On Being Agnostic

March 24, 2009 · 8 comments

I am agnosticAn agnostic?  Whatever.  I’m open-minded about…well, everything.  Technically, this makes me a fence-sitter:  I neither believe nor disbelieve in “god”.

Agnosticism basically says that there’s no way to objectively “prove” the existence or nonexistence of a deity (or deities).  This is not athiesm, which argues that there is no god.  Nor is it any kind of theism, which would argue for the existence of a supreme being or beings or ultimate intelligence or whatever.

Agnosticism is the total middle-ground; it can be interpreted as that razor-line between belief and “disbelief”.

I think both sides of the argument are too, well, one-sided.  Neither takes into account the possibility that the other might be right.  And I can’t get with that.  I generally try to stay open to the idea that I might be wrong – about pretty much anything and everything.

So I suppose that in the case of my agnosticism, it could be argued that I’m definitely wrong – god either is, or isn’t, right?  Ponder that for a bit, then ponder this:

I don’t care.

Good for you if you have faith in the divine.  I hope it keeps you warm at night: that’s what it’s supposed to do.  If anything, I’d prefer to be on your team.  However, there’s just something about blind faith that doesn’t appeal to me.  Maybe it’s because I tend to be an extremist, and the extreme end of faith is just too anti-pragmatic for me (it just about borders on determinism).  Consider these:

  1. God is omniscient.
  2. God is omnipotent.
  3. God is omnibenevolent.
  4. Evil exists.

Let’s say you’re some sort of theist, and you agree that all 4 postulates are true.  There’s a contradiction here:  if god is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good, then how can evil exist?  This mostly turns on the omnipotence and omnibenevolence aspects:  why would a being completely capable of eradicating evil allow something non-good to exist?  Because without evil, we wouldn’t know what good is?  You need the dark to know the light?

Hell if I know.  I took these from my freshman year Philosophy of Religion class (it was probably a 200-level class).  Makes sense, no?  Or rather, it doesn’t make logical sense.

I’m not really all that worried about it.

And good for you if you’re an athiest: you live in “the real world”.  No ultimate judgment, no consequences in the “hereafter”.  You consider yourself a true pragmatist.

I don’t.

I think you’re probably more closed-minded than the theists.  Athiests close their minds to too many possibilities for me.  And don’t try to get argumentative with me and talk about the Tao or energy flow (prana/chi/whatever).  All of those are just the first steps in that slick slope to some sort of theism.  To get away from it, you have to dig your heels in and screw your face up like a little kid who doesn’t want to take his/her medicine.  At the end, it’s either tautologies all the way down, or you just say “NO!” a little too adamantly to be believed (sorry, emotion doesn’t work in logic exercises).  Spend some time with your therapist and work out your catholic schooling issues.  Most of the athiests I’ve met say they “don’t believe in god” because they want to be contrarian.  Go ahead, be contrarian. 

I don’t care.

Athiesm’s a cold place to be when you’re sick, hurt, dying, or in real real-life trouble.

Agnosticism’s a cold place all the time, but at least it’s consistent.  After a while, I really don’t feel the cold anymore:  like an autumn day when the sun is shining.  If I stand still, the sun warms me, despite the chill in the air.  It can be rough when the wind’s blowing, but that’s why I try to dress appropriately.  I feel safe in being non-committal.

“To each, his own.”

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