01 March 2010

Expounding On My Agnosticism

Some questions around my departure from the church seem to resurface in various conversations or I at least suspect would if everyone were bold enough (or uncertain in their own beliefs enough) to ask them. I have avoided blogging about these issues for various reasons:
  • I don't feel a need to justify myself. Being agnostic is quirky that way. Some might call that a copout: agnosticism = you don't have to believe in or defend anything, how 'convenient'. I call it intellectually honest: I do believe in many things, but I feel quite free to admit, without fear, what I just don't know or am not convinced of, and admitting that dissolves most "need" to convince anyone (including myself) that I'm right, though I still wish to share positive principles with those who will share.
  • I don't want to get too "heavy" on my blog by focusing on weighty religious matters like apostasy and eternal damnation of my lost soul. It's more fun to just be silly or focus on "the gay thing".
  • Being agnostic, and not staunchly anti-Mormon or anti-religion, I don't have any interest in gaining followers to lead down a path whose end I don't know and may never know. In fact, I'm a little wary of voicing my thoughts, lest someone impressionable should put too much weight on them and make some hasty decisions I wouldn't want on my head, especially should I experience some reawakening of "testimony" and look back on today as a dark, doubtful time in my life. I'd almost prefer to let contentedly LDS people stay contentedly LDS, gently challenging certain ideas I think are destructive but not going on endlessly to rock the boat or pestering them with my aggressive faithlessness.

But as the questions have recurred, I've learned many people share them. I've learned how far outside of their realm of understanding some of my perspectives are. I've learned that I lack some practice in articulating my perspective and have sometimes opted to just say, "I don't know if I can explain it fully right now, but I definitely identify and sympathize with where you're coming from because I've been there, and I can't blame you for not seeing it the way I see it. I may one day be back in a place more like you're in--it might come full circle--but I may not. Just trust that I'm seeking truth and trying to be the most authentic I can. I feel good about it, and I know you probably can't because of your beliefs (I wouldn't have either if someone were telling me this six years ago), and I just don't know what else to say about that right now." But I don't want to shirk questions. I don't want to run away from concerns as if they don't matter or act like I'm on some unattainable journey their feeble minds just couldn't handle. Despite not feeling the need to "explain myself" to everyone distressed by my "path", I also don't want to be condescending or dismissive.

So I'm going to blog about this stuff because I think it does definitely affect and color my perspective regarding things like church authority, morality, how to act or not act on homosexuality, etc. So in response to my reservations listed above, I've decided:
  • While I don't feel driven to justify myself, learning to articulate my perspective may help people understand where I'm coming from, so they may worry just a bit less or at least understand a bit more. And maybe someone out there is experiencing what I am and can identify or gain clarity or share their thoughts with me. And maybe someone will have an idea to offer which may challenge or deepen my understanding if I "vocalize" my thoughts.
  • I enjoy being silly, but not at the expense of being real. I'll try to keep a balance, but I've gotta "get real" sometimes, as is painfully obvious by some of my painfully long posts. :-P
  • I don't feel dark or bleak about my perspective, and in fact have found real beauty and meaning in facing what may be stark reality but makes a lot of sense to me, despite being labeled "loss of eternal perspective" by some. I'm not going to silence myself based on the possibility that I might, one day, have a different or more complete perspective. If we all held back until we knew everything, nobody would know anything. So to all readers: take it with a grain of salt, as you should all personal perspectives.

So I'll address the questions here, probably one-by-one, as I have time and energy to do so. And as fun as it would be to leave a cliff-hanger each time and imagine my readers writhing in anticipatory agony, it will not be so regular, neat, and teasingly serial as some people's blogs. The cuss has me interested too, but I'm about ready to stop reading just to deny him the satisfaction of gaining one more in the gay mormon blog world's Lost-style cult following. *wink*

And with that, stay tuned for the exciting beginning of...lots of boring posts about agnosticness.


Mister Curie said...

I, for one, am already "writhing in anticipatory agony" and that fact that you refuse to be "regular, neat, and teasingly serial" only adds to that agony.

I very much look forward to your posts on agnosticness.

Chedner said...

Puh-lease, gromist, I know you're *all* about trying to justify finding young, impressionable followers with whom to get heavy.

Bravone said...

Anxiously awaiting amazing agnostic articles and antidotes.

D-Train said...

Since I left Mormonism and then religion all together, I feel like I don't really need to justify my lack of superstitious beliefs (as I like to call it).

For me it was more about being objective. Religious leaders always tell you to only focus on what they say/teach and to believe that. I am pretty sure that is the antithesis of objective. For me, I was not just questioning Mormonism, but the whole western Judeo-Christian idea of religion (Did I just say that? Have I really become one of them? Geesh).

Anyway, it seems the biggest challenge that I have faced in trying to explain my lack of religious belief is that most people will not look at things objectively. But alas, I remember what it was like being there, and know from experience that there is nothing you can do make someone objective. It usually will take a life-altering event for people to be shaken free from their personal biases and ideas, and then it takes a very strong and determined individual to analyze their beliefs objectively from there to identify truth.

Adam said...

Sometimes I wonder if I'm agnostic... Does that make me agnostic about my agnosticism?