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.

17 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!

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  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?

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  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

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    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.

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  4. I just started an Agnostic Christian Table Talk Facebook group if anyone is interested to discuss it on a FAcebook group. It is very refreshing to find this blog and I will continue to follow it. Thanks!

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    1. I'm very pleased to find your website. It's great for me as I feel the same. I would be very interested in reading your blog. Many thanks. Jennifer Bate

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  5. That's curious. An Christian Agnostic Blogger. I have just started out as an agnostic blogger. I see politics from a reason filled perspective. Feel free to check it out.

    Let's laugh at the world's stupidities together.

    https://beancellblog.wordpress.com/

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  6. Shusaku Endo's book 'Silence' is worth reading as is the Martin Scorcese film of the same name worth watching. It explores the tension between faith and doubt beautifully!

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  8. When I was a child I went to a Pentecostal church. When I turned 18yrs old I attended the churches of many different religions seeking "The One." None of them felt right and so I stayed home and read my Bible. I am 45yrs old now and have stumbled onto the terms "Agnostic Theist" and "Christian Agnostic" and for the first time in my life, I've found a belief system that feels 100% right! I choose to believe in the Christian God, but I am very much aware that the Bible was written by mankind who is imperfect. I leave room for the possibility that some of the verbiage in the Bible may have been written in error, but that it is the intent that's more important. I also believe that the existence of God is something that cannot be proved or disproved by mankind. I believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but I do not believe that God and Jesus are the same being. Someone commented on here earlier that most Christians pick and choose parts of the Bible they like and that Christian Agnostics are no different from regular Christians. I disagree with that comment as I do not believe in the Trinity, I do not believe mankind can prove/disprove God's existence and I do not mind someone questioning a passage in the Bible. I think the difference between a Christian and a Christian Agnostic/Agnostic Theist, is that Christian Agnostics leave room for error, do not preach one specific faith and may include science in their beliefs.

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  9. Hi, just came across your blog as I typed Christian agnostic into my search engine.
    That term best expresses where my head and heart are at at the present time. Having lost my wife almost a year and a half ago, my wife and I were both Christians and we divided our time between the Catholic and Pentecostal churches for the past twenty years, but now I find myself in a difficult position as an agnostic. I put up a simple blog lately related to the topic. https://questadlucem.blogspot.com/ I am struggling hard with the concept of a loving God......hence the Agnostic Prayer on my simple blog. Thank you sir.

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  10. What are your thoughts on the type of religion to practice if you consider yourself to be a Christian agnostic?

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  11. This will probably get complicated. I'm in the throes of a huge disruption in my faith perspective. But Whitehead's definition of a Christian agnostic resonates. My story: Grew up in a mainline church, felt called to be a pastor, have done so since the early 70s. I follow contemplative spiritual practices, which have led to deeply profound insights and outright healing, for which I am grateful to the Divine. But for sometime,I have sensed that this Divine has been displaced by humanity's mastery for both creativity and destruction. We have become as gods. Besides the Universe is too grand to be defined by any of the limited perspectives of any particular earth based religions. And yet...I continue to believe that the Way of Jesus is our hope for redeeming humanity's flaws, my flaws. I continue to open myself to this mysterious process of a spiritual voice and presences that seems to come from beyond me, whose purpose is to make me more like Jesus. I attend worship where I can commune each week. I pray the Psalms, study the scriptures and listen in silence. I pray the Prayer of St. Francis. I seek to do good with environmental activism and social justice activities. I grieve the loss of my earlier faith; I fear how fragile this all feels. But I am trying to be the best, most authentic human I can be: by loving after the manner of Jesus.

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  12. Nice Blog to read. I always love to read books about Christianity. I promote the Christian Events and education with the students and adults because of its benefits. Being a christian , I believe that everyone should love Christianity as it pure and motivate you to keep positive vibes in oneself.

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