This is a repost of an article from 2014. Usually I like to repost articles that are related to my recent topics, but this is unrelated and just for fun.
When I grew up in Catholicism, I was never taught to think that doubt was a bad thing. In fact, doubt was a good thing, ennobling even. Doubts were something that everyone experiences. Why then, is it said that Christianity is all about faith, dogma, and purging all doubt? Where does this image come from?
Let me tell you what happened next. I started doubting Catholicism. And even though I was never taught that doubting was bad, I knew that the particular way I was doing it was bad.
What I was doing was reading on some arguments against Catholic beliefs, comparing them to the arguments for it. I knew that changing my mind on so many things all at once was impossible, so I considered each issue independently, one at a time. I worried about the consequences of deciding one way or the other, but I tried not to let that affect my judgment. Finally, I collected my many thoughts and tried to draw some overall conclusions on Catholicism and God.
In my mind, this is more or less the proper way to deal with doubt, so why did I know in my gut I was running afoul of some rule of my religious upbringing? The truth is that doubt was accepted in the Catholicism I grew up in, but only if the doubt fit into a specific narrative. Doubt was not an epistemological tool, but a personal struggle to be overcome. This is a fundamentally negative depiction of doubt.