Agnosticism

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DancingCarrot
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Agnosticism

Post by DancingCarrot » 14 Jun 2014, 15:58

Lately I've been down the path of agnosticism. Reasoned out in my mind, it seemed a lot easier. I could continuously float between both the existence and non-existence of any divine power, choosing either side when I felt it fit. It also made sense considering the other options seemed to be traditionally devout religious person or committed atheist, both of which don't appeal to me mostly because of the lists that seem to accompany both of them.

However, I have done a Fruit Check. I know it's in both the BoM and the Bible (which, I know, can put the BoM into question but what if it's just the continuation and putting into spotlight a better principle?) and it's a principle which I try to live by. Agnosticism makes me as nebulous as the idea itself. I don't get a firm grounding. However, I don't think that the two other options I laid out previously are the only options. I don't have to declare myself with the scientists. Even the greats and their ideas change *enter in the principle of being open to new light and understanding* I also don't want or need to assert myself with the mortals of this church.

I get to say that Joseph Smith was an interesting man, with a spotted past that truly no one of us can know. I get to say that it's interesting that something like the priesthood ban would be able to happen because I wholeheartedly purport the central sanctity of agency. It's a little harder to swallow when actually confronted with it, though. ;) I get to say that I believe some prophets have been better mouth pieces than others. Above all, I get to say that no mortal has the right to come between me and Father (I don't like saying God or Lord because that takes away the personal touch of it all). I don't get it all. And yes, I think that there are some silly policies and some of them are hurtful and I wish that leaders felt they had the capacity to alter their ministration because I believe they do. But this church is where I feel I can pursue a relationship with my Father because at its actual core, it accepts all Truth which will bear good fruit and if it doesn't I get to say I don't have to follow it.

I know that this may not be at all similar to anyone else's experiences, especially with the church. I've just felt like I need to assert myself properly, even if it is different from my introduction.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Agnosticism

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Jun 2014, 19:41

Intellectually, I am an agnostic.

Emotionally / spiritually, I am a theist.

I am totally fine with that duality.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

DancingCarrot
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Re: Agnosticism

Post by DancingCarrot » 14 Jun 2014, 23:03

Thanks for that dichotomy, Ray. That's a very interesting way to approach it. I like it.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

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DarkJedi
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Re: Agnosticism

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Jun 2014, 04:18

I certainly at one point considered my self very agnostic, even close to be atheistic. My current view is much more deist, but I walk a thin line between agnosticism and deism. The idea that God seems to be so hidden and that he seems to play such a small part in the lives of human beings (not that which is perceived, but that which is real) fits so well with deist thought - and helps me understand why there are agnostics and atheists. It appears to be much easier to be agnostic than to be a true believer based on available evidence.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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SamBee
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Re: Agnosticism

Post by SamBee » 15 Jun 2014, 10:39

There is a certain level of honesty in agnosticism, but after years of being one I find it a cold and empty position. I feel much happier and grounded since I stopped being one.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

DancingCarrot
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Re: Agnosticism

Post by DancingCarrot » 15 Jun 2014, 11:30

I really like the idea of intellectual agnosticism and emotional/spiritual theism. Because when I separate myself into the intellectual and spiritual aspects, those are the things that come along with them. However, I can't be fully either one of them since I am always both of them. The reason why agnosticism seems so cold and empty to me, and perhaps others, is because I am only paying attention to one side of me. It's not that the two sides of me must be pitted against each other and one must win, but to incorporate and learn from both and use both. Yin and yang if you will. Both are necessary.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

BlueFalconX250
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Re: Agnosticism

Post by BlueFalconX250 » 15 Jun 2014, 18:45

I have been moving between these points myself. And I really like drawing the distinction between the intellect and the spirit. One of my biggest problem with any group with which a person may associate (religion, politics, gender preference, or sexual orientation) is when that is ALL they are.

Example - I don't have a problem supporting my gay friends. They are wonderful, kind people. But when a person is solely defined by his or her sexual preference, I have a problem. The same goes for church. It is possible to be LDS and also have thoughts/desires/feelings that are outside of that realm. If all you are is "Mormon," we're not going to get along. People are dynamic and complicated. They *SHOULD NOT* define themselves by using a small part of what makes them who they are (think of synecdoche).

It is, in my opinion, fine to accept doubt as a part of knowledge acquisition and personal growth.

And
DancingCarrot wrote:However, I can't be fully either one of them since I am always both of them. The reason why agnosticism seems so cold and empty to me, and perhaps others, is because I am only paying attention to one side of me. It's not that the two sides of me must be pitted against each other and one must win, but to incorporate and learn from both and use both. Yin and yang if you will. Both are necessary.
I would turn you to Robert Louis Stevenson (one of my favorite authors) and this passage from the end of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: "I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both" (Emphasis added by me).

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Daeruin
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Re: Agnosticism

Post by Daeruin » 15 Jun 2014, 20:27

DancingCarrot, have you researched agnosticism much? If so, which "flavor" of agnosticism do you feel most accurately describes you?
"Not all those who wander are lost" —Tolkien

DancingCarrot
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Re: Agnosticism

Post by DancingCarrot » 15 Jun 2014, 22:54

I haven't researched it much, but as far as I can tell Agnostic Theism seems to apply pretty well. I really wanted there to be one and tried to act like it (mostly through prayer even though they suddenly felt very empty). I'm INTJ and have a pretty developed sense of "I need to reach conclusions." Sometimes that serves me well and sometimes it screws me over. This time, it helped me see pretty quickly that agnosticism as a permanent, unchanging view of the world (especially compared to my one previously) wouldn't work for me. If there are SO many things that are unknowable in the world, I literally don't know how to function in that world. Or if only certain things are knowable, I might feel really limited and get depressed anyway. So it's a double-edged sword as I see it.

I think the way I can come out of this the best is considering Father's character. Or at least what I would hope for in a supreme creator and overseer. In my own life, I have become intimately acquainted with the principle of agency. There is just so much power and ability in choice. I know that they're limited by circumstance, but in my mind, a Father would take that into consideration and would never fault anyone for their environment. So we start with his unyielding attachment to honoring agency. He isn't going to change your mind or make you do things you don't want to do. Obedience for Obedience's sake is off the table. That blows a huge hole in a lot of people's perception about the church and gospel. It's incredibly liberating, but also comes with plenty of responsibility in my opinion. Yay!

So the only being I can believe in is one who wants me to make my own decisions for my own reasons. If he loves me, which I assume he does, then the things he asks me to do MUST have a reason because obedience for obedience's sake is not an option. Then I start to ask why. But the big key, I think, is to try it out WHILE asking questions and pondering. It's almost like going to college. On the one hand, I can complain about the necessity of college (which is debatable but not part of this discussion :D ) and not go to college and I will never discover why people believe it's this great big thing that everyone has to go through. OR I can try college out and still hold on to my doubts about whether it's necessary or not. And I can glean experiences that I wouldn't have received otherwise. And I can complete a degree or not; that is still my choice. But I won't have the experiential knowledge if I don't go to college. The questions can still remain, and I can even come to the conclusion afterwards that it was totally not necessary, but the decision to obey with faith that I'll learn SOMETHING is paramount. That humility and openness is what gives me knowledge.

That's basically how I approach the gospel/church: one giant Fruit Check. However, it's obedience coupled with wondering, questioning, and pondering. And in my mind that's how Father works. Maybe it's confirmation bias. I don't want to get too reductionist, though. I may just be a wonderful voodoo mama who's created a deity!
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

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journeygirl
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Re: Agnosticism

Post by journeygirl » 17 Jun 2014, 13:26

That's the thing, DancingCarrot, your last sentence, that maybe you've created your own deity, that keeps me agnostic. I also like having answers to things and do not like not knowing, but I can't see how one could determine which version of god is correct. Each religion seems to think they have it right, complete with spiritual confirmations and prophets/spiritual leaders confirming. All scriptures seem to have some similar teachings, so that is also hard to figure out which is correct. All religions seem to have ideas that repulse me, so that too doesn't help me determine what to believe. I value truth higher than I do the comfort of having an answer, and so I am left without answers. This is very difficult, but for me it is the only option. I do hope that when I die I will get answers though. (or will no longer have consciousness and won't wonder! :? )

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