What is a Christian Agnostic?

Christian Agnostic is a term that I first saw displayed in the title of Leslie D. Weatherhead's great book, The Christian Agnostic, and it immediately resonated with me. But what exactly is meant by the denotation?

Well, first, I do not use the term agnostic here as is commonly used: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown or unknowable. (While I do assert that the existence of God cannot be known with certainty, I do not use agnostic, in this context, with such a connotation.) Rather, I use the term just as Weatherhead used it:

 [A] person who is immensely attracted by Christ and who seeks to show his spirit, to meet the challenges, hardships and sorrows of life in the light of that spirit, but who, though he is sure of many Christian truths, feels that he cannot honestly and conscientiously 'sign on the dotted line' that he believes certain theological ideas about which some branches of the church dogmatize...His intellectual integrity makes him say about many things, 'It may be so. I do not know'. 

I am a Christian Agnostic in the sense that I feel drawn to the Christian message, and I feel that in Christianity religion reaches its maturity in the person of Jesus; yet, I also feel that some of Christian doctrine is vague, wrong-headed, implausible and perhaps even wrong. Therefore, I am perfectly fine with saying, "I do not see the evidence for doctrine such and such, so I will abstain from believing it"; and this is where Christian Agnosticism finds it's home.

6 comments:

  1. Hi there, I just stumbled across your blog today and find it quite interesting. I was wondering, do you have a list of your favorite books or thinkers on the subject that you could post somewhere? I too am interested in pursuing a more open-minded, intellectually honest, agnostic form of Christianity but find that good resources in this area are hard to come by. Any list you could provide towards that end would be great!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bryan,
    Thanks for the comment, and I apologize for taking so long to respond. I would love to recommend books for you, but I want to know exactly what specific subject you're looking for. Theology, scripture, NT studies,OT studies, philosophy, or all of the above?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Absolutely every single Christian picks and chooses what parts of the Bible they like and don't like. "Agnostic Christian", in the manner you using it, is redundant. You're the same as any other "Christian".

    "Agnosticism is of the essence of science, whether ancient or modern. It simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe." ~ Thomas Huxley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Absolutely every single Christian picks and chooses what parts of the Bible they like and don't like"

      That is really no true. Most Christians will take one road or the other in order to make theology "work". A christian Agnostic approach can let the problem stand. For example one of the hardest questions in Christian Theology is called the 'Crux Theologorum' or Theologians Cross. It is the question "why some but not others?"

      The bible speaks in two ways. It says that God has predestined and chosen those he will save from before time. It also says that man is responsible for his sins and actions, but God wishes them all to be saved. These two ideas do not make sense and appear to contradict .

      The Calvinist will say that God Chooses who is saved and damned based on his own sovereign will, and he ignores part of the bible.

      Rome and most American Evangelicals say that it is the free will of the person to believe or to reject; to sin or to do good works. They also ignore part of the bible.

      I Choose to say "I don't Know" I cannot reconcile the problem and let the problem stand. God does 100% of the work in choosing and saving us, but we are %100 present responsible for our own sin and damnation.

      How does this work... I do not know.

      Delete