Tuesday, March 7, 2006
"Is Agnosticism possible?"
Former television talk show host Bob Enyart once said that "A dishonest agnostic says, 'I don't know and I don't want to know.' An honest agnostic says, 'I don't know but I want to know'." With that in mind, here's a very good post by Professor Eric Rasmusen.
I think Rasmusen's challenge can be answered by Enyart's quote. Agnosticism is possible in the short term. If someone truly does not know what the truth is, he will search and try to find whether God (or goddess, or gods) exist, and if there is a Divine Being, which Divine Being is real.
My wife pointed out to me that C.S. Lewis had a very good observation on the deity of Christ. You must believe Jesus was one of three things: lunatic, liar, or Lord. There is no middle ground. If Jesus was/is not Lord, then he is either a lunatic or a liar. (If Jesus was a liar, He was the most successful liar of all time.) An agnostic is looking for the answer of which of those three categories Jesus falls into.
This brings up the Muslim interpretation of Jesus Christ. Muslims say Christ was a prophet, but was (as all other prophets) inferior to Mohammed. However, Jesus cannot be a prophet if he blasphemes Allah by claiming he is one with Allah.
Many "Christians" today practice what is in effect an agnosticism of tolerance. Lacking knowledge of God's word (or, worse, ignoring God's word) they say that someone will go to Heaven if he or she is a good person. They don't want to judge someone, because they do not want to appear mean-spirited.
I cannot think of a more hateful position to take. If you truly believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one comes to the Father but through the Son, you will share the Good News with them. If you lie to them about what you believe, you damn them to eternal Hell Fire. Furthermore, it is important that we do not mistake cowardice for tolerance. Someone who truly believes in the gospel and does not share it because he does not want to be "intolerant" values his own reputation more than the souls of other men and woman.
If there you can get to Heaven (such as being a "good person") in some other way than accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, God the Father is a sadist. Why would He send His Son to suffer and die (not to mention the often-overlooked humiliation of being human in the first place) if that sacrifice was not necessary?
What of Hell? How can you believe in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus and not believe in Hell? If there is no Hell, the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross is worthless. If there is no judgment to be saved from, Jesus did not have to die. Again, this makes God into a sadist who sent His only Son to die a worthless death.
The bottom line is that you cannot pick and choose which parts of God's Word to reject and which parts to believe. God's word is either 100% true or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground.