What is the point of declaring oneself agnostic?
by Jason Allen
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What is the point of declaring oneself agnostic? I for one am wary of any religious group and their ability to influence others, so why did I join here? I believe as humans we have an inherent need to feel accepted by our fellow man. The fears and pressures that come along in life can be difficult to handle without a community of resources to pull from. The simplest solution would be to join a church, become part of the inside crowd, say and do all the right things and sleep well at night knowing we’re all going to heaven. The problem I have is the hypocrisy that would come with doing that. The old saying that “ignorance is bliss” would never leave me. What a comfort it would be to kiss all my worries up to God and forget them. To be honest, sometimes I am envious of those who can. Those who stoically stare in the face of tragedy and say “God’s will be done”. I do not think I will ever be one of them. This is not from a lack of effort, baptized Catholic, raised Baptist, converted to Presbyterian and shunned by all for asking little things like “how” and “why”. Most of my failings on becoming a good Christian I blame on my mentors for not having a viable answer to explain dinosaurs to an eight year old boy. At that age I could have accepted any number of excuses as I did for Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. The answer of “the devil put them there to lead people from God” planted a seed of doubt in my young mind.
Now, I have not given up on salvation, I just search for a different kind. I fear I will not find it. Perhaps my expectations were set too high at a young age. Is it too much to want to live without fear or worry, or is that what makes us human? Fear is certainly not a strictly human characteristic. All mammals on some level live with it. Worry however seems to be more of a man-made emotion. Do animals lay awake at night and trouble themselves with what tomorrow may bring? I do not wish to confuse worry with concern or forethought, I’m talking about the uninvited, unsubstantiated fear of things that could be. They make pills to take and give convenient sounding labels for these types of worries but do they really solve the problem? In my mind’s eye I see myself like Hemingway’s Robert Jordan. Ready to accept the inevitable, still performing his duties in the face of adversity, deal with tomorrow when it gets here. The reality is I worry for my job, my children, my marriage, my health, and any number of things you can catch on CNN. I suppose the fact that I’m aware that the worrying does no good is a start. Is it possible not to worry without living with your head stuck in the sand? I doubt it. I believe a man without a worry is a man that cares for nothing. So where does that leave me? Still searching.
I suppose my reason for joining this group is similar to my reason for writing this essay. Like a lot of our members I am limited in the relationships I can have in my community. It seems to be difficult for some people to make friends with those who are going to Hell. We have friends among the community that believe as we do but are unwilling to proclaim themselves as anything but Christian. I am fortunate to have a coworker who is an unapologetic Atheist. I have few with which to share my beliefs without fear of repercussions towards my family, so I am here. I look forward to the weekly updates and enjoy the humor and advice from some of the members. Mostly I like the feeling of being among people who wouldn’t reject me based on my beliefs. I feel our kind are growing in numbers but are still held back from admitting it. Someday it would be nice to see more resources in our communities for people like us, but I’m not holding my breath.
I guess the best reason I had for joining this “Church” is that it makes me feel better. I don’t feel like the only one who puts up with the constant noise that is thrown around by the righteous. I suppose if we’re all wrong, there is some comfort we won’t be alone in Hell. Thank you for reading my ramblings. I would encourage the silent majority out there to write to the site,