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July 03, 2009


Fergus Gallagher

MP3 is here: http://www.divshare.com/download/7812749-9dc

Gavin Foad

Good debate (apart from Richard Bacon talking over everyone). I personally think you made a very key point about people's use of the term agnosticism which is often used to refer to doubt about belief in a benevolent God from one of the major religions versus those that use it to refer to doubt about an unknown force or undefinable higher power. Excellent and something I always thought without making explicit to myself before. Thanks for articulating my thoughts!


Some of the callers' responses on the show seemed to demonstrate how unclear people are on what agnosticism (or any sort of religious belief) really involves. By turning to agnosticism, people not only back away from making up their mind about the non/existence of a Christian-type God, but they also back away from attempting to truly understand religion - and therefore from making an informed decision about it - as it is "acceptable" now to cop out of a true understanding in this way. One of the callers was a prime example of this - she believed that following Christian ethics is the same thing as being a good person and 'helping elderly neighbours', which of course it is not - one can be a good person without being Christian (as was pointed out on the show) and one can follow Christian sentiments which are not necessarily good (eg the anti-women ideas). If one was to truly understand the Christian message, one would realise that it is a 'requirement' to commit fully to having faith in a Christian God. Believing "when it suits you" or "just in case" isn't an option. Thus agnosticism is self-contradictory and, to me, demonstrates a lack of understanding in many cases rather than a lack of decision.

Yet this cannot explain Mark Vernon's agnosticism - as an ex-priest I imagine he has a pretty firm grasp on teachings about the Christian God. It is puzzling. And of course it only describes agnosticism of the Christian God, rather than of another religion's benevolent Deity

(I also would have been very interested to hear Richard Bacon attempt to prove he isn't a brain in a vat...)

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