So, a question to everyone ... what is the difference between atheistic and agnostic? I'll add my thoughts later.
*this is later*
The story I heard on NPR that got me thinking was an interview with a professed atheist. Now, I have no problem with the idea of atheism ... but this woman was as far out there as the ultra-conservative evangelical Christian right-wingers, in her own way.
She was basically telling this other person (who was an agnostic) that he was out of his mind to even be on the fence about the idea of God/god/zod/goddess/Flying Spaghetti Monster. That she had so much freedom by not being constrained by the idea of yes/no/good/bad/right/wrong. That she was free to do anything that she wanted to.
Now, she didn't sound like a "bad" person (the whole idea of qualifying is getting fuzzy to me as I recall the story). I have no doubt that she wouldn't go out and pillage and murder and hurt anyone just because she felt free to do so. She did, in my opinion, sound like a breathy, ditzy bubblehead.
Atheism is the absence of belief in a diety or dieties, or the explicit belief that there are no deities. Agnosticism is the view that the existence, or the manifestation, of a diety or dieties is unknown - not untrue, but not proven.
I don't consider myself an atheist, because I am not convinced that there is no "higher power" that holds it all together. My particular belief is that we are all a part of some greater thing, whatever you want to call it - but that there is no being sitting on a throne up in the clouds, judging and requiring submission and obeyance. I think that we are free to do what we want - but that we learn what is "right" in life because it is, well, "right". Not because we live in fear of being struck down by a thunderbolt or burning in eternal damnation because we didn't do what someone else told us to do.
So, this I believe. There is right and wrong, and good and bad, and it Just Is. You should treat others with respect, and Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You, because it's the right thing to do, and nothing else. Not because of some stone tablets, or an old book, or someone pontificating from a pulpit. You need to know and own that in your own heart and soul.
I'll go back to "Matterpics" and other fluff after this.
UPDATE 3/9/09: BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE!
I just saw this on Joe.My.God - how fitting to exactly my point: