The Christian Agnostic

When I stared labelling myself as an “Agnostic Christian”, I thought I was being quite clever and original.  The full summary of my ‘religious view’ on my facebook profile says

Agnostic Christian. (Or is that Christian Agnostic? I can’t make up my mind.)

…which was supposed to be clever (can’t make up my mind. Get it?). But it should come as no surprise to me that the idea is far from original. In fact I’ve just discovered a 1965 book called The Christian Agnostic” (Leslie D. Weatherhead) that I’d rather like to get hold of. There’s a fairly long extract here, from which I shall quote just this one section:

I am writing for the “Christian Agnostic,” by which I mean 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; churches from which he feels excluded because he cannot “believe.” His intellectual integrity makes him say about many things, “It may be so. I do not know.”

That may describe me. A bit.

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6 thoughts on “The Christian Agnostic

  1. OldCorpsCPL

    The title “Christian” implies that one relates to Christ. Therefore, a relationship is involved. Whether conservative or liberal in a person’s view of Christ, the church has failed in that it has taught a whole lot about God, but not to know Him. This lack of knowlege of a God who personally relates to us, transcends denominational and non-denominational lines.
    The fact that you are questioning is good. Know this, God loves you, and He cares.

    Reply
  2. Phil Groom

    I tend to describe myself as a Christian Atheist these days. That’s not original either *sigh* — as old Solomon said, there’s nothing new under the sun.

    But the stuff the church spins us about God… well, it just doesn’t mesh with reality, does it? But Jesus: he makes sense. That’s how it seems to me.

    So I’m with you, I think; and this being my third comment here tonight, I’d better shut up and go elsewhere before you ban me. Good to find your blog, though: thanks.

    Reply
  3. Mike Pettit

    If what matters about being a Christina is that we are theologically perfect then I am sure that we all have problems, we truly do see through a glass darkly. Problems with theology manifest themselves in how we approach God’s revelation in light of the Gospel.

    The Gospel can only be understood if you also understand the problem that we as humans face, we have seperated ourselves from God through our rebellion (i.e. sin), we have built idols in our mind that have taken the place of our creator. These idols take many forms (i.e. religion, pleasure) but a key form of rebellion is seeking our own human autonomy. We cannot approach God in any way because the holy cannot exist with the unholy and what is key is that it must be punished, justice is a divine atribute (I accept that this is a bit of a logic jump but bear with me for a while)

    The good news of the Gospel is that we can be reconciled with God because God entered into his creation through the incarnation of our Lord and while sinless he died for the sins of his people. His righteousness was imputed to us and our sins are now punished and we can once again approach God in thankfullness for his great love for us.

    On a side note it is also important to undersatnd why God did this and at a very basic level all we can say is because he wanted to, the more theological explanation is that he did so to glorify himself but as with all theology there is a certain amount of speculation that is important as it helps us understand God (which is what we are here for) but it is not in itself salvific and it will all be made clear in the end anyway.

    So getting back to my original point doubts and fears will alwas be with us in this life, but that is why the Gospel is so wonderful, we do not have to banish doubts or understand all the theological niceties that the Church proclaims, what we have to do is approach God in such a way that we do not elevate our own desire for autonomy above the Gospel message that God has saved his people. Intellectual integrety is a fine concept, but if it becomes an idol whereby we reject God’s revelation because we elevate our own will over God’s then it is a stumbling block:

    “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles”

    Reply
  4. Pingback: 56. truth « A hard and a rock place

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