We’ve kept this article anonymous at the author’s request.
I’m agnostic. That’s just a fancy word for “I’m a fence-sitter.”
The technical meaning of an agnostic is a person who does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not. Being agnostic is different than being an atheist, although, some people like to lump us together. An atheist doesn’t believe there is a God at all. As for me, I’m not quite sure if one exists or not, but I’m not ready to commit to either. I’m a skeptic.
This belief is very unpopular, but tolerated in the United States. I think I’m part of 1.6% of the population. However, in the United Kingdom, being of atheist/agnostic views represent more than half of the country – it’s the fastest growing belief. In some parts of the world, I would be stoned to death for my views.
Did you know there are Facebook pages, support groups, meetup groups, and even a dating service for agnostic/atheist folks? Sometimes, I find it shocking how open people are nowadays with their non-beliefs. A lot has changed from 30 years ago.
Curious about what I believe? Here’s the cliff note version: I am moral, kind and giving person. I may not live by the words in the Bible, but I know the difference between right and wrong. I have a strong moral compass and deep empathy for others. I’m in wonder of the universe around me and the human spirit. I believe in helping others before myself. I believe greed is immoral. I have a deep respect for nature and I believe in social justice and equality.
And you guessed right- if I am skeptical that God exists, then I don’t believe in evil, the devil, hell, heaven or the afterlife. I have doubts to whether Jesus was the Son of God, or a prophet. Jesus is someone who inspires me and I would love to live my life like Him. I can ask myself when I’m struggling, “What would Jesus do?” without believing he is the Son of God.
Some people believe my life may be a lonely existence without the presence of God, but my heart and my life are full with the presence of people and nature and the love I have for them.
I’m a military spouse and a mother. Being an agnostic doesn’t make me less patriotic. I love my husband, this country and our military with every fiber of my being. I tend not to express my beliefs or doubts publicly because I am almost always in the minority, the extreme minority.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how open many other military spouses have been to my beliefs – kind, almost curious. Then, of course, I’ve been deeply hurt by the way some military spouses have rejected me based on my beliefs. I’m more than gun shy to share my views, especially around small pockets of military members and spouses. Sometimes you just know it’s not the right group to expose your opinions. I know my viewpoints are not always welcomed at dinner parties, unit gatherings or spouse socials…and that’s ok.
I’m the quiet one in the room who won’t participate in religious discussions or won’t offer a prayer at dinnertime, although I’ll bow my head out of respect. I’m the person who quietly excuses herself from the room if a television news station begins to teeter on the discussion of God given rights. None of these acts are performed with disrespect. The truth is, I have such respect for what others believe that I would be disingenuous in my actions if I participated. I admire their faith and there are days I am almost envious of their convictions.
My beliefs are deeply personal and I acknowledge the fact they may make others uncomfortable. I never wear my “I’m a skeptic” badge on my sleeve. No, it’s locked up pretty tight. I’ve been subjected to some pretty intense judgment and name calling in the past, so I’ll just keep my thoughts to myself – the reason behind anonymity.
However, please don’t mistake my lack of openness with being ashamed. On the contrary, I am firm and confident in my views, more than most are probably comfortable with their own faith. I just don’t want the intense negative reaction that usually follows with being so open. For some, accepting people who are different has proven to be difficult.
As for my family, my husband is Christian. He doesn’t share the same view, but respects mine. He knows I’m constantly questioning and refuse to be disingenuous. He supports me and we couldn’t be married if he didn’t. As for my children, I want to give them the opportunity to believe in God, but it doesn’t feel right coming from me. So, I have enrolled my children in Christian preschools because I know they need to be exposed to religion from someone who is authentic to teach it.
We attend church on Christmas and discuss the meaning of Easter. We discuss character, morals and the difference between right and wrong. We discuss Hanukah and play with dradles every year. I’ve enrolled my children in a Jewish synagogue for summer camps and Baptist preschools. I want my children exposed to faith, God and religion and hope they find it for themselves. Planting doubt or a certain belief in their little minds at such a young age seems manipulative. If they come to the same conclusions as I have (or the beliefs of their father) when they are older, that is their choice.
As for me, I have my toe in the door jam stopping the door from closing. There are days I lean more towards humanist or atheist views and there are days my mind is more open to the existence of a higher being. I’m available to the idea there might be a God out there, maybe. But as of today and for the last 30 years, I haven’t felt Him.
I’ll never stop searching, asking questions and poking holes in my own doubts. To close my mind to the possibilities means I will stop learning and evolving – something I refuse to do. I’m open to understanding more, no matter where that leads me.
And before you begin to pray for me, because I know many of you will after reading this, just know that I’m perfectly happy on my fence. Thank you for caring about my soul, my family and me. I genuinely appreciate that you believe praying for me will help me find my way to God and redemption. Thank you for caring about me. However, I’ll continue to be awe struck by the good in people, the beauty and extreme of nature and love I feel for others. I’m on a path of discovery and it’s fascinating.
There are many of us out there, hiding in plain sight. We are not people living on the fringe of society. We might be having dinner in your home, play dates with your children or maybe sitting next to you in church. I’m a non-antagonistic agnostic. But more importantly, I’m not out to change your beliefs or judge you for how you feel. I hope you can find it in your heart to do the same.