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The Folly of Agnosticism

By Dennis Pollock


Atheism is the most irrational of all philosophies. For a puny man or woman, with limited knowledge and intelligence, to make a universal declaration that there is no Creator, and that he or she is 100 percent certain of this, is the height of arrogance. A true atheist will say there is no God; an agnostic will say, "I doubt there is," or "I am really, really skeptical about God." And in most cases, if you push an atheist hard enough on this point they will back off and admit that, though they cannot be 100 percent certain, they are confident that we are Creator-less. We are a cosmic accident drifting through life with no purpose, and soon we will die and rot in the ground, after living out our futile, short years of a totally meaningless joke of a life.


They will suggest that this is so "self-evident" that any reasonable person should see things the way they do. But if the idea of God not existing is so self-evident, why do the vast majority of people believe He does exist? They obviously have missed the "self-evident" memo!


But once atheists retreat from their cloak of atheism and admit that there is perhaps an infinitesimally tiny chance that there may be some kind of Creator, they open up a can of worms. If there is some chance of God after all, what are the odds? They will suggest that the odds of God's existence are ridiculously small. But is anyone so incredibly brilliant, so wise, so intellectually superior that he can give odds on whether God exists? Is it one percent, two percent, twenty percent? Any sensible person would acknowledge that none of us is smart enough to give odds on God! The reality is this: there are only two options. Either God exists or He does not exist. Agnostics say, "We don't see any evidence for God." Christians say, "We see all kinds of evidence for Him."


This business of evidence for God is a big deal with the agnostics and atheists. Indeed, it is behind all their arguments. They will frequently tell you, "Until I see some compelling evidence for God, I will not believe." But what kind of evidence is it that they really want? Do they want Him to knock on their door and tell them, "Here I am! Do you believe in Me now?" The fact that we cannot see God does not prove He does not exist. The Bible calls God "the King eternal, immortal (and) invisible." The fact that you cannot see Him proves nothing, one way or the other. Just because you don't see God, but you can see your cousin Billy-Bob, does not prove that Billy-Bob is real and God is not.


"Never Seen Him"


Some agnostics may protest: "Not only have I never seen God, but I've never felt Him. He's never made Himself known through my senses." That may be so, but millions of Christians will testify that they have indeed felt His presence moving in their hearts. I certainly have. So if you have one group of people saying they have never felt God and another huge group of people saying that they have felt him, does this automatically prove that those who never feel Him are correct to suggest that therefore He does not exist. And those who say they have felt Him must surely be deceived? What if it is the other way around?


Some agnostics suggest that the real proof that God does not exist is the fact that people suffer, sometimes terribly in this life. If there is really a kind and good Creator, He would never allow anyone to suffer! But this supposes that we have the right to define how God should act and what He should allow. If God is God, He must do this and not that. He must never allow suffering or pain, and our lives must be pleasant from birth to death.


Christians see things differently. We believe, through the words of our Lord Jesus, that we are going to live forever. That means that a billion, trillion years from now, we will still be alive and well, and enjoying the benefits and blessings Jesus purchased for us by His death on the cross and His resurrection. This earthly life usually lasts somewhere between sixty to ninety years. After that comes eternity which lasts… well, forever. And if, for reasons we don't understand, our earthly life involves a little suffering or a huge amount of suffering, compared with the billions and trillions and quadzillions of years of happiness and joy ahead of us, we will accept some difficulties in this life. We don't like to suffer any more than the atheists do, but we have hope that when the dirt is being tossed over our coffin, we will be in an indescribably  better place, and it will last forever and ever.


Evidence of God


Let's get back to the business of evidence for God, the evidence which the agnostics say does not exist. I will grant that we should expect that if there is a God, and if He has expectations for the people He has created, and if He cares for them, He would indeed give evidence for Himself, so that we might both know Him and know what He expects of us. There should be significant evidence for God. And indeed, there is all the evidence any unbiased individual would ever need. But the key word here is "unbiased."


God reveals Himself to men and women in several ways. He reveals Himself through His creation. The Bible says, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays His handiwork. ​​​​​​​Day after day it speaks out; night after night it reveals His greatness… its voice echoes throughout the earth; its words carry to the distant horizon" (Psalm 19:1-4). If you find a watch, you know someone must have at some point created that timepiece. It didn't just appear out of nothing. It surely has a creator. And so with our beautiful world, and all the billions of people who live on it. All of creation does not merely whisper but shouts triumphantly: "We are the handiwork of God!" The majority of all people who have ever lived believed this. While atheists and agnostics angrily deny it, denial does not negate that which is true. Some strange folks deny that the holocaust ever happened, but their unbelief does not negate a historical reality.


But God never speaks by only one witness. A second witness of God is the book we know as the Bible.  When God decided He wanted to make Himself known to the people He created, He began by speaking to a single man named Abraham. And from that obscure beginning God began to reveal Himself to the world. Abraham had many descendants who came to be known as the Jews. All the other people of Abraham's day were idol worshipers and believed in many gods, but Abraham and his descendants followed one God, who was invisible. The Jewish people were highly literate and excellent record keepers, and, as directed by that one God, their history has been recorded and assembled in the book we know as the Bible.


Not only is it important to know that there is a God, but it is just as important to know other basic questions. What is He like? What does He want of us? What pleases Him? What displeases Him? Does He care about us? Will He answer our prayers? All these questions are fully covered as we read the writings of Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul, Peter, and John, all Jews and all men anointed with the Holy Spirit.


Jesus – the Evidence


A third witness, or evidence, God gives of Himself is the person of Jesus Christ, who was in fact, God manifested in human flesh. Jesus' life, miracles, teachings, death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead are a powerful witness of the reality of God. And it was precisely this that turned me from agnosticism to Christianity and to Christ. At the age of nineteen I was an agnostic. I wasn't so foolish as to presume I knew for certain there was no God, but I was skeptical, despite being brought to church as a child. But while in college I began reading the Bible, curious as to what it really had to say. I began at the New Testament, reading in the Gospel of Matthew, and within a couple of months I was a believer. We read that faith comes by hearing the word of God, and I heard – I really heard, and it changed my life forever. Jesus Christ, God's perfect witness, witnessed to my heart, and I believed.


I titled this study, "The Folly of the Agnostic," not to belittle agnostics, but to make what I consider an important point. First, let me say that if you have legitimate questions about God, there is no sin in that. Most of us have had questions. But where the folly is manifested is in having questions, having doubts, and taking no steps to determine the truth.


Let's suppose a man is driving down the highway at 70 miles per hour in the rain at night and has some reason to suspect that further down the road a bridge has collapsed. If he continues going that way at that speed he will surely be killed. He's not sure this is true but thinks it is possible. If he blissfully continues speeding down that road without taking any precautions, all the while entertaining in his mind the possibility of his own impending destruction, he is either crazy or has a death wish. Any reasonable person would either slow down considerably and constantly look for the bridge, or better still, stop at a gas station and ask a local resident whether the bridge is out. And if he discovers that it is, the only wise thing to do is to turn around and go the other direction.




Or to put it another way, suppose a man gets an official-looking letter in the mail, telling him that some distant relative has died and has left him one hundred million dollars. The letter contains the stipulation that he must attend the man's funeral and then show up the next day for the reading of the will. If he does these two things, he will be sure to inherit. But if he does not do these two things, the money will be given to a charity dedicated to the preservation of cockroaches. The man reads the letter and is unconvinced. He assumes it is probably a con. But probably means likely; it does not mean certainly. If the letter is correct, he has 100 million dollars to gain. If it is a fake, he will not lose much by attending the funeral and the will-reading but a little of his time.


To throw this letter away would be insane. At the very minimum, this man should make a few phone calls and do a little inquiring. Suppose he throws the letter in the trash, loses the fortune, and then finds out a week later that the letter was genuine, and he has forfeited enormous wealth due to his unbelief and his unwillingness to do some simple investigating.


This is precisely the case with the agnostic. The Bible is a letter from your Creator, telling you that Jesus Christ has come to this earth, has lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and has risen again, so that you might live forever. You are not so sure about this. You think it might be a fake, but another part of you thinks it could be true. Is it not worth doing a little investigating?




So how do you investigate God? You can start by doing exactly what I did about 48 years ago. Read through the New Testament and start praying to a God you're not sure exists. But given the fact that He might exist, pray to Him anyway. Ask Him, as I did, to make Himself known to you as you read. Now if you only read the Bible to try to prove God is a fraud, He is under no obligation to reveal Himself to you. You could read the Bible with that attitude a hundred times and you would be as ignorant as ever. But if you read it with an honest and sincere heart, asking your great Creator to make Himself known to you, He will do it. And, after trusting in Jesus Christ, you will find the greatest of all evidence of the reality of God; you will have God, the Holy Spirit living in your heart.





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