Just wanted to add my two cents...I have enjoyed reading this conversation.
I consider myself a "little a" agnostic (since for some the term Agnostic implies a dogma that not only does the person not know whether or not there is a god but that such knowledge is, in fact, "unknowable" - which implies a level of "belief" that I don't have.)
I very strongly suspect (in the 99+ % range) that 1.) there are no gods/goddesses 2.) there is no afterlife 3.) there is no such thing as soul - because I, personally, have never seen or experienced anything that could be considered evidence to the contrary. However, should such evidence come to light I would not be dismayed or distraught in any way - I've been wrong before, I will be wrong again - no matter.
"Free Will" is a concept that I have a MUCH harder time conceptualizing - having made a "choice" in a given circumstance, it seems to me that - as a being that is the sum total of my thoughts and experiences up to that point - I could NOT have chosen differently. (Even if the decision is left up to a random event - the toss of a die for example - I ended up being the person who would let a die toss determine my decision.)
I have a slight affinity for the concept of "karma" - not in the sense that the "universe" is somehow keeping a tally of our actions but in the sense that if you are kind to people, then they reciprocate by being kind to others, and the world (which I am also inhabiting) is a kinder place as a result. Win-win-win.
Some of the "existential questions" that I am exposed to through my reading/studies don't seem like questions to me (I read a lot in the area of secular buddhism) - often implying underlying assumptions that I don't hold (Why, for instance, should there be an answer to the the question of "Why are we here?" "Why do we exist?" "Why can I think?" the fact that we are, we do, we can does not imply, to me, that there is necessarily a "reason" for this.)
In my private/personal life I am happy to discuss/debate these sorts of concepts exhaustively. I am fascinated by the very concept of "faith" and how people come to that state that seems so very foreign to me (despite having attended church/Sunday School "religiously" for the first 18 years of my liife).
In my public/professional life I avoid the topic or let the underlying assumption of Christianity slide, giving a non-committal or vague response...unless I am asked directly. In which case I answer gently but accurately.
It amuses me that when "Christians" I talk to assume that I "turned away" from the church due some "bad experience" I must have had. Nope, it just never seemed to "add" anything to my existence, the concept of "God" always seemed so unnecessary, it didn't change anything for me, I wasn't going to behave any differently if there was some "magical sky-wizard" scrutinizing my every move. There was no epiphany, no pain involved. The people I went to church with for 18 years were, for the most part, GOOD people, the people that weren't "good" were just humans failing to live up to their own expectations, not mean, not monsters.
Ethical behavior does not require a warden to enforce the "rules."
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (together 21+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (together 3+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS
TT: poly bi male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ
My poly blogs on this site:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
Last edited by JaneQSmythe; 02-24-2013 at 06:36 AM.