My path to Agnosticism.
By: Kelvin Stubbs
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As far back as I can remember I called myself an atheist, but it never suited me. I’ve never been one to believe in God and have never seen any evidence of God, even in my youngest days the idea of some omnipotent being creating everything seemed…idiotic. Maybe this was because of the fascination I had with dinosaurs, which are never mentioned in the Bible, or perhaps it was down to my two older brothers constant criticism of Christianity. More than likely, the combination of both these factors drew me away from religion and the (Opinion?) false cushion it gives you in life.
Being that I was raised in a Christian country and was, therefore, taught mostly about this faith, it is with Christianity that I have my biggest issues. That isn’t to say I don’t have issues with the other faiths of the world, indeed one of the Bibles more famous stories, and one I will be talking about later, is in the Old Testament, which is the book of faith for the Jews. Islam doesn’t escape my criticism either; neither does Buddhism, though this is about its history in Tibet rather than the structure of its beliefs. The two issues I’ve chosen are the biggest ones for me personally, they either never made sense to me or, having read the book and sat down to think about it, not only from the characters point of view but from the point of view of the narrator that the Bible takes, it has discrepancies.
The fall of Lucifer.
By the time Christianity came about Satan was the ruler of Hell, so they tell us, but you are only told that Lucifer (Satan) grew jealous of God's love of man and rebelled against God. But is it really that black and white? Surely there is more to the fall of the Morning star than that? In John Milton’s Paradise lost, which at this point I’ve still only read a few of the books, I began to see the actions of Lucifer in a different light. Before I’d only really seen it in the light of Lucifer’s arrogance, but when you look at it from his point of view you can see that God is as much to blame as Lucifer, if not more so.
God created the Angels, this isn’t in dispute, and God is omnipotent and omnipresent. So it is fair to assume that, whilst making Lucifer, God knew what the future actions of this angel was going to be. So why didn’t he make Lucifer different? Or possibly change his own actions? It is crazy to think that God wanted Lucifer to be the Lord of Hell and cause all that he caused, including the expulsion from paradise of man, which Lucifer manages to achieve despite God's Supreme Powers.
This part of the Bible, the Angel Rebellion, could well be interpreted as a parable and therefore has a deeper meaning than the words convey on the surface. To look at it in this light you’ll see that this is a story on how a father should treat his children, to treat them equally and love them all in the same way and with the same amount. In this God fails, he shows great love to man and allows him to act on his every indulgence. It is this love of man that begins to eat at Lucifer, and it is this that God allows to fester into open rebellion. But why? Why does God allow it to happen? At the vital moment he shows his hand, and forces Lucifer and those who side with him to surrender the fight. He banishes them to hell and the fiery lakes where Lucifer makes his new home and kingdom and from there he tempts Eve, has man expelled from paradise, and begins his new plot against mankind.
Lucifer’s fall creates more problems than it solves, more than that, it shows God's callousness and not his love. How can a father act in such a way? Allowing the pain that Lucifer feels to grow into rebellion is incomprehensible, for a father to allow it is beyond belief. For me personally it’s crazy to think that God 1) didn’t know of the problem, and 2) was incapable of dealing with it sooner. So why did he let it fester? To this day I cannot find or see a reason that is adequate enough to accept his cold and heartless act towards his own son.
I suppose that it is my incapability to think of God as the aggrieved party in this, which has pushed me away from religion and down the Agnostic path. For a father to act this way towards his son is cruel I, for one, can’t comprehend this action. I know that my parents would do all they can and more for me, whatever the problems I was to face. Knowing this of my own parents, how can I then turn to the Bible and call Lucifer wrong? Is God beyond reproach? He’s supposed to be infallible, but clearly isn’t as my next point will prove.
The Book of Job
This parable's meaning is simple to decipher, so I’ll tell you the story in brief. Job is a man of kindness and plenty. A large family with great lands well stocked with animals and crops, God changes this. Visiting heaven, Lucifer is allowed by God to take all that Job loves to prove that this man loves God no matter the circumstance. Falling to one knee Job says ‘The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away.’ On his return to Heaven, God showed Lucifer that Job hadn’t strayed, so God allowed the Morning star to touch his flesh, giving him boils from the sole of his feet to his crown. For the next forty chapters Job argues with his friends on whether God is worth the love given him by Job. Job believes so, where as they don’t.
If you haven’t worked it out, it is about loving God no matter what happens. No matter how bad it gets, it’s all part of God's plan and he has one for all of us. When I heard about this story I couldn’t believe it, how could God turn on one of those who worship’s and love’s Him as Job obviously does? It beggars belief.
What made it worse for me was when I realised that God falls to sin. When Lucifer comes to heaven and is shown Job by God, it is pride that God allows to influence his decision. Lucifer tells him that Job loves God because of all He gave him, to prove him wrong, God allows Lucifer to take it all from Job. That sounds like pride to me, and it is God that succumbs to it. To fall to one of the seven deadly sins is something we are warned about in the Bible, but for God to fall to pride…what chance do we have?
How can anyone believe in a God who falls to one of the seven deadly sins? How can you love a God who treats one of his most devout followers in this manner? How can you love a God that does this to one of us? But most of all, how can you find this inspiring? God allows this man to have all that matters to him taken away, his family killed, for the sake of pride, and we’re supposed to be inspired? It does not inspire me, what it does is anger me.
The two reasons above are just that, my reasons for being unable to accept religion's reasons for existing and how the world and we came to be. In my opinion no God would/should act in the manner God has in the Bible. Flattening a city for not following His decisions and flooding the world so he can start over again aren’t the actions of an infallible, loving being. They’re the actions of a child throwing a tantrum when it doesn’t go his way. I may not know what will happen when I die, but am willing to stand here and say that I don’t know. Rhetorical answers on the important questions from a religion aren’t good enough for me; I need to know what the purpose of my life is. I believe I found that purpose from my own ‘soul searching’, and it wasn’t located in the metaphysical world, but in the natural world. In reaching the Agnostic ideal I realised that we are animals, and by that account we follow the same need, that of survival. This, most of all, placed me firmly in the idea of Agnosticism and I don’t think anything could change my mind. We will find out what is beyond life when the time comes.