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Where are you on the bridge? What are YOU doing there?

For many years I have thought of agnosticism as a bridge - a metaphor for the means of completing the journey from the delusions of religion to the safe uplands of secular freethinking.

Are you?

A) someone who has found that there may be a way out the stranglehold of religion and tentatively tries just a few steps to ‘test out’ the strength of the bridge.
B) someone who is firmly on the bridge and is quite happy to stay there for ever and has given up testing because it “seems fine at the moment”.
C) Someone who has crossed the bridge , seen the benefits of freethinking and is willing to go back over it to help as many people as possible cross over.

I make no apologies for using metaphors because that is the method the prophets have used quite successfully and certain people can only think in this way.

The only answer I really want is “Is the metaphor useful? ”

By Mcflewster
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35 comments

3

I think the metaphore works. Even though the words themselves (agnostic and atheist) are really referencing two different things. I can see agnosticism as a path, or bridge in your metaphore, to atheism. I think that's how it worked for me. From my previous religious point of view, atheist seemed too definitive at that time. Agnostic just seemed to acknowledge that I didn't have all the answers. And it seemed more palatable. Once I felt comfortable saying I was agnostic, I could view religion with an open mind and investigate the idea more freely. The more I learned, the easier it became for me to embrace atheism.

mikecagain Level 7 Sep 13, 2018
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3

I'm on a different bridge now--at the helm of the ship of my own mind, where religion has no place. As my avatar proclaimed: "My own mind is my own church," and "The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."

p-nullifidian Level 7 Sep 13, 2018
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3

To me it seems I can only teach by example it's difficult to talk reason to someone who is unreasonable.

oldFloyd Level 6 Sep 13, 2018
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2

Atheist: there is no imaginary, invisible, all powerful critter, fucking with us on this planet.

Agnostic: it is not possible to KNOW how the universe was created

Any other positions are stupid.

Jacar Level 7 Sep 13, 2018
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Your definition of atheism is a subset of the definition used within the context of contemporary discourse, which is effectively the non-acceptance of god claims. This subset is often labeled as hard / strong / positive / gnostic atheism.

2

Not a bridge to me. I don't know about going back to help others cross over. Maybe this is work everyone needs to go off and do on their own.

Every time I start talking about this stuff with others, sharing my view of life and the beyond, either people agree or they retreat to whatever tradition or culture they're committed to. No one says, Hmm. Let me consider this. Usually, it's a topic to be avoided. More often I hear, Oh shut up about it already.

As a bridge that must be crossed alone, there isn't much room for helping across. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but that's been my experience.

Deiter Level 7 Sep 13, 2018
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Ditto, I think I was born a free thinker though and most of my friends are the same or were raised atheist. I also agree with @Countrywoman; God went out of the window along with Santa and the Tooth Fairy. There seemed no reasonable explanation why the Holy Trinity weren't the same as the other fantasies that my family had fed me.

I agree. I have crossed that bridge but I’m not particularly interested in bringing others over. Like you say, since it s a bridge that must be crossed alone ultimately you must choose to cross it. I guess I can point it out to you, but really I don’t do much of that either. I’m still relatively new and I know that most people around me are antagonistic to the idea so I generally don’t bring it up.

2

I'm an agnostic and have no problems with being there. I don't believe in a deity or traditional religion, but I feel there's so much about life we don't know, that's beyond our comprehension, and I relish the mystery.

bleurowz Level 8 Sep 13, 2018
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1

C... but you can't really help others, I've found, until they begin to help themselves. Then the process is inexorable.

Seeker3CO Level 7 Sep 13, 2018
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1

Over thinking perhaps? I just do not believe after I learned about Santa Claus. That was it for me.

Countrywoman Level 8 Sep 13, 2018
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1

I am definitely C - I have firmly crossed the bridge and am happy on this side, but also willing to meet some folks halfway when they tentatively put a foot on the bridge and need a helping hand crossing over, or just want some company enjoying the view, from a point of looking at both sides. I do think the term "agnostic" is a helpful bridge word, between believers and atheists.

Julie808 Level 7 Sep 13, 2018
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1

If the metaphor is useful to you, that's all that matters.

I'm an atheist. If asked, I have no problem explaining my position.
While I detest religion and truly wish people weren't insisting on being
delusional, it's not my job to bring anyone to logic and reason.
I've learned you can't anyway. They've got to come to those realizations
on their own.

I'm also an anti-theist want truly want all belief in gods and religion to stop.
It's harmful for believer and non-believer alike.

KKGator Level 9 Sep 13, 2018
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1

I don’t find it useful personally. I’ve never crossed the bridge, never been on it, never seen it.

indirect76 Level 7 Sep 13, 2018
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1

I was always wandering around in the uplands and curiously watched the people running around in circles on the other side. Did I come by this bridge? Maybe, but I don't remember the thought of exploring it ever crossing my mind. I'm fine where I am.

Dietl Level 6 Sep 13, 2018
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Some are rocketed over by enlightened parents but you could try walking back over the bridge to rescue others . I was confirmed for example -it may not apply to you - but I often think "Why did I let that happen to me?

I think they can hear me very well on the other side. I'll try to encourage them, but they have to be willing to seek the bridge for themselves.

1

I crossed that bridge over 55 years ago and have never regretted it.

wordywalt Level 8 Sep 13, 2018
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1

I'm none of the above.

I don't see myself as C, because that is proselytizing, which I detest. What works for me doesn't work for everyone, and the goal is internal peace with your own rationale... Completely silent and within your own head.

I'm not B, because I am open to "testing" and further self growth. I've learned so much in the past year.

Obviously not A.

Acseeley Level 5 Sep 13, 2018
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It does not have to be proselytising. Rational discussion as often seen on this site is the only tool we have.

1

I don't bother to argue or even talk to people about Christianity. I just defriend, block and/or ignore them.

birdingnut Level 8 Sep 13, 2018
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Pity. As long as you treat people as not stupid , you can do a lot to alter people's thinking and it just going to be hard graft to get where we want to be

@Mcflewster People who believe something without facts, won't change their minds because of facts. It's an exercise in futility to argue with them. But, hey, do whatever you want, LOL!

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0

For many years I havent given it any thought unless someone has brought it up religion or irreligion or any other kind of spirituality doesnt enter my head and thats the way I really want to be.

jacpod Level 8 Oct 2, 2018
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In a way you are in an ideal state as far as agnosticism is concerned and we should look to a future where everyone feels like that. We have potentially a lot of troubled people before that happens though. Do you see the establishment of this website as a step along the bridge? A guide to the future? Metaphores were such a large part of establishing religion . Do you think that they will playa large part in getting rid of religious thought?

@Mcflewster I really don't know and I really don't mind what people choose to think as long as they stay somehow engaged with everything that isn't about religious thought as well. I actually don't mind engaging with people who know I am atheist who talk about their belief, because there isnt much common ground for us to play on so we end up just having a normal conversation - I don't meet many proseletysers; maybe because I was born in London (a pretty godless place post-war) None of my extended family have a god and I now live in Northern Ireland which is also careful about conversations that might lead to a bit of heat - where I live is by the sea and the glens of antrim so people are in beautiful forests mountains sea and countryside - they go to church or chapel but no big deal they don't talk about it.

0

I have never needed a bridge. Always had my feet firmly on terra ferma.

Except when bungee jumping. smile009.gif

Uncorrugated Level 7 Sep 28, 2018
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0

I'm at C but doing this is difficult.

DenoPenno Level 8 Sep 17, 2018
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0

I'm crossing the bridge right now and seeing all the benefits of freethinking. Someday I hope to go back bring others out of the darkness of religious bs. I hope us non believers out number the religious fool some day.

freedom41 Level 7 Sep 14, 2018
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0

I was barely on that bridge. My thinking was I’m not half assing this shit. If you’re scared go to church

snifflz Level 6 Sep 14, 2018
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0

I've crossed the bridge. I believe that if taken as a whole - religion does more harm than good.

engineer6582 Level 4 Sep 14, 2018
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0

I have always been atheist as my parents were before me; and my grandmother; the others but going though the first world war would be enough to make you sceptical to say the least.

jacpod Level 8 Sep 14, 2018
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0

When I saw the title of this topic I thought it was about Scientology. smile002.gif

ldheinz Level 6 Sep 14, 2018
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0

https:// The only answer I really want is “Is the metaphor useful? ” https://

If used outside of ones personal context, than no. Though it can be a bridge for people, one should not feel obligated to cross it fully to be considered a free thinker. If anything, this flies in the face of the whole concept of free thought. Unless atheism is a substitute for free thinker.

Is it helpful? No.

I don't care where you are on the non-theist spectrum. I just want you helping to move the needle.

Mb_Man Level 5 Sep 14, 2018
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Could you expand on 'the needle metaphore'?

Edited

@Mcflewster Sure. Actually working as a group towards meaningful change.

I see many prominent atheists claim that if everyone stopped denying what they are (ATHEIST!), then the voting block could well dominate all of the theistic sects combined. It's a very self-serving viewpoint, considering that the world is on fire.
Enough with trying to herd a bunch of free-thinking cats into a pen. Time to do what the religious have been doing for the whole of the history. Putting everything else aside when a common goal is in reach with co-operation.

They did this when it came to Donald Trump!

Rather than playing the hypocrisy card, take a page from their book. Beat them at their own game. Enough already.

My explanation / rant in a nutshell.

0

It could be to some, but does nothing for me. I was very young (14), when I realized religion made no sense, so its grasp on me never got too strong.

creative51 Level 7 Sep 14, 2018
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