I had a friend explain to me that the real meaning of atheist is not a certainty that there is no god but rather that an atheist has no set religious beliefs. Historically, a theist believes in a particular type of god while an atheist, or non theist, acknowledges that god may exist but that we know not god’s form. By that definition I qualify as an atheist but I prefer to call myself a nondenominational agnostic.
A gnostic is one who has knowledge about mystical things. An agnostic is one without knowledge. I think we all are agnostics because what we have is faith that many insist is knowledge. Fundamentalists of every persuasion, including those who know there is no god, all have faith that they are correct and use circular reasoning to prove that theirs is the correct faith. My faith is decidedly agnostic. I believe in a higher power but know not its form.
I have no problem acknowledging a higher power of which I have no understanding. Those that insist that belief in anything but a something from nothing, god-free, coincidental, spontaneous Big Bang Universe are as specious, hard-headed and blinded as those who know that their god is the way, the truth and the light and that having false gods is an abomination against the one true god’s nature.
Our ability to comprehend our infinite universe is incredibly finite. If your concept of god, whether as a disbeliever in god’s reality or as someone certain that you understand god’s “true form” and know god’s wishes as an absolute, then bless you. I think both of these positions are arrogant hubris beyond compare.
It is obvious that human beings try to make sense of our universe as we observe it. Origin myths or stories abound and none of them match our ever advancing understanding of the universe. Of course, in another hundred years we shall all be considered barbarians because of our misconceptions concerning physical science.
We all have myths and fantasies that we hold to be truth. Insisting that a lack of empirical data makes something impossible is not science, it is prejudice. It is the flip side to refusing data because it contradicts the world view that you have embraced.
Do I believe all world views are equally plausible? Of course not. Do I believe that our schools should teach a world view that corresponds most closely to that that agrees with what we can observe physically? Of course yes. But to make the jump that belief in even the possibility of a higher power is anti-science and anti-intellectual simply because we have not captured god’s essence with our primitive tools and tiny minds is a sad commentary on our inability to see just how blind we are.
In the USA each of us is free to worship the god of our choice and I thank God that that includes those who choose to believe in no god. I am no gnostic, I have no knowledge of god, but I do have faith. Faith that there is more to our universe than what we comprehend. Faith that we can learn more, and faith that god exists.
I know not god’s from but I stand firm in my belief that a higher power exists and that we just might advance toward seeing god’s metaphorical face if we just keep not only our five senses but also our hearts, minds and souls open to god’s presence.