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Ask the Patriarch 245
Will I fit in as an agnostic?

from: Tyson F

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Dear Patriarch,

My whole life I questioned the existence of god. I was sent to Sunday school as a kid, as I was a hyperactive child, I ran amok, running round doing...kid stuff. One day I was kicked out, left outside in the rain. I don't recall going back after that. a nice bunch of people, ha ha. I remember coloring in pictures of Christ and his disciples, and constant preaching about things I doubt any child of my age back then could understand, but years of repeating even the least understandable words become truth to these poor, trapped, children. I'm lucky got out when I did! Or I'd be one of these zombified hypocrites that Christians and other so called believers are today.

I have had a speech impediment (a stutter) since I was young and have lack ability to communicate verbally, in the normal sense anyway. The illness that gave me this impediment almost killed me. Since then, I have had very few friends and have spent most of life as a loner.

Some would say this was sad, or a bad thing. I agree to some extent but disagree also as I have had a lot of time to think long and hard about life and how it began, why we or I am here on this earth and who made us. I read most of the satanic bible, thought it made some sense, saying that we are basically just animals and should stop hiding our carnal desires and feeling guilty for our actions and emotions for they are natural. I've also listened to recorded debates on YouTube about theism and atheism and why one is better than the other and why each of them is right or wrong. I have also read a little about paganism, loving nature, do as thy will as long as no one gets hurt, so on so forth. I must admit I admire these people and their compassion and dedication for their beliefs, however, I wonder constantly what the world would be like if people showed such passion toward the means of bettering humanity, bettering laws, making them more fair, bettering the environment, planting more trees, finding better ways to settle disputes, with killing each-other…  that sort of stuff. And yet humanity wastes endless time and endless amounts of money trying to prove the unprovable, to explain the unexplainable and to understand UN-understandable.

I have asked many people if they believe in god and most have said yes. I asked why. Most reply saying either- there must be a reason for the bad things that have happened in my life or how else would explain the existence of the world? And so on. I will not pretend to know all the answers but in my experience the ones who believe in god have either gone through something in their lives which terrified them, including the threat of damnation to a small child, or they are afraid of feel obsolete, and being without a place in the grand scheme of things. Or they are just too arrogant to say the words "I don't know". If there were answers to questions like why do I have a speech impediment, or why are some people born with disabilities or why children die at young age I would like to know them. But, there aren't, unless they are scientific and proven. It is scary to understand that perhaps we are alone and no one watches over us, but that's reality in my opinion.

I believe that it is scary in fact it is terrifying and yet comforting, because I believe that I am responsible for my actions and I believe that if I make a mistake in my life that I am not going to hell to be tortured for eternity.

I do however believe in fate (at least moderately), as circumstances in my life seem to be very much connected to other circumstances far too well to be coincidence. I believe in ghosts and spirits because I have seen them with my own two eyes so clearly, I would find it hard to dispute them.  And also reincarnation (although a weak belief) because I would like to believe I would get a second chance to could fix the mistakes I've made (although I doubt it very much). I do not believe that god is worth worshiping even if he did exist, because he is a lying hypocrite who sits on his arse when children are suffering. and turns his back when own child being nailed to a cross.
But like everyone else’s beliefs, mine are totally selfish, although flexible, and I'm still working stuff out for myself as I forever will be. But I welcome the quest for knowledge and truth with open arms because I accept that I can never know everything.

So do you think I will fit in as an agnostic? If so, can you tell me where you are based and if you have churches in Australia? I haven't read everything on your website yet so I will enjoy the rest of the read and may even buy some merchandise.

Thanks for reading and hopefully replying. And please excuse the length of this email, I tried editing as much as I could a this is the shortest I could make it.

Yours, Tyson.

The Patriarch replies:

Tyson:

Thanks for writing with your interesting email. You seem to have overcome some significant challenges to reach where you are today. And it's good that you are thinking for yourself.

Will you fit in as an agnostic? The way the term is used today, you can certainly call yourself an agnostic if you wish. While I personally hold to an older definition of agnostic which precludes knowledge of ghosts, spirits, and reincarnation, I recognize that other have different views on this.

Now we are strictly web based, and have no brick and mortar presence in Australia - or indeed anywhere else. There are other options if meeting and interacting with other people is what you want to do.

For example, given there is an element of the spiritual in your beliefs, perhaps you might consider pantheism. You may be able to find a local group in your area.

Less spiritual, but with many of your interests is humanism. By checking out the State Societies on the left of the Humanism Australia website, you stand a reasonable chance of finding a group near you.

Another option, with even more formally structured meetings is the Unitarian Universalists. They cater to a range of beliefs from near-Christian to near atheist, but their essential common beliefs are here: Unitarian Beliefs.

In the end, what label you assign to yourself to identify you feeling on religion is not very important. What is important is how you live your life. And that is something you have made a good start on.

JT