It was back in 2008 when I received the invitation.
“My church’s having a camp during the winter. Join us, it’ll be fun.”
I was fourteen. And the blessed lack of intelligence that came with my adolescence meant that I was ignorantly happy — free from all burdens that follow behind the recognition of reality.
In other words, fun was not a commodity that was hard to come by. Besides, subjecting myself to an organization that frowned upon cigarettes, sex, and all things fun didn’t sound like an ideal way to spend the winter holidays.
So I did what any responsible teenager would. I pushed the responsibility away, tactfully putting the Islamic background of a friend to selfish use.
“I’ll go if Ismail does.”
This way, the odds were in my favor, right? And I even managed to avoid outrightly rejecting the invitation. Go, me.
As such, in the face of miscalculated probability, I ended up spending my winter break in church camp. Turns out my Muslim friend had a rather liberal outlook with regards to his religious beliefs. Huh, who’d have thought?
I’m not gonna lie, it was nice. Long story short, I bought in. In fact, I went all-in. I started going for bible study sessions; hell, I even started leading them at one point.
Perhaps it was the appeal of a sacred purpose. Or the fact that a religious high could rival that of the psychedelics I struggled to afford. Of course, not to be left unmentioned was the hope that I actually might get a second shot at being part of a family.
In time, I learnt the hard way that the blood of the covenant is rarely thicker than the water of the womb. Don’t get me wrong, there was no lack of care or kindness. But the cold truth remains — those with no place to call home can only build one with others of similar plight. To call upon any blessed with favorable disposition would be selfish and illogical.
And that’s what I did. They were by no means the best people by conventional standards, but then again, there was nothing conventional in the shared desire we had. We built it from the bottom, starting our bond in a place of vice and illegality. Over the years, we set out to legitimize ourselves — one by one. All this was while I was still serving at the church.
Without fail, whenever I went to church, I requested for their company. Without fail, they would resist. Until one day, the last one of us to get clean decided he was going on one last stint. A stint that required travel to a foreign place. A stint that paid handsomely.
After that, he was gonna call it quits, and they were to be married — at my church.
He never made it home.
Not long after, I returned to what I could no longer call home. For she had missed him too dearly. Death has always had a certain appeal, after all.
I don’t know if there exists a god. But even if there is, he’s not one I want to worship. Not anymore.
Of course, that was merely a turning point. In the difficult years that follow, I realized that my distrust in religion would have surfaced regardless; it was an unavoidable by-product of disillusioned thought.
I am now an Apathetic Agnostic. A mouthful ain’t it? Well, not when you compare it to the lord’s prayer.
Agnosticism is where knowledge comes into play — where the atheist believes that it is to be known that there is no god and the theist believes that it is to be known that there is. The agnostic claims that it is not within his means to known if there is or isn’t a god.
Apathy is with regards to interest, where being apathetic is a position of the lack thereof.
These two aspects combined makes the apathetic agnostic — one that doesn’t know, nor care if god exists. There are a multitude of reasons that one may end up in this position or take upon this narrative (the prevalent one being common sense).
Oh, and here’s the tea: there exists a Church of the Apathetic Agnostic.
Founded in 1995, ironic terminology was deliberately chosen in selecting it’s overblown name of official induction — The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic. It relentlessly pursued this course of irony and termed its commentary as Articles of Faith, of which there are three:
1. The existence of a Supreme Being is unknown and unknowable
To believe in the existence of a god is an act of faith. To believe in the nonexistence of a god is likewise an act of faith. There is no verifiable evidence that there is a Supreme Being nor is there verifiable evidence there is not a Supreme Being. Faith is not knowledge. We can only state with assurance that we do not know.
If there is a god, his existence and doings are too complex for us to understand given our current state of science, technology, and perhaps comprehension. He exists on a dimension that is above our perceptive and interpretive abilities — like how a stick-man would never know the 3-dimensional world that his creator lives in.
Many have rebutted this on the basis that they do indeed know of his existence. What they forget is that knowledge does not refer to something we have to find on a personal basis — it just has to stand up to the tests of reality after being thought, felt, or spoken.
Of course, the ever-favored argument of epistemological solipsism is also always there for those that desire to claim that everything is essentially unknowable, and that the existence of god is equally so.
But is the existence of god really as knowable as that of the chair you sit on? This article of faith is to be taken in the practical sense, where it can be said that when the concept of god is tied to our definition of a being that is all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing, it is easy to prove that said definition of god cannot exist due to the contradictory traits when matched up with the workings of the world.
Thus, it can also be argued that the non-existence of god is knowable. And as much as the Article of Faith strives to be conservative, it’s opponents should, at the very least, attempt for the same humility.
2. If there is a Supreme Being, then that being appears to act as if apathetic to events in our universe
All events in our Universe, including its beginning, can be explained with or without the existence of a Supreme Being. Thus, if there is indeed a God, then that god has had no more impact than no god at all. To all appearances, any purported Supreme Being is indifferent to our Universe and to its inhabitants.
This article of faith puts it in a rather kind manner. There is, no doubt, the possibility that a plausibly existent Supreme Being is truly apathetic. However, with all the atrocities that carry on through the world, one cannot be fully convinced that he is simply apathetic and not an enthusiastic sadist.
3. We are apathetic to the existence or nonexistence of a Supreme Being
If there is a God, and that God does not appear to care, then there is no reason to concern ourselves with whether or not a Supreme Being exists, nor should we have any interest in satisfying the purported needs of that Supreme Being. However, our apathy to the question of God’s existence does not necessarily mean we are apathetic about promoting agnosticism.
Nothing much to be said here. If there isn’t one — well, that explains things. If there does exist a god, then you have to make a decision. Would you choose to grovel your way to an eternity with an uncaring god, reliving the miserable life on earth over and over; or would you choose to burn with dignity?
Rationality points out that the former doesn’t sound that much better anyway. Besides, a hint of self-respect would be healthy for the soul.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things”
— 1 Corinthians 13:11