Christian Agnostic

July 29, 2009

I think I am going to start identifying myself as a Christian Agnostic. What does this mean, you may well ask? Well, as if “agnostic” wasn’t vague enough already, “Christian Agnostic” means almost nothing at all. Which I think is perfect, because then it means whatever I want it to.

It’s Christian because I still hold to the apostles’ creed. It’s agnostic because I think that many of the questions that draw lines between Christians – be they Calvinist, Charismatic, Catholic or otherwise – are not only unanswerable, but unimportant. Mostly it’s a way of saying, “I’m not an evangelical.” I think there used to be room for people like me in Evangelicalism, but with all those Calvinist neo-puritan types doing their best to push us out, this seems to be the best place for a refugee.

More seriously, I think the biggest shift I’m making is an epistemological one. That is, away from “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” and towards “be Holy, for I am Holy”. Life is just too short and there’s too much at stake to not be pragmatic about living a Christlike life … And stopping to answer questions like “would God let women preach” is not pragmatic. That is to say, we weren’t put here to waste our energy on stuff like that.

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8 Responses to “Christian Agnostic”

  1. nocodad Says:

    Who defines what is pragmatic? You?

  2. Ben Says:

    Yep, pretty much. If you want to decide what’s pragmatic for yourself, be my guest.

    • nocodad Says:

      Well then, if a person decides its pragmatic to rob you of all of your possessions and kill you and all of your family, you would support them in their ideology I hope since you believe anyone can decide what is pragmatic for them right?

  3. bon82 Says:

    Pragmatism has to be an individual thing. It is defined as having to do with the practical. What is practical for one person is their own business. Simply acknowledging this does not imply that one is condoning any behavior another considers practical.

  4. Ben Says:

    Yep. It’s not about meta-narrative, relativism or anything. It’s about personal responsibility. I think my approach is more one of faith that the civil religion you are hoping to defend. I believe in God, but don’t expect that I’m going to have all the answers or that He will always be as I or others expect. On the other hand, the conservative approach seems to have a real clear idea what God should be, but perhaps less confidence he’s actually going to show up? This is why they’re always trying to get social pressure, dogma, civil structure, law and order, whatever else, to fill his shoes.

  5. Annalee Says:

    i just recently read something by David Dark that made me think the same thing. using “agnostic” in its original sense, meaning “without knowledge”, not necessarily in how we’ve termed people who don’t believe in God. we’ve started lumping agnostics and atheists into the same group, and neither of them want to be grouped with the other.

    i simply use it to say, “look, i believe in Christ and what he came to do and that he is who he says he is. but i believe that by faith, not by knowledge. beyond that, i don’t know anything”. and honestly, do i need to? that should be enough. i grew up trying to convert my christian friends of other denominations rather than just loving people. that’s just silly. like any of us really KNOW. we do what we BELIEVE to be the right thing.

    carry on brother. you’re not alone. it’s just going to take a while for people to understand.

  6. thelegend9185 Says:

    I recently decided to do the same thing. In my late teens I was very conflicted with the distinction between what I learned in church on sundays, and what I fundamentaly believed about the nature of our existence. How could I explain my appreciation for the stories of the bible, and the lessons they taught, even though I mostly believe them to be fictional, or at the very least highly exagerated and modified from the original events.

    I played around at first with the idea of calling myself an Agnostic Theist, but came to decide that didn’t convey the respect I still have for my Christian views. I believe in what Christ stands for, whether he did all the things he’s credited with, I don’t know, and neither does anyone else. I believe in god, and I believe god is more dimensional than a 600 page book.

  7. Eric Says:

    Sorry I’m a bit late to the party. Just noticed your post.

    I think a lot of the questions we Christians argue over don’t really have answers. In that sense I would also call myself agnostic — it’s useless wrangling and I agree not practical.

    Perhaps we also often ask the wrong questions.

    Theologians in Jesus’ day argued over who might be bad enough to deserve eternal punishment (hell) as opposed to temporary punishment. Jesus told them their thoughts and attitudes made them worthy of hell. Meanwhile he partied with prostitutes, tax collectors and other “sinners”. He remained friends with them even while encouraging them and everyone he met to change their lives.

    How you can read such exploits of Jesus and merely argue over theology? How can you still be comfortable with your life? How can you fail to fall in love with him, cling to his mercy and be excited about the plans he has for you?


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