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Discussion 2 to Testimony 27
Angry and agnostic is no contradiction

by: Will Petillo

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Steve:

There is nothing contradictory about being Agnostic and being angry towards religion, either in general or towards a specific faith. For example, one can reject all religions from the belief that any attempt to know anything significant about the intentions of a Supreme Being is an act of Supreme Arrogance, but not reject the concept of there being some kind of God or divine force out there. If I were to nitpick, I would actually go the other way, and say the testimony is ultimately a statement of belief in a Supreme Being--the opposite of atheism. But this would be very nit-picky and, really, the most important thing in choosing what to call one self is finding what resonates to the point where one wishes to identify with it (assuming this decision is at least somewhat informed).

As for anger and atheism, I have noticed a tendency among atheists I have met or heard about (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc.) to be a little more angry than your average agnostic (which may also be why atheists seem to be so much more organized than we are), but this is hardly a defining characteristic. People can arrive at similar beliefs from very different paths. I have found that, most of the time, when someone changes their beliefs about something in a fundamental way, there is some kind of trigger that changed the direction of the path they were on, then they chose to follow it, then they discover something that works at least somewhat better. My path started when I was exposed to a bunch of different belief systems, prompting me to think obsessively for several months about religion until I found a set of ideas that made sense to me. But that is not the only way to disbelief. My dad didn't really think about religion much, then one day read through a Bible in a hotel out of boredom and decided it was nonsense. Also, I have had friends with stories similar to that of AgnosticJames1982, where they became dissatisfied with their religion because of bigotry in their community, bad experiences with their religious leader, and so on, which shook them up a little and led them to question their faith at its core levels--and this questioning eventually led to rejection.

In my mind, the true difference between atheism and agnosticism is not so much in how one arrived at one's disbelief, but in how complete that disbelief is.