Sunday, January 26, 2014

Agnostic Confession

"I am an intellectual agnostic."

Yesterday I said it out loud for the first time and have henceforth been feeling the repercussions of such a statement. I don't even know if it's true. I don't know if that means I don't believe anymore. I know what I meant was that I cannot intellectually prove or validate what my heart believes; that is, that the Jewish God exists in all His glory. Can the two thoughts truly rest in the same body? Can one doubt absolutely his own heart's convictions?

I just don't know if I have another choice. I know that in my heart I feel God's presence, at least I have on many occasion. I know that I still confide in Him and ask for assistance. And yet, the more I read, the more I contemplate, The more I know, I have absolutely no rationale for my faith. Any attempt is, at its essence, just a cheap rationalization to make believe my faith is based on logic.

Isn't agnosticism the most intellectually honest response? After all, both the theist and the atheist make conclusions based on incomplete data. Indeed the atheist, based on his doubts and scientific discoveries, concludes that the existence of a deity is a absolute impossibility. Is not such a statement in it's own right a leap of faith? The theist is no better. He, after feeling God speak to him or hearing a convincing argument for God, concludes that there must be a creator of this universe.

Only the agnostic has the humility to admit that we indeed do not know how this world came to be. He is bold enough to live in the excruciatingly uncomfortable reality of uncertainty. Some people, those who don't understand the ultimate importance of the question as to whether God exists or not, will be able to live without much consequence. They will avoid philosophical inquiries and merely shrug away their doubts. They will, necessarily, commit many instances of hypocrisy, all the while remaining clueless. They will die blissfully. I dare say, this describes most of society (even many of those who claim to be religious.)

But there remain some who have heard the question; who have searched relentlessly only to run into the dead end of doubt. Their lot is one of isolation and suffering. They are compelled to constantly search for the elusive truth. Their minds grapple with these questions endlessly and are jealous of the naive who are stubborn in their convictions. Instead of gaining respect for his brutal honesty, he is scorned by the "herd" for being intellectually lazy or spiritually shallow.

Is this my lot now? Indeed what is the point of my intellect if my inevitable end is one of torment? I must ask: Why hath Thou created me with a challenged soul if it will only cause me to stray from Thee?

And so, on and on, my intellect will battle my heart.

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