Militant Agnosticism is the way forward
Louis Shankar: Week Five
I happily identify as an agnostic when it comes to religious belief.
I do not know whether or not there’s a deity somewhere out there and, to be honest, I’m quite certain in my uncertainty. I can’t muster up enough faith to believe in a god, but I also don’t want to categorically deny the possibility. I don’t think there’s enough evidence either way to choose, so I leave it open.
When it comes to mainstream religion, I take more issues. I shan’t go into these in depth, especially as religion has done many wonderful things for the world as well.
Boiled down to its basics, though, I think religion can be overly manipulative, praying on the weak. But then it also offers hope to those who need it; sometimes I wish I could be optimistic enough to have such hope.
My real problem is with evangelism. The fact of the matter is that I believe what I believe and I’m quite happy with that. You believe what you believe and that’s great. But if the two are different and you try and tell me that your way is superior, I will not be swayed very easily. Belief is personal: you keep yours to yourself and I wont tell you why I think you’re wrong.
I have equally as many issues with the militant atheists, such as Richard Dawkins. He is as confident in his denial of a deity as many theists are of their assertion of one. After all, the theist/atheist debate isn’t, at its core, about the benefits of religion but the belief in at least one god.
The canonical religions seem to lump a lot of archaic laws in with this, though, including many about slavery, misogyny, and homophobia. But some hardcore atheists instead think it’s fun to denounce and ridicule people’s personal faith, championing the empirical and mocking the masses.
I prefer to sit in the middle. I don’t want to be mean or to question what others hold dear. The problem with standing in the middle is that there’s little argument to make and little community to be found.
Where is the force in being undecided? Who fights for the abstention in the Union? Who consciously campaigns for the centre ground in an election? Politics is fought from the poles (with the polls (in Poland, by the Poles)): debate is divisive.
I do have a friend, however, who has tried to start the movement of ‘militant agnosticism.’ There hasn’t been that much success so far; he just tends to yell, “We definitely don’t know!” in debates with strangers and hopes for the best. It’s an interesting idea, though, to try and lure people to the centre, the apathy, a conscientious ignorance.
I do sort of wish we still had a dominant polytheistic faith like the Greeks and Romans, though. Their gods were very human: easily angered, often jealous, always horny (*cough* Zeus *cough*). They were far from perfect but people just accepted that. And they had lots of fun festivals and feasts.
Plus, they produced lots of really pretty art. As has Christianity, thankfully, after art was sanctioned as useful rather than ‘graven imagery.’ Which makes art galleries significantly more interesting, if a bit heavy on the martyrdoms at times.