I’m officially no longer a Catholic. Religion is a very complicated thing. Most of us are born then baptized by our parents or guardians. Our parents are responsible for a great deal of our basic belief system. That’s why, even as an adult I’m still finding it extremely challenging to formulate religious beliefs that are not influenced by indoctrination. I don’t think that’s possible at all.
I’ve been doing some reading and I’ve come to the conclusion that my philosophical view is closest to that of an agnostic theist. I can’t say that this won’t change. It might. As I grow older, I find out more about myself and the things I believe in.
What does agnostic mean? An agnostic according to reference.com is “a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience” or “a person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic.”
What is theism? Theism according to reference.com is “belief in the existence of a god or gods”.
So what is agnostic theism? I think Wikipedia describes it rather accurately: “Agnostic theism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of at least one deity, but regards the truth or falsehood of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable. The agnostic theist may also or alternatively be agnostic regarding the properties of the God(s) they believe in.”
For quite a while now I’ve always believed in the philosophical teachings of Buddhism. However, Buddhism has always been more idealistic to me. If I were perfect, I would be a Buddhist. It’s my ultimate goal. Unfortunately, we are who we are. I can’t say I’m Buddhist because there are a few things I can’t stay away from (which includes alcohol). I therefore do not meet the criteria. When it comes to religion, you can’t be 99% in it. You have to be 100% in it. That’s why they call it a belief. There’s no gray area; there’s no such thing as half a hole. There are so many religions or belief systems out there that if you are only 99% something, that makes you 100% something else.
You are not what you wish you could believe in (in my case, Buddhism). You are what you follow; what you actually believe in (in my case, the views of Agnostic Theists). So there. For several years now I’ve been telling people “I’m sort of Catholic but not really”. No more. I’m officially not a Catholic. I’ll celebrate Christmas because it’s my tradition, and out of respect for the possibility of the stories being true.