Why Am I An Agnostic?
By Ron Murdock
My view is that organized religion is a very dangerous tool that’s been misused by a lot of people. I grew up in a Methodist Church and we went to services every Sunday and to bible school in the summer. We didn’t have a choice. We just did it. So all that stuff about childhood religion in Revival is basically autobiographical. But as a kid I had doubts. When I went to Methodist Youth Fellowship we were taught the Catholics were all going to Hell because they worship idols. So right there I’m saying to myself, ‘Catholics are going to Hell but my Aunt Molly married a Catholic and she converted and she’s got 11 kids and they’re all pretty nice and one of them is my good friend – they’re all going to Hell? I’m thinking to myself ‘this is B.S.’ and if that’s B.S. how much of the rest is B.S.
– Stephen King
Why Am I An Agnostic? As I was growing up learning how to think wasn’t encouraged by any stretch of the imagination. Except for three teachers I had, learning how to think was largely frowned on by the public education system. Nor was it part of the social circles I was in, as peer pressure was the order of the day. I didn’t attend a church service until I was 18, but didn’t take it seriously until about 18 months later.
At that time I got baptized and joined a Baptist Church. I did feel something wasn’t quite right and felt I wasn’t to tell anyone yet of my new found belief system. I’m glad I followed this, as it gave me the chance to take a good look at what was happening so I could discern what the truth was and what was B.S. being passed off as the truth.
Over the years as I made the circuit of attending various church services, I saw that every denomination has a different way of doing things. Was the Holy Spirit directing each one on a different path or using various marketing strategies to attract different people? Nearly 4 years later I started to ease out as I saw more in the way of meddling in people’s life by a number of pastors. How peer pressure was used was a factor in my decision. Five times I heard that non-Christians shouldn’t have the right to make their own decisions. This brings out the rebel in me as I want to make my own decisions in a clear headed manner. Plus I’m very much a loner as I don’t want to be swayed in any way by group think.
While reading the Bible it dawned on me that it’s primarily a historical document, so every time a person reads history they have to ask if this is really what happened. A lot of people don’t like to hear their religious texts questioned, but what is more important, honest skepticism or blind faith?
Here is a couple of questions I like to raise. First is just how interested is God in a planet in the boonies of the Milky Way? It’s not like we’re anything special or anywhere near the center of the Universe. Secondly, is God a figment of a collective imagination or an extension of a groups ego.
People have a hard time saying ‘I don’t know’, so they make up some really good stories to pass along as the truth. B.S. is still B.S. no matter how fancy the words are. If people admit they don’t know more often, it clears up a lot of clutter out of their minds making room for new information, as long as they don’t settle for ready made answers.
One thing nobody knows for sure is what happens after the moment of death. It’s either theory, wishful thinking or speculation no matter what you hear. Even near death experiences or past life regression is a dream state or the power of suggestion at work.
One need not settle for a compromised or half-assed belief system, or be afraid of being challenged on what they believe in. Change is a good thing, as it involves taking a good look at accepting new ideas, and seeing if they’re worthy of being accepted. Some information will need to be deleted when it does outlive its usefulness.
Instead of becoming a cynic that nonsense is running the show – despite the evidence supporting this – be a skeptic who asks hard questions to get honest answers.