Aug 03, 2010 - 2:38 am
"Wooden Ships" (CSNY reference)
Since the time I have been old enough to reason, let's say 40 years ago as I am now 54, I have been an agnostic, which is to say, not an unbeliever but an un-knower.
It is not something I am proud of, but it is also not something I am ashamed of. It simply is. I simply am, I guess I should say. Agnostics do not insist on much, generally. We do not, for example, insist that there is no god. We do not, on the other hand, insist that there is a god. We insist on one thing only: um, we don't know.
To be honest, it is not a great place to be. Having been raised a Roman Catholic, given the opportunity to bolt only when I reached some mysterious maturity in my father's mind at the age of 13, an opportunity I grabbed by the horns, pardon the seeming blaspheme, I have always had a sort of admiration for those of true belief, even a longing, to be honest. I think that life would be a lot more fun, a lot more hopeful, with a god in it. It would be more meaningful.
A life without a god is a life where one has to create one's own ethics, one's own morality, one's own MEANING. It can be troublesome if one is too thoughtful.
I am too thoughtful.
But this is not to describe nor lament agnosticism. It is what it is, after all.
No, this is about a thought that some of us who are agnostic have, wondering if, as we grow older, closer to the end, we will capitulate, if it can be called that, if we will suddenly 'believe' and if it can be called that, if it can then be called belief.
I bring it up because of late I have been considering. I read a lot. I read in a lot of disjointed places, some of them having to do with math or physics or astronomy. I read a lot. I may read too much, although I never thought that possible.
In my reading I find that I am amazed by the possibilities. It is becoming harder and harder for me to stay on this fence that I tiptoe along. I am certain that I will never fall on the side of atheism. It is unfathomable: the concept is illogical to the max, in so much as it pretty much declares the believer that there is no god to be god (you can only know there is no god if you know all, yourself, which makes you all-knowing, which is one of the traits of a god).
But I may fall on the other side. And here's the thing: I will likely never be a christian or a jew or a muslim or any other -ist, any more than I will be an atheist. It just doesn't hold holy water. But I may become a believer. I may come to believe in a higher power. Why? The more you know, the more it is simply not comprehensible. It is just too frigging much. Too large, too beautiful, too wonderful, too much.
Black holes? Parallel universes? Chaos theory? String theory? Wave/particle theory? Love? Life? Death? Music? Art? Thought? Too much.
What bothers me is that I have always been concerned that as I got older, or closer to death, as the case may be, I would perhaps succumb as others I have known have done, that I would 'decide' to jump over to the 'good' side at the last minute and this, though it also feels like revelation to me, has that feel, like I am bailing on some givens in the name of comfort. It is not comfortable.
I remain in the grey area. But I am teetering.