For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.
(Responding to Linda_LaScola’s blog post – “Doubt Street: U-Turns Only Allowed” on Rational Doubt at Patheos.)
“So why do you suppose doubt that leads to investigation that leads to disbelief has such a bad reputation? Why has the only acceptable response to religious doubt been a return to faith?”
The “reputation” that is diminished is only in terms of the former community and it’s collective thinking. Tribal identity has been broken. People can’t relate to you. Like you have embraced liberality, or switched to rooting for another team. No longer practice recycling or start eating meat.
This term “disbelief”, like the expression “return to faith” is problematic for me.
What is the scope of “disbelief”? How many have lost faith in a religion and simply moved on? Found a more compatible mythos and system of practice. Does this qualify as “returning to faith”, or is it something different?
What causes some to cast God out of their consideration because their religious milieu became unacceptable? Is is because they themselves can only contemplate God in the terms they are conditioned to? (i.e. If the religion has failed them, then so has God)
Is somebody who becomes actively and evangelically atheist, the same as someone, who just doesn’t “go there” anymore?
Finally, what qualifies as the effect of God, in ones life? (Whether you are atheist, spiritual, or practice some brand of religion.)
Linda_LaScola responding to Gideon – “Interesting thoughts. I think this does apply to some doubters — those who think about things, but don’t actually investigate their doubts in an empirical way.”
Are you assuming a particular outcome of this empirical investigation?
i.e. that ones tendency for reverence, faith, worship and awe, will not stand up to rational scrutiny?
Linda_LaScola responding to ctcss – “interesting all around, thanks. Can you give some specific examples of this: those who have found equally well-founded reasons to continue on their current religious pathway.
i.e., what are some of the well-founded reasons that people had?”
Gaining a richer understanding of underlying metaphors.
Epiphanies resulting in those, “OH! That’s what that means!”, moments.
An increase in of the awareness of synchronicity, or capacity for love.
Particularly vivid clarity during a ritual, spiritual practice, meditation or prayer.
viaten – “I think doubt, real doubt, has much more substance than religious belief, especially if it can dominate superstition. Nobody ‘chooses’ to doubt the way that might choose a religious belief (which I think is more choosing a commitment or choosing to maintain a commitment to religious principles with the belief that the commitment will have benefits). But some believers might allow some doubt but still let superstition dominate. They might acknowledge doubt and think their faith is stronger for doing so, in which case I would not consider it a “true” doubt. Real doubt comes from rational consideration and gives superstition a big challenge, a big threat to religion that can cause people to make a real choice to give up their religious commitments, a threat which other believers readily recognize. “
“Superstition” can be mitigated by reason. Up to a point.
But ultimately, the approximations of “superstition” and the weeding out processes of the rational mind, must yield way to gnosis (samadhi, kensho, buddha mind).
Wouldn’t you say?
nakedanthropologist responding to the above response to viaten – “No, I don’t think so. For example, I practice a form of secular meditation – it eases my mind and helps me with pain management – but it doesn’t go further than that for me, even after years of searching for religious ‘truth’. I honestly don’t think there is truth in religion: I think there can be comfort, devices of meaning making, and social intensification, but truth is elusive there (in religion). Truth comes from inquiry, essentially, from doubt.”
Yes! “Truth comes from inquiry”.
I don’t understand the “…, essentially, from doubt” part, unless it is in the form of something like the “Neti Neti” of Vedantists. (a basically “religious” caveat and reminder to keep peeling away the layers.)
“Doubt” by it’s self would be one of those layers. An example of “something extra being added”; to be countered in Zen practice or objectively witnessed in Vipassana.
nakedanthropologist – “I say ‘essentially from doubt’ because in order to question there must be doubt to stimulate the inquiry. I don’t question why the stove heats up – I understand that electricity flows through the apparatus and generates heat. However, if I doubt that it is the best way to heat/cook my food, and from then on (possibly) find a better way of doing things.”
Well said. I’m pleased that I’m not inclined to argue. But rather, see that the same principle applies to the experience of self and other.
I “doubt” that things are what they seem as regards this.
So, I inquire into it “religiously”. There are thousands of years of testimony and the fullness of nature to inspire the effort.