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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Spiritual Agnosticism

    "Spiritual agnosticism" is a fitting term to describe a worldview of a growing number of perspicacious pupils.  I started wondering about the term as I read the philosophical rants of academic gudgeons and gowks who eagerly regurgitate what the religious anti-establishment is most recently positing. At first glance, it appears the most cozy of positions.  From this seemingly impervious trench, these self-assured scholars-in-waiting snipe at everything that resembles the traditional, absolutist, or propositional.  Many of these trenches in which they cower look much like ivory towers in which said snipers lay gorged from their intellectual comfort foods laced with the poison of unequivocal uncertainty and absolute ambiguity.  Up there, without the inconvenience of much, if any, life's experience, they wistfully wallow in pits of doubt and skepticism.
    Translation:  We have some young men and women pursuing higher education who are being fed so much doubt and ridicule that they no longer know if they believe anything except that nothing at all is absolutely true or knowable.  They are told, then tell others, that the Bible could not have been accurately delivered and preserved from the mind and will of God through God-inspired men.  
    I confess to being almost completely ignorant about the latest positions held by the erudite philosophers of the world, with their complex and obtuse ideas about God, scripture, doctrine, and theology.  They seem able to come up with a new angle or reason for why what we see in the Bible should not be taken at face value.  They revel in planting seeds of doubt, cynicism, ridicule, and condescension in their tangled gardens.  While most dismiss these philosophical farmers as riding roughly on trackless tractors, there are, tragically, those as gullible as themselves ready to "believe a lie."  They seek an advantage by trying to remain on the offensive, leaving poor, undereducated or uninitiated elders, preachers, and members, as they scornfully see them, scrambling to defend their faith in the face of their gnostic jargon and concepts.
    Perhaps by staying on the offensive, they distract themselves from a flurry of questions that might do more damage to their crops than the seventh plague did to Egypt's. Do they believe God incapable of revealing Himself through the medium of the written word in a way that would stand the test of time and be void of confusion?  If He does not desire to communicate guidance to His creation, what explanation is offered for this? Is there a heaven? How do we know?  Why be faithful to one's spouse; i.e., is there a moral imperative for this? Will there be a judgment?  If not, what motivation is there for man not to yield to his baser nature?  Does one need to worship or assemble together?  How? Why?  How does one determine what moral or religious actions to take?  What content is there to ever make a moral judgment?  Is there right and wrong? What does one say to a person who has suffered the loss of a loved one?  What would one say to a grieving family at a funeral?  What would one say to a happy, hopeful couple at a wedding?  What moral guidance would one use in rearing one's precious children? Would there be absolutes for them? Why be honest or self-controlled?
    If only we could live out life up in that ivory tower, free from that mundane, ordinary place called "real life." If only everyone could spend their entire lives loading their rational rifles, taking shots at what they disdainfully deem "orthodox" and tradition.  Somewhere, some time, their spiritually agnostic theories will be thrown into the refiner's oven.  Its white heat will burn out all the dross and it just might be that all that will be left is ashes.  And misguided lives.
Neal Pollard

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