Am I a Doubter?

Bruce Alderman has written a post that is making me think. That’s a good thing!

He thinks that we are misusing the word “doubts” when we suggest that believers may have doubts. To quote:

Questions can and do lead to a more mature faith. Genuine doubts do not.

Hmm! I must say that I have few to no doubts about the basics. I have, in fact, attempted to truly doubt that God exists, a foolish effort if one actually believes, but I have doubts about many secondary things.

As I said, this one is making me think. If it’s making you think as well, head over to Bruce’s blog and comment.

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  1. Like Bruce Alderman, I have a mystical, experiential faith, and I think he’s right to say that this is immune from doubt; like you, I have attempted to believe that God does not exist, and while I can entertain it as an hypothesis, in no way can I believe the proposition. Using “doubt” in the sense of “I am uncertain whether this is correct”, no, I am not uncertain whether God exists.

    However, I do doubt. I doubt virtually every written or spoken expression of experiential faith, in at least some measure (definitely including my own words on the subject!). As soon as I go beyond “God exists” and ask “what is it that this God person/thing/occurrence/whatever actually IS?” (or “what is it that he DOES or DID?”) I am in “doubt territory”.

    It’s possible that as a retired lawyer, I’m too well versed in the “reasonable doubt” concept. “Could it possibly be otherwise?” I ask myself – and almost always the reply is “yes, it could”. It may be very unlikely. But still….

    I also bring to thinking on this subject a training as a scientist, knowing that any theory only holds until it is disproved, and this is always a possibility. As an example, the picture we have of what matter is has suffered several major transformations in the history of Physics, and current thinking discards all out previous notions in favour of vibrating “strings” (a picture which very few people claim to understand well ).

    If, therefore, I choose to think of matter as something solid and tangible, I know I am using an outdated picture, one which I very reasonably doubt. But it’s useful in most circumstances- it works.

    And so I view theologies…

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