Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Skeptical Believer

I recently started reading, The Skeptical Believer - telling stories to your inner atheist, and it is proving to be quite interesting. I was drawn to the book because I felt it was describing me. Here is a description from the opening chapter :

So, is it good to be a Skeptical Believer?
Not necessarily. It is simply one way of believing, and one way of being skeptical. It is not the best way to believe, there being no single best way. It is, in fact, a rather precarious way. Skeptical Believers often have their skepticism overpower their belief. They are prone to dark periods when belief, if possible at all, hangs on a thread. They often are plagued by an incessant grinding of the mind that leaves them weary and paralyzed. Their faith is prone to being theoretical and attenuated rather than practical and robust. Encouraging spiritual highs are followed by new rounds of analysis and doubt-filled lows. (The Skeptical Believer - Telling Stories to Your Inner Atheist by Daniel Taylor, p.6)

What do you think of the description? Does it describe you? Does the term, Skeptical Believer, even make sense to you? Is it possible? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. The precis of the book on Amazon seems to create a false dichotomy between "modernist" and "postmodernist" approaches, while also improperly describing what modernism is/was. I think there's more to be gained reading pre-modern writers to see what faith looked like to the Early church fathers (east and west), the reformers, the medievals, etc. Despite the modern and post-modern assumption that we see farther than our predecessors, I find that our culture is more blinkered than it thinks. DT's intro strikes me as showing little more than pop-culture categories and a merely narcissistic scope. -Mind you I'm basing this on a little information from your blog and Amazon; but I don't see anything that draws me to closer examination.
    Perhaps one problem is the false dichotomy between knowing and doubting. Some churches have recently (for a century or so?) preached a faith that is more about gnosis than pistin - knowing facts about God more than trusting/following God. Where humble self doubt is counted as weakness or disagreeing with a denominational/cultural dogma is equalled to heresy, you might be tempted to accept the label of Skeptic that is thrust upon you by the modern/postmodern institutions. Skeptical Believer may be an improvement over having to choose between Skeptic or Believer, but learning from the ancient church may help you find even better range of understanding epistemology and faith.