There's a post at Pandagon
asking about agnostics. Interesting timing, because - given the time of year - I had been crafting in my head a post about my beliefs, if you can call them "beliefs."
I am an agnostic. More than that, my views on God are like that old joke about the difference between ignorance and apathy: I don't know and I don't care.
I say "I don't know" because I don't think I'll ever know - not while I'm alive on this earth - whether there's a god. Besides, I think of religion and even simple abstract spirituality as something taken on faith, not forged with the certainty of knowledge.
I say "I don't care" because regardless of whether God exists, I can't imagine living my life any differently than I do now. I am exceedingly irritated by people who exhort myself and others like me to embrace religion so that we may be guided by "morality." As if the certified and complete absence of a god would turn me into a thieving, backstabbing, hateful individual. It's not fear of punishment that keeps me from harming my fellow man - it's my desire to be a good person, to make a positive mark on the world for the short time I'm in it. I often think about how to be more generous, how to be more understanding, and how to be more patient... whereas I hardly ever even think about whether there is a god, whether Jesus was just an exceptionally kind-hearted person or the Son of God.
I wish I had a better memory. Talking about my "beliefs" reminds me of two things, and I'm sorry I cannot direct you via links to either one. One is the SportsNight
episode in which Natalie is upset that the pope has said there's no hell. She's very agitated by that, until Jeremy reminds her that it doesn't matter. He tells her that the existence or non-existence of hell has no bearing on her life: she is a good person and thus will continue to strive to be good to others.
The second thing is an article by Gregg Easterbrook years and years ago in The New Republic
about religion and existentialism. All I can recall about that piece right now, years later, is the ending. Easterbrook notes at the end of the piece that even the absence of a god does not make our lives here on earth meaningless. Indeed, if this
, if we
are all we have, that makes what we do here, on earth, together and for each other, so incredibly meaningful. I very much agree with that notion. And it's that type of existentialism that guides me through the Christmas hype, the stress, and the general craziness that can afflict us at this time of year.