Sunday, May 9, 2010

Note to a Sri Lankan agnostic re: the emerging Positive Human identity/non-believer & believer approach

The following comment was in response to this comment by a Sri Lankan agnostic, left at Agnostics vs. Believers article at Groundviews.


Hi Observer,

RE: "See Sujeewa, you’re a man of faith to me. Faith in what you perceive as “agnosticism”. Having faith in non believing is also a faith to me far as I am concerned and when they get organised it actually scares me much as religious folk who have deep faiths in spiritual mumbo jumbo."

I do believe that humans are able to work out our problems without having to rely on most likely non-existent (not active or not a part of the real world, just intellectual items that exist in religious thought) devices such as karma, reincarnation/rebirth, nirvana, gods, hells, heavens, etc.

The ultimate goal (or what I would like to see happen on this planet) is not merely the non-believers* organizing ourselves in order to accomplish goals that we think are important (separation of religions & states, freedom of thought world wide, freedom of expression world wide, freedom of religion or freedom from religion world wide, an end to hunger, homelessness, poverty, etc.), but non-believers, believers & others working together to turn this planet into the paradise that it can easily (w/ the right number of people & effort involved) become.

* also, there is a difference between mere agnostics and atheists and positively motivated agnostics & atheists - by positively motivated I mean people who are interested in making things better in this world and are active in doing so via whatever methods available to them. So, a more accurate term for the kind of people I am speaking of, myself included, would be Positive Humans (as this group also includes believers, not just agnostics). However, for this discussion with hard core/blind believers of SL Buddhism & since the Positive Human label is not yet well known, agnostics or non-believers is the most useful label for the camp that is skeptical of the grand speculative claims made by Buddhism.So, don't worry, most people on the planet at the moment would probably agree with your definition of agnosticism :) But, some of us are in the middle of building a new way to interact with this world, and agnosticism is a starting point, one aspect of that new method.

Also, the idea that humans should be able to work out our own problems without having to rely on gods or other speculative devices was probably/most likely introduced to me via SL Buddhism.

Anyway, I am totally cool with all religions - as long as they do not do harm to people, & as long as they realize that any one branch of human knowledge is, at best, only relevant to just one area of human existence, and thus religion is not all/not everything, and should not be wed to the state & forced on non-believers & people who cannot or have not chosen a religious identity & may not want to choose a religious identity. I am however very cool with secular & useful laws, etc. that may have religious origins (since religious ideas have an even earlier basic human need or desire origins or are otherwise products of human creativity).

As the world continues to deal with problems caused by organized religions, specially ones that do not tolerate dissent (more a problem in the Islamic world than in the Buddhist countries I think), I am sure more and more non-believers will become organized & active in order to save themselves & their secular/open societies (or to liberate their societies from religious oppression) from the control of just one religion or several religions.

- S


I plan on developing the Positive Human blog to explore & promote the PH identity/world view, return there in the near future for more content along the lines of thinking & action described above. Thanks!

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