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Theistic Agnosticism

Updated on April 15, 2018
When I got baptized into the Mormon church (I left about 6 months later.)
When I got baptized into the Mormon church (I left about 6 months later.)

Atheism requires a lack of belief; religion requires belief. Black and white. I decide to be in the gray area of uncertainty, openness, and discovering.

By definition, theistic agnosticism is "the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of a god or God, but regards the basis of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable."
Many may see this as "copping out of religion". Or just simply having a lack of knowledge. Seems, by definition, agnosticism literally means "without knowledge". Though to me, it isn't a lack of understanding, it's a humble understanding and acceptance of the unknown. I used to think that agnostics simply "didn't want to look into religion." Or perhaps they came off as unstable, unable to make up their minds. But in reality, that is not how it is or how it works.
Personally, I have been a part of three religions, including Hinduism and Mormonism. I have firmly believed many things, but through losing faith, felt a pain I decided to give up. There is a term known as a "faith crisis." This defines a moment in one's life where strong held faith becomes doubted and unsure. From this arises fear, uncertainty, and even a questioning of one's own reason to live.

There is a stigma in most religions that you must "know" and be completely sure of your faith or else you aren't a true believer, and that puts a lot of pressure on people and can fill their minds with doubt. You can be unsure and still be a Christian/Muslim/Hindu/etc. However, there is no mercy for doubt in religion. Members attribute this to "not being good enough," or simply Satan himself. I, too, left no room for doubt. If I doubted, I put myself through so much unnecessary suffering. I would cry to God every night and ask for answers and feel like I'd never receive them because "clearly I was doing something wrong." I truly did feel like a piece of scum that He would never respond to. And that is the furthest from the truth. I firmly believe God was always with me and has always guided me, and that He has even guided me to this conclusion today. It is a conclusion that honors my freedom, joy, and sanity.

Atheism requires a lack of belief; religion requires belief. Black and white. I decide to be in the gray area of uncertainty, openness, and discovering.

There is a large, beautiful, spacious mansion on a hill top covered by forest and spring flowers. Near impossible to see from beneath the hill. Some care to walk up the hill, having faith the mansion exists, their curiosity sparks and they wish to find answers. Others do not bother to inquire the unknown. Those who do approach it gasp in wonder, unsure where to even begin. Some, realizing the door is locked, turn around and lose interest. Others, try to find windows to get a glimpse of the inside of this mansion. If the outside is this alluring, how much greater must the inside be? So they walk around, trying to find a window to peak into. They then notice that every window seems to be cloudy, dirty, or fogged up. A few of the windows are clear enough to see into. One window shows a barely visible view of the garage. The other, the kitchen. A few bedrooms are available to see slightly, and the living room is generally visible. Seeing different rooms of the mansion, the individuals argue on what the inside actually looks like.
"It has brown furniture!" One argues.
"No, the furniture is grey!"
"There is no furniture!"
And the argument continues. No one willing to look into each other's windows due to pride. Pride stops them from discovering as much as they possibly can about this mansion, and fear stops them from knocking on the door. Fear of being incorrect, fear of being faced with something bigger than themselves. They've heard many stories of this mansion. Once you see, you can't unsee. Once you hear you can't unhear. Once you know, you can not unknow. Not one on earth has step foot in this mansion. Though they inquire from the outside, those who inquire deeply, those who knock consistently will be let in.
When it comes down to it, none of these people are blatantly wrong. They all are simply using their limited observation to make conclusions about a mansion that is uncomprehendable from the outside. Yes, the furniture is brown, but the furniture is also grey. It is also majestically white with unimaginable jewels, gold, and precious stones. Every angle shows a different side of this mansion, and as correct as one view may be, there is a bigger picture that remains unseen. Even finding the clearest window one can find, one still must humbly understand they can not know it all until they are inside.

GOD IS THE MANSION


God is this mansion. The path up the hill is the inquiry into religion. Many do not take this path. Many happily stay away from the pastures of the mansion, because as far as they are aware, they can not see it, it does not exist. Why waste their time? But those who faithfully walk up the hill will find that it does, in fact, exist. Many seekers find God in religion, no matter which religion they choose to follow. Once they establish faith in God (the mansion), they then inquire about Him. They look into these religions (the windows), finding some to be clearer than others. Once they find one that is clearest for them to see through, they decide it defines the mansion. They begin to speak as if they know the mansion fully. All based on a limited view through one small fogged up window. When in contact with other believers, they argue they are wrong because their view is different than theirs. One room may look different than the other, it doesn't make it incorrect. For example, Christianity is just a view in one room of God's mansion. There are some fundamental truths in it, but the things that are off are simply due to a misunderstanding, a misinterpretation of what is seen through a dirty window. This is true for all religions and spiritual thoughts. The only way to go beyond this is by humbly understanding the reality that God is the entirety of the mansion, and inquiring to know as much of it as possible. Searching in every window, knocking on every door, inquiring often so that you can learn as much as possible from God. When someone is humbly willing, He is graciously giving.

A Theistic Agnostic stance, to me, is recognizing this and therefore seeing the bigger picture. Seeing God as a larger whole to many small passageways. An atheist stance is in a sense, also, claiming knowledge. I don't think I could ever not doubt, as a very skeptical person. As a religious person, my skeptical bell was constantly going off, and if I were an atheist, I would be way too bored of the simplicity.

The biggest issue with atheism is the assumption of knowing for sure there is nothing more. It almost takes more faith to believe in nothing than it does to believe in something. There is a higher chance of more than there is of less. It doesn't have to start with God. Think of the vastness of our universe. Scientists don't yet know what is beyond the observable universe, which even the observable universe is estimated to be a sphere of about 92 billion light years. Consider that beyond our galaxy and beyond scientists ability to look, all the vastness we don't even know of that is out there, is it probable to believe that in all of that space there is literally one planet with life on it? If one can consider that there is life on other planets, more out there, the possiblity of living beings out there that are smarter than us sparks up within and that opens the door to the idea of gods/angels/etc. When people speak of "aliens", is it that far off to call them "gods?" If there is a being out there that perhaps lives longer than us, is more advanced than us, lives on a different planet, isn't that the very definition of a god in many cultures? In Hinduism, for example, there are said to be many planets or planes of existence where demigods dwell and live for thousands of years. If there is some planet out there that contains life that survives longer, has higher intelligence and abilities beyond our comprehension, are they any less than gods to us? Considering this can open the mind up to the possibility of a being that was before all others; an Original that sparked life into all we know today and beyond what we will ever know.

Now after that spiel of belief in a higher power, I don't conclude with "so that proves Jesus is the Savior." Or, "And all this complexity is in the Quran..."
There is no need for that. That is simply based on a limited perspective. It doesn't mean it is entirely wrong; just not a humble view of the bigger picture. We can't know if God is even real, we can simply assume based on all these things, so how can we say we know exactly who He/She is and what They want? We can't know, and even if we think we do, I'm sure there is, somewhere within, room for doubt. This is where Theistic Agnosticism comes in.

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    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 months ago from Michigan, USA

      With all due respect, Shauna, I believe you've misjudged what "atheism" actually is. It's simply the lack of theistic belief (a (without) - theism). While some individual atheists may claim to "know" gods don't exist, atheism -- by definition -- doesn't make any claims to knowledge, only belief (albeit lack of belief).

      I applaud you for your agnostic approach to theism (though it seems from your hub that you're pretty certain that some god exists). Yet, I suspect if you actually ASK atheists, you'll find that most of them consider themselves agnostic atheists.

      While there are certainly exceptions to every group, I've found atheists to be among the most open-minded people around. Indeed, a great many of them are former believers. They became atheists BECAUSE it was their open-mindedness that drove them to more critically and objectively examine what they believed. And it's that same open-mindedness that makes them open to compelling evidence for the existence of gods (if any is ever presented).

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