80 Don’t panic

Doubt Your Doubts!

It can be disconcerting to encounter claims about Church history that were previously unknown and seem to hamper our ability to believe. Richard Bushman acknowledged:

“Once you encounter this stuff it can be shocking, terrifying, and you just feel frozen and hardly know what to do. And then when the evidence begins to mount up you just say I better get out of here and turn away from it. And from then on there is a tendency to just read more and more things that confirm your decision and there’s more evidence that it is all phony.”

It isn’t phony and if the new information received is true, it should be able to withstand scrutiny. That is, if derogatory reports are true, then they should continue to be true as more historical facts are discovered concerning the incident.  But if reports are propaganda and the result of spin and bias, they will not.  Bushman encourages:

It requires a lot of independence and a certain amount of courage to keep looking at all sides of the issue, to read the apologists as well as the critics and to try to try and figure it out for yourself. My number one piece of advice is to don’t falter. Go right into the heart of the problem. Try to figure out what is it precisely about this that is disruptive, what is it that troubles me most. And state that problem in the most severe form you can. And state that problem as clearly as you can. And then try honestly to accumulate information that bears on all sides of the problem.  That is the best way I think you will arrive at a resolution.[1]

The answer for doubt is more knowledge. The author of The CES Letter received more knowledge from highly biased faithless sources and stopped studying too soon. If he could have kept an element of faith and continued to study the sources referenced in this response, his outcome might have been different.