Hello gentlemen. Your positions are quite sensible, just not everyone sees things the same way. Does that mean one's practice will suffer, if they don't have "solid" metaphysical beliefs, or differing beliefs? Maybe, and maybe not.
There are many things we do need to have solid views about, and guidance with. How to practice mindfulness, express metta, cultivate compassion and concentration, how to meditate, how to cultivate the brahamaviharas, etc these are all practical considerations not dependent on metaphysical conceptions. And in my view (yes, a view) these are at the heart of dhamma practice, and more important then many of the metaphysical issues being debated here.
You may disagree, and in your practice certain ideas may be absolutely central. Cool. If that works for you, wonderful. You should gravitate towards what is most helpful for you in your practice.
As for Goldstein he presently says he just doesn't know about some things. As a sincere long-term practitioner he may come to a flash of deep unmistakable insight next Thursday, after which his position will change and he says he now "knows." Should we then trust what he has to say then, about the nature of mind? If he takes the Dzogchen position, you probably won't, if he lands firmly in Theravadin territory you probably will.
As someone without such deep wisdom myself i find his present attitude very helpful, much in line with the Zen mind, beginner's mind
suggested by many Zen teachers. But everyone is different, you may have no need or comfort with such an "open minded" approach. Some of us find it helpful with our practice though, and so move in that direction.
P.S. Tilt- concerning the Hindu term atman
and the Pali sutta term ajata
i'm not sure why you think i am "claiming" them to be equivalent. If it sounded like i said that, either you misunderstood or i phrased something in a way that i hadn't intended. I have said "I don't know" and that I agreed with Goldstein that "All views are ideas/concepts, and as such can be viewed as skillful means, not statements of absolute "truth"..."
I never meant to make it sound like i believed they were equivalent. I really hadn't put a lot of thought into it, honestly and had to go look up the term ajata
just now... Looks pretty different from atman, maybe some similarities to how the Diamond Sutra presents reality, but i just don't know and its not the kind of thing i intend to spend too much time thinking about...