Just so everyone reading my blogs will know the mindset from which I write, I've composed this article:
IT'S OK TO BE AN AGNOSTIC
by Allen C. Dexter
I get all kinds of reactions when I reveal the fact that I am an agnostic. A lot of horrified people think I'm headed straight to that divine Dachau and theological Treblinka they call Hell. They express sorrow and say they'll “pray” for poor me.
Interesting concept of “god.” He's supposedly so thin skinned that if I don't believe in him, he'll get even by making me burn for all eternity. At least, Herbert Armstrong's teaching had him only burning me to ashes, like in the Nazi crematoriums.
If Eichmann was a war criminal, what is their Jehovah?
Often, they will ask me, “What if you're wrong?”
My answer: “What if you're wrong?”
A lot of people have an attitude that reminds me of General Patton. Hedge your bets and take advantage of the possible benefits of any faith, such as when he was in the hospital, in traction and staring death in the face. Any minister or priest who offered last rights or any kind of intercession was welcomed.
Patton didn't get deeply into theology. He just read “the book,” took it somewhat seriously, went on cussing up a blue streak when the occasion called for it with an absolute conviction he'd been here in several other lives (all military, apparently) and would probably be here again. Right or wrong, it gave him a purpose and goal in life. I like him. Whatever might be said about him, he was always genuine.
Some atheists seem to have the attitude that being an agnostic is tantamount to being weak kneed and wishy-washy. They are so convinced of their atheistic approach that it becomes a non-believer's dogma.
I've flirted with outright atheism, largely because I know the Bible and the Christian God is a totally concocted farce. All the myths surrounding the biblical Jesus didn't come into anything close to their present form until the fourth century after the composite Jesus the Western world was tricked into believing in supposedly walked the earth.
That's a period longer than our nation has existed!
Who would want to write a history of the Revolutionary War with no authoritative written records penned by those who were there to use as sources? How accurate and authoritative do you think it could be after three hundred years? All this is made plain in The Forged Origins of the New Testament which is available via the link on this site.
After my experiences with dogmatism under Armstrongism, I resist flopping to the exact opposite side of dogmatism by being dogmatic that there can't possibly be any force or entity that could be called “god.” I frankly doubt that there is, but I'd rather take the approach of science and leave the subject open to inquiry. If such a “god” wants to condemn me for that approach, while he steadfastly refuses to reveal himself in an open and tangible way so there can be no question of authenticity, then I'll just have to accept condemnation.
I'm not at all worried.
Concocted scripture tells me I have no excuse for not believing. I reject that haughty pronouncement out of hand. I will not be talked down to in such a manner. Nobody, past or present, gets to judge me in such an attitude of superiority.
Not any more.
I'm not a deist, but I do respect their thinking a whole lot more than the thinking of religionists.
Deism is a close cousin to agnosticism. I'm just not prepared to state that there really was a god who started it all and then took a hands off policy. It does make a whole lot more sense than belief in an interventionist god who never seems to intervene when he is needed most, such as during the holocaust. Most of the “miracles” I've heard people prate about are several steps down the line hearsay and misinterpretations of totally plausible natural happenstances.
The word “miracle” has really been cheapened, especially by people with a religious bent. My wife chided me once for washing a pattern of dark dirt off our cement block wall because it was in the shape of a cross. She opined we might have been able to make some serious money by drawing the gullible public's attention to it and then charging admission to see it.
She was also chagrined once when she was sure she saw the figure of the Virgin Mary on a tortilla. Before she could make a fortune on E bay, her son came home, loaded it with re-fried beans and ate it.
What really happened at the “big bang?” Was there any kind of intelligence behind it? Some scientists have concluded that the universe arose from thought. Are they right? Or, are they succumbing to the same kind of delusions that drive religions?
I don't know and scientists have only theories and speculation at this point – nothing that can be nailed down to absolute specifics. Quantum Physics presents us with some interesting and puzzling facts and theories. Some of them border on the religious.
Religions insist on having a set god, a set revelation and set dogmas. These all originated in human minds, and some of those minds were definitely deranged. The present world is filled with the same kind of people who are absolutely certain that they are one of the “two witnesses,” a reincarnation of Jesus, a prophet or apostle, etc.
As in the past, all such deluded, unbalanced or power mad individuals hark back to the use of fear to keep any adherents they might garner in line. Their first goal is to stop the poor sucker from thinking anything contrary to what they set forth as “the truth.” If it is said to come from whatever “revelation” they champion, it is absolute truth and to reject that “truth” is the same as rejecting god because it came, they staunchly maintain, from that god.
That god, being very sensitive, can't brook any such rejection and reacts by condemning the offending ingrate to either total destruction or an eternity of unimaginable suffering. In the meantime, the hapless individual is assured he will be cursed in all daily affairs and relationships. If he or she is really convinced, they become paralyzed mentally, maybe even physically.
Sound familiar? If you were caught up in Armstrongism, it should.
So, after long and careful analysis, I've concluded that I can't be absolutely sure about a great many things because there are a lot of things I don't and cannot know. That makes me an agnostic, which simply means “don't know for sure.”
I suspect the atheists are right. I have no empirical evidence that they are not. Nor have they been able to present totally irrefutable proof that they are. It's a big can't know for absolutely sure situation right now.
What I do know for sure is that none of the religions, their revelations and their gods currently extant on this earth make sense when examined critically and logically. Therefore, I now believe and follow none of them.
I'm an agnostic. That's an OK position to be in.