Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Agnostic lament

Agnostic : a person who does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not

By this definition, I'm an agnostic. As I see it, agnosticism is a recognition that Truth is forever beyond human comprehension. To believe otherwise is vanity --vanity and ignorance --whether it is the condemning piety of the faith-blind devotee or the scoffing cynicism of the jaded atheist.

I've discussed theology with persons from each of those groups --Believers and non-believers --and I've found that, apart from their fundamental disagreement about the existence of a "God," they share a dead-sure certainty.

Atheists discount scripture in favor of "science" or the "rational mind." That seems arrogant.  Scriptures are the collected wisdom of thousands of years of human contemplation. To mock the Upanishads or the Koran or the Bible is to ridicule our forefathers, our ancestors, ourselves.

Worse than the atheists, though, are the insufferably arrogant (and utterly misguided) religious zealots. The people who deny well-established phenomena (evolution, climate change, et alia) because such observations don't fit the simple reality they've derived from their shallow interpretation of scriptures. People like that deserve ridicule and scorn. When minds are that tightly shut, people become capable of all kinds of atrocities.

I'm all for ridiculing faith-healers, snake-charmers, and Tongues-speaking charlatans.  But not scriptures. The beauty and truth in scripture has outlasted the petty schemes of people like that for thousands of years. Atheists fall victim to the charlatans by allowing them to claim scripture as their own.

Consider these outtakes from various holy writings:
  • To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven --Ecclesiastes 3
  • A kind word and forgiveness is better than a charitable deed followed by hurtful words: God is self-sufficient and forbearing. --Quran
  • Just as, my dear, by one clod of clay all that is made of clay is known, the modification being only a name, arising from speech, while the truth is that all is clay --Chandogya Upanishad 6:1:2-6
Believer or non-believer, we can all recognize truth in these verses, no?

1 comment:

UnitFour said...

You are using a unique definition of Agnosticism in which you conflate "Truth" for "God". Accepted definitions of "God" (such as Merriam-Webster and the Oxford Dictionary of English) hold that "God" is a divine being or spirit which has a measure of control or rule over the happenings of the universe. "Truth" is something different. It is possible for one to admit incomplete understanding of the universe without implying the existence of "God." Agnostics state that they don't know if there is a "God" or not; Atheists don't believe that "God" (i.e. a divine spirit ruling the universe) exists, or that the existence of a "God" makes any sense.