Episode 42: Dual Paths and Reciprocity

How do you reconcile following a dual pathway with VERY different paths? Do you expect something in return for worshipping deity? Is this arrogance at work, or just the nature of things? This is another “thinker” episode. We look forward to hearing from you all.

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1 Comment

  1. New listener here, going through the archive. I just listened to episodes 40 and 42, and there were a few things in them that made me go “Huh?”. They’re both minor points in the larger scope of the things being discussed, and they both have to do with how certain terms are defined.

    Dawn, unless I misunderstood you in episode 40, you said that religion requires a belief in a higher power by definition, making any form of atheistic religion a kind of oxymoron. This argument is problematic for me. While there have been attempts to define religion as such, it is not universally accepted — in fact, I don’t think there actually is a universally accepted definition. All of the suggested definitions so far have excluded some things that most of us tend to think are religions, while including things that aren’t. This is to say nothing of the potential issues with trying fit Ancient or Eastern faiths into a category that is both relatively new and strongly tied to Western history and culture.

    Moving on to episode 42, in which Scott says that there are two kinds of Atheism: hard and soft. This is indeed a common way for self-identifying Atheists to dice up Atheism, as are the definitions you give. The thing that surprised me was when you said that Agnosticism was believing in God without knowing what God is. In my experience, the most common “folk definition” of an Agnostic is basically “one who does not know whether or not there is a God”. This leads some modern Atheists to argue that Agnosticism is actually a form Atheism, with Atheism being defined as a lack of affirmation of God rather than as a rejection of God. Then there’s the more strictly philosophical definition according to which an Agnostic is not one who does not know whether or not God exists, but rather one who believes that it is impossible to know. Now, I’m aware that the exact definition of what it means to be an Agnostic is a matter of contention, but I have to say that spending years following debates between Atheists and others (sometimes about this very issue), this is the very first time I’ve ever heard anyone define Agnosticism the way you do. My point here isn’t to “correct” you or say that you’re wrong, but do you recall how you came upon this definition? Like I said, it’s one that I’ve never heard before.

    So as to not end on an overly critical note, I will say that I greatly enjoy your podcast. It’s a lot of fun, and not just because I find the topics interesting. I really appreciate the fact that you can talk about your beliefs and practices without losing yourselves in subjective revery.

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