A History of Doubt

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2004
A History of Doubt
Mon, 07-19-2004 - 10:49am
I know I keep sending these time-consuming, dialup-unfriendly links to NPR audio, but there was an excellent (IMHO) program on "Speaking of Faith" last week about doubt. You can listen to the program (it's 53 minutes long) at


The guest (Jennifer Michael Hecht) basically says that until the 20th century, doubt was actually a renewing force in religion, and it's only relatively recently that "doubt" has come to equate a total negation of belief (ie. atheism).

One of the other tidbits that stuck with me was her observation that since our opponents in the Cold War adopted institutional atheism, the US developed a sort of institutional religiosity (to the extent that one can here) in response, and it will be interesting to see what happens now that our enemies are extremely religious.

Anyway, it's quite a time commitment (I finally had to burn a CD and listen to it in the car while I was running errands), but it's an interesting listen. I recommend checking to see if the show is broadcast on your local station (you can do so on their site) - it's generally quite interesting, even for an old atheist/humanist/pantheist/recovering Lutheran like me ;)


"My eyes! The goggles do nothing!"

Avatar for jillianmarie77
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 07-19-2004 - 2:44pm
I think doubt is a huge positive force in religion. What else can propel you forward? If I didn't have doubts or questions I wouldn't be looking for answers know what I mean?

Searching and probing and all the while soaking up answers (even ones I don't agree with or believe) helps to shape my views, gives vibrant detail to my 'big picture'. Wondering about things, learning about them and thinking they are fantastic (in addition to being totally contradictory to my beliefs) makes for beautiful background scenery.

There is so much to learn and appreciate in the world!

As for America's religiosity.......well, personally GW has turned me completely off. Regardless of wether he holds some of the morals and ideals that I hold. It will be interesting.

Those tables are always spinning aren't they?