All joking aside, what do I mean when I say that I’m an Agnostic? It’s a great question and one that I’ve been asked often. Different people have a different understanding of what the word means and it applies to each person a little different much the same as every Christian is not a carbon copy of the next.
First and foremost, I’m not an atheist and that is an important distinction to me. By definition an atheist would say there absolutely is no God and an agnostic would say that we cannot know for sure if there is a God.
…that felt very patronizing…we all know the basic definitions involved here…I apologize. Let’s move on and pretend that didn’t just happen.
To get back on track, the question was, what does it mean that I have chosen this label for myself?
Let’s start with what I’m not. As I mentioned, I’m not an atheist. Is there a God? I don’t know. But I have no problem with others believing that there is a God and choosing to live their lives based upon that conviction. An atheist, by very definition, is diametrically opposed to those that believe God exists. I’m not. My father and both my grandfathers are pastors and have spent their lives dedicated to the service of others and the teaching of the Bible. They are three of the most honorable and upstanding men I have ever known and I have the greatest amount of respect for them and the selfless love they have shown to me and so many others. They taught me what it means to be a man. They pray for me every day. They are true men of conviction and I would die to defend their right to live out their faith and share it with others. In short, I’m not anti-Christian or anti-God (and if you ever talk shit about my dad, I’ll kick your ass).
So if we covered what I’m not, then what am I? Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a person of conviction, morals, and integrity. That hasn’t changed. I’m also still the gangly accident-prone goofball that some of you had the pleasure of growing up with. What has changed is the basis of my moral code and the motivation for the decisions I make on a daily basis. As a Christian, I consulted the Bible and lived my life according to it’s teachings. While that’s no longer the case, I still agree with much of it and my worldview is heavily influenced by my Christian upbringing. For now, I won’t dissect that further. That’s the whole purpose of this blog, telling my story of what it means to be an Agnostic PK.
PK is slang for Pastor’s Kid…DANG IT…Why do I keep doing that! We’re not a bunch of idiots here, DIETZ! End on a high note with a pithy tag-line tying it all back into the name of the blog, not by insulting their intelligence…stupid…
Born into a pastor’s family to two pastor’s kids, I went directly from home school to a Christian Liberal Arts College to get my Bible Degree. Evangelicalism is so ingrained in my life story that it became all that I was. Becoming a third-generation pastor was clearly my destiny. I was fluent in Christianese and all that I did was guided by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Over 30 years of summer camp and sword drills, courting and side-hugs, worship team and Jeremy Camp covers, and look at me now…
I’ve been getting questions lately from people wondering how, given this back-story, I’ve come to classify myself as an Agnostic. Old friends not bold enough to ask me, have sat back at a distance thinking, “He’s just angry, maybe has some issues with the church and some of the dysfunction he’s seen, and he’s going through a reactionary phase. This is just his way of rebelling and testing his faith, but he’ll be back…they always come back.” The truth is, rejecting Evangelical Christianity was something I did out of necessity, not rebellion. It saved me. It saved my faith, my joy, and really, my LIFE. How, you ask?
This blog is an attempt to answer some of those questions. I have a genuine interest in engaging in dialogue about my journey, but no desire to de-convert anyone. This isn’t about me convincing you of how wrong you are, or listening to you try to reconvert me.
I’m doing this for two reasons. First, I intensely love many people who still consider themselves to be Evangelical Christians. While I must live authentically, I have no desire for this to sever those relationship with the people I care so much about. The only way I know to do this is with honesty about what I believe, but with an understanding that I have a deep respect for those that live with authentic faith and conviction. I believe that we can agree to disagree and still enjoy a deep connection based on mutual respect and honesty.
Second, I know that I’m not the only one on this journey. I hope that by “outing” myself in this way, I can connect with some of you with similar backgrounds about where you are at in your own journey. Hopefully, we can help one another as we learn to process life outside the paradigms that we grew up in.
Finally, while I’m a huge fan of blogs and Facebook and other ways of communicating and connecting over the interwebs, I prefer to use these tools as a way to stay connected from a distance and to facilitate meaningful in-person connections. So let’s grab a cup of coffee or a beer sometime!
In the meantime, I’ll be posting here occasionally and I look forward to being able to share more of my story and hearing some of your thoughts.