Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Nature of Doubt and Experience

Since there are so many fallacious, illusionary, and destructive views among humans, it seems that the OTF* is a great idea. However, I spent most of my life doubting so it's unlikely that John Loftus' book would be of much use for a natural skeptic such as I. On the other hand, I enjoy reading John's lucid prose, even though I strongly disagree with his central assertions.

Two important factors led to my own life-long skepticism and movement away from my religious background and upbringing.

1. My sister and I grew up in virtually the same environment, were close, talked all the time in depth, BUT our temperaments were entirely different. She, basically, accepted the religion she grew up in, and hasn't changed, other than increasing her knowledge within that religion.

In contrast, I was never satisfied. Never. It's like I was born with a WHY in my throat and mouth:-)
My parents regularly wondered why I constantly asked questions from age 3-4 on, never ceasing. Danny, why don't you just accept it (whatever the 'it' was that hour or day)?

2. Secondly, when I was 16, I encountered a new Christian leader at a teen Bible study who so shocked us
that I still get upset about what he said, and the horrific ethics and theology he espoused as the true
Christianity (which TOTALLY contradicted everything that we believed).

Two 'also ran's' were factors, too, in my own unofficial OTF experiences:

3. Unlike the current sort of Christians, such as the leaders who support Trump and Moore, my parents weren't harsh fundamentalists. On the contrary my dad, a Baptist minister also had a degree in history. And both of my parents were practical.

During my early teen years such as when I came home from church camp, on religious fire, they told me to tone it down:-) When I went around putting tracts on all of the cars' window shields in our small downtown village, they gave me a serious talking to, about how, I was over-doing it.

4. Unlike my sister, I attended 2 secular universities, first the University of Nebraska, then transferred to and graduated from Long Beach State. Most of our professors were outspoken agnostics or atheists, one a hard Marxist, etc. I majored in Creative Writing, and for a while in anthropology.

Nothing like being drop-kicked into an 'alien' environment to get a why-caught-in-the-throat Baptist teen to question everything:-)

Along the way, beginning when I was drafted and served as a conscientious objector, I got involved with the Quakers in 1966.
Photo: Live Oak Friends Meeting, Houston by Turrell

At Back Bench Friends Fellowship in downtown Philly. And have been a Friend to one degree or another ever since.

What if I had been born a regular guy;-), not an obsessive questioner?

How different my life would have been.

*The Outsider Test of Faith by John Loftus

In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox