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Christian agnostic?

Your answers

Is the description “A Christian agnostic” helpful?
“Agnostic” means “without knowledge”, and to an extent every Christian exists in this state this side of eternity. But militant agnosticism insists that knowledge of God, the supernatural, and life after death cannot be obtained, and therefore it attacks as superstition or credulity the beliefs of those who make any claim to know of them.

A position that would typically be described as “Christian agnostic” is that of a person who is committed to following the ethical teaching and example of Jesus as the greatest teacher of love, while rejecting the Gospel accounts of his miracles as added by gullible followers, and his teaching on God and the afterlife as being subject to the influence of contemporary beliefs. Indeed, Jesus admitted that there were things about which he, too, was “without knowledge” (Mark 13.32).

While I do not completely share this viewpoint, I, for one, would not be prepared to deny such agnostics the right to label themselves “Christian”.
Christopher Haffner (Reader)
East Molesey, Surrey

An agnostic says you cannot know God in the certain way you can know material things, but such a person could, none the less, choose to follow the life and teaching of Jesus. He could quote St Paul that we now see in a mirror dimly (I Corinthians 13.12), and walk by faith not sight (2 Corinthians 5.7).

Though you cannot give a scientific proof of God, some Christians assert that their personal experience assures them of his reality. Nevertheless, we need the humility that admits there is much we do not know about God and his will, and we may be mistaken.

At the same time, being a Christian means committed response rather than sitting on the fence.

The combination of limited knowledge with confident behaviour is illustrated in 1 John 3.2-3: “We are God’s children now, it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope purifies himself.”
(Canon) John Goodchild

In 1972, I heard Michael Ramsey, while talking to a group of clergy at Windsor, describe himself as “a Christian agnostic”. He explained it by saying that he did not have a ready answer to all our theological questions.

I have often used the expression  myself in a similar context. Surely we all walk by faith, and not by sight. And I have heard it said: “Faith is living with uncertainty.”
(The Revd) David Platt

Your questions

What can we do when God seems remote? G. C.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 33 Upper Street, London N1 0PN.

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