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Ask the Patriarch 223
What's agnosticism all about?

from: Elana

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Hi!

So here's the thing. I'm a teenager, and I was brought up in a Roman Catholic household. Recently, I figured out that it's really not what I believe in.

I went to a youth group activity and it was horrible, in the sense that it was incredibly "Jesus loves you" corny and I felt way out of place by being there. It was really uncomfortable, because here are all these people in said "adoration" and they were crying and singing and i was like, "screw the free pizza, this is horrible, get me out of here...

Since then I've just been considering other options, and agnosticism, from what I heard about it, didn't seem all too bad. So I guess what I'm trying to ask is what do agnostics really believe in? What's it all about?


Thanks for your time,

The Patriarch replies:

Elana:

Thank you for writing.

I am so glad you are seriously thinking about what religious beliefs involve rather than simply accepting what you are told. Regardless of what you end up believing in (or not believing in), you are better off for having given the issue serious thought.

As far as the existence of a deity is concerned, an agnostic does not express a belief - positively or negatively. Rather than belief, we base our opinion on knowledge, and we say we don't know whether or not god exists. Some, including me, go further, and say that we cannot know.

For further elaboration on this issue, I suggest you look at similar and related questions that have been asked before on the site. A small sample follows:

If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to write again.

Best wishes

John Tyrrell