“You Die a Believer, or Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become an Agnostic.”

Is this true?

If we live a short life believing in God, then we will die with this intact faith.

But if we live longer, experiencing more about life, its gifts, and its wonders as well as its injustice and suffering, then we may start doubting the interventions of God to the point of questioning his existence.

Is this the common path of human experience?

I have read several blogs written by people who describe that the faith they had most of their lives has changed or completely dissolved  to the point of questioning the existence of God.

I made up the above quote based on a statement made by the character “Two Face” in the movie “The Dark Knight” where he actually says “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.”  I am not implying that being a believer is like being a hero, or that being an agnostic is equal to being a villain.  However, being a believer is pretty much having a celestial hero, such as God, Jesus, Allah, etc, and being an agnostic is almost like perceiving religion or spirituality like a problem, a burden, or a “villain.” Being a believer is standing firm (or believing in standing firm) in a belief system or God, while being an agnostic is being unsure about any particular faith or the existence of God.  Notice I did not use the term “Atheist” because I don’t really think anyone can accurately conclude, in their limited human mind, that there is absolutely no God.

But I am intrigued by so many different experiences people have in their spiritual journey.  And I can relate to some of them.  In my own personal experience, I always thought that what was taught in Sunday schools and religious services was the ultimate Truth.  But after spending a few years away from the organized religious environment, I have given myself the liberty to question a lot of the doctrines that was deeply embedded in my heart.

I believe in God.  I just don’t know all there is to know about God.  I believe God is about mercy, compassion, forgiveness, service, unconditional care, and repentance.  I believe God is about turning the other cheek, walking the extra mile, having a heart of a child, reaching out to those in need, and peacemaking.  But I don’t know about the other claims that religious people make about God, such as God punishing the “sinner”, doing miracles, being a judge, sending angels to protect us, and other teachings which I consider “man made.”

And I wonder, will I have more and more doubts about God to the point of seeing myself become an Agnostic? Is this the typical human path towards “self realization”? Are we destined to question the existence of God if we live long enough?

Lee Strobel and CS Lewis would not say so.  Their journeys were the opposite.  They were atheists who saw themselves become believers.  And not just believers, but famous authors who wrote apologetic books defending the Christian faith.

C.S. Lewis wrote:

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. Just how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? … Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple.  If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning. (Mere Christianity, 45-46)”

Lee Strobel wrote : “It was the evidence from science and history that prompted me to abandon my atheism and become a Christian.”

Other examples of Atheists turning into believers are:

So,  it is not always a one way street.  Depending on personal human experiences, we can decide to question the existence of a supernatural deity, or embrace a more profound and firm belief system.

About Noel

I am a person who has realized that the teachings of Jesus are centralized in the genuine care and service of others. I have evolved from fundamentalism to a moderate spiritual approach. I am a reflecting person who has grown to not fear doubt but to embrace it as a means to growth and increasing closeness to God. View all posts by Noel

2 responses to ““You Die a Believer, or Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become an Agnostic.”

  • Mishayah

    A huge part of the problem is that folks are taught that there is no law in effect or that affects their lives. However even a cursory glance a Matthew shows the utter reciprocal nature of our actions. Such as ‘Forgive and you shall be forgiven, or give and it shall be given, just as an example. These are demonstrations of the true law of YHVH, again it’s reciprocal according to what You do. But if folks are totally unaware of those things they will be forever going from stumble to stumble never knowing the why. And the longer they remain in darkness the weaker their faith will become.

  • Don Hartness

    Somebody beat me to it (above) but to restate, we tend to embrace those qualities of the divine that produce comfort and consolation to us, while avoiding any qualities that make us uncomfortable. The problem with this approach is that the former is rendered insensible when the later is rejected. How can we believe in love when there is not a hint of justice for those that prove they are the antithesis of love, such as the Hitler’s and Pal Pot’s of the world?

    Without devolving into the standard arguments on both sides, I have found that, by embracing and living under the totality of these qualities, seeking to understand while I live under them, that understanding and wisdom increases. These things are not understood by studying the map. They are understood by walking the path. As you pointed out when citing some of the more famous atheist converts, it was the journey, not the argument that convinced them.

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