On Doubt, Belief, and Empirical Theology

I’m an empirical theologian.  When a dogma runs up against the facts of reality, I think it better to change the dogma to suit the facts than to rationalize or ignore the facts in order to preserve the dogma. And because all dogmas in my theology are subject to change, expansion, modification, or rewording in light of new evidence, they are, therefore, not “dogmas” at all. Every statement and belief is subject to inquiry, investigation, and interrogation.

One thing I like about Shakyamuni Buddha is that he did not say “take everything I say as absolute truth and just have faith that it is correct.” Instead, he said, in effect, take what I say as a statement to be tested against your own reason and experience.  In the Kalama Sutta, he says “It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen in you about that which is doubtful.” Faith, for him, is grounded in knowledge.  Doubts are invitations to inquiry.


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