When I teach about faith, I draw a distinction between doubt and uncertainty - and between doubting and questioning / seeking.
me, "doubt" is used in the scriptures often as a verb ("to doubt") or to describe an orientation/mindset ("Doubting Thomas"), and
it doesn't mean to be uncertain, to question or to seek. It means to
have a disbelieving mindset - to start from a foundation of, "I have to
see to believe," rather than, "I can believe while I question and seek,
until I find evidence that leads me not to believe." Doubt is the
suspension of belief amid uncertainty; faith is the suspension of
disbelief amid uncertainty. Viewed that way, they are polar opposites. Uncertainty isn't bad or evil in any way - unless
it becomes a default setting that hardens into intractable doubt and removes one's ability to move forward
amid uncertainty. Acting on hope amid uncertainty is the non-religious term for the
principle of faith.
Thus, I'm not a doubter; I'm a
When I try to understand and decide what I believe and don't believe, I don't focus first on trying to figure out what I don't believe; I
focus first on figuring out what I do believe. Once I figure out what I do
believe, I don't doubt everything else. Rather, I simply don't believe
it at that time - with the understanding that I might believe some of it at some
point in the future as I continue to hone what I do believe.
see doubt as restrictive and constricting; I see faith as liberating and
empowering; I see questioning and seeking as essential - and doubt
undermines that process. It's a subtle difference, but it's an
important one to me, since it influences my attitude more than just
about anything else of which I'm aware.
Saturday Remix, 1950 (3)
14 hours ago