I have not met a human being that has never experienced doubt. I am pretty sure I don’t want to. Doubt, it seems to me, is just part of our shared human experience. Faith is also a shared human experience. Humans around the globe have ‘faith’ in common. They may place their faith in different entities – God, Allah, Science, Atheism, etc… – but they do have ‘faith’ in common.
When it comes to Faith and Doubt, there is no shortage of perspectives. A quick google search reveals how differently people think on the topic.Some would argue that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind. They suggest as the Thomas S. Monson quote depicts, that one will necessarily ‘dispel the other.’ To follow this logic, faith would leave one without any doubt about the object of their worship.
Others, such as Anne Lamott, would suggest the exact opposite. Lamott argues that certainty rather than doubt is actually the opposite of faith. Philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich suggests that doubt is an essential “element of faith” (Dynamics if Faith, Tillich, 1957).
Given this line of thought, it could be said that faith actually NEEDS doubt. One definition of faith is ‘a firm belief in something for which there is no proof’ (Merriam Webster). In the absence of proof can there really be a certainty? I think not although I know many who believe there can be. They are certain of it.
I like the picture of Faith and Doubt, as if they were characters in a story, walking hand in hand. A leap of faith, I believe, is only a leap of faith if there is doubt. Absent doubt, it would be better characterized as a leap of certainty. Certainty scares me. There have been too many atrocities committed in the name ‘god’ by folks who were certain they were doing the right thing…
Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. I wrote some of my thoughts on Faith and Doubt into this song. “Is the struggle what it’s all about? In the darkness just trying to see…”