God accepts me, even with my faith reservations
John Brewer, member, Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 N. 1100 Road:
Agnosticism is a relatively recent term. To me it signifies a refusal to claim any special knowledge of salvation or cosmic purpose. Thus, agnostics do not reject God on principle, as atheists do, but neither do we embrace a confession of faith, such as the Apostles' Creed.
We still hunger for meaning and connection, and so some of us actually go to church! We don't find any Bible stories about agnostics for the same reason that we don't find Bible stories about the Internet. That doesn't make agnostics any more or less heretical than the Internet, but it does call for acknowledging the changes that have come about within liberal religion in the last century.
The advent of human rights movements such as feminism challenged our traditional understanding of God's ordained roles for men and women or for people of different races. More recently, the "open and affirming" movement has welcomed persons of previously stigmatized sexual orientations into both church membership and clergy. It has taken imagination and courage (two very traditional religious values).
None of these persons reject God, even though they may reject some aspects of traditional Christian culture. The trend toward inclusiveness might be summed up in Charlotte Elliott's hymn: "Though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come." When I enter into a spiritual celebration of whatever wisdom tradition, I believe that God (whoever God is) accepts me just as I am, even with my agnostic reservations about religious truth.
- Send e-mail to John Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harboring doubt in face of evidence equals denial
Stephen Koberlein, senior pastor, Lawrence Heights Christian Church, 2321 Peterson Road:
In man's eyes, an agnostic is someone who believes that it is impossible for us to know God, or they are skeptical or noncommittal about God's existence. But the question asked is from God's vantage point, not man's.
According to Psalm 14:1, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Agnostics might argue that without denying the existence of God, they just believe they have no evidence. But throughout both the Old and New Testaments, God makes it quite clear that we can know him and have proof of his existence.
In Romans 1:18-20, the Apostle Paul wrote, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
Paul went on to explain in verses 21-24 that while these folks claimed to be wise, they became fools. Then, verse 25 reads, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen."
God has already given us everything we need to know him. From his majesty revealed in the beauty of the created world, through his inspired Scripture, to that still small voice calling out to us, if we remain doubtful, skeptical or "on the fence," we are, in God's eyes, rejecting him.
- Send e-mail to Stephen Koberlein at email@example.com.