Being told to doubt your doubts sets up a double standard, and you don’t have to play along.
A recent commenter in our Facebook group described how they were starting to question their motives in deconstructing their Christianity. What stood out to me was the insight that it might be “the old evangelical self-reproach” at play.
Have you been told (exhorted) to “doubt your doubts”? I have.
I’ve read it in books. I’ve been told it by former pastors. I’ve been encouraged to do it by friends.
First, doubting your doubts works to keep you in Christianity because of the white, Evanglical, God-shaped hole in our hearts that was drummed into many of us through constant teaching, singing, punishment, and other forms of reinforcement.
Doubting your doubts only works because of that hole. Feeling like you should doubt your doubts probably happens because of that hole.
Second, are the people telling you to do this actually willing to doubt their own beliefs? To lean into their doubts? I…er, um…doubt it. They’re setting up a double standard.
So by all means, doubt your doubts! Or, even better, examine why you used to believe, why you no longer believe, and why you believe what you do now. But also–as soon as it’s safe for you to do so–examine the claims of Christianity, why Christians believe what they believe, what evidence that they have.
This is the path of radical self-honesty, and the path of clear and rational thinking, and self-honesty and rational thinking are part of secular grace.
But whatever you do, don’t give your former religion the privileged place it wants to claim. It can have a seat at the table (in fact, it may show up uninvited!), but the only privilege it has is the privilege of that X-shaped hole in your heart, which isn’t something you asked for anyway.
PS – I’m sounding a bit polemical lately. Maybe just grumpy? My real goal is to encourage those who are hurting, confused, grieving, and perhaps even being accosted by loved ones and acquaintances. Including myself! Eventually it should fade a bit, and your response to apologetics will hopefully be, “meh.”