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Being agnostic and being a close-minded dick are 2 different things

I remember back in my southern baptist days when I'd hear religious talk from a catholic or someone jewish or mormon or 7th day adventist or even pentecostal I'd immediately throw up a barrier of disbelief. The one I'd been taught to put up by my religious elders. No reason to even pay attention to them - or so I was told in Odessa and OKC.

Later, as my eyes opened and I left that belief system, I figured out that those other beliefs had just as much of a basis in reality as my own. None. But to the extent that my own fellowship had any positive effects then so might their own. I dropped my barrier of mistrust, learned about them, and found they all share similar goals. The differences are just in the mythos and rituals ... attributable to their histories and geographic/cultural influences. I actually found benefits and positive influences emanating from all as well as a variety of empirical data for study. But I had to get past that barrier first.

I've noticed a similar barrier with many people on this site. I understand skepticism given the influence and lies of evangelicals from the past. But it's still important to learn the basis behind many of those views in order to see if they have anything to offer. We all only sense and experience a miniscule portion of reality and are expected to build our universe based upon it. Our view is not only just one angle, it may not even be the right one. It's important to learn the others.

Case in point - psychology. Despite our supposedly "advanced" western medicine, our history researching and developing mental health tools and data is painfully shallow. We're relying mostly upon data and efforts conducted just over the last 100 years or so. In comparison, psychological exploration into the mind and thought development has been going on in the Indus Valley (India, Pakistan et al) for over 2,000 years. So it should come as no surprise that current mental health efforts include a new emphasis on meditation and relaxation techniques developed there. Same illustration with chinese accupressure - now accepted as a treatment option by the AMA. But many psych experts had to be dragged into this new era due to those same mental barriers.

It's called being "close-minded". Thinking that YOU know everything there is to know about a subject such that other sources couldn't shed any light or present any new information. I see a ton of it here and it's disconcerting. Calling someone else's theory on a scientific topic "woo" or some other derogatory term without even diving into the context is foolhardy and, frankly, naive. We dismissed shaman and tribal elder's stories as fairy tale rubbish and we paid dearly. CFC's were indeed hurting the ozone. DDT was in fact causing weaknesses in raptor eggshells and leading to dwindling numbers of bald eagles. Lead shot is certainly ingested by birds and other fauna leading to death. The village chieftain who had huts burned due to curses along the Ebola river in Zaire had a valid reason for his actions and empirical data to show his remediation was necessary and effective. You have to investigate the different views to gather what you can from it. It may be good material. You'll never know if you never try.

Same here with other ideas such as history, social evolution, or even the basis behind secular belief systems such as buddhism, jainism, or advaita vedanta (monism). We're not talking about deity worship. We're talking about attempts by different cultures to explain the universe around them. Just because someone sees something from a different viewpoint doesn't mean they are wrong. You actually have to engage and learn about it to see if it has any truth. And given the gaps in our understanding it would be wise to entertain all possible options or views.

I remember it wasn't too long ago that we were told all humans were basically the same genetically - all coming from homo sapiens. To even entertain a differing thought was frowned upon and would get you fired from public venues ... such as Jimmy the Greek on CBS. We now know that there were different hominids that populated the earth and led to present-day man: homo sapiens, homo neandertalus, homo denisovan, homo florensis, homo erectus, and 2 more ghost mtDNA contributors we have yet to identify. We know these all existed due to genetic sequencing. We are all NOT the same. But we let barriers block our learning in the past. Much like close-minded people do here today.

Don't be the dummy who misses out on an opportunity to possibly learn something new due to prejudice.

JeffMesser 8 June 7

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You are mixing scientific facts with religious beliefs . Two totally different things.


Agreed. As I have said before, I really don't care much what others believe as long as they don't hassle me or try to legislate their beliefs towards some kind of theocracy. Live and let live. I'll be me and they be them, esp. now that I am retired and don't need to be around anyone anymore that I don't want to be.

And yes, being a believer or a non-believer, neither entitles anyone to act like a dick about it or act that way most of the time. Some of the time, sure, it's unavoidable, at least for me and in my experience, most people. Most of us are not good enough people to do otherwise.


I couldn't agree with you more. To be a dogmatic, "aint no way, aint no nothing" atheist is to shut yourself off from the specks of truth all around us. To say there's no Abrahamic god and to extropolate from that there is NOTHING except what our five senses tell us, is to dismiss any paranormal or extrasensory phenomena out of hand, when there is good, valid, scientifically verifiable circumstantial reason to think it could very well be real. Reincarnation comes to mind.
While it may be comforting in an absolutist sense to say, "If it hasn't been proven WITHOUT A DOUBT to be true, then it must be highly suspect or downright false," ignores and summilarily rejects the "I don't know" from the equation.
In a thousand years, when our species has learned infinitely more than we know now, we may be able to say conclusively whether or not there's, say, an afterlife, or the true nature of the physical world, and maybe even IF there is some essence unlike anything we call "god" today, which ties the whole thing together and actually explains what the f**k we're doing here.
Who knows? I certainly don't.
But speculating about it makes life a LOT more interesting, and to nihilistically think it's all totally meaningless and we're just freak accidents signifying about as much as a speck of fecal matter on a cockroach's behind, is not only depressing, it's perhaps even small-minded and wrong.
But I'll leave that an open-ended question for future generations to figure out. I'll just stumble along in the dark and ask my dumb, wild-eyed questions which have no answers and get old and die like everybody else.
THAT is one thing I DO know.


But don’t keep your minds so open that your brains fall out!

— Walter Kotschnig

1of5 Level 8 June 7, 2019

I know what you mean. There are so many things that are unexplainable, so why dismiss them outright.

Lack of presentable and testable evidence would possibly be a good reason for dismissing unexplainable contentions.

@LenHazell53 i am not so sure about that, after all they do happen.




Wow! What a strawman post. The points made by others dismissing the questionable assumptions in this post are well made. I've noticed more of these knife in the back posts recently about non-believers, coming more to bury than to praise Caesar.


Hmmm, science doesn't have to be ancient to be more valid. there are many new things that we learn every day, some are just so brand new yet not less valid, like photographing a black hole which was thought to be impossible and yet it was achieved recently, same with psycology, and any other science that you might think of, there are great discoveries that are so recent due to technology breakthroughs that were not available even last year. I wouldn't be too drastic.


Not believing in an all-powerful imaginary friend in no way reflects an ability to be rational.

Jacar Level 8 June 7, 2019


  1. denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.

@JeffMesser Thank you for the verification.

@Jacar yeah I don't expect anyone to buy into the mythos. but some of that stuff is merely metaphor.

@JeffMesser Peterson does a great exploration of the old stories, without ascribing to any belief.


The world is grey, nothing is all good or all bad.
My one and only beef with religion is their rite of indoctrinating children. That's it!

Yes idiots can even be profound at times. Happy to interact with all people but I am arrogant in I no longer waste my time arguing with theists as I believe their adherence to doctrine has retarded their reasoning ability so they will dismiss logic if it contradicts their doctrine. No point arguing with the retarded IMO. My mind is closed in this way.

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