A skeptic, a doubter, a cynic or worse?

Religion confusion

Religion confusion

A man stumbles into a deep well and plummets a hundred feet before grasping a spindly root, stopping his fall. His grip grows weaker and weaker, and in his desperation he cries out, “Is there anybody up there!”

He looks up, and all he can see is a circle of sky. Suddenly, the clouds part and a beam of bright light shines down on him. A deep voice thunders, “I, the Lord, am here. Let go of the root, and I will save you.”

The man thinks for a moment and then yells, “Is there anybody else up there!”

_______

The first time I read this philosophical joke I laughed out loud. That would be so me, I too would ask, “Is there anybody else up there?”

Some might call me a skeptic, a doubter, a cynic or worse and I am fine with it, because it might be the truth.

“You are such a good person, why don’t you come with us to church?” my neighbor asks me that so often and I can see in her face that she worries about me and it is a sincere worry, because she doesn’t understand. In her mind going to church is necessary to be a good person, nothing else makes sense to her.

If you don’t believe in God or Gods, then you automatically become an atheist and I am just tired of it, because atheists actually believe, they believe that God or Gods don’t exist.

In my neighbor’s world there are only believers and non- believers, there is no room for a gray area and that’s exactly where I live, in the gray area…the unknown.

I don't know gif

I am agnostic, what means I believe that nothing is known or can be known of the existence of God or Gods. I don’t claim to believe and I don’t claim to disbelief in God. I claim not to know anything metaphysical or beyond the physical realm, therefore I cannot know whether things like spirits, angels or God exist at all.

I am not writing this post to upset anybody who has religious believes; not at all, actually I do remember well how I felt when I still believed…way back then. I was raised catholic and spent many years in a boarding school that was run by nuns. It was a great school, they raised and educated me well and so did my Grandmother, who was part Jewish.

I was a good little girl; I went to church every morning and every evening with all the other kids. I prayed the rosary, went to confessions and prayed every night before I fell asleep. On Sunday I wore the good dress and accompanied my Grandmother to church.

When I got older I still participated, but it felt more and more like lip-syncing. I said the words -because that’s what everybody around me did- but they meant less and less.

Then, after a school trip to a former Concentration camp the doubts got louder. Like somebody said in a movie, “If there is Auschwitz, there can’t be a God.”

I didn’t talk about it and I wasn’t rebellious, not at all; I quietly slipped away from the church and from religion. You don’t go around and tell people, “Hey guess what I stopped believing,”  it’s not like that at all. It is a private decision and it happens quietly.

“Maybe I am wrong, maybe they are wrong.” I accepted the fact that I don’t know. I never really talked about it with people around me, never felt the need that I had to.

It was my graduation year in boarding school, I still went to church with all the other kids, but I didn’t participate anymore. I sat down when others around me kneeled or stood up. I quietly waited for the service to be over and left without touching the holy water.

I am not really sure what my Grandmother thought about my decision, she asked a few questions, but she didn’t try to convince me otherwise.

I went to the city hall, paid my dues and got a piece of paper that stated that I had officially left the Catholic Church, and with that I was released from paying church tax in the future.

From the moment I was born I had belonged to a church –like so many in Europe- and now this piece of paper declared that I didn’t belong anymore. It felt a little bit funny at first, but it also felt right.

Being agnostic is hard; much harder than being an atheist. Admitting that I just don’t know seems to be an open invitation for all kind of religious people trying to convince me otherwise.

“Jesus loves you,” she said as always, it’s my neighbor’s way to say Good-bye to me and one day -not so long ago- I answered, “Work on it, and he might love you as well.”

What I had said as a joke, had hurt here; I could see it in her face. I felt sorry for her; I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings, not at all. That day I was just tired of dealing with her believes each and every time I see her and finally we talked about it.

There are so many different religions and millions of people who believe in one or the other and all of them are convinced that they are right. There is Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Taoism and many, many more.

Going back thousands of years what about the African or Celtic believes and religions? What about past religions that are not longer practiced what about Zeus and all the other Greek Gods?

“Just have faith,” that’s something I heard often in my lifetime. Faith is an expression people love to use when they hope for something better. People talk about faith when there is no guarantee, no certainty. It is an expression of hope that goes beyond the conscious mind.

I admire people who can blindly believe and follow a religion without any doubts. I think their life might be easier than mine, because we, the agnostic, don’t go around questioning them and their decisions; this is only done the other way around.

What is it so bad about it when I say, “I don’t know and that’s why I am not religious.”

Take Jesus and all his stories for an instant. Christians believe he was (is) God’s son. Jew’s don’t believe in Jesus, others believe he was existing, but was a philosopher like Aristotle’s and Plato, or maybe he was prophet.

“If you say that you don’t know, that is like saying you don’t care!” I thought about that long and hard. Is that statement really true? Do I just not care?

Yes, it is true. I don’t care that I don’t believe. I could waste hours, days, weeks, months and even years trying to find a believe that works for me, but what a waste of time it would be. As for me, it just makes more sense to do something instead. Rescue a dog, feed a homeless person, volunteer to clean up the park or help a neighbor that you don’t like.

I wrote this post today, because I have been asked and this is the explanation why I won’t read, comment or like religious post. Actually chances are high that I will unfollow your blog, if you sail into religious waters for too long.

Once I said I would never write about politic, religion or sex. Guess what, now I have broken two of my own rules…get ready for the sex post. 🙂

sorry

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 thoughts on “A skeptic, a doubter, a cynic or worse?

  1. You are brave in writing this post. Good for you. I also am uncertain about the existence of God, which I have learned to accept. I used to think it was horrible not to live with God, but gradually I have learned to be at peace without religion. It has been liberating.

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  2. I so agree with you on it being harder to be agnostic than atheist. You’re right. Atheists STILL believe in something. I’m always scared to say what I do or don’t believe. I’m still dumbfounded that I agreed to do that whole Lenten photo challenge. I meant what I said on the one post about doubting with integrity. And what you believe is your own business. I’ll try to tell folks what I have experienced in my life if they ask, or may relate something spiritual in a post, but I NEVER wanted my blog to be categorized as Christian. I abhor that word. I’m a follower of Jesus, whatever that means. And I’m comfortable with all kinds of spiritual or non-spiritual opinions. But for what it’s worth, Bridget, I’m glad you’re still coming around. You’ve helped me a lot. Is it too religious of me to say you’ve been a hell of a light? 😀

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  3. I AM religious, but for a long time (thirty plus years) I was agnostic. I married an agnostic. I was raised Mormon and have, in these later years, returned to my faith. BUT. I firmly believe God (or Gods if you like) is more concerned with our progression and growth in the journey of life, than He is about where and how you worship Him. Just my way of thinking about it. Thanks for sharing your views!

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  4. I am an atheist and so believe – in logic, everything else is just not logical. I love nature, I love taking walks and I believe in the logic of the way the world works, unfortunately it does not always work as well as it should due to various interventions from the people that believe and do not believe. I was born Church of England, visited a pentecostal church for some time which I decided was not my thing, my family would be Swiss reform, although I am not so sure about that. I visited a school 50% jewish, so they had their own morning assembly and we had ours. I grew up in an aea of London that was 50% jewish, today it is more Bangla Desh and Somali. I live in a country that has 4 official languages. Let us just be tolerant towards each other and not try to foce other religious ideas upon the others.

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      • It is one of the main religions in Switzerland. Reformiert, I think one of the grounders was Huldrych Zwingli from the Zürich area. Our kanton is mainly Roman Catholic. We pay church taxes if you belong to the church and the catholic taxes are higher than the reform church. There are some people that leave the church due to the tax, but on the other hand others stay as they worry because there will not be a church presence at their funeral.

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  5. I understand your perspective. Sometimes it may not even be God we are discussing at all, but different religious speaking for God as if they know him best. It was only when I figured this out, that I came to the possibility of God as present not only for us, but for all creation, not a God that answers our particular prayers. It’s presumptious to assume we are the center of God’s creation. The world happens, terrible things happen, and we have free will within the confines of our reality. We may well meet God or the ‘One’ of the universe when we die. There are so many accounts now of people who were clinically dead and resuscitated from all over the world who say that they did and this gives me hope.
    I completely respect your struggle with this issue and the complexity of your thinking. It is good you are thinking about it.

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    • You have no idea how much your comment means to me and I thank your for writing this.

      It would be great if there would be “something” and i am OK with it if there is nothing. I think my time is of better use if I try to be the best person I can be.

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  6. Becoming Agnostic for me was one of the most freeing decisions I’ve ever made. I didn’t have to go to the city hall to do it though. I’ve never heard of that. It must be a European thing (because I’ve never heard of Church tax either). I think it was easier for me because although I was a Bible-thumping Christian for a long time, my mom is a hard-core Atheist, so I always had that dichotomy in my life. I only found being Agnostic a tiny bit difficult when I lived in The South where there’s a church on every corner and people open up the conversation with “What church do you go to?” Ha! That was always a fun conversation.

    “Oh, honey-child, you don’t go to church? Let’s pray for your soul right now.”

    Bless their hearts. ^_^

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    • Many countries in Europe have church tax, probably one of the reason why the churches are empty. It seems to be harder to believe if it cost you. The church tax is different form country to country but can be high as 10%.

      We lived in the south for almost 10 years and I know what you mean. Being agnostic in the South is as complicated as being a democrat 🙂

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  7. Great post. I agree that “it’s more difficult to find one’s own way than follow blindly conventions and traditions”. I have never been a follower. I married a woman who, when younger, wanted to be a nun and was very religious until a few years before I met her. She is no longer a church-goer but still believes, yet has no problem with my agnosticism. But being agnostic has never been hard for me. Probably because I just nod politely at people all the time and never get into religious discussions.

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  8. Love your courageous and sincere post.
    I feel the way you feel , regarding religious matters. I was also raised Roman Catholic and I went to church everyday…..But then my mind refused to follow what for me sounded more like a legend or a myth.
    Quoting your words “being agnostic is hard” ,I once more agree with you , because it’s more difficult to find one’s own way than follow blindly conventions and traditions .
    Baci

    Liked by 1 person

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