can doubt be experienced collectively?

While certain faith communities are expected to believe on behalf of individuals („I don’t have to believe; my pastor does that for me“ as a chapter is called in Peter Rollins‘ „Insurrection“), Katharine makes a good point in saying that liberal church traditions (like Church of England or Lutheran churches in Germany) engage in intellectual or academic doubt but rarely know how to offer a space for individuals to enter into existential doubt.

I see this happening in both church communities where I work as a musician: We continue to use the language (meaning words, and symbols, and gestures etc.) and rhythm of our liturgy while we know that the „ordo“, the rhythm how our universe runs is much more complex. We say „Lighten our darkness, Lord, we beseech thee“ while our post-Auschwitz theology ponders about God’s absence. Yes, we know that our liturgy is just poetry, fairy-tale story telling where nothing bad can really happen.

Now, is it possible for communities to enter into „existential doubt“? Isn’t that something which rather happens to you, as an individual? Maybe you need the background of some belief system from which you can defect? Isn’t doubt always „somthing from which“? You wouldn’t „doubt into something else“, would you? Since doubt means opening to something else, to something which you didn’t know before, it’s clear why it is difficult for a collective to incorporate it somehow into their own belief system or liturgy or story telling. The only thing you could do probably is to kick them out of the nest. But which collective does that?

So … Walk. On your own. That’s okay.

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  1. Pingback: Zweifelhafte Stellvertreter- oder “Ich muss nicht zweifeln, das macht Tim schon für mich” | blue eyed believer

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