the buddha kind of taught both too avoid skeptical doubt and too investigate and test his teachings.
i think the key in this sutta is that ones doubt should not be so strong that it causes wavering in practice as there will be no progress if one is in constant doubt to the point that it is impeding practice.
so the middle ground method would be (in my opinion) too practice sincerely and accept all teachings provisionally. if, after a good LONG time of sincere effort and practice, one sees absolutely NO validity too the practices or other ideas then, and only then, should one consider allowing serious skeptical doubt enter ones' mind.
and this applies too pagans and atheists as well. if a pagan approached their religion the same way it would have the same scientific testing type outcome. "i'll pray too the hawk goddess and have faith and if my prayer comes true then i'll continue to believe in her."
or an atheist... actually really atheists are turning a blind eye the same as someone with blind faith. atheism is utter denial that there is a god(s). blind faith is utter faith that there is a god(s). both are based on faith! neither can be proven, yet both claim too know for certain. agnostics on the other hand (which is what most atheists actually are, few are true "atheists") can do the same experiments as pagans or anybody else.
for buddhism we meditate and follow the path with great effort, if it helps us and makes us suffer less then we should have faith in it and the buddha himself.
Last edited by alan...
on Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:08 am, edited 1 time in total.