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Agnostic assesses Vatican dialogue at Assisi

January 16, 2012

One of the agnostics who took part in the day of reflection, dialogue, and prayer in Assisi in October suggested that the Vatican recognize that “non-believers are usually somewhere between the two extremes: on the one hand are the rabid atheists, enemies of God and of religion; on the other, the spiritual agnostics who are on the point of converting to some specific religion.”

“Between these two extremes, so remote from each other, there are many kinds of non-believers--the tolerant, the indifferent, those who are seeking God, those who resist believing in him,” said Guillermo Hurtado, director of the Institute of Philosophical Investigation at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Hurtado added that he was moved by Pope Benedict’s words:

In his Assisi Discourse, Benedict XVI distinguished between atheists and agnostics. He described the former as anti-religious and the latter as people who suffer from their lack of faith and who, in their search for truth and goodness, are also seeking God. I was moved to hear this definition of the agnostic. Indeed, in my humble quest for the truth I have asked myself about the existence of a God who could provide an answer to my questions.

Moreover in discovering myself to be without faith and without anyone to stand up for me, I also wanted the existence of a God who would give me support on the darkest days. However, I do not always think and feel in the same manner. Sometimes my search for the truth, that is to say, for the objective truth – what else could it be?--makes me think that God does not exist, that we have to seek the answers on our own.

Moreover on occasion I feel lonely and suffer from loneliness, from my finiteness, and something within me makes me rebel against the idea that only a magnanimous God could rescue me from this state. It is then that I rediscover in my condition sufficient dignity and courage to forge ahead. The agnostic who suffers from being without God and seeks him, is, to my mind, a very special kind of non-believer who cannot be held up as a paradigmatic example of the agnostic.


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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Jan. 16, 2012 5:42 PM ET USA

    Oh, let us pray for Mr. Hurtado!