Monday, June 21, 2010

The Humility of Agnosticism (and other follies of the time)

The majority of the modern West is under the sway (in varying degrees) of the cult of agnosticism, and it is being vigorously intoxicated by its most ridiculous tenet: that the agnostic is the humble man while the dogmatist is the height of arrogance. What makes this tenet ridiculous is that it is an absolute lie. It is the man who makes dogmas, who makes assertions, who comes to conclusions and certainties, that is the humble man; for he sees his dogma and assertions as something that not only binds the world but also himself, being a part of the world. The agnostic, however, may not burden humanity with their beliefs, but neither do they burden themselves, being a part of the world.

I will never understand the utter saturation and infatuation of our culture with the notion that agnosticism equals humility when the reverse is so obviously the truth. Even an atheist, with their own arrogance in tow, is not the least bit arrogant towards their materialism. That is something to which they bow in humble reverence and religious faith as a truth outside of themselves, a truth that is true regardless of how or what they (or any one else) feel, think, or will. The same is true of the believer in regards to God. The agnostic, however, will be bound to nothing except their own will. Theirs is a religion of the exalted self, the deification of subjectivity. There is no law or authority other than themselves, a position that serves as the very definition of arrogance. Humility, however, recognizes and submits to a law and authority outside of itself. If you would be a person of humility, then you must be a person of credulity.

Of course, when I speak of "agnosticism," I am not speaking of honest people with honest doubts and honest questions that need honest answers. Those people are (perhaps whether they know it or not) searching for a truth to bind themselves to; they are mystics seeking to become believers, and thus they exude humility. Thus, when I speak of "agnosticism," I am not referring to those noble souls; rather, I am referring to the professional agnostic, the intellectual prig who sneers at people of faith (both the atheist and theist) and calls that sneer a mark of humility. The truth is that this professional agnosticism is merely a matter of arrogance, an arrogance produced by either (at best) philosophical laziness or (at worse) philosophical cowardice. In either case, they refuse to come to conclusions because the consequences are too costly. If you really believe that something is truth (universally, objectively true), then it has an actual bearing on your life, a bearing that the professional agnostic refuses to bear.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2010

(posters provided by Po-Motivators, from your friends at PyroManiacs)

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