Catholic for Life - No. 3 Conversing with an Agnostic
No. 3 Conversing with an Agnostic
Those who try to disprove the existence of God encounter insurmountable hurdles. And the scientist who persuades himself that all that physically exists came into being spontaneously, or who says that the original stuff of the universe was always there, has the impossible task of explaining and accounting for the source of the laws (and their aberrations) of the entire physical universe, without recognising an intelligence that preceded the universe, and who determined and governed and continues to govern its behaviour.
Realising how irrational it is to be atheist, many such people would rather call themselves agnostic. They say, ‘Yes. There may be something behind it all, but what it is nobody knows. Perhaps someday, science will be able to tell.” Others invoke an anonymous Force, or something like that. Or they may go on to declare that if there is a God, he, she or it is unknowable: “Yes, there appear to be laws at work in all matter (in the broadest and loosest sense), but these laws operate without care or compunction for anything. The qualities and attributes and the mind behind all that physically is remains a mystery.”
Why be Agnostic?
Among the greatest difficulties that human beings have about there being a Supreme Being who really cares about people is what is loosely known as the problem of evil: ie. the presence of suffering and injustice, in short, “evil” in the world. [This subject will be examined furtheron a later occasion]
“If there is a God, why does he not intervene and prevent such pain and hardship, such inequity and injustice?” “Why does he not prevent catastrophe and disaster, and evil at all its levels?” “So, forget about whether or not there is a Supreme Being, get along with life and make the best of it.”
Droves of people who do not wish to delve deeply into this subject, call themselves agnostic, (or even atheist) to use it as an excuse for doing waht they wish to. They say that those who believe in a God who “speaks” to people about himself, his nature, his attributes and his will for them, are deluded.
Until recently, sophisticated and learned skeptics regarded the almost universal leaning of people towards the recognition of a higher power, as founded in ignorance and superstition. In the year 2009, scientists recognise that human beings have an implanted urge to believe that there is a supernatural Other, to whom they may turn in the circumstances of their lives. Faith, however construed, in a higher power, is in our genes. The skeptic, would have us believe that this is purely for our inner security and comfort, a psychological or coping device instilled into our being. Instilled by what or by whom, they cannot say.
Prayer of an Agnostic
“I wish to be honest with myself, and true to myself. Because I am not satisfied with blind faith, and less satisfied with apeing others in order to become one of the crowd. I often say to myself, ‘There is no God’, because some pieces of this jig-saw do not seem to fit, while others appear to be missing.
But I must admit that often I have been mistaken in my thinking and in my judgments, and have had to revise these later. I cannot be at all certain that my leaving the question of the existence of a Supreme Being a-begging or seeking refuge in denial or self-will takes me closer to the truth or to happiness.
What I have heard and read about a God who is goodness and mercy, and who loves me and wants me to love him through life and eternity, fascinates and overwhelms me. I would give and do anything if this were really so. And, least of all would I want to deliberately snub such a wonderful and glorious Being.
Instead I’d say “Thank You” all my days, and “Forgive my blindness in not recognising You.” So, in case I am wrong in my present lack of faith, I humbly ask you, if you are there, to reveal yourself to me in the depths of my being, so that I may truly say, ‘My Lord
and my God!’ “
St. Augustine of Hippo, once sophisticated and dissolute, and agnostic if not atheist, and later a convert to Christianity, in his “Confessions” put it another way,
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Indeed, the desire for God and his voice is deep within each of us. Is it not for us to seek God and to listen to his voice?