Tag Archives | Faith

Gnosticism and Agnosticism

PIC: "The Compendium of Graces And The Fountain Of Charm" (PD)

PIC: “The Compendium of Graces And The Fountain Of Charm” (PD)

Fr. Troy Pierce writes at the Path of Gnosis:

One of the common misunderstandings when you tell people that you are a Gnostic is that they hear the more familiar word “Agnostic.” (This becomes quite amusing when they mishear “Agnostic Priest,” or “Agnostic Eucharist.”) This becomes a good opportunity to elucidate one of the truisms of contemporary Gnosticism: You have to be an Agnostic before you can become a Gnostic.

The original differences between agnostic and gnostic are the “privative alpha” of Classical Greek. This prefix functioned like “un-” or “non-” and thus linguistically the two words are opposites, literally ‘Knower’ and ‘Un-Knower.’ (incidentally, the “a” was the first syllable, and the “g” was pronounced in both.)

However, this is Modern English and not Classical Greek, and so both terms have come to have certain more specific meanings. An Agnostic has been jokingly called a “cowardly Atheist,” but is generally someone who knows that they do not know about the divine from the reports of others.

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British Judge Orders Mormon Leader to Prove Faith

800px-Thomas_S_Monson

PIC: Brian Tibbetts (CC)

This is probably nothing more than a stunt, but at least it’s an amusing one…

Via Raw Story:

A disgruntled former Mormon has convinced an English court to file two summonses to appear against Thomas S. Monson, the current president of the Mormon Church.

Tom Phillips based his complaint on the Fraud Act of 2006, a British law that outlaws making a profit off of false representations. According to Phillips, this is precisely what the Mormon Church does — it uses statements it knows to be factually untrue in order to secure tithes from members of the Church.

The facts in question, court records show, are tenets of the Mormon faith, including that Joseph Smith translated The Book of Mormon from ancient gold plates, that Native Americans are descendants of a family of Israelites, and that death didn’t exist on this planet until 6,000 years ago.

“These are not statements of mere ‘beliefs’ or opinions or theories,” Phillips wrote.

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Eye of the Skeptic

Eye-blue“Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.”

                                     -Robert Anton Wilson

“No amount of belief makes something a fact.”

                        -The Amazing James Randi

 

“Faith” should be a four-letter word.  I propose a change in spelling.  “Fath,” maybe.

Those “I’m always right” types absolutely need faith, or else those vicious doubts start creeping in.  Not only will you find faith in the religious mind, calling God a fact, you’ll also find it lurking in the atheist, saying He isn’t.  Come to think of it, anyone who uses the word “fact” so easily must be pretty faithful, at least when it comes to their own nonsense.

One of my favorite “always right” groups to hate is the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), a self-proclaimed “skeptical” organization founded by professional debunker and ex-stage magician, the Amazing Randi.  According to their website, the Foundation “was founded in 1996 to help people defend themselves from paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.”  If you look at this statement closely, you’ll see that little demon, “faith,” wearing a lab coat and a clipboard, trying to look casual in the corner.  It presupposes that “paranormal and pseudoscientific claims” are something to be defended against, and presupposition is the very antithesis of skepticism.  It goes against the very spirit of skepticism: a “questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts.”

Although I’m sure most supporters of the JREF are scoffing right now at the idea that their beliefs are grounded in faith, there’s almost certainly one thing they never question: their own senses.… Read the rest

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Simulation Theory is a Religious Belief System

gauguin.sermonI find simulation theory – in essence, the possibility that we’re living in a artificially generated reality – philosophically interesting, even though there really isn’t much evidence to support the idea. Then again, it’s not really needed.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the theory, at least from a cultural perspective, is that it is at this point a religious belief system. As the bronze age myths of gods and heroes have increasingly failed to address in any convincing manner humanity’s perennial existential woes (“Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?”), we invented technological ones to replace them.

To a greater or lesser degree, the various branches of the Abrahamic faiths have at least at one time considered Earthly life to be illusory, transient, and even sinful; a transitional state of being on the path to the godhead. In the tech-friendly world of Simulation theory, Earthly life is once again illusory: An artificial construct created by powers unknown who might as well be gods.… Read the rest

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Homicide Conviction Upheld For Parents Who Only Prayed For Diabetic Daughter

leilani-and-dale-neumannTodd Richmond reporting via the Huffington Post:

A mother and father who prayed instead of seeking medical help as their daughter died were properly convicted of homicide, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a decision that dramatically limits legal immunity for parents who turn to God rather than science to heal their children.

The decision marks the first time a Wisconsin court has addressed criminal culpability in a prayer treatment case where a child died. The court ruled 6-1 that the state’s immunity provisions for prayer treatment parents protect them from child abuse charges but nothing else, opening the door to a host of other counts.

“No one reading the treatment-through-prayer provision should expect protection from criminal liability under any other statute,” Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson wrote for the majority.

Most states, including Wisconsin, created exemptions from child abuse charges for prayer-healing parents in the 1970s to meet federal requirements.

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Announcing The Release of “Born Again To Rebirth”

Hello Disinfonauts! It is with great pleasure that I tell you my second book, Born Again To Rebirth is available. Graham Hancock has this to say about it:
“Gabriel D. Roberts is a writer to watch and in Born Again to Rebirth he shows us why. This is a terrific book at many levels. Part searing indictment of the born-again Christian establishment by a former insider, part revelation of a personal journey into and out of hell, part surgical exposé of the hidden roots of the hatred, fear and suspicion that divide our world, part return to the source in the understanding that unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness and a willingness to seek the truth without compromise are the only real signposts on our path to self-redemption. As an added bonus it’s a good read! Roberts uses language beautifully with no wasted words. I raced through Born Again to Rebirth in a sitting and I predict you’ll do the same. ”
Available in all major formats; I hope you will consider purchasing my book here. Here's a reading from the chapter, "Exodus".
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Unbelief Is Now The World’s Third-Largest Religious Affiliation

There are more than a billion (non)adherents to what has been insultingly dubbed “unbelief.” The Washington Post writes:

A new report on global religious identity shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation — including atheists and agnostics — are now the third-largest “religious” group in the world.

The study, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that Christians make up the largest group, with 2.2 billion adherents, or 32 percent worldwide, followed by Muslims, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent. Close behind are the “nones” — those who say they have no religious affiliation or do not believe in God — at 1.1 billion, or 16 percent.

The majority of the world’s religiously unaffiliated live in the Asia-Pacific region, with 700 million in China alone, where religion was stifled during the Cultural Revolution.

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Results Of An Atheist Prayer Experiment

What happens when nonbelievers pray to God for 40 straight days in the hope that the Almighty will reveal Himself? The U.K.-based Premier Christian Radio organized just such an experiment, and, amazingly, two participants had religious awakenings, although nothing special happened to anyone else. Premier Christian Media writes:

Seventy one atheists and agnostics signed up to take part in the Atheist Prayer Experiment. Each person was asked to pray for a few minutes per day for forty days during September and October 2012. They were praying for God to reveal himself to them.

Of the 71 who signed up:

• 2 have reported that they now believe in God (Kendra and Kelly).

• 2 failed to take part in the experiment.

• 52 have said they did not receive any revelation of God’s existence through prayer. Some of these stopped praying at an early or later point in the experiment, or failed to pray on some days, and some prayed for the entire duration.

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