If you follow me on social media you may have seen me call upon “God or Science” to help me understand/explain the order of things and that may have made you wonder if my intentions were to disrespect religion. They were not. The truth is, I’m agnostic. If you’re not familiar with that term, it essentially means that I want to keep my Sundays free but also want to hedge a little in case the rapture comes. It means that I don’t like to speak in absolutes but am really feeling Science right now. That said, I wasn’t around when it all started so maybe there was someone calling the shots; I don’t know for sure.
What I do know is that I’ve been front and center to several debates and my precious agnosticism has allowed me to throw up my hands and shrug my shoulders like Rasheed Thurmond at the Bad Boys of Comedy show (pictured) in blissful avoidance when the ball was inevitably passed to me for an opinion. Here’s my opinion: Just let people be. Live and let live and mind your business if someone else’s perspective bothers you so much. It’s ok to disagree. There are positives and negatives to each point of view and we’re never going to all be on the same page, but there are life lessons to be learned from each perspective if we can mix in equal parts listening with our speaking.
God is real
You were right! Awesome. There is a divine being lighting our path to salvation. All we have to do is worship, cause little to no intentional harm, eat this not that, and don’t ask too many questions and we all get to punch our tickets to heaven or reincarnation or something about virgins (I believe). In a lot of ways this is the best perspective. It encourages us to treat others the way we’d like to be treated and to work together to build a society based on love and the perpetuation of ideals geared toward making Earth more heavenly. Having grown up fairly active in the church (in spurts) I’ve seen so many examples of folks doing wonderful deeds out of the kindness of their hearts and the belief they’re doing God’s work. The strength a shared faith can sew into the fabric of a community is beautiful and amazingly strong.
That said, there are things I can’t stand behind in the way many religious texts are interpreted. I don’t believe someone’s sexual preference should determine their purity. I don’t believe anyone’s God would’ve sponsored the violence that has been the result of disagreements among religious groups. I don’t agree that, in a nation where we supposedly have freedom of religion, so many laws are constructed/interpreted to adhere specifically to Christian beliefs. And bacon. I don’t believe folks should have to choose between heaven and bacon, as they are so much alike.
God is real… or is he?
Boom, God is real – period, end of story… but what if he ain’t? Welcome to the middle ground – the mediators clubhouse. If piety is point A and atheism is point B, agnosticism is the collection of all of the possible fonts of each letter. If religion is faith-based and atheism is fact-based then agnosticism is based in alternating layers of six inches of quicksand and sheets of poster board – there’s a foundation there but good luck trying to find your footing. We all set on metaphors? Cool.
Maybe it’s my bias talking but I feel like agnosticism is by far the most fun point of view of the three. My mind is free to explore all of the possibilities, unnarrowed by faith or physics. Maybe God knew peanuts would lead to both peanut butter and anaphylaxis and decided the pros outweighed the cons, or maybe it’s the cruel meddlings of unorchestrated evolution. The point is, maybe I don’t want to know the end of the movie beforehand and agnosticism provides some blissful ignorance.
At the same time, both the pious and the atheistic probably look at me like some naïve kid still trying to figure out the world – you’ll get it someday little buddy. Chin up! – And, hey, they’re not wrong. Maybe I should just pick a goddamn side already. But I guess the underlying message in this rant is that we all should get to decide what to believe and on our own time – without fear of persecution or strangers pressuring you to read a book and sign up for their God. I don’t want to read a book. Actually, I wonder if there’s a Bible audio book… Can you imagine the pressure of having to narrate that thing? I digress.
One thing that always bothered me about Christianity (how I was raised) – and I don’t know the rules exactly – if I’ve lived my whole life according to the commandments (mostly), but haven’t been baptized or formally accepted Jesus, am I going to hell?… ‘cause that would be pretty weak, Jesus. Or is that the purpose of purgatory? If heaven is eternal splendor and hell is eternal suffering, is purgatory eternal meh? I actually think I’m good with eternal meh. I won’t get to go to the heavenly ragers but at least I’m not on fire. I’ll just read some books, I guess. 😊
God is not real
Bummer, right? It’s all meaningless. There’s no benevolent king (or queen) in a spiritual realm giving everything a higher purpose. Except hold on… Science is kinda sexy, isn’t it? If there’s no ethereal purpose of our existence, it means that everything in the universe can be explained through Science. The only unknowns are those which have yet to be discovered. All of the mysteries of our planet and beyond have a scientific map or equation that would make them make sense to us. Every generation can build upon the knowledge of former generations and each is just continuing the quest to learn more about ourselves. Ultimately, there is little/no room for interpretation, only facts. That’s pretty frickin dope actually.
It is kind of a downer toward the end though, because when it’s over, it’s over. Back to the earth you go – no meeting up with the dead homies or uncle Charles at the crossroads and reflecting on a life well lived; no judgment day, not even a leisurely haunting or two just for laughs. You gone. Dead. Fertilizer. So, I guess the lesson here is to enjoy the ride because whether you choose the path of good or evil, we all just end up as meaningless bones. Hooray, Science!
Here’s what I know for sure: whether it’s God or Science, there are things happening behind the scenes that I don’t understand and can’t intelligently explain. Be it miracles, magic or molecular biology – don’t ask me. I choose to live righteously because that’s who I am and hope others I encounter reward me and my family with the same kindness. And if the rapture does come maybe God will look the other way on the whole baptism thing.