Okay, I’ll be the first to admit when it comes to spiritual matters I’m still learning. I don’t pretend I have it all figured out. In fact, it’s more honest to say I am learning new things on a daily basis.However, it is assumed by certain members of the non-believing community that just because I identify as a Christian that I am supposed to:
- Have it all figured out ( never met a Christian THAT arrogant but HAVE met a few non believers that ARE that arrogant )
- Have set beliefs that can NEVER change or be discarded altogether.
- Must accept the Old Testament along with the New Testament.
- Believe in the literal Genesis account.
Well,most of you will be thrilled to hear that neither I nor my fellow Christians have it all “figured out” and anyone who makes believe that they do is a very skilled liar. For Pete’s sake we are just fellow human beings trying to learn something in this journey called life. If someone thinks that their spiritual beliefs equals “special revelation” they are fooling themselves. I have friends that do indeed feel that being a Christian means they know things that others do NOT know and I guess in one way that is true but not in the way that is implied. The only knowledge we as Christians can have is spiritual knowledge revealed in the Bible. The minute we start thinking that our preacher or our priest is the key to unlocking the mind of God is when we are at the starting line for heartache and potential spiritual collapse ( which will happen because preachers are still fallen men that will let you down ).
I’m not going to start quoting Bible verses at this point because I think most of you don’t need to read a Bible verse to illuminate the point I just made. We as Christians love to do that ( quote Bible verses to establish our point ) but sometimes we don’t need to add seasoning to a dish that already tastes good without it. Okay, now that we have established that Christians don’t have it all figured out let me be the first to also refute the notion that we can’t change our lifelong held beliefs. I am living proof that you can indeed have lifelong beliefs about a number of subjects and through rational inquiry come to realize that maybe that’s not the way things really were (or are). I think Richard Dawkins was the biggest proponent of the “you- believe- this- because- you- were- born- here” idea,which may not have as much validity to it as once thought. I come back to the obvious question. Well, Mr Dawkins,it would seem that you yourself are not a product of your environment but you are willing to assume that everyone else will be a product of their environment?? Dawkins FAIL!
Concerning the Old Testament. The Bible is a collection of books written over a 1500 year period and it’s perfectly acceptable in the rational mind that God gave me to make the claim that I don’t HAVE to accept anything and that includes the Old Testament. Point number one is that not paying much mind to the Old Testament doesn’t make me a heretic but for some reason atheists love to try to use this in debates. The notion that somehow not accepting the Old Testament as a whole is just “silly and cannot be done if you are a Christian”. To the atheists that like to argue this point with me I simply refer them to the “atheist manifesto” and ask them if their own personal outlook as an atheist reflects the points made in the “atheist manifesto”?? “No , you say?” Ohhhh,well since atheism isn’t a religion that somehow means it is exempt from the very criteria you yourself use?? ” Whatsattt?? You mean atheism does not represent beliefs but rather non-beliefs?” Ohhh,so you don’t have beliefs when it comes to God/god(s) but rather non-beliefs? Well,in my opinion ( and probably a whole lot of others opinions ) it would seem you are not really an atheist since you are claiming you hold non-beliefs ( which I wont point out the obvious logical problem with that statement ) because the term atheist when used in the usual sense of the word would mean you “do not believe in god or gods” not that you “hold on to a non-belief”. When you state it like the latter it’s not even a real statement but rather a psychological position. Oh yes,I know that some atheists will try to use any number of nonsense to get out of saying that you “don’t believe in God” or God forbid the old “God doesn’t exist” because you have no way to show that what you believe is true. Theists have ALL kinds of logical arguments that support the existence of God (notice I didn’t say we had proof) and yet atheists try to use every tactic in the book to get out of justifying their position.
Now,I said all that to say this: why are agnostics generally so much more pleasant to talk to and more enjoyable to be around? If the only thing that separates atheists and agnostics is the amount of fever in which one believes their propositions about God/gods then it would seem the agnostics would be just as confrontational and just as invective as atheists but in my experience that is not the case. I recently became “internet friends” with an agnostic man who is in his early 60’s. This man is one of the nicest most polite people I have ever come across. I wish like crazy I could meet this man in person if for no other reason than to shake his hand and thank him for reminding me that when we think we have it all “figured out” someone comes along and reminds me that I don’t have it all figured out and no one has really won the race. What I do know is that there is seemingly a demonstrable difference between agnostics and atheists in general. Maybe the agnostics feel they aren’t fighting for one side or the other so there is no reason to be a bunghole. I must say its nice to get on SH and not be called “irrational” “stupid” and “dangerous” because I am a Christian. That one little spark of joy in between all the nonsense and name calling reminds me that there really are people out there that are different minded but are just as wonderful to be around as the like-minded (sometimes even MORE wonderful ) and I must thank you JHK because you are truly what I would call a great man and its a privilege to call you “friend”!!