Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I believe in - v.1.0

Cindy asked a question in comments. She wanted to know what an agnostic is and what I believe in. I think that's a good question to answer right up here. Hopefully I'll cover most topics.

I always like to start with a few defenitions. All from, of course :

Main Entry:
athe·ist           Listen to the pronunciation of atheist
: one who believes that there is no deity
Main Entry:
1ag·nos·tic           Listen to the pronunciation of 1agnostic
\ag-ˈnäs-tik, əg-\
Greek agnōstos unknown, unknowable, from a- + gnōstos known, from gignōskein to know — more at know
1: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable ; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god2: a person unwilling to commit to an opinion about something agnostics>
ag·nos·ti·cism           Listen to the pronunciation of agnosticism \-tə-ˌsi-zəm\ noun

Main Entry:
the·ism           Listen to the pronunciation of theism
: belief in the existence of a god or gods ; specifically : belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world
Main Entry:
de·ism           Listen to the pronunciation of deism           Listen to the pronunciation of deism
\ˈdē-ˌi-zəm, ˈdā-\
often capitalized
: a movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe

I consider myself an Agnostic, simply because right now, with the tools we have, we will never know with 100% certainty that there is a deity out there. Dawkins argues in The God Delusion that any creator would have to have evolved as well, in the same way we have. I agree. He argues this is impossible I do not. I argue that it is entirely possible that at some point in the future we will develop a set of tools, be they scientific or mathematical, that will enable us to prove the existence of a deity one way or the other.

That said I think the probability of there being a deity out there is extremely slim. However, there have been a number of cases in my life where someone with scientific training has said "This is this. According to all the evidence we have, this is this, this means this, and this is what you need to commit to right now to deal with it." Every time I have said to them "I have time, this doesn't need to be committed to today. Let's let science work on it a while and see what they come up with." the story has eventually changed, and my life has been better for not committing.

So, I don't think we have to have to commit to the question of god or no god today. Let's let science work on it for a while, see what happens.


I consider myself a Deist. That is, I believe that if there is a god out there, he is neither imminent not transcendent. I believe he takes no account of the day-to-day doings on this or any other planet. At best, he set off the Big Bang and walked away.

I do believe in some kind of life after death. I don't believe in heaven, or hell, except what we make ourselves, but I do believe that something carries on.


I don't believe the bible is the revealed word of anyone. I believe the Old Testament is a collection of ancient mythology. I believe the gospels may very well have been commissioned. I believe Paul was a misogynistic, power-hungry politician, who's writings shouldn't be allowed around small children for fear of spreading his evil.

I have read the bible, cover to cover, more than once. Didn't help. I do not read the bible on a daily basis.


I consider myself culturally Catholic. That is, I was raised in a Catholic home and attended Catholic school. I even boarded in a convent-based Catholic high school. Because of this I am most familiar with, and so comfortable with, the Catholic liturgical year.

The same can be said about my husband and my mother. My in-laws are devoutly Catholic. We attend mass when we visit my in-laws.

I spent a number of years participating in my father's Pagan faith, until I decided there was no Goddess either. I met my husband through our Pagan "church", and we were married by a Pagan elder.

Because of our combined Pagan/Catholic background we tend to celebrate a combination of holidays from both faiths. We happily celebrated Christmas until the AFA decided to raise a stink, now it's Krismas for us. We celebrate Easter Sunday, as well as the equinoxes and solstices. Usually by changing the decorations in the house, we don't attend any religious rituals anymore.

We both volunteer. Not through church, obviously, but with our State Defense Force which assist the National Guard, and through the hospital where he works. In the past we've volunteered with out county Search and rescue, and with the American Legion, among others.

fwiw, I have both Christian and Pagan music on my iPod. But jazz is my favorite.


The big question that always comes up is "What about the children?". If my husband didn't work on Sundays we would attend services at the nearby Unitarian Universalist church. I taught Sunday school there for a number of years, and still have copies of their curriculum. I plan to use these to homeschool our children in all faiths, so that they will have the background to make their own decisions as they grow.

The UU congregation upholds these seven principals:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Or in the children's version:
1. Each person is important.
2. Be kind in all you do.
3. We're free to learn together.
4. We search for what is true.
5. All people need a voice.
6. Build a fair and peaceful world.
7. We care for Earth's lifeboat.
Which works as a framework for the values we want to teach our children along the line. We believe children are inherently moral, not inherently depraved, and need only to learn how to apply that morality in ever increasing circles as they grow.

(For more on that I suggest referencing Dale McGowan's Best Practices #`1, and Best Practices #2)


And to cover a few hot topics...

I believe in the concept of a home manager, not because a myth told me so, but because it's good practice. I believe it leads to healthier families, healthier people, and eventually a healthier economy. I believe the concept of a home manager can be applied to a female-run home, a male-run home, or a collective home where multiple "families" are run by one person. I've seen all of the above work, and work well.

At the moments I'm dresses only. If I ever find truly comfortable jeans this will change.

I believe homosexuals should have the right to marry. In fact I believe in most cases they make better parents than heterosexual couples.

I believe in a woman's right to choose, because I don't want government coming between me and my doctor on any decision. That said, I think abortion is wrong. I agree with former US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders when she said that the best form of birth control would be to teach young people about masturbation. However, that was before the internet. I think if you can't figure that out on your own now you shouldn't abort just for being stupid.

You can read her opinion on the topic here.

I would state my opinion on most Christian doctrine concerning sex and pregnancy, but I've already done a number of blog posts on that. You can just read back.

I do believe, if you are going to be pro-life, you should be pro-all life. That means being anti-war, anti-death penalty, pro-AIDS research, and an environmentalist.

I think that the theory of Natural Selections is the best one we have, and that Creationism is a myth. I think that Global Warming is a real threat.

I voted Obama. Read down to find out what I think about Palin.


I think that covers everything. Any questions?

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