Religion: Middle Ground between Atheists and Agnostics.

“Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people. Otherwise there would be no religious people.”                                  

 

Religion is a very abstract word or rather an opinion; for some it is the rigorous following of traditions and beliefs and for the others it has simply become an obligation, something that has been imposed upon by their family members or by the society. In today’s generation, religion in its essence has become diluted; various people tend to propagate their own versions of what they call ‘Religion’. This thought provokes our subconscious mind to rethink and further reconsider our mindsets and biases about what beliefs lay the foundation for what we now consider to be ‘Religion’.

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“Oh God!” is a well heard exclamation that is so often used by today’s generation; however this is not only an expression but a claim to establish a relationship with a higher supreme power who is supposed to hear these prayers in times of distress. These set of people who have full faith in the presence of an almighty power are categorized to be display a ‘Gnostic’ type of behavior. Gnostics in today’s world is the definition of people who do believe in the concept of “God”. However the belief is not selfless, rather it is more like the ‘barter system’, wherein an individual approaches this Godly entity only for materialistic and personal interests. This set of people assume themselves to have a superior knowledge in terms of practicing these spiritual matters that they preach about and expect others to follow suit.  This sect of people blindly follow the traditions passed on by their ancestors or most family members, although most of them do not have first-hand knowledge of the subject or the traditions itself.

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Their counterparts being agnostics and atheists. The term ‘Atheism’ simply means the lack of belief in the concept of a deity or God. They do not propagate the belief that God does not exist as an affirmation, however simply believe in the concept of a highly complex being or a Super Power creating a Universe; these generic arguments are the basis of their lack of faith in God. Atheism to go without the concept of God as a sensible decision. The philosophical area of falsifiability simply states that the discussion pertaining to their lack of faith in God is meaningless and must not be used until an individual totally understands the concept followed by them.

 

A common misconception:

Supposing God appeared and acted as an uncultured figure, no ‘Atheist’ will have been wrong about His existence, they would have only had a previous falsifiable concept confirmed to be true. A ‘Non-Theist’ on the other hand means someone who affirms the non-existence of a deity, would be mistake by His appearance. To an Agnostic, this situation would lead to the response from them being, “Well I guess I know now, I wasn’t sure beforehand.”

 

So why do these two seemingly mutually exclusive words get thrust together? If one refers to the dictionary, atheism means simply “the belief in non-existence of a deity”, that’s fair because a lot of people use it in that context. However, different groups will have set definitions of words and philosophy should surely define atheism in an ancient way. If they don’t, then what does the word even mean? Why do we even say Non-Theist or Agnostic?  

As we like to classify everyone and everything into categories due to our generic human behavior, let us discuss about the people who do not fall into the above mentioned category; being Gnostics namely.

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Gnosticism is a heresy which is made up of a diverse set of beliefs. It is the teaching based on the idea of ‘gnosis’ (a Greek word meaning “secret knowledge”), or knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of internal, intuitive means. It involves in the individual’s intrinsic belief in the existence of a Superpower, solely based on their faith due to their past experiences when dealing with situations that require Spiritual Intervention. This virtue is almost inevitably inherited or is a result of saint-like devotion. People following this way of life usually rebuke people having an Atheist or an Agnostic behavioral characteristic.

Another concept that must be introduced is that of Ignosticism; it being the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless, because the term “God” has no unambiguous definition.

 

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What is religion?

Religion essentially is a fabrication; a twisted and molded set of beliefs and traditions which are distortions and quite literally “made up” as mankind evolved and progressed as a civilization. In terms of belief, proof is a matter of probability and not possibility. In probability and statistics we use calculated probabilities to determine beliefs. However when it comes down to Religion, it is more about an individual’s intrinsic faith which may be influenced by his biosphere. In some cases, it is an explanation to occurrences which cannot be explained by Science; an idea instilled in the minds of those who are fickle-minded and do not believe in their capabilities which might affect their future. To some it has become a ‘business’ wherein the alignment of the various celestial bodies determine the course of their upcoming events and also how certain jewels and stones affect the ‘luck’ of an individual.  To some, it is the way of life when all the tables have turned and all fortunes are lost. To some, it is the practice that they adopt where upon the stakes are high and personal interest demands positive results. To some, it is simply a medium via which they calm their minds and ‘cleanse themselves’ of all the negative energy that has been attracted towards them.

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It can be either or the whole lot of these. The entity that we have so often brought ourselves to call upon as “God” may or may not exist. The depth of the human mind cannot be fathomed and thus whether we agree or disagree with anyone’s point of view is a separate issue altogether. It is the subtle difference between science and faith, an intimate balance between rationality and intelligence. It is solely up to us to decide whether following a particular belief is ethical and moral or not. We cannot ask others to change their views and make the leap of faith into believing our religious conduct, it is up to the individual to live his life according to his choices and face the consequences that come with these.

If considered from a different and more liberal point of view, the individual by his actions is establishing his own set of principles which can be said to be his ‘Religion’; such is the complexity and abstractness of such a familiar and household word.

 

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