

You were provoked.       :mellow:

Share this post


Link to post
13 hours ago, Pete said:

[...] I have gone from fundamentalist to liberal Christian to agnostic and if I could see evidence to the contrary I would change all the way back if I could see substanciated evidence that was more than unsubstantiated myth. [...]

 

I, as an "agnostic orthodox christian" - for one, would like to try to "persuade" you back into being that "liberal Christian" again: first let me differentiate between Christianity, the "organisation", which I do not feel a lot (of positivity) for; Christianity the philosophy which I like very much (but you have to be careful to differentiate between the "teachings of Christ"  (whereupon a lot of our modern society is based on: equality, democracy, compassion et cetera) and I am quite grateful for (and see the Old Testament and most things "after good Friday" as the previously mentioned "moralising story-books"); and, Christian "society", which - in the end - "we" (here in the "West") are (still!) part of (but I do see changing in the future, somewhere...).

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

I'm going to split a hair with you.  The Agnostic who is waiting for evidence -- is waiting for evidence.  Yes, confirmation bias will still filter which evidence is acceptable, but there is still at least the idea, of possible evidence.  Evidence which is not yet available and must be awaited.  Contrast with the Fundamentalist position.  Nothing will change their mind.  Nothing.  If anything does, it will result in eternal damnation.  It's a different head.

Consider for a moment that the only difference between the two may be self-awareness. The agnostic may believe he can be persuaded by evidence but, in reality, maybe he cannot. The agnostic may believe he has been convinced by evidence, but maybe his base-level bias has simply led to different specific beliefs over time. It poses the interesting question: If my mind is closed, is it useful to think my mind is open?

 

As for what faith has produced...

 

Throughout history, faith has given men the courage to follow their dreams and struggle against adversity. It was faith that made the trip across the ocean to the New World a possibility for many.

 

Faith has motivated the creation of great works like the Pyramids and Hoover Dam. Faith gave scribes and artists the time and resources they needed to practice, and provided an incentive for their works to be protected through the ages.

 

It was faith that let leaders believe they could trust their fellow men enough to allow for the establishment of liberal democracy and the expansion of human rights. 

 

On a personal level, without faith, I could not be married. 

 

None of this is to say that faith has not led to tragedy and terror. But it is a simple fact that everything that is powerful is also dangerous.

Edited by mererdog

Share this post


Link to post
23 minutes ago, mererdog said:

Consider for a moment that the only difference between the two may be self-awareness. The agnostic may believe he can be persuaded by evidence but, in reality, maybe he cannot. The agnostic may believe he has been convinced by evidence, but maybe his base-level bias has simply led to different specific beliefs over time. It poses the interesting question: If my mind is closed, is it useful to think my mind is open?

 

As for what faith has produced...

 

Throughout history, faith has given men the courage to follow their dreams and struggle against adversity. It was faith that made the trip across the ocean to the New World a possibility for many.

 

Faith has motivated the creation of great works like the Pyramids and Hoover Dam. Faith gave scribes and artists the time and resources they needed to practice, and provided an incentive for their works to be protected through the ages.

 

It was faith that let leaders believe they could trust their fellow men enough to allow for the establishment of liberal democracy and the expansion of human rights. 

 

On a personal level, without faith, I could not be married. 

 

 

This is starting to look a lot like the free will vs. determinism argument.  I'm at a loss to respond, except to say that, I think I have an open mind.  

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

This is starting to look a lot like the free will vs. determinism argument.  

It is very similar. The important difference is that people rarely make the argument "I have free will but your actions are deterministic in nature."

Usually, it is a given that either we all have free will or none of us do. But there is a sort of reflexive tendency to treat closedmindedness solely as a flaw that The Other has...

Edited by mererdog

Share this post


Link to post
5 hours ago, mererdog said:

It is very similar. The important difference is that people rarely make the argument "I have free will but your actions are deterministic in nature."

Usually, it is a given that either we all have free will or none of us do. But there is a sort of reflexive tendency to treat closedmindedness solely as a flaw that The Other has...

 

When a Fundamentalist tells me, that he has chosen to believe, on faith alone, and that no evidence can possibly shake that belief -- I tend to take them at their word.  It pretty much defines the state of being closed minded.  The determination to continue believing, no matter what, without regard to evidence.

 

Yes.  The Agnostic may have difficulty accepting evidence -- but at least, the party line welcomes evidence.  Faith and belief are not, per se, regarded as virtues.  Not even disbelief.  

Share this post


Link to post

pete,

i was raised penecostal for the better part of my life(and grew to hate it).i don't hate any people but i do not accept their beliefs for myself.as such,i am an atheist.i choose to follow a buddhist path as it makes the most sense to me.however,i have no problems with learning from other philosophies.

 

letting go is not an easy exercise at all.but in the end it can be well worth it.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now