Hot Doubt and Cold Doubt

I'm currently teaching a class at church called Faith at the Edge: A Conversation for Doubters. In the class I've made a distinction between Cold Doubt and Hot Doubt. Cold Doubt is the doubt of the studious, the intellectual and the questioning. Hot Doubt is the doubt of the wounded, the god-forsaken and the suffering.

This distinction is not exact. For example, a great deal of Cold Doubt is simply vicarious Hot Doubt. We look at Haiti, Darfur or the Holocaust and, vicariously, experience the god-forsakenness of the world. But the distinction does highlight some differences among doubters. Some doubt for intellectual reasons. Others doubt in the wake of loss, trauma or pain.

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4 thoughts on “Hot Doubt and Cold Doubt”

  1. That's an interesting way to express the difference between intellectual and emotional doubt. The latter is much more difficult to deal with in my experience.

    It would be good if you could keep us all informed of the progress of your class; its problems and challenges.


  2. Cold Doubt is definitely my category. For some reason I don't look at the horrors of the world and blame them on any spiritual entity. Bad things happen to us all; but good things also come about in life.

    Darfur, the Holocaust, and many others occur because of evil people; but why are they evil? Why do some people think it is just to kill those who are less fortunate than they? Does it occur to show power? Does it happen because of insanity?

    Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. are natural occurrences... neither man-made nor as a result of an angry god. Some of the devastation that results from these natural catastrophes is a result of something mankind did or did not do to ensure safety. Poor choices in where to live, poor responses to events, and just plain poor (bad) luck cause human suffering. As terrible as these things are I could not blame a god for allowing these things to happen.

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