Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why I cant be an agnostic...entirely

I had to attend jury duty today, and as I'm sure you can guess, it was terribly thrilling in every way imaginable. I wasn't actually picked to be on the actual jury(thankfully) but I still had to sit around and listen to the prosecutor ask questions that, for the most part, should have been ridiculously obvious. So I spent most of the time reading The Shack, while occasionally listening to the questions he was asking the potential jury.

One of the things the prosecutor asked was whether it was possible to prove something without a "shadow of a doubt". I will attempt to recall how the short conversation went, since it would be hard to follow if I wrote it any other way,

Prosecutor: Lets say I'm trying to prove who I was, if I provided an ID of myself...would this prove that I am that person?

Juror: Probably

Prosecutor: But it could possibly be a fake ID, correct?

Juror: Correct

Prosecutor: So what if I brought in several people to testify to me being this person, stating that they knew me since I was little and that they went to school with me at one time? Would that prove who I was beyond a shadow of a doubt?

Juror: Not beyond a shadow of a doubt, no

Prosecutor: No, because they could be friends of mine, or I could have paid them to say that. No matter what evidence I can bring, there is always another variable that can be brought up. So today we are not here to prove this case without a "shadow of a doubt", but without a "REASONABLE doubt".

Since Ive recently been dealing with re-emerging feelings of agnosticism, this particular idea on how to reach a verdict got me thinking. Its particularly easy for us as humans to say "I know this" or "I know that", in terms of religion or lack there of. And we get so worked up trying to defend what we "know" ...that we never stop to realize that we don't really know much of anything(at least in the sense that we can know that we know, and prove that indisputably). No matter how convincing the evidence for our beliefs may be, no matter how much we may actually feel we know, there is always "another variable" to take into account. There is no way this side of the grave that anyone can prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that their beliefs are correct.

Such a realization seems to lay a great foundation for agnosticism, because if nothing is indisputably knowable or provable in terms of God and truth...whats the point of stressing myself out about it? Why bother myself with something I cant prove? Well, because to claim that I know, that I cant know...is still in fact, claiming that I know something(that I cant know anything for sure lol). In which case, the whole paradigm pretty much fall apart. It makes more sense to me, to not ignore my personal experiences and encounters, but rather use them to draw a close rendering of what absolute truth may be. Though, hopefully more accurately so than this Yoda drawing I did in paint...

As I have said before, combining ones experiences and conclusions on certain evidences, to make the most coherent view of "truth", is honestly the only thing we can do in this short life. While I cant prove what the truth is beyond a shadow of a doubt, I feel should strive to at least prove it beyond "reasonable" doubt(to myself at least)...because it affects how I live my whole life and how I perceive myself and others. I feel this is better than just throwing up my hands in frustration, and closing off the brain to all possibilities... simply because nothing spiritually is knowable to a proveable extent.

Besides all the Biblical and moral evidences, I feel this is perhaps the strongest case for universal reconciliation. Because it is very obvious to me that we are not even meant to know the absolute truth about God and salvation in this life...its simply not possibly to know that we know what that is(and yes I guess I am claiming that I know its not possible, but hence the title of this blog lol).

I still think its important to formulate the best conception I can, because I think our choices in this life do matter to God(and they certainly hold consequences here and now if nothing else). However I simply doubt He's such a big baby as to eternally hold us accountable for not believing that which wasn't possible to know, which He apparently did not make possible in the first place. I believe what God cares more about, is simply guiding us through the mystery of this life...without knowing all the "other variables" and ability to prove anything. I think that is because that by never truly "knowing" in this life, we can begin to simply trust in Him through the good things he is subconsciously and consciously instilling in our hearts. And ultimately, that creates a relationship between us and the Creator.


  1. Good thoughts here Eric. You have a good head on your shoulders and the abillity to reason things out. Use this talent

  2. This blog entry sucks.

    Except for the Yoda picture. That makes it awesome.

    So this blog entry is awesome.

    LOL JK LOL. I feel pretty much the same way. It's good to believe with conviction but not to the point where you're stubborn and hardheaded to anything that somewhat contradicts your views.

  3. Great post. I think at times we just have to rely on what our hearts "know" to be true. Through various experiences I can testify to knowing his existence. However,it's always going to be difficult to pass that knowledge onto those who have a non-experiencing heart and who have not developed a need yet in their lives.

  4. You are in good company. It was Socrates who said: "All I know is that I know nothing." I would modify that to: "The thing I believe most is that I know nothing."

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that God didn't make us capable of true knowledge. Well, technically, of the ability to know that we have true knowledge. We may have it, but without any way to prove a thing is true, we may know something that is true without knowing that we know. KnowwhatImean?

  5. Right, I think reading your "a different kind of Christian"(was that what it was called? idk) blog like several several months ago was what initially brought that to my attention, at least in word form. I think of a lot of things and then I realize sometime later that someone already thought of it, and can actually word it in a way that makes sense lol.