World Religions - Agnosticism
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World Religions - Agnosticism

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How can Christians build truth-seeking relationships with Agnostics? What are some common Agnostic beliefs?

How can Christians build truth-seeking relationships with Agnostics? What are some common Agnostic beliefs?

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  • Break into groups. Discuss!With #1: The more confident you are in a belief, the less you feel the need to fight for it. The less secure you are in your own knowledge, the more threatening another person’s beliefs can be.
  • What counts as Religion?Most of us think of religion strictly as belief in God. But as we’ve seen in this class, religion is much broader than that. Religion is about how we understand the world, the nature of reality. We could also say religion is belief about God, which would obviously include atheism.
  • Theism is belief in God. We are theists.Atheism is belief that there is no God.Agnosticism is ignorance concerning a higher power. Tonight deals primarily with these last two categoriesNontheism is not participating in the discussion.We’ll be discussing Atheism tonight, though much of what we cover may hold true for the others.
  • The biggest shift from Pre- to Modern was in Epistemology (or, how we know stuff). In the Premodern world, Truth was revealed from the gods. In the Modern world, Truth is discovered by humans. Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am.”  The basis of human life is REASON
  • Rationalism gave rise to Humanism, the conviction that Humans are enough.
  • Science and Religion were often pitted against each other in the Enlightenment (sometimes by the Church, sometimes by Scientists). Because
  • Science and Religion were often pitted against each other in the Enlightenment (sometimes by the Church, sometimes by Scientists). Because
  • This perspective gave rise to Deism, the grandfather of Atheism and Agnosticism. Enlightenment thinkers relied more and more heavily on Reason and Science to explain everything. Morality wasn’t based on Revealed Truth, but on self-evident principles (i.e., things that made sense to us). Religion was relegated to the private sphere
  • Deism is the world without God involved. God set it up, and like a machine, it runs on its own (laws of physics, etc.).
  • In the wake of the Enlightenment, the world became smaller and smaller.
  • We’re most familiar with this Atheist story – someone who was raised Christian but who has left the Church and abandoned belief in God for any number of reasons. Most commonly, it’s disillusionment with a church that forbids questioning, positions itself as anti-science or cannot engage serious criticism.These are persons who were raised Atheist.These persons were not really raised anything. They may have gone to Church a few times, but they don’t really think about religion much if ever. They’re not really atheists on purpose (usually), but just because that’s what they’ve grown up knowing. We’ll talk more about these people in another class-period.These are persons who really did their homework and became convinced of Atheism. They’re smart and well-researched. They know their stuff, but are typically open to conversation and continued learning.Bottom Line: Don’t assume you know an atheist. They’re as diverse a group as Christians are. You have to build a relationship with them. Learn their story. Earn the right to be heard.
  • This is the state of Western Cultural religion today. Christian Smith, a sociologist, coined the phrase.
  • Humanism leads to the belief that the greatest good is Personal Liberty. That human flourishing will be accomplished by each person having the freedom to do what they want.
  • Rationalism gave rise to Moralism. That we can all figure out right/wrong and we just need to be good, to do more good than bad. Good people go to Heaven.KARMA
  • Progressivism and Humanism have given rise to the belief that the world is here for our pleasure. God mainly wants us to be happy.
  • God is not intimately involved in the world. God is there, but only intervenes occasionally, perhaps to help a very good person or in response to prayer. Different from Enlightenment deism, but a useful category and still very different from the God of Scripture.
  • Deep Distrust of institutions
  • Why don’t these ‘spiritual’ persons want Church?
  • A popular view today on religion is that they’re all different paths up the same mountain (PIC). This is the core of Moralism. That essentially, God will reward all the good people, so ultimately all that matters is being good.
  • Christians believe that no number of good choices can redeem us. We are enslaved to Sin. Our wills are bent away from God. The break is so complete the writers of the Scriptures describe it as a Death. In the Christian story, God entered into our brokenness to rescue us from it. God bore our death for us, took our Sin for us. The amount of good we do isn’t at stake – none of us can do enough good.This is particularly divergent for those agnostics who think God is too beyond us to comprehend. Christians agree, but posit that God reveals Godself to us in a way we can understand and relate to.
  • Materialism vs. Supernatural (not ‘God of the gaps’)Humanism vs. Depravity (and along with this, we don’t necessarily think Personal Freedom is the greatest good.)Are rituals enough?Progressivism vs. Science as a toolEschatologyIs the Human the highest good?
  • The problem with Progressivism is that the human heart is not getting any better. In fact, the 20th century saw the worst atrocities in history committed by atheists. So far, the worst in the 21st have been religious radicals. What does that tell us?Atheists want to put that all at the feet of religion. Christians put it at the feet of humanity.
  • Whose world is this? Are we kings of our own castles or is this God’s?
  • Whose world is this? Are we kings of our own castles or is this God’s?
  • Deism vs. Sustainer/active presence (individualism vs. daily communion)
  • Deism vs. Sustainer/active presence (individualism vs. daily communion)
  • The Church is the Bride of Christ. No such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian…
  • The Church is the Bride of Christ. No such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian…
  • The Church is the Bride of Christ. No such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian…

World Religions - Agnosticism World Religions - Agnosticism Presentation Transcript

  • World ReligionsThe Gospel and Friendship in a Pluralistic Suburb
  • What Do You Know? 1. Which of Jesus’ teachings is your favorite? When did you first consider that Jesus 2. might be your savior? 3. Do you know any agnostic persons? 4. What questions do you have about agnosticism?
  • Our “Mars Hill” Methodology • A basic introduction to the faith’s worldview 1. • Areas of agreement between that faith and 2. Orthodox Christian theology and practice • Areas of disagreement between that faith 3. and Orthodox Christian theology and practiceGOAL: To equip you to build a truth-seekingrelationship with someone of another faith.
  • AgnosticismMoralistic Therapeutic Deism
  • Religion by Any Other Name… Belief in God? Worldview
  • What’s in a Name? Theism = God Atheism = No God Agnosticism = No Knowledge Nontheism = Nonissue
  • Modernizing ModernPre-Modern
  • Modernizing ModernPre-Modern
  • God of the Gaps?
  • Materialism
  • What’s God For? No Room for God
  • Deism
  • It’s a Small World, After All!
  • Agnosticism Today Spiritual but not Nontheists Religious Post- SeekersChristian
  • Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism
  • Key Beliefs: Personal Liberty Humanism
  • Key Beliefs: Moralism Rationalism
  • Key Beliefs: Therapeutic Universe Progressivism
  • Key Beliefs: Deism Deism
  • Why Not Christianity?
  • Why Not Christianity? Judgmental Hypocritical Sheltered Anti-homosexual “Get Saved” Too Political
  • Building Bridges to Agnosticism Questions are important Spirituality is good Experiences of God Christianity isn’t perfect Justice & equality matter
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism Disagree Good Enough?
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism Disagree God ?
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism DisagreeGod
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism Disagree Good Enough? Human Fulfillment
  • Where Christianity and Atheism Disagree
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism Disagree Good Enough? Human Fulfillment King of the World
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism Disagree Mine God’s
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism Disagree Good Enough? Human Fulfillment King of the World Where’s God?
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism Disagree Deism Sustainer
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism Disagree Good Enough? Human Fulfillment King of the World Where’s God? Institutions
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism Disagree
  • Where Christianity and Agnosticism Disagree Good Enough? Human Fulfillment King of the World Where’s God? Institutions