My Stumble into Agnosticism
When I first started blogging, I found it difficult to articulate my current perspective on religion. Thus, I wanted to use my blog to explain my spiritual development, my journey, and how I got to such a complicated, cosmological place. Through writing entries, and commenting and reviewing other religious blogs, I have found that I am more sure of my position than I originally believed. I now feel the strong desire to articulate clearly my contemporary viewpoints. However, my spiritual history has not yet been entirely fleshed out.
And so, I am going to continue on, explaining my spiritual development.
Through out my life, I gradually began to refute and dismiss certain religious claims.
I didn’t believe Jesus was a God. I didn’t believe I needed to confess to a Priest. I didn’t think St. Peter stood at the gates of Heaven with a book that listed who could enter. I didn’t believe in Creationism. I didn’t believe in the Garden of Eden, Noah’s flood, or Jesus’ resurrection.
It was just a matter of time before I contemplated rejecting religion all together.
Starting in high school, I started to identify myself as non-Christian. But I was still very much tied to a lot of the Catholic ethics and morals. The Catholic guilt ran through my mind everyday.
I was so conflicted with my Christianity. I didn’t go to church, and I felt extremely guilty for that. And although I didn’t believe in certain rules, and I felt guilty for not having faith. Whenever I was in desperate need of something, I would pray to God and say, “If you do this for me, I’ll be a better Christian, I swear!”
At my liberal university, I was introduced to lots of wonderful, non-Christian ideas. But I couldn’t adopt them because I could shake the strong hold Christianity had on me.
One summer while I was an undergrad, I was employed at a public library. One thing that interested me, was the liberal and left-wing stance that the library had. Left-wing on a social level, not an economic one, that is. The Chief Librarian was strictly against the notion of censorship. I was amazed to learn that the library carried things such as children’s books about homosexuality, women’s books about abortion, and many books of all kinds about Atheism.
In particular, it was the year “The DaVinci Code” was on the Best Seller’s list. My sister owned a copy and lent it to me. I remember, turning, page after page, gasping in the social mores being broken by the book. It was like Catharsis for my soul, just to have a published book on something so taboo in Christian society. Of course, I realized the book was only a novel. As thrilling as it was, it was fiction. But it definitely opened up the door to critical theology for me. I immediately borrowed a copy of “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” from the public library.
Now this book, that was liberating. I didn’t agree with everything the Holy Blood, Holy Grail put forth, but that single book effectively helped me to shed my Christian skin. It helped me to confirm that there are such a plethora of holes in Christianity, that I would need to be brain damaged to swallow it all. It made me realized that Christianity is no more than a fraudulent idolatry.
And so, in that summer, I was finally able to release myself from a lot of my Christian tendencies. I finally, coldly decided that I did not believe in Jesus as a divine figure. I would not worship Jesus at all. I would not worship Mary at all.
I started to realized that faith is not the utmost authority. I was part-way through my undergraduate degree, and my classes in anthropology, psychology, even philosophy had taught me to doubt a lot of what religion preached. I started to read more and more critical accounts of religion, and realize even more flaws. It fascinated me to poke more holes in religious dogma.
And so, I started to fall towards science and secularism. Atheism was an attractive concept. I don’t believe in a God the way that North American Christians believe in a God. I don’t believe in a human-like deity. But when I attempted to think more seriously about Atheism, I realized there was no way I could fully adopt that perspective. I found that I still believed in something even though I wasn’t sure what.
Sure, I accept evolution. I accept the big bang theory. But I also think that some force, or something must be behind all of this. Maybe the force is absent. Maybe the force is indifferent. But I know that I believe there was something, at some point.
Because of this belief, I could not identify myself as an Atheist. But I thought all the man-made version of God were pointless as well. So I didn’t feel like I belonged to a specific organized religion. And that was just my belief in a deity.
I also had many contradictory and confusing standpoints on things such as the afterlife, salvation, karma, morals & ethics, sexuality, divination, meditation, determinism, and the world in general. When I started to think about where I stood on all those issues, there was no way you could box me into a label. It was all so complex.
When I tried to explain this to my university friends, they just told me I was Agnostic. I thought Agnostic was just a soft Atheist, so I rejected the label. I felt that wasn’t right.
And even if I was Agnostic, what did that mean? What exactly did I believe in?
I felt I needed a spiritual side. I longed for a spiritual connection. I wanted to learn about a cosmology that made sense to me, that I could agree with.
And so, I temporarily accepted my Agnosticism, but I pushed forth in an attempt to find something else which was a better fit.
Over the next few years, I plan on sampling many different religious paths, and I will earn a minor in religious studies along the way.
- Modern Girl (Guest Contributor)