Agnosticism in Practice 1 March 2010Posted by MOZAFFAR in Misc.
We know many people who regard themselves as agnostics. The idea here is that they choice they made in belief (thus far) is to make no firm choice regarding belief, and that “belief” refers to the existence of God.
There is a further agnosticism that we often overlook within the believing communities: agnosticism in practice. This type of agnosticism is not only present, but pervasive throughout believing communities, though most do not realize it and those who do realize it are largely in denial about it.The idea here is that these people — the agnostic believers — do believe in the existence of God, but are agnostic about God’s intervention, involvement, and concern in their lives. Generations of the past answered this agnosticism with an outlook of Deism, believing in God, while regarding God as more of an originator and a witness, but not a participant in our lives.
Now, I am not speaking here of the lip service that preachers practice. Most preachers preach about an intimately connected Divine, while the “spirituality” that they themselve practice seems to — at least on the surface — often contradict their claims.
So, to put it simply, I am making a very simple point: many believers pray, and many of these believers find prayer itself to be a source of hope, but many of these same believers are surprised when the requests they made seem to be fulfilled. Meaning: when you pray, do you pray with sincere conviction that your prayer will be answered?
I am also implying here that this agnosticism of practice yields its own theology. Meaning, there are countless writings about prayer, that often suggest that prayer itself is a phonecall made to a disconnected telephone line, that “recipient” of the prayer is largely irrelevant. These “scholars” instead assert that prayer provides the benefit of hope and submission and comfort. Indeed, it does do that, at the very least.
There are others who continue this theology of agnostic praxis by arguing that God only answers prayer out of His wisdom, that God will only give you what you ask for if it conforms to His wisdom, or that He will give you something else in return. Indeed, this point is also true, at the very least.
But, this approach to the Divine, is spiritless and overburdened with rationalizations for defeat. The inevitable lot of such people is that they will resort to a baser version of religion — tribalism — seeking to protect their turf against critics and opponents.
Instead, you must seek through prayer with the conviction that you will get what you seek. Indeed, there are complexities involved in the prayer, and for that, I suggest reading my post “The Tongue says what is not in the Heart.” But, at the end of the day, you must be convinced that your prayer will be answered.
Now, how to get convinced? That is a different question.
And Allah knows best.