Agnosticism is unique in that it claims to know what it doesn’t know. The ‘belief system’ within the mind of the Agnostic is an odd paradox and is prophetically relevant as it reflects the spiritual health of societies. Likewise, it is essential that we understand its implications and rapid growth. I realize that the word “agnostic” is a bit overran and doesn’t garner many style points in contemporary prophetic circles, but has the power, deception, and lure of agnosticism weaved its way into the base fabric of western culture? I believe it has to a tremendous degree and tightening its grip upon the minds of millions. Not only has agnosticism become popular – it has become the education standard of indoctrination for students within the grip of secular curriculum promoted by soft skilled academic elites. As the last two generations have moved into adult society, a large number are suffering from a self inflicted disease known as agnosia which is the inability to process sensory information. Often there is a loss of ability to recognize objects, persons, sounds, shapes, or smells while the specific sense is not defective nor is there any significant or biological memory loss. Spiritual agnosia produces the same symptoms – although all of the God-given sensory tools are present, the reality of the spiritual realm has become lost in a cloak of invisibility.
Agnosticism wears many masks and presents itself in many different institutions, but there is a similar theme in each expression of its efforts in obtaining truth. I can summarize the assault of agnosticism as the impaling and blinding of the modern mind. Basically, the agnostic deception is an overt attempt to convince someone to accept a certain position on the basis that if he does so, he will be able to escape the difficult, painful, and apparently futile quest to think through issues and sift through evidence in order to find out what is truth. There is an embedded promise in modern culture that if a certain line of thought is followed, it will allow one to sidestep this tedious and difficult process and arrive more quickly at a ‘comfortable’ truth that aligns with our flesh nature.
Western culture, as well as most of the world’s population in general today to a large degree are agnostic in thought. This should be a hard pill to swallow as various forms of media and academia exacerbate the agnostic revolution. Modern culture has sunk into the comfortable saddle of common opinion that while we can know what is true in matters pertaining to the natural world, we cannot know what is true in matters beyond the natural world or that which pertains to the spiritual world. In other words, humanity can know objective and even subjective truths about your pet dog, backyard plants, stars, human beings and even atomic particles. However, realities such as God, spiritual beings, angels, prophetic revelation from a divine source are off the table for intelligent discussion in regard to their reality.
Simply put, agnostics love the easy way out from the deep questions that require answering and bring meaning to life – even that which transpires after life as we know it on the big blue planet. Similar to our fast food culture of having it served our way – the rhetorical and educational devices of the hour is to make agnosticism look appealing and acceptable. The agnostic version and chapter of deception has prophetically played out on the stage of life and is worthy of an academy award:
Actor 1: “Do you see all of those squabbling people in the world, arguing back and forth endlessly with one another over questions like: Does God exist? What is the one true religion in the world?, Is the Bible really the words of God Himself?, What is really sin – Isn’t it subjective to one’s own view? How can there be a place of hell and a loving God…etc.”
Actor 2: Can’t you see how hopeless it is that there will ever be any conclusion or consensus reached in these kinds of matters? After all, people have been arguing about these kinds of things for thousands of years and we are no closer to reaching a consensus now than we were thousands of years ago. It’s obvious from all of the continual disagreement and contention that mankind simply cannot know what the truth really is. Therefore, we should be agnostic on these kinds of issues. That is obviously the right way to go since we don’t really know.” After all, isn’t this the easiest way out for mankind? After all, isn’t it easier to just be spiritually ignorant even though eternity hangs in the balance? Again, like fast food – we want the answers our way, popular, and fast with little regard of how it affects the health of mankind down the road.
Aren’t you tired of constantly having to figure out what’s really true while dealing with all of these different points of view and arguments? Aren’t you tired of having to find out what truth really is and if absolute truth exists? Don’t you know that we have a pill for everything now in our modern world? If you’re one of these chronic sufferers and your head aches – There is a way out! You don’t have “think”anymore! Just look around at all the disagreement, and declare that since there is disagreement it is obvious that nobody really knows… So, just simply embrace agnosticism and forget about it! Take two agnostic pills a day in accordance with the easy social instructions and you’ll see results in less than 30 days or your money back! Several scientific and clinical studies back up our claim and side affects are mild…Until you die that is. After all, agnosticism is a unique drug for the mind in that it claims to know what it doesn’t know at all!
On a more serious note, the position of the agnostic and their point of view (if you want to call it that) is that it is an illusion. The agnostic position is not above the fray and is simply another expression of the dissension, disagreeing positions within the fray. It is not as though Christianity is a distinct position that must be argued for, and Judaism is another such position, and Buddhism another, etc., while agnosticism is somehow a neutral party in the controversy who gets to win by default or detente. Agnosticism is simply one more distinct position, and it has to be established by good reasons just as much as any other view does. It is true that it can be difficult to maintain a justified position on a controversial matter as folks are defensive by nature. A trapped animal would assume to mangle or chew its own arm off to escape, rather than to submit to the reality of the trap. We cannot put people in a defensive posture and expect good things to happen – They will mangle their own natural minds rather than to submit to spiritual truth. Ones has to deal with arguments from other positions, respond to objections, present evidence weighed against the alleged evidence of other claims, etc. But taking an agnostic position does not exempt one from having to go through this normal process that all other views must travel. A person taking the agnostic position must deal with arguments from non-agnostic points of view, respond to objections, and present evidence weighed against the alleged evidence of other claims as well. In order to establish agnosticism as a justified opinion, one has to have reasons to reject the alleged evidences and the arguments coming from all the non-agnostic views.
Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and people of all viewpoints, present arguments for their positions. If I am a Christian, and I want to know that my Christian position is justified, I must know why these other viewpoints are not justified, and that involves KNOWING where and why their arguments fail. Similarly, if I am an Agnostic, and I want to know that my agnostic position is justified, I must know why all the non-agnostic positions are not justified, and that involves knowing where and why their arguments fail. Agnosticism claims to provide a glorious shortcut around this required process of thinking and weighing arguments, but it does not.
Sadly, this weird and overtly secular ‘shortcut’ of reasoning presents itself between Roman Catholics and Protestants and also between Eastern Orthodox and Protestants. To paint a picture, let me quote from a chapter of a book called Surprised by Truth which is a Roman Catholic apologetic book that contains the testimonies of a number of people who have converted to the Roman Catholic Church. The following excerpt is from the chapter by Bob Sungenis:
“The more I thought about it the more I began to see that the theory of sola scriptura had done untold damage to Christendom. The most obvious evidence of this damage was Protestantism itself: a huge mass of conflicting, bickering denominations, causing, by its very nature of ‘protest’ and ‘defiance,’ an endless proliferation of chaos and controversy” (p. 118-119).
“God has given the protesters what they wanted – and much more: one long, continuous line of protesters: protesters protesting against the Catholic Church and protesters protesting against their fellow protesters. This plague of ‘protestantism’ has spawned thousands of quarreling sects. Time itself has shown that Protestantism is not God’s plan for his Church, but rather, is a dismal failure. . . . As a Catholic, I am now at peace, away from the roiling controversies of Protestantism, secure in the consolation of the truth” (p. 132).
Sungenis, by joining the Roman church, is now above the fray and away from quote; the “roiling controversies of Protestantism.” The problem is that the Roman church is not above the fray of disagreeing denominations at all; it is simply one option among many within the fray. I am personally a Non-denominational Christian who embraces both the words of God through the Bible as true as well as the miracles that are demonstrated in the Bible. Why? Because the faith to believe and embrace Christ as unadulterated truth is the catalyst that brings what is unseen (spiritual realities) into what is seen (natural realities) and exposes the flaws of the Agnostic along with rejecting the settlement of not knowing. How did I come to these convictions? I examined the available evidence, weighed the numerous conflicting claims, and came to a concrete conclusion as to what I KNOW is true and right. How did Sungenis decide that Roman Catholicism is correct? How could he have? Assuming he chose it for rational reasons (which I certainly do not assume), he must have followed the same basic models and methodology I used to arrive at Non-demonationalism. Becoming a Roman Catholic does not exempt one from having to examine conflicting claims, weigh arguments and evidence, and then come to a conclusion based on one’s best analysis of the state of the evidence. Sungenis is no more above the fray than I am. We’ve both come through the very same social fray to embrace our different conclusions in regard to belief in what is not seen by natural eyes.
Sungenis cites the many different Protestant denominations that exist as proof that the Bible is too unclear to use in obtaining a clear conclusion in unseen matters. Whereas, he says, we should just give up listening to the Bible and believe what the Roman church says instead. At the end of the day, this is no more than the same cheap and easy shortcuts used by the Agnostic. In other words, you don’t have to spend all that time and effort wading through conflicting biblical interpretations; you can just believe whatever Rome or even your pastor says and be done with it. But this is also just another illusion, for if we are to be rational and true to cause, we must have some reason to think that Rome or the pastor is trustworthy. I know first hand, that not everyone thinks it is, including that mass of Protestant denominations, as well as myriads of other religions and social worldviews. If the existence of differing Protestant or Charismatic denominations implies that my conclusion from the biblical evidence that Non-denominational Christianity if in fact is true but unreliable, then why doesn’t the existence of differing religions imply that Sungenis’s conclusion from the evidence that Romanism is true but also unreliable as well? This is exactly what the Agnostics desire to claim, as we saw earlier. Sungenis is doing the same thing that the Agnostics do, except he’s using the social shortcut to get him to Romanism instead of to Agnosticism. If we pause to think deeply about it – it’s the same line of reasoning, with the same deception that carries man away from a personal relationship with God and truth. In order to be justified in concluding that my belief system is true, I had to go right through the fray of disagreements, examine the evidence and the conflicting arguments, and on the basis of this evaluation decide what is really true and genuine. Sungenis must do exactly the same thing to establish Romanism, and the Agnostics must do exactly the same thing to establish Agnosticism. There are no social and spiritual shortcuts. Ultimately, these shortcuts always circumvent the path which leads us directly to a face to face encounter with the One who is invisible to natural eyes but holds the keys to an naturally abundant life.
I have many dear Mormon friends, but they love and embrace the social shortcut with open arms as well. It is also one of their key arguments, going all the way back to their founder, Joseph Smith:
“My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others. In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it? While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible”
Hopefully, you are now catching the drift or wave of the message. “Look at all the mass of differing denominations!”, says Smith. “Obviously, this disagreement proves that it is impossible to understand the Bible.” So what was Joseph Smith’s way out of the fray? He went out to the woods and asked God which sect was true, and according to him, God and Christ appeared to him and told him that none of the sects were true and that he needed to start a new church which would restore the true Church of Jesus Christ. But how do we know that Joseph didn’t just conjure all of this stuff up, or that he wasn’t himself deceived in some way? It was certainly not by studying the Bible which would bring us back into the ever to be feared fray that I have highlighted often. No, the way we are supposed to find out is by praying about it and then trusting the positive feelings, goosebumps, or flesh centered emotions that we get telling us that it’s all true. However, could it be that feelings and emotions in and of themselves are deceptive?
Dammit, we just need to stop asking questions! You’re bringing us back into the fray! Just stop questioning and believe what you were first told by whom you first trusted or respected in some degree whether behind a school desk or pulpit! Aren’t you tired and growing weary of having to go through the laborious process of weighing evidence and conflicting arguments? Have no fear for there are a multitude of cults out there who will ease your poor and labored soul! But isn’t this the same catch and trap of the mind that we’ve seen before? Mormonism is not really above the fray; it is yet one more option in the fray. And the only shortcut to get to it, like all the other shortcuts offered in these matters, requires the abandonment of one’s reason and search for ultimate spiritual truth which always points to the Kingdom and Government of God.
Finally, we must also recognize the shortcuts in evangelical Christian circles as well. How often do we hear something like this: “There are some people who think that infants ought to be baptized. There are some people who think they should not be. There are some people who believe in speaking with tongues. There are people within the church that believe it’s demonic. There are some people who believe we should tithe 10% of our gross income. There are some people who believe the tithe is no longer warranted in the New Covenant and we should give according to how we are led by the Spirit. Obviously, since there is disagreement here, the right answer is to say that both sides are equally acceptable! You can baptize or refrain from baptizing. You can speak in tongues or refrain from speaking in tongues. You can tithe or choose not to tithe and it’s all okay and cool with God! Those who think both sides are okay try to present themselves as neutral and above the fray. But really, this opinion is nothing other than merely a third option in the fray, and it must establish itself by weighing evidence and conflicting arguments just as much as any other side. Whether the Bible requires infants to be baptized, forbids infants to be baptized, or considers it okay to baptize or refrain from baptizing infants, the true position can only be established by the painstaking duty of actually examining what the Bible says and weighing contrasting arguments, rather than declaring one point of view and victor by default. There is no more reason to simply default to the view that the Bible allows both baptizing and not baptizing infants than there is to default to the view that the Bible requires or forbids infant baptism. None of these positions is any more likely or unlikely a priori. Any conclusion reached here requires an examination of the actual evidence. There is no shortcut regardless how small the matter (infant baptism) or large the matter (salvation through Christ onto eternal life). We must come to a concrete conclusion of these important questions within the social fray and the integrity of the social fabric that holds societies together.
A concrete belief on many levels is being demanded of us. Your beliefs, quality of life, and destiny does not ride upon the coattails of religion and academia…It rides upon the truth of what resides in your heart when you seek after truth with all of your heart. I am confident that you will reach the same conclusion that many others have reached in recognizing the love and compassion of Jesus Christ our Lord. What other secular or religious system exhibit such a deep, personal, and sacrificial love? What other man or “god” came in humility to its own creation and exhibit such a sacrifice that we could have eternal life? What other god in the annals of mankind came to stand in its place and accept the ravages of sin upon himself besides Jesus Christ?
Our first breath at birth was the first of a finite amount that will soon come to an abrupt end. Maybe, this season in our lives is the birthing point of weaving through the fray of opinions and beliefs and coming to place of realization that we are treasured and loved by something far greater than ourselves or any other. Your consciousness, memories, love and hate cannot be fabricated by the mere random joining of particles and atoms. The Agnostic would simply believe evolution due to its ease. However, it is mathematically impossible for man to have come from the dust and elements of the Earth without the hand God to form him with consciousness. Likewise, you just can’t get matter to love without an original source of love. You have been beautifully and wonderfully made by a loving Creator…Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to enter into the fray with resolve, faith, and the expectation of miracles – whatever your circumstance may be. My hope for you and yours is that this season will be a defining moment in obtaining truth which will set you free from all of the voices in the world that would attempt to kill your faith, hope, and love.