Freedom to Doubt

In his second book, Charles Shingledecker goes beyond The Crazy Side of Orthodoxy to look at the issues confronting all traditions of Christianity. He accompanies fellow believers on an entertaining and informative journey through the Bible, Church history, and the nature of Christian belief.

“Narrow is the way,” Jesus said. It is a hazardous path, too, lined with obstacles and roadblocks that lurk in the shadows of naive fundamentalism. Chuck has bumped into many rough spots, surprised at the difficulties he never saw coming in a simplistic faith but also fascinated by the nuances of a more authentic one. Now he offers a candle to help light the way for others, to provide some comfort for those troubled Christians who feel isolated and alone in their doubts.

Chuck has discovered that the life of a Christian need not be plagued by guilt and fear. In this book, he shares his hard-won conclusion, that faith can and should be filled with the freedom to ask tough questions, the freedom to seek truth, and, yes, the Freedom to Doubt.

You can get it in print and for the Kindle on If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow Freedom to Doubt from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for, well, free. We still get some revenue when you do.


Here’s what a few theology types have said about the book:

This book is exactly what every historically-critical pastor needs available at hand. Chuck’s work is a beautiful and very accessible synthesis of his broad understanding of our sacred texts, various Christian traditions, his personal struggles with both, and devout, mature faith. Freedom to Doubt is a sampling of the kind of faith we seek to inspire and need to inspire to keep the Christian message relevant to the real world in a landscape increasingly divided between the literalist “true-believers” and religion’s cultured despisers.
With unflinching forthrightness and poignancy, Shingledecker is one of a growing number of engaging Christian writers like Thom Stark and Mark Roncace who eschew the chicanery of apologetics and admit the indefensibility of many traditional Christian doctrines. To these other authors he adds the perspective of a former evangelical and a current member of the Orthodox tradition, providing refreshing insight into the honest doubts of many of the earliest church fathers. It takes courage for a Christian to admit to the world what many believers experience but few express: “Some days, I wake up an atheist, and go to bed a devout believer. Some days, I ‘know’ that God exists, and on other days I’m pretty sure he doesn’t.” Highly recommended for firm believers, doubting believers, and nonbelievers alike!
The Greeks were enslaved for 400 years under the Ottomans, who failed to eradicate the deep Orthodox Christian Faith that resonates throughout Greece and abroad but may have inflicted a handicap on our religious education. Thank you Mr. Shingledecker, for a book that helps overcome the vacuum that’s been left. It’s about time! Chuck does an excellent job at prompting us to dig deeper into our questions. By questioning ourselves and what we believe, we have an opportunity to grow and make relevant the transformative truths of our Faith that we’ve taken for granted.


Chuck makes this book personal for readers with occasional references to his own faith journey, and with the same refreshing candor as his discussion of the Bible and Church history:

To be honest, I’ve always had the voice of doubt whispering in the back of my mind. In my youth and late teens, before I became an overly zealous Christian, those doubts were not a problem. Doubt, after all, leads people to ask questions. I was always taught that asking questions is an admirable action, which should not be hampered in any way. The old saying is that there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. But once I was “born again,” doubt became something to be fought, suppressed, even feared. Questions became downright dangerous. If I allowed Satan to plant “the seeds of doubt” within me, I might lose my faith entirely. And so, like so many other troubled Christians, I had to keep my doubts and questions to myself. [p. 10]

There are a few light-hearted images sprinkled throughout the book, captioned versions of Gustav Doré’s engravings illustrating the Bible. (We really like those, in case you haven’t noticed.)

Here’s one from the story in Judges 11 about Jephthah greeting her father when he got home from a long hard slog of killing enemies. The poor girl didn’t know that he’d vowed to sacrifice the first person who came out of his house. That, of course, was her.

We think the word balloon pretty well fits what she must have thought of dear old dad at that point.


Interested? Take a look at Chuck’s Preface to the book, or some quotes from it on our Favorite Quotes page.