Is agnosticism real?

There’s times when words will enter my mind and then buzz around and sting my thoughts throughout the day. What’s strange to me is that when those certain words come around, they do so through distinct and unconnected channels.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a buddy of mine about the movie, “Heaven is for Real.” He asked if I liked it, to which I replied, “Actually, I did; I found it better than the book.”

His brow furrowed and his head jerked backwards and even shook a bit. “You liked it?” he said through a confusion-laced tone of voice.

“Yeah, I thought it was well done.”

“Oh,” he said as though his world’s order was restored. “You liked it as a movie. Got it.”

There’s no doubt that the move is a religious one, but I did in fact like the story and I dug the presentation of Heaven. I had become confused. “What the hell are you getting at?”

“You’re agnostic. I didn’t think you’d like that movie at all.” He was as certain as a child discussing the color of the sky: To him, I was “agnostic” and wouldn’t care for a movie that was religious in nature.

That was the first time the word, “agnostic” got into my head.

The word has since made many more appearances, but yesterday’s was the most interesting. I was discussing technology planning and my approach to it with a much smarter colleague and he said, “You’re exactly right because you’re technologically agnostic…”

I interrupted him and said, “What do you mean?”

“Your method is agnostic, that is, neutral to one technology platform or another.”

We completed out conversation, but that I’m thought of as “agnostic” in different contexts was stinging my thoughts. I looked up agnostic in Webster’s and it said, “holding the belief that ultimate reality (as in God) is unknown and unknowable.” Form my perspective, I didn’t fit that definition, as God is all around all of us every day making Himself clearly known. I then looked it up on dictionary.com and there were several other definitions that all basically meant, holding neither of opposing views. I’m pretty sure that what both meant because I neither take a hard stance about religion and its role in life nor do am I a proponent of technology for its own sake.

However, I don’t think anyone is agnostic about anything. I am certain of the opposite: Most believe that what they hold to be true is infallible, whether in terms of God or anything else. That certainty is the root cause of most people’s problems. It’s not that I am agnostic, it’s that I recognize that everyone’s perspective is true to themselves. I will argue my own positions until my face almost looks like a grape about to burst, as will most people.

All I ask of anyone is that they understand their version of truth and that that know of its pros and cons. If a person’s (or organization’s) life view seems to provide positive outcomes, then he or she should persist that view. If not, perhaps the life view should be adjusted until it does provide positive outcome.

I’m neither agnostic or neutral about anything. If and when I’m asked to make positive changes with people or organizations, I do so with all that know and believe. I am also certain, therefore, that most who don’t like what I know and believe will do all they can do silence or remove me. But, that’s fine with me. I’d rather live by what I know than bend to the ridiculous and inept who live their lives in opinions that bend based upon political or some other external will. Truth is known and knowable: We just tend to choose not to see it.

  1. Yes, agnosticism is real. But it is also distressingly rare. It’s much easier to slip into a side in any debate or issue and forget the limits of our own knowledge; this is particularly true when people try to draw us out, or raise our ire. The atheist has it easy when he dismisses believers as fools; the theist has it easy when he doesn’t trouble himself about the rantings of heretics and unbelievers. Agnostics are naked, vulnerable to the vast array of possibilities and to the incomprehensible cosmos which surrounds us. We may end up in hell; or freezing to death when the sun we take for granted doesn’t rise tomorrow; or forced to admit that everything we thought was probably true is actually totally wrong. I think it takes a lot of courage, and a sense of curiosity and wonder that bubbles up from somewhere deep inside of a person to keep agnosticism alive.