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About the Church and our aims

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Here you may learn allll about us, please be reminded, although we have a slightly light hearted approach to things we strive to be a legitimate non-religion, so do not discount everything you see, our attitude to this church is what we feel about life, smile!

Use the contents to navigate around the stuff.


Introduction

Background to Apathetic Agnosticism

There are those that see agnosticism as only a way-station, an intermediate step for those still trying to decide whether to believe in God (or Gods) or to absolutely disbelieve. Agnosticism is seen as a refuge for those who cannot make up their minds.

What this site seeks to illustrate is that agnosticism in itself is a legitimate end position in religious belief. We do not know because we cannot know. The ultimate truth about the existence of a Supreme Being is unknowable. Recognizing this, we can free ourselves from a fruitless search and indeed, no longer care about answering the question. This does not mean we don't care about agnosticism.

Our Articles of Faith

The existence of a Supreme Being is unknown and unknowable. If there is a Supreme Being, then that being appears to act as if entirely apathetic to events in our universe. We are apathetic to the existence or non-existence of a Supreme Being. A poster of our articles of faith is available as a pdf file.

Nomenclature

Our full designation is The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic, abbreviated UCTAA. In the interest of brevity, we are also known as the Church of the Apathetic Agnostic or alternatively the Apathetic Agnostic Church. All three terms and the abbreviation refer to our church.

The Worldwide Church of Agnostics. abbreviated WCA is an outreach ministry of the Church of the Apathetic Agnostic which provides a path to ordination for our fellow agnostics who are unable to accept the three Articles of Faith, particularly for those who have a calling to officiate over secular ceremonies to celebrate life's passages.

Our Gospel

Some jurisdictions limit clerical marriage authority to "Ministers of the Gospel." In countries which claim separation of Church and State, it is not logical that this is intended to limit such authority to Christian clergy. Accordingly, we believe such laws refer to the broad definition rather than the narrow. Within the Church of the Apathetic Agnostic, the Gospel is made up of of the following sections of the main web site: Commentary on the Articles of Faith; Reflections on Ethics; and Meditations. These sections constitute Church Doctrine and the examples and parables which serve to teach the message of the Church. We consider all clergy ordained by the Church to be Ministers of our Gospel.

Explore

Please explore the wiki and discover what we are about. There is a lot of content, and along the way, you can join the church, apply for ordination, get a free degree, and submit your own thoughts for publication.

Use the Navigation Menu on the left and to visit pages and sections directly.

Link to us using our main site www.apatheticagnostic.com.

Commentary on the articles of faith

This section contains all that is really important. All the rest of this extensive wiki is mere expansion on these fundamentals, or filler and amusements. (That is not intended to imply that you would not find it interesting to explore some of the other sections.) If you understand and accept these Articles of Faith, then you are an Apathetic Agnostic, whether or not you can be bothered to actually join the Church.

1. The existence of a Supreme Being is unknown and unknowable.

To believe in the existence of a god is an act of faith. To believe in the nonexistence of a god is likewise an act of faith. There is no evidence that there is a Supreme Being nor is there evidence there is not a Supreme Being. Faith is not knowledge. We can only state with assurance that we do not know.

2. If there is a Supreme Being, then that being appears to act as if apathetic to events in our universe.

All events in our Universe, including its beginning[1], can be explained with or without the existence of a Supreme Being. Thus, if there is indeed a God, then that god has had no more impact than no god at all. To all appearances, any purported Supreme Being is indifferent to our Universe and to its inhabitants.

3. We are apathetic to the existence or nonexistence of a Supreme Being.

If there is a God, and that God does not appear to care, then there is no reason to concern ourselves with whether or not a Supreme Being exists, nor should we have any interest in satisfying the purported needs of that Supreme Being. However, our apathy to the question of God's existence does not necessarily mean we are apathetic about promoting agnosticism.

Aims of the church

Aim 1

We could be bigger than Scientology... if only we weren't so darned apathetic.

(comment deleted[1])

Aim 2[2]

To disseminate the concept of Apathetic Agnosticism as widely as possible. Being apathetic on the question of a Supreme Being’s existence does not imply being apathetic about the concept.

1.The deleted comment was an invitation to certain noted Scientologists to join us in return for ordination as Bishops. On reconsideration, we are not interested in attracting anyone who bought into and took a leading role in such a ridiculous belief system. Other Scientologists who have not progressed through the command structure are welcome to reject the nonsense and join us.

2.OK - military doctrine says you cannot have two aims; but, this ain't the Sally Ann![3]

3.That's slang for Salvation Army - for the benefit of anyone doing a translated mirror site.

Organization

The following is a brief informational summary of Church organization. More authoritative detail on roles and responsibilities is available to ordained clergy in the Clergy Resource Site.

The Church is a loose hierarchy. "Loose" because clergy are not required to take direction from senior clergy, but are considered free agents to conduct their individual ministries as they see fit. But a hierarchy does exist for those that choose to work together for mutual assistance and guidance.

The Church, as reflected on this web site is not an incorporated organization. In that sense, members of the congregation and ordained clergy are not members of the Church in a legal sense. Rather, they are individuals who follow a common view of religion.

For those interested in a true membership organization, UCTAA Inc has been incorporated in the United States, and can be found at uctaa.org. It is legally, financially, and operationally separate from ApatheticAgnostic.com.

As a caveat to the general public, we must state clearly that ordination does not guarantee the good character of any clergy person. And this is regardless of whether the individual in question spent eight years in a seminary prior to ordination or was ordained "instantly" online by an organization such as the Universal Life Church. If you are going to deal with a member of the clergy, or perhaps more importantly permit a clergy person to have access to your children, then it is entirely your responsibility to know that person, regardless of the particular church or religious organization the individual is affiliated with. Because the organization of this particular Church is extremely informal, we can accept no responsibility for clergy who take advantage of other individuals or who commit immoral acts. For more information on our Church's policy on clerical behavior, click here.

Clergy are initially ordained as Minister, Rabbi, Pastor, Priest, Priestess or an equivalent designation. They may then conduct personal ministries, officiate over ceremonies (including legal marriages if so authorized by local laws), and accept others into the church congregation.

Clergy with basic ordination who wish to advance will have to meet the requirements established by the new membership organization.

At the head of the Church is the Patriarch of the Church. Currently this position is held by the founder, John Tyrrell, and he is responsible for providing general guidance through this web site.

Church History

A brief history of The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic

The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic was founded in 1996. Initially it was a single page on the founder's personal web page comprised of the church's name, the three Articles of Faith, and the disclaimer found as a footnote to the current Table of Contents. There were no thoughts at that time that the web site would grow, nor that the Church would actually have a membership, not to mention the estimated 10,000 who have joined over the years. Rather, the page was intended as a light-hearted presentation of John Tyrrell's personal religious beliefs.

The roots of the church go back further. In 1965 while a student at The Royal Military College of Canada, John Tyrrell first used "I don't know and I don't care" to describe his understanding of god, and shortly thereafter thought of Apathetic Agnosticism as a name for this doctrine. ( No claim for originality is made here. Several other individuals have been encountered over the years who independently have made the same linkage of the motto to the term Apathetic Agnostic.) Since that time, John has used Apathetic Agnostic to describe his personal religious conviction. However, until creating the initial web page, John made no effort to promote Apathetic Agnosticism to others.

In creating the church's first site, ironic terminology was deliberately chosen in selecting the overblown name of the church and in calling the first exposition of the church's doctrine "Articles of Faith." In spite of the church developing a serious side over the years, these terms are retained to remind us to laugh at ourselves as well as others.

Initially, as a small element in a larger personal web site (a typical "advertisement for myself") the first church web page attracted little notice, but in 1996 it started generating correspondence. This led to the expansion of the site starting with commentary on the Articles of Faith and the initiation of the Meditations section. Also, the Talk Back section was introduced to provide opposing views.

As the site expanded, it was removed from John's personal page and given its own separate space, first on Tripod, and later on Webjump.

In 1997, a membership option was introduced, making the Church a reality rather than a statement of personal beliefs. In 1998 a clerical hierarchy was created and the Church started offering ordination and degrees from the International University of Nescience.

While a considerable number of people joined the Church, became ordained, and some wrote articles for the web site, very few of them established a continuing relationship with the church. This changed in late 2000 when an increasing number of individuals joined who wished to actively participate and to influence the direction of the Church.

As a result of a more active membership, there were a number of new initiatives including the creation of a private message board for members, the creation of a Clergy Resource Site, a number of other web sites promoting regional elements of the Church including a German site. Also, John Tyrrell purchased on behalf of the Church the uctaa.org and ApatheticAgnostic.com domain names. From January 2001 to December 2002, the web site under both domain names was hosted by our Patriarch of Florida's company, SnapJax Web Services. In December, 2002, ApatheticAgnostic.com moved to a commercial host.

Some understandable conflicts arose out of the many changes in this period, relating to the direction of the church and to personality differences, which culminated in the head of the church revoking the appointment of one of the Patriarchs and severing personal contact with him. This is the only revocation to date, and it is hoped that it will be the last. It should be noted that the individual was not thrown out of the Church and is still a member as far as we are concerned. There is no mechanism for involuntary departure; the only way to leave the Church is by resigning.

Until January 2003, the Church was presented as a membership organization. However, it was never incorporated. Several incidents led to concerns about legal liability. As this organization had never been incorporated, the potential for liability fell solely on the founder.

The founder remains steadfastly uninterested in incorporation. The ApatheticAgnostic.com web site continues as before.

For those interested in a true membership association, UCTAA was legally incorporated in the United States in 2003. uctaa.org was made available to this new organization, and it continues to be hosted through John Karpf. The two operations are now separate entities, operationally and financially, though strong informal ties remain between them

Looking to the future, the Church expects to continue to expand web site content and to continue to present a message of Agnosticism, balanced between seriousness and tongue in cheek.

Currently, we have friends, clergy and associates in the following places[1] around the world:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • England
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Guatamala
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Malaysia
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Northern Ireland
  • Norway
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Philippines
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Scotland
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • USA
  • Uzbekistan
  • Wales

1.This list is not intended to indicate official support or opposition towards any particular political alignment, whether past, present, or proposed. The purpose is simply to indicate the geographical reach of the Church.

Needs of the Church

Template:Q

No, we are not asking for money here, but some assistance in managing aspects of the Church and its websites would be appreciated.

Our Thanks for Assistance Provided

Previously we had asked on this page for some submissions of logos for the Church and the University. As a result we now have a seal for the University of Nescience which is displayed on the University site and appears as a watermark on degrees, and for the Church a logo and a range of stationery elements which are available in the Clergy Resource Site. (Accessible by members only) Also, several graphics are displayed in the Links section for those who would like to use a banner to link their site to ours. For their efforts, David Boyer, Patriarch of Ohio, and Mark Eakin, Archbishop of Montgomery have both been designated Official Artist of the Church.

We would also acknowledge the support of John Karpf, Patriarch of Florida who hosts uctaa.org at no charge.

Thank you to those who donated time and resources in aid of the 2003 Essay competition.

Our Needs

We would appreciate any pro bono (that is free of charge - see quotation above) advice and representation from lawyers in any jurisdiction who would be prepared to assist in obtaining official recognition as a religion for The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic. [By official recognition, we mean that our ordained clergy would be recognized as having authority to perform legal marriages within the jurisdiction. This authority has already been obtained in most US states.] Our needs are focussed in countries with more restrictive regulations than the USA, especially Canada, the UK, Australia, and most countries of Europe. Any lawyer providing such services may use the designation Official Counsel of The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic. In particular, we would like some legal advice with respect to the Province of Alberta where the headquarters of the church is domiciled with respect to incorporation, and to challenging the requirement to provide a list of 100 church members resident in Alberta so as to obtain official recognition. We would like an active member of our clergy to take over full responsibility for the Clergy Resource Site. We have a continuing need for articles for publication so as have fresh content on the web site. Please consider submitting material to Reflections on Ethics, Meditations, Debate & Discourse; or if you disagree with us, for Talkback. For those who want to donate money - we have strongly discouraged this activity in the past, and we will make it very difficult for you. This is a personally funded initiative and the founder has an aversion to make himself financially accountable to anyone else. We suggest you use your money to promote Agnosticism in ways of your own. Alternatively, there is almost always a recovery effort going on for the latest natural disaster to hit the world. Donate your money generously to aid the relief efforts. If you wish to help, please Contact the Church at http://apatheticagnostic.com

Calendar of the church, (if you are bothered to follow it that is)

The Church Calendar

This is a living document which lists the days of the year that are recognized by the Apathetic Agnostic Church for special observances. This list is of those days recognized by the Church as a whole. More days will be added over time. Suggestions welcome either through the contact form or via the Members Discussion Board. We would particularly like suggestions for months without a day of observance.

This list is not intended to prevent the various branches of the Church from identifying additional days of regional or national significance. Other agnostics also have selected their own days to celebrate. (Agnostica)

  • Weekly Day of Apathetic Agnostic Observance: The Church has selected Monday. No other major religion is using it, and it is the day about which people are most apathetic.
  • National Day of Reason: The first Thursday in May (3 May 2007) has been declared "National Day of Reason" in the U.S.A. For more information, visit the National Day of Reason website.

January

  • 1 January: Founder's Day - is observed as the birthday of the Apathetic Agnostic Church founder
  • 27 January: Victims of Genocide Day - the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a day to commemorate the victims of genocide throughout history, and to promise "Never again!." (see Meditation 308.)

February

  • 9 February: Agnostic Martyrs Day - to commemorate those whose profession of Agnosticism has brought them to harm at the hands of believers. This date chosen as the anniversary of the attack on our Matriarch of Mississippi. (see Meditation 34)
  • 12 February: Darwin Day - to honor the man who provided extensive scientific evidence to support evolution. Charles Darwin was born on this day in 1809. "The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic."
  • 29 February: Imperfection Day - A day to reflect upon how and why a supposedly perfect creator did not provide us with a year consisting of an integer number of days.

March

  • 17 March: St. Patrick's Day - raise a glass of your favourite brew (green, if you must) to celebrate the successful global secularization of what was once considered a strictly national religious feast day.

April

(Note: Before you submit yet another suggestion for 1 April, [and we get a lot of those,] we recommend you read Ask the Patriarch 19 and Talk Back 45. If you cannot beat the miserable standard of those submissions, don't bother.)

May

  • 4 May: Huxley Day - the coiner of the word Agnostic, Thomas Henry Huxley, an English skeptic was born on this day in 1825. "When I reached intellectual maturity, and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; a Christian or a freethinker, I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until at last I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last... So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of "agnostic". It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the "gnostic" of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant..."

June

  • 24 June: Ambrose Bierce Day - Ambrose Bierce, writer and journalist, the author of the Devil's Dictionary, was born this day in 1842. Bierce suffered no fools, spared no enemies, and spat in the face of man-made gods and those who prayed to them.

July

  • 11 July: Thomas Bowdler Day; Support Free Speech & Oppose Censorship - birth date of the man who bowdlerized Shakespeare and the Old Testament. On this day we express our support for free speech and our opposition to censorship. (Meditation 78)

August

  • 11 August: Ingersoll Day - The leading US Agnostic of the 19th Century, Robert Green Ingersoll was born on this day in 1833. "There is no subject -- and can be none -- concerning which any human being is under any obligation to believe without evidence... The man who, without prejudice, reads and understands the Old and New Testaments will cease to be an orthodox Christian. The intelligent man who investigates the religion of any country without fear and without prejudice will not and cannot be a believer.... He who cannot harmonize the cruelties of the Bible with the goodness of Jehovah, cannot harmonize the cruelties of Nature with the goodness and wisdom of a supposed Deity. He will find it impossible to account for pestilence and famine, for earthquake and storm, for slavery, for the triumph of the strong over the weak, for the countless victories of injustice. He will find it impossible to account for martyrs -- for the burning of the good, the noble, the loving, by the ignorant, the malicious, and the infamous. "

September

  • 15 September: Protagoras Day - Protagoras was an early (5thC BCE) Greek philosopher. He reasonably can be regarded as the first agnostic. "Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life."

October

  • 23 October: Religious Fallacy Day - to recognize the logical fallacies into which believers have been led by blind faith. Set on this day in recognition of Bishop Ussher's calculation of creation as Sunday 23 October 4004 BC. (See Meditation 20 and Meditation 57)
  • 31 October: Halloween - Time to dress up as spooks, goblins, witches, wizards, ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and recognize that like all other aspects of the supernatural, these are all mere fictions.

November

  • 1 November: Thanksgiving - Give thanks to all those who contribute to putting food on your table (Meditation 267) or to Adam Smith's "invisible hand." Placed on this date due to harvest's traditional association with Halloween, but celebrate in accordance with national preference.
  • 21 November: Voltaire Day - born on this day in 1694, Francois Voltaire was an Agnostic before there was a word for it.

Gunner Nelson, one of our members, proposes we celebrate Voltaire day as he does; distributing cards to his dearest friends. Each card (handmade, just folded paper) contains one or two quotes from our departed friend Francois Marie Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire. These quotes are selected to fit the personality of the card's recipient, and since a lot of Voltaire's famous quotes are advice, it helps people improve themselves.

  • 30 November: Mark Twain Day - Samuel Clemens was born this day in 1835. Under the pen name Mark Twain, he was the foremost American humorist of his day. He wrote a number of essays and articles critical of religion.

December

The 12 Days of Agnostimas - 21 December to 1 January to celebrate a traditional seasonal festival.

  • 21 December: Solstice - the traditional mid-winter observance (mid-summer in the Southern hemisphere
  • 22 December: Apathetic Agnostic Resurrection - commemorates the return of the Apathetic Agnostic web sites to the internet in mid-December 2002 after a three week hiatus due to technical problems. (Meditation 81) This day following Solstice is appropriate because (at least in the Northern Hemisphere where we are based) the days are now getting longer.
  • 23 December: Festivus - for the rest of us . Invented in 1966 by Dan O'Keefe, whose son Daniel, a writer on Seinfeld, introduced a family tradition to the wider world, and now everyone can participate in an airing of the grievances and in feats of strength
  • 24 December: Agnostimas Eve
  • 25 December: Agnostimas - a good day to exchange gifts with friends and relatives in a spirit of generousness, with no need to care about any religious overtones. But we won't object if any traditionalists prefer to devote the day to its original purpose - the worship of Mithras.
  • 26 December: Boxing Day- the true origin of the name "Boxing Day" can only be answered with absolute certainty with an "I don't know!" And that is reason enough for agnostics to celebrate it. (If you happen to accept the unproven stories that the rich folks used to give the poor folks gift boxes on this day, then be happy about it, and make sure you give out a few gift boxes to the poor.)
  • 27 December: Heidentag - (German for Heathen's Day) Proposed as a warm and festive occasion for getting together, gift-giving, eating comfort food (usually a lot), listening to our favorite music
  • 28 December: Childermas - in view of the lack of any evidence to support the horror story of Matthew 2:16, a day to commemorate the inventions and falsehoods on which religion is based. (See Meditation 175)
  • 29 December: Apathy Day - sated with the celebrations, feasting, and gift exchanges of the festive season, we take a day to relax, recover, and generally not care about anything. For tomorrow, we start partying again.
  • 30 December: Friendship Day - to honor your friends and show the superiority of having friends instead of enemies. Created in reference to the pontifical decree Sancta Romania in 1317, in which Pope John XXII ordered the Franciscan Spiritualists to obey their superiors against their beliefs, which prompted the Spiritualists to become bitter enemies of the French pontiff by aligning with his enemy Louis IV.
  • 31 December - Foundation Day - to honor the 1995 foundation of the Church of the Apathetic Agnostic and / or the 1965 development of the term Apathetic Agnostic, together with "I don't know and I don't care" as a personal statement of (lack of) belief.
  • 1 January - Founder's Birthday

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