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Ask the Patriarch 215
The Second Article of Faith

from: Kyle Suchy

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As I'm new to agnosticism, I would appreciate extrapolation on one of the Articles of Faith: When referring to the hypothetical Supreme Being's apathy with regards to the universe, does such a declaration apply to the creation of the universe and its properties or all events/occurrences afterward or both?

Thank you for your time and any help offered.

The Patriarch replies:


Thank you for writing

As it says in the second paragraph of the Commentary on the Articles of Faith, you don't even have to agree with the interpretation given in the commentary, you only have to understand and accept the three articles themselves. And if you consider yourself to be an agnostic rather than an apathetic agnostic, you do not have to go beyond the first article of faith.

Now, the second article of faith which is the one you are seeking clarification on states:

2. If there is a Supreme Being, then that being appears to act as if apathetic to events in our universe.

That's the important part rather than the commentary. You don't have to consider the issue of the beginning of the universe.

But if we consider the beginning, we can consider it arose out of any number of natural events not requiring an external intelligence; or that it arose out of the actions of an intelligent being, or deity. Now, if we suppose the latter, there are a number of possibilities including creation being a deliberate act with the intended consequence of our universe, a deliberate act with the unintended consequence of our universe, or perhaps an accidental act with the unintended but observed consequence of our universe, or even an accidental act with the unintended and unobserved consequence of our universe (see for example Meditation 1a).

From our perspective, nearly 14 billion years later, we cannot tell the difference between the beginning as an entirely natural event, a deliberate act by an intelligence, or an accidental act by an intelligence. So it seems reasonable to suggest that it not only appears that a hypothetical Supreme Being is currently apathetic to current events in the universe, but that it appears the Supreme Being always has been right from the start.

But regardless of these thoughts, it's just extending the commentary. You are quite free to interpret the second article of faith differently.