Agnosticism, a call to intellectual honesty

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Agnosticism is a call to intellectual honesty. I was of the impression that agnostics were atheists. I now appreciate the difference between these two words. An agnostic believes that it is wrong to claim something as truth if you cannot prove it by providing evidence that logically justifies it. While an atheist does not believe in God, an agnostic believes that it is not possible to prove or disprove the existence of God. I like agnostics. I believe that to be an agnostic is more honest than being what the majority of people who call themselves Christians are.

I am a Christian because I believe that a strong case exists for the fact that the Bible is the word of God as also for the fact that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. I have looked into that matter enough to be satisfied. Having done that, I would stake everything, even my life and my family and everything that I own, if need be, for this fact. When the stakes are that high for a person, it would be foolish to be dishonest; it would be foolish to be careless; it would be foolish to be foolish.

Most so-called Christians are what they are because of their upbringing, for the same reason that Muslims are Muslims or Hindus are Hindus. Usually they are what they are because they have not bothered to look at religion objectively.

Moreover, religion, whichever one it is, by its collections of wise sayings, demands, practices, rules, and traditions, offers some structure and comfort in an unpredictable and chaotic world. Tradition gives you a path to walk by in the labyrinth of life, and having no one returned to us from the grave, people have no inkling about the soundness of the path that has been marked out and handed down to them.

In India, people generally like to justify their beliefs by the fact that they have followed after their elders. Elders are in some inexplicable way supposed to be infallible. When people become elders themselves, their children look up to them, while they themselves may either be too senile to realise that they are not that wise after all, or having no better path to offer, keep silent. Thus it is that this package of religion and tradition becomes a crutch for weak people, unthinking people, and dishonest people.

Zeroing in on Christendom, it is like logs in a fireplace that has been largely untended for hours. There is a semblance of warmth but the fire does not rage. Perhaps, it can if it is stoked and the millions using it as a crutch are dislodged from their positions of comfort. This stoking has happened in the past by way of wide-spread movements of reformation, restoration, and revival where people have applied their mind and heart to what they believed and have bravely corrected their positions. But these movements have been rare and far between. We have a promise that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the true church of God, and so we know that the fire is alive although its warmth can hardly be felt.

What is happening is something more subtle and largely invisible, the revival in the hearts of individuals and little groups and churches across the world. Little groups are stoked into life when honesty and right thinking play a role. I believe that this is man’s role in the matter and that God provides the impetus.

But most of Christendom is dead and cold. The appearance of warmth is more likely orange, yellow, and red streamers of fanciful ideas and theories introduced by people in greed for gain, wolves, who are promoted and aided by gullible people, sheep, who have not been grounded in the scriptures enough to recognise spiritual hogwash. Undiscerning men and women who are, in the words of Lord Tennyson, no better than sheep or goats that nourish a blind life within the brain.

The soul that comes close to this ‘fire’ in search of warmth is either disappointed and disgusted by hard cold hopelessness or deluded into comfortable and stupid blindness.

To become an agnostic may be the first step out of this hopelessness. A friend of mine and an agnostic described his path to agnosticism as exhilarating. Mind you, the agnostic has no concrete hope, and they know of nothing beyond the grave. But this is their honest position, and there is always joy and freedom in honesty and knowledge. As far as their knowledge is concerned, as the very word ‘agnostic’ suggests, they know that they do not know. This is rock-bottom honesty. However, if agnostics could genuinely be convinced about God and the Bible and eternal hope in Jesus, they would jump to it. This hope would then no more be the illusionary crutch that Christianity is for millions in Christendom.

2 Tim 1:12 . . . nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”

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