Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Am I an Agnostic?

Am I an agnostic? Maybe I am and maybe I’m not.

Over the last few years, I’ve examined every element of my faith and I no longer have that rock solid, don’t-confuse-me-with-the-facts conviction that our Sunday school teachers told us we should have.

I really want to believe in mystical things. Sometimes I do. I love the thought of angels. I long for the presence of the Holy Spirit. But if they’re there, I haven’t seen them, or felt them. I wanted to believe they were there. I tried to talk myself into thinking I had experienced them.

I think about how disciples down through history would deny themselves food and wander in the desert, then speak of the visions they’d received. Well of course they saw things that weren’t there. Go without food or sleep and you’re going to have hallucinations—there’s nothing magical about that.

I don’t view scriptures like I was taught—inerrant scribbling by people who took dictation from a God who whispered into their ear. I still study them and teach about them. I see their literary and cultural value. In fact, I love them more than when I viewed them superstitiously.

Please don’t tell me that God is so big that I can’t see him. If God is that powerful and wants to communicate himself to us, then he could find a way. Also, I’m tired of analogies and metaphors—they don’t prove anything.

Don’t tell me to have faith. I show my faith in my service. I show it in my prayers to a God who does not answer back. I show it by listening constantly for the smallest voice. And I haven’t stopped

What keeps me going? There is this aching need that has never been filled. The vacancy is a kind of witness, isn’t it?

The Bible promises fullness, companionship, a slaking of my spiritual thirst. When does that happen?

8 comments:

  1. "What keeps me going? There is this aching need that has never been filled. The vacancy is a kind of witness, isn’t it?"

    I hope so, for both our sakes. Would click on "like" more than once if I could. Great post.

    - Chris.

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  2. Chris, I know I'm not alone with empty feeling. Thanks for the input.

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  3. I would wager that many people feel like that. I know in the last days of my faith it dawned on me that I needed to do things like pray, meditate, study scripture, sing Christian songs, etc. all to maintain my faith. Once it dawned on me that I was doing that, those things no longer maintained my faith. It really bothered me that I didn't have to do those things to maintain my belief in my mailman, but that I did have to do those things to maintain my belief in the supposed most powerful being in the universe.

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  4. Mike, interesting reflection. I can tell by all of your comments how much you have searched for what is true.

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  5. I'm with Mike...I was miserable. One of my favorite Christian songs is by Fireflight:

    Seek and you will find, they say
    but I've been looking everyday
    for a way past this wall that's in front of my face.
    I'm on hands and knees searching for my faith.

    I know there's so much at stake
    but I don't know if I can take one more pat on the back saying I'll be okay.
    Can't you see me whole life is in disarray?

    ...yeah, that was me. And I thought I just need to be better, pray harder, fast longer.

    It wasn't until I found the almighty stripper pole that I realized I didn't need to try so hard. If god is out there, he/she is perfect and it doesn't matter what I think. If god isn't out there, I'm wasting my time being the perfect Christian and not helping my fellow man...

    So, I'm not saying god exists, not saying he/she doesn't...I guess that makes me an agnostic..
    Although I do like the Buddhists saying that god is so powerful that he can choose not to exist...

    Cool...

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  6. Sistermoon: Okay, the Buddhist saying sort of makes my head spin, sort of like bad booze.

    I know that in scripture, God was often most pleased with the people who searched so hard and found themselves very frustrated--Elijah--Moses.

    I appreciate how hard you have looked and I think you probably still look.

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  7. "I love them more than when I viewed them superstitiously."

    It astounds me how popular and addictive this 'inerrancy of the bible' thing can be in people. It's so foreign to my own upbringing and what I thought being Christian was all about.

    My Dad (ex-minister) tried to describe the impossible task of being a preacher. Constant decisions of whether you are going to challenge people's faith, or just comfort it. And of course always having your own challenged in the process, no matter what choice you made.

    I'd say please don't stress over the "promises" from the bible. Those writers were too fast to put promises in some other's mouth. If someone told me somebody else promised something, I don't hold either to that promise, no matter how good it may sound...

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  8. Andrew, your dad's description of wondering when to challenge a church or just comfort it is very astute.

    Seeing the Bible differently than I did as a younger person does cause me some stress. I guess it's the conflict.

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