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A friend responding to my The Advent Search (Monday’s “On the Square” column), writes:

It reminds me of an apostate former Catholic friend who said: “Why bother to be an atheist? It takes too much energy. Far better to be an agnostic . . . .”  But sooner or later, the guy on the tattered sofa, if he’s honestly “searching,”  will find himself, to his joy or sorrow, in the teeth of the Hound of Heaven.  He’ll have to choose.  Not choosing, or refusing to choose, is a choice too.

This may not be fair to all agnostics, but not choosing has, in my experience, been their chief characteristic. Not, except in rare cases, a thought-out conclusion that adequate knowledge of the existence of God, or of who he is and what he might want of us, is unattainable, but a declaration that “I can’t believe” or “I haven’t come to believe,” without a lot of evidence that they have any intention of testing that lack of belief and moving in one direction nor the other.

The existence of God is too important a question for the agnostic not to be either an atheist-in-the-making or a believer-in-the-making. Wrestling with the question ought to lead him eventually in one direction or the other. Which, I suppose, is why my friend’s friend thought being an atheist took too much energy.

But if the believer is right, it’s a question he’ll have to answer some day. Better — just in case the believer is right — now than later.

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