An Insurance Policy against Doubt

The Bible and the Qur’an are similar books, I’ve been clear on that before. One of the many similarities is a certain tendency to provide an insurance policy against the likelihood or fruition of doubt.

They both do so in the same ways; by ostracizing those unsure of their claims, demonizing them as deceivers, and apostatizing them in order prevent their dissent from spreading. Doubters and the questions that plague them, according to these holy texts, are like a cancer that will spread unless you cut it out and kill it.

From the Qur’an we have one of many warnings to those that would dare doubt the message of Islam:

Surah 10:94-95

And if thou art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers.

And the Bible:

2 John 1:7-10 (KJV)

7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.

These verses and others like them serve as an insurance policy against doubt. They tell the believer that questions and uncertainty shouldn’t be tolerated and that if they are uncertain of any cardinal doctrine of their faith that they must be Anti-Christs (for many Christians this title personifies evil) or anti-Islam.

Passages like the ones above should be our first clue as to the validity of the claims made by these religions.  Demonizing doubt and dehumanizing the skeptic serve the purpose of retention as an unquestioning follower base is unlikely to defect – while even the smallest spark of uncertainty can lead to a raging fire with the power to break people free from religion’s grasp. The discouraging of questions are warning signs that something foul is ahead.

This Easter weekend I encourage believers to answer the following questions for themselves:

If my religion is the Truth, can it not stand up to scrutiny?

If my religion is the Truth, should it not encourage a deeper understanding?

If my religion is the Truth, can’t I examine it on a level playing field against other religions and epistemological presumptions?

Question what you fear. Question what you love.

Question. Everything.

  • drewbocz

    I love how this coincides with my post: http://zenbananas.com/essays/the-beauty-of-doubt/

  • This is so true. When I was a little kid I used to occasionally go to church with my Grandmother if I stayed at her house. She's catholic and extremely involved in her church. One of those times I was in Sunday school after mass was over, my family that I lived with wasn't religious at all so I asked the sunday school teacher how she knew god was real. I was super young and not trying to stir up any trouble at all… I was just legitimately asking her how I could believe in something I cant see or hear. I actually WANTED to believe I just didn't understand it.

    Anyway, the teacher didn't give me any answers that made sense so I kept asking more questions. She got angry and told my grandmother and from then on I wasn't allowed to go to Sunday school after church. They told my grandmother I was upsetting the other kids, but in reality I guess they just didn't want me pointing out doubt in front of the class.

  • Great Post! I just found your site. Your challenges at the end are fantastic. If theists are not willing to have those conversations, they are just being dishonest, and probably harbor some doubts they are uncomfortable sharing.

  • Those challenge questions will really make someone think. I honestly have some doubts inside me in what I believe in but believing in something that I don't really understand actually helps me feel more secure. Sometimes asking too much question and seeking for more answers will lead you to a greater doubt and confusion.

    -Tracy