Doubt is a bitch. I have been jealous over the years of people who can believe a certain theology and be 100% sure and sold on it. I have often told people that I am jealous of their faith and thought more knowledge would help me settle on an ideology/theology and settle down. I know I will remain in the Christian camp but where do I land? I am not willing to go back to the doctrine only black and white evangelicalism of the last 30 years of my life. Actually, I am an atheist with regards to that flavor of Christianity. There is a pull I had to the Catholic church, but I cannot reconcile in my head several key doctrines of theirs, so no go there. I am content with my current church affiliation in the ELCA, I feel this church is mindful of the "Catholic" church as a whole and there is room for me there.
When one starts to ponder for example, Native American religions or any indigenous culture's faith practices, I realize the stain of Augustine and Aquinas on Christianity. The pagan religions are connected with nature in a way I like, but I realize that inhibits the progress of civilization. As far as the previously mentioned saints, maybe it was the desire to spell everything out with regards to living the for the village idiot that drove it. There is something fake and disheartening about a faith practice that has all of the questions answered. If you can't trust your parishioners to investigate different schools of thought and find the truth themselves then your theology is fear based. Fear-based theology leads to cults, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, legalism or the jettisoning of faith altogether.
The key tenets of any religion are pushing us to realize we have a circle of influence and we will be held accountable for how we treat others. Many people just pay lip service and are cultural adherents to their faith. This disheartens us who actually internalize and try to live the basic tenants of our faith. In the Christian world, the one I know, there are so many flavors how do you even know you have it right? Every theology in the world has good in it but there are schmucks who take it and bend it to fit their agendas.
If we can't depend on others to tell us what to think then what do we do? I think it depends on our initiative as a person, some people will settle for being told what to think by leaders. Maybe I fit a weird demographic in this culture and want to think for myself. I guess in my adherence to Christianity I have to let my old Evangelical side die and let go of the fear of intellectual growth. Keeping us stupid and afraid of the world was how they kept us in the fold.
In the end doubt is a motivating factor for me. I question things on a deeper level than most, so hence the higher level of doubt. Doubt has propelled me to a much better place and I have never been more content with my life in many ways. Maybe doubt keeps us in check and from becoming to polarized on any one position or theology.