Reverent Agnostic   3 comments

Here at work, in the relative peace and quiet of the PCR labs, I enjoy listening to Minnesota Public Radio and the many programs it offers throughout the workday.  Just now, I was listening to an interview with A. J. Jacobs, author of the book, The Year of Living Biblically:  One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.  A. J. Jacobs is an agnostic, a Jew by heritage, and ascribes to no particular religion.  However, he set forth on this challenge and chronicled this year of his life in his book.  I heard him use the phrase “reverent agnostic” during this interview and liked how he defined this.

In a passage from his book, he said, “Which brings up another question: do I believe in a traditional biblical God?  Well, not in the sense that the ancient Israelites believed in Him.  I could never make the full leap to accepting a God who rolls up His sleeves and fiddles with our lives like a novelist does his characters.   I’m still agnostic.  But in the words of Elton Richards, I’m now a reverent agnostic.  Which isn’t an oxymoron, I swear.   I now believe that whether or not there’s a God,  there is such a thing as sacredness.  Life is sacred.  The Sabbath can be a sacred day.  Prayer can be a sacred ritual.   There is something transcendent, beyond the everyday.   It is possible that humans create this sacredness ourselves, but that doesn’t take away from its power or importance.”

He went on, “I come away from this year with my own cafeteria religion.  I’ll be doing things differently than I did thirteen months ago, things both big (resting on the Sabbath) and small (wearing more white clothes.)  And I’ll keep on saying prayers of thanksgiving.  I’m not sure whom I’m thanking, but I’ve become addicted to the act of thanking…”  

I think I need to read what this man has to say about his year’s journey in his life.


Posted October 15, 2008 by StPaulieGrrl in spirituality

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3 responses to “Reverent Agnostic

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  1. That sounds very interesting, Bonnie. I’m glad you posted this. I may have to check that out.

  2. I was also struck by that phrase ‘reverent agnostic” and I liked the definition. I’ll add something that the minister at the Unitarian church I go to says on sunday morning, “We make this place sacred by our presence”. I love the idea of sacredness.

  3. Hi there,
    I just kind of stumbled on this post, and couldn’t resist commenting. If the advice of a complete stranger means anything to you, I definitely recommend this book. I read it a few months ago and really enjoyed it. It was just a great combination of hilarious and touching.

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