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Ask the Patriarch 135
Is it possible for a Christian to become agnostic?

from Jane

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I agree and understand that agnosticism and atheism are quite different. However, the dilemma in which I am stuck with is the transfer from a Christian faith to an agnostic one.

Isn't it more of an atheist view point to say you will remain neutral to the existence of the God you once poured your heart and soul out to? It's more than hypocrisy. It's a complete loss of identity and perspective on the world and your personal well-being as far as faith goes. I can't admit to an atheist viewpoint because I will not now, nor ever deny God.

I, however at this time, cannot accept him. Is this more than hypocrisy and a choice to maintain neutral or is it just a simple loss of faith?

Thomas Hardy, a great author, was on his way to seminary and something or another happened and he didn't have the money to go. In turn, he became agnostic.

Is it really possible and logical for a Christian to become agnostic?

The Patriarch replies:


I must admit that I am a little confused about where you are right now. But I'll try to deal with some of your issues.

First of all - atheism. An atheist is not neutral on God. Traditionally, atheists have made a clear statement that God does not exist, though the more recent "weak" atheism has softened that statement to a disbelief in God.

Agnosticism is a statement that we do not know whether or not there is a God. Most agnostics do put a very low probability on God's existence, but still admit the remote possibility. So I would not say agnostics are neutral either, we are close to the atheist position.

Now, is it possible for a Christian to become an agnostic? Yes - many of our members were Christians once. For examples, read some of the articles in the Agnostic Testimony section. But in my view, it's not just a loss of faith in Christianity that's involved. You also have to come to the realization that none of the myriad other religions with their versions of God have the answers either.

It seems to me from what you have written that you are still in the middle; not ready to let go. Perhaps with time, you will be able to realize how unlikely the concept of God is, or perhaps you will resolve your issues with Christianity and return to the fold. But either way, it will take time.

Best wishes