“Rigid beliefs that are above question often inhibit or even prohibit the sublime objectivity needed for truth-seeking.” – Valerie Tarico
Valerie Tarico in Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light relays her personal thought-journey from a born-again, fundamentalist Christian to an unapologetic atheist.
She examines the authenticity of the bible and the Christian’s assumption and unwavering belief that the bible is the inerrant, inspired word of God. She points out some of the bible’s many errors and contradictions and blatant violence while explaining the historical and cultural context in which the “good book” was compiled. Tarico demonstrates how without this examination and understanding, the bible can be seen by the individual as well as by groups of people as the “timeless, perfect word of God” and rigid adherence to its commands can provide a substitute for nuanced moral judgment.
What makes this book different than the many other books that thoroughly explain the irreconcilable problems with the character of the god of the bible, and with the bible’s textual errors and contradictions, is the author’s education, experience, and unique perspective. As a counseling psychologist, Valerie Tarico examines the reasons we believe what we believe and how that pertains to Christian beliefs specifically. Each chapter of this book begins with an explanation of basic Christian doctrines and is then followed by a “to consider” section, a short recap of the elements in the chapter, and very thought-provoking questions for further study and contemplation.
Essentially, Tarico, in Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light, asks the question (as it pertains to religious belief) that all of mankind needs to answer in order to create more workable and congruent communities, and I quote: “Where is our greatest loyalty – to our ideology or to our shared ideas? And which wins when the two are in conflict?” How do we build upon the philosophical wisdom from those before us while remaining vigilant about the (sometimes very tragic) errors of our past? This book is a logical, very thought-provoking exploration of these questions.
I recommend this reading to anyone interested in the psychology of religious beliefs, religious doctrine, fundamentalism, and their ramifications, or religion and society and how they interplay. I found the organization in this book easy to follow and the author’s voice enjoyable. In addition, it is well researched.
A bit about the author, Valerie Tarico:
Valerie Tarico, Ph.D., is a former fundamentalist Christian and graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois. She holds a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa and has completed post-doctoral studies at the University of Washington.
Dr. Tarico writes for ExChristian.net, for The Huffington Post, and also hosts a television series in Seattle, Washington, on moral politics. She promotes interfaith and shared values that link all humanity and speaks to churches and groups on topics such as moral development, the psychology of belief, and wisdom convergence.
To learn more about Dr. Valerie Tarico, visit ValerieTarico.com.
To purchase a copy of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light, visit Amazon.