“The Beauty of Agnosticism”

Photo on 3-21-13 at 9.45 AM #3“For the agnostic, the inability to know is a core component of his view on the world. He is confident that he is unable to know the mysteries of the supernatural realm — there is a humility that undergirds this belief.” -Desmond Smith (full article here)

Yep, I’m going to talk about the naughty “A” word. I’m pretty sure this is a four-letter swear word that is right above “atheist” as most hated/feared word in the christian world. I can hear it now… how do agnostics look around and not just KNOW there is a god?

I’m pretty sure you haven’t ever heard an agnostic say there is no god. Atheist… on the other hand you have. But the basis of agnosticism is ability to live in the world of uncertainty, the world of the mysterious, and be confident in our “unknowing.” That doesn’t mean an agnostic doesn’t believe in anything, or that they are not aware of the world around them, and most importantly that they have no moral compass. It is, as Desmond says… a humility that one wears that says to the world, I do not know.

I absolutely love this article. So much so, I am jealous I didn’t write it. 🙂 This guys says a lot of things better than I could. Especially since I’m still trying to define my thoughts around this subject. But in one paragraph he talks about faith, any faith/religion, as ultimately about what happens to us and the people we love when we die. And Desmond writes, “questions of eternity are heady. The issue is that they’re too massive for us to ever really know. In a world where we acknowledge the unknowableness of God, life becomes less about seeking an ultimately unknowable truth and more about doing right.” YAY! Someone else is saying the same thing as me. Life, my life, is about doing right. And damn is that hard. I don’t have enough energy to be the score keeper or judge of the rightness or wrongness or others attempts at doing life. Ultimately all I am responsible for is my own deeds, my doing right. And the rest isn’t up to me.

The end of life is something that I morbidly think about. I wish I knew what was on the other side. To think about my sister/best friend, brother/best friend, siblings, parents, nieces and nephews, friends… any of them going before me makes me physically ill. I don’t know how to do life without them. I don’t know what it will be like for them. And making that journey myself, well I want it to be than I end up with the ones I love. But no one has been to the other side and truly come back. Maybe people died for a minute or five, had some sort of experience and come back. But I want someone to be dead for 10 years, and come back and tell me what it’s like. Of course that isn’t possible. So death is a journey we make alone. But death isn’t here today. I am here. My life is happening. And while religion is great, all I really have is doing right, doing good, doing my best. Being the essence of what is human and good. Admitting when I don’t know, or when I have not done good, and then doing right again tomorrow.

Growing up as I did, with life and humanity being something to hate, I’ve desperately been trying to do the second half of my life better. To love life. To embrace my humanity. To find the BEAUTY in not knowing. Sure I got my theories, sure I have those elements of faith I cling to, but I really do not know. And I am learning to be okay with the things I do not know. Am I an agnostic… hmmm, good question. I don’t know!


One thought on ““The Beauty of Agnosticism”

  1. This is where I almost am. I don’t want to be there, but I cannot pretend that these questions don’t swirl around my head almost everyday. There are many questions.

    I don’t read the Bible. I still likes some chapters and versus. I just can’t read other parts of it without going into a tailspin of doubt and depair. This has happened at least twice in my life.

    I was raised a nominal Catholic, so that was just more of a routine than any kind of religious experience.

    Later on in my teens, I became a born-again Christian. I did OK, until I read (or heard) about Abraham taking his son up the mountain to sacrifice him. I backslid, well maybe more of a stepping back. I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

    Then about 8-9 years later, I rededicated my life to Christ. I did well for about 15-16 years. I guess I either didn’t read some parts of the Bible, or I didn’t pay attention- I don’t know. However, at some point about 2 years ago, some passages struck me like a ton of bricks. I still can’t make the pieces fit in my mind. I have thought about talking to my pastor, but I already know what answers to expect. I don’t think he will have anything to offer to make it make sense.

    So, I say I am a Christian and sometimes I still think I am. I really can’t fathom speaking the words out loud that I am not. I don’t feel as if I am NOT a Christian. I just feel that I am a lost, confused, questioning, bewildered Christian. I hang on by a thread. Mostly I just try not to think about it.

    I have just recently stopped tithing. I fell OK about it and then I feel guilty about it. I sometimes feel that something is going to fall down all around me because of this.

    Anyway, you are not alone.

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