Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm an agnostic believer

I like to believe in things that are impossible to prove. I believe that Horton Hears a Who was right about people living on a tiny speck on a flower. On the little J key on my keyboard, I think it’s possible for a really tiny civilization like us to be living.

You think I’m crazy? Prove me wrong. Show me proof that ultra-mega-nano-microscopic people don’t exist. You can’t. There’s no way to know if they exist, but there’s also no way to know that they don’t exist either. You have the choice to believe it or not to believe it. How do you make your decision?

I was hit with the truth about Santa in Kindergarten. I went to a Catholic school, our religion teacher was a 70-year-old nun who actually wore the nun outfit, and she bluntly murdered part of our childhood with “You know Santa is just your mommy and daddy, right?”

I looked for a good opportunity to bring it up to my dad because I knew from movies that parents react funny when kids ask if Santa is real. I popped the question one school morning as I ate my cereal. He said “Of course Santa’s real. Why would she tell you that?” I knew he was lying, and I could tell by the look on his face that the question made him uncomfortable, but if my dad wanted me to believe in Santa, then I would.

I had no real proof of Santa, but I also had no proof that he wasn’t real either. The choice was up to me, and I chose to believe it for years after. I held out until 5th grade when my friends stopped believing and decided that it was time to let go of that part of my childhood. I never saw Santa as something that was definitely real or definitely not real. I saw him as something to believe or not to believe. This is also how I see God.

I believe in God. I believe that there is someone or something that watches over everyone and controls fate. I don’t believe this because I have proof of it. I believe it because I want to believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe it because, like I said about Santa, if there is no way to know the truth, you can choose to believe anything you want. You can make your own truth.

I didn’t think there was a word for the way I think. Last night, I found it. I’m an agnostic theist, someone who doesn’t know if God exists, thinks there is no way to know if God exists, but believes it anyway. That’s the definition of me. I know skeptics who refuse to believe in anything that can’t be proven, but what’s the point? In the end, we will all die, some of us believing that our lives were planned, intentional, and meaningful, and that our souls live on forever, and others that their lives were short blips in time, purposeless, meaningless, and forgettable.

When I decided on the title of this post, I googled "agnostic believer" to see if it was a real thing and I found this. This guy said exactly what I was trying to say, he just did it much better.



  1. I see what you're saying, but I'm going to have to really disagree with you on this issue. I believe that all of the good things in this world are proof that He exists. How else could we have the beauty and harmony that exists in undisturbed ecosystems? What about all the heavenly bodies in the universe? I'm definitely neither a good Catholic nor an environmentalist, but I can't help bu notice that. Sorry, Juliana!

  2. By the way, I still believe in Santa. I've been trying to disprove his existence since 5th grade but I haven't been able to yet. I know that's pathetic, but it's true.

  3. I think that this post is beautiful~

    I bash religion a lot, but I love the idea of it. I love that you can believe something without proof.

    I think you grasp what a lot of people miss when it comes to religion. I think the (initial) point of religion is to remind people the possibilities of the world, not the restrictions as told by some rulebook. To keep people from saying what is and isn't possible, and to explain things that otherwise would remain unexplained. When people came together long, loooong ago, I think they had something like this in mind while writing their scriptures: We don't have the answers, but we believe that someone does.

    This post also means that you aren't one of those insufferable, closed-minded people who /only/ see what their religious text has told them to be true. (By that, I mean EXTREMISTS, not normal religious people. I'm talking about the killers-in-the-name-of-God folk, not the "I go to church every Sunday and follow all the commandments" folk. Those are fine. ^_^")

    Anyway, GLAD YOU FOUND A WORD FOR IT! It's an important thing to be able to let other people know what you believe. This makes your life much easier on that front XD <3

  4. Lauren, I know what you're saying, and I believe that. I do think that the world is so detailed and complex that it's impossible for science alone to have created that. That doesn't directly translate to a belief in God. It doesn't explain why people with 8 kids get divorced, why they end up on the street, why good people die young. There is as much evidence against the existence of a god as there is for one. That's why I feel like it's a belief. God is an abstract concept, and I think the issue is based on faith. Your argument and mine are the difference between gnostic and agnostic theism. ^_^

    I think that's nice you still believe in Santa. I wish I still could. If you can't prove it, don't stop believing it.

    And thanks Melissa! I think that is the point of religion, "to remind people the possibilities of the world." I like it because it opens people up to the possibility that what they see isn't always all there is. It lets people believe that anything's possible and they aren't confined to things that are proven. I think that's pretty amazing, and I don't know how I would live if I believed that seeing is believing. I hate people who think their religious text is the ultimate truth and must be followed even if it means hurting people.

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  7. EXACTLY. I love that letter. XD