This post by Noah Millman at The American Conservative (re: a post on Mormonism that I didn’t read) neatly sums up some of the dilemmas closest to my heart:
“In my experience, only a very small minority of people in any religious tradition truly affirm that religion’s teachings intellectually, and most of the world’s religions aren’t organized around creedal affirmation anyhow. For the overwhelmingly majority of people, they want to be able to live with their church – to experience life cradled within its arms – not to think with it.
The trouble for the minority who actually care about thinking is that they may also care about that experience of living within a religious tradition and community. Then they have a choice: of learning to “think with” that tradition, and turn the mind away from doubt (which has, I would argue, deleterious consequences for the health of one’s mind); or of becoming the kind of theological liberal who isn’t terribly committed to a particular truth (which has, I would argue, deleterious consequences for one’s ability to truly feel religious experience); or of becoming a secret dissenter (which has, I would argue, deleterious consequences for one’s relationships with one’s fellow communicants); or of becoming a public dissenter (which makes one a trouble-maker with all kinds of deleterious consequences).”