Dare to doubt
John: I thought you might want to publish this. If not, it was still useful writing down the thoughts that have been running through my head for a long time. Yours, "Doubter"
Why I Doubted
This blog seems aimed at intellectuals. It presents a balanced diet of intellectual reasons for unbelief, counters to intellectual reasons for belief, and good, old-fashioned ridicule. That was how I interacted with it.
When Corky was running it, I used to occasionally stop by and correct bias and misreadings of scripture. John Bedson was the same: one hole, one wrong assumption, and I could dismiss the entire argument without touching my faith. I could have argued the apologetics all day without needing to change my mind.
So what changed?
I couldn't see God's hand at work in my life. I couldn't feel his presence, and prayer never felt like it got anywhere (not even when asking God to help me to pray). Fellow believers talked about giving a decision "prayerful consideration", and I realised I had no idea what that meant.
When people told me to remember everything God had done for me, I had no specific examples to fall back on. Eventually I gave up private prayer, followed by daily Bible readings.
Apologetics kept me going, particularly appreciation of the design of the world. But slowly, the doubts increased. I began to see flaws in my arguments, and sense in opposing arguments.
But those intellectual arguments didn't start the doubt. It was realising I couldn't see and feel an invisible God working in my life like everyone around me could. No amount of intellectual brilliance or knowledge of the Bible could compensate for that.
Family and friends still hold me to the group. In my ecclesia, I am involved in hymns, prayers, and Bible reading. I can even speak if I choose my topic carefully. I may show less enthusiasm and more doubt, but no-one seems to have noticed.
If I can fake it, how many others are like me? It would be sad if the confident sounding brothers and sisters who drove me to doubt actually struggle with the same hidden doubts.
Intellectual arguments can easily be worked round or ignored. Emotional issues are harder to ignore, and struggling with them reduces the motivation to ignore competing intellectual arguments.