Agnosticism is the ultimate stupidity and wickedness because it doesn’t so much reject God as ignore him. If I were God, I’d be more angry at such cold indifference than anything else…

“Either God is, or he is not. But to which view shall we be inclined? Reason cannot decide this question. [Remember that Pascal’s Wager is an argument for skeptics.] Infinite chaos separates us. At the far end of this infinite distance [death] a coin is being spun that will come down heads [God] or tails [no God]. How will you wager?” The agnostic says, “The right thing is not to wager at all.” Pascal replies, “But you must wager. There is no choice. You are already committed [embarked].” I think Pascal is right, and this is why agnosticism is the worst idea that ever entered the mind of man.

As Pascal points out, we must choose. Agnosticism is not really an option, for we must act, not just think, in this life, and all action is either for or against the Good, that is, God. All actions either are oriented to and motivated by love, or they are not. (I mean voluntary, deliberate, and significant actions here—sneezing or putting on one’s pants in the morning might be safely considered neutral!) If God is love, then there can be no real neutrality. Now, Pascal was wrong that the human mind cannot know God, as Vatican I authoritatively teaches us, but he was right about the impossibility of existential neutrality with regard to God. And of course, Pascal’s wager is only a rough start for those who have little else than their self-interest to motivate themselves. One must go deeper.

It’s pretty simple, really. If you choose to live as if love does not exist, then you will have to accept the consequences: a loveless life and a loveless afterlife. Whether life ends in this world or goes on, you are not going to have love either way, for unconsciousness surely is not love, and if there is indeed life after death, well, you reap what you sow—why would you choose love in the afterlife if you rejected it in this one?

So, agnosticism is not just a bad idea—it is the most foolish of choices. Atheism, I think, might be the more noble gesture, perhaps, if it meant something like a protest against seemingly unnecessary suffering, a la, Ivan in The Brothers Karamozov. But, then again, it’s a spiritually dangerous protest if it doesn’t eventually resolve into the “good atheism” of rejecting all idol-worshipping religion and belief (which is what much of contemporary “religion” amounts to), and finally into a robust belief in the living God who ultimately transcends our human concepts and practices (though one must not discount the possibility of beliefs and practices that are divinely authorized and provided to us as spiritual lifelines to an otherwise ineffable and unapproachable divinity).

So, both agnosticism and atheism are ultimately tantamount to disbelief in love. I think agnosticism is a worse idea than atheism, as I say, for it would seem that there is more mercy available for the hot-blooded atheist than the luke-warm believer—Jesus talked about vomiting the latter, not the former, out of his mouth. Though of course, “The Fool says there is no God.” Perhaps some morally good atheists are actually rejecting a false notion of God that they do not realize is false, and hopefully, the love of truth that motivates this rejection will eventually turn into a recognition of the true God before the end. The same cannot be said for the agnostics, who believe and reject nothing. I seem to remember Dante suggesting that neither heaven nor hell wanted them.

One only believes in what one has a nature akin to. So, if one disbelieves in love enough to remain unmoved by it, as the agnostic does, it means his soul is lacking in love. Deliberate, conscious agnosticism, then, is really a moral, not primarily intellectual, decision—to live without love. The will is in charge in all belief, for it is not totally bound by the intellect that informs it. These mutually influence each other. Thus, real, deliberate and conscious agnosticism is a grave sin, not to be excused by ignorance, though invincible ignorance is a legitimate excuse. But this does not excuse a lack of love, just a lack of true belief. The agnostic has no excuse.

To demand proof of love, of God, as the agnostic does, is to reject love and to reject God. This is what Adam and Eve essentially did in distrusting God’s love. They had no “reason” to reject it. This is why the consequences of their actions were so grave—and all of us are mysteriously bound up in their original distrust. We sinned with them. They were the first agnostics.

The seemingly unnecessary suffering of innocents is the best reason, if there actually were one, to reject God’s love, whether in agnosticism or atheism. This is the best argument for disbelief or neutrality, in my opinion. But it ultimately fails. One must never stare into the abyss that our sins have created, else risk damnation in despair, for evil is not there for us to solve with our clever minds or condemn God for as if he were somehow ultimately responsible. We must, instead, keep our eyes fixed on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ and hold on to him for dear life in the midst of the evils that would otherwise suffocate our souls and eclipse all the beauty and love that this world still contains. Agnosticism is the ultimate stupidity and wickedness because it doesn’t so much reject God as ignore him. If I were God, I’d be more angry at such cold indifference than anything else.

The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.

All comments are moderated and must be civil, concise, and constructive to the conversation. Comments that are critical of an essay may be approved, but comments containing ad hominem criticism of the author will not be published. Also, comments containing web links or block quotations are unlikely to be approved. Keep in mind that essays represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Imaginative Conservative or its editor or publisher.

Leave a Comment
Print Friendly, PDF & Email