What is agnosticism? Is it just the 'don't know' position on God, or is there more to it than this? Is it a belief, or merely the absence of belief? Who were the first to call themselves 'agnostics'? These are just some of the questions that Robin Le Poidevin considers in this Very Short Introduction. He sets the philosophical case for agnosticism and explores it as a historical and cultural phenomenon. What emerges is a much more sophisticated, and much more interesting, attitude than a simple failure to either commit to, or reject, religious belief. Le Poidevin challenges some preconceptions and assumptions among both believers and non-atheists, and invites the reader to rethink their own position on the issues. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Agnosticism: With Respect to God brings together leading philosophers, considering the question of agnosticism, an under-explored area in philosophy and religious thought, from both analytic and continental perspectives. The book explores the various meanings of agnosticism in the twenty-first century.
“Vital” –The New York Times Book Review “Provocative…[Hazleton] paddles the river of doubt with energy and exuberance.” –The Seattle Times A widely admired writer on religion celebrates agnosticism as the most vibrant, engaging—and ultimately the most honest—stance toward the mysteries of existence. One in four Americans reject any affiliation with organized religion, and nearly half of those under thirty describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” But as the airwaves resound with the haranguing of preachers and pundits, who speaks for the millions who find no joy in whittling the wonder of existence to a simple yes/no choice? Lesley Hazleton does. In this provocative, brilliant book, she gives voice to the case for agnosticism, breaks it free of its stereotypes as watered-down atheism or amorphous “seeking,” and celebrates it as a reasoned, revealing, and sustaining stance toward life. Stepping over the lines imposed by rigid conviction, she draws on philosophy, theology, psychology, science, and more to explore, with curiosity and passion, the vital role of mystery in a deceptively information-rich world; to ask what we mean by the search for meaning; to invoke the humbling yet elating perspective of infinity; to challenge received ideas about death; and to reconsider what “the soul” might be. Inspired and inspiring, Agnostic recasts the question of belief not as a problem to be solved but as an invitation to an ongoing, open-ended adventure of the mind.
In addition to undermining the continuity in the intellectual history of religious thought, Lightman exposes the religious origins of agnosticism.
The authentic spiritual quest is marked not by certainties but by questions and doubt. Mark Vernon who was a priest, and left an atheist explores the wonder of science, the ups and downs of being 'spiritual but not religious', the insights of ancient philosophy, and God the biggest question.
Ask yourself the big questions, keep an open mind, and learn from some of the greatest thinkers of all time with Agnosticism. Famous martial artist Bruce Lee didnt believe that anyone should be indoctrinated into one specific style of fighting. The best fighter is master of many styles and has the skill to apply the right methods as situations present themselves. Agnostics take the same approach to philosophy and religion. Each religion, as each philosophy, has something to teach. There is no solitary creed that applies to every situation. Some of the worlds greatest thinkers, such as Confucius and Socrates, promoted agnostic ways of thinking. For instance, Confucius said, To know is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge. Learn more about agnosticism and start asking yourself some big questions with this book: What is the definition of God? Is religion good or evil? What is our purpose in life? How do we as a nation raise strong and independent thinkers? Author James Kirk Wall also offers an agnostic approach to evolution and intelligent design, as well as lessons from great thinkers throughout history and tips on applying agnosticism to business and government. Instead of blindly following one idea or another, start breaking down the shameless walls of ignorance and discover Agnosticism.