Thursday, June 15, 2017

Agnosticism: The Divine "Maybe"

Temple of Doubt and Hope, Gothenburg, Sweden, Kent Karlsson. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Accessed Jun 3, 2017.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 
-Max Ehrman "The Desiderata"

In the beginning, there was the smell of the polished wooden pew and the light streaming through the glorious stained glass windows of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, prayers at bedtime, and my illustrated children's Bible that omitted the more bloodthirsty details. I was five years old when I experienced my first questions about creation while coloring a Tyrannosaurus Rex in my coloring book: Which came first? The dinosaurs or God?

My scrupulosity was wired with an obsessive-compulsive anxiety. On a hike with my father as a preteen girl, I wanted to know if we would at least make it to the 5:00 p.m. Mass. He pointed out that we were in nature, which was more than sufficiently worshipful. I seethed all the way uphill, hoping that I was covered by last week's attendance if a mountain lion suddenly appeared to eat me and dispatch me to the hereafter.

In adulthood, I strayed from Catholicism and became a church-hopping Goldilocks sampling all the Protestant denominations. This church was too big, too small, too hot, too cold, too hard, and too soft. It was never just right, but if I could find a church to meet my precise needs, I would be comfortable and my doubts could be assuaged.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines an agnostic as :a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly: one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god.

Here are some books for seekers of all or no denominations:

Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto by Lesley Hazleton

Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening by Stephen Batchelor 

Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch

Divinity of Doubt: The God Question by Vincent Bugliosi

The Good Book: A Humanist Bible by A.C. Grayling 

In Praise of Doubt: How to Have Convictions Without Becoming a Fanatic by Peter L. Berger and Anton C. Zijderveld

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