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Agnostic Attitude

Posted by spritzophrenia on July 9, 2010

Agnosticism manifests itself best as an attitude. It is a way of life driven by the desire for ultimate things. It is a love in the way that philosophy was a love of wisdom for Socrates. It is a ‘passionate commitment’ to a certain form of life, in Wittgenstein’s phrase. What marks it out is a confession of ignorance – a confession both in the sense of an admittance and in the sense of a framework.

Dr Mark Vernon, After Atheism, p 137

I like this. Vernon is an agnostic christian, rather than at the atheistic end of the scale.


6 Responses to “Agnostic Attitude”

  1. Iain said

    I like that too. Stephen Colbert jokingly said, “Isn’t an agnostic just an atheist without balls?”

    Even though Colbert is a comedian, it is a shame when I hear people quoting him seriously, because I think that it misses the point. I think that a (strong) atheist is an agnostic with philosophically dishonest convictions.

    Interesting to hear that Vernon is an agnostic christian because I knew that they were possible but I had never met one (until recently? David the agnostic pentecostal).

  2. Anne said

    I think I’m overcommenting on your blog! -but in your recent posts I’m finding so much that I want to respond to. I have an uncle / godfather who is quite a scholar on Wittgenstein (although is past his days of that now)… and sadly I know very little about W… but reading his quote, I thought, “and all this time I thought my uncle Gene was at heart a run-of-the-mill Lutheran!” This gives me pause. (I’m wondering where my uncle stood on that, in part because the quote resonates with me and wish I could have talked with him more about it.) A confession of ignorance–that sums it up.

    • Not at all Anne, if my blog stimulates thought (even disagreement) that makes me happy. And of course, all bloggers love comments. It lets us know that we are loved 😉

      Your Uncle sounds fascinating.

      • Anne said

        He is interesting,and was a popular philosophy prof at the U of Minnesota for over 30 yrs. He kept holidays fascinating, as he often invited international students(often from Asia). He was invited to Austria (I think where W was from?) a number of times to lecture on Wittgenstein; he never talked that much about it with extended family. He’s in his eighties now, and is having a lot of memory difficulty. Glad that he shared his learning with others; nice to leave something behind.

  3. […] Vernon Another agnostic, Mark Vernon wrote After Atheism, a book I rather like. He’s an agnostic theist, or agnostic christian who writes about all […]

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