The good news is: the Agnostic Church is the very first major religion92
to be based upon scientific proof as the foundation of religious
thinking. The very few expressions of religions dogma that exist for
the Agnostic Church are either true by definition (meaning that we
define the concept to be true, such as the definition of what an
agnostic is), or else they are demonstrably true based upon 50
centuries of human experience (with an admittedly strong emphasis on
certain nineteenth century philosophers like John Stuart Mill).93 The bad news is that many people are going to miss having a so-called "personal" God94
whose thought pattern they can invoke at various times for comfort from
the trials and tribulations of life in this world. Having been raised
in Christianity, many of us are going to miss Jesus Christ. He provided
a convenient individual to blame for unexplainable personal disasters
("it was the Lord's will") and a convenient "fictional" person for us
to invite into our lives to counsel and/or comfort us on various
Other people, raised in other religions, will feel a loss of their own,
equivalent, God-figure. However, just as a small child must discard all
imaginary friends in order to become a properly functioning adult, it
is now time for us to discard all of our imaginary friends and move on
to our own adulthood as a society. It is the mission of the Agnostic
Church to propagate this belief.
We should remember that we are not abandoning the wisdom of previous religions; we are only abandoning the totally blind faith that one had to adopt in order to accept each of the various belief systems as being the "one true path" to salvation. The Jews cling to the myth of the Messiah who will come to unite them and re-build the temple in Jerusalem (i.e., to found the "Third Temple"). But at this juncture, if re-building the temple in Jerusalem was really such a big thing to the Jews, they could do it in a relatively small number of months. They control Jerusalem. So why don't they do it? It has everything to do with the need for an "excuse." The Christians believe the myth that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, sent to save one and all for all eternity, and that he will come again to establish a Kingdom of God on Earth that will last for 1000 years.96 As 20 centuries of Christianity has clearly proved, believing in a myth simply cannot bring it into physical reality.97 If the myth is going to come true, then it will do so in the fullness of time, but there is no more reason to believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ than there is to believe in the Loch Ness Monster.
Primitive men had everything to fear from the unknown, and they developed a system of myths to allow them to accept their relationship to the world around them. The fundamental thesis of the Agnostic Church is that it is time for intelligent individuals to declare they no longer need myths to protect them from the unknown. We can now look at the unknown as a challenge to be overcome, not as a fear to be suppressed. Accordingly, we can discard all myths and rely upon scientific facts of the past, present, and future for the foundations of our belief system. We must remember, however, that we do not worship science. Science is only a tool. The mission of science is to find out as much as possible about our universe so that wise men can then speculate on what is "truth." We refuse to make the mistake of defining the answer before we do the research.98 Each of the great religions of this world has been an attempt by a large number of people to answer the question, "What is the nature of God?" The answers have each been based upon the accumulated wisdom of their times, but the "times" referred to are each more than 1000 years in the past.99 Have we learned absolutely nothing in the last 1000 years to allow us to come up with a better answer? The answer to that question is clearly "No. We have learned much in the last 1000 years." The unfortunate fact is that most major part of what we have learned is how truly ignorant we actually are! Thus, we are not in a position to define the nature of God. We can only speak the truth, which is "We just don't know!"
But, clearly, we can at least start looking for the Truth!100
92 O.K., we aren't a "major religion" at the time when I am writing this. However, that should not stop me from acting as if it WILL be a "major religion." Hope springs eternal . . . .
93 Most philosophers merely re-state some expression of conventional wisdom, even if they appear to be offering an inspiring insight. Mill is no exception. While Mill is the principle author who refined the concept of Utility, it is easy to find expressions of Utilitarian thought which trace back many centuries. Any historical ruler who placed the good of the population as a whole above the good of some segment of the population was expressing a Utilitarian moral choice. In modern times, we would refer to such a ruler as "wise," but that is clearly a value judgment based upon our own upbringing in a Utilitarian world.
94 The Christian fundamentalists push this concept of a "personal" God in a blatant attempt to play on the vanities of each prospective recruit. There is probably not a one of us who would not be absolutely flattered to be on "personal" terms with God, so they deliberately push that as one of the "benefits" of becoming a "born-again" Christian. They should roast in Hell for all of eternity for foisting off such fraud and deceit on a naive and uneducated public!
95 Because of their religious nature, there has been little or no study of the social dynamic of prayer meetings, and why they produce "answers" to the "questions" which are presented. My best guess is that they work because the believers are pre-programmed to believe they will work, and there is much scientific proof of the ability of humans to simply will a particular solution into existence, such as with "spontaneous remission" from disease. There is no stronger will than a will powered by religious faith. If there is a weakness in the Agnostic Church it would be the inability to draw from the deepest depths of that well of strength.
96 This period of time is somewhat accidentally (or on purpose?) the exact amount of time that Oswald Spengler assigns to the approximate lifetime of any particular society. Thus, the Kingdom of God may well be simply a prediction of a future society, of which it is most likely that Western Civilization is what was actually being predicted! If that is true, then the Second Coming could easily have been around 1000 CE and we could be fast approaching Judgment Day, because Western Civilization is clearly near its end.
97 The apostle Paul believed that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would occur before his death. The Second Coming is regularly forecast by various Christian groups as a recruitment tool. If you examine all of the prophecies of the Second Coming, none of them have come true (at least so far). The nice thing about being an agnostic is that you declare your freedom to acknowledge Jesus Christ if he does happen to show up in your personal lifetime. You just don't have to depend upon the Second Coming in order to have a life.
98 This is not the television game show, Jeopardy. We do not define the answer and then provide the proper question that yields that answer.
99 For this statement, I am lumping Catholicism and Protestantism together as Christianity.
100 Not, mind you, that we have not been trying for these past few centuries. But most scientific advances occurred in spite of the Christian Church, not because of the church. One intent for the Agnostic Church is to actually promote the advancement of science as religious fulfillment! Think about the differences that that concept would have made over the last two thousand years. Just as one example, imagine Galileo totally free to pursue his scientific theories, as opposed to being placed under papal interdict for doing so. That is one fundamental basis upon which the Agnostic Church is founded.
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