FAQ

I believe (not a good word for an agnostic to use, but oh well) that there are many others who would share my agnostic Christian perspective, but many are hesitant to admit it. This blog is meant to share my story as an encouragement to anyone else who might be scared to come out of the closet, so to speak. You are not alone.

With that in mind, while I disdain categories, labels, stereotypes, etc., I realize that many people need these things to identify compatibilities and incompatibilities in those with whom they interact. So here ya go. I’ve set up the pins for the haters and lovers alike. The following excludes most context, so if you’d like more context, please ask.

  • My Beliefs: …are not as important as my actions. My beliefs sometimes change. My beliefs are worthless if they do not motivate me to make the world a little better than I found it. I believe that God does not care what I believe, but for some reason people do.
  • Why “Agnostic Pentecostal”? How can you be both? First off, the “either-or” paradigm is not the only one available. Next, you could probably say that I am an agnostic Pentecostal in the same way that there could be an atheist yoga practitioner, or whatever. Yoga originated as a spiritual-physical practice in the Hindu tradition, but one doesn’t have to literally adhere to all Hindu principles in order to effectively practice yoga. Considering this, I no longer believe much of what I’ve heard or read or what I’ve been taught about God — thus the “Agnostic” part of my title — but I love God nonetheless. I continue to experience and seek to experience God, sometimes within what could be considered a Pentecostal context, which is the culture that reared me — thus the “Pentecostal” part of my title. But experiencing God, in my opinion, rarely has anything to do with whether or not we believe in God or follow the correct methodologies or tenets of religion, or say or do whatever it is we think we’re supposed to. My failures at faith and my doubt have brought me to a point at which I have given up trying to play that game. I have felt that God, wherever and whatever he might be, accepts me and interacts with me regardless. For more clarification on this, check out my first two definitions on my Definitions page.
  • God: I think he/she/it exists. I can neither prove nor disprove this. My experiences have indicated that this entity has a desire to interact with the universe and with humanity. By the way, although I will usually use a singular male pronoun when referring to God, I do not believe God is necessarily a male, especially a European, white, over-40 male with long hair and a long beard. And it’s irrelevant to me really. If I had to guess, I’d venture to say that if God is singular and remotely human-like, God could even be a hermaphrodite, but I’d better not go there. 😦 …And no one really knows, not even the ancients. We’ve just been guessing since the dawn of civilization. I just use “he” because it’s commonly accepted and it’s a easier than typing “he/she/it” all the time.
  • Truth: I believe that absolute truth is absolutely relative, or relatively absolute, whichever you prefer. 😉
  • Jesus: Whether he was/is divine or not makes no difference to me, and I cannot prove either way, although stories effectively suggest that he may have had an uncommon link to a higher plane/entity. Regardless, according to what various records have to say (both extrabiblical/historical and Biblical), I see him as the finest example of humanity our world has ever known, and that’s why I try to follow his teachings.
  • The Afterlife: Never been there, so not sure. To get mystical about it, I have a hunch that there’s probably some sort of other dimensions or planes of existence (and entities that may inhabit them) that may interact with ours. (Physicists, by the way, have shown that it’s plausible that there are 11 dimensions to our (multi)universe.) Whether we call this Heaven, hell, purgatory, or whatever is irrelevant, and how one gets into or out of these “places” is not important to me.
  • Good and Evil: I believe that there is negative and positive energy in the universe. I believe that this perspective is applicable to both science and philosophy, the material and the immaterial. With this in mind, I do believe that the words “good” and “evil” are often appropriate, although I think these terms also have been misused.
  • Atheism and Christianity: Both of these are absolute and exclusive systems of belief. I prefer to disengage from, yet remain skeptically open to, discussions that center on absolute, exclusive claims.
  • Religion in general: All religions or non-religions (including agnosticism) are systems of belief created within the finite limits of human reasoning. I believe that none have authority to claim absolute truth, including me.

Anything else? Ask. I may add to this list, but if you’d like more info on my background, check out my backstory.

Advertisements

12 Responses

  1. Hey, glad I found your blog. I too am from a pentecostal background, and share most of the beliefs\questions you mention in your posts. Since you’re in Texas, I wonder if you might know of a faith community similar to the one you describe in Austin but located in the DFW area? I live on the Dallas side of the metroplex and I’d love to find a place that was conducive to spiritual exploration.

  2. Just want to say I’m an ex-Pentecostal nontheist Quaker. I don’t believe in God anymore, but don’t oppose religion, either. If it makes you a better person go for it. I define “better person” as someone who cares about other people without trying to control them. In case this doesn’t link to my blog, it’s at radicalprogress.info

  3. I would disagree with your comment on “atheism” being an absolute system of beliefs in the same way that Christianity is. I’m sure you’ve heard this explanation before, as I think Richard Dawkins has used it to good effect, but do you believe in unicorns? I’m guessing you don’t. Does your non-belief in unicorns define you as an adherent to an absolute system of beliefs? No. You could say the same thing about leprechauns, or sasquatch, or UFOs or whatever. I suppose you could argue that you’re an agnostic about these things. You don’t know absolutely whether there are or aren’t unicorns – you’ve never seen convincing evidence that there are but it’s impossible to prove that there aren’t. But I’m guessing your agnosticism about unicorns doesn’t define who you are and what you think and do in your daily life. Unfortunately “atheism” has acquired this label mainly because it is currently out of the mainstream not to claim belief in a god. But I’m no more an “atheist” than I am a “non-astrologer” or a “non-stamp collector”

  4. I’m so glad I found your blog. Having come through an era of intense self-scrutiny, I’m not able to return to traditional churches, anymore. It frustrates me… but it’s like I’ve outgrown it. I had to stretch my soul so deeply to handle learning to deal with DID that a lot of stuff in church just doesn’t click with my understanding of Spirit, anymore. I have to move forward instead of going back. It never occurred to me that this could happen and I don’t have general conversation about my feeling of having outgrown religion.

    My spirituality is much, much deeper and my life is richer now, but I still struggle with feeling displaced as I learn to negotiate a new life.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this blog. You’re a very gifted writer, and this forum helps me to understand more about myself.

    Thank you.

    ~meredith~

  5. Just last week, I wrote this post: http://alifeprofound.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/what-you-dont-kno/

    and gulped with hesitation as I clicked the “publish” button. Yet, I found so much strength from speaking honestly about what I don’t know. I am not sure I thought I could ever publicly acknowledge that I don’t whether Jesus was/is divine.

    With all of my doubts and strong unbelief in some traditional tenets of Christianity, I still am involved in a faith community. After years of being in non-denominational charismatic, word of faith churches, I am settled in a Presbyterian USA church. The pastors there make room for my questions, for my struggle with Godde.

    No matter those questions, no matter the struggle, I still want that community experience; I am still profoundly affected by sharing communion with others and working with them to accomplish some good in this world. Somehow, I am still searching for truth.

    It’s refreshing to hear your honesty and to see someone else who questions strongly but is still seeking, is still believing in something.

    • I read and loved your post, Cynthia. I definitely share similar (if not exact) questions to the ones you raised…and it sounds like we share other parts of our stories as well…and can identify with the hesitation to hit that “publish” button.

      So many times I have to stop and think of what the consequences will be of me sharing my thoughts. because it’s one thing to think certain thoughts and quite another deal to express them…and quite another still to realize that there’s a difference between anonymous people reading your thoughts and when friends, family, frenemies, etc. read them.

      I’m glad you threw caution to the wind to join us. Thank you.

  6. […] FAQ […]

  7. Greetings! Glad I found your blog (thanks to the Emergent Village emails). I can relate quite a bit. I grew up in A/G, Pentecostal, Charismatic Non-denom churches. It would take too long for me to hash out the various events and thought processes that have lead me to where I am now, but I would say that we are in a similar place. I’ll be keeping up with your blog and maybe posting a comment here and there. 🙂

  8. and yes we need to find another time to hang out … Bahamas was way too long ago … Phoenix is calling you 😉

  9. Yo Dave … I have pimped your blog on mine … from one to another bro … i think my readers will love your thoughts

    • Thanks man! Love your stuff. Lemme know if you’d ever like to contribute here. Would love to hook up…at least you’re a little closer now.

  10. I like this. I’m glad your blog was mentioned somewhere on FB. I’ve experienced some of these feelings, going back and forth on what I believe and what things I do to get close to God, but being open to other things and beliefs and weirdness of trying to connect with God, the higher power, knowledge, knowingness. I’m often confused and questioning and wondering what i’m really supposed to be doing here. Sometimes it all seems pointless, but then what’s the point of all of this if there is no point. I confuse myself most times.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: