Musings of an Agnostic

Agnosticism is the detachment of commitment from any spiritual beliefs due to uncertainty. It is not always a choice.

The switch to agnosticism was quite extreme for me. When I was a child, our family life was centered around the Pentecostal church we attended. As a very young and devout Christian, I wore my faith like a badge of honor and was a nuisance.

According to our interpretation of the Bible, it was my responsibility as a disciple to tell others about Jesus, salvation and the rapture. So, I often “witnessed” to my teachers at my elementary school. One of the teachers, to whom I explained the way of salvation, told me she was an agnostic. At that point, I did not know what this meant and so, I asked her.

She answered by saying it meant she did not have to listen to my spiel about Jesus. Being an agnostic was her ticket to ignorance and hell, if that were the case. She added that she would happily go to hell rather than listen to my “preaching” anyway. It was a rather harsh thing to say to a child but looking back now, as an adult, I get her point. Little did I know, I would eventually become an agnostic myself who would quickly lose patience with proselytizers of any kind.

So, why did I become an agnostic?

My "conversion" to agnosticism was a result of a combination of factors. First, it was an overdose of dogma. Then, it was an after-effect of too much fire and brimstone preaching. And, finally, there was the early exposure to too much hypocrisy - causing enough confusion to last a lifetime. The threat of eternal punishment for not believing becomes weak if over-used and will eventually lose its meaning - as it did with me.

Looking back, I think I was introduced to this Pentecostal religion too early in my life. It was not my choice either and, in fact, was shoved down my throat so forcefully that I was bound to spit it out again. It is also possible that because I was young, I learned from the behaviors of the people around me and saw huge gaps between what they professed and how they lived. For a child, that leaves a lasting impression. Children pay more attention to what they observe than what they hear.

The specific factor or factors which led me to abandon my faith did not matter. In the end, it came down to the reality that the ritual and facade of religion no longer held any meaning for me. Moreover, I did not want to be one of those who I had grown to despise – a hypocrite. So, the option to continue pretending to be a follower did not seem to be a sound choice.

Once agnosticism sets in, unless something changes dramatically, it is difficult to honestly claim anything else. The practice of any religion is founded on faith. But, when that faith disappears, it can be replaced by uncertainty regarding the invisible world - along with doubts as to whether God even exists. It is a hard sell to restore that belief. It just seems safer to say "I don't know".

Unknowing is the heart of agnosticism. What I am definitely not is an atheist. I am equally unwilling to affirm God’s non-existence as much as I am to confirm the way in which God does exist. I agree with the possibility of a supreme being's existence. Once I lost my sense of spirituality and that essence, I also began to recognize my human limitations in understanding what form that existence might take. To date, there has been very little on earth, no religion that I have encountered or studied that has made me feel that a supreme being does exist in the way that had been explained to me. The exception is possibly in the Native American concept of the Great Spirit and Animism.

I do, however, believe in the power of the mind and human spirit to create what is needed to support life. We, humans, are amazing creatures. We are physical, we are spiritual, magical, and we possess amazing power, most of which is either not tapped into or which gets attributed to outside forces. I believe that our true capabilities and potential as spiritual beings are not fully understood.

It seems that it is the human need to resolve uncertainties by putting the world in a box and say “this is how this works” - including the spiritual realm.

But, I don’t believe that we have enough information to know where we have come from and where we are going and what else is out there in the cosmos. It is a matter of either having faith in the theories or learning to live with the uncertainties. It seems the best thing to do is to take life one day at a time and to live the best we can. Just because we don’t know does not render us unaccountable for our actions or free from morals. In fact, not knowing makes it even more important to live responsibly, ethically and compassionately because there may be some surprises in the afterlife.

More by this Author


Comments 6 comments

mikeq107 5 years ago

LD :0)

Last sataurday Cynthia and I went to a Memorial service for a guy that died at her at her work.

At First we thought he Was A JW and then as I studdied the memorial Pamplet I realized we were going to a COIG Temple..( Pentacostal).

Funny I knew Just want to expect and I was not disapointed..while all the hipe-ed up preaching was going on I truly expected the Blues brothers to come bouncing in...I have to say my heart went out to the grieving widow...and I thought to myself what ever works....but if I was to treat my realtionship with Cynthia the way they treat each other I would have a very dead and leagistic marriage...devoide of all passion, romance and new life....

A few days later I meet you through your writing, Im truly sorry you had to go through this and I really pray that you find true peace and compassion in your life as you Heal from a leagalistic start in life....

Great Hub...Your fan and friend!

Mike :0)


Leafy Den profile image

Leafy Den 5 years ago from the heart Author

Hi Mike,

Thank you for your comments and so sorry to hear about the guy who died at Cynthia's work. I have come to conclusion that people have the right to believe what they wish - as long as they truly believe it and are not just paying lip service to win points or sacrificing their souls for something which they think they have no other choice. That's funny though about expecting the Blues brothers to come bouncing in!

Funny thing is, Mike, I finally have peace (see my last installment of "The Box of Just How Things Are": http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Box-of-Just-How-Things Part 4) and I feel that I am a compassionate person because of my experience. There is still always room for healing as it is an ongoing process but I hope my writing will help others, maybe those in the same position to gain some courage to be true to themselves and to the God that resides in their heart - whatever form that takes - especially if different than the one that has been "preached" at them.


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA

Many people cannot abide an unanswered question or a mystery unexplained. These people would rather follow a baseless belief system than live in wonder. Admitting that you just don't know is the first step in learning the truth.

Following the Golden Rule should grant one entry into any afterlife worth dying for!

CP


Leafy Den profile image

Leafy Den 5 years ago from the heart Author

Hi Christopher, sorry for the delay in responding to your comment. I totally agree with you! And, what sad people who believed this character Harold Camping who said the rapture was going to happen yesterday! They had a definitive answer but it was so very wrong and so wrong of Camping to perpetuate this misguidance. A lot of people lost so much including their selling their homes and quitting their jobs - but the psychological damage from this for those who believed will run deep and long lasting. There is a lot to be said for questioning the source!


jalapenarno 4 years ago

I read your writings and just cry. It's as if we are the same person, you are writing my life.....all the way to the sitting in the dark, bar with the drink contemplating the great escape, wherever that might be, just to stop feeling the judgement of family and friends because we chose not to be "Religious" any longer, or conform to what they have taught us our whole lives was the "Truth". I think I am on the road to recovery & know who I am only to make 3 steps forward & 2 steps back. Thank you for your writings, I wish I could express how much they have been an almost exact replica of my own life & I see there is hope of a future of some sort of happiness even if not within the same religion as my family. I would love to read more of The-Box-of-How-Things-Just-Are.


Leafy Den profile image

Leafy Den 4 years ago from the heart Author

Jalapenarno, it is for people like you that I decided to write "The Box of Just How Things Are". Of course, it is also because of my own experience. The writing itself is cathartic and helps me put my thoughts about what happened in my life into order. If I kept this story tucked away in a journal somewhere, I would never know about others who had a similar experience and those others like yourself would not know about me. It is very, very hard to isolate those aspects of yourself from those which were forced on you - but so important to do so. Learning to trust yourself is an important step forward. Thank you so much for your candid and touching comments and sharing how my story affected you. The quieting of the mind, silencing all of those voices of the past is integral to the path toward happiness, I believe. I find that meditation really helps to hush that inner judge who is always telling us we are wrong, going to hell, etc. Once that inner judge from the past is silenced, it's like you then have the freedom to explore who you are in a much more authentic way. You may find that the religion was right for you after all or maybe it wasn't. But, it needs to be your choice and for you to be assured that your beliefs are your own and not forced on you by someone else. A lot of my family members still treat me quite badly because I have "strayed" from the flock in their opinion. But, I cannot live a lie. I respect their beliefs but they cannot respect mine since, in their view, everything is black or white. I think life is far too complex and dynamic for black or white explanations of things - except where it comes to harming others. Exercise compassion, do not harm others, try your best to live in peace. We can only try our best!

I send you love and best wishes for restoration of your soul and may you find that happiness you seek. Take care!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working