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They Say: I Am A Doubter, You Can Trust Me.


Ellwood
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I have noticed, as the christians in my life try to engage me in conversation to "help" me as, in their words, "I struggle with my unbelief", that they often will start the conversation by telling me "I am a doubter also!"

 

First I have to correct them that I am NOT struggling with unbelief - I LOVE it!

 

But I find this claim that they struggle with doubt to be very interesting. I think it is often a way they are trying to only establish some kind of connection with me to get me to come back to christianity and in their attempt to have me to be ok with an acceptable measure of doubt. But I also know they are telling the truth. I think that they ALL doubt!

 

So far I have had the following types of christians tell me they doubt: pastor of my old church, owner of the large company I work for, christian therapist, wife, my kids, episcopal priest, and on and on. What is with this??? Come on folks. If you doubt this much then get your ass in gear and figure it out!! And don't tell me that I should go back to a system of belief that has so much doubt!! Because right now I have found a place where I have NO doubt.

 

And if you doubt and you don't take advantage of all the great information to help you address that doubt then you don't deserve to enter into this ever increasing debate overtaking the modern world and I don't care to discuss it with you. You aren't up to the task!

 

Anyone else seeing this doubt word being used like it is some mark of honor by christians? Bull!

 

There. Rant done for today.

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Nicely don't rant, Ellwood :)

 

I believe many christians do doubt. But I guess it comes down to which is stronger: the doubts, or the brainwashing. As long as the brainwashing is stronger than the doubts, they'll remain where they are. Only when the doubts challenge the brainwashing are they likely to really start investigating and head towards the road we're on.

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Not all doubts are congruent. My personal impression is that most Christians who would say that they doubt (or had previously doubted) are talking about an emotional level, whereas for someone like me (as well as plenty others on this board) it was on an intellectual level. (Note: I'm not calling myself an "intellectual," but merely making the distinction that my doubts were based on the cold, hard facts that I was learning rather than simply emotions.) As such, when they talk about their "doubts," I think that most of them don't grasp what we're talking about with our doubts/disbelief based on new information, and they don't follow through with their doubts by objectively investigating the facts about the religion.

 

I will say, though, that I am quite confident that not all Christians doubt. I know that I didn't have a shred of doubt about Christianity until I was 29. If I could go that long without doubting, and the only thing that got my doubts rolling was spending an ungodly (pun intended) amount of time reading the Bible, then I can see how others could go on for a lifetime of being fully convinced. If the indoctrination is very thorough, then it can be quite difficult to see the cracks, and many never do.

 

On the other hand, I do agree that there are probably plenty of others who do doubt, but many can't bring themselves to fully face their doubts.

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Whether they actually doubt or not, this just smacks of that "sneaky in" kind of phrase.

 

"I was hurt by people in church too." "I was once a neopagan JUST LIKE YOU."

 

My immediate reaction is "liar." I've never had one say something like that and NOT try to full-on convert me. They can take their "doubts" and "past" and shove it.

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Ellwood, I recently spoke with a woman who had once been my youth director. The very fact that she had been entrusted with this task astounds me. In my assessment she's so deeply manipulative that I can't see how she could possibly be happy.

 

She recommended that I go to youtube and look into a thing put together by 'Focus on the Family' entitled The Truth Project. And I did so. I watched perhaps 6 or 7 videos on it. I thought it was awful, I mean terrible. In one of the videos, where a guy was speaking to some assembled students, there was a young woman among them. And one time when the camera panned around as the guy was speaking, she had a deep furrow in her brow. I felt so bad for her, and powerless to do anything about it.

 

Though I am ever curious, and desire greater understanding, I think I know enough truths, and one of them is...

 

This is the jungle.

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"You should buy this car right here. I know you have some doubts about how trustworthy it is, but sir, lemme tell you, I doubt that too! But you should buy it anyway."

 

I'm not going to convert to a religion at the word of someone who isn't even fully convinced it's true. I find that idea ludicrous, and faintly intellectually dishonest. Either the Christian is lying, or else s/he is accepting doubt without getting the issues worked out before trying to drag someone else into their muck. I realize it's a psychological tool--similar to "good cop bad cop" and other interrogation techniques designed to bring an unfriendly witness around. But is their faith so weak they must rely on parlor tricks like this rather than simply present their evidence and let that evidence speak for itself?

 

Disgusting, immoral, and cheap.

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What they're trying to say is that "just because you have doubts doesn't mean you can't be Christian. We're all imperfect, we all have doubts, but the good people have faith anyway."

 

They're making the assumption that you have doubts, so you feel you can't be a Christian, because Christian's must believe. They're trying to console you by saying, it's ok to doubt every now and then, just stick with it. It's exactly why Faith is so hard to reason with. It's built to withstand reason.

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It's exactly why Faith is so hard to reason with. It's built to withstand reason.

 

I suppose when you capitalized the word 'faith' you did so meaning religious faith?

 

I personally think that the word 'faith' has been much maligned, and misappropriated by religious peoples. I hope I can explain this.

 

Today within philosophical circles there continues to be a tension between skepticism, and the solipsism born of it, and those who might be called "anti-skeptics." Some people are apparently so skeptical that they doubt the existence of anything outside their subjective experience.

 

Now, I happen to believe in an objective world, which I can only hope to understand with my subjective mind. But some would call this 'faith'.

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It's exactly why Faith is so hard to reason with. It's built to withstand reason.

 

I suppose when you capitalized the word 'faith' you did so meaning religious faith?

 

I personally think that the word 'faith' has been much maligned, and misappropriated by religious peoples. I hope I can explain this.

 

Today within philosophical circles there continues to be a tension between skepticism, and the solipsism born of it, and those who might be called "anti-skeptics." Some people are apparently so skeptical that they doubt the existence of anything outside their subjective experience.

 

Now, I happen to believe in an objective world, which I can only hope to understand with my subjective mind. But some would call this 'faith'.

 

Yes, i specifically meant Religious faith. I have no qualms with the literal word and meaning of faith when used appropriately.

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"I was hurt by people in church too." "I was once a neopagan JUST LIKE YOU."

 

 

"But the people at my church won't hurt you....just come to my church.....or you'll BURN IN HELL YOU ROTTEN SINNER!!!!" lol.

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"You should buy this car right here. I know you have some doubts about how trustworthy it is, but sir, lemme tell you, I doubt that too! But you should buy it anyway."

 

I'm not going to convert to a religion at the word of someone who isn't even fully convinced it's true. I find that idea ludicrous, and faintly intellectually dishonest. Either the Christian is lying, or else s/he is accepting doubt without getting the issues worked out before trying to drag someone else into their muck. I realize it's a psychological tool--similar to "good cop bad cop" and other interrogation techniques designed to bring an unfriendly witness around. But is their faith so weak they must rely on parlor tricks like this rather than simply present their evidence and let that evidence speak for itself?

 

Disgusting, immoral, and cheap.

 

Like Ellwood said, it's a salesman's hook and it's on an emotional level. A few years ago I went shopping for cars and several sales people were doing that..."Oh, you went to high school there too? Cool!"

 

"You're from the Gulf Coast? Yeah, my Uncle Bob was born and raised there..."

 

"Oh, you're a marine biologist specializing in crustaceans! I ate lunch at Red Lobster today....how fascinating!"

 

Basically who gives a shit. I was there to buy a car. Just figure that anything that comes out of the mouth of a used car salesman is baloney. The only truth is what the contract says. At least they have a contract (and a product)....which is more than the Xian salesman will provide.

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It's called Feel, Felt, Found.

 

I understand how you feel.

 

I once felt that way myself.

 

I found that.......

 

Almost all salesmen do it to try to overcome objections. When I was in Amway/Quixstar, there were entire seminars on the subject. Because the bottom line was $150 and a signature.

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Exactly. People are more willing to buy something (be it a political position, a religion, or an object) if they feel like the person selling it to them is part of the same "tribe." Finding that common ground, and doing it very quickly, is of vital importance in making a sale. Implying that the seller held the same position once but was "smart" enough to change to the current one puts an onus of conformity on the listener; if we remain unconvinced, then OH MY GAWD we won't look "smart" to the seller anymore!

 

We naturally, as humans, want to be part of a tribe. We want to have approval from that tribe. But even more than approval, we want to have admiration from the others.

 

That's why Kirk Cameron makes such a humongous deal out of how he "used to be an atheist." In lieu of actual evidence, Christians resort to scare tactics and emotional manipulation like this.

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I realize it's a psychological tool--similar to "good cop bad cop" and other interrogation techniques designed to bring an unfriendly witness around. But is their faith so weak they must rely on parlor tricks like this rather than simply present their evidence and let that evidence speak for itself?

 

Disgusting, immoral, and cheap.

 

I like this good cop, bad cop. Really does clarify things for me. Exactly what I think they were trying to do. Almost like they are saying, "it is ok, you can still doubt a little. Just don't leave the club."

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It's called Feel, Felt, Found.

 

I understand how you feel.

 

I once felt that way myself.

 

I found that.......

 

Almost all salesmen do it to try to overcome objections. When I was in Amway/Quixstar, there were entire seminars on the subject. Because the bottom line was $150 and a signature.

 

I have to remember that one. I guess we could also apply it to: I was a sinner like you once, headed to hell, living life for myself. I understand how you feel. BUT, I have found that Now I am saved by grace!

 

The line got lots of use in my past. ugh!

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