Facing a forced decision
What type of decisions have you made today? Facing choices are an everyday responsibility. Sometimes they are enjoyable like deciding what dessert to eat. Others are more formidable, even life changing, requiring courage and commitment. Some decisions draw us toward them while others drive us away.
The philosopher William James categorized the really important decisions that face us as "forced" and "momentous." These require a choice that will have a major impact on our life. They are undisputable truths that must be either accepted or rejected. Being non-committed is not an option.
One such decision, for James, was belief in God. This undisputable challenge, he felt, requires a verdict by everyone. Ignoring it by claiming to be an agnostic was unacceptable.
James thought agnosticism was a form of avoidance. By claiming to be an agnostic, one would never have to make up their mind, skirting an issue that would eventually catch up with the unwilling respondent. Seeking truth cannot replace the need to embrace or reject it.
The word "agnostic" means to be devoid of knowledge, and is normally applied to one's ignorance of God. It is a legitimate position for those who are seeking understanding in order to make an informed decision about God, but for many, it has become an easy dodge to the most important issue they will ever face. Avoiding this necessary decision could be costly.
We face decisions every day. Let's be sure in doing so, we do not avoid the most important, life-changing one.
Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.