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Member since: Wed Oct 13, 2004, 05:42 PM
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The spiritual Practice of Agnosticism

I know this will raise some hackles here (and, by the way, this pretty well describes my 'beliefs,' if one can call it that!) The Spiritual Practice of Agnosticism:

As an agnostic, I’m very aware that we agnostics are often seen as fence-sitters—the tepid ones choosing neither hot nor cold. Why can’t we just buck up and admit that we’re atheists? Or why can’t we admit that we have a soft spot for one god or another? Why can’t we just cry wolf or shut up?

Contrary to the cliche, agnosticism isn’t about not deciding. It’s about honestly facing what we know about knowing itself. It is, as the Victorian biologist, T.H. Huxley, who coined the term, said, “not a creed but a method.” (Athiesm is a creed because it is a belief, like theism.)


Gnostic in Greek means “knowledge.” In the Western world we know the term best from the early Christian movement called Gnosticism, which claimed esoteric knowledge of the workings of the universe. Such knowledge, Huxley pointed out, can be neither proven nor disproven. The Gnostics claimed to have “solved the problem of existence.” Huxley, however, wasn’t so sure of their untestable opinions. (Neither, it might be mentioned, was the Church so sure of their solution.)


This is not fence-sitting or vacillation. It is, rather, a commitment to the active search for what we can know. In this way it is much like the spiritual practice of via negativa, a method of removing those things that are not “god” in order to discover god.

I know this is putting a 'cat among the pigeons' for this board, a big, mean, battle-scarred alley cat; but, it's a viewpoint that isn't expressed often enough.

By the way, I do recommend this person's blog on Patheos: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uucollective/author/davidbreeden/
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