1. Travis Perry says:

    Rick, I feel I can show that the existence of God is more likely than the non-existence of God. I believe that can be logically demonstrated. But the strength of the evidence is not sufficiently strong for me to, say, give my life over to Him in certainty of what will happen.

    I think the nature of faith is somewhat different that what people commonly think it is. Abram had a logical reason to follow God into Canaan–God had appeared to him and spoken to him. But the evidence was flimsy compared to the response expected of him–get up an move the entire family, based on a voice? Likewise, God had already spoken with Abraham at his tent, had already destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, had already provided for the miraculous birth of Isaac, when God told Abraham to take his son on the mount and sacrifice him. Abraham had a reason to believe in God, but that reason never specifically included the sacrifice and/or resurrection of sons. Faith, I think, starts with a basis in something reasonable and applies it in new directions. In that way, faith is imaginative–and this is one of the meanings of “childlike faith” that most people don’t consider.

    Likewise the generation with Moses in the wilderness. They saw God part the Red Sea and do the plagues in Egypt. But they did not see Him feed people in the wilderness or provide water. Their “belief” stuck to what was already done and refused to extrapolate, hemmed in by fear and doubt.

    I happen to think God has shown enough to know He exists as much as I know anything else. But faith comes when I start to accept specific things about Him as true–like the Bible. And even moreso  when I follow Him…

  2. notleia says:

    If it makes you feel better, I would still like you even if you were an agnostic in the usual usage.

  3. sparksofember says:

    I’ve always appreciated Mark 9:24 and the first time I remember that verse really making an impression was in a dystopian I read years and years ago where a family was praying for their child to be healed and one person told them he wasn’t healed because they didn’t believe enough and someone else reassured them with that verse. I’m trying to remember the title…

    I’ve always liked the song Never Alone by Barlow Girls and it has a similar theme of faith.

  4. bainespal says:

    The conflation between faith and knowledge is a leading factor that lead to my disillusionment and discontent with the faith for so long. As a child I really did think that to believe in Jesus was to be mentally persuaded of the truth of the Gospel, though I also had a deep fear that that might not be enough. When I started to understand that absolute knowledge and personal certainty were not possible, I lost all assurance of salvation.

    By evangelical pop soteriology, it would be impossible for anyone who knew the truth of Christ to be reject Him and remain “unsaved” (if absolute knowledge were possible). Similarly, a “testimony” is more often a statement of definitive belief or of a definitive conversion experience than an honest account of one’s faith journey.

    • R. L. Copple says:



      My use of testimony here is more oriented to the Scripture’s testimony of who Jesus is and what He came to do, and the great number of saints whose lives confirm that. We are placing our faith in the person of Jesus Christ based on their witness of the truth as they experienced it with Him.


      Most of us never have or will have Paul’s knock-you-off-your-donkey vision and God talking to us in an audible voice. Even if we did, few would have the discernment to know whether it was God or a demon coming to us as an angel of light.


      So if we believe, we do so based upon the testimony, the witness, of others. Not because of our rational abilities. Doesn’t mean the belief doesn’t have some rational basis, but that can’t be the foundation of faith.


      The child-like faith Travis mentioned plays into this. They don’t have faith based upon intellectual knowledge, but upon faith in what they’re told. Jesus said unless our faith is that of a child, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.


      Could my faith end up wrong? Sure. But you either believe in something, invest your life into a reality, or you don’t. Like in the parable of the talents, the only one who ended up in the bad place was the one who didn’t invest, but dug a hole and buried the money to hide it (atheism). Better to have lived with purpose only to discover you’re not 100% on target, than to be caught empty handed.


      Based on what I do know, I’ve chosen to have faith in Christ. To the degree I’m wrong in that reality, my hope is God is merciful and will acknowledge I did the best with what I knew to do, and judge accordingly. But at least I’ve invested myself into something and lived according to that faith. Not perfectly, but by the grace of God.


      My faith is such that I simply cannot live as if God doesn’t exist.


      • bainespal says:

        Thanks for the reply. I think your use of the term “testimony” is more appropriate.

        Though, I do feel that God is sufficiently inherent and axiomatic to transcend rationality, in some way. If only the problem of linguistics and semantics and signification could be resolved, I think at some level every one would acknowledge God. This isn’t really based on philosophical argument, but because He Is — the “Word” — the only objective meaning.

  5. Julie D says:

    I understand what you’re getting at, but I also feel that using the word “agnosticism” in this way is so counter-intuitive that it doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

    • R. L. Copple says:



      Or it is correcting a misuse of the term. What most people mean by the label agnostic is: someone who doesn’t know whether God exists or not, but has chosen to live as if He doesn’t.


      Most people who wear the label are practically atheist. Because as I said, you have to live one way or the other. You can’t live out agnosticism. The moment you decide on one response or the other, you decide between there is or isn’t a God. Living is a decision to have faith one way or the other.


      While we don’t usually call Christians agnostics, according to the definition we all are. It is just that we have decided to place our faith in Jesus Christ as revealed. We’ve decided to live believing that there is a God, and that the Bible reveals Him and His purposes to us.


      As Paul said, faith is the evidence of things not seen. That which we can’t know. It requires that we admit we don’t know, can’t know: to acknowledge our agnosticism.


What do you think?