An Open Letter to those in Doubt

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Are you doubting your religion? An atheist is here to say it's okay.

As an active internet writer, and semi-"militant" atheist, I frequently come across articles that are meant to restore the faith of the reader in some religion (typically Christianity). That's perfectly fine. But I want to point out that there are atheists who want you to know that it's okay to have doubts. 

Before we proceed any further, I'm going to state that I won't pressure you into leaving your faith. Personally, I don't really care about your religious views. I live in the Bible Belt. And I was raised in Central America. The vast majority of my friends are religious, typically Catholic, or Muslim. I'm not here to proclaim that "Atheism is the truth!" or some other action typical of a "Straw-atheist". Not my goal. I don't believe in any god, or supernatural beings, but my objective isn't to attack your religion. Not here anyway. 

I am here to defend doubt. I am here to remind you that doubt is normal, and can in fact be beneficial. I like doubt. Not just because it can lead to people giving up their religious views and admitting that whatever religion they were part of might well be false. but because doubt tends to either be a consequence of serious thought about religion, or it typically leads to genuine thoughts about one's own beliefs. Doubt, and the thoughts that come after doubt (and during doubt) are very real, and very earnest. Doubt is one of my favorite states of mind. Even, and in someways especially when it ultimately leads to new-found conviction in ones belief. To the people who are genuinely interested in truth, doubt is followed by an earnest search for the evidence. That's what I love. I love encouraging others to seek out evidence. And those in doubt tend to be the most honest about the evidence they find, and what it means. 

Doubt doesn't have to end in you renouncing your faith. But if you feel doubt, seriously contemplate what it means about you, your values, and what you believe in. Seriously consider what your religion instructs you to do, and how to behave. 

Doubt doesn't mean the end of your relationship with your beliefs. It doesn't HAVE to mean "it's time we breakup" when it comes to any type of belief. But maybe you should. Maybe you should think about whether or not you believe anymore. If you don't, you'll find an eager community ready to accept you and befriend you. But even if you do believe, doubt doesn't have to be an enemy. Doubt doesn't have to be something you fear. When doubt raises its head, embrace it like a friend and do research. Spend time contemplating what you believe in, and what you don't. When doubt appears approach it freely, and with a smile. 

Doubt is a natural part of life. Doubt is something that will appear in your life. But how you react to it, says a lot about you. Be willing to learn. Be willing to let your religious views evolve and change over time. Do not cling to something merely because you were raised to believe it was true. Be more than eager to learn about what it is that you believe in. And about the beliefs of others. 

Doubt is my friend. Is it yours? 

 

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