Re: The pool we're trying to paddle in

From: J Corbally (
Date: Thu Apr 12 2001 - 13:52:15 MDT

>Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 06:57:32 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Brian D Williams <>
>Subject: Re: The pool we're trying to paddle in
> >From: "Brian Phillips" <>
> >Might you specify the working definition of Agnostic you had
> >in mind? (is it all in the "AND" for you?)
> > How do you define "Zennist"?
>In my definition an agnostic is someone who largely holds the idea
>of God to be currently unknowable. As I stated previously, I
>believe that we do not know enough about the universe to say with
>certainty that a God does not exist. (an error of atheists IMMHO)

Not so. Most atheists I've met would not say "god doesn't exist", they
would say they don't believe it exists. They're well aware of the problem
of making such sweeping claims. By default, atheism is merely a lack of
god belief. It can also be a form of "assertion of nonexistence", but this
in my experience is much less common, and atheism tends to be described
that way in order to strawman it.

I have problems with the "unknowable" bit too, which is why I use atheist,
as it denotes my simple lack of belief. I've noticed that most agnostics
I've met don't buy the "unknowable" thing either. Claiming that something
is "unknown" or "unknowable" is just as much an erroneous assertion as
"there are no gods", since they are all positive claims(requiring positive
proof), even if "currently" is added. So I stick with atheism, as I make
no assertion other than my own lack of belief.

>Or that if there is, this God is vastly different than what is
>taught by the world's religions.
>For example, I have a problem with the notion that any intelligent
>being would insist on being worshiped. I find it hard to conceive
>of an active intelligence would allow 40,000 children a day to
>starve to death on this planet.

I'm with you here.

>I realize religions have pat (unacceptable) answers to these
>Of course a wise person would simply take Pascal's wager (Blaise,
>look it up) and say they believe. Come to think of it, I repent!!

Well, I don't know whether the "wise" person would:) Then again, a lottery
ticket is about the level of my betting.

>A Zennist is a practitioner of Zen without necessarily being a
>buddhist, although there are so many varieties of buddhism I
>probably fit into one of them. Essentially the difficulty for me is
>the death penalty. I see it as an appropriate punishment.

Seems to me like the death penalty is more a case of legalized communal
revenge than anything to do with justice. The idea that a Govt. can
actually kill someone is disturbing.

>In buddhist cosmology the universe is intelligent without there
>being a central figure.
>Extropy Institute,
>Adler Planetarium
>Life Extension Foundation,
>National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888
>Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W
>"Ralph, that is not the Sufi way!" from the movie "Jewel of the

"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and
crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures
to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."
-Q, Star Trek:TNG episode 'Q Who'

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