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Tags agnosticism , agnosticism definitions

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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:15 PM   #1
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Define “Agnostic”

I won’t offer any definition at this time, but I don’t accept any definition that makes “agnostic” a position between “theist” and “atheist”.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:16 PM   #2
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An agnostic is a person who has entertained the proposition that there is a God but believes neither that it is true nor that it is false.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/a...cism/#DefiAgno
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
An agnostic is a person who has entertained the proposition that there is a God but believes neither that it is true nor that it is false.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/a...cism/#DefiAgno
Therefore doesn't have a belief that a god DOES exist. Merely that one MIGHT.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:44 PM   #4
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I once had a Catholic priest tell me he was agnostic because he was "not a Gnostic". Right.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I once had a Catholic priest tell me he was agnostic because he was "not a Gnostic". Right.
Right. I assume he was an agnostic-theist then.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 03:43 PM   #6
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Agnosticism is the position that one doesn't know whether or not there is God.

But there is also a theological agnosticism in which one asserts that ze cannot know the attributes of God except in metaphor, because God transcends Human language and comprehension. Theological Agnosticism says we can't make any objective statements about the nature of God. But this doesn't exclude encountering God.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 04:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Agnosticism is the position that one doesn't know whether or not there is God.

But there is also a theological agnosticism in which one asserts that ze cannot know the attributes of God except in metaphor, because God transcends Human language and comprehension. Theological Agnosticism says we can't make any objective statements about the nature of God. But this doesn't exclude encountering God.
That's how I see it. Until we can determine what god is or isn't, we can't say we know one way or the other. Fair enough to say no evidence, but equally fair to say we don't even know what evidence to look for.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 06:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Agnosticism is the position that one doesn't know whether or not there is God.
Therefore an agnostic-theist doesn't claim they know a god exists. They merely believe one does.

And an agnostic-atheist doesn't claim to know a god doesn't exist. They merely don't believe one does.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 06:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Therefore an agnostic-theist doesn't claim they know a god exists. They merely believe one does.

And an agnostic-atheist doesn't claim to know a god doesn't exist. They merely don't believe one does.
An Agnostic doesn't make a knowledge claim about the existence of God: Claim to exist, claim not to exist.

An Agnostic doesn't make a belief claim either. In most cases I suppose that just reduces to common garden variety atheism.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 06:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Therefore an agnostic-theist doesn't claim they know a god exists. They merely believe one does.

And an agnostic-atheist doesn't claim to know a god doesn't exist. They merely don't believe one does.
Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
An Agnostic doesn't make a knowledge claim about the existence of God: Claim to exist, claim not to exist.
As I clearly said.

Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
An Agnostic doesn't make a belief claim either. In most cases I suppose that just reduces to common garden variety atheism.
Agnostic-theists believe there’s a god. Are you claiming there's no such thing?
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Old 2nd May 2018, 06:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
As I clearly said


Agnostic-theists believe there’s a god. Are you claiming there's no such thing?
Sorry. I don't know what an "Agnostic-theist" is.
So I'll just take your word for it.

Oh! I see from Post 5 that an Agnostic Theist is an Theist who is not an Gnostic.
I understand now and agree.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 06:30 PM   #12
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Whatever the actual definition of agnosticism is, I've generally found people who use it to describe themselves actually to be deists who don't strongly identify with any particular religion.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 06:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Whatever the actual definition of agnosticism is, I've generally found people who use it to describe themselves actually to be deists who don't strongly identify with any particular religion.
I've generally found people who self-identify as “agnostic” do so to define themselves as being in a middle position between theism and atheism. Often they claim this position is somehow “superior”.

That deists may not strongly identify with any particular religion doesn’t make them any less religious theists.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 06:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
I've generally found people who self-identify as “agnostic” do a so to define themselves as being in a middle position between theism and atheism. Often they claim this position is somehow “superior”.


In fact, I'll go a step further: I've never seen a person* who identifies as agnostic act as though a god might not exist. They tend to behave as though there is a god.


*By "person" here, I mean the unreflective, uncritical common individual - the type of person you might meet at a business mixer.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 06:53 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
In fact, I'll go a step further: I've never seen a person* who identifies as agnostic act as though a god might not exist. They tend to behave as though there is a god.


*By "person" here, I mean the unreflective, uncritical common individual - the type of person you might meet at a business mixer.
And they're likely to call their god something like "Cosmic Consciousness" and deny it's a god.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 07:25 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
That's how I see it. Until we can determine what god is or isn't, we can't say we know one way or the other. Fair enough to say no evidence, but equally fair to say we don't even know what evidence to look for.
Theism is about belief and faith, it's not about evidence and knowledge.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 07:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Theism is about belief and faith, it's not about evidence and knowledge.
Belief can be based on evidence, in theism too.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 08:03 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Belief can be based on evidence, in theism too.
Would that be credible/empirical evidence, or merely anecdotal/paranormal evidence?

If you have any of the former I'd like to see it.

In other words, is it evidence that can be proven, or does it have to be merely believed?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 02:50 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
An Agnostic doesn't make a belief claim either. In most cases I suppose that just reduces to common garden variety atheism.
I disagree, an agnostic can make any belief claim they like, theist or atheist, but agnosticism as a position does not support either view.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 02:55 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Theism is about belief and faith, it's not about evidence and knowledge.
I wouldn't necessarily phrase it quite like that as it appears perjorative, imho.

"Theisim/Atheism is about belief or the lack of belief and does not address the question of knowledge."

would probably be more neutral.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 05:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Would that be credible/empirical evidence, or merely anecdotal/paranormal evidence?

If you have any of the former I'd like to see it.

In other words, is it evidence that can be proven, or does it have to be merely believed?
Evidence used to support any belief can fall all over the evidentiary spectrum, obviously. If you are demanding external, quantifiable, and observational evidence, the burden is on you to explain why. An agnostic claims that we don't remotely understand the nature of what a god might be, and you counter by demanding his height and weight to prove his existence. You don't see how that argument is counterproductive to discussion?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 09:07 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
I disagree, an agnostic can make any belief claim they like, theist or atheist, but agnosticism as a position does not support either view.
I feel embarrassed for having joined this discussion. After the variety of input I've read, I can't say I know what an agnostic or agnosticism is. I think I'll just let people be whatever they say they are.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 09:31 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
I feel embarrassed for having joined this discussion. After the variety of input I've read, I can't say I know what an agnostic or agnosticism is. I think I'll just let people be whatever they say they are.
There are at least 3 versions of agnosticism:
The chance of any gods or not are 50/50.
Holds neither belief nor disbelief in any gods.
Knows not whether there are any gods or not.

The 3 versions are respectively about probability, beliefs and knowledge.

E.g. I am only an agnostic as per the 3rd one and the first 2 ones.

With regards
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Old 3rd May 2018, 09:53 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Tommy Jeppesen View Post
There are at least 3 versions of agnosticism:
The chance of any gods or not are 50/50.
Holds neither belief nor disbelief in any gods.
Knows not whether there are any gods or not.

The 3 versions are respectively about probability, beliefs and knowledge.

E.g. I am only an agnostic as per the 3rd one and the first 2 ones.

With regards
My mother was beyond even that. She couldn't be bothered by any religious positions or lack thereof.

"But Sue, you have to believe in something, don't you?"
"No. I don't. You're boring me."
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:31 AM   #25
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Agnostic: An attempt to make "Not having an opinion" an opinion.

Agnosticism is a perfectly valid stance to take on a literal, definitional level but in practice it is pretty much always used as a backhanded way to special plead the burden of proof and similar concepts away.
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:36 AM   #26
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Agnostic; Fence-Sitting

Agnosticism; I don't want to put atheism in my FB profile because of family and friends but I also don't wanna be bombarded with overly theist FB pages.

But more seriously, 'I don't know' Is a valid opinion but and this is just my opinion. If you answer the question 'Do you believe a god or gods exist with anything other than 'Yes' you are an atheist.
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:39 AM   #27
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There's this guy who has a Youtube channel called "rationality rules" who brilliantly cleared all the confusion between agnosticism and Atheism.

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Basically, it goes like this:
Quote:
"Theism and Atheism" address the question of "What you believe". While "Agnosticism" and "Gnosticism" address "What you assert to know".

"So if I ask you 'Do you believe in God?' and the answer is 'No', then you're an Atheist. And if the answer is 'I don't know', then you haven't answered the question. You either believe or do not believe"
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:41 AM   #28
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Basically agnosticism doesn't work in practice because you'd have to be agnostic about everything and people just... aren't.

If you're not as equally and openly and loudly agnostic about fairies and unicorns and floating teapots around Saturn and garage dragons and Cthulhu and Q from Star Trek as you are about God... you're not agnostic. You're theistic (or apologetic toward it at best) with either no conviction or desire for an escape clause.
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:43 AM   #29
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"What I know" and "What I believe" is only a valid distinction if you accept belief as a meaningful way to obtain knowledge.
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:47 AM   #30
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@Joe Morgue and Nay_Sayer:

Do you believe in love? If so, please show the empirical, non-anecdotal evidence. If not, on what empirical grounds?
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:48 AM   #31
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My understanding is that Agnosticism = Soft Atheism = The position that one does not know one way or the other about the God question (and, not knowing, lacking evidence, one takes the default position that there is no God).

That would seem to cover it. And this gels with Huxley's intent, far as I can see.

What about the igtheist, the one who refuses to engage with the question at all since it isn't clear? I think igtheism is different from agnosticism, because the latter does take a position.

No, I don't think agnosticism is an 'in between position', as has been suggested here. I think it is no more and no less than soft atheism.

And my personal view (for what that is worth) is that this (agnosticism, or soft atheism) is the only reasonable position to hold. The hard atheist, who declares with near-certitude that there is no God, is just as unreasonable (IMO) as the theist who declares that they believe in God (that is, they are more or less certain that there is a God).



ETA : Re-reading what I just posted sets me thinking : Since the agnostic (or soft atheist) is different from the igtheist, what does that say about the former? Are they implicitly assuming some particular God idea? Are they referring to a general God conception? Might it be that they haven't considered this at all? I don't know! This much at least is clear : the truly blest is the apatheist, since they don't waste time and energy trying to figure all this out!

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Old 4th May 2018, 07:49 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
@Joe Morgue and Nay_Sayer:

Do you believe in love? If so, please show the empirical, non-anecdotal evidence. If not, on what empirical grounds?
You could literally put me into an MRI and watch love happen.

That's the worst attempt at a "Gotcha" ever.
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:53 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
There's this guy who has a Youtube channel called "rationality rules" who brilliantly cleared all the confusion between agnosticism and Atheism.

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


Basically, it goes like this:
If someone asks 'do you believe in love at first sight?', and you answer 'I'm not sure', does that mean you are anti-love at first sight?
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Old 4th May 2018, 07:59 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
"What I know" and "What I believe" is only a valid distinction if you accept belief as a meaningful way to obtain knowledge.
Wouldn't that be the other way around?
If I thought that belief was a meaningful way to obtain knowledge, that would blur the distinction between knowledge and belief.
But if I didn't, then the distinction between believing and knowing remains.
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:00 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
You could literally put me into an MRI and watch love happen.

That's the worst attempt at a "Gotcha" ever.
That was not intended as a gotcha. You seem to be a thoughtful poster and I am interested in how you would view that analogy, which I am sure you have considered before.

An MRI would show certain physiological responses, to be sure. You would consider them to be the whole of 'love', then?
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:05 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
My understanding is that Agnosticism = Soft Atheism = The position that one does not know one way or the other about the God question (and, not knowing, lacking evidence, one takes the default position that there is no God).

That would seem to cover it. And this gels with Huxley's intent, far as I can see.

What about the igtheist, the one who refuses to engage with the question at all since it isn't clear? I think igtheism is different from agnosticism, because the latter does take a position.

No, I don't think agnosticism is an 'in between position', as has been suggested here. I think it is no more and no less than soft atheism.

And my personal view (for what that is worth) is that this (agnosticism, or soft atheism) is the only reasonable position to hold. The hard atheist, who declares with near-certitude that there is no God, is just as unreasonable (IMO) as the theist who declares that they believe in God (that is, they are more or less certain that there is a God).



ETA : Re-reading what I just posted sets me thinking : Since the agnostic (or soft atheist) is different from the igtheist, what does that say about the former? Are they implicitly assuming some particular God idea? Are they referring to a general God conception? Might it be that they haven't considered this at all? I don't know! This much at least is clear : the truly blest is the apatheist, since they don't waste time and energy trying to figure all this out!
The problem with igtheist/soft-atheism and all the rest is that it becomes similar to the 'how many genders are there?' question. Hairsplitting into oblivion clouds the issue too much, IMO.

Agnosticism= not enough data to draw a meaningful conclusion

eta: Apatheist=atheist, by any definition, I would think. Claiming that god is not important enough to even consider is claiming the idea god is beneath consideration. A purely atheistic view, no?
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:12 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
The problem with igtheist/soft-atheism and all the rest is that it becomes similar to the 'how many genders are there?' question. Hairsplitting into oblivion clouds the issue too much, IMO.

Agnosticism= not enough data to draw a meaningful conclusion

This, yes, but with the added nuance that in the absence of data/evidence one takes the default position that there is no God. Although the etymology of the word says nothing about this nuance, nevertheless I feel this nuance must be emphasized, if the meaning of agnosticism is to gel with Huxley's intent. (In fact, I suppose the fact that the etymology says nothing about this nuance is all the more reason why we must emphasize it.)
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:20 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
This, yes, but with the added nuance that in the absence of data/evidence one takes the default position that there is no God. Although the etymology of the word says nothing about this nuance, nevertheless I feel this nuance must be emphasized, if the meaning of agnosticism is to gel with Huxley's intent. (In fact, I suppose the fact that the etymology says nothing about this nuance is all the more reason why we must emphasize it.)
I hear you, but is taking that particular default necessary? Is there anything wrong with saying, for instance, 1/0 is undefined, rather than defaulting to zero or infinity?
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:21 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
"What I know" and "What I believe" is only a valid distinction if you accept belief as a meaningful way to obtain knowledge.
But belief is never a meaningful way to obtain knowledge, so anyone who thinks that, is already starting off a wrong premise.
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:21 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
eta: Apatheist=atheist, by any definition, I would think. Claiming that god is not important enough to even consider is claiming the idea god is beneath consideration. A purely atheistic view, no?

No, not necessarily. Check out Apathia's mother.

Being uninterested in something is so very different from having any view, even a negative view, about it.

Might life have been brought to earth via meteors? That may be a very important question for many, it may be a not-very-important-but-nevertheless-not-wholly-unimportant question for many others, and a wholly and entirely unimportant and uninteresting question for a great many others.

So why not with the God question as well?

(Sorry about the somewhat garbled response. I have no set view on this. I'm feeling my way forward, thinking aloud, in trying to respond to your post.)

Yes, if life is actually proved to have originated on meteors, then it is conceivable that many who are apathetic about that question will begin to take an interest. I suppose that can be said about the God question too?



In ages past, when God was such an important part of one's day-to-day life, perhaps you are right, perhaps one could not really have been uninterested unless one were an atheist. But today? Today I think that is perfectly plausible.
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