Today I’ve decided to talk about a question I get a lot, especially going to school in the (somewhat) south… what the hell does it mean to be agnostic? This, of course, follows from me revealing that I consider myself agnostic, or “an agnostic.” I’ve had some pretty incredible conversations this way, so I thought I’d share my perspective for you all.
First off, if you have legit no idea what I’m talking about, this is the definition of agnostic:
Now, agnostics get a pretty bad rap. It sounds super strange and honestly irrelevant… why is this something that needs a label? Is it just not believing in God or religion at all—an atheist? (hint: no.)
How many agnostics does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
AGNOSTIC..."Are you sure that's a socket? That could be part of the sprinkler system.
I can't get close enough to see...as far as I can tell, it could be either one.
There's no real way of knowing."
Now, this is how I came to realize that “agnosticism” echoed a lot of what I believed…
I went into college a HARDCORE atheist. Despite going through confirmation, attending Holy Cross Church for religious events my whole life, and going through a strong period of embracing Christianity, I did a 180° and rejected all notions of religion. My cynicism finally caught up with me and I couldn’t believe in a world, my world, where there was some all-knowing, powerful being responsible for the unexplainable. I mean, I had taken AP Bio… with all the science out there, who would believe in something so ridiculous? Just like when I found out Santa Claus wasn’t real, I felt I had grown up and abandoned any idea that magic existed.
To me, the idea of God was just like believing that magic existed.
Flash forward to college and I had no idea what I was getting myself into… imagine someone who pretty much thought that anyone who practiced whatever the hell “faith” was to be dumb. It truly baffled me. But being surrounded by so many cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs, it was the first time I felt different for what I believed in. It fascinated me.
The second I found out that someone I knew practiced any form of religion, I would pick their brain. I knew these were smart people, most of them smarter than me, and yet they had faith in what I saw as magic. I wanted to know what it meant to them now, as an adult, to be religious. Every answer was different. But, they all seemed just as fascinated with modern religion as me.
Then, my beliefs evolved again. I began to envy these people. My entire life I have yearned for some proof that my cynicism is unfounded, that magic really does exist. I’m the person who got a mermaid tail for the pool in 7th grade and wore it until about 18-years-old (it fell apart, I never wanted to let it go). I realized that I always wanted to be wrong and to KNOW it, like these people do.
At this moment in time, I have no idea what I believe. When I describe myself as agnostic, to me it means that I just don’t really believe in anything. Not because I don’t want to. Not because I don’t see the validity or value in religion. I just can’t place myself on either end of the spectrum, it’s too black and white for me. So, I’m choosing to live in the medium between, AKA my favorite mantra… I live in the world of “the gray area.” The only thing I believe in, with certainty, is the unknown. I’m still learning how to embrace that.
Despite living in perpetual confusion about what it means to be alive, I’ve kind of been able to form my own spirituality. I have so many words and ideas that I try and live by, values I want to live up to, and emotional comforts I’ve found on my own. Do I know what will happen when I die? No. Do I know how I came to be? No. How anyone, how the world came to be? God, no. Lol.
What I do know is the kind of person I want to be, right now. I can recognize the past and I’m excited by the future, but I can only be who I am at this moment… so, I’m gonna do my best to be a damn good, yet tiny part of the ultimate unknown: the world we all live in.
. . .
Hope this illuminated what the hell “agnostic” means and perhaps gave you a greater appreciation for it as a philosophy to live by. If not, just write a nasty comment on the “contact” section of my homepage (scroll to the bottom).