Doubt and Conspiracy

Doubt and Conspiracy September 1, 2014

A couple of posts struck me as insightful and quotable, and related to the same theme, so I will share links to and quotes from them together. First, Carson T. Clark wrote about doubt as a Christian virtue:

Many Christians see doubt as the opposite of faith. This I find rather bizarre because I see doubt as the opposite of certainty. With that understanding, I would suggest that doubt is a reality of life. Experience tells me that all people have doubt. It’s only a matter of whether you’re intellectually honest and emotionally secure enough to acknowledge it. The question, then, is not whether you have doubt, but what you do with it. That is, how do you channel your doubt? Do you push it down deep, doing everything in your power to pretend it’s not there? Do you militarize it, advocating that anyone who believes anything is an idiot? Do you simply ignore it, embracing a lifestyle of cognitive dissonance in which doubt is a constant irritant? Do you wallow in it, passively accepting a kind of default skepticism? Or do you acknowledge its presence and assertively address it, utilizing doubt’s life-altering and life-giving potential? To my mind it’s a natural, cyclical progression. Curiosity leads to doubt. Doubt leads to questioning. Questioning leads to truth. Truth leads to maturation. Maturation leads to healing. Healing leads to worship. And worship leads back to curiosity. Unless you’re willing to turn off that basic human trait of curiosity, doubt is an inevitability. Too often we presume doubt is a vice, failing to understand its potential as a virtue when it’s synthesized with honesty, security, humility, and grace.

Then Fred Clark had a lot to say about conspiracy theory thinking, and why belief in Biblical inerrancy is an example of it. Here is a short but insightful sample:

Conspiracy theories don’t arise from facts. They arise, rather, from an epistemologicalchoice that prescribes which facts will be accepted and how those facts will be interpreted.

Next, Jim Spinti shared a quote from Zoltan Schwab’s book, Toward an Interpretation of the Book of Proverbs:

The opposite of trust in God in Proverbs is not so much ‘doubt’ in God (which is seldom mentioned if at all, at least not explicitly) but trust in oneself (cf. 3:5 vs 3:7; 28:25-26.) No wonder the reader of Proverbs is so often reminded about the dangers of pride.

So often, those who insist that doubt is a sin have precisely the sort of self-confidence in their own understanding and interpretation that Proverbs and the rest of the Bible warns about. Rarely do they see the irony.

Carlos Bovell writes about inerrancy in a guest post on Pete Enns’ blog:

Post-inerrantists are not trying to sever the relationship between God and scripture but rather to establish it by critically investigating scripture and conceptually clarifying it. It is not “perverse” or “unproductive” when a believer suspends judgment on inerrancy, takes a searchingly fresh look at the Bible, and concludes that inerrancy simply does not do justice to what the Bible is and how the Bible behaves.

See also Brandon Withrow on finding GOD in an eggplant, and believing and seeing. And let me recommend a book that seems never to have gotten the attention it deserves, Robert Davidson’s The Courage to Doubt: Exploring an Old Testament Theme.

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