The first time I heard of the word agnosticism I was mostly confused and took no note, I was still on the fence as to whether I was an atheist or a selective catholic. The only two options that had framed most of my religious life until then since Catholicism was my root and atheism the only other alternative I knew at the time with a certain shock value I enjoyed.
I hopped from one to the other occasionally which seemed rather obnoxious to everyone who met me. My parents thinking I was just too curious for my own good and my peers wondering why I bothered to be so critical of such a boring, adult topic. It didn’t occur to me to ever stop in any case, the curiosity like a black hole I had to be sucked into, choiceless in the matter.
I was a catholic when I saw the good deeds done by the church, watched nuns and sisters offer themselves to their admirable life of poverty, enjoyed a perfectly toned, and logical sermon or when I realized the uncertainty of life and my precarious position in all of it, needing that extra blanket of divine providence. I was an atheist when I discovered the underlying hypocrisy of the church that itself had committed atrocities in droves, when unassailable reasoning from atheist advocates shattered the bible’s own, when I saw the myriads of injustices inherent within the Christian structure, discriminations against women and non-Christians. For me religion was a revolving door and it was exhausting. All prior to the idea that has somewhat calmed me, agnosticism.
I doubt that I have the perfect definition of it even now that I am a kind of staunch agnostic. All I can say is that the neutrality of it all is what got me. The use of the term ‘ a higher order of being’ instead of a definitive God or Noo God is what I was attracted to, the humility in that statement.
A humility that I had not encountered in my previous posts. In Catholicism in the murmur of goodness, love and humanity there is always an underlying echo of righteousness, being better than others in the only way that matters, morally. I have never been fond of that and it was a relief to finally escape. A different kind of pomposity exists in atheism, directed mostly at religions. The atheist will think himself of superior reasoning since they have arduously combed through religious logic and decided that it is all worthless and not worth following. A subtractive, tasteless kind of pride.
For one, this is not at all true since there are is as much good as there is bad in religion and the monolith principle of atheism, that there is no God. I have always found rather ignorant, only because I was exposed to the argument of order early on as a proof of the existence of God, and though I refuse to declare and describe ‘God’ with such detail as a theist would, I undoubtedly see the truth of it evident in my life every single day.
It is just inconceivable to me that you will see all the intricate landscapes of reality, hidden within them equations of nature whose surface we have only began to scratch at with our ever changing sciences and explanations and not think that there is a superior being at work there, much like ourselves in some ways that left it there for us, precisely so that we can find it and ask these kinds of questions. There is no God almost sounds like a hoax, I prefer the attenuated ‘we cannot truly know that there is a God and vice versa.’
And yet with the submissive view of pride from agnosticism, I have still felt it quite incomplete. I find it one of the more lazy religions if I may say. The agnostic seems to halt the conversation of God in an instant with their indifference and thus be freed from the conundrum only endeavoring now to be ‘good.’ This is the part of the 2.0 which I am talking about.
Agnosticism should not just sit and wait. It should now construct its own religion but not necessarily from scratch, ploughing back to the notable beliefs of theists and atheists, all with a lot of good to add and build a scripture free from the need to describe a God that we cannot but nevertheless not renouncing him just because we cannot. A labour that each one must undertake for themselves with regard to their own context because I do believe though the principles of an agnostic religion for many may converge in similitude, the rituals, the history, the context which are all key pillars to any religion will differ significantly for each and every agnostic. With agnosticism, the size never fits all even though the designs resemble each other.
Many at times I have referred to this as ‘polytheistic agnosticism’ which I now amend to simply mean agnosticism 2.0. An idea I got from a modern day philosopher Alain De Botton who founded Atheism 2.0 whereby the belief that there is no God is not the end of discussion, but the beginning, and instead of in true atheist fashion studying religion with the sole purpose to disprove it. He suggested atheists should study religion to salvage the good reasoning and effective rituals within it they can use in their own atheism. Religion for atheists, he called it, a real paradox some may say and yet it fits perfectly to me because in truth we are solving the same problems theism tried to solve with religion. Therefore it is not enough as an atheist to just disprove the dubitable parts of theism and leave the problems it wanted to solve in the first place unsolved. You might as well gather from it what you feel was not erroneous and use it as a scaffold for your new system.
Agnosticism 2.0 I feel, has the same purpose in a different direction, reconciling the goodness in theism and atheism with the neutrality of agnosticism. Or maybe I am simply just tired of new categories of religion springing up whenever someone disagrees with another. I believe already have all we need to solve the part of this problem of religion that is solvable, through a unique kind of collaboration and reorganization.
After all, there is nothing new under the sun.