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  1. #21
    Senior Member Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    I'm an INTP and I basically have never accepted the distinction people like to make between atheism and "agnosticism." Defining atheism as "a positive belief that God does not exist" just doesn't fit the majority of people who consider themselves atheists.

    "Agnosticism," to me, would mean that a person has seen an equal amount of equally compelling evidence suggesting the existence and non-existence of a deity, and was thus unable to confidently state which of the two positions was most probably correct. Atheism, as the term is used by most atheists, simply means that explanations for various phenomena that neither require nor suggest divine influence are supported by a much greater preponderance of evidence and logic than any claim that the same phenomena are of divine origin.

    I dislike the shrillness of tone in Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion as much as anyone, but his definition of atheism is a much more accurate description of the outlook most atheists take--namely, that although an omnipotent supernatural force is certainly a theoretical possibility, examination of any claim about such an entity leads to the conclusion that the probability of its being true is so slight as to warrant no further consideration.

    I'm an atheist. I say this surely and proudly. I do not subscribe to some "religion of science," because science is not a dogmatic set of assertions about reality. Science is a method of investigating reality and evaluating claims made about it. Although I may prefer, based on past experience, to rely on scientific methods of inquiry to the exclusion of any religious or "spiritual" approach to the same subject(s), this does not mean that my attitude toward science is equivalent to a religious person's attitude toward their religion. My "belief" that species arise through mutation and natural selection or that it is unlikely a man genuinely rose from the dead is not equivalent to a fundamentalist Christian's belief in a 6-day Creation or the resurrection of Christ. I "believe" it is unlikely anyone will ever find compelling evidence to support either of the latter claims; the fundamentalist Christian believes that they must both be true, regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

    I would hope an intelligent and honest person would be able to understand the distinction I am making, and I only write this to clarify a common misunderstanding. None of this is intended as argumentative, nor should it be taken as such.

  2. #22
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    this thread reminded me of this link that I found rather amusing!

    Religion and Type - An MBTI Perspective


    I think the author is on to something...

  3. #23

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    I spent all of my young life as an agnostic, and still consider myself one in most ways.

    My reason for being agnostic, and for considering agnosticism to be distinctly separate from atheism is fairly simple.

    In the 90's, the Smithsonian sent a group of scientists and journalists to Bhutan to investigate the long-standing claims of the local population that there were, in fact, yetis in the remote mountainous areas of that country. I remember reading about it with rapt excitement, wondering what they discovered. All of the team obviously fully expected to find no such thing as a yeti. Interviewing those who claimed to have seen a yeti was at times compelling (men with scars, claiming to have watched friends be killed by the beasts), and other times lackluster (seeing shapes in the distance) - but the people seemed to believe with a mindless faith. The government of Bhutan actually went so far as to hire a yeti hunter... who would investigate yeti sightings and attempt to find the beasts and remove the threat.

    A monastery in the mountains even had the remains of what they thought was a long dead yeti... which DNA testing revealed to be a human. The team investigated for a long time, and came home empty-handed. However, amidst the scoffs and joking of the majority of the team, there was one member who did not consider it so cut and dry.

    A long time ago, scientists just like them had utterly denied the existence of gorillas. Science is constantly calling ludicrous things that it eventually accepts full credit for 'discovering'.

    For those scientists to walk out of those mountains and say, for a certainty, that yetis did not exist would be foolhardy at best. The next day a yeti could be found and they would all be made fools. They could walk out of those mountains saying that the likelihood of yetis existing was astronomically small, 99% improbable, utterly fabricated and foolish to believe. That would be accurate.

    Unfortunately, it is easy to prove something exists, but impossible to prove that it doesn't. Therefore, a conscientious scientist must in most things be 'agnostic'.

    Atheists are guilty, in the eyes of science, of a grievous sin: assumption. Of course, it is not the same as those believers who accept as truth something that has no evidence at all. Certainly not, the atheist is simply following a line of logic, evidence, and good sense to a likely conclusion. That conclusion, however, is based on our understanding of the universe and everything within and without it. Which, any true scientist must admit, is excruciatingly limited.

    But, to further clarify... I am not attempting to make the believer right by making the atheist wrong. Obviously, following logic, evidence, and good sense to a likely conclusion is far better than following emotion, testimony, and hope to a very unlikely conclusion. The atheists are more likely to be correct... but they are far from certainly correct.

    I personally am not comfortable being 'much less likely wrong'. Especially if I intend to express that position as being certainly true. It's not. It's very likely true, but not certainly true.

    This next section, italicized, is a rebuttal of the claim that believing in God is ludicrous or unacceptably unlikely. Please overlook it if your mind is set on argumentation or if you don't care.

    I personally believe in God based on what I consider to be empirical deduction. I studied it, a lot. I thought about, and rejected it as improbable. But then a compelling theory was offered to me.

    If God exists, and is who we believe him to be... what is his ultimate purpose?
    I answered that, if that were the case, his ultimate purpose would be for our happiness.
    It was then asked what sort of happiness God would wish for us. The sort we feel every day? The sort of bliss we get from drugs or ecstatic experience? Or something more?
    I answered that it was more likely a more fulfilling happiness... a deep sense of worth and accomplishment, wisdom, acceptance, fearlessness. That sort of happiness.
    I was then asked how I supposed, things being as they are, God could bring that to be. Could he just, snap his finger and give it?
    That stumped me. I didn't know. I imagined he, supposing that what we know of him is true, could.
    I was asked why, supposing it all true, God would ever choose not to do such a thing.
    I supposed that, consider it from a strictly non-theist-yet-still-accepting-the-concept-of-enlightenment-or-at-least-self-betterment point of view, it would be ultimately meaningless to create a scenario in which enlightenment, success, or fulfillment was imposed... in the unlikely event that it even could be.
    I was then asked what, assuming again there is such a thing as God, God would likely do to give us such fulfillment without imposing it?
    I answered that he would create a scenario in which we could gain enlightenment through experience, free will, and opportunity.. but that for such an attempt to work, things being as they are, it would have to be an utterly contained environment. I agreed that this line of reasoning was an at least valid supposition that could be used to retroactively argue for the existence of God.

    At that point I was utterly unconvinced.. but in putting that line of reasoning up against a 'sheer chance' theory... I was forced to admit at least agnosticism and was furthermore forced to, as an honest scientist, investigate further... those investigations continue to this day.


    Alright, back to the subject.

    Moral of the story... my supposition was that Ps would lean toward agnosticism over atheism based on a tendency to feel uncomfortable with absolutes. Even if 'agnosticism' is just the acceptance that the un-existence of God is extremely likely but not certainly true.
    "Be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

    "I drank what!?" -Socrates

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    this thread reminded me of this link that I found rather amusing!

    Religion and Type - An MBTI Perspective

    Haha! Classic.

    .. and we are always right, by the way. Let this be the mantra: "INTPs, even if we disagree amongst ourselves, are, despite any seeming inconsistencies, always right.


    But, there's good news. If you agree with us, that makes you right as well!!
    "Be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

    "I drank what!?" -Socrates

  5. #25
    Senior Member gretch's Avatar
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    Will you marry me?
    A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labour and there is invisible labour.
    .
    -Victor Hugo

  6. #26
    Senior Member gretch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sassafrassquatch View Post
    Heroin makes people happy but it isn't good for them. Neither is religion. I may be an SP but I'm also a 6w5 and prone to questioning things I aught not. All I care about is the truth and comforting lies don't make me feel safe.

    Atheism and Nihilism are far more comforting to me than christianity ever was. I can go about my life how I see fit and not worry that I'll spend eternity being tortured for choosing the wrong fairytale, be forced to praise the ego of a god with the emotional capacity of a spoiled child, or maybe worst of all reincarnate and do this again and again forever.
    Lies, I would think, by definition are never comforting. -Never in the long run.

    I would not believe in that sort of God either, nor do I. The God I believe in does not punish you for the things you do not know, and offers redemption when you betray the things you do know.
    A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labour and there is invisible labour.
    .
    -Victor Hugo

  7. #27
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gretch View Post
    Will you marry me?
    Is that your husband?

  8. #28
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post

    I think you might be overly INTPish in your description of the NT approach to religion.
    It doesn't describe me at all.
    But I am just one person.
    No, I really didn't identify with any of the NT stuff in there at all.

    I Think pointing out that a powerful Ni in an NT (whether it be an INTJ or an ENTJ with a good Ni) is necessary there. Ni and religion... they have the ability to connect powerfully and deeply.

    How people are so certain of the lack of a God without ever giving an honest explorational chance blows my mind.

    There's a few NTs on this board who are Christian.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  9. #29
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sassafrassquatch View Post
    Atheism and Nihilism are far more comforting to me than christianity ever was. I can go about my life how I see fit and not worry that I'll spend eternity being tortured for choosing the wrong fairytale, be forced to praise the ego of a god with the emotional capacity of a spoiled child, or maybe worst of all reincarnate and do this again and again forever.
    Sounds like your Christianity was a religion instead of a relationship.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  10. #30
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    No, I really didn't identify with any of the NT stuff in there at all.

    I Think pointing out that a powerful Ni in an NT (whether it be an INTJ or an ENTJ with a good Ni) is necessary there. Ni and religion... they have the ability to connect powerfully and deeply.

    How people are so certain of the lack of a God without ever giving an honest explorational chance blows my mind.

    There's a few NTs on this board who are Christian.
    NTs really aren't unlikely to be religious. What they are likely to be is cynical and open-ended. That together makes it seem like they may be non-religious, but in general it just means that they aren't dogmatic (as in, adhere to specific beliefs or believe in absolute codes) and believe that all things faith related (texts, beliefs, stories) need to be analysed.

    As one will probably find, ISTPs can be on the side of agnostic atheism, which I am firmly... but they can also be fairly dogmatic about it, just as they could about religion. It's the "don't tell me what to do" impulse that does that, or so the MBTI theory goes.

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