Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Exploring World Religions -4

Agnosticism: Agnosticism claims that it is impossible to know something, particularly whether or not God exists. The world was coined by the 19th century British philosopher Thomas Huxley from the Greek a ’not’ and gnosis ‘knowledge’. It is logically possible for an agnostic to believe in God, if he admits that his belief is a matter of faith and not of knowledge.

Determinism: Belief that the way events occur is fixed in advance, either by some supernatural plan of God or by the laws of nature. The concept appears to undermine ideas such as free will, morality, justice and responsibility. Many philosophers, however, have tried to find ways of reconciling human freedom with the belief that there are causes for our behavior. The problem is difficult for religious believers who maintain that God knows everything, including the future, since this implies that the future is fixed. On the other hand, they also want to say that people are responsible for their actions and are free to choose between good and evil. Modern physics ceased to be deterministic in the early 20th century, with the development of quantum mechanics, which suggests that, at the most fundamental level, the behavior of matter cannot be predicted with any certainty.

Epicureanism: Philosophy developed by the Greek thinker Epicurus and his followers. It was based on the belief that the greatest good is pleasure- in the sense of cultivated enjoyment of life, especially the joys of friendship, rather than sensual indulgence. Epicurus was an atheist, and taught that there is nothing to fear in death, which is merely a disappearance, a state of nothingness.
The word epicure now means one who enjoys good food and good living.

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