Agnostic Epistemology or How it is that I know that you don’t know
Go back to Eden and you’ll find that the original agnostic was a snake. He was the bearer of doubt and obfuscation slithering reworded queries to confuse and deceive. God spoke, but did Eve really hear Him correctly? “Oh come now, surely you haven’t heard Him right… you will not die.” And so it was.
Not much has changed since then as one can still see constant attacks against the Word of God even within the ranks of the church herself. Many have decided to eat Wittgensteinian cupcakes for breakfast holding their worldview within the limits of their language while tossing certainty into the mire. In a post-modern drift professing believers increasingly believe that the Word of God is ultimately unknowable and yet knowable enough to be known. This strange position of uncertainty reduces the Scriptures from immovable solidity to a cafeteria cherry pick and when we combine that with an ADD McDonald’s drive-thru approach to ministry, we see it producing a herd of hypersensitive and biblically ignorant Chihuahua sheep who nibble and nip at doctrinal heels while carrying “Meanie!” picket signs.
Certainty in doctrine has become the new arrogance.
“How dare you think that you can know the true meaning of that passage!” Sadly this is not a novel cry. It’s the material and formal sufficiency dance that Romanists like to swing to marrying an Emergent unicycle act where the only thing that is certain is uncertainty. I think Descartes isn’t thinking anymore.
The problem with agnostic epistemology is that it slaughters the perspicuity of divine revelation.
Feelings and personal conviction wear the crown and biblical language itself is being forced into the street in favor of more ‘acceptable’ terminology that will both pacify the believers and lure in the seeker. The problem with all of this of course is that it not only makes a shambles of our epistemology but it slaughters the perspicuity of divine revelation. It puts a higher criteria for being certain than being certain puts on itself. The end result is that we have the very breath of God being shielded. Instead of the ‘Word’ of God we end up with confessionals based upon the ‘Mumble’ of the Lord.
I pray that we will all avoid the temptation to put ourselves above Scripture and resist the urge to adopt a fuzzy epistemology that sends our spiritual food back to the deli so that the cook can have it made to our own liking.