Tuesday, September 23, 2008
My daughter's question from the blue...what is Agnostic...
I wasn't sure how to answer that question. It came about during a discussion we had about Jesus' years traveling before he actually began his ministry. The years when he learned from the Gnostics. The years when he traveled to Egypt and Turkey, and perhaps, although their is debate, beyond. What is agnosticism...she asked.
I had not meant to blog about this query, and probably would not have had I not found the jif of Garfield...Garfield being my daughter's absolute favorite cartoon character sparked my decision to answer her question here.
My daughter began life Baptized into the Roman Catholic faith because my former Mother-in-law had this dog masticating at the bone for its marrow tenacity about having my baby baptized because "God forbid we should get into an accident and she should die before being baptized and have to spend all of eternity in Purgatory."
It didn't matter to my former mother-in-law that I already had issues with the Catholic Church. It was HER Church, and my daughter was HER granddaughter!
Fortunately, or not, depending on your point of view, we only spent two years living close enough to my ex-mother-in-law's apron string's strangle-hold, so that by the time my daughter was in her teens and I began to fight cancer twice, her influence over us was no longer an issue.
Anyone who has had a family member dealing with cancer knows that it challenges your beliefs in God. The Catholic Church was far too judgemental...through her friends, she tried other branches...offshoots, of Christianity. Sometimes it is nothing more providential than meeting the right person at the right time...but she was not fortunate enough during my battles against the Big C to meet with the right advocate of Christianity.
What she did find was Unitarian Universalist...and through them Wicca...a belief system that extends back long before Christianity and long before Judaism. Back when Nature was honored and the female power of creation was respected. For a woman who had been through as much as my daughter had finding a belief system that reveled in the feminine AND the masculine felt right. Unitarians, though, do NOT exile those who believe in Christianity, or those who believe in Buddha, Mohammad, or Moses. All are welcomed, accepted and encouraged to share in the celebration of being. A totally novel experience.
So here we are, two Unitarians, and she is asking me, what is Agnosticism. During my last battle with cancer, to keep my mind busy while my gut dealt with the horrendous invasion of the chemo, doctors and devices you REALLY don't want me to describe, I began studying religious theologies...so I can answer...at least I can give an answer that I hope will shed some light on the subject.
The inverted pyramid above shows many things that are "myths", yet no matter how many times we say they cannot possibly exist, generation after generation tells their stories, or swear they have actually seen them first hand. (How many people have claimed with a brightness of spirit, to have seen aliens near Area 51? How many visitors and residents have sworn Nessie has shown himself when they've visited the bonnie shores of Loch Ness? And who has not heard tales of the Abdominal Snowman and/or Bigfoot? We cannot categorically prove they exist...yet...but many still believe.)
And so it is with Agnostics. They can not prove or DISprove the existence of God, but choose to believe in God(s) in spite of this. Are they hedging their bets?
Perhaps. But can die-hard Christians PROVE the very core of what they believe? No. If they could, it would not be called FAITH. So Agnosticism is just another form of FAITH that is just as viable and respectable as any established and recognized religion...for when you strip away the pomp and circumstances the only thing that really matters is God(s)...whether God is represented as the all-powerful Father, the all-powerful Creator of all that Is, the ALL Powerful Female/Male Joint Essence that is required by all things to flourish (a seed without pollination cannot live on)...God is still God.