nowheat wrote:Agnosticism doesn't exactly say "I won't use it" -- there is still testing -- but I won't believe it blindly and use it as if it is proven fact, and cease to question.
and you did say this before, and in other words in that post.
The agnosticism I am talking about is the sort that doesn't believe in unprovable things, and sets aside all those divisive, unresolvable cosmic arguments
from what you have said if you can not prove/know the truth of it, you set it aside, which to me means 'wont use it,' 'leaving it aside.'
Apparently my definition of "set aside" and yours are somewhat different. By "set aside" I don't mean "put away never to be examined". When reading suttas that I don't understand, I set them aside, too, and pick them up again for later consideration. I don't debate my understanding of them with others because I don't understand them so I can't debate the validity of my take on them, because I don't have a take on them -- but I will always listen to others' views about them, since they may give me the key I need to understand. I don't act on what's in a sutta that is as yet unclear to me, or make it part of my practice, because I can't, really. So I set it aside.
I am an agnostic in that sense.
I apologize for the lack of clarity.
nowheat wrote:Faith, in most people's definition of it, requires that one go beyond questioning. I am never beyond questioning. Saddha, as I understand it, is not blind faith.
Cittasanto wrote:that would be blind faith; faith in Buddhist definition, to my understanding, is putting the claim to the test until it is proven one way or the other, reflecting before, during, and after for its usefulness to the path.
Because one cannot prove a negative (if the metaphysical claims are actually untrue) one will spend a lot of energy continuing to test for something not in evidence. At a certain point it would seem wiser to "set aside" until further evidence turns up rather than actively seeking something that has not shown up for decades (when the rest of one's practice is still improving over that course of time). Where a person draws that line would be up to the individual I suppose.
But the reason I set aside the Buddhist metaphysical claims is not just because I don't have evidence in my life for them. It is because when I read the suttas, I find the Buddha gently suggesting that seeking after metaphysics when there is no evidence is not skillful.
nowheat wrote:"Ted" is Ted Meissner, who posted earlier in the thread -- he is the fellow whose site and podcasts we are discussing in this thread.
Cittasanto wrote:one post, and one of a list of contributors, is this another hardcore movement, or a group?
I am discussing secular Buddhism, not one person!
I was making a distinction between Ted's opinions and mine; we are two individuals who are not in 100% accord on everything. If you want to discuss Secular Buddhism with the understanding that it is a unified movement, I hope you'll let me know when you find that unified movement. We are many individuals.
Cittasanto wrote:Like I said earlier you seam to be confusing terms up. I agree with your definition of agnostic, I disagree with your definition of faith, particularly in this context.
Faith requires keeping something said to be useful unless it can be shown to be completely useless, if it was useful in certain circumstances, but not in others, then lets keep it around, but if it is never useful then keeping it around would be blind ignorance.
If something is said to be useful, but I find it not only not useful, but counterproductive, does your definition of faith require that I use it because the people who tell me it is useful often give good advice? If the evidence of my own experience denies its usefulness at every point, I think it is blind faith to act as if it is true. When it is counterproductive, and dismissed by a source I trust even more, it becomes foolish.
It seems to me the sticking point in our conversation here is *only* that I say that I don't have faith in Buddhist metaphysical claims and you do.
I feel sure we actually agree about what saddha is -- it is not blind faith -- it is faith based on the sense that we have been told the truth by this source often enough to believe that the things we have been told, that have not yet been seen by us, will be proven accurate. I think we both practice that faith -- about awakening, for example.