Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some thoughts on doubt and questioning my current beliefs

A Christian reader of my blog recently wrote to me in response to my Moving beyond ex-Christianity post. I wrote a lengthy response, but I thought I would include below two issues that I touched on in my email, as I thought they adequately captured elements of where I am in my journey.

The first point covers my thoughts on why I think so many Christians seem to struggle with doubt, and the second is my response to the reader's plea that I should put as much effort into questioning my current position as I did when I questioned Christianity.

Christian doubt

Some Christians often struggle with their faith; I no longer have that burden. This is because I've come to a place of simply accepting nature at face value, without having to clutter my view of the world with invisible forces and beings that cannot be demonstrated or verified, but for which I'm told (by major religions) exist. I think many Christians struggle with doubt because they sometimes observe instances where the two worldviews that they hold within their minds - the natural for which they plainly see and experience around them, and the supernatural for which they cannot see or demonstrate - don't always fully gel with each other when it comes to understanding the nature of existence and our place in it. For me, the physical world won the painful battle of cognitive dissonance because I finally realised that if something is invisible and unverifiable, it is indistinguishable to something that does not exist.

Questioning my current beliefs

I've realised recently that questioning my current position isn't the same as giving the supernatural any kind of consideration. When I first deconverted, I would tell my friends that I was a seeker, and I did a lot of reading across the board, from atheist books to apologetics to Hindu writings. But there are thousands of gods, from Apollo to Vishnu to Yahweh to Zeus. Maybe one of these gods exist, but it would be near impossible to research every single one in the hope that I would find the truth. I then realised that it's not up to me to find God (if he/she exists); it is up to those who claim that a specific god exists to make a strong case. In other words, the burden is no longer on me to try and find something; the burden is on those making the claim of existence to show me that something is actually there.