Monday, March 22, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Random, late-night thoughts of an Agnostic Insomniac*

*Agnostic Insomniac: I don't know if I'll ever get to sleep:P

So...had a remarkably frustrating phone conversation with my whacko [censored by popular demand] of a mother. Which served only the dual purposes of making it even HARDER for me to sleep tonight and giving me a completely unrelated sentence to open up this post.

An earlier thread on here today (You know who you are, and shame on you for it.) got me thinking about a couple of things. Mostly abstract things; things that were driven completely out of my head by other events of the evening, and then marched back into my exhausted-but-unable-to-sleep brain in the dead of night like so many marionettes at a funeral. (Random obscure insomniac reference--you heard it here first, folks.) Thoughts about agnosticism, and how it is related to/differs from atheism. And so, without further (any?) ado, I present iBear's unofficial and non-binding dissertation on the Universal Agnostic. (Patent Pending)

Agnostics come in several different "flavors." (like ice cream) These flavors all have marked differences, but an overall set of similarities. (like ice cream) There are "Christian Agnostics", who do not know whether the triple deity "God + Jesus + Holy Ghost/Captain America" really exists. But they generally believe that if he (it? they?) DOESN'T exist, then there is no God. (again, just like ice cream)

There are "Jewish Agnostics", who cut out the latter two pieces of the triple diety (especially the part with Captain America...meshugga, you know) and only claim not to know about God. These are the same people who--I am forced to assume--can't decide whether to go through with the circumcision or not. That seems to me like the kind of thing you need to have reached a decision on before the scalpel gets there.

There are quite probably "Muslim Agnostics", although not much is heard about them these days. Wondering whether Allah exists is one thing, but nobody's going to blow himself up unless he's damn sure those virgins are waiting for him in heaven. (Apologies to my Muslim friends, and I assure you the best way to punish me for my blasphemy would be to declare jihad on my crazy-ass mother.)

So long as the law of averages is in effect, there will of course also be agnostics who wonder about Zeus or Shiva or Osiris. (And imagine those poor "Norse Agnostics": it really ups the difficulty level when you're unsure of the existence of a god like Loki, who will LIE to you about himself just for the hell of it.)

But the Universal Agnostic is someone who manages to avoid getting bogged down in these popular "flavors of the week". (Add some sprinkles and we're right back to the ice cream.) The Universal Agnostic is a man (Or a woman...being an Agnostic I don't claim to know either way.) who possesses the ability to at least recognize when something is NOT god. The medical analogy would be "I know THAT'S not a cure. That's not either. Or that. Or that. Or definitely THAT! But that doesn't mean there isn't some kind of cure out there somewhere."

So when this Universal Agnostic claims to be agnostic (And I do.) the idea that he (or she...although that doesn't apply as much now that it seems I'm talking about myself, does it?) is trying to convey is that he doesn't (REALLY doesn't) believe in any of the current choices of diety...but does not feel there is sufficient evidence to draw a conclusion regarding the existence of SOME sort of diety. (I lament the fact that the only two words provided for this concept are "god" and "diety".)

Second on the list--that's right, I got to the second item on the list before telling anyone there was a list--is the question regarding belief in a "soul" or "spirit". (Those of you who didn't know which thread I was referencing earlier should now consider yourselves either appropriately informed or hopelessly lost.) Again I lament the lack of different words available to convey the idea; "soul" and "spirit" have both been used so extensively by certain groups (You know who you are, and shame on you for it.) that they come with pre-packed conceptual baggage. But for lack of a more accurate term, yes: I believe in some sort of "soul." I do not believe the entirety of a person's thoughts, hopes, dreams, and memories are purely the biochemical workings of a neural conglomeration.

Many outspoken atheists (Yes Virginia, they have those.) will disagree with me here. (And that breaks my heart. Really. Look...this is my "heartbroken" face.) For no other reason than because it amuses me, I submit a link to one of the albums on my facebook page. Remember, everyone, this link will ONLY take you to a string of binary characters. Anything that appears more substantial than a collection of ones and zeros is simply the work of your fanciful imagination.

Do I believe that this "soul" exists beyond death? I don't have the first f***ing clue. How the hell would I know that? Seriously,'re being ridiculous. Does the existence of this "soul" inevitably lead to the existence of some kind of deity? Not necessarily...that assumes that the "soul" (and yes; I will continue to place that word in quotes until I...just don't feel like it anymore.) is something artificial, something that cannot have developed naturally but must have been concocted somehow. (like ice's a running gag.)

How could this "soul" have developed naturally? I'm glad you asked that question. And I'll be even MORE glad when you answer it, because once again I don't have the first f***ing clue. I don't even know if there *IS* one, much less where it comes from. But I THINK there is. When I look someone in the eyes, I don't see a string of ones and zeros. I see--spoiler alert: the link takes you to a picture--the picture.

So anyway, it's now after 6am here, so I ought to relabel this "Random, early-morning thoughts of an Agnostic Insomniac." But I'm a lazy man on nights like this, so I'm not going to. There are also parts of this that should probably be marked as spoofs...but as I'm a lazy man (see above) I'm not going to do that either. Everybody can just's good enough for us Agnostics.

So on that note, I think I'm going to put an end to this humiliating display. I'll copy it to my blog (before I read over it and think better of the idea) if anyone gets nostalgic in a few weeks. (Author's note: you should probably know by now that THIS is the copy on my blog.)

Thank you all so much!

You've been a wonderful audience!

I'll be here all night!

...I mean that.