I said in a previous post that my life is getting really busy this year with some big changes with my job. I don’t have a lot of time to post new content but definitely want to keep this site up as a resource. I’ll only have the occasional moment and burning desire to say something about agnosticism. I recently had two requests to connect with other sites that give me a small burst of desire to write.
Agnosticism Done Right
I can recommend everyone check out The Black Agnostic. I’ve looked over the articles and that site gets agnosticism right in my humble opinion. The author questions religious beliefs around us without resorting to simple dismissive approaches I often see attached to atheism. Sometimes I think strong atheism is easier. It might be easier to speak of absolute disbelief in theism as a knowledge-based answer. You could easily harden your mind against the mysteries of the universe with strong atheism.
The focus of The Black Agnostic is on what we know and what actually rises to the standards of human knowledge. It does speak of Christianity but the voice is one of an outsider with a critical eye towards Christian claims. If you want more frequent posts about agnosticism then you could watch that site.
Agnosticism Not Done As Well
I also received a request to share blog posts from Jess Hubbard’s Blog. She’s a Christian actively questioning her faith. In posts like ‘Mere’ Christianity and Are You There God? It’s Me, Jessica, she’s obviously focused on Christianity as her religion of choice and doesn’t talk about any other religions. She still clings to the Christian god with her questioning mind. Being an agnostic Christian has as much to do with the agnostic noun as being a left-handed Christian has to do with human handedness. The core of her thoughts remain in the Christian vein. Using agnostic as an adjective doesn’t meaningfully change her Christian beliefs so she may as well continue calling herself a Christian as long as she sees some validity in the belief system.
I use some Christian examples myself because of my own past with that religion but I also try to focus on religious beliefs as a whole. If there was a god, then I’m certain it wouldn’t be anything like the Christian god imagined by our ancestors and I can’t say that such a thing continues to exist or has any care for us as beings in this universe. I’ve moved well beyond the Christian “God” of my ancestors and use my agnosticism to question the entire gods concept as something obviously beyond human understanding and description. I don’t know where this universe came from and just understand the first origin of this universe is the greatest mystery. I don’t even know that this is the only universe that exists and if it isn’t something that was created in a larger natural existence. “Vell, Jeff’s just zis guy, you know?” – paraphrased from HHGTTG describing Zaphod.
Jessica’s focus is on how Christianity is done wrong and not how religions as a whole aren’t based on knowledge. She believes Jesus lived and was the “most enlightened person” even though Jesus supposedly killed a fig tree for not bearing fruit when it wasn’t the season for figs. There are many other problems with the Jesus stories but that one was the first seed of my doubts that woke me up from the fog of human defined religions.
Jessica simply calls herself an agnostic in the post Signs but then speaks of knowing she’s living the right way because of various signs from the universe. She quotes a friend as saying “all God requires…” well, I won’t bother going on with that quote because I’m sure her friend has no clue what a creator of the universe might actually require. We each experience the universe and what we see as signs are tainted by own perceptions. It’s like when we buy a car and then start noticing all of the other people that share in that same car. Our perception is filled with filters created by our minds.
Everything in the universe is connected by many forces we understand with physics and many other forces we may never fully understand or know. We’re made of stardust and every bit of us will return in some form back to the universe when we die. When you stop and listen to the universe around you then you can pick out the car you own all around you or notice any other thing you’re naturally recognize in the vast noise of existence. You can spot a smiling face in the clouds if you’re looking for a friendly face to smile down on you. Seeing very specific signs in the universe comes from your filtered perception and projecting your own meaning to what’s around. I highly doubt the universe specifically sends us personalized messages. These signs are most likely echos of our own thoughts and desires and that’s a pretty good reason to pay attention to them since they’re actually signs from ourselves.
My advice to Jessica and anyone else struggling to reconcile religious beliefs with reality is to focus first and foremost on reality. It will help you recalculate your filters and biases to live with knowledge instead of blind faith. It will help you exist as a honest being in this universe instead of shrouding your existence with unlikely fantasies about how and why we exist. Quit worrying about what the first cause of existence may think about your one little life (if such a thing existed and could think) and just make the most of the short time you have to live as a human.