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A Miscellany 26
Am I apathetic enough?

by Anonymous

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I stumbled on your website a couple days ago and I've spent the time absorbing much of the content. I especially appreciate that most of the people who identify themselves as Apathetic Agnostics on the site not only share my beliefs, but they are fair to others, and generally tolerant or at least polite to those they disagree with. I appreciate even more the sense of humor displayed: there is nothing on this planet (or any other planet as far as I know) that serves as a better source of humor than religion (OK, maybe monkeys smoking cigarettes).

After serious (but apparently insufficient) consideration, I sent an application for membership yesterday. I haven't received a response yet; (I'm not complaining, it was only yesterday). But with further reflection I am troubled by one part of the statement of faith. I know you have dealt with a number of people who confuse apathy towards the question of the existence of a god with a general apathy regarding religious belief, spirituality, etc. I'm pretty sure I understand the distinction.

My situation is this: I believe deeply that knowledge of ultimate reality is impossible. The part can not contain the whole. Neither science nor religion can answer the ultimate "why" questions. There probably isn't an answer in the sense we mean "answer." Human consciousness, and especially human language, are simply too limited (and I suspect always will be) to even ask the right question. Where I think I may diverge from Apathetic Agnosticism is that I do find the question, at least in some sense, to have value. Because the universe is inexplicable, it is also miraculous and impossible. I sense this every day and it is an important part of the meaning I derive from the world and the beauty I see in it.

The world is an impossibly generous gift from nowhere and no one (thus I am dumbfounded by religious people who feel "there must be something more"). I feel that not enough people have this insight about the world, all humans endlessly normalize their experience and existence, and that sometimes rationalism or an overly-literal reliance on scientific reductionism can be just as limiting as religious literalism. The Question is thus in some sense important to me, even though "seeking an answer" is not. But I have no problem with people following spiritual or religious paths if they understand that the truths they uncover are human, not metaphysical.

I'm pretty sure I'm agnostic enough. My question is: am I apathetic enough?