The Folly Of Agnosticism
Scripture: Hebrews 4:12
The word agnostic comes from two Greek words. The first is a, which simply means no. The second is gnosis, which means knowledge. A person who claims to be an agnostic is claiming to have no knowledge about God.
There are two different types of agnostics. There are those who say that they do not know whether or not there is a God, and there are those who say that we can't know whether or not there is a God. The first type of agnostic has probably not seen the evidence for the Christian faith. This post is not about this type of agnostic. This post will defend the fact that we can know that there is a God, and that we can act upon this knowledge.
Much of modern agnosticism finds itself rooted in the philosophy of a German philosopher named Immanuel Kant, who lived in the 1700's. Kant was an author who argued that reality itself cannot be known. It follows from his logic that reality about God can also not be known. But is Kant's philosophy logically sound? Since agnosticism finds itself grounded in this philosophy, I feel that this would be a good place to start.......
A Short Biography
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who lived from 1724 to 1804. He held a radical philosophical position that reality itself cannot be known. Of course, if reality cannot be known, then the reality of God can also not be known. Kant is most famous for this philosophy. His philosophy is used by many agnostics to justify their agnostic position. However, Kant's philosophy may not be as sound as he may have thought.
Although many use Kant's philosophy to justify their agnosticism, the philosophy of Kant is flawed. As with many agnostic philosophies, it is simply a means to justify a position. When cross-examined, Kant's philosophy is exposed as a self-defeating philosophy. Here is why........
Kant's First Problem
Whenever Kant's philosophy is cross-examined, a problem becomes easily seen. This problem is that, if reality were unknowable, then Kant should not have known that as a reality. To put it another way: If reality were unknowable, how did Kant know it?
"If reality were unknowable, how did Kant know it?"
Kant's position here is, of course, self-defeating. It cannot handle the weight of its own argument. If reality were unknowable, then we should never have known it. Reality is either knowable or unknowable. There are no other options. Since reality is not unknowable, reality must be knowable. Not only can reality be known, but the reality of God can also be known.
Kant's Second Problem
If I would like to compare a dog to a cat, I must first know something about each one. For example, I could note some similarities between the two, such as the fact that they both have fur and they both have a tail. I could also note differences, such as the fact that the dog barks, but the cat meows. This illustration helps make the next point.
The above is an illustration. The point of this illustration is to show that, in order to make any comparison between any two things, a person must first know something about the two things being compared. This is no different with Kant's philosophy. In order to compare the known to the unknown, Kant must first know something about each. However, this defeats his entire philosophy!!
"In order to make any comparison between any two things, a person must first know something about the two things being compared.......However, this defeats Kant's entire philosophy!!"
Reality is, in fact, knowable. The reality of God is just as knowable as the reality of this post. You can know that this post exists, because you are reading it. You can know that God exists, because you can see His handiwork in nature (for one example from science, click here) and in the hearts of people (for one example, click here).
The Reality Of God
Kant's form of agnosticism is not an intellectually stable position for a person to hold. Neither is atheism (to see why, you can click here). Those who claim that they do not know whether or not God exists can only hold their position until they are confronted with the evidence for the Christian faith. At this point, they must make a choice either to accept it, or to reject it.
The reality of God can be known. God Himself can also be known. He is not distant and angry. He is not waiting for us to mess up. He is a personal God. This is a reality that I know about Him. You can also know this as a reality.
A Short Note
I do not normally take the time to leave a note such as this. However, the opportunity has presented itself. Kant's form of agnosticism is not an intellectually viable position to hold. However, I realize that I have said very little about the other form of agnosticism.
I believe that many people hold this type of agnostic position simply because they have not been confronted with the evidence for the Christian faith. If you are an agnostic, please be open-minded about the evidence. I would be glad to talk to you about why I believe what I believe. If you would like to know why I, and many other Christians, believe in Christ, then please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment. I would be more than happy to talk to you about my beliefs.
Questions For Reflection
1.) Why do you believe that Kant's philosophy is so popular among some groups, despite its self-defeating nature?
2.) Why should an agnostic always be willing to look at evidence for another person's belief? Why should Christians always be ready to give a defense of their beliefs?
3.) Why do you believe that so many Christians seem unconcerned about agnostics that have not been reached with the Gospel? What can be done to change this? How can you start this change?