Sappho Speaks: The Road Back To Religion and Agnosticism
What Would Sappho Say?
Lectori Salutem! or L.S. (Greetings to the Reader!)
Tonight I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about God, or should I say G(g)ods, as I have pondering my own belief system and the others that exist now and have existed from the dawn of man. As a matter of course, I attend the Unitarian Universalist church when the urge hits me and have been a member for two years although that reveals little about the exact nature of my philosophy on God.
To say I am simply agnostic does no justice to the time and thought I have put into the notion of religion and knowledge I have obtained on the religions of the world searching for answers.Agnosticism is actually so much more complex than just straddling the fence between knowing whether or not God exists. An agnostic in the positive, in the matter of intellect, follows their reason as far as it will take them without regard to any other consideration and in the negative, in the matter of intellect, does not pretend that conclusions are certain that cannot be demonstrated or demonstrable.
In other words, agnosticism does not apply strictly to the matter of the belief of the existence of God. It can be any hypothesis that has no foreseeable answer in the future through science or other means. For example, I am agnostic when it comes to the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs. Another misunderstanding about agnostics is that when we identify ourselves as such we are giving up on our leanings one way or another. In the case of the dinosaurs, of course I have a much stronger opinion that it was a asteroid, the multi-impact theory or an environmental change brought on by increased volcanic activity that decreased the oxygen in the air enough to kill the massive dinosaurs than some random event, still unknown to science. The same is true about agnostics in general and their belief in the existence of God.
Scientifically, the belief in one God or theism can be put on a seven point scale with one being a strong theist “I don’t believe, I know” and seven being a strong atheist, “I know there is no God.” Directly in the middle at number four are those are the only true agnostics. Those people would believe that the answer as to whether God exists or not is not a scientific question at all or that science has not contributed anything in their mind to persuade them one way or another and thus they are truly agnostic. Number two is a person who feels there is a high probability that God exists called a defacto theist. They don’t know for sure but live their lives as if God exists. Number three is a person who feels just higher than 50% that God exists. They are technically agnostic and very uncertain but inclined to believe. Now five and six are just the flip side of three and two, respectively, with five being the defacto atheist and six just lower than 50% and inclined to disbelieve.
For today’s blog, I’m going to leave it up in the air as to which number I fall under for the sake of debate. In this country, agnostics and atheists are discriminated against in such a harsh manner it is reminiscent of the way homosexuals were treated 30 years ago or African Americans were treated 50 years ago. Statistically, atheists and defacto atheists are at least a large a group as practicing Jews in America, yet they are not represented in government at all that we know of. For a candidate to announce he or she was agnostic even would be the end of that campaign in its tracks.
This country was founded by primarily secularists, some of whom were agnostic if not atheist, and the tide has certainly changed since the Constitution was written. President George H. W. Bush said when asked if he thought atheists should be considered equal citizens in this country, “No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens or should be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God.”
This statement would have Washington and Jefferson turning over in their graves. In a treaty with Tripoli it was Washington who made sure to convey that the United States was made up of passionate secularists and that it WAS NOT a Christian nation. America had been founded on the principle of freedom of religion and therefore had no problem with Islam, the religion of Tripoli at the time and that they had intended for no blood to ever be shed in the name of religion.
This is just the beginning in what will become a recurring theme on religions of the world, the moral compass that guides us, and what role the clergy has in dictating those values. If your answer is yes they have a role, then consider which religion be given that ultimate authority to pick and choose and which version of which text be used. Is this some standard that should only be adopted for the morals of the United States because our clergy are so much more learned than those in other regions of the planet? There are so many other questions I have to ask and as always I welcome your thoughts and ideas. I have started a FaceBook Page for this website if you’d like to join it is at What Would Sappho Say. There will be weekly discussions raised on the Page for anyone to comment and you can start your own discussion if you like.
Inspired By Sappho’s Muse
QUOTE OF THE DAY
On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind.