Friday, May 15, 2009

I, Agnostic

Occasionally, I tell people that I am an agnostic. This seems to provoke some discussion, now and then, as the devout Christian or equally devout atheist would like to know just how I could be indecisive.

I'm not being indecisive, I reply, and so begins my long story. I'm not an agnostic because I haven't seen the arguments presented by either side, and can't make up my mind; I'm an agnostic because I refuse to believe something I can't know. I can't know there is a God; I can't know there isn't a God. Or Goddess. Or some number or combination of divine, semi-divine, near-omnipotent, or other supernatural beings.

That doesn't mean I don't make contingent judgments, or moral judgments, or ethical judgments, or that I don't have my own peculiar fanatical beliefs. I don't need to believe in a God, or know punishments or rewards await me in the afterlife, to decide what I should and should not do; to be the best person that I can be, to do good as best as I can, is its own reward. Nor do I need to deny others their own leap of faith in declaring there is - or is not - some God out there. For practical terms, one good leap of faith is worth quite a bit of philosophizing.

For myself, I am content to muddle along on judgments, logic, and philosophy, knowing there are things out there that I cannot know.

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