Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto (Lesley Hazleton)

6b21f7698d88a59c435785e7ee40b76c-w204@1xI was drawn to this one because I am, basically, an agnostic myself; although I do find myself leaning more towards atheism when it comes to the question of the existence or otherwise of “God” (whatever “God” is supposed to be), I don’t feel able to actually make the claim one way or the other, nor do I think anyone else is either. Saying “God exists” or “God doesn’t exist” is a metaphysical statement that I don’t think has enough support either way. And when it comes to the crunch, I’m not sure I don’t find the professional atheists like Dawkins, Harris, etc more tedious than their believing counterparts at times; neither party exactly escapes the trap of self-pleased smugness. I’m not sure, though, that I respond much better to Hazleton’s little book… I mean, does agnosticism actually need a “manifesto”? Cos the concept is kind of simple, I’m not 100% convinced by her attempt to expand it to a broader and fairly radical acceptance of uncertainty and possibility in general. Along the way she says quite a few things I obviously agree with (there’s a bit in her discussion of infinity where she talks of how we assume that whatever laws of physics, etc, hold true in our particular part of the universe necessarily hold true across the entire universe and how frankly silly this is, and it just crystallises something I’ve always thought), but she occasionally does so in a tone that might be called “spiritual but not religious” (which she acknowledges, saying it’s hard to avoid that sort of language), and though Hazleton never quite trips out into the sort of condescending smugness she’s right to criticise the pro atheists for, there are points where she kind of teeters on the edge. I don’t know, maybe I’m just sceptical about trying to ra-ra something up when I don’t think it really needs that sort of thing…

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