Religious Doubt

Val Webb has shared a lecture she has been delivering, with the title “In Defense of Doubt.” It includes the following:

Denigrating religious doubt is a matter of power and control — and a large dose of threat for religious authorities if people think for themselves.  Yet honest creative doubt has long been central in church history.  The psalmists raged against Divine absence and Job refused to be quiet.  Early Christianity was a ferment of doubt and disagreement until Emperor Constantine insisted on one orthodox truth recorded in Church Creeds — and still they argued.  Medieval theologian Peter Abelard said, ”The first key to wisdom is assiduous and frequent questioning … for by doubting we come to inquiry, and by inquiry we arrive at truth”.  [ii]  And Martin Luther finally spoke out after years of blaming himself.  ”For more than a decade,” he wrote, “I curbed my thoughts with the advice of Solomon, ‘Do not rely on your own insight’ (Prov. 3:5). I always believed there were theologians hidden in the schools who would not have been silent if these teachings were impious”’. [iii]  Luther’s words should trouble all teachers and preachers who stay silent, hiding their own doubts while speaking with certainty on the outside.

Click through to read the rest – and don’t give up before you read the quote from Marjorie Suchocki at the end!


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