Some Principles of Agnosticism
by: George Ardell
My agnosticism leads me to see myself perched on a fence at the border between two (sometimes warring) factions -- science and religion. On the one side is a massive collection of dogma that I can‘t agree with, and on the other a massive collection of esoteric theories that I can’t understand (and so they demand faith just as religion does). When I look in either direction from my perch, I am bombarded with questions that no one can answer.
On one side the Bible contains, for me, more questions than answers. If I were to go through the Bible page-by-page, I believe I would find something to question on every page. But some of the more prominent and disturbing questions are as follows:
Why did God put Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden?
Why did God create Adam and Eve with such sinful and rebellious natures?
Why did God create me with such a sinful nature?
Why has God condemned me for being what He created?
Did God create us with sinful natures because He wants us to sin?
Of course, on the other side, with Evolution, all of those questions disappear (along with many, many others). But, pertinent and mystifying questions also arise on that side! Such as:
Could life really have been originated by simple Evolution even though the odds against that happening are almost insurmountable?
How could love and compassion come to exist in a dog-eat-dog world in which Evolution requires struggle and fighting to enable the survival of the fittest?
If love and compassion evolved as part of a survival of the fittest process, do they have any significance beyond the creation and self-preservation of a species?
If blind Evolution produced us, will it lead to the development of an even greater species? Or, are we the summit and endpoint?
If there is further evolution and it produces creatures superior to us, how will those creatures look upon us -- as pests or pets or slaves or food?
Obviously, agnosticism is appropriate on both the religious and the scientific sides of the fence!
What can I do in view of the above discussion? Maybe I could try to devise some principles to help me to cope with my doubts and maintain my perch on the fence.
Below is list of possibilities. As an agnostic I should try to remain:
Apathetic - because there is nothing I can do to change either my situation or the minds of those with whose dogma I disagree.
Ambivalent - because attractive ideas exist on both sides of the fence, and I don’t want to ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’.
Hopeful - because Evolution at least holds a promise that things could get better in this world. In fact, it may even be that Evolution is the source of religion and could eventually make religion beneficial to all mankind rather than just an elite few.
Curious - because every so often a small light comes on and illuminates a portion of the darkness.
Open-minded - because I don’t want to become like the dogmatic people who scorn my agnosticism.
And last, but not least:
Wary - because the world is full of con artists in every field of human endeavor.