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Sweet Nectar of life

I realise this is about to be a sweeping generalisation but let's say, for the hell of it, that the religious assume only two states; you're either 'one of the saved' or 'one of the damned', you're a 'lost soul' or a 'found soul'. It's as if they only see these two choices, that YOUR life is only capable of one of these two limiting positions; all very glass half-full or half-empty style, whilst all the time failing to notice what any atheist is freed to see.
Instead of exploring and appreciating the nectar, revelling and delighting in its gentle, brief pleasure, the religiously inclined, prohibited by authoritarian despot from noticing the vessel in which it rests, merely judge the nectar's value from a 'safe distance', through an ancient telescope too dimmed by time to reveal the magnificence of the beautifully hand-crafted Venetian lead-crystal goblet from which the luscious nectar's fortuitous full measure, whatever that may be, may be sipped, savoured or gulped but always only ever consumed.

Half-empty or half-full, whichever one perceives true, is irrelevant:
WE are the glass and the nectar,
WE are the sentient stardust,
WE are the new stars,
WE THINK.

Which is a really just a long winded way of saying.
I'm thrilled that in the entirety of eternity I know I am here, the one and only, sole owner of this glass and sole imbiber of its full, if finite, measure of nectar.

And in my book
That fucking Rocks

Wishing a fine and dandy, great and happy new year to all my readers
and anyone else.

All the very best...

I sincerely hope your goblet is of the finest glass
and the nectar within is as sweet as you could ever wish it to be.


And as a final thought,
Awww bugger it, it's New Year's Eve and there's a very fine 10 year old malt whisky with my name on it; write your own last line! :P

Have a cracker! :)

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Pod Delusion On Christopher Hitchens


On the 15th December 2011 Christopher Hitchens died.

The Pod Delusion, always a fine show, has done him proud.
 
In this Hitchmas special the team provides reports on Hitchens life and works with occasional snowy sprinklings of examples of the faithful's reaction to the #GodIsNotGreat hashtag that trended on Twitter in the 24hrs after Hitch's untimely death.

If you can't see a player above you can listen here http://ipad.io/nY3
 
I wholeheartedly agree with the assessment of Luke T Adams 
mentioned by Dave Cross at the in the last few minutes of the show.
 
 


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Secular Oaths For All

In a letter to The Herald, a lawyer, advocate Sean Templeton, has suggested the religious oath on which witnesses swear in court should be the abolished and replaced with a secular oath which would be suitable for everyone.
From the article I read, it seems Mr Templeton's suggestion is from the point of view of equality and based on prejudice he's personally witnessed, detailing that the affirmation makes a witness stand out and could make a juror biased, and that allowing witnesses to swear on different religious texts creates more "problems of prejudice" than it solves.

It's nice when the judiciary starts to catch up but we have a way to go yet, I think. As Trial by Jury On Trial explores, it's the fact that religion creates and encourages these supremacist prejudices that's the real problem.

Also, whilst I welcome the step towards a secular format, nestled inside Mr Tempelton's suggestion is the potential for a disquieting societal consequence; doesn't this sound a lot like "Don't ask, Don't tell"?...
"A single oath removes any distinction between witnesses. It introduces a level playing field that takes away the need for a person to reveal their religious beliefs before they even give evidence."
And, to command "No bigotry to be shown in the court" is that not implying "The state chooses to force all bigots to conceal their bigotry"?



Should they wear white pointed hood masks, perhaps?

While I can see the message could be easily depicted to even the dimmest juror, via a picture of the three wise monkeys, would it not make for a more honest society if each judge were to start excluding jurors who show prejudice?

As a final micro-ponder...

Anybody know of any actual wisdom delivered to us by the 3 wise monkeys? 
Seems to me, if you live by their metaphor you get atrocities!




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Santa Gets Busy

Santa Gets Busy!



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QI - Christmas, Christianity and Mithras

QI - Christmas, Christianity and Mithras



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Bertrand Russell To Our Descendants



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Alvin and the Chipmunks-Merry F@#king Christmas


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The Nativity Story - A funny Christmas video

The Nativity Story - A funny Christmas video


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Funny Christmas Song (British Christmas)

Funny Christmas Song (British Christmas)



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Peace and Good Will To ALL

It's a world where the great majority are supposed to believe in a god of peace!
Yet here we are again at the great big festival of Christian cheer (or so they'd have us believe), the season when Christians (above all others) with nose somewhat lofted, wield the Christian message Peace and Good Will to ALL like a moral machete.
But in this world which, for most of its history, has been run and organised by the 'peaceful' religious, what do we see?
More death and pain than ever!
People are starving in their thousands and Christians sit about on THEIR day of peace and good will to ALL, bitching about why they didn't get a better present and consuming more food and drink than the poorest of humanity will see in their food deprived short lifetimes!

Nice one Christians.
Happy fuckin Hypocrisy-mas.





Why don't they all just donate to Unicef instead?
Click here to donate
Please give what you can, it's a hard life with no help.


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Eric Idle - F**K Christmas



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Tim Minchin Woody Allen Jesus

Please #FreeWoodyAllenJesus from your thought prison Mr Fincham.
"This song was meant to air on the Jonathan Ross Show tomorrow night (23rd December 2011), but at the last minute ITV cut it. Here's my whiney blog about it " ~ Tim Minchin.
From his post I'm not on the Jonathon Ross Show. (Well worth a read.)

Why the censorship Mr Fincham?
Is it not also midwinter for those of us who know differently?
Do we not need a cheer in the midst of the dark?
Are we not humans and UK citizens living through the worst financial crisis for decades?
Why are we not worthy of some hope, a smile?
Why would anyone choose to discriminate against us in such tough times?

The decision to pull the song is a clear sign that there currently exists here, in what is hailed as a fair and free secular democracy, the sort of repression one would expect in a totalitarian, fascist system or theocracy!The song was pulled because Fincham sensed that a powerful someone, or the bedazzled throng of a subset of the population or advertisers, would be offended.

If one is fearful of the bullying of a large and powerful group or individual for simply expressing an opinion, may one not infer one is being subjugated, repressed and operating under the bullying group's oppression?

Is a gesture of appeasement EVER offered to a 'lesser' power?



How is this not a free speech issue?

Court of Human Rights anyone?
 
 




 
 
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Marriage Rites And Wrongs

Whilst I was writing Purgatory in Paradise, a further niggle raised its head.

The Christian Marriage ceremony.

In the Christian(1) wedding ritual, "till death us do part" is included as a clause.
This is there, it seems to me, as a signal for the legal dissolution of the "contract to partner" which, although it only implies so, I'm sure most would say literally means...
"upon the death of one member of the partnership, the other is free to join with another as spouse."
So, why does the line "till death us do part" appear in the Christian(1) wedding ceremony?

If the soul is supposed to be the personality that inhabits the biological body is it not the soul who marries?
Also, as the 'soul' is the means by which humans escape death, if it's the soul that marries, death is not an obstacle to the continuance of the relationship of the two souls.
I mean, if the 'soul' delivers to a pair of lovers the opportunity to rock each others post mortem world, doesn’t that make the "till death us do part" clause redundant?

And a further problem occurs when one examines the line "with my body I thee worship".
As the religious would have us think, the body is merely the clay which the soul 'inhabits' for its miniscule time on earth before trotting off to the fabulously appointed accommodation of the happy hunting grounds for the remainder of eternity, so, doesn't that suggest one could encapsulate the Christian marriage as...
The coupling of two human shaped husks, so that the parasites within can briefly experience, shall we say, our most animalistic tendency?

Now, as you may be aware, I've been married and in love with the same woman for over a quarter of a century. And, in the enchanted & magical language that is humanity's current folly, one could say we, my wife and I, are spiritually entwined to be together 'forever'. However, in eternity's terms, even a whole human life partnership of love and caring looks like no more than a boozy shag in a nightclub toilet. And while, fair enough, it's been a bit like that sometimes (Phwoar :P) doesn't the notion of eternal consciousness diminish the human experience of love to a mere footnote?


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(1) I'm not au fait other death-cult marriage rites but maybe also they.

More on marriage


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Bursting With Christian Tolerance

This video is harrowing but justified.
Count the non-religious in this slide-show.
Solid sturdy faithful Christians?
Dogma encourages the naturally bigoted to feel superior and self righteous.
I hear just as much bigotry and hatred towards lesbian and gay humans today
as was directed by the devout at the African-Americans depicted here.
And Nina Simone's poignant song tells the tale.


Nina Simone singing "Strange Fruit." - http://www.youtube.com/v/JLTtiJY6I1M

Why is religion still thought of as beneficent?
All hail the afterlife carrot addiction?


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A Solstice Prayer

It seems to me that the human race has been tragically misdirected by religion.
Our true, proud heritage has been ignorantly buried under myth and fantasy.

I wrote The Solstice Prayer so that those of us, who know God is not the 'truth' about whence we came, would have an alternative rhyme to read for the ancient, traditional, midwinter solstice celebrations (21st Dec) which have been so rudely trampled by Christianity and re-branded as Christmas.

Anyway, to one and all
A very merry years end
and may causality conspire to make for you
a Warm and Wealthy New year ahead

Hope you like.
Crispy :)


The Solstice Prayer

I Speak of a man; a very wise man,
My old, my kin, my ancestor, my clan.
A man who was here so long before me
Uneducated, undisciplined, unkempt he.

I speak of a man of ancient time,
Pre- Logic and Science, Reason or Rhyme.
On a fearful world he steps in Rhythm,
Created by chance but the planet's best symptom

With rotating Earth, revealing the light,
Then time and again returning the night.
With a many-faced moon arching sublime,
Graceful, Majestic, emblem of passing time,

When turn then on turn and in solar spin,
our Earth's four seasons come marching on in.
And each bring for us, some hope and some fear,
Though most much more hope, than winters grim end of year.

When our kindred read signs and sniffed at the air,
Death-toll honed senses goose-pricked his neck-hair!
Instant comprehension brought then, as now,
Arms raised victorious, head thrown back in howl

At Winter's dark heart, when all light is gone,
With mans worst fears and dream-time as one,
That wise-man knew then, and so, we know still,
That glorious light, defeats winters dark chill.

Today we have grown to know so much more,
and pre-processed Joys are stacked at our doors.
In 'off-the-shelf' rites at dictated times,
Scheduled light-child is born as we chant in line.

No matter your child of light's man-made name,
Whichever mind-picture fits in your mind-frame
You'll find that your faith has a civillised rite,
To mark at midwinter the birth of the light,

Fairy lights, candles, firework and cracker
a warm amber drink and a crackling fire,
bring festive-cheered heart to banish the cold.
Token, iconic, bravado, for the dark to behold

So, with that in mind my Homo Sapien friend,
Stand tall on proud shoulders of ancestral kin,
Feel the raw power of the beast whence we came,
Understand his quest and in his honour proclaim,

Long, clear and loud. As he was, I am; Free,
Evolved as a secular humanist.
A Sceptic, Heretic, Iconoclast.
Unfettered by tradition, custom, conformity

Stand-up Atheist, pseudo-blasphemer.
Proponent of anarchic resistance,
To tenets that force our limitless selves,
To become merely repeated automaton,

Of that elegant, ancestral mammal,
Who fought long and hard for who we are now,
And whose spirit is wholly diminished,
By our endless irreverence of his struggle

Raise you a solstice toast to that very wise man,
Our humble ferocious ancestor.
Who sniffed in the air the returning sun and,
Arms raised, howled long and loud in celebration.

Copyright ©2005 Crispy Sea
see full copyright notice below

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"Should Atheists Celebrate Christmas?" (freethoughvlog #27)



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Hitchens

RIP
Christopher Hitchens
1949-2011


Humanity has lost a great voice for freedom
I will miss his passion, eloquence and obvious lust for life.
Gone but not forgotten.


http://youtu.be/qQIME6yyKq4


RIP Christopher Hitchens - Warrior of Truth
Silent now but his thoughts empowered a million free voices.

(Click to Tweet)


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Purgatory In Paradise

I’ve been pondering the Judeo-Christian mythological landscape, you know like one does, thinking about the star-prize for being a good boy or girl; that perpetually happy land of unlimited chocolate or virgins or maybe chocolate-virgins, dependant on your tastes.
Now, I have a life partner with whom I'd be happy to spend eternity, I know it's rare and, if you are without such a person probably a bit nauseating but because I do it occurred to me, what happens when you consider yourselves one, not boy or girl but couple?
In the Christian vision of heaven, what happens in a paradigm where the happiness and well being of one, is as important to the one’s partner, as it is to the one?
As always, what was only a microsecond of pondering has taken way more words to explain, but bear with me, it might be worth it.
A couple marry in their twenties. Eve, born and raised a devout Christian, Sunday school, church and bible class, stayed a virgin until her first marriage. Her husband, a soldier, was killed in action defending a kindergarten. Eve had been a widow, raising their child, for almost three years when she met Adam

Adam, also baptised a Christian though not as devout as Eve, did okay at school and college then, after a couple of years of intermittent unemployment and bread and butter jobs, steadily advanced in a career with a city marketing firm.

Adam and Eve married. Adam raised Eve’s first husband's daughter as his own, along with another five that Adam and Eve's union produced. All offspring were baptised at same the church as their mother. All were schooled and churched in their home town and all went on to produce Christian brand grandchildren. Adam and Eve both retired in the same year and enjoyed long, creative and fulfilling artisan retirements in which each donated a good proportion of their 'good works' to community, charity or church and enjoyed the fruits of their extending family, still as in love as the day they wed.
It seemed to all who had ever met them that their union would continue eternally but one soggy Autumn Adam slipped on some wet leaves. Eve nursed him through the winter but he died before the spring. She was distraught and only a few months later, distracted by her grief, took a tumble down the stairs. Eve was dead before she hit the bottom.

At the pearly gates.

A curvy young Eve, with long flowing golden locks and dressed in a gossamer gown, steps like a Disney heroine towards the only punctuation in a wall of cloud, the tall jewel encrusted gates of Heaven.
At a reception desk next to the giant twinkling gates is what appears to be a sixties era Pan-Am stewardess.
"Welcome to Heaven. Eve! I hope you’ll enjoy your time with us and to help you along there are a few golden rules. Firstly: Heaven is not an equal opportunities employer. The men rule and you must do what they say. Secondly:.."
"Where's Adam? Is meeting me? I've so missed him. Where is he?"
"I'm not at liberty to say but he's not HERE!" The stewardess’ expression transmitted all the information but Eve wasn’t ready to see.
"Look, I care about this man! Don’t you get it? We’re soul mates! Now, what do you mean?" An uncomfortable, disbelief dawns on Eve and she urges. "Where the fuck is he?"
"Well, there are only two places, sweetie and he’s NOT HERE." There's a tiny squeak of metal on metal and the gates start opening automatically as reality crashes in on Eve.
"Two places? You, you mean Adam's in hell?!"

Ok, this scene plays out where 'Peter' is called and Eve rants about how wrong, erroneous and unfair it all is but she learns the crux of the problem is that Adam had caused a death.
In his years of unemployment, during a period of deep despair, intoxicated out of his gourd, Adam had stolen and driven a car with the intention of ending it all but passed out on a cliff edge.
He had been too out of it to ever remember the events of that night but on his way to the cliff he had run down and killed someone. As he was never apprehended, he never had any inkling that he should have repented.
It was for the crimes of that night that Adam was to be repeatedly tortured for eternity.

So, I guess by now you see the question this paradigm raises.

Isn't Adam's eternal torture also eternal torment for Eve?

For Eve, the eternal paradise promised by scripture will be filled with torment, not only because of the massive loss of her true love Adam who she, and evidently everyone else, expected to be her eternal partner but also because she will eternally endure empathic pain for the perpetually repeating, agonising abuses her dear-gentle-love must endure for his eternity.
Eve has qualified to live in a paradise for eternity but her one great love's eternal pain and suffering will eternally permeate that paradise!
Under such circumstances can it even be called paradise?

As far as I am concerned, no matter what solution one attempts to apply to this paradigm, either the immutable law of the god or the god’s promise of paradise, must be wholly or partially transgressed.

And this disconnect, between scriptural promise of paradise and heavenly actuality, also applies to many other human relationship paradigms...
  • A mother whose paradise would be to have all her children with her, but two had defected to another brand of dogma. She must watch them burn.
  • A child wants time with the father who died in her childhood but he was a free thinker and not indoctrinated. She must watch him burn. (This one strikes me as the antithesis of the child's heart-held paradise and could I think be legitimately described as her hell!)
  • Adam’s Christian and Godly grandchildren must endure a perpetual Gramps rotisserie?
  • Etc.

If Heaven is the "happy-land where all your dreams come true" then can it really be considered to be any more than a virtual reality game for you to pretend you're with those you love; merely a place of fake realities, akin to 'The Nexus' depicted in 'Star Trek - Generations'? And what would be the value of such a game?
If Heaven is 'the house of god's law', a place of substance and principle etc, then how can it not be filled with those who are eternally grieving the perpetual torture of their loved ones?

Indeed, though I can't recall it now, I know there's literature which references a viewing gallery where the souls of the righteous can observe the tortures of the fallen.
This is not that reference but Thomas Aquinas offers in Summa Theologica
"...in order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned."
However, in practical terms, wouldn't that gallery be packed with ALL the wailing, grieving, sorrowful Eves, watching interminable abuse done to the other halves of their hearts?

I cannot conceive of any way to satisfactorily resolve this paradox and, as it stands, doesn't that imply that the Biblically promoted concept of heaven is an untenable impossibility?



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Only An Agnostic Part 2

The Position

In “Only An Agnostic Part 1” I examined the term in relation to its definition and origins, in this post I’m going to cast a thought across the agnostic position in relation to society.

So, first let’s consider the default value, the level from which we are starting. It is important to firmly register in the mind the state from which we are measuring when comparing concepts and ideas. One would not start testing the purity of water to which Orange juice had already been added and by the same token, we must apply the default human condition in relation to faith in god(s). In scientific terms you could call it the control.
‘Implicit atheism’ is the category of atheism into which an un-indoctrinated baby would fit because it is the position before the input of any data on the topic. So we may assume that the default adult human brain is one which has remained completely unaffected by external philosophical influences and so has no a priori spiritual belief; no faith in gods or any sort of magic, thereby retaining the implicit atheist condition into which it was born. I realise that’s a description of a, currently, virtually impossible adult human but this is a conceptual entity only.

So what has to happen for our default human to find its way to agnosticism?

The default human must be…
a. Confronted by someone who proffers god(s).
b. Only partially persuaded by the arguments or evidence for the proposed Metaphysical Overlord.

So, can we therefore assume that agnosticism only appears to be a rational choice in a society where the god concept is so pervasive as to have soaked into every corner of social psychology?

For the first time in human history we have a model of the universe so complete that much is now irrefutable. Many areas of science cross over; independent fields of study, via different research routes and investigatory criteria, are providing incidental supporting evidence of each other. Looking at all the evidence science now has, as a whole, it is virtually impossible to conclude that the any of the cherished creation stories have even a shred of truth.
As I suggested in the previous post, I feel that stating 'I don't know' today is a transition phrase; one can now only really use agnostic as a legitimate label until one comprehends the overwhelming evidence.
It’s already the case that there is sufficient evidence contradicting scriptural guesswork, for any who wish to investigate to see that the Judeo-Christian god is on the verge of being consigned to our very long list of mythologies.
And the evidence can only continue to amass so, if we skip forward a century or two and imagine where the web-powered spread of real facts and information will take us, it’s possible to glimpse a more rational future for humanity.

Now, what if we apply the “what’s an agnostic” question to a society with an atheist bias?

In a society where atheism was the pervasive ethos, wouldn’t an agnostic be considered not merely as having indecision after reviewing inconclusive data, one who just “doesn’t know” but rather thought of as one who is “given to flights of wondrous fancy”?

In an atheist ethos society isn’t agnosticism a proposal for a god?
Only An Agnostic Part 3

I'll leave you with Cristina Rad laying out exactly how it is.


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Only An Agnostic Part 1

The History

What is an agnostic? Oxford Dictionaries online ...
Agnostic. noun. A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.”
Agnostic was derived from the Greek word “agnostos” which means “to not know” but in the latter part of eighteenth century, Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) invented the word agnostic to describe his ignorance regarding the existence of a higher entity. And there's loads more salient facts at agnostic-definition.com but for me it describes a time, a period in my life, must have been when I was about 9 or 10, when I wasn't sure about why I didn't believe, a time when I feared the anger, no, ‘anger’ is too strong, disappointment of my family. It wasn't a label I even knew I had, my "I don't know" response was defensive, a shield to signal religious disinterest; I found the religious mostly left me alone, some harbouring thoughts I’ve discovered since, of “He’s just not found the path to god yet” and atheists left me alone because I wasn’t preaching or stoning. I’ve since also realised that just the fact that I had a ‘response’ suggests I was feeling under pressure to “Not fuck up everybody else’s pretendsies with my heinous non-pretending ways”.
It was pressure then but laughable now I’m adult, to think that faith is so fragile that a child must be cajoled into pretending the 'right' way!
That I did not know the label agnosticism didn't change the fact that "I don't know" but the fact that "I did not know" meant I had not 'just accepted'; looking back I realise I'd already taken a few steps up the ladder to reality. That was only thirty-something years ago but science has answered so many questions so quickly in that span, I feel now that agnostics today have way less ground on which to stand.

When Huxley coined the phrase in 1869, scientific knowledge was a mere foetus of what science is now.

In 1869 there was...

No theory of electromagnetism
No periodic table
No definition of entropy
No knowledge x-rays
No understanding of radioactivity

Thermodynamics only had 2 laws
Nobody knew about continental drift
Discovery of DNA was no more than a point on the academic horizon
The idea of space travel had been the preserve of ONLY Jules Verne fans and for only four years - Timeline of scientific discoveries and to have any true perspective of the actual numbers of stars or how truly, unbelievably huge and ancient the universe actually is, Huxley would have had to wait over a century for Hubble's space telescope to be launched.
Public education only became available in the UK in 1870
About 40% of the UK population were still 'making their mark' not a signature.
And books had only really been generally affordable for those who could read, for about 30 years. - Literacy in Europe
In 1869 40% people could not even read, let alone comprehend real science or have even been exposed to the meaning of 'scientific method'.
The theory of evolution was only a decade old but in at that time a decades worth of the spread of information was not even close to the spread of information we have today. The difference I’d suggest is as treacle is to gas.

Because of the poor quality, dissemination and comprehension of even the scientific knowledge that was available at that time Huxley coined the term, wouldn't the answer to the question 'is there a god?' have appeared, from Huxley and his contemporaries’ perspective, more, if not completely, unanswerable? Would it not have appeared to the people of that time that there was a 50/50 chance of there being a god?

Though I personally feel Huxley’s leanings were towards atheism,(I mean, what reason would a full 'believer' have to invent a word to describe himself as a 'don't know-er'?) the term itself seems to be considered a mid point. It is not ( Gnostic/Agnostic - Theist/Atheist Graph) but it seems to have been traditionally considered such.
Now, if we accept that Huxley’s term was coined at a time when the chance was 50/50 and then add in all the advances in knowledge science has made since 1869, where does it get us?
51/49 against god? 70/30 against? 99/1 against?
And more to the point how far away from 50/50 does one move before one stops claiming indecision?
When in fact the existence of a god is starting to look like it would draw the sort of odds you'd expect to see if a Cabbage entered the 100m Olympic final, can it still be considered a midpoint between two philosophical positions? Must it not be considered more in the region of merely a lay-by on the way to the reason?
Indeed, I wonder, had Huxley the evidence available then that is laid out before us today where the all gods and fables are squeezed daily more tightly by our grasp of reality into the diminishing gaps in our knowledge…
Do you think Huxley would even have bothered to think up the word?

Only An Agnostic Part 2

This is one of the Too Many Questions

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