Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash
How can I know what one “like” on social media means? If I like your post, does it mean that I like the event, or the relationship, or the moment, or the image, or that I like you? Does it mean that I like the pain you have been through to get to this event, relationship, moment, image, or person? Does it mean that I understand what you have been through to get to this moment? Does it mean that I understand the joy of this moment? I think I know my friend, but do I truly know my friend? There is much about you I do not know. Even when I like you.
This knowing and not knowing carries over into other aspects of my life. I live on a lot of borrowed knowledge: the knowledge that others have that becomes, for a time, my pseudo-knowledge. I do not truly know but I borrow this knowledge to bridge me to other knowledge.
I know that hydrogen is a simple atom with one proton and one electron. Two atoms combine to form the simple molecule H2, the most abundant molecule in the universe. But that is borrowed knowledge. I have not experienced this knowledge and I can only prove it by other borrowed knowledge.
There is much that I do not know. I am without knowledge. I am agnostic.
Being agnostic is the state of not knowing things. I am without knowledge in a great many areas. I am dependent upon the knowledge of others as I seek to make knowledge my own. The circles that bound the things I know grow at a geological pace, while those that bound the unknown and unknowable grow with the pace of dandelions in my lawn. I try to keep the circles of known and unknown from intersecting, to avoid the danger that one might swallow the other.
There are some things I know. There are some things I think I know; there are some things I think I know that are not known at all; and there are things I simply cannot know. (Yes, that is an intentionally convoluted sentence.) At many turns, I am without knowledge. I am agnostic. And if I try to claim otherwise, I am certainly the fool. 1 Corinthians 8:2 (NLT) says, “Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much.” Revelation 3:17 (NLT) says, “You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” Too often we put knowledge in the category in which “I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing.” I might even shield myself from being exposed to more knowledge in a certain area for fear of it disrupting the solid pillars of knowing upon which other knowledge rests. Lord protect us from ourselves. Don’t let me get me.
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:24 (KJV) Who can deliver me from this agnosticism?
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:12, 13 (NLT) I now return to my original thought, I do not know what a “like” means. Furthermore, I struggle to know what love means. Lord, increase my faith, strengthen my hope, renew my love. May all three remain in me.