Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Agnostic vs. Atheist

2 Thes. 2:13 “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”

I don’t know much about agnosticism or atheism but I’m going to do a little research and find out. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand the language.

I have a friend who said he’s agnostic but now he says he’s a Christian; my son who was a Christian now says he’s agnostic. This riddled my brain because I’ve been a Christian for the majority of my life and I don’t understand the concept of not believing or needing proof. My son tells me that my beliefs are like a foreign language to him, he doesn’t understand me, and so here I am trying to understand something I may never understand. 

The definition of agnostic is:
A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

The definition of atheist is:
A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.

To me, an agnostic needs proof to believe in the existence of God where an atheist could care less if there is a God and they live every day waiting for the cold, clammy earth that awaits them after death. 

Agnostic vs. atheist - Atheism is about belief, or specifically what you don't believe. Agnosticism is about knowledge, or specifically about what you don't know. An atheist doesn't believe in any gods. An agnostic doesn't know if any gods exist or not.

When raising my son I took him to church, a church that baptized him and saw him through the ritualistic practices every Sunday. He attended the youth groups and he enjoyed it at first but I always told him that he was his own person and could believe in what he wanted to believe and that I could not force him to believe in what I believed. 

Around the age of seventeen my son told me that he didn’t have the same belief as me, he was now an agnostic and though it was a little startling, seeing as I tried so hard raising him right, it hit me like a swift angry wind, it stung. What did I do wrong? I was assured I had done nothing wrong and realized he was now his own person and could make decisions on his own. 

When I asked him what had happened, as vocal as the young man is, he told me point blank, hypocrites happened. Adam has eyes to see and ears to hear and when he witnessed so-called Christians, they were of the Sunday only variety. They looked and performed the Christianity on Sunday but the rest of the week they would drink, curse and be filled with hate so unchristianlike he assumed most Christians were fakes hiding behind masks. He also told me this, “Not all Christians are like you mom, they don’t see what you see.” He went on to say that it was like if I went over to China I would not understand their language just as they wouldn’t understand my language or my faith. He did have a point. I tried to teach him a language he didn’t understand.

As I dug deeper into this agnostic vs. atheist it helped me to understand where my son was coming from in his beliefs, since we were obviously on different pages. I asked him if he believed in Jesus and he said yes because there is proof of His existence. 

This site answered it better than I ever could. 

Tim Staples wrote: “An agnostic is someone who believes human beings simply cannot know anything metaphysical or beyond the physical realm; therefore, they cannot know whether things like spirit, angels or God exist at all.”

Pss. 53:4 “Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.”

There it is in a nutshell for ME. You see, I’ve always put God on the metaphysical level understanding the spirit so as not to be led into a belief of some man high in the clouds sitting on a golden throne judging the lower man of earth. To ME, Jesus was a man, God was the spirit in which He was created thus to me, Jesus IS the Son of God. 

I hit another point to ponder: Austin Cline wrote: “One major problem is that atheism and agnosticism both deal with questions about the existence of gods, but whereas atheism involves what a person does or does not believe, agnosticism involves what a person does or does not know. Belief and knowledge are related but nevertheless separate issues.”

An AHA moment for sure. Belief and knowledge are related but totally separate issues. I wonder if there is another blog topic in here that I will most likely do research on, belief and knowledge. To ME, my belief is my faith and my faith is built on MY knowledge. I can’t judge what others believe because it is a foreign language to me. Only they know what knowledge they have so who am I to judge whether a person is an agnostic or an atheist.

The so-called Christians who turned my son from God is another topic I’ll delve into because they certainly have their eyes on me so I will turn the camera on them. 

Job 36:4 “For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.”


benning said...

Not a good moment for you, I'm sure. Doc Scott used to say that it was always the second generations that fell away the more easily, as they didn't come by their Faith through revelation. So Adam will have a more difficult time returning. He says he believes in Christ. Well, you and I both know that means nothing. So there's work to do.

That line about hypocrites is an ancient canard. There are hypocrites in every single walk of life. They do NOT invalidate the 'walk' itself. They are flawed people - heck *I'M* flawed as can be! - and need a little understanding, too. If Adam has never been hypocritical, then he's a far better young man than 99% of humanity.

"I do not NOW this man!" - There's a hypocrite for you. ;)

Perhaps this is where Apologetics can help. If Faith is being lost, behind some anger at people, and the way they are, then maybe some good, old-fashioned facts can open his eyes. Just a bit. Jesus existed, he agrees. To what end, we ask Adam. Does Adam have any answer? Is that knowledge gone, too?

"Evidence That Demands A Verdict" helped me in my youth. I suggest it for you, Joni, and maybe Adam will find it interesting, too. The monthly free magazine, from ICR, is great supportive reading. Scientists, y'know. :D trouble! >:( Wheeee! <3

joni said...

Acts 16:31 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

“Not a good moment for you, I'm sure. Doc Scott used to say that it was always the second generations that fell away the more easily, as they didn't come by their Faith through revelation. So Adam will have a more difficult time returning. He says he believes in Christ. Well, you and I both know that means nothing. So there's work to do.”

The Bible says that any man who believes in Christ will be saved. Work to do? Sure we ALL have work to do because WE are the sinners who’ve fallen too. Never heard of Doc Scott.

I can in all honesty say, it was not a bad moment for sure. It was a realization that I only brought Adam into this world, showed him what I thought was best for him and allowed him to make his very own decision to believe in what he WANTED to believe. Not because a man told him, not because he read it somewhere but to be his own man. That is all I want for him. That is all any mother wants for their child is to grow and be their own person. After a certain point, we have to set them free and learn on their own. (with a gentle guiding hand still in the mix, mind you.)

The line about hypocrites was more me putting my spin on the conversation, I don’t divulge EVERYTHING. Adam is very personal and I’m not going into specifics on what he said to protect him. Adam is a young man finding what faith is on his own. It is what we are all doing so I think he’s well on his way to thinking for himself.

Let me just say, the conversation was very deep and I believe he’ll be a great man one day. But I’m his mom I’m partial. Had he said he was an atheist, THAT would have been a hard moment for sure but he didn’t, he believes in Jesus, so JESUS will show him the way. Not a scientist, not a minister, not a book. I have every bit of faith in that.

Oh my goodness…he’s a little me. Look out world!

p.s. I don’t demand evidence to find a verdict. My God is REAL and I have living proof. :D

Thanks for your commentary. :D