Archive for Saturday, August 25, 2007

Is remaining agnostic the same as rejecting God?

August 25, 2007

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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 jbrewer@sunflower.com.

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 steve@lawrence-heights.org.

Comments

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

"i beleive in god"

I can't resist.

Do you believe in "I before E except after C"?

storm 7 years, 7 months ago

The god on the legal tender is the best. That other one that sent his only begotten son to another planet to be tortured then be killed - that god is definately into child abuse.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

"It has taken imagination and courage (two very traditional religious values)."

Hardly. Imagination and courage? These are the values that religion allows one to escape and put aside.

"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."

What a load of circular thinking. Reality exists, therefore god exists. Resting the evidence of god's existence on the natural world and human nature are risky, but resting it on a poorly written 2000-year-old fairy tale is just setting yourself up.

Nick Yoho 7 years, 7 months ago

Marion, your pretty smart for a righty,lol.Well said.

purplesage 7 years, 7 months ago

A person becomes agnostic. St. Augustine's ancient observation seems appropriate, to the effect that, "You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are are restless until they find their rest in You."

My observation is that people who refuse to believe have, generally, two kinds of objections. On the one hand, there is a moral reason, some habit or choice or situation that they perceive Deity would disapprove which keeps them at a distance. On the other hand, there are questions of theodicy, somehow questioning God for events in the world at large or in life more personnaly which have disappointed or disillusioned an individual.

The Creation is an evidence of the Creator. The inspired Word is more specific. The Living Word, Jesus, is God's fullest self-disclosure. He is the question.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 7 months ago

I also get tired of the fanatics who say their "god" is the only "god". Did anyone see the CNN special "Gods Warriors" this week. They all scared the stuffings out of me.

kugrad 7 years, 7 months ago

Since both Psalms and the book of Paul were verifiably written by men, no proof is provided of God making anything clear about his existence as claimed by the author of the second article. God did not write those words, nor are they quotes from Jesus.

sourpuss 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm worse than a non-believer or an agnostic... I simply don't care if there is a god or not. Wouldn't change a thing I do. When it comes to the meaning of life, we all just pick our stories. No one has any proof of anything save that we get at least one trip through, and that we are often worried through most of it. So go eat some ice cream, watch some birds fly around, make a kid laugh, and don't worry about God or anything else for a few minutes.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 7 months ago

I guess I'm not an agnostic because I do believe in God. I just don't believe in organized religion. Almost every branch or cult believes their way is the only way and if you don't believe in their way you will go to hell. Well here's a kicker; I don't believe in hell and I don't believe in "Satan". Yes I believe there is good and evil but I believe we are responsible for our own actions, not some horny guy with a forked tail.The only real sin we commit are the sins we commit against each other. The God I believe in could care less if we committed a sin against him/her/it. Mainly because it's not possible to do so. It's kind of like life after death. What if there isn't anything there? Well if there is, nice, but if there isn't I'm not going to be in any position to care about it so I'm not going to worry about it. It's not worth it.

Tychoman 7 years, 7 months ago

No, being agnostic isn't the same as rejecting God. It's acknowledging that we're only human and that it is impossible to understand whether there is or isn't a God or all-powerful being.

It's not being lazy, RT, way to be the resident jackass of the forum. AGAIN.

Confrontation 7 years, 7 months ago

Have you ever known someone before he became a pastor, and now you shudder to think that hundreds of people think he's special and follow his words? Just wondering, because I have.

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