doomed to a humble life of agnostic grey area

I was thinking this morning…. 

I know what I feel… and what I think when it comes to religion…  but I very rarely voice it because most people are religious and I don’t want to freak them out, make them mad, worry them, argue with them, scare them, confuse them, or insult them. 

Besides,  I seriously am not 100% sure I AM right. 
I mean, who am *I* to say that I know it all, or have all the answers??  I don’t think anyone does.  Least of all me.   I frequently tell people that they should “feel free to ignore me”.  =)

I do know that I don’t believe a lot of the bible lessons I was taught… and that I don’t believe in any one religion.  I don’t believe that one religion is “right”, and the rest of the world is going to hell. I don’t believe going to church makes you a better person.  I don’t believe anyone has the right to use religion as an excuse to judge others, let alone kill them.  I know what I don’t believe.  

And, yet, I would never say that I am absolutely, positively 100% RIGHT in most of my beliefs.  Not only because of the above reasons… but, also because there are a lot of very intelligent and good people out there… who are very religious and DO believe things I just can’t believe.  I feel very outnumbered.  And, I know that all these other people can’t all be stupid – but, that doesn’t mean to me that they are necessarily right either. 

But, just because I don’t agree with their belief’s doesn’t mean I don’t believe THEY are intelligent or good people.  I would never tell them that they are “stupid” or “bad” for believing what they believe.  I wouldn’t even tell them that I am certain that they are wrong.  Maybe their not!  What do I know?  I certainly wouldn’t tell them they were going to hell and doomed to an eternity of fire and torment!  Especially, if they are just going about their business, living their lives, and trying to be good people.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them…  just that they see things differently than I do. 

I don’t claim to know it all.  I only know how I feel, and what makes sense  (or doesn’t make sense) to me.  I have tried, and still try, very hard to see their side… and when I can’t, I still respect their opinions and feelings. 

So, why then.. is it so hard… for religious friends and family of mine to give me that same courtesy?  What makes them so damn sure that they are so right that they have the right to judge and condemn and think there must be something wrong with anyone who doesn’t believe the same things they do???   

 I don’t get it.

Maybe I do.

Maybe these people aren’t 100% positive about anything either.  At least not initially in their faith.  But, religion tells them it’s wrong to have doubt and that you should just have faith.  They have to say they are positive, even when they are not.    Talk the talk… and then after a while they probably do believe it… and can walk the walk. 

They also are taught to feel like it’s their DUTY to God to “spread the word”, and save as many others as they can.  I know how they feel, because I once felt the same way.  It’s hard to really be considerate and respectful of others beliefs (or disbelief)  and do that at the same time.  So, they get to climb up on that soap-box… feel sorry for anyone else who doesn’t believe what they do…. and feel better about themselves in the process.  

Sometimes they are so wraped up in “being a good christian.. and a good person”, that they are pretty rude and inconsiderate in the process.   I guess all is fair in love and conversion!

Sometimes, I wish I could be a believer again… 
I’d like to feel like I was 100% RIGHT about ANY thing again. Even, if it was just ONE thing like “yes, there is a God”.  Sort of like wishing I still believed in Santa clause… or like when I was a teenager and thought that *I* would never do some of the things that the adult me has inevitably done. 

But, no…  I am doomed to a humble life of agnostic grey area, and not for nothing… but, I like it a lot better than the black and white.

~smj

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5 Responses to “doomed to a humble life of agnostic grey area”

  1. glandheim Says:

    I’ve been browsing through your writings about your home life, growing up, your mother’s mental illness and your father’s attempts to cope.

    You are not alone. No, neither of my parents are/were mentally ill. They both had their heads screwed on pretty straight. But I’ve had experience with some cases who would make your mother look almost normal.

    I wanted to say something about agnosticism. It seems to bother you. I have been agnostic for almost as long as I can remember, even when I was still going to church.

    Fundamentally it just means that you don’t know. I studied science in high school and college, and science is, fundamentally, agnostic. You never really know the ultimate, final answer. You may have things like Maxwells Equations, which describe all of electromagnetism and have never proved to be false.

    Science knows of 4 fundamental forces: gravity, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, and the electromagnetic force. Maxwell’s Equations describe electromagnetism. Most of theoretical science is an attempt to reconcile the various theories that expalin the various forces.

    But even if we did that, would we know everything? No. There is dark matter and dark energy, about which we know nothing, and which makes up about 80% to 90% of the universe.

    And even if we explained everything that we know or can observe, how could we prove that we know everything about everything? How can you study something if you don’t know it exists?

    Science is a regognition that we don’t know. No matter how much we know, we still won’t know it all.

    There is even a mathematical proof of the limitations of knowledge. The mathematician, Godel, proved that in any sufficiently complicated formal system, there is an infinite number of true statements that can’t be proved. This means that there are an infinite number of things that we can’t know, for certain, whether they are true or not.

    That’s agnosticism. Realizing that the universe is so big and so complex that we just don’t know, and probably can’t know, all the answers.

    I don’t call that a grey area. I call that the fundamental nature of reality.

    Most people can’t deal with that. They have to tell themselves they understand. I find this very strange, that people who can’t balance their checkbook think they have to understand God, for example.

    Acceptance of limitations on knowledge is very liberating. It frees you from worrying about what is essentially unknowable and lets you concentrate on what is important.

    And you are the one who gets to decide what is important.

    I’d say that’s liberating.

  2. samanthamj Says:

    g –
    thanks much for the feedback. Very interesting. I agree that it’s liberating. I use to worry about hell and not only my own salvation but for anyone I love… I no longer worry about that. I find it interesting how many people want me to worry about it though..

    My post here, “doomed to a humble life of grey area” was a bit sarcastic. I don’t think it’s so bad to admit there is grey area. I completely agree with you about people never knowing all the answers. It amazes me how much people want to think they have the answers… when there’s no way they can. I loved your checkbook comment. LOL

    Aside from my mom, who will always bring religion and these questions to the fore-front…. I also have some close friends… who have recently gone and gotten religious on me. I find myself getting into these debates regularly… and, it’s because THEY are worried about my salvation and care about me… I try to respect their views… but, tend feel like I have to sugar coat my thoughts and feelings, and frequently feel very judged for being agnostic. It’s frustrating.

    I’m enjoying your poems… btw…

    Have a good weekend. =)
    smj

  3. BcJenkins Says:

    I have just recently found your posts. I consider myself to be an atheist but also do not discredit the *possibility* of a god or gods.

    Atheism has been misconstrued to be as dogmatic as theism when in fact it is not. Saying that I don’t accept these claims of a god because there is not sufficient evidence to support it makes you an atheist right there. Some take it a step further and say that there can be no gods but they are considered strong atheists.

    Here is a good article detailing the *actual* difference between atheists and agnostics: http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutagnosticism/a/atheism.htm

  4. BcJenkins Says:

    Forgot to tell you I love reading your blog. You and I share a lot of the same views, and it is fun to read about your experiences. I hope you continue this blog.

    • samanthamj Says:

      BCjenkins –
      Hey… thanks… as you see, I don’t post here much anymore… but, I left it up… cause I never knew who might actually want to read it… and/or if I would want to add on. Thanks for the comments and link. I agree with what you were saying!
      ~smj


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